Sunday, 20 July 2014


Ziryab, The Slave Who Changed Society

Ziryab (789-857 AD) was a Persian polymath: a poet, musician, singer, cosmetologist, fashion designer, celebrity, trendsetter, strategist, astronomer, botanis, geographer and former slave.
Most people have never heard of Ziryab, yet at least two of his innovations remain to this day: he introduced the idea of a three course meal (soup, main course, pudding) and he introduced the use of crystal for drinking glasses (previously metal was the primary material). He introduced asparagus and other vegetables into society, and made significant changes and additions to the music world. He had numerous children, all of whom became musicians, and spread his legacy throughout Europe. He could perhaps be considered an ancient Bach.
The list of societal changes Ziryab made is immense – he popularized short hair and shaving for men, and wore different clothes based on the seasons. He created a pleasant tasting toothpaste which helped personal hygeine (and longevity) in the region, and also invented an underarm deodorant. He also promoted bathing twice daily.
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