ibn Fadlan's account of Norse Funeral

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ibn Fadlan's account of Norse Funeral

Postby Pandora » Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:37 am

Ahmad ibn Fadlan was a 10th century Arab traveler, famous for his account of his travels as a member of an embassy of the Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad to the king of the Volga Bulgars.
His account is most known for providing a description of the Volga Vikings, including an eyewitness account of a ship burial.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmad_ibn_Fadlan



"I saw the Rūsiyyah when they had arrived on their trading expeditionand had disembarked at the River Ātil. I have never seen more perfect physiques than theirs—they are like palm trees, are fair and reddish, and do not wear the qurṭaq or the caftan. The man wears a cloak with which he covers one half of his body, leaving one of his arms uncovered. Every one of them carries an axe, a sword and a dagger and is never without all of that which we have mentioned. Their swords are of the Frankish variety, with broad, ridged blades. Each man, from the tip of his toes to his neck, is covered in dark-green lines, pictures and such like.

Each woman has, on her breast, a small disc, tied <around her neck>, made of either iron, silver, copper or gold, in relation to her husband’s financial and social worth. Each disc has a ring to which a dagger is attached, also lying on her breast.Around their necks they wear bands of gold and silver. Whenever a man’s wealth reaches ten thousand dirhams, he has a band made for his wife; if it reaches twenty thousand dirhams, he has two bands made for her—for every ten thousand more, he gives another band to his wife. Sometimes one woman may wear many bands around her neck. The jewellery which they prize the most is the dark-green ceramic beads which they have aboard their boats and which they value very highly: they purchase beads for a dirham a piece and string them together as necklaces for their wives.

They are the filthiest of all Allāh’s creatures: they do not clean themselves after excreting or urinating or wash themselves when in a state of ritual impurity (i.e., after coitus) and do not <even> wash their hands after food. Indeed they are like asses that roam <in the fields>. They arrive from their territory (min baladi-him) and moor their boats by the Ātil (a large river), building on its banks large wooden houses. They gather in the one house in their tens and twenties, sometimes more, sometimes less. Each of them has a couch on which he sits. They are accompanied by beautiful slave girls for trading. One man will have intercourse with his slave-girl while his companion looks on. Sometimes a group of them comes together to do this, each in front of the other. Sometimes indeed the merchant will come in to buy a slave-girl from one of them and he will chance upon him having intercourse with her, but <the Rūs> will not leave her alone until he has satisfied his urge.

They cannot, of course, avoid washing their faces and their heads each day, which they do with the filthiest and most polluted water imaginable. I shall explain. Every day the slave-girl arrives in the morning with a large basin containing water, which she hands to her owner. He washes his hands and his face and his hair in the water, then he dips his comb in the water and brushes his hair, blows his nose and spits in the basin. There is no filthy impurity which he will not do in this water. When he no longer requires it, the slave-girl takes the basin to the man beside him and he goes through the same routine as his friend. She continues to carry it from one man to the next until she has gone round everyone in the house, with each of them blowing his nose and spitting, washing his face and hair in the basin.

The moment their boats reach this dock every one of them disembarks, carrying bread, meat, onions, milk and alcohol (nabīdh), and goes to a tall piece of wood set up <in the ground>. This piece of wood has a face like the face of a man and is surrounded by small figurines behind which are long pieces of wood set up in the ground. <When> he reaches the large figure, he prostrates himself before it and says, “Lord, I have come from a distant land, bringing so many slave-girls <priced at> such and such per head and so many sables <priced at> such and such per pelt.”He continues until he has mentioned all of the merchandise he has brought with him, then says, “And I have brought this offering,” leaving what he has brought with him in front of the piece of wood, saying, “I wish you to provide me with a merchant who has many dīnārs and dirhams and who will buy from me whatever I want <to sell> without haggling over the price I fix.” Then he departs.

