IBN FADLAN AND THE RUSIYYAH
Montgomery, James E. (Cambridge)
Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies 3 (2000)
Ibn Fadlan’s account of the caliphal embassy from Baghdad to the King of the Volga Bulghars in the early fourth/tenth century is one of our principal, textual sources for the history, ethnogenesis and polity formation of a number of tribes and peoples who populated Inner Asia. Of especial significance is his description of a people whom he calls the Rusiyyah. Attempts to identify this people have been the stuff of controversy for almost two centuries and have largely focused on how this description can be made to contribute to the Normanist Controversy (the principal, but by no means the only, controversy concerns the extent of Viking involvement in the creation of Russia). This article provides a fresh, annotated translation of Ibn Fadlan’s passage and considers a multiplicity of identities for the Rusiyyah.