Nasir-I Khusraw: Safar-nama
(Book of Travels) 1052 (from Persia; Marv)

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Taken from: Nasir -I Khusraw : Safar-nama
Also called Naser-e Khosrah

They say no one has been able to ascertain the source of the Nile, and I heard that the Sultan of Egypt sent some people who went along the Nile banks for a year investigating but were unable to discover the source. It is said however that it comes from a mountain in the south called Jabal al-Qamar (mountain of the moon)

....Following the coastline from Jar, you will come to the Yemen and the coast of Aden; continuing in that direction, you will eventually wind up in India and China. Continuing southwards from Aden and slightly westward, you will come to Zanzibar and Ethiopia, which will be described presently. Going south from Egypt through Nubia, you come to the province of the Masmudis, which is a land of broad pasturelands, many animals, and heavy set, strong-limbed, squat, black skinned men, there are many soldiers of this sort in Egypt....


One group are called Kitamis. They came from Qayrawan in the service of al Mu'izz li-Din Allah. They are said to number 20,000 horsemen. Another group are called Batilis, said to be men from North Africa who came to Egypt before the arrival of al-Mu'izz. They are said to number 15,000 horsemen. Another group is called Masmudis. They are blacks from the land of the Masmudis and are said to number 20,000 men. Another group are called the Easterners, consisting of Turks and Persians. They are so-called because they are not of Arab origin. Though most of them were born in Egypt, their name derives from their origin. They are said to number 10,000 powerfully built men. Another group are called the slaves by purchase. They are slaves bought for money and are said to number 30,000 men. Another group are called Bedouin. They are from Hijaz and are all armed with spears. They are said to number 50,000 horsemen. Another group are called Ustads. These are servants black and white bought for service. They number 30,000 horsemen. Another group are called palace men. They are foot soldiers coming from all countries. They have their own separate commander who looks after them. Each race fights with the weapons of its own country. They number 10,000 men. Another group are called Zanj. They all fight with saber and are said to number 30,000 men. All these troops are maintained by the Sultan, and each man is assigned fixed monthly pay, according to his rank.....

Note: this and some remarks from Ibn Battuta, give evidence of East-Africans as man of arms, worldwide, not as slaves, but as highly paid volunteers.



On the north side of the mosque is a bazaar called Suq al-Qanadil (lamp market) and no one ever saw such a bazaar anywhere else. Every sort of rare goods from all over the world can be had there: I saw tortoise-shell implements such as small boxes, combs, knife handles, and so on. I also saw extremely fine crystal, which the master craftsmen etch most beautifully. (This crystal) had been imported from the Maghreb, although they say that near the Red Sea, crystal even finer and more translucent than the Maghrebi variety had been found. I saw elephant tusks from Zanzibar, many of which weighted more than two hundred maunds. There was a type of skin from Abyssinia that resembled leopard, from which they made sandals. Also from Abyssinia was a domesticated bird, large with white spots and a crown like a peacock's.

Note that this was (until the translation of Albiruni's stonebook) the only mention we had in literature that crystal (as attested through archeology) was exported from east Africa.

The town of Aydhab is situated by the sea and has a Friday mosque and a population of five hundred. It belongs to the Sultan of Egypt and is a customs station for ships coming from Abyssinia, Zanzibar, and the Yemen. From there goods are transported by camel across the dessert, the same way we had come, to Aswan and thence by boat to Cairo.

To reach the town of Lahsa from any direction, you have to cross vast expanses of desert. The nearest Muslim city to Lahsa that has a ruler is Basra.....
At the time I was there they had thirty thousand Zanzibari and Abyssinian slaves working in the fields and gardens.
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Nasir i Khusraw from his Divan in a qasidah (long poem)

Taken from: Minoo Southgate: The negative Images of Blacks In some Medieval Iranian Writings. In : Iranian studies 1984

Why was the Muslim given mastery over the Hindu and the Zanj? This was his reward for his religious superiority over the Hindu and the Zanj, for which distinction he owes God many thanks.

