Located along the Tigris River, the city was founded in the 8th century and became the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate.
The site where the city of Baghdad came to stand has been populated for millenia and by the 8th century AD several Aramaic Christian villages had developed there, one of which was called Baghdad, the name which would come to be used for the Abbasid metropolis.
The name has been used as Baghdadu on Assyrian cuneiform and Babylonian records going back to at least 2000 BC. An inscription by Nebuchadnezzar (600 BC) describes how he rebuilt the old Babylonian town of Bagh-dadu. There used to be another Babylonian settlement called Baghdad, in upper Mesopotamia, near the ancient city of Edessa. The name has not been attested outside of Mesopotamia.
Even though the name has been attested in pre-Persian times, a Persian origin has been accepted by some scholars. It has been proposed that the name is a Middle Persian compound of Bag "god" and dād "given", translating to "God-given" or "God's gift", from which comes Modern Persian Baɣdād. This in turn can be traced to Old Persian. Another proposal is the Persian compound bāğ "garden" and dād "fair", translating to "The fair garden". A Persian explanation is problematic though, given that the name was used long before the Persians arrived in Mesopotamia.
When the Abbasid caliph, al-Mansur, founded a completely new city for his capital, he chose the name Madinat al-Salaam or City of Peace. This was the official name on coins, weights, and other official usage, although the common people continued to use the old name. By the 11th century, "Baghdad" became almost the exclusive name for the world-renowned metropolis.
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