>If you don't have time to read The Rihla itself...

That's sad on multiple levels. Does anyone know of a complete translation to English?

From ~30 years ago, by a member of the SCA: "There seems to be no complete and unabridged translation of his account of his travels. H. A. R. Gibb produced the first three volumes of one (The Travels of Ibn Battuta, by H.A.R. Gibb, Cambridge, 1958, 1962, 1971) before his death. He also produced an earlier abridged translation (The Travels of Ibn Battuta, London, 1929). There are partial translations by several others."

And about medieval Islam:

"Not all, not even most, Muslims were Arabs. Islam may have been the first world civilization; in period it stretched from Spain to Malaya. Muslims might be Arabs, Berbers, East or West African Blacks, Indians, Kurds, Mongols, Persians, Turks, ... . They were all united by a common religion and a common religious language, but divided by numerous religious factions, languages, and cultures"


> In fact they have brought this to such perfection that if a stranger commits any offence that obliges him to flee from China, they send his portrait far and wide. A search is then made for him and where so ever the person bearing a resemblance to that portrait is found is arrested 30."

China. A surveillance state since the 1300s.

/jk of course

I very much enjoyed Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah (2012) by Tim Mackintosh-Smith. If you enjoy travelogues rather than history books (I enjoy both) then this may be the one for you.

Such a fascinating character. IIRC there is great scepticism that he went as far east as claimed, and that the China adventure may have been mostly fabricated. Echoes of Marco Polo. Anyone know more recent studies of the veracity of his claimed journeys?


Ibn Battuta and his adventure - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16687689 - March 2018 (38 comments)

How does one pay for such a journey? Let alone carry cash to do so
Some say that he was called Ibn Battuta because of all his walking - his feet became flat like a duck (battuta)
It's often omitted that the historicity of Ibn Battuta's travels is very much in doubt.

Like Marco Polo, he likely either fabricated portions of his travels or retold others' stories as his own.

Not that his works weren't immensely valuable to posterity.