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Einhard the Frank, educated at Charlemagne's palace school in Aachen, tells a story to show the esteem in which his master is held by Harun al-Rashid, the great caliph in Baghdad - seen by Einhard as 'king of the Persians':

'With Harun-al-Rashid, king of the Persians, who held almost the whole of the east in fee, always excepting India, Charlemagne was on such friendly terms that Harun valued his goodwill more than the approval of all the other kings and princes in the entire world, and considered that he alone was worthy of being honoured. He despatched to Charlemagne costly gifts, which included robes, spices and other marvels of the Orient. A few years earlier Harun had sent Charlemagne the only elephant he possessed, simply because the Frankish king asked for it.'

Einhard Life of Charlemagne, translated Lewis Thorpe, Penguin 1969


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