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Abbasid History Podcast

Jun 1, 2024

Ep4. The City on The Tigris: Baghdad, Drinking and Water Transport

Medieval Baghdad was probably home to 200,000 to 500,000 inhabitants. In this episode we look at how water functioned as the life blood of this great city, providing drink, but also transportation that supplied the city with food and connected it with trade routes in Indian Ocean and beyond.

Speakers: Hugh Kennedy, Josephine van den Bent. Interviewer: Edmund Hayes.

Hugh Kennedy is Professor of Arabic at SOAS in the University of London and from 2022 he has been teaching in the History Department at University College London. 

Josephine van den Bent is a researcher on the Source of Life project at Radboud University and assistant professor of Medieval History at the University of Amsterdam.

This episode was produced by Edmund Hayes and Jouke Heringa.

Further reading

Hugh Kennedy, “The Feeding of the 500.000: Cities and Agriculture in Early Islamic Mesopotamia,” Iraq 73 (2011): 177–199.

Josephine van den Bent & Peter Brown, “On Strong Vaults with Solidly Constructed Arches: Urban Waterways in the Cities of Early Islam,” Al-Masāq (2024).

Josephine van den Bent, “Caliphal Involvement in Water Provision in the Cities of the Early ʿAbbāsid Period,” Journal of Abbasid Studies (2024).

Edmund Hayes

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