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Harun al-Rashid

Abbasid caliph (r.786-809) who strengthened the religious character of his office and established Baghdad as a center of artistic patronage. Al-Rashid led armies against the Byzantines, penetrating as far as Heraclea in 806, and restored Muslim naval power in the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, under his rule there were upheavals almost everywhere from Ifriqiya to Khorasan, and the division of territory between his sons fragmented the empire. His reputation has been distorted by misleading portraits in The Arabian Nights.

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