Harun Al-Rashid and the World of the Thousand and One Nights
A symbol of the fabled Orient, Harun al Rashid, the caliph portrayed in The Thousand and One Nights, where we see him living grandly his palace in Baghdad, surrounded by his wives, his concubines, musicians, and learned men, is not merely a figure of legend. He was the son of a Yemenite slave who cleared his path to power, very probably by poisoning the reigning caliph, her older son. Harun reigned for a quarter-century, and was the most famous caliph of the Abbasid dynasty. Through Arab chronicles, the author corrects our vision of Harun the Good', and gives a remarkable account of his development as a ruler. Though in Western countries he is remembered for the presents he sent to Charlemagne notably the famous elephant, Abul Abbas he was first and foremost a successful soldier who made war on the Byzantines. His empire was shaken by religious and social insurrections, and he did not shrink from annihilating the Barmecides, a powerful family whose wealth and influence he finally found unbearable. As a patron of pets and intellectuals, Harun contributed greatly to the cultural supremacy of Baghdad, whose merchants and navigators spread the name of the caliph throughout the world."
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Abbasid Abdallah Abu al-Atahiya Abu Muslim Abu Nuwas Alids Amin Arab army Asia Baghdad Barmakids basileus Basra became brother built Byzantine Byzantium caliph capital centre Charlemagne Charles Christians colour Commander concubines Constantinople court Damascus death dignitaries dinars dirhams dishes dynasty East Egypt eighth century emir emperor empire enemy fabrics Fadl ibn al-Rabi Faithful father Frankish frontier gardens gave gold governor Greek Gundeshapur Hadi Harthama Harun al-Rashid Heraclaea historians hundred ibn Isa Ibrahim Ifriqiya India influence Iran Iranian Iraq Islam Jaffar Kairouan Khaizuran Kharidjites Khorasan king Koran Kufa later lived Mahdi Mamun Mansour Masudi Mecca merchants Mesopotamia Mohammed mosque Nicephoros Nights ninth century ordered Orient palace Persian poets political population princes Prophet provinces Raqqa region reign religious revolt Saffah Samarra Sassanid sent silk slaves sons soon sovereign Spain Syria Tabari thousand throne Tigris took town trade translated troops Umayyad vizier women Yahya Zubaidah
God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570 to 1215
David L. Lewis
Limited preview - 2008