Night is personified as an old and ugly (na’khub-i pir) Zangi who gives birth to a handsome Anatolian slave boy.
He also complains about evil sounding Zangis (crows) putting to flight a host of nightingales.

He compares the world as a two faced sorceress who appears as a Rumi (good) or as a Zangi (evil)

 

 

Ibn Butlan : Risala fi shira al-raqiq wa-taclib al-abib :

a slave-traders vademecum (d1066) a Christian monk and doctor in Baghdad.
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Taken from : B. Lewis : Race and slavery in the Middle East. (and some other books)
Islam from the Prophet Muhammad to the Capture of Constantinople. by Bernard lewis

(On slaves) As guards of persons and property, Indians and Nubians, as laborers, servants and eunuchs Zanj and as soldiers Turks and Slavs.

Armenians (slaves) would be beautiful
were it not for ........
Their women are useless for pleasure.
In fine, the Armenians are the worst of the whites
as the Zanj are the worst of the blacks.
And how much do they resemble one another
in the strength of their bodies,
their great wickedness, and their coarse natures!"

The Berber women are from the island of Barbara (sic), which is between the west and the south. Their color is mostly black, though some pale ones can be found among them. If you can find one whose mother is of Kutama, whose father is of Sanhaja, and whose origin is Masmuda, then you will find her naturally inclined to obedience and loyalty in all matters, active in service, suited both to motherhood and to pleasure, for they are the most solicitous in caring for their children. Abu Uthman the slave-dealer says, If it happens that a Berber girl with her racial excellence is imported at the age of nine, spends three years in Medina and three years in Mecca, comes to Iraq at the age of fifteen and is educated in Iraq, and is bought at the age of twenty-five, then she adds to the excellence of her race the roguishness of the Medinans, the languor of the Meccans, and the culture of the women of Iraq. Then she is worthy to be hidden in the eyelid and placed in the eye.


The Yemeni women are of the same race as the Egyptians, with the body of the Berbers, the roguishness of the Medinans, and the languor of the Meccans. They are the mothers of handsome children somewhat resembling the Bedouin Arabs. The Zaranji women are from a country called Zaranj. Ibn Khurradadhbeh says that from this place to the city of Multan is a journey of two months, and Multan is in the middle of India. A peculiarity of this race is that during sexual intercourse they sweat a liquid like musk, but they are not good for motherhood.

The Zanj women have many bad qualities. The blacker they are, the uglier their faces, the more pointed their teeth, the less use they are and the more likely to do some harm. For the most part, they are of bad character, and they frequently run away. It is not in their nature to worry. Dancing and rhythm are innate and ingrained in them. Since their utterance is obscure, they have been compensated with music and dance. It is said that if a Zanji were to fall from heaven to earth, he would beat time as he fell. They have the cleanest teeth of mankind because they have much saliva, and they have much saliva because they have bad digestion. They can endure hard work. If the Zanji has enough to eat, you can chastise him heavily and he will not complain. There is no pleasure to be got from their women because of their stench and the coarseness of their bodies.

The Ethiopian women. Most of them have gracious, soft, and weak bodies. They are subject to phthisis and hectic fever and are no good for singing or dancing. They are delicate and do not thrive in any country other than that in which they were born. They are good, obliging, tractable, and trustworthy, and are distinguished be strength of character and weakness of body, just as the Nubians are distinguished by strength of body despite their slenderness and also by weakness of character and shortness of life because of bad digestion.

The women of Mecca are languorous, feminine, with supple wrists and of a white color tinged with brown. Their figures are beautiful, their bodies lissome, their mouths clean and cool, their hair curly, their eyes sickly and languid.

The women of Zaghawa are of vicious character and full of grumbles. Their ill nature and evil disposition lead them to do terrible things. They are worse then the Zanj and then all the black races. Their women are useless for pleasure, and their men are useless for service.

