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Sallam’S Outward Journey:Samarra-Yumenguan

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Chapter Summary

In Sallams travel account the reason for his journey is the dream of the Caliph al-Wathiq (regn. 842-47): it was as if the barrier which exists between us [i.e. the Muslim world] and Gog and Magog had cracked [cf. Koran XVIII:93]. Following Sallams indications and trying to interpret them, it will be argued that his barrier in fact was the still existing Yumenguan or Jade Gate, the then custom post on the southern branch of Silk Route from Khotan to Changan in Gansu, China. Placed on a modern map, Sallams outward journey started in Iraq, and took him through Persia to the Caucasus, Russia, Kalmykia (capital Elista), Bashkiria (capital Ufa), Kazakhstan (capital Astana), Xinjiang (capital Urumchi). The outward journey, Sallam reports, took sixteen months, the homeward journey twelve months and a couple of days. These data are only useful if they can be brought in relation with the distances covered.

Keywords: Gog and Magog; Sallams outward journey; Sallams travel account

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