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Wednesday, May 17, 2023 @ 6:00 pm-8:00 pm

May Lecture

Professor Hugh Kennedy on ‘The Globalisation of Baghdad’

By Ali Khadr

The lecture investigates the role of Baghdad in the wider economy of Eurasia in the period from the eights to the tenth century. The first half of the lecture will demonstrate how the growth of the city of, perhaps, half a million people, had a profound effect on the rural economy of Greater Mesopotamia, creating a sustained demand for food supplies which encouraged the opening up of new areas to agricultural development, irrigation and the establishment of settled rural communications. In the second half, Professor Kennedy will discuss how Baghdad as a market for high status and luxury imports led to the development of new trading links throughout Eurasia, from the Spice Islands to the Isle of Skye. Finally, Professor Kennedy will ask why this system collapsed during the course of the tenth century and Baghdad lost its centrality in the world system of the time. Professor Kennedy will use both literary sources and archaeological evidence to bring this picture together.

Animated image of what Baghdad would have been in its prime. (Photo: Pinterest)

Hugh Kennedy is a Professor of Arabic at SOAS, University of London. Prior to joining SOAS in 2007, Professor Kennedy spent thirty five years teaching Medieval History in the University of St Andrews. He was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 2013 and is  author of numerous books on the history of the early Islamic world including The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates (4th ed. 2022), The Courts of the Caliphs (2003), The Great Arab Conquests(2008) and The Caliphate: a Pelican Introduction (2016). He is presently working on an economic history of the early Islamic Middle East to be published by Princeton University Press.


Date and time

Date : 

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Time : 

@ 6:00 pm-8:00 pm


Category : 



Address : 

10 Carlton House Terrace



United Kingdom

, British Academy 



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