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Did the Vikings trade with China? On a controversial passage in Ibn Khordahbeh's Book of Itineraries and Kingdoms
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies.
Number of Authors: 12016 (English)In: Fornvännen, ISSN 0015-7813, E-ISSN 1404-9430, Vol. 111, no 4, p. 229-242Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper discusses a 9th century Arabic source, Ibn Khordadhbeh's Kitab al-Masalik wal-Mamalik, The Book of Itineraries and Kingdoms, in which it is claimed that the Rus travelled to China. I look into previous interpretations of the text and present new studies of the two oldest extant copies of the original source. Several translators from the late 19th century on have claimed that this passage is misplaced. I argue that they have adapted their interpretations to fit their preconceptions rather than follow what is actually written in the original source. The text does state that the Rus traded with China. Whether Ibn Khordadhbeh's belief in the extent of Rus' eastern trade journeys was correct or not is another matter. But I point out that Ibn Khordadhbeh in his time may have had logical reasons for his statement. I also explain that China probably refers to Eastern Central Asian regions populated by Turkic-speaking peoples, who in their turn had direct trading contacts with Tang and later Liao Dynasty China.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 111, no 4, p. 229-242
National Category
History and Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-176161ISI: 000424728100002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-176161DiVA, id: diva2:1376498
Available from: 2019-12-09 Created: 2019-12-09 Last updated: 2019-12-09Bibliographically approved

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