The Balkans known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographic area in southeastern Europe with various definitions and meanings, including geopolitical and historical. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch throughout the whole of Bulgaria from the Serbian-Bulgarian border to the Black Sea coast; the Balkan Peninsula is bordered by the Adriatic Sea on the northwest, the Ionian Sea on the southwest, the Aegean Sea in the south and southeast, the Black Sea on the east and northeast. The northern border of the peninsula is variously defined; the highest point of the Balkans is 2,925 metres, in the Rila mountain range. The concept of the Balkan peninsula was created by the German geographer August Zeune in 1808, who mistakenly considered the Balkan Mountains the dominant mountain system of Southeast Europe spanning from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea; the term of Balkan Peninsula was a synonym for European Turkey in the 19th century, the former provinces of the Ottoman Empire in Southeast Europe.
It had a geopolitical rather than a geographical definition, further promoted during the creation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in the early 20th century. The definition of the Balkan peninsula's natural borders do not coincide with the technical definition of a peninsula and hence modern geographers reject the idea of a Balkan peninsula, while scholars discuss the Balkans as a region; the term has acquired a stigmatized and pejorative meaning related to the process of Balkanization, hence the rather used alternative term for the region is Southeast Europe. The word Balkan comes from Ottoman Turkish balkan'chain of wooded mountains'; the origin of the Turkic word is obscure. From classical antiquity through the Middle Ages, the Balkan Mountains were called by the local Thracian name Haemus. According to Greek mythology, the Thracian king Haemus was turned into a mountain by Zeus as a punishment and the mountain has remained with his name. A reverse name scheme has been suggested. D. Dechev considers that Haemus is derived from a Thracian word *saimon,'mountain ridge'.
A third possibility is that "Haemus" derives from the Greek word "haema" meaning'blood'. The myth relates to a fight between the monster/titan Typhon. Zeus injured Typhon with a thunder bolt and Typhon's blood fell on the mountains, from which they got their name; the earliest mention of the name appears in an early 14th-century Arab map, in which the Haemus mountains are referred to as Balkan. The first attested time the name "Balkan" was used in the West for the mountain range in Bulgaria was in a letter sent in 1490 to Pope Innocent VIII by Buonaccorsi Callimaco, an Italian humanist and diplomat; the Ottomans first mention it in a document dated from 1565. There has been no other documented usage of the word to refer to the region before that, although other Turkic tribes had settled in or were passing through the Peninsula. There is a claim about an earlier Bulgar Turkic origin of the word popular in Bulgaria, however it is only an unscholarly assertion; the word was used by the Ottomans in Rumelia in its general meaning of mountain, as in Kod̲j̲a-Balkan, Čatal-Balkan, Ungurus-Balkani̊, but it was applied to the Haemus mountain.
The name is still preserved in Central Asia with the Balkan Daglary and the Balkan Province of Turkmenistan. English traveler John Morritt introduced this term into the English literature at the end of the 18th-century, other authors started applying the name to the wider area between the Adriatic and the Black Sea; the concept of the "Balkans" was created by the German geographer August Zeune in 1808, who mistakenly considered it as the dominant central mountain system of Southeast Europe spanning from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea. During the 1820s, "Balkan became the preferred although not yet exclusive term alongside Haemus among British travelers... Among Russian travelers not so burdened by classical toponymy, Balkan was the preferred term"; the term was not used in geographical literature until the mid-19th century because then scientists like Carl Ritter warned that only the part South of the Balkan Mountains can be considered as a peninsula and considered it to be renamed as "Greek peninsula".
Other prominent geographers who didn't agree with Zeune were Hermann Wagner, Theobald Fischer, Marion Newbigin, Albrecht Penck, while Austrian diplomat Johann Georg von Hahn in 1869 for the same territory used the term Südostereuropäische Halbinsel. Another reason it was not accepted as the definition of European Turkey had a similar land extent. However, after the Congress of Berlin there was a political need for a new term and the Balkans was revitalized, but in the maps the northern border was in Serbia and Montenegro without Greece, while Yugoslavian maps included Croatia and Bosnia; the term Balkan Peninsula was a synonym for European Turkey, the political borders of former Ottoman Empire provinces. The usage of the term changed in the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century when was embraced by Serbian geographers, most prominently by Jovan Cvijić, it was done with political reasoning as affirmation for Serbian nationalism on the whole territory of the South Slavs, included anthropological and ethnological studies of the South Slavs through which were claimed various nationalistic and racistic theories.
Through such policies and Yugoslavian maps the term was elevated to the modern status of
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
The Ecumenical Patriarch is the Archbishop of Constantinople–New Rome and ranks as primus inter pares among the heads of the several autocephalous churches that make up the Eastern Orthodox Church. The term Ecumenical in the title is a historical reference to the Ecumene, a Greek designation for the civilised world, i.e. the Roman Empire, it stems from Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon. The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is one of the most enduring institutions in the world and has had a prominent part in world history; the ecumenical patriarchs in ancient times helped in the spread of Christianity and the resolution of various doctrinal disputes. In the Middle Ages they played a major role in the affairs of the Eastern Orthodox Church, as well as in the politics of the Orthodox world, in spreading Christianity among the Slavs. In addition to the expansion of the Christian faith and the Eastern Orthodox doctrine, the patriarchs are involved in ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, charitable work, the defense of Orthodox Christian traditions.