If he has difficulty in selling <his goods> and he has to remain too many days, he returns with a second and third offering. If his wishes prove to be impossible he brings an offering to every single one of those figurines and seeks its intercession, saying, “These are the wives, daughters and sons of our Lord.” He goes up to each figurine in turn and questions it, begging its intercession and grovelling before it. Sometimes business is good and he makes a quick sell, at which point he will say, “My Lord has satisfied my request, so I am required to recompense him.” He procures a number of sheep or cows and slaughters them, donating a portion of the meat to charity and taking the rest and casting it before the large piece of wood and the small ones around it. He ties the heads of the cows or the sheep to that piece of wood set up in the ground. At night, the dogs come and eat it all, but the man who has done all this will say, “My Lord is pleased with me and has eaten my offering.”

When one of them falls ill, they erect a tent away from them and cast him into it, giving him some bread and water. They do not come near him or speak to him, indeed they have no contact with him for the duration of his illness, especially if he is socially inferior or is a slave. If he recovers and gets back to his feet, he rejoins them. If he dies, they bury him, though if he was a slave they leave him there as food for the dogs and the birds.
If they catch a thief or a bandit, they bring him to a large tree and tie a strong rope around his neck. They tie it to the tree and leave him hanging there until <the rope>breaks, <rotted away> by exposure to the rain and the wind.

I was told that when their chieftains die, the least they do is to cremate them. I was very keen to verify this, when I learned of the death of one of [13] their great men. They placed him in his grave (qabr) and erected a canopy over it for ten days, until they had finished making and sewing his <funeral garments>.

In the case of a poor man they build a small boat, place him inside and burn it. In the case of a rich man, they gather together his possessions and divide them into three, one third for his family, one third to use for <his funeral> garments, and one third with which they purchase alcohol which they drink on the day when his slave-girl kills herself and is cremated together with her master. (They are addicted to alcohol, which they drink night and day. Sometimes one of them dies with the cup still in his hand.)

When their chieftain dies, his family ask his slave-girls and slave-boys, “Who among you will die with him?” and some of them reply, “I shall.” Having said this, it becomes incumbent upon the person and it is impossible ever to turn back. Should that person try to, he is not permitted to do so. It is usually slave-girls who make this offer.

When that man whom I mentioned earlier died, they said to his slave-girls, “Who will die with him?” and one of them said, “I shall.” So they placed two slave-girls in charge of her to take care of her and accompany her wherever she went, even to the point of occasionally washing her feet with their own hands. They set about attending to the dead man, preparing his clothes for him and setting right all he needed. Every day the slave-girl would drink <alcohol> and would sing merrily and cheerfully.

On the day when he and the slave-girl were to be burned I arrived at the river where his ship was. To my surprise I discovered that it had been beached and that four planks of birch (khadank) and other types of wood had been erected for it. Around them wood had been placed in such a way as to resemble scaffolding (anābīr). Then the ship was hauled and placed on top of this wood. They advanced, going to and fro <around the boat> uttering words which I did not understand, while he was still in his grave and had not been exhumed.

Then they produced a couch and placed it on the ship, covering it with quilts <made of> Byzantine silk brocade and cushions <made of> Byzantine silk brocade. Then a crone arrived whom they called the “Angel of Death” and she spread on the couch the coverings we have mentioned. She is responsible for having his <garments> sewn up and putting him in order and it is she who kills the slave-girls. I myself saw her: a gloomy, corpulent woman, neither young nor old.

When they came to his grave, they removed the soil from the wood and then removed the wood, exhuming him <still dressed> in the izār in which he had died. I could see that he had turned black because of the coldness of the ground. They had also placed alcohol, fruit and a pandora (ṭunbūr) beside him in the grave, all of which they took out. Surprisingly, he had not begun to stink and only his colour had deteriorated. They clothed him in trousers, leggings (rān), boots, a qurṭaq, and a silk caftan with golden buttons, and placed a silk qalansuwwah <fringed> with sable on his head.

They carried him inside the pavilion on the ship and laid him to rest on the quilt, propping him with cushions. Then they brought alcohol, fruit and herbs (rayḥān)and placed them beside him. Next they brought bread, meat and onions, which they cast in front of him, a dog, which they cut in two and which they threw onto the ship, and all of his weaponry, which they placed beside him. They then brought two mounts, made them gallop until they began to sweat, cut them up into pieces and threw the flesh onto the ship. They next fetched two cows, which they also cut up into pieces and threw on board, and a cock and a hen, which they slaughtered and cast onto it.

