Ibn Fadlan and the Land of Darkness: Arab Travellers in the Far North

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In 922 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 cremation. Between the ninth and fourteenth centuries, Arab travellers such as Ibn Fadlan journeyed widely and frequently into the far north, crossing ...

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