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Summary Of Ibn Fadlan's Reactions To Viking Rus '

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While reading Ibn Fadlan’s reactions to the Viking Rus, it was apparent to me that no matter the point in time, bias and judgement over different cultures is always present. Ibn Fadlan views the “Northmen” in a similar way to some modern historians who use modern ideals when looking back at earlier times. Meaning that they incorporate knowledge and actions of their own culture when evaluating earlier cultures. At certain points throughout the text, it was easy to hear a sense of condescension and disapproval towards the Northmen’s life style. I expected more of an objective view from someone who has had very much experience with different peoples, and has travelled to various places throughout Eastern Europe. When he first arrived at the camp, it seems as though he would not expect Viking/Barbarians to be gigantic or even carry around weaponry at all times (Cook 387). One can assume that their camp is not as secure to foreign invaders when compared to…show more content…
First, they bring certain gifts from their travels and approach a wooden figure, which we can assume is their God or at least one of them, in order to beg for its favor in trading the merchandise. He then goes on to say how they might return a “second, or even third time” if trading does not go well. After the last time they begin to beseech the other wooden figures behind the first, who are its wives and daughters (388). This process is actually beneficial for the entire village. Not only does the seller receive good fortune from his trades, but distributes his good fortune by slaughtering sheep and cattle and giving some meat to the poor and the rest to the figure (388). Even though it may seem strange to onlookers, this may be why the Northmen have developed into a strong group within Eastern Europe; the success of one person benefits others so even when others do not succeed, the village still remains
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