Eaters of the Dead: The Manuscript of Ibn Fadlan Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Why did Ibn Fadlan go on a journey, who sent him, when did he go and what changed his original destination?

In A.D. 921, the king of Baghdad sends Ibn Fadlan north to the king of the Bulgars. However, Ibn Fadlan's journey is interrupted when he encounters a group of Viking warriors and is forced to accompany the band on a mission to kill mist monsters.

2. How long was Ibn gone, and how did he tell about his journey?

After being gone for three years, Ibn Fadlan returns to Baghdad and records his adventure in an official court document. Although the original document no longer exists, there are several fragmentary documents which now constitute the manuscript.

3. What does Crichton say about Ibn's observations of the Vikings?

Crichton reviews the numerous ways that show the Vikings were not the barbarians Europeans made them out to be. The Viking lifestyle is surprisingly modern with a strong sense of ritual.

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