The Adventures of Ibn Battuta: A Muslim Traveler of the Fourteenth Century, Revised Edition, with a New Preface
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.
World-Class Traveler !
By Bruce Loveitt - December 13, 1999
It is incredible to think that back in the 1300's one person could have traveled from Morocco through North and East Africa, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, the Crimea, India, Ceylon, Indonesia and China. I get tired just writing about it! But this is what Ibn Battuta did. When you think of how difficult (and dangerous!) it was to travel back in those days, it is just amazing. What makes this book especially fascinating is the look it provides into Muslim society. Here was a man who journeyed thousands of miles over many, many years but who only very rarely felt himself to be a stranger in a strange land. In some places Islam was in the majority and in some places it was the minority but Ibn Battuta was always able to find educated Moslems similar to himself who could provide a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear and money to spend. Very importantly also, they could provide spiritual support to a person very far from home. This book is best when it settles down in one... read more
From Tangier to the ends of the earth and back......
By Robert S. Newman "Bob Newman" - October 21, 1999
Centuries-old travelogues tend to have this archaic, dusty sort of air about them. We can't identify with the people who wrote them because the language in no way resembles ours. This is of course the fault of those who translate those documents. Then too, travellers of medieval times or earlier tended to write about things not so much of interest today. In THE ADVENTURES OF IBN BATTUTA, Ross E. Dunn has successfully avoided these problems by writing ABOUT the 14th century North African traveller, Ibn Battuta, not just translating his book. Ibn Battuta (1304-1368) travelled around the civilized world of his day. Surprisingly enough for Eurocentric folks, the term "civilized" only included Spain at that time. It did, however, include most of the Islamic regions on earth, plus India and China. Dunn includes chapters on Tangier, North Africa, Egypt-Syria-Palestine, Mecca, Persia and Iraq, Yemen, Oman, and East Africa, Constantinople, Anatolia, Central Asia,... read more
A 14th century traveller who saw more than even Marco Polo
By Christopher Culver - December 1, 2002
In 1325 the young Morrocan Ibn Battuta left his home to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. On the way, he became enamoured with travel and travelled half the world, from North Africa to China, before returning to his home in 1349. His record of his journeys, the Rihla, is difficult to read and chaotically organised, leading historian Ross E. Dunn to present Ibn Battuta's story in a more accessible format. THE ADVENTURES OF IBN BATTUTA is an extremely interesting book, and I recommend it highly to anyone interested in world history.Battuta's memoirs often lack detail, so Dunn has put his travels in context by bringing in outside information. Thus, before covering Battuta's travels over the steppe of Northern Asia, he explains how the Mongols came to acquire so much territory and then convert to Islam. Another interesting part of Battuta's story is how Europeans and inhabitants of the Middle East interacted in the 14th century. Battuta gives an anecdote about a stay in a Muslim town in... read more
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