By William Howell (sometimes spelled Howel)
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Additional info for An Institution of General History (1680) William Howell - Volume Two
Before the Arabic system, calculations were commonly done with an abacus (a frame with counters or beads that slide back and forth). The solutions were recorded using numbers written out in words, Roman numerals, or other symbols based on the alphabet. Such traditional ways of noting solutions were at first also utilized by those who used the Arabic system. They drew and erased the numerals on a board covered with sand, keeping only the solutions. However, the use of Arabic numerals in calculations later led to significant mathematical advances.
They collected a code of the laws and customs of the different peoples of Castile, which became one of the foundations of later Spanish law. Important translations were made of Arabic works on astronomy and astrology, and Alfonso's astronomical tables were standard in Europe for centuries. Alfonso also welcomed TROUBADOURS to his court and collected an important book of their songs, Songs to the Virgin Mary, some of which he may have written himself. In contrast to its cultural achievement, the reign of Alfonso X was a time of political upheaval.
He defeated A'isha at the Battle of the Camel, so called because A'isha rode on a camel in the fighting. But a fierce battle against Mu'awiya at SIFFIN, Iraq, in 657 had no winner. Both sides suffered heavy losses; then, to avoid defeat, Mu'awiya had his men raise copies of the Qur'an onto their spears. Many of Ali's soldiers saw this and dropped their weapons. They asked Ali to negotiate, and he agreed, leaving the battle's outcome to be settled later. One group of Ali's supporters were angry at his willingness to negotiate.