By Michael Crichton
The yr is A.D. 922. a elegant Arab courtier, consultant of the robust Caliph of Bagdad, encounters a celebration of Viking warriors who're travelling to the barbaric North. he's appalled via their Viking customs -- the wanton sexuality in their light, angular ladies, their put out of your mind for cleanliness . . .
their cold-blooded human sacrifices. however it isn't until eventually they achieve the depths of the Northland that the courtier learns the frightening and inescapable fact: He has been enlisted through those savage, inscrutable warriors to aid wrestle a fear that plagues them -- a monstrosity that emerges below hide of evening to slaughter the Vikings and consume their flesh . . .
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Extra resources for Eaters of the Dead: The Manuscript of Ibn Fadlan, Relating His Experiences With the Northmen in A.D. 922
For example, David Talbot Rice writes: From the eighth to the eleventh centuries indeed the role of the Vikings was perhaps more influential than that of any other single ethnic group in Western Europe. The Vikings were thus great travellers and they performed outstanding feats of navigation; their cities were great centres of trade; their art was original, creative and influential; they boasted a fine literature and a developed culture. Was it truly a civilization? It must, I think, be admitted that it was not.
The development of accurate carbon-dating techniques has made a mess of the old chronology, which supported the old views of diffusion. It now appears indisputable that Europeans were erecting huge megalithic tombs before the Egyptians built the pyramids; Stonehenge is older than the civilization of Mycenaean Greece; metallurgy in Europe may well precede the development of metalworking skills in Greece and Troy. The meaning of these discoveries has not yet been sorted out, but it is certainly now impossible to regard the prehistoric Europeans as savages idly awaiting the blessings of Eastern civilization.
Now it happened that this Buliwyf, who was drunk as the rest, commanded that I should sing a song for them. He was most insistent. Not wishing to anger him, I recited from the Koran, with the translator repeating my words in their Norse tongue. I was received no better than their own minstrel, and afterward I asked the forgiveness of Allah for the treatment of His holy words, and also for the translation, which I sensed to be thoughtless, for in truth the translator was himself drunk. We had stayed two days among the Northmen, and on the morning we planned to leave, we were told by the translator that the chieftain Wyglif had died.