Within the five apostolic sees of the Pentarchy, the Ecumenical Patriarch is regarded as the successor of Andrew the Apostle. The current holder of the office is Bartholomew I, the 270th bishop of that see; the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is first among equals, or first in honor among all Eastern Orthodox bishops, who presides in person—or through a delegate—over any council of Orthodox primates or bishops in which he takes part and serves as primary spokesman for the Orthodox communion in ecumenical contacts with other Christian denominations. He has no direct jurisdiction over the other patriarchs or the other autocephalous Orthodox churches, but he, alone among his fellow primates, enjoys the right of convening extraordinary synods consisting of them or their delegates to deal with ad hoc situations and has convened well-attended Pan-Orthodox Synods in the last forty years, his unique role sees the Ecumenical Patriarch referred to as the spiritual leader of the Orthodox Church in some sources, though this is not an official title of the patriarch nor is it used in scholarly sources on the patriarchate.
The Orthodox Church is decentralized, having no central authority, earthly head or a single Bishop in a leadership role, having synodical system canonically, is distinguished from the hierarchically organized Catholic Church whose doctrine is the papal supremacy. His titles primus inter pares "first among equals" and "Ecumenical Patriarch" are of honor rather than authority and in fact the Ecumenical Patriarch has no real authority over Churches other than the Constantinopolitan; the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is the direct administrative superior of dioceses and archdioceses serving millions of Greek, Ukrainian and Albanian believers in North and South America, Western Europe and New Zealand, Korea, as well as parts of modern Greece which, for historical reasons, do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Church of Greece. The Orthodox Church in America, while acknowledging the Ecumenical Patriarch's role in "guiding and preserving the worldwide unity of the family of self-governing Orthodox Churches" emphasizes that he carries no sacramental or juridical power over bishops outside of his own Patriarchate, further states that "it is possible that in the future this function may pass to some other church."His actual position is Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople, one of the fourteen autocephalous and several autonomous churches and the most senior of the four orthodox ancient primatial sees among the five patriarchal Christian centers comprising the ancient Pentarchy of the undivided Church.
In his role as head of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople, he holds the title Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome. The Ecumenical Patriarchate is sometimes called the Greek Patriarchate of Constantinople to distinguish him from the Armenian Patriarchate and the extinct Latin Patriarchate, created after the Latin capture of Constantinople in 1204, during the Fourth Crusade; the see of Byzantium, whose foundation was ascribed to Andrew the Apostle, was a common bishopric. It gained importance when Emperor Constantine elevated Byzantium to a second capital alongside Rome and named it Constantinople; the see's ecclesiastical status as the second of five Patriarchates were developed by the Ecumenical Councils of Constantinople in 381 and Chalcedon in 451. The Turkish government recognizes him as the spiritual leader of the Greek minority in Turkey, refer to him as the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Fener; the Patriarch was subject to the authority of the Ottoman Empire after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, until the declaration of Turkish Republic in 1923.
Today, according to Turkish law, he is subject to the authority of the state of Turkey and is required to be a citizen of Turkey to be Patriarch. The Patriarch of Constantinople has been dubbed the Ecumenical Patriarch since the 6th century; the exact significance of the style, used for other prelates since the middle of the 5th century, is nowhere defined but, according to the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, the title has been criticized in the Catholic Church as incompatible with its own claims by the Holy See. The monastic communities of Mount Athos are stauropegic and are directly under the jurisdiction of Ecumenical Patriarch, the only bishop with jur
Istria Histria, Ίστρια, is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. The peninsula is located at the head of the Adriatic between the Gulf of Trieste and the Kvarner Gulf, it is shared by three countries: Croatia and Italy. Croatia encapsulates most of the Istrian peninsula with its Istria County; the geographical features of Istria include the Učka mountain ridge, the highest portion of the Ćićarija mountain range. Istria lies in three countries: Croatia and Italy. By far the largest portion lies in Croatia. "Croatian Istria" is divided into the larger being Istria County in western Croatia. Important towns in Istria County include Pula/Pola, Poreč/Parenzo, Rovinj/Rovigno, Pazin/Pisino, Labin/Albona, Umag/Umago, Motovun/Montona, Buzet/Pinguente, Buje/Buie. Smaller towns in Istria County include Višnjan, Roč, Hum; the northwestern part of Istria lies in Slovenia: it is known as Slovenian Istria, includes the coastal municipalities of Piran/Pirano, Izola/Isola and Koper/Capodistria, the Karstic municipality of Hrpelje-Kozina.
