Ibn Battuta in China Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 20 April 2017

Ibn Battuta in China

At a time when most men cover distance astride a traveling animal, 75,000 miles of travel in a span of 30 years is an amazing achievement. When asked to name this historical individual who covered such great distance during the medieval period, most will likely point a credit to Marco Polo who is the well-known traveler of his time in Hakooki. com. But somehow, another person who has traveled longer and earlier than Marco Polo has actually covered this distance and visited 44 countries throughout the world.

Ibn Battuta’s travels have almost been delegated into the oblivion if the world continued seeing history through the western view. Marco Polo, being European is far known than Ibn Battuta. Even his visit to China is virtually unknown in comparison to similar books of travel written by Marco Polo despite the fact that even to this day there remains lingering, unresolved questions as to whether or not Marco Polo truly visited China. However, if the myth sounds interesting enough, it will eventually be reported as fact.

In the case of Marco Polo, the man has become a mythical folk hero and when a person ascends to such lofty heights in the public’s eye, criticism, scrutiny and a healthy dose of reality will usually fall by the wayside. Marco Polo’s travels will still remain famous regardless of the controversy that surrounds his journeys and the equally lengthy debate among scholars. It will be the goal of this essay to shift scholarly and historical directions and seek to shed light on the subject by comparing Ibn Battuta to Marco Polo’s travel in China.

It is not uncommon for influential people from history to be seemingly erased from the documented chronology. In the United States, history is chronicled from a western perspective with Western Europe being presented as the epicenter of the world. As such, individuals from other cultures and parts of the world are often viewed in a peripheral manner and not provided with the same depth of historical coverage. Marco Polo was a hero whose birth origins are in the Western World. Because of this, his feats are given great credibility of honor in text.

In the case of Battuta, a Moroccan by descent, his achievements will not be glossed over despite spending 17 years in China in comparison to Marco Polo’s travel which could have distinguished itself in many areas such as extent of land and historicity. In order to understand the work of Ibn Battuta, one must examine his early biographical years to as to put his life’s work into a certain context. Muhammed ibn Abdullah ibn Battuta or Ibn Battuta was born in Tangier, Morocco in a Muslim family in 1304 and started his travels when he was 20 years old and lasted almost 30 years of his life according to Dunn (2004, 14).

Battuta according to Francis in consequence belongs to the religious upper class of the Mohammedan community and received usual religious and scholastic education from theologians (1997:2). His travels started in 1325 when Ibn went on a pilgrimage to Mecca that continued on until he had covered 75,000 miles in Kegan (1929:1). He had stopped on most Muslim cities along his route and paid homage to holy sites in Damascus, Syria, Hebron, Jerusalem and Bethlehem in the face of many obstacles he met along the way as related in Monteil (1930:30).

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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 20 April 2017

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