The Bujja women are between south and the west in the country which lies between Ethiopia and Nubia. They are golden in color, with beautiful faces, smooth bodies, and tender flesh. If, as slave girls for pleasure, they are imported while they are still young, they are saved from mutilation, for they are circumcised and all the flesh from the upper part of their pudenda is incised with a razor until the bone appears; they have become a byword. Similarly the nipples of men are cut off and a bone removed from the knee…Bravery and thievery are innate and ingrained in them; they cannot therefore be trusted with money and are unsuitable for use as treasurer or custodian.

The Nubian women, off all the black races, have ease and grace and delicacy. Their bodies are dry, while their flesh is tender; they are strong and at the same time slender and firm. The climate of Egypt suits them, since they drink the water of the Nile, but if they are removed to some place other then Egypt, diseases of the blood and acute sickness overcome them and pain racks their bodies. Their characters are pure, their appearance attractive, and there is in them religion and goodness, virtue, chastity, and submissiveness to the master, as if they had a natural bent for slavery.

 

Sa'id al-Andalusi: Kitab Tabaqat al-'Umam (1029-1070)

(Book of the Categories of Nations) from Muslim Spain

Taken from: www.utexas.edu (and other web pages)
The translation of : Categories of Nations; Ibn Said al Andalusi

Chapter 1: The Seven original Nations
The fourth nation was the Copts; they are the people of Egypt and the people of the South. They are the Sudanese [black people] from Abyssinia, Nubia, the Zinj, and others.
Also the people of the Maghrib [the West] and they are the Berbers and their neighbors to the west bordering on the Sea of Uqiyanus [Atlantic Ocean]. They spoke the same language and had one kingdom.

Chapter 2: The Two Categories of Nations
The group that showed no interest in science is comprised of all the remaining 'umam [nations] that were not previously mentioned. This includes the Chinese, Hajfij and Majuj [Gog and Magog], the Turks, the Burtas, the Sarirs, the Khazars, the Gilans, the Tilsans, the Murqans, the Kazakhs, the Alains, the Slavonians, the Bulgarians, the Russians, the Burjans, the Berbers, and the various people of Sudan, including the Ethiopians, the Nubians, the Zinj, and the Ghanaians, as well as others."

Chapter 3: Nations Having No Interest in Science
Also in this category are the people who lived close to the equinoctial line and behind it to the end of the populated world to the south. Because the sun remains close to their heads for long periods, their air and their climate have become hot: they are of hot temperament and fiery behavior. Their color turned black, and their hair turned kinky.
As a result, they lost the value of patience and firmness of perception. They were overcome by foolishness and ignorance. These are the people of Sudan who inhabited the far reaches of Ethiopia, Nubia, the Zinj, and others........
The only peoples that reject these humane institutions (governed by royal decrees and divine laws) and live outside these rational laws are a few of the inhabitants of the deserts and the wilderness such as the beggars of Bajah [Boga], the savages of Ghana, the misers of the Zinj, and those resembling them.

Chapter 5 : Science in India
The Indians .... are the essence of wisdom, the source of fairness and objectivity... sublime pensiveness, universal apologues, and useful and rare inventions. In spite of the fact that their color is in the first stage of blackness, which puts them in the same category as the blacks.... (They) enjoy the purity of talent and the power of distinction, making them totally different from the people of Sudan (Blacks) such as the Zinj, the Abyssinians, the Ethiopians and others.

Chapter 6 : Science in Egypt
Egypt in longitude stretches from Barka in the south of the Mediterranean up to Aila on the coastal plains of the sea arm that detaches from the sea of Abyssinien , of Zang, of India and of China......

Chapter 7 on Arabia
The land of the Arabs is known as the Arabian peninsula, this because of the sea that touches it from three sides. In the west it is bordered by a gulf on the coastal plains where is Gidda (Djedda), al-Gar, Aila, al-Kulzum and which detaches from the immense ocean (made up of) the sea of Zang and the one of India.

