Traveler’s Tips from the 14th Century: The Detours of Ibn Battuta
Lecture by Paul Cobb, University of Pennsylvania
Given at Penn Museum on December 4, 2013
In 1325, a Moroccan scholar named Ibn Battuta set out to do a bit of traveling. When he finally returned to his homeland 30 years later, he had visited the equivalent of over 40 modern countries, traversed the entire eastern hemisphere, and logged about 73,000 miles. After his return home, the sultan of Morocco commissioned a writer to record Ibn Battuta’s recollections of his journeys. The result was a book known as the Travels of Ibn Battuta, one of the world’s classic travel narratives and a key window into the cosmopolitan world of medieval Islam. The 14th century offered a different world of travel than the one that confronts us today—or did it? What advice can Ibn Battuta provide the globe-trotting public of the 21st century?