Answer to Question #183801 in English for Jen

Question #183801

1. What importance should we attach to Leo Africanus’ report that in Timbuktu books

were “sold for more money than any other merchandise”? What does this tell you

about the culture of Timbuktu and its connections to the larger Islamic world? At least two paragraphs

2. How might European readers have responded to this description of Timbuktu? What

aspects of the account might they have found most interesting? Why? At least two paragraphs

Expert's answer

Books were considered one of the most precious objects in Timbuktu. There was a huge number of libraries that included hundreds of priceless manuscripts with enchanting knowledge. When the jihadists occupied Timbuktu, the first thing that the citizens did was a secret removal of all books from private libraries.

The culture of Timbuktu was tightly connected to the Islamic world. Timbuktu was a center of Islamic knowledge. There were a lot of Islamic manuscripts which were spread between the learners. 

The European readers would be excited to read about the culture and lifestyle of Timbuktu. It would be interesting for the scholars to find out more detailed information about the customs and traditions of Timbuktu citizens.

The most interesting aspect for the readers would be the fact regarding the royal court and king. That is a completely unfamiliar form of government for Europeans.

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