 

Balasagunlu Yusuf :Qutabya bilig (AD 1069-1070)

(Kutadgu Bilig) (wisdom of Royal Glory) (Turkish epic)

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Taken from: Notes on Marco Polo: ouvrage posthume‎ by Paul Pelliot
Yusuf Khass Hadjib's Kutadgu Bilig (1069), Wisdom of Royal Glory (Kutadgu Bilig);
A Turko-Islamic Mirror for Princes, translated by Robert Dankoff (Chicago 1983)

When the sun is gone the appearance of the world is compared to the face of a Zangi ( appears twice in this book)

Conclusion: In the 11th century the Turks of Central Asia already used the word Zangi for black people.

 

Nizam al-Mulk :The Siyar al Muluk or Siyastnama (1091) (The book of government of rules for kings)

(Written for his boss the ruler of the Seljuk tribes )
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From : The original translation.

(In a discussion about what size of army is required; )
I would have preferred that instead of 400,000 he had 700,000 because if he had more men, Ghaznain, Sind and India would be his; he would also have the whole of Turkistan, China and Machin; he would also have Yemen, Abyssinia, Barbar and Nubia, and in the Maghrib and Spain he would rule as far as Qairuwan .....

Note : The Somali coast (Berbera) seems to have been known and worthwhile conquering while the Zanj coast was not worthwhile mentioning. And it also seems that african slaves where common in Azerbaijan in 1091.

The army-commander of Abharbaygan owned (amid much other wealth) 1,700 Turkish, Rumi and Abyssinian slaves and 400 moon-faced slave-girls.

 

Al Marvazi: Kitab Taba'i al Hayawan (1120) (Book on Animals) from Persia.

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Taken from: Marvazi on China, the Turks and India 1942

Complete name: Sharaf al-Zaman Tahir Marvazi
Also called: Al Marwazi
He took his information from a missing geographical work from Al-Jayhani

On the Habasha:
The Habasha (Ethiopians) are a category under which come different classes of people such as the Nubians, Zanj, etc.. Their territories consist of extensive countries with a wide-stretching periphery the extremity of which ends where habitation ends and cultivation and procreation ceases.....

As for the heat in the lands of Habasha and Zanj, it reaches the extreme limit in scorching. They find beauty in the intensity of blackness and abhor whiteness and hold that a white man cannot be healthy. There are some among them who eat the whites. Some people prefer the blacks to the whites. What led them to this assumption was the fact that they had seen many Arabs and Indians who possessed an abundant share of spiritual and physical gifts and whose complexion was blackish, as they also had seen that, if some whites had black moles, it added to their beauty and pleasantness....

It is said in the Tawarikh (Histories) that one of the kings of Khorasan crossed the Oxus in order to fight the Turks. In his troops there were some Zanj. When the Turks sallied forth to meet them, they saw the Zanj, whose appearance frightened them, for they imagined that they were demons or some other kind of supernatural beings. So they put to flight and retreated without fighting. When the kings of Khorasan were informed of this they increased the numbers of Zanj and Habasha and put them forward in fighting the Turks. But finally the Turks got accustomed to seeing the Zanj, and killing one of them saw that his blood was red. So they said; His blood is like human blood and so are his limbs, and their fear ceased.

In the Tarikh Muluk al-Turk (History of Turkish Kings) it is related that one of them called B.K.J. became related by marriage to the king called Jabbuya. Among the dowry and numerous gifts which he dispatched to him was a Zanj porter who was a wonder among the white. They used to bring him to their assemblies and express their astonishment in looking at his appearance and color. He possessed (great) sagacity, power of thought and valor, and he succeeded in performing many great deeds. The king attached him to his person and his station continuously grew in elevation and solidity. Finally he attacked the king, killed him, occupied his place and seized most of their provinces. He assumed the title of Qara-Khan, which no one had held before him, for it means Black Khaqan. His dignity was great, so whenever the Turks after him wished to honor a king they addressed him as Qara-khan, in Turkish qara being black and khaqan Supreme lord. So Qara-khan means Black Khaqan.

