Adventures of Ibn Battuta, a Muslim Traveler of the Fourteenth Century

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Known as the greatest traveler of premodern times, Abu Abdallah ibn Battuta was born in Morocco in 1304 and educated in Islamic law. At the age of twenty-one, he left home to make the holy pilgrimage to Mecca. This was only the first of a series of extraordinary journeys that spanned nearly three decades and took him not only eastward to India and China but also north to the Volga River valley and south to Tanzania. The narrative of these travels has been known to specialists in Islamic and medieval history for ...
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Overview


Known as the greatest traveler of premodern times, Abu Abdallah ibn Battuta was born in Morocco in 1304 and educated in Islamic law. At the age of twenty-one, he left home to make the holy pilgrimage to Mecca. This was only the first of a series of extraordinary journeys that spanned nearly three decades and took him not only eastward to India and China but also north to the Volga River valley and south to Tanzania. The narrative of these travels has been known to specialists in Islamic and medieval history for years. Ross E. Dunn's 1986 retelling of these tales, however, was the first work of scholarship to make the legendary traveler's story accessible to a general audience. Now updated with revisions, a new preface, and an updated bibliography, Dunn's classic interprets Ibn Battuta's adventures and places them within the rich, trans-hemispheric cultural setting of medieval Islam.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520057715
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/1987

Meet the Author


Ross E. Dunn is Professor of History, San Diego State University, and the editor of The New World History: A Teacher's Companion (2000).
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Table of Contents

1 Tangier 13
2 The Maghrib 27
3 The Mamluks 41
4 Mecca 65
5 Persia and Iraq 81
6 The Arabian Sea 106
7 Anatolia 137
8 The steppe 159
9 Delhi 183
10 Malabar and the Maldives 213
11 China 241
12 Home 266
13 Mali 290
14 The Rihla 310
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2009

    The Adventures of Ibn Battuta

    The Adventures of Ibn Battuta written by Ross E. Dunn told somewhat about the travels that Ibn Battuta went on from Tangier to Mecca, Persia, Iraq, the Arabian Sea, Anatolia, The Steppe, Delhi, Malabar and the Maldives, China, and back home. It talked about his journey to Mecca on the hajj and how his curiosity lead him to travel to as many places as possible; making sure not to travel to the same place more than once. It also showed how wealthy he became and fit in perfectly with the Sultans, who gave him many gifts such as horses, robes, and coins. However I thought that the book was also a little deceiving. When I looked at the book I thought that it would be focused on the actual adventures that Ibn Battuta went on and all the troubles and success he had and be written from his point of view. While the book did tell about his adventures, it did not go in depth with detail like I thought it would. It was more directed to what was going on in the fourteenth century. However, I did like the fact that Dunn included passages from Ibn's journal, but I felt that there should have been more included. I did like the fact that you were given the bigger picture in the book because you were able to have a good idea of exactly what was going on at this time like with the invasions and raids of the Mongol Empire and how it affected different areas. I would not recommend this book to someone who is looking to read a book about traveling adventures, since it is more focused on the historical point of view on not on the adventures itself. But, I would recommend this book to someone looking to learn more about the fourteenth century. I would also recommend this to someone who wants to know more information about Islam and the pilgrimage to Mecca because it does a good job of explaining that.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2008

    The Adventures of Ibn Battuta

    The Adventures of Ibn Battuta by Ross E. Dunn is a great example of historical literature that brings knowledge and facts to a modern day world. This book was an enjoyable read that helped in the growth of my knowledge as a world history student. Ibn Battuta began his adventure within Tangier in 1325, visiting Egypt, Mecca, Syria, Iraq, Anatolia, the Central Asian steppe, India, the Maldives and China before returning home about twenty five years later. The Adventures of Ibn Battuta follows Ibn Battuta's travels, but often lacks the actual details of his career and personal life. It gives great informational and detailed background information and is an easy introduction to the world of Islamic life along with an entertaining adventure novel. <BR/> The author provides detailed and compelling information about the people Ibn Battuta met and the places he visited along with the theology of history and culture of many other societies. With detailed chapters, the first chapter looks into the geography and culture of Tangier, which is the homestead of Ibn Battuta. While the chapter ¿Anatolia¿ describes the differences within the region compared to Tangier that affects the Muslim culture and Ibn Batutta¿s opinions. More general information includes explanations of the Islamic law, the role of Arabic, and other types of the common culture of the Islamic world. <BR/> This novel makes The Adventures of Ibn Battuta act as a guide to the Islamic world during the 14th century. It acts as a great historical reference guide with insight into the worldly views at this time. I greatly enjoyed this book and it allowed me to further my knowledge of a great Muslim traveler. The author did a good job of keeping me intrigued with the details of his life and his adventures along the way, and overall completed the purpose of informing readers about his life and society around the 14th century.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2007

