'We saw a land which made us think a gate to the cold of hell had opened before us.'
In 922 AD, wrapped in so many clothes that he could barely move, an Arab envoy from Baghdad encountered a party of Viking traders on the upper reaches of the Volga River. Reporting on his diplomatic mission, Ibn Fadlan offered a detailed description of Viking customs, dress, religion and sexual practices, as well as the only eyewitness account of a ship cremation: a shocking ritual involving the haunting figure of the 'Angel of Death'. Humane, inquisitive and written without moral judgement - despite the often alarming nature of what he saw - Ibn Fadlan's account is one of the earliest we have of the Viking way of life, and a fascinating record of the first encounters between northern Europe and the Muslim world.
This new translation is complemented by the narratives of other Arabic explorers from the ninth to fifteenth centuries, many of which have never been translated into English before. An introduction explains the significance of the travel literature from this period, and the volume also includes a chronology, glossary, maps, notes and further reading.
Translated with an introduction by PAUL LUNDE and CAROLINE STONE
- Publication Date:
- 02 / 01 / 2012
- 129 x 198mm