Shocked and angered, the proud Arabs gradually returned to the desert, while the government fell into the well-worn ruts of traditional Oriental despotism. The famous Caliph Haroun-al-Rashid, the hero of the Arabian Nights, was a typical Persian monarch, a true successor of Xerxes and Chosroes, and as different from Abu Bekr or Omar as it is possible to conceive.
Haroun-al-Rashid might have accepted the city, but Mayor Wagner could never have believed in it. "Look at the sky," the old man suggested again, and there was no mockery in his voice now. Dave looked up obediently. The sunset colors were not sunset. The sun was bright and blinding overhead, surrounded by reddish clouds, glaring down on the fairy city. The sky was blotchy.
Bagdad had declined considerably from the gorgeous days of Haroun-al-Rashid, with its legendary million souls. However, it was still a great city, the seat of the caliphate and the unquestioned centre of Saracenic civilization. And even this was not the worst. Bagdad was the capital of Mesopotamia.