Ibn Fadlan's Journey to Russia: A Tenth-Century Traveler from Baghad to the Volga River

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This is the first English translation of the famous risala, letters by the tenth-century traveler Ibn Fadlan, one of the great Medieval travelers in world history, akin to Ibn Batutta. Ibn Fadlan was an Arab missionary sent by the Caliph in Baghdad to the king of the Bulghars. He journeyed from Baghdad to Bukhara in Central Asia and then continued across the desert to the town of Bulghar, near present Kazan. He describes the tribes he meets on his way and gives an account of their customs. His is the earliest ...
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Overview

This is the first English translation of the famous risala, letters by the tenth-century traveler Ibn Fadlan, one of the great Medieval travelers in world history, akin to Ibn Batutta. Ibn Fadlan was an Arab missionary sent by the Caliph in Baghdad to the king of the Bulghars. He journeyed from Baghdad to Bukhara in Central Asia and then continued across the desert to the town of Bulghar, near present Kazan. He describes the tribes he meets on his way and gives an account of their customs. His is the earliest account of a meeting with the Vikings, called Rus, who had reached the Volga River from Sweden. His description of the Rus, or Rusiya as he calls them, has produced much discussion about their origins, shockingly free sexual moral standards, customs, treatment of slaves and women, burial traditions, and trading habits, all explained in detail by Ibn Fadlan. The story of his travels has fascinated scholars and even prompted Michael Crichton to write the popular novel Eaters of the Dead, which was made into a film entitled The 13th Warrior.
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Editorial Reviews

Choice Magazine
The story of Ibn Fadlan's travels has fascinated scholars and even prompted Michael Crichton to write the popular novel Eaters of the Dead, which was made into a film entitled The 13th Warrior.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558763654
  • Publisher: Wiener, Markus Publishers, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/30/2005
  • Pages: 160

Table of Contents

Contents

Preface

Introduction

Glossary of Terms and Titles

CHAPTER I: The Time and the Man

CHAPTER II: His Book and Geography

CHAPTER III: Translation of His Travels

The Rus

The Khazars

CHAPTER IV: Commentary on the Translation

The itinerary through the realm of the Caliphate

Remarks on Khwarazm

The Turkic tribes

Further itinerary of the trip

The Bulghars or Saqaliba

The Rus

The Khazars

Aftermath of the embassy

APPENDIX A

Other Muslim Accounts of the North

The Strange Things of Creation by Qazwini The Tufhat al-Babof Abu Hamid al-Mazini al-Garanati Commentary

APPENDIX B

General Remarks on Nomads and Conversion

APPENDIX C

Byzantine and Iranian Commercial Rivalry

APPENDIX D

Merchants in Inner Asia in Pre-Islamic Times

APPENDIX E

Byzantine and Sasanian Trade with Northeastern Russia

Bibliography

Illustration Sources

About the Author

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