Meanwhile, the slave-girl who wished to be killed was coming and going, entering one pavilion after another. The owner of the pavilion would have intercourse with her and say to her, “Tell your master that I have done this purely out of love for you.”

At the time of the evening prayer on Friday they brought the slave-girl to a thing that they had constructed, like a door-frame. She placed her feet on the hands of the men and was raised above that door-frame. She said something and they brought her down. Then they lifted her up a second time and she did what she had done the first time. They brought her down and then lifted her up a third time and she did what she had done on the first two occasions. They next handed her a hen. She cut off its head and threw it away. They took the hen and threw it on board the ship.

I quizzed the interpreter about her actions and he said, “The first time they lifted her, she said, ‘Behold, I see my father and my mother.’ The second time she said, ‘Behold, I see all of my dead kindred, seated.’ The third time she said, ‘Behold, I see my master, seated in Paradise. Paradise is beautiful and verdant. He is accompanied by his men and his male-slaves. He summons me, so bring me to him.’”

So they brought her to the ship and she removed two bracelets that she was wearing, handing them to the woman called the “Angel of Death,” the one who was to kill her. She also removed two anklets that she was wearing, handing them to the two slave-girls who had waited upon her: they were the daughters of the crone known as the “Angel of Death.” Then they lifted her onto the ship but did not bring her into the pavilion. The men came with their shields and sticks and handed her a cup of alcohol over which she chanted and then drank. The interpreter said to me, “Thereby she bids her female companions farewell.” She was handed another cup, which she took and chanted for a long time, while the crone urged her to drink it and to enter the pavilion in which her master lay.

I saw that she was befuddled and wanted to enter the pavilion but she had <only> put her head into the pavilion <while her body remained outside it>.The crone grabbed hold of her head and dragged her into the pavilion, entering it at the same time. The men began to bang their shields with the sticks so that her screams could not be heard and so terrify the other slave-girls, who would not, then, seek to die with their masters.

Six men entered the pavilion and all had intercourse with the slave-girl.They laid her down beside her master and two of them took hold of her feet, two her hands. The crone called the “Angel of Death” placed a rope around her neck in such a way that the ends crossed one another (mukhālafan) and handed it to two <of the men> to pull on it. She advanced with a broad-bladed dagger and began to thrust it in and out between her ribs, now here, now there, while the two men throttled her with the rope until she died.

Then the deceased’s next of kin approached and took hold of a piece of wood and set fire to it. He walked backwards, with the back of his neck to the ship, his face to the people, with the lighted piece of wood in one hand and the other hand on his anus, being completely naked.He ignited the wood that had been set up under the ship after they had placed the slave-girl whom they had killed beside her master. Then the people came forward with sticks and firewood. Each one carried a stick the end of which he had set fire to and which he threw on top of the wood. The wood caught fire, and then the ship, the pavilion, the man, the slave-girl and all it contained. A dreadful wind arose and the flames leapt higher and blazed fiercely.

One of the Rūsiyyah stood beside me and I heard him speaking to my interpreter. I quizzed him about what he had said, and he replied, “He said, ‘You Arabs are a foolish lot!’” So I said, “Why is that?” and he replied, “Because you purposely take those who are dearest to you and whom you hold in highest esteem and throw them under the earth, where they are eaten by the earth, by vermin and by worms, whereas we burn them in the fire there and then, so that they enter Paradise immediately.” Then he laughed loud and long. I quizzed him about that <i.e., the entry into Paradise> and he said, “Because of the love which my Lord feels for him. He has sent the wind to take him away within an hour.” Actually, it took scarcely an hour for the ship, the firewood, the slave-girl and her master to be burnt to a fine ash.

They built something like a round hillock over the ship, which they had pulled out of the water, and placed in the middle of it a large piece of birch (khadank) on which they wrote the name of the man and the name of the King of the Rūs. Then they left.

