IBN FADLAN was a tenth-century diplomat who, in 922 AD, was sent on a mission from Baghdad to the far north by the caliph Muqtadir. His subsequent account of his travels and the peoples he encountered is one of the most important documents from the period. PAUL LUNDE studied at London University's School of Oriental and African Studies and specializes in Islamic history and literature. He is the author of Islam: Culture, Faith and History and is working on an internet project to map pre-modern Eurasian cultural and intellectual exchanges. CAROLINE STONE has edited and written numerous books and articles, principally on textile history, medieval history and literature, Islamic culture and literature, and the cultural and economic relations between Europe and the Orient in the pre-modern era. With Paul Stone, she is translating a collection of the writings by the Arab geographer Mas'udi for Penguin Classics.