Timbuktu and Europe: Trade, Cities and Islam in ‘Medieval’ West Africa

Authored by: Timothy Insoll

The Medieval World

Print publication date:  October  2001
Online publication date:  September  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415181518
eBook ISBN: 9781315016207
Adobe ISBN: 9781136500053


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In the present company, demeaning the word medieval by encasing it in inverted commas is bound to appear bad form. But to admit the implied offence would be to beg the question of what all that follows is all about. And in justice to the subject of this chapter it has to be done. For while Western Europe was settling into its Middle Age West Africa was somewhere in its Iron stage, somewhere between its Middle and its Later stages (opinions on the matter vary). Yet it was very much more than a mere ghost at Western Europe’s medieval feasts, those feasts whose tables it did so much to adorn.

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