B is for Baghdad

In the next millennium, Baghdad was captured by various groups, including the Fatimids, the Mongols, the Ottoman Turks and finally the British.

When I was growing up, Baghdad sounded wonderfully exotic and ancient. After all, it was in Mesopotamia, that area between the Tigris and Euphrates, which is “widely considered to be the cradle of civilization.”

The meaning of the city’s name may be a “Middle Persian compound of Bag ‘god’ + dād ‘given’, translating to ‘God-given’ or ‘God’s gift’…A less probable guess has been Persian compound Bağ ‘garden’ + dād ‘fair’, translating to ‘The fair Garden.’ Regardless of the derivation, I had believed for some time in my youth that there was a literal Garden of Eden at one point, and it was located somewhere around there.

While the city’s roots date back to ancient Babylon, as a settlement as far back as 1800 B.C., in 762 A.D. Continue reading “B is for Baghdad”