History of Oil: Part II

Rhazes_Ir_.1978

On the first part of our History of Oil we saw how the ancient peoples used it for different purposes, one of the most famous being the so-called Greek Fire. Another on the uses of petroleum is tar, which was used to pave streets as early as the 9th century in regions like Baghdad. The oil was extracted from the natural fields in the region. Travelers and geographers like Marco Polo, the so-called “Arab Herodotus” Abu a-Hasan Ali al-Masudi, and Persian alchemist Al-Razi, known as Rhazes in the Latin world (in the stamp, above), described oil fields in modern Baku, Azerbaijan. Baku people used ground impregnated with oil for heating purposes because of absence of wood. Also in the Azerbaijan region, a unique medicinal oil-derivative was produced that was exported to other countries through the Black Sea. Arab and Persian chemists also distilled petroleum for kerosene lamps and flammable products for military purposes.

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