!!> PDF ✪ رِسَالَة [Risāla] ✑ Author Ahmad ibn Fadlān – Shiningweb.info

رِسَالَة [Risāla] The story goes that Michael Crichton came across Ibn Fadlan s The book of Ibn Fadlan s travels and read about his travels among the various tribal kingdoms in 10th century Eastern Europe In it he read what is believed to be the oldest and most completed description of the Viking Funeral From the reading of this story he imagined his first widely popular book, The Eaters of the Dead I greatly admired the Crichton re imagining of the Beowulf story So I was very eager to read the book that got Crichton inspired In this Penguin Classic, Ibn Fadlanss work takes up about 1 3 of this collection, Ibn Fadlan and the land of Darkness Arab travelers in the Far North For the rest translated and edited together by Paul Lunde and Caroline Stone is another 40ish pages of 13th Century of Arab traveler Aba Hamid al Andalust and 100 pages of snippets, sometimes no that a partial paragraph of another 41 Arab travelers, historians or chroniclers The result is repetitious, flat and dull One suspects a sanitized academic style translation It feels too thrown together to hold the attention of any but the most determined reader.In the two longer selections it is possible to get a sense of the reporting traveler Neither writer has a graceful style Subjects appear in a paragraph with no obvious connection and topics read like random collections There are enough pages so that one can get an idea of the mind behind the words The regions being reported upon are peoples of Europe with no idea of a common connection, culture or religion The Rus are not yet the Russians The various tribes and kingdoms do not have names most of use ever studied in any Western Civ class No Gaul nor Visigoths nor yet any Hungarians or Germans The problem being that it can be very disorienting Even with the many foot notes giving modern place names it can be too much work to place a name or name a place such that you have a clue where in Europe which tribe maintains its fluid borders,After the two longer selections the bits and pieces do not seem to follow any organizing principle No chronological or geographic order is manifest Selections can be 3 sentences of this Arab writer and maybe 2 pages of another None selected for its unique or enthralling point of view. In the 10th century, an Arab traveller named Ahmad Ibn Fadlan went, as part of an embassy, from Baghdad into the far north, to visit the newly Muslim king of the Bulghars who lived on the Volga River where it flows into the Caspian Sea On his return, he wrote an account of his journey that is remarkable for its precision, dispassion and curiosity Ibn Fadlan was genuinely interested in the peoples and customs he encountered along the way, and went out of his way to find out about them The most obvious example of this is how he set out to learn about the burial customs of the pagan Rus Vikings originally from Sweden , going to visit one of their settlements when he learned that one of the leaders there had died recently His account of the burial is both remarkable and deeply troubling and should give modern day pagan fantasists pause There is a tendency nowadays to ascribe a purer, simpler, noble or spiritual culture to pre Christian pagan societies, such as Neil Young s idealisation of Moctezuma, king of the Aztecs, in Cortez the Killer Ibn Fadlan s chilling description of the ritual sacrifice of one of the dead man s slave girls should be enough to make anyone rethink idealising pagan cultures.Going on, the book also contains extracts from other Arab travellers While none are as interesting as Ibn Fadlan, their varied testimonies add to a patchwork quilt of impressions of which, for me, the chief was the realisation of just how large a part the slave trade played in linking the economies of Asia, and in particular the links between the Caliphate and the pagan cultures of the steppes Much of war was, in fact, slave taking expeditions, with a huge market waiting for the captured slaves in the Islamic world and among the shot lived kingdoms of the steppes But what is particularly eye opening for the modern reader is how women and girls were such a significant part of this trade Slaving expeditions would raid neighbouring tribes, capturing young women and girls, and these would be sold on as concubines to rich and powerful men in the Islamic world One of the other writers in the book, Abu Hamid, notes in passing how he buys two slave girls, ages 8 and 15, and gives them various jobs before saying that one of them had a child but it died.To put it bluntly, in this world, women were currency they were bought and sold and became the trophies that accompanied the worldly success of rich and powerful men Modern day feminists have little use for Christianity, but that religion s refusal to countenance concubinage contributed to the decline of the trafficking of women than any of other factor. In AD, An Arab Envoy From Baghdad Named Ibn Fadlan Encountered A Party Of Viking Traders On The Upper Reaches Of The Volga River In His Subsequent Report On His Mission He Gave A Meticulous And Astonishingly Objective Description Of Viking Customs, Dress, Table Manners, Religion And Sexual Practices, As Well As The Only Eyewitness Account Ever Written Of A Viking Ship CremationBetween The Ninth And Fourteenth Centuries, Arab Travellers Such As Ibn Fadlan Journeyed Widely And Frequently Into The Far North, Crossing Territories That Now Include Russia, Uzbekistan And Kazakhstan Their Fascinating Accounts Describe How The Numerous Tribes And Peoples They Encountered Traded Furs, Paid Tribute And Waged Wars This Accessible New Translation Offers An Illuminating Insight Into The World Of The Arab Geographers, And The Medieval Lands Of The Far North This is than a 3 star rating and yet less than a 4 star An intriguing account of an Arab Muslim traveller to the northern climes inclusive of some unique and harrowing eyewitness accounts which are not found elsewhere e.g Viking funerary practices The book is divided into three main parts, Parts 1 and 2 comprises of the travel accounts of ibn Fadlan and Abu Hamid respectively, the last part, Part 3 are excerpts from the various works of fellow Arabian Muslim geographers, historians and travellers discussing the region and related issues useful source material for those interested I guess for the average lay reader this part gets quite