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Medieval History

MAD-RUSH Undergraduate Research Conference

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Love, Sex, And Marriage In Ibn Battuta's Travels, Rachel Singer Jun 2019

Love, Sex, And Marriage In Ibn Battuta's Travels, Rachel Singer

MAD-RUSH Undergraduate Research Conference

Abu ‘Abdallah ibn Battuta was a Muslim legal scholar who traveled nearly 73,000 miles in the mid-fourteenth century and wrote a popular rihla, or travel diary, of his experiences. The rihla was a public and impersonal genre that traditionally contained little, if any, biographical material about its author. However, Ibn Battuta’s rihla includes detailed narratives about its author’s marriages, concubines, and sexual exploits. Although discussion of these themes is virtually unseen in other contemporary rihlas, few historians have discussed why Ibn Battuta breaks tradition to include this material.

This paper argues that Ibn Battuta describes his marital ...