Stranger than the Nights

Justin Marozzi admires Hugh Kennedy’s article from 2004, which offers a nuanced portrait of the great Abbasid caliph, Harun al Rashid, much-mythologised hero of The Arabian Nights

Harun al-Rashid receiving a delegation sent by Charlemagne at his court. By Julius KöckertOf the 37 Abbasid caliphs who held sway in Baghdad between 762 and 1258, one name eclipses all others. Harun al Rashid (r. 786-809) owes his fame above all to The Arabian Nights, a collection of fantastical Indian, Persian and Arab tales dating to the eighth and ninth centuries. 

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