We’ve gotten a lot more followers, especially on Twitter, over the weekend (my thanks to Chapo Trap House for letting me promote the project in my most recent appearance). If you still don’t know who Ibn Battuta is, start with this post. This is a great time for people to pick up the story, because Ibn Battuta’s arrival in Egypt is really when his narrative begins, but if you want to go back and start from the beginning there’s not too much that you need to cover to catch up. Anyway here’s the quick summary for new arrivals on how you can follow along.
Ibn Battuta’s Journey is conceived, by me, as a multi-format enterprise. It’s spread out across Twitter, Facebook, this blog, and my Patreon page. Here’s how I’m using all those outlets:
- Twitter: frequent (daily if I can manage it) updates that keep the narrative going but don’t contain a lot of detail, what with character limits and all. Also links to posts at Facebook, Patreon, and here. Basically if you keep up with the Twitter account you won’t miss anything.
- Facebook: less frequent (generally every 3 or so days) but more detailed updates that generally cover the same ground as I’m covering on Twitter but in more detail and with more quotes from Ibn Battuta’s travel account. Also links to posts here and at Patreon. If you follow here you’ll only miss the Twitter posts, which cover the same basic ground though sometimes I emphasize different details of Ibn Battuta’s account on Twitter than I do on Facebook. I’ve also set up a Facebook group for discussing anything related to Ibn Battuta and/or asking questions–I’ll try to make myself available there as often as I can.
- This blog: here I’m doing two kinds of posts, both less frequent (basically whenever I have time to write them) and more detailed than Facebook:
- First, I’m writing travel accounts, free to the public, that again go over where Ibn Battuta is going and what he’s doing. Here you’ll get still more, and longer, quotes from Ibn Battuta himself as well as deeper context about the places he’s visiting drawn from secondary literature about Ibn Battuta.
- Second, I’m writing posts about the world in which Ibn Battuta is traveling. That means that when he gets to “Mamluk Egypt,” for example, you can expect a post or two about who the Mamluks were and what they did. These posts are locked for Patreon subscribers at the $5/month level. They aren’t necessary for following the journey but they will provide deeper context about the 14th century world. These posts are basically where we move from Ibn Battuta’s limited eyewitness view of events to a more comprehensive look at the world in which he made his journey.
- Patreon: I offer two podcasts per week to subscribers at the $3 level and up, usually on topics related to Middle Eastern history. On occasion these will deal with Ibn Battuta (I’ve already done one introducing him and his journey), though I have no set schedule for that. When I do post one I’ll be sure to share it on Twitter and Facebook.
So that’s it. Welcome to new followers and I hope you find the journey interesting. The 14th century was a time of great upheaval in the Middle East and across Asia, and Ibn Battuta was an eyewitness to a lot of that upheaval. His travelogue provides an excellent jumping off point for understanding the period.