In the farthest lands of the Zanj there is a tribe of theirs living on the sea-coast and having no buildings, fields or animals, heat oppresses them excessively. They have underground dwellings which they dig out and make deep. At day time they take refuge in these dwellings, which they cannot leave until at sunset the sun has shrunk. Their food is fish, fruit and trees. Their lands include meadows and intertwined trees. They are of ugly appearance and extremely tall, with flapping lips, lop-eared, with wide ear apertures and nostrils. They eat the flesh of the whites whom they have vanquished. It is their custom after a victory over some whites to imprison them on an island of theirs lying in the sea and give them food in abundance of whatever there is in their possession, so that their bodies fatten and their flesh increases, after which they slaughter them and eat them. Their king and queen have special rights to this dish, but if it is plentiful other persons partake of it. On account of their heat they are hard pressed by lust. Sometimes, when the whites are brought before the king that he may make his choice of whom he wants to be slaughtered, the queen's eyes fall on someone whom she finds good and she selects him as food for herself, takes him into her underground dwelling and dallies with him. If she discovers in him strength and mastery in coition, she spares him, cares for him and feeds him with the kind of fish which increases sexual power. She continues to avail herself of his services until he grows weak and tired, and when he becomes impotent she kills and eats him. Sometimes the man seizes an opportunity and runs away.

Traders of neighboring countries visit their lands with the object of hunting their children and young people. Accordingly they repair of their meadows and hide in the woods carrying with them dates, of which they drop a little on the children's playing ground. The latter pick up the dates, find them good and search for more. On the second day they drop the dates a little farther away than on the first day, and so they gradually go farther and farther and the children, whose minds are set on the dates, follow them, and when they are far from their parental houses, the traders leap upon them, seize them and carry them away to their land.. .. ..

In a corner of the Habasha sea there is a tribe of Berbers whom traders visit. They deal and trade with them from afar, with watchmen and guards as if they are afraid of them, their custom being to castrate (yujibbu) the strangers whom they discover, and this is their only mode of procedure. Then they hang their male parts with the scrotum in their houses, taking a pride in the number and boasting about them.

 

Taken from: A doctor’s book on zoology: Al Marwazi’s Taba’I Al-Hayawan (Nature of Animals) by Albert Z. Iskandar in Oriens vol 27 1981

Some say that the giraffe is an offspring of the tiger and the camel. Nevertheless I have not seen any resemblance between (the giraffe) and the tiger. A giraffe, said to be of the best variety, was brought in the presence of Sultan Malik-Shah. I saw it in Isfahan in the year 1081-82. The vizier Nizam al Mulk ordered me to observe the giraffe and to contemplate its figure and form. I thought it was an amazing sight.......

Harmony...in a Zanj is that he should be black, tall in stature, with large eyes, nostrils and corners of the mouth, with crisp hair and harsh voice, whereas a Turk should be short, with narrow eyes, nostrils and mouth, and a shrill voice. If a Zanji had the characteristics (kayfiya) of a Turk, or vice versa, this would be an anomaly. Each nation, nay each person has a special constitution (mizaj)

Taken from: Aristotle's Animals in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (Mediaevalia Lovaniensia Series I/Studia, 27) by Carlos G. Steel

In the sea of the zanj there is a round animal with small eyes near its mouth and with its mouth on the edge. On each side it has four long crooked legs which it uses to catch other animals for lack of claws.

Taken from: The unicorn Richard Ettinghausen

Marvazi state also that the African Negroes use the term impila. This Marvazi explains as "buffalo cow" (6, fol. i35b).

 

Hakim Sana’i: Hadiqa al haqiqa

(Enclosed Garden of Truth) (1131)

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Taken from: The ocean of the soul: man, the world, and God in ..., By Hellmut Ritter, John O'Kane

(This book with poems is called an encyclopaedia of Sufism)

A negro sees his reflection in the ocean. He thinks a black man is sitting in the water, and calls to him: You hideous grotesque face, what devil placed you in the world? Come out of the water right now!

