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Account of the Rus  

Ibn Fadlan

Ibn Fadlan was a tenth-century Arab chronicler. In 921 C.E., the Caliph of Baghdad sent Ibn Fadlan on an embassy to the King of the Bulgars of the Middle Volga (present-day Russia). Ibn ... More

The Alchemy Of Happiness  

Abd al-Hamid, al-Ghazali

Born in 1058 to a family of spinners and sellers of wool in a small village in eastern Iran, Ghazali became one of the most prominent expounders of Islamic theology of his day. Traveling ... More

Canto XIX of the Inferno  

Dante

Dante Alighieri (1265 – 1321) was a Florentine poet who bridged the artistic cultures of the Middle Ages and of the Renaissance. Dante’s approach to his poetry foreshadowed the Renaissance ... More

The Chachnamah  

Anonymous

Composed in Arabic and translated into Persian in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the Chachnama details the Arab conquest of the Sind (a province corresponding to northwest India and ... More

The Complete History  

Ibn al-Athir

Ibn al-Athir was a Muslim scholar whose most important work was al-Kamil fi at-tarikh (“The Complete History”), a history of the world. Born in Jazirat in 1160, he lived most of his life in ... More

Confessions  

Abd al-Hamid al-Ghazali

Originally from Persia (Iran), Abd al-Hamid al- Ghazali (1058-1111 CE) was an educated scholar living and working in Baghdad, the cosmopolitan center of the Muslim world at that time. ... More

De Administrando Imperio  

Constantine Porphyrogenitus

The Roman Empire in the West dissolved under the twin pressures of external invasion and internal decay, but the richer, more urban eastern half of the empire survived. Transformed by ... More

The Decameron, “Putting the Devil Back in Hell”  

Giovanni Boccaccio

A Latin scholar, poet, and biographer, Boccaccio (1313–1375) is most famous today as the author of the Decameron. This compilation of 100 tales, by turns serious, bawdy, and irreverent, ... More

Description of Northern Africa  

‘Abd al-‘Azīz al-Bakrī

Al-Bakrī was born in Spain, and it appears that he never left that country. However, he collected information from people he met who had traveled to the Sahara and the Sudan, and he ... More

Einhard’s Life of Charlemagne  

Einhard

The model for Einhard’s Vita Caroli Magni was Suetonius’s biographies of the first twelve Roman emperors, and particularly of Augustus, composed in the second century CE. The biography is ... More

The Fetha Nagast, Ethiopia  

Anonymous

In the medieval period Ethiopia became a multiethnic, multilingual, and multireligious state in which the kings limited the church’s conversion efforts. Nevertheless, the kings continued to ... More

Feudal Contracts and the Swearing of Fealty  

Anonymous

In the catastrophe brought on by the assaults on all their borders, some European midieval Christians were forced to devise new means of self-protection. Into this vacuum of governmental ... More

Flagellants attempt to ward off the Black Death in Germany and in England  

Robert of Avesbury

Although flagellation (beating oneself with a whip) had been practiced as a means of spiritual discipline by monks long before, it did not emerge as a public group activity until the ... More

The Glorious Victories of Amda Seyon, King of Ethiopia  

Anonymous

Amda Seyon was a fourteenth century king of the Solomonid Dynasty, which ruled Ethiopia from 1270 until 1974. The name of the dynasty, Solomonid, derives from the Ethiopian belief that the ... More

Golden Bracelets from the “Lost City” of Mapungubwe, South Africa  

Anonymous

The archaeological site of Mapungubwe, first discovered and excavated in the 1930s, spans the borders of present-day South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. It was one of the most powerful ... More

Haedong kosŭng chŏn, on Buddhism in Korea  

Anonymous

The Lives of Eminent Korean Monks is a compilation of biographies of Buddhist monks from the Three Kingdoms period of Korean history (first century BCE through the tenth century CE). It ... More

History Of The Franks  

Gregory Bishop of Tours

Over the course of the fifth century, the Franks became one of the most powerful of the Germanic successor kingdoms. While some other Germanic rulers converted to Arianism, a Christian ... More

“Inquiry on The Great Learning”  

Wang Yang-ming

By the era of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), the prevailing orthodox philosophy was Neo-Confucianism, and its master was Chu Hsi (1130–1200). Neo-Confucianism held that there was an ... More

“Khubilai Khan at War”  

Marco Polo

Marco Polo (1254–1324) was a member of a clan of Venetian merchants, who had been active in trade in the Middle East for some decades. Polo claims to have accompanied his father and uncle ... More

A Korean Foundation Myth  

Anonymous

Many foundation myths around the world link a dynasty or nation’s founder to the divine or magical. The foundation myth of Korea is no exception. Korean mythology dates Tangun to the year ... More

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