"They are the filthiest of all God’s creatures. They have no modesty when it comes to defecating or urinating and do not wash themselves when intercourse puts them in a state of ritual impurity. They do not even wash their hands after eating. Indeed, they are like roaming asses. They arrive, moor their boats by the Itil, and build large wooden houses on its banks. They share a house, in groups of ten and twenty, sometimes more, sometimes fewer. Each reclines on a couch.They are accompanied by beautiful female slaves for trade with the merchants. They have intercourse with their female slaves in full view of their companions. Sometimes they gather in a group and do this in front of each other."
Written in the 920s by Muslim-Abbasid traveller Ahmad Ibn Fadlan, the above passage is taken from his Risala and is a first-hand account of his experiences along the Silk Road as a member of the Abbasid Caliph embassy of Baghdad travelling to the King of the Volga Bolgars. Whilst by Itil, Fadlan encounters the Rus Vikings, an ethnic group originating in modern-day Ukraine in the upper Volga region. In the ninth and tenth centuries, the Volga River was key to Rus traders exchanging furs and slaves for silk, silver, and other commodities available to the east and south. Thus, what can be identified from the passage is an insight into eastern Viking trade, society, and culture through a Muslim scope which is unique in comparison to the typical Christian contemporary sources of western Vikings.