Bibliography of Arabic Sources Relating to the Vikings

Gentle Readers:

Especially since the popular fictional movie 13th Warrior appeared, based on author Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead and supposedly on the writings of Arabic author Ibn Fadlan, there has been a lot of popular interest in Arabic accounts of the Vikings. The Vikings traded extensively with the Arabic peoples, obtaining silver, carnelian, and other precious goods, usually in trade for furs and slaves. While native accounts in Old Norse are extremely important in learning about the life and times of the Viking Age peoples, accounts by foreigners outside of the Viking culture are just as important, providing insights that native authors might not ever note. Thus the sources cited here can offer a new set of views of the Viking Age.

As a note, many of the items listed below are journal articles or academic press books, which may not available in your local public library. There are a couple of ways to access these if you are not a student at a university or college:

The first is to visit a university or college library. Most allow non-students to use the library, although often you won't be able to check out books. However, it's simple to photocopy a journal article, and every university library I've ever visited had copy machines for public use.

The second method would be to go to your library and ask the reference librarian for information on obtaining materials through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Surprisingly small libraries have been able to get really obscure documents for me via ILL. Sometimes your local branch library can handle an ILL request, sometimes you have to go to the main branch of the library - just ask, the librarians will be happy to tell you how it's done in your library. Usually ILL involves a small fee to cover photocopyinga nd shipping articles to you. You can also get books this way, and in the case of books they usually loan the book to your library, and you will then either check it out from your library or else you may have to use it while at the library, depending on the practices of the library which owns the work.

And, Gentle Readers, if you have suggestions for other books or articles which should be listed here, please write me!


  • Dunlop, D.M. The History of the Jewish Khazars. Princeton Oriental Studies 16. Princeton. 1954.

  • Reinaud, M., trans. Geography of Abu al-Fida'. Paris. 1848.
    [Describes the Norse ca. early 14th century under the heading "Northern Regions of the World"]

  • Allen, W. E. D., trans. The Poet and the Spae-Wife: An Attempt to Reconstruct Al-Ghazal's Embassy to the Vikings. Dublin: Allen Figgis & Co. 1960.
    [A translation of the Arabic text describing al-Ghazal's visit to Turgeis, ruler of the Vikings in Ireland ca. 845. This account dates to the early 1200's.]

  • Al-Mas'udi. Meadows of Gold. trans. A. Sprenger. London. 1941.
    [Describes the Rus market of Bulghur prior to 947.]

  • Al-Mas'udi. Les Praries d'Or. trans. C. Barbier de Meynard and P. de Courtielle. Paris. 1863.
    [Describes the Rus market of Bulghur prior to 947.]

  • Al-Mas'udi. The Meadows of Gold: The Abbasids. Paul Lunde and Caroline Stone, trans and eds. Kegan Paul International. 1989.
      Buy the book today!

  • Al-Muqaddasi. Descripto Imperii Moslemici. ed. M.J. de Goeje. Leiden. 1877.
    [Account ca. 985 of Viking trade practices in Bulghur.]

  • Arne Haegstad, "Har at-Tartushi besogt Hedeby (Slesvig)?" Aarboger for Nordisk Oldkyndighed og historie. 1964.
    [Ibrahim ben Ya'qub Al-Turtushi, a Spanish Jew from Cordova, chronicled his encounters with the Vikings of Salsawig during the tenth century, presumably the Danish town of Hedeby or Slesvig, although some scholars make a case for the account to have been describing the Slavic Jumme or Wolin.]

  • Ibn Athir. "Les Mosafirides de l'Adherbaidjan." A Volume of Oriental Studies Presented to E.G. Browne. trans. C. Huart. Cambridge. 1922.

  • Ibn Battuta. The Travels of Ibn Battuta. trans. H.A.R. Gibb. Hakluyt Society 2. Cambridge. 1962.
      Buy the book today!

  • S. Janicsek. "Ibn Battuta's Journey to Bulghar." Journal Royal Asiatic Society. 1929. pp. 792-800.

  • Smyser, H. M., trans. "Ibn-Fadlan's Account of the Rus with Some Commentary and Some Allusions to Beowulf." Franciplegius: Medieval and Linguistic Studies in Honor of Francis Peabody Magoun Jr. eds. Jess B. Bessinger and Robert P. Creed. New York: University Press. 1965. pp. 92-119.
    [A translation of the Arabic text describing ibn-Fadlan's journey among the Rus or Russian Vikings ca. 921. This account dates to the early 1200's. You may also find the text of ibn-Fadlan's account which discusses the Viking Rus in my article on ibn-Fadlan.]

  • Frahn, Christian Martin Joachim. Ibn Foszlan's und anderer Araber Berichte uber die Russen alterer Zeit. St. Petersberg. 1923.
    [The Arbic text of Ibn Fadlan's Risala, with German Commentary.]
      This book is presently out of print. can perform a book search to find it for you.

  • Ibn Hauqual. Le Livre de l'avertissement. B. Carrera de Vauz, trans. Paris. 1896.
    [Describes the Rus market at Bulghur. ca. 965]

  • Ibn Isfandiyar. trans. E.G. Browne. London. 1905.

  • The Viking Answer Lady Website is Now an Associate

    Search: Enter keywords...

    Page designed by Christie Ward (Gunnvr slfrahrr).

    For comments, additions, and corrections, please contact Gunnvr at

    Return to The Viking Answer Lady

    This page was last updated on:
    Hosted by uCoz