Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Hulagu Khan and the Siege of Baghdad

Imagine this.You are playing 'Age of Empires' and have taken considerable time in building a big city with
farms,monuments,barracks,houses,libraries and other such standard buildings.You develop a civilised society and your city has a high standard of living.Everything seems fine.Now you decide to have some fun.You type in a cheat code.And a car that shoots missiles appears.You keep bringing in more till you have like ten of those cars.Now you use it to destroy the whole city.Within seconds your city is ruined.Reduced to rubbles.The transformation is quick and dramatic.
     Now imagine if something of this type happens in real life.It did happen.It happened when the Mongols decided that they had seen enough of the glory of Persians and their unrivalled city of Baghdad.Hulagu Khan attacked Baghdad and laid siege to it in 1258.He completely destroyed the city and reduced it to an abandoned ruin for years to come.Now if put I myself in the shoes or rather the footwear of Hulagu khan,the one one thing I would have done differently was this-Even if I wanted to conquer the city I would have gone ahead but I would have spared the people of the city and its glory.Baghdad at that time was the most magnificent city on Earth.It had excellent irrigation system,magnificent works of architecture ,and what do I say about the Grand Library of Baghdad.It had volumes and volumes of books in it.All of them destroyed.All the books thrown in the river Tigris.It was said that the river ran black for days because of all the ink it.So much knowledge of the ancient world was lost.In two weeks of looting and massacre,lakhs of people died,the whole city turned to shambles and was left in a situation that it has still not recovered completely from.It directly led to the end of the Golden Age of Islam and there was sharp decline in Arab Science.It was collectively a huge loss to all of humankind.So if given a chance to be Hulagu khan and rewrite history I would definitely spare the city of Baghdad.

This post has been written for 'IndiSpire' for Indiblogger.


  1. It took me about 15 minutes to read your post! I was lost after the mention of cheats in Age Of Empires. Back in those i didn't know what cheats were at all and then came GTA! But even after that when i played AOE3 i didn't think about cheats at all. Now i am on a mission to try out all these cheats :P

    That is really sad! I wish there were backup library's. Reminds me of a manga i read 'One Piece', where an entire island of scholars were burned alive along with the greatest library of the world!

    Great post! :)

  2. Haha! cheats were awesome ! I used to play all my games with cheats.

    Yup.Some guy saved some 10000 books by transporting them out of Baghdad to some other city.
    So you read manga? any other asian stuff?

    Thanks !

  3. Hi
    A large part of history involves rulers that got jealous of other rulers their wealth and what they achieved, so instead of trying to achieve the same in their own dominions, they pull the carpet out from underneath you. This was not just baghdad, even the Nalanda and Takshashila libraries, and prosecution of scholars for their work. I saw this arabic movie once, based on the life of the andalusian Islamic philosopher Averroes , and how his commentaries on the works of Aristotle earned him exile . The same happened with Galileo, and Copernicus, and so many scientists.
    What people do not understand , they fear and despise. That simple denial has been the fall of wonders worldwide.
    I hope we in today's world are not as blinkered in our worldview, and that we don't lose our wonders the way it happened int he past.
    But wonderful blogging, by the way, Bhaiya
    Please keep going!

  4. Sorry sumedha I didnt see your comment.
    Thanks for the compliment.
    Yes nalanda and takshila shared the same sad fate.It was a norm at that time.rulers who won wrote history by destroying the present and the past.