He (Ibn Faḍlān) said: One of the customs of the King of the Rūs is that in his palace he keeps company with four hundred of his bravest and most trusted companions; they die when he dies and they offer their lives to protect him.

Each of them has a slave-girl who waits on him, washes his head and prepares his food and drink, and another with whom he has coitus. These four hundred <men> sit below his throne, which is huge and is studded with precious stones. On his throne there sit forty slave-girls who belong to his bed. Sometimes he has coitus with one of them in the presence of those companions whom we have mentioned.

He does not come down from his throne. When he wants to satisfy an urge, he satisfies it in a salver. When he wants to ride, they bring his beast up to the throne, whence he mounts it, and when he wants to dismount, he brings his beast <up to the throne> so that he can dismount there. He has a vicegerent who leads the army, fights against the enemy and stands in for him among his subjects."

http://www.uib.no/jais/v003ht/03-001-025Montgom1.htm



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Re: ibn Fadlan's account of Norse Funeral

Postby felix dakat » Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:29 pm

Do you have a thesis regarding this document that you would like to share with us?

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Re: ibn Fadlan's account of Norse Funeral

Postby Pandora » Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:40 pm

felix dakat wrote:Do you have a thesis regarding this document that you would like to share with us?

No (not yet anyway), I was trying to see the world through a pagan's mind. (or, in this case, a pagan world through the eyes of a Muslim)
Time travel, of sorts.
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Re: ibn Fadlan's account of Norse Funeral

Postby Atthet » Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:52 pm

These are Turkish and Hungarian Eastern Oriental pagans being described, Mongolians, by the way, and do not reflect the majority of European pagans.
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Re: ibn Fadlan's account of Norse Funeral

Postby Pandora » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:28 pm

These are Varangians (Swedes)

They are not Turkic.
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Re: ibn Fadlan's account of Norse Funeral

Postby Atthet » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:47 pm

Pandora wrote:These are Varangians (Swedes)

They are not Turkic.

This is one of the most retarded claims I've ever heard. Just look up "Volga Bulgars" on the internet, pandora. You seem lost.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volga_Bulgar

They're an Eastern Hungarian, Turkic, and Mongolian tribe of people. They're as "Nordic" as North Africans are.
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Re: ibn Fadlan's account of Norse Funeral

Postby Pandora » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:03 pm

Are we doing Wiki battle now?

A 10th century Arab Muslim writer named Ahmad ibn Fadlan produced a description of a funeral of a Scandinavian, probably Swedish, chieftain who was on an expedition on the eastern route.The account is a unique source on the ceremonies surrounding the Viking funeral, of a chieftain.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norse_fune ... 7s_account

The Varangians or Varyags (Old Norse: Væringjar; Swedish: Väringar; Greek: Βάραγγοι, Βαριάγοι, Varangoi, Variagoi; Russian and Ukrainian: Варяги, Varyagi / Varyahy; Belarusian: Варагі, Varahi; Georgian: ვარიაგები, Variagebi) was the name given by Greeks and East Slavs to Vikings.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varangians

A substantial portion of Ibn Fadlan's account is dedicated to the description of a people he called the Rūs روس or Rūsiyyah. Most scholars identify them with the Rus' or Varangians, which would make Ibn Fadlan's account one of the earliest portrayals of Vikings.

The Rūs appear as traders who set up shop on the river banks nearby the Bolğar camp. They are described as having bodies tall as (date) palm-trees, with blond hair and ruddy skin.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_Fadlan
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Re: ibn Fadlan's account of Norse Funeral

Postby Atthet » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:32 pm

It just seems clear to me that you have an agenda here, after denying that the Volga Bulgars are an Eastern Mongolian Turkic tribe.

You either can't tell the difference between Norse Vikings, or, are being intellectually dishonest, or both. Who knows, maybe logical consistency is less your thing as opposed to emotional sentiments?

It seems clear to me that the Volga Bulgars were not the same people being described as Norse Vikings. You didn't pay attention to the details, Pandora, and you need to take responsibility for your lack of reading comprehension.
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Re: ibn Fadlan's account of Norse Funeral

Postby Pandora » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:44 am

This particular account was not of the Volga Bulgars but of Varangians.

