|Subtitle||Vols I and II|
|My Copy||Two old hard clothbound Hakluyt editions.|
|First Read||April 22, 2010|
The Travels of Ibn Battuta (1325-1354)
My obsession with 14th-century travelogues continues. Apparently Ibn Battuta (full name: Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Al Lawati Al Tanji Ibn Battuta) is famous enough that some kids learn about him in school; my public schooling had enough trouble squeezing in George Washington. Battuta left his home in modern-day Morocco at the age of 22, headed to Mecca. He made it there and back in thirty years, but also saw most of the non-European world along the way. He served the Sultan, dove for pearls in the Gulf of Aden, danced with dervishes, was an emissary for the rulers of India, saw his fellow travelers shipwrecked in the Indian Ocean, undertook diplomatic relations in China, crossed through Mongol land on horseback, traveled with the great Khan's wife to Constantinople, hung out with the Byzantine emperor, and finally made his way home an unrecognizable and wealthy man. The book itself is long and wandering like its author's journey, with digressions into minutia such as 'The Cleanliness of the People of Mecca.' Once you get into the flow of reading, though, it's quite the page-turner.
Noted on April 22, 2010