Hugh Kennedy’s When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World

Subtitle: The Rise and Fall of Islam’s Greatest Dynasty.

Great book if you’re interested in Arab/Islamic history and have trouble keeping your caliphs and dynasties straight.

More learned people have much more to say about the book than I do, but I’ll note that I learned the kind of things that interest me, such as that the Abassids’ court color was black and the supporters of the Alids favored green.

Also of interest to me was this:

In the ninth century it became quite common to give girls disagreeable names, perhaps to draw attention to their beauty or, possibly, to ward off jealousy and misfortune.

At least two of the wives of the caliphs had pretty awful names: Qabihah = “The Ugly One” and Shaghab = “Trouble.”
Names are fascinating to me and will be posting more about them in the future.

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Filed under arab, arabian, arabic, arabist, books

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