You belong in fire, not in water! He has no idea he’s speaking to himself.

– When the bird of the soul sheds its feathers, you too will see your face in the water of your deeds.

Al Garnati: al mu'rid an Ba'd Ayaib Al Magrib (In praise of some wonders of the Maghrib) (d1169) from Andalusia

Taken from: the original translation

And they are saved from the redness of the Rum, the Slaves and the Russians, and the blackness of the al-Habas and Al Zang and al-Hind; and the cruelty of the Turcs and the ugliness of Sind as well as their shortness.
Al-Husayn Ali said of: Nasr b. Ali who says of: Abd al-Malik b. Qurayb who says: al-Nadr b. Hilal that heard it of Qatada that heard of Abu l-Yald who said: The Earth is 24.000 parasanges. He said: The Sudan is 12.000, Rum 8.000, Persia 3.000 and 1.000 parasanges for the Arabs.

The-Nil
It is said: And the birth of the Nile, the Nile de Misr, is by the Qumr mountains; an arm ends at the sea that is behind the island Qubbat al-Art (the Cupola of the Earth) and another arm makes the route by al-Nuba (to Egypt).
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Abu Hamid Al-Garnati : Tuhfat al-Albab


(The gift of the spirits) (1080-1169) from Andalusia.
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Taken from: the spanish translation by Ana Ramos 1990
Youssouf KamalTome III fasc4
Full name: Abu Hamid al-Andalusi al Garnati

The land of the Soudan including the Zandj and the Boudja stretches for 14 years, those people eat dogs which they prefer over sheep, they also eat mice….
Part of the Sea ( Sea of Fars) goes up to al-Basra then to al-Abbadan, to Siraf, Kirman, al Bahrain, the island of Kish, al Daiboul, and on to the land of Habasha and the Zandj and to Sarandib and al Souliyan.

In the land of the Zany there are donkeys whose skin looks like the woven silk they make in Baghdad and in Jorasan, known as 'itabi, it is characterized by its white and black rays. The rays of the skin of this animal are equal to or even more beautiful than those of the mentioned cloth.

Here we have(I only give the second part) a story that is a different version of Buzurgs story of the ship driven to the coast of Zenj. Buzurg was from Persia and so was the ship. And most of the trade in his days(10th century) went between Zanj and Persia. By the time of this version of the story this had changed. The main trading partner is Egypt. And the man writing the story as well as the ship come from Egypt. He gave him (his slave) everything for the trip, after having granted him freedom and a salary. He made sure there were witnesses of the emancipation act. When those returned to their house, every wise person knew what the slave had done and what had been the attitude of Affan, and they felt towards him the highest consideration. After some time, one of the main merchants of the city went to see Affan and spoke to him in this way: I have very appropriate merchandise to sell in India and I trust it to you so that you take it, distributing the benefits to us in such and such a way. Once agreement made, the merchant provided him with all he needed. And one day Affan left, taking numerous merchandise of that man and arriving there; he remained there during some time and later embarked to India, where he sold all what remained, obtaining very high gains. When ready of return to his mother country, a strong hurricane dragged his boat to the land of the Zany.

The merchants, frightened, were forced to disembark, from fear of a shipwreck. When jumping to earth, the natives came to their encounter and they one by one were lead before the king, who, without directing the word to them, ordered that they were to be brought back to the boat. Then it was Affans turn to be before the king. When this one saw him, he rose, he went towards him and kissed his hands and feet : he remained standing before him, in respectful attitude. Affan felt fear, but the king, using an interpreter, said to him: Are you not Affan, the tailor of Cairo? Did you not buy a black slave whom you emancipated, although he had burned your suits, providing him with provisions for the trip, without beating nor insulting him for the damage that he had caused to you? Affan answered him: Yes, oh king. That is me. The king said then: I am that slave of yours to whom you gave freedom. God has favored me with the well-being that you see, by virtue of your good behaviour towards me. This is your kingdom, sit on the throne on my side because if I am the king of this country, you reign over me. Affan, after praising God, went to the king in these terms: Oh king: You are like a son for me; nevertheless, it could not feel happy in your country, because it is to me excessively warm; in addition I would find uprooted, far from mine. Then the King issued the order that the boat, be loaded with valuable things, offering it to Affan as a gift.