    The Adventues of Ibn Battuta

    After reading this novel, I felt like I understood the basics of Islam and the Dar al-Islam much more thoroughly than I did before I read this novel. During the book, Ibn Battuta visits many countries within the Dar-al Islam such as Cairo, Persia, Syria, East Africa, Turkey, Delhi, the Maldives and the Mongol Empire and after his travels were completed, he recorded an assortment of facts and cultural information in the Rihla. All of this information is very important to us today when looking back on the Dar al-Islam and trying to understand many practices during this time period. Within each of the countries, a large significance is placed on the Islamic faith. These shared views of Islam help to unify the countries under the Dar al-Islam by providing common ground for the relation of peoples of different backgrounds and also providing a safe environment for travel and helping to facilitate the diffusion of ideas into the rest of the pre-modern world. This distribution of ideas helped to modernize the world at the time and advance societies that did not have many great ideas at the time. In his reinterpretation of this novel, Ross E. Dunn outlines this unification by showing the similar qualities within the countries of the Dar al-Islam. In my opinion, Dunn does an excellent job presenting the universal features contained within Islamic society and showing how Islam helped the world to evolve into the traveler friendly place Battuta traveled through. In order to present these features, Dunn has complied a set of sources that help to support and emphasize the imperative concepts with Ibn Battuta¿s Rihla in order to accurately depict the Islamic world of this time period without error of exaggeration by the original author. By presenting outside but still relevant sources along with the excerpts of the Rihla, Dunn has offered a very accurate picture of life in the Dar al-Islam around the fourteenth-century to the reader. I would recommend this novel to both students and adults that are interested in learning about the Muslim world of this time period. This literary work contains a lot of valuable information, especially useful when working on the world cities project assigned for this quarter, regarding many of the customs, practices and ways of life of the Islamic world during this time period. This book delivers an insight that can only be accomplished by grasping the first-hand details of the cities such as the architectural glory of many cities in their prime and the common person¿s feelings towards what were considered the great wonders of the world at this time. The use of a first-hand account adds greatly to the knowledge gained by reading this novel because of the validity of the account in the time period and the perception of his or her own time period by the recorder of all of the events that went on during the period the literary work was written in.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2006

    Excellent book

    Morrocan Ibn Battuta is (in some parts of the world) very famous as a mideval traveler who exploited his moderately good education and agreeable disposition to win favor with a range of important rulers during a quarter of a century of travels throughout much of what he considered to be the modern world. (Note: at this time, Europe was not particularly modern, and wasn't part of his itinerary for religious/cultural reasons.) The blurb at B&N gives the impression that this book is about the man's fantastic travels, but in reality Battuta's travelogue is only a hook for providing the author Dunn E. Ross an opportunity to fill in background on the culture and histories of the regions visited, and the personalities of the various eminent people encountered. Starting out at the age of 20 with a decent, but not exceptional religious education, Battuta managed to ingratiate himself with various Sultans and the like, from north Africa to India, while visiting the mid-east, central Asia, east Africa, the Indian sub-continent, and China, before returning to north Africa, and thence to the Iberian penninsula and west Africa. Everywhere he went, big shots showered him with money, horses, slaves (and, yeah, slave girls for his pleasure). He musta been a helluva good conversationalist. As the remark above might suggest, just as now, Dar al-Islam was probably not the best of places to be female in the 14th century. (Battuta married and divorced as he found it to be convenient, sometimes abandoning women with children, in addition to keeping slave girls, but was nonetheless shocked and horrified to find that in Mali women would go about bare-breasted. Have these west Africans no morals?!?) A great read that completely revised my views of much of the world in the 14th century.

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    Posted February 2, 2010

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    Posted July 7, 2010

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    Posted April 29, 2009

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    Posted December 4, 2013

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    Posted December 4, 2011

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