Pub. date: 2012 | Online Pub. Date: May 31, 2012 | DOI: 10.4135/9781452218458 | Print ISBN: 9781412981767 | Online ISBN: 9781452218458| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
al-Rashid, Harun: Prehistory to 1250: Middle East
Michael R. Hall
Harun al-Rashid was the fifth and most famous of the Abbasid caliphs who ruled the Arab world from 750 to 1258. His scientific, cultural, technological, and political accomplishments were immortalized and revealed to Western audiences in One Thousand and One Nights , a fictionalized collection of stories collected over many centuries by various authors. Born on March 17, 763, in the ancient city of Rayy (located near present-day Tehran, Iran), Harun (Aaron) was the son of al-Mahdi, the third Abbasid caliph, and al-Khayzuran, a strong-willed former slave from Yemen. Raised at the royal court in Baghdad (which became the capital of the Abbasid caliphate in 762), Harun was strongly influenced by his mother and Yahya ibn Khalid, a member of the powerful Persian Barmakid family entrusted with Harun's education by al-Mahdi in 778. In 780, al-Mahdi named Harun—still a teenager—the nominal leader of several military campaigns against the Byzantine Empire. ...