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Longing for the Lost CaliphateA Transregional History$
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Mona Hassan

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691166780

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691166780.001.0001

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Visions of a Lost Caliphal Capital: Baghdad, 1258 CE

Visions of a Lost Caliphal Capital: Baghdad, 1258 CE

(p.20) Chapter 1 Visions of a Lost Caliphal Capital: Baghdad, 1258 CE
Longing for the Lost Caliphate

Mona Hassan

Princeton University Press

This chapter establishes the intense desire and nostalgia for Baghdad as the Abbasid Caliphate's cosmopolitan capital and its centrality in the Muslim imaginary, among the near and the far. Poetry, historical chronicles, and scholarly literature from Muslim Spain in the west, Yemen in the south, and Egypt, western North Africa, geographical Syria, Mesopotamia, Persia, and India further east richly illustrate a shared perception among interconnected literary elites about the Abbasids' temporal and spiritual preeminence, despite all of their political reversals. For many premodern Muslims, the world without a caliph was so unimaginable that it boded the imminent end of time itself—an eschatological interpretation that reverses contemporaneous Christian views of empire.

Keywords:   Islamic caliphate, Baghdad, Abbasid Caliphate, Muslim imaginary, caliph, Muslims

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