Arabs slam Vikings in historic texts

"They are the filthiest of all Allah’s creatures: they do not purify themselves after excreting or urinating or wash themselves when in a state of ritual impurity after coitus and do not even wash their hands after food," wrote Arab writer Ahmad ibn Fadlan about his encounter with Vikings in areas around the Caspian Sea and the Volga River.

The description is part of a doctoral dissertation by Icelandic historian Thorir Jonsson Hraundal at the University of Bergen about the so-called Rus ― Scandinavian merchants and warriors who travelled to Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. “The Scandinavians who travelled eastwards are generally mentioned briefly in passing by textbooks and in school. I think this part of our history should be given much more attention,” he says.