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Paul Cobb: Great Voyages: Ibn Battuta

The travels of Moroccan explorer Ibn Battutah covered more than 75,000 miles, starting from his native Tangiers in 1325 until 1353 when he returned. Credit: Compton
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Paul Cobb, Professor, Islamic History, University of Pennsylvania presents Traveler’s Tips from the 14th Century: The Detours of Ibn Battuta.

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 University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is dedicated to the study and understanding of human history and diversity. Founded in 1887, the Penn Museum has conducted more than 400 archaeological and anthropological expeditions around the world. Three gallery floors feature materials from Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Bible Lands, Mesoamerica, Asia and the ancient Mediterranean World, as well as artifacts from native peoples of the Americas, Africa and Polynesia.