Ooggetuigen zijn wijs. Ahmed ibn Fadlan werd in 921 van Bagdad naar ergens in het midden van het latere Rusland gestuurd, bij de Volga-Bulgaren. En de mens schreef wat hij zag.

Machtig! Hij schrijft over mensen die hij de Rūs of Rūsiyyah noemt: dat ze er fantastisch uitzien, maar ook dat het viezeriken zijn die alleen hun gezicht wassen, en dan nog met een teil water waar iedereen in spekelt en zijn neus snuit.

Het klinkt fantastisch: zo’n mens die uit zo ongeveer de meest beschaafde plaats ter wereld naar Hol Van Pluto, Land Der Vikings trekt – en dan beschrijft hij een begrafenis van een hoofdman. Wohow!

When that man whom I mentioned earlier died, they said to his slave-girls, “Who will die with him?” and one of them said, “I shall.” So they placed two slave-girls in charge of her to take care of her and accompany her wherever she went, even to the point of occasionally washing her feet with their own hands. […]

When they came to his grave, they removed the soil from the wood and then removed the wood, exhuming him <still dressed> in the izār in which he had died. I could see that he had turned black because of the coldness of the ground. They had also placed alcohol, fruit and a pandora beside him in the grave, all of which they took out. Surprisingly, he had not begun to stink and only his colour had deteriorated. They clothed him in trousers, leggings, boots, a qurṭaq, and a silk caftan with golden buttons, and placed a silk qalansuwwah <fringed> with sable on his head.

They carried him inside the pavilion on the ship and laid him to rest on the quilt, propping him with cushions. Then they brought alcohol, fruit and herbs and placed them beside him. Next they brought bread, meat and onions, which they cast in front of him, a dog, which they cut in two and which they threw onto the ship, and all of his weaponry, which they placed beside him. They then brought two mounts, made them gallop until they began to sweat, cut them up into pieces and threw the flesh onto the ship. They next fetched two cows, which they also cut up into pieces and threw on board, and a cock and a hen, which they slaughtered and cast onto it.

 Meanwhile, the slave-girl who wished to be killed was coming and going, entering one pavilion after another. The owner of the pavilion would have intercourse with her and say to her, “Tell your master that I have done this purely out of love for you.”

Euh neen, het loopt niet goed af voor dat meisje.

Lees meer alhier, en geniet van de ene helft van inspiratie voor Michael Crichton’s Eaters of the Dead, dat dan weer het boek is waar The 13th Warrior op gebaseerd is.  De andere helft van de inspiratie was, natuurlijk, Beowulf.