"The "golden age of Islam" was as significant to world history as the Roman Empire was in the first and second centuries. From a rebellion planned in a remote desert town came the founding of Baghdad in 762, the growth of an incredibly grand court life under Harun al-Rashid, and intellectual brilliance under his son al-Mamun. The empire's cultural influence stretched from Tunisia to India and its legacy shaped politics and society for centuries thereafter." "In this narrative, Hugh Kennedy introduces us to the rich history and flourishing culture of the period, to the men and women of the lavish palaces at Baghdad and Samarra - the caliphs, viziers, eunuchs, and women of the harem who populated the glorious days of the Arabian Nights. It unveils an unforgettable portrait of a time and a place featuring larger-than-life rulers, exotic slave girls, inventive tortures, and enough court intrigue to frighten a Borgia."--BOOK JACKET.