Fadlan was sent to Bulgar (modern day Kazan) but on his way, he encountered the Varangians, of which he made an account.
They were not Turks.

Engaging in trade, piracy and mercenary activities, Varangians roamed the river systems and portages of Gardariki, as the areas north of the Black Sea were known in the Norse sagas. They controlled the Volga trade route (Route from the Varangians to the Arabs), connecting the Baltic to the Caspian Sea, and the Dnieper trade route (Route from the Varangians to the Greeks) leading to the Black Sea and Constantinople. Those were the critically important trade links at that time, connecting Dark Age Europe with wealthy and developed Arab Caliphates and the Byzantine Empire;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varangians

Map showing the major Varangian trade routes: the Volga trade route (in red) and the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks (in purple). Other trade routes of the eighth–eleventh centuries shown in orange.
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Is it so difficult to believe that Fadlan could have encountered Varangians on the Atil (Volga) river?

...At any rate, diplomacy became increasingly vital of an instrument to check the Bulgars in the north. That is how it was decided that Ibn Fadlan would take part in the diplomatic mission headed by the Abbasid ambassador نذيــــــر الحُرَمــــــي (Nadhir Al-Hurami) to the State of Volga Bulgaria, in what is today the southeastern part of European Russia, which would embrace Islam around the same time.

The mission eventually led Ibn Fadlan further up north, where he would meet and befriend people he called al-Rus’: Vikings who came all the way from Scandinavia and the Baltic region, and who started settling in the area some 50 years before Ibn Fadlan’s field trip would bring him there.

Those Norsemen are often referred to as the Varangians, who were to found a dynasty that was destined to last to almost the turn of the 17th century.

The account of Ibn Fadlan’s journey, more than being simply “ethnographic” in its most intricate details, turns out to be an invaluable source of information for the emergence of روسيـــــــــــــــــــــــــــــا (Russia) as a state.

It is also the earliest first-hand written description ever made in history and in any language of the Vikings, their customs, and their presence in northern and eastern Europe, in addition to other nations such as الصَّقــــــــــــــــــــــالِبَة (the Slavs) and the Khazars.


http://blogs.transparent.com/arabic/ibn ... f-mystery/



Arab Traveler

A theologian in the court of the Abbasid Caliph al-Muqtadir (fl. 908-932), Ahmad ibn Fadlan in the early 920s participated in a diplomatic mission from Baghdad to what is now Russia. Over the course of his journey, he encountered a number of Turkic peoples, as well another group that left a strong impression on him: the Vikings. He recorded these events in a volume that has yet to be fully translated into English; yet thanks to best-selling novelist Michael Crichton (1942-), Ibn Fadlan—at least, a fictionalized version of him—has become known to a number of Western readers.

The circumstances of Ibn Fadlan's life prior to 921 are almost entirely unknown. By judging from certain specifics in his writing style, it has been surmised that he was not an Arab, and it appears certain that prior to his departure on his historic mission, he had already been serving for some time in the court of al-Muqtadir. The rest, however, is a mystery.

On June 21, 921, a diplomatic party led by Susan al-Rassi, a eunuch in the caliph's court, left Baghdad. Ibn Fadlan served as the group's religious advisor, a crucial role: among the purposes of their mission was to explain Islamic law to the recently converted Bulgar peoples, a Turkish tribe living on the eastern bank of the Volga River. (These were the Volga Bulgars; another group of Bulgars had moved westward in the sixth century, invading the country that today bears their name, and became Christians.)

The travelers made their way along established caravan routes toward Bukhara, now part of Uzbekistan, but instead of following that route all the way to the east, they turned northward in what is now northeastern Iran. Leaving the city of Gurgan near the Caspian Sea, they crossed lands belonging to a variety of Turkic peoples. Among these were the Khazars, who in the previous century had adopted Judaism. Ibn Fadlan provided a rare portrait of the Khazar Khanate, one of the few places other than ancient and modern Israel where Judaism was the majority religion. He also chronicled his encounters with the Oghuz on the east coast of the Caspian, the Pechenegs on the Ural River, and the Bashkirs in what is now central Russia.