repetitive and laborious All in all, a fascinating window into an old world, a bygone era through the eyes of Arabian Muslim travellers, elements of past cultures survive and inform the present and yet many aspects have died out with time and thankfully yet somethings never change A valuable source especially for trade relations between the north of the Caspian basin, Transoxia and Muslim Arab world Also the careful observations of Ibn Fadlan and Abu Hamid al Andalusi on Turkic states tribes such as Khazars, Bulgars, Guzzs Oghuzzs and Bashgirds provide useful information, although reveal an arrogant Arab Orientalist approach towards the Pagan and new Muslim Turkish tribes As I have understood This is a short book written by Ahmad Ibn Fadlan, about his mission on religious and cash supports to the King of Slavs, from Caliph of Islamic world.He and 4 other started this travel from Baghdad to Balkan Their journey had been a very hard one because of the cold weather of northern areas and different tribes Hi is very good in describing the people he had visited and their habits, a literal detailed one The scene of a funeral is such described that has been painted by Henry Semiradsky 1843 1902 It should be this one few pages are going in past Islamic world, in Iran and Turkmenistan and he presents a short description When he enters the unknown areas, he starts to give focus and deep details From his sentences and dialogs it can be understood that he had a religious point of view I have heard that this book is important because is one of the first books written about people and culture of the Balkan and Russia area.I read a translation of this book in Persian. I skimmed through most of the commentary and cut right to the translated text of Ibn Fadlan s 10th century travel journal from Baghdad to to Russia Remarkable For much of the journal I appreciated how new the surrounding world was to him his first northern winter, his shock at seeing the northern lights, his disgust at people s differing sexual and bathing habits, his first look at a rhinoceros Random thoughts I find it fascinating that he calls the northmen disgusting for their bathing habits, but seems to make no judgment at all when they re leaving their sick slaves to die The plain and detailed description of the funeral right of a rich pagan Viking is captivating and stomach turning An adventurous , and very Moslem book. For those interested in Viking history, Ibn Fadlan s writings, like most Arabic writers who encountered them, are far objective and intimate than the European writings which were coloured by the Christian anti pagan hysteria of the period and the need to propagandize against an invading enemy That s not to say that the Arabic writers were not looking through the lens of their own faith, but their accounts of the Viking culture tend to be far objective than that of Medieval Europeans This book is a good place to start in developing a balanced and realistic view of Viking culture and its people. The book contains the accounts of Arab Islam Travellers in the land of Rus, Hungary,Khazar Khaganate in 9 13 centuries Those accounts are not numerous and there are not many written sources at all from that region and the time So the book lets us look at the people populating the waist territory of Siberia and Eastern Europe from the perspective of foreigners The description of the Rus pagans and their traditions are shocking and accurate At that time, The Rus were the gangs of militarised merchants trading in fur and slaves familiar as Vikings though those were the Danes while these are the Swedes They have not yet merged with the Slavic population to form Kiev Rus There is a vivid description by Ibn Fadlan in the 10th century of a burial ritual It included the burning of a deceased Rus in his ship with his horse and the one of his slave girls Apparently, it is a unique written third party account of such an event Reading it, young Michael Crichton Jurassic Park author was so impressed that he later wrote The Eaters of the Dead which was turned into a Hollywood movie The volume of enslaving of the local population and slave trade seems to be large as it mentioned almost in all accounts I was shocked by the one account when an Arab traveller bought two slave girls in Hungary aged 15 and 7 who seemed to be already used as concubines by someone else.Worth reading of you are interested in the history of the Slavic lands, Silk road and Central Asia in 9 13 AD. My father always claimed that the fall of Europe into the Dark Ages was due to the rise of Christianity, but after reading Ibn Fadlan and the other various travellers accounts of Eastern Europe and the Far East in the 9th 10th and later centuries, it seems to me Europe or at least its Eastern and Northern expanses was in darkness before Christianity ever came along Somehow I doubt that the condition of peoples such as the Saqaliba, Rus, Wisu etc as described in these accounts was any elevated during prosperous ancient times Also anyone who romanticizes paganism should really read this book Some of the rituals described are considerably disturbing I m thinking here especially of Ibn Fadlan s detailed account of the fate of the slave girl that chooses to die with her master especially for a woman Definitely did not make me regret the coming of Christianity It may not have made people less cruel in the Dark Ages, but at least it made immolation obsolete.It was also interesting to read about peoples fascination with the unknown and the fantastic stories that fuelled their imagination like the tales of strange beasts, dark mysterious lands and the monstrous peoples of Gog and Magog It is in a way similar with the modern fascination with space and the possibilities that may exist in its vast expanses Perhaps one day people will look back at today s guesswork of other worlds and sentient species and find them as fantastic and outlandish as the tales of Medieval travellers in the North appear to us today It s worth noting that among the various writers included, Ibn Fadlan is by far the most sober voice, recounting without judging too harshly what he saw and for the most part staying away from the incredible It made me feel considerably sorry that his journey was not preserved in its entirety and can only hope that one day, by some stroke of luck, a complete manuscript of his work will be found

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