Sunday, June 29, 2008

Herodotus and Ibn Battutah

Tim Mackintosh-Smith has an essay in the Summer 2008 Slightly Foxed in which he alludes to a Damascene poet's description of Ibn Battutah, that 14th century traveller who in so many ways mirrored Herodotus in his travels as well as his near contemporary Marco Polo.

The wonderful description of Ibn Battutah (and all eyes-wide-open travellers) by that unnamed poet is:

. . . He it was

who hung the world, that turning wheel

Of diverse parts, upon the axis of a book.

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