On May 12, 922, the group arrived at the Volga Bulgars' capital. There Ibn Fadlan read aloud a letter from the caliph to the Bulgar khan, and presented the latter with gifts from the caliph. The Bulgars in turn introduced the Arab visitors to the Varangians, local Vikings who had come to be known by a term that would eventually become the name of the country itself: Rus.

Ibn Fadlan provided a memorable account of these Vikings, for instance describing a ship burial for a dead chief. The most shocking part of the funeral ceremony involved ritual sexualintercourse between various Viking males and a female slave, who was then stabbed to death and placed in the boat. After launching the vessel bearing the dead chief and his slave girl, the Vikings set the craft alight to send it and its contents into the next world.

His description of the Vikings, who he called the "filthiest of God's creatures" yet the most physically beautiful people he had ever seen—"tall as date palms, blond and ruddy"—was but one of many notable passages in the writings of Ibn Fadlan.
He also discussed the existence of Gog and Magog, beastly creatures mentioned in the biblical Book of Revelation and associated with the end of the world. Throughout the Middle Ages, travelers and pseudo-authorities claimed to have located Gog and Magog somewhere in Central Asia; Ibn Fadlan, at least, reported this tale merely as a legend he had heard from others.

Upon his return to Baghdad, Ibn Fadlan wrote an account of his journey. The final portion—the part that presumably would have told about his journey back and his later life—has been lost, but the fragments that survive make for highly informative and sometimes powerful reading. The version known in the West today comes from the work of a Russian scholar, C. M. Fraehn, who in 1823 translated the text from Arabic to German. More than 150 years later, in 1976, Crichton published Eaters of the Dead, a novel that features Ibn Fadlan as its main character and uses fragments of his account as a point of departure for a fictional narrative.

http://www.bookrags.com/research/ahmad- ... -scit-021/
http://www.freebook4u.org/ScienceFictio ... _the_Dead/
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Re: ibn Fadlan's account of Norse Funeral

Postby The Golden Turd » Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:10 am

Atthet, I stood by you and requested to join in your banning when you fought against Cezar, saying it wasn't fair to ban just you if I agreed with you- and was banned for a even longer period of time. However, in this case.... calling anyone's claim regarding Turkish vs Swede or Magyar ethnicity can't ever quite qualify for the dumbest comment on the internet. Magsj has that title, and she won't give it up willingly to Pandora. It's not exactly a conversation you would expect on a dumb and dumber movie, as it's complicated and requires understanding of migratory trends and history. Even getting it wrong suggests intelligence.

The Magyar are not swedes, they are a asiatic steppe population, of no single ethnicity..... it's the nature of the steppes that a mishmash of populations get tied together under warlords, and the populations move. Conception of nobility isn't worth that much, as these societies rarely last, and are rarely literate on a whole (because they lacked a middle class for the most part- save a couple of exceptions that have nothing to do with this arguement between you two).

This is a case of Arabs and Russ meeting up. Watch the movie 'The Thirteenth Warrior'. The Arabs for a limited time were a Steepe population (and only just limited, they got booted out by Turkish, Jweish, Christian, and Mongol populations- elemtents of each did convert to Islam, but they are not Arab).

I think given the nature of the pictures, Pandora is looking for a Phallic link to the burning of the slave girl. I don't know, and don't much care, because there isn't much for it there. The vikings followed a religion that was a generic Indo-European Parthenon- you'll find the same gods in Rome and Greece and India, and it's in India that the phallic cults blossomed- but largely because they had origins independent of that generic religion.

If you just want a outlook of how Muslims from this era look at forigners, check out:
Usama ibn Munqidh's The Book of Contemplation

It's like the above, but he gives his ignorant, childish opinions on just about everything- foreigners as well as domestic. Honestly, it's like sitting in conversation with a hillbilly village chief in the anbar Desert.... just ignorant donkey-fuck conversation about his absurd outlooks. Muslims like to say how deeply philosophical and more civilizaed they were over the 'Franks' of that era, but it's mostly bullshit, he's usually the jackass making those points in terms of pointing out how backwards foreigners are, but he does double worst with the muslims. He loosely strings categories together, and and tries to give a opposite circumstance for the standard as he sees it (including instances of 'noble christians'.

