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The Odyssey of Ibn Battuta: Uncommon Tales of a Medieval Adventurer [Paperback]

David Waines

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Price: £12.56 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Aug 2012
Ibn Battuta was, without doubt, one of the world's truly great travellers. Born in 14th century Morocco, and a contemporary of Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta has left us an account in his own words of his remarkable journeys throughout the Islamic world and beyond: journeys punctuated by adventure and peril, and stretching from his home in Tangiers to Zaytun in faraway China. Whether sojourning in Delhi and the Maldives, wandering through the mazy streets of Cairo and Damascus, or contesting with pirates and shipwreck, the indefatigable Ibn Battuta brings to vivid life a medieval world brimming with marvel and mystery. Carefully observing the great diversity of civilizations which he encountered, Ibn Battuta exhibits an omnivorous interest in such matters as food and drink, religious differences (between Christians, Hindus and Shi'a Muslims), ideas about purity and impurity, disease, women and sex. Recounting the many miracles which its author claims to have experienced personally, his al-rihla or 'Travelogue' is a fascinating mosaic of mysticism and reportage offering a prototype magic realism. David Waines discusses the subtleties of the al-rihla, revealing all the wonders of Ibn Battuta's world to the modern reader. This is a gripping treatment of the life and times of one of history's most daring, and at the same time most human, discoverers.

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A valuable introduction to one of the grand texts of travel literature. --BBC History Magazine

The Odyssey of Ibn Battuta will introduce new readers to the world of the Travels and it will enlighten them on aspects of that world which have until now attracted little comment. It may inspire others to explore Ibn Battuta s world at greater depth. --Tim Mackintosh-Smith, author of Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah

Waines delightful book is packed full of wonderful details from al-Rihla along with numerous quotes from the originator. The book is laced with engaging, descriptive passages of the Muslim world s most famous travel tale in which the author s insightful knowledge of medieval Islamic traditions and cultures is put to great use, without overshadowing or obscuring the original narrative. The end result is a book that I would not only highly recommend for scholars of classical Islamic studies, Muslim history and civilisation, but also for the more general reader who enjoys the energy and excitement of a rip-roaring travel epic, albeit from the comfort of their own armchair. --Muslim Book Review

About the Author

David Waines is Emeritus Professor of Islamic Studies at Lancaster University. He wrote the bestselling textbook 'An Introduction to Islam', now in its second edition, and edited a volume entitled 'Patterns of Everyday Life' in the Formation of the Classical Islamic World series. He has also written many articles on the medieval Arabic culinary and dietetic traditions.

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