Later he had some of his servants accompany him, entrusting to them that he be lead happily to his country. He left Affan, in possession of an immense fortune and he never regretted that he requested aid to him. Affan constructed a great number of houses, commerce-houses and public-baths, for the use of the poor Muslims. In his own house he commanded to build the mosque that we now see, in that he dug his grave, next to which he used to pray all the nights. And the totality of his goods were deposited on his tomb. Thursday and Friday of every week, the executors appear. They distribute between men, young people and old, of both sexes. When they enter the mosque they distribute great amounts of money to the poor and those that pass on the outer part of the iron windows in the walls of the building murmur: Oh Affan, that God has mercy of you, and this is repeated, throughout the day and at night, by thousands of women and children. I by chance stopped next it and observed that multitude that prayed for Affan the divine compassion during so many hours; the small five and two year old children even repeated those words. He made the impression to me deeply that God granted to that man so many favors, not only in life, but also surely after his death.

Physical and moral peculiarities of some countries:
One says that the Byzantines are blond; the Zany, black; the Turks, robust; Chinese, the ugly ones; those of Gog and Magog, short, and the Ethiopians crazy.

Abu al-Makarim: Tarikh al-Kana’is wa al-Adyirah‎
(History of Churches and Monasteries) (1200)

an Egyptian of Armenian descent

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Taken from the translation by Evetts, Alfred Joshua Butler: Abu Salih: The Churches and Monasteries of Egypt and Some Neighboring Countries

Full name: Al-Mu’taman Abu al-Makarim Sa’d Allah Jirjis ibn Mas’ud

The Nile;
The learned are all agreed that there is not in the world a river of greater length than the Nile. For its course through the land of the Muslims amounts to more than a month’s journey; and its course through Nubia to two months journey; and for a journey of four months it flows through uninhabited deserts, until the source is reached in the mountains of the Moon, south of the equator.

Mahomet also said emphatically : God is among the protected people, the people of the desert, the blacks, the men with curly hair. They are related (to the Arabs) and akin to them, in distinction from all the other protected peoples.

Al-Saqati: Kitab fi adab al-hisba (1210)

Manual for the overseer of public markets
from Spain
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Taken from : the spanish translation by P. Chalmeta.
Note: Chalmeta uses everywhere the word Ethiopian. Other translators use Zanj, as well as Ibn Butlan from whom Al Saqati got at least part of this text does. I also did.

Much has been said about the race of slaves and the nature of the slaves, each being in a class, deciding on the individual. (As for the women) The Berber servant (this is the ideal to provide for) is voluptuous, The ones from Rum they say are for the city, for the money business and the cupboard, the Turk to produce valiant children, the Zanj to nurse, the once from Mecca for the song, the once of Medina for their elegance and the Iraqi for civility and coquette. As far as the men, Hindu and Nubian (they are appreciated) as guardians of the people and goods, the Zanj and Armenian for the work and the service, producing benefits (to its owner), the Turk and the Slav for the war and whatever requires value. Berbers are by nature obedient, diligent to the work, healthiest, have the prettiest procreation and the pleasure to generate it; they follow the Yemenis and those who look like the Arabs. The Nubians usually are naturally obedient to their masters, as if they had been created for slavery, but are thieves . The Hindus do not support the humiliation, commit the greater crimes and they die with facility. The Zanj have a harder nature than Allah has created and have undergone all difficulties, but their armpits smell, which prevents generally of taking them. The Armenians are beautiful, avaricious and little docile to the man.