The general outlook of the muslims in regards to Pagans was simple. If they came back around in a few seasons, or a year later, and they were still pagan, they will all die. You didn't have to become Muslim- you can become Christians or Jews or Sabians, but if you were still Pagans, you die.

Saladin totally would of fucked Maia up. It's how they saw the world.

If you have problems with the rudeness of my approach, take it up with the tenth century Khorosan-Iraqi work 'The Book of Kings' (you can't read it in San Francisco as I diligently checked out, bought, and destroyed every copy I could find). The work focuses on how it sets up a caste system over Iraq, and the methods of violence to use on non-believers. It's one of the chief causes for the violence in Iraq, as they've been following the dictates on a tribal level for over a thousand years unknowingly. It puts the KKK to shame, making them appear as a non-violent movement similar to gandhi's.

There are lots of others from over the ages. Islam, like Christianity, and early Judiasm, was fluid in accepting ritual and philosophical practices- the Cynics found it easy to be absored into Shia Islam, and the Gnostics survive to a high degree in it. There are even a few satanic worshiping villages in Iraq and Iran, though they get the expected treatment of random butchering..... their theology suggests they predate Christianity, as a anti-moses cult. The Mandaeans (sabians, the church of St. John the Baptist, NOT Christian) have nearly died out, the Zoroastrians are holding on in Iran, stuborn as ever. Pagan idol worship has flaired throughout the middle east with the Bab and Baha'i religion's acceptance of idol worship.

There are also synthetic religions, partial survivals of Christianity that merged with other elements.... they may be a survival of the Zoroastrian Ahura trinity, as they have roots seemingly that old in the mountain communities, but in Anatolia, appear to be just crypto-christians, under the blanket name Alevi, in other places Yarsani. Regional and tribal differences dominate, but there is a migration of ideas and general indisissiveness when you directly confront them to express their ideas. There was a trinitiarian worshipped in the powerplant I worked in Iraq, which is a pretty damn hostile place to live as both the Sunni and the Shia will kill you on the spot for the heresy. Few million live in Turkey.

There is lots of material on this stuff- Islam isn't nearly as Homogenious as you might think it is, as it's a religion that puts emphasis on territory and outward submission, if groups can hold off the muslims militarily and work their communities into the overall structure of the state in terms of useful alliegiances, they can survive much longer than in Christianity, in which paganism was sniffed out on a interpersonal and introspective level. We had a deeper extinction in the west with suspicious that it really all survived in some way, whereas in Islam it really did in parts, and they go out of their way to deny it, as it requires a massacre to rectify that situation.

There are currently hare krishnans operating within Ithna Ashariyyah mosques in Syria. Bet you didn't know that, in one of the most bloody, twisted populations on the planet, xenophobia running high.... but since before the war they've had been sending emissaries back and forth after they started making links between their worship of cows and the hare krishnan books. The Indic population there had been there for several thousand years, long before the Hittite empire collapsed. They are the last of them from what I can find.

There is also scant evidence of the survival of the old Arab Paganism that survived it's transmission from the fall of mecca to Ehtiopian into the trade routes into west africa, but I'm having the damnest time tracking that beyond a few anti-islamic geneologies of families that originate thousands of miles away. Not impossible, not even improbable given the nature of the trade netwroks, knowing Mecca was a trading city, and Ethopia's welcoming of fracture cells from Arab society when it suited them, and occasional banishments, being a Jewish/Christian empire..... but obviously hard for someone like me to trace.

Paganism as seen via the western experiences vs say, Indonesia and Malaysia is much different, even from Mughal-Hindu relations.

I can write too much here, and got stuff to do otherwise.
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Re: ibn Fadlan's account of Norse Funeral

Postby Fent » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:15 am

The article is racist because it negatively stereotypes the Rūsiyyah.
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Re: ibn Fadlan's account of Norse Funeral

Postby Atthet » Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:41 pm

I agree of most of what you wrote, Contra Nietzsche.
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