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Baghdad In The Abbasid Era: A Cosmopolitan And Multi-Confessional Capital

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Chapter Summary

The history of Baghdad divides itself into three phases: first, the prestigious capital of the Abbasid caliphs from the time of its foundation by al-Mansur up to its conquest by Mongol armies; then, for centuries, a simple provincial metropolis; and finally, since 1921, the capital of the kingdom of Iraq, whose dramatic reality assails us with daily images of devastation. However, cosmopolitanism in Baghdad was not accompanied by multi-lingualisim, even though other languages were in private or liturgical use. In this chapter on city dimensions, al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, as is his habit, adds several traditions indicating the number of mosques, the number of bathhouses, but also the quantity of soap and oil necessary for the population during festivals. The majority came from the cities of Lower Mesopotamia, notably Basra and Kufa, and from Upper Mesopotamia, Syria and Egypt, but above all from various regions of Iran.

Keywords: Abbasid caliphs; Baghdad; cosmopolitanism; Mesopotamia



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