Northwards of Slovenian Istria, there is a tiny portion of the peninsula. This smallest portion of Istria consists of the comunes of Muggia and San Dorligo della Valle, with Santa Croce lying farthest to the north; the ancient region of Histria extended over a much wider area, including the whole Kras plateau until the southern edges of the Vipava Valley, the southwestern portions of modern Inner Carniola with Postojna and Ilirska Bistrica, the Italian Province of Trieste, but not the Liburnian coast, part of Illyricum. Central Istria has a continental climate; the northern coast of Istria has a sub-Mediterranean climate. The western and southern coast has a Mediterranean climate; the eastern coast has a sub-Mediterranean climate with oceanic influences. The warmest places are Rovinj, while the coldest is Pazin. Precipitation is moderate, with between 640 and 1,020 mm falling in the coastal areas, up to 1,500 mm in the hills; the name is derived from the Histri tribes, which Strabo refers to as living in the region and who are credited as being the builders of the hillfort settlements.
The Histri are classified in some sources as a "Venetic" Illyrian tribe, with certain linguistic differences from other Illyrians. The Romans described the Histri as a fierce tribe of pirates, protected by the difficult navigation of their rocky coasts, it took two military campaigns for the Romans to subdue them in 177 BC. The region was called together with the Venetian part the X. Roman Region of "Venetia et Histria", the ancient definition of the northeastern border of Italy. Dante Alighieri refers to it as well, the eastern border of Italy per ancient definition is the river Arsia; the eastern side of this river was settled by people. Earlier influence of the Iapodes was attested there, while at some time between the 4th and 1st century BC, the Liburnians extended their territory and it became a part of Liburnia. On the northern side, Histria included the Italian city of Trieste; some scholars speculate that the names Histri and Istria are related to the Latin name Hister, or Danube. Ancient folktales reported—inaccurately—that the Danube split in two or "bifurcated" and came to the sea near Trieste as well as at the Black Sea.
The story of the "bifurcation of the Danube" is part of the Argonaut legend. There is a suspected link to the commune of Istria in Constanţa, named after the ancient city Histria, named after River Hister. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the region was pillaged by the Goths, the Eastern Roman Empire, the Avars, it was subsequently annexed to the Lombard Kingdom in 751, annexed to the Frankish kingdom by Pepin of Italy in 789. In 804, the Placitum of Riziano was held in the Parish of Rižan, a meeting between the representatives of Istrian towns and castles and the deputies of Charlemagne and his son Pepin; the report about this judicial diet illustrates the changes accompanying the transfer of power from the Eastern Roman Empire to the Carolingian Empire and the discontent of the local residents. Afterwards it was successively controlled by the dukes of Carantania, Bavaria and by the patriarch of Aquileia, before it became the territory of the Republic of Venice in 1267; the medieval Croatian kingdom held only the far eastern part of Istria, but they lost it to the Holy Roman Empire in the late 11th century.
The coastal areas and cities of Istria came under Venetian Influence in the 9th century. On 15 February 1267, Parenzo was formally incorporated with the Venetian state. Other coastal towns followed shortly thereafter. Bajamonte Tiepolo was sent away from Venice in 1310, to start a new life in Istria after his downfall. A description of the 16th-century Istria with a precise map was prepared by the Italian geographer Pietro Coppo. A copy of the map inscribed in stone can now be seen in the Pietro Coppo Park in the center of the town of Izola in southwestern Slovenia; the Inner part of Istria around Mitterburg had been part of the Holy Roman Empire for centuries, more part of the domains of the Austrian Ha
Theophylact (son of Michael I)
Theophylact or Theophylaktos was the eldest son of the Byzantine emperor Michael I Rhangabe and grandson, on his mother's side, of Nikephoros I. He was junior co-emperor alongside his father for the duration of the latter's reign, was tonsured and exiled to Plate Island after his overthrow, under the monastic name Eustratius. Theophylact was born to Michael Rhangabe and Prokopia c. 793. He was the couple's oldest child, but the list of his siblings given in the hagiography of Patriarch Ignatius I of Constantinople, Theophylact's youngest brother, is unclear on whether he was the eldest child or was born after his oldest sister Georgo, he was named after his paternal grandfather, the droungarios of the Dodekanesos Theophylact Rhangabe, who had participated in a failed conspiracy to wrest the throne from Empress-regent Irene of Athens in 780. His maternal grandfather, the emperor Nikephoros I, rose to become General Logothete under Empress Irene before deposing her in October 802. Following the death of Nikephoros in the Battle of Pliska on 26 July 811 and the crippling of his only son and heir Staurakios in the same battle, on 2 October the Byzantine Senate and the tagmata guard units acclaimed Nikephoros's son-in-law Michael Rhangabe as emperor and forced Staurakios to abdicate.
Michael set about to consolidate his rule, distributing lavish gifts, crowning his wife as Augusta on 12 October, crowning Theophylact – aged eighteen – as co-emperor in the Hagia Sophia on Christmas Day, 25 December 811. At about the same time, Michael sent an embassy under Bishop Michael of Synnada to the Frankish court, which among other issues raised the prospect of an imperial marriage between Theophylact and one of Charlemagne's daughters. Despite a warm reception at Aachen and the ratification of a peace treaty between the two realms, Charlemagne wary after the repeated failures of successive efforts to that effect over the previous decades, hesitated to agree to such a match. Nothing further is known of Theophylact until 11 July 813, when Michael, faced with a military revolt under Leo the Armenian, abdicated the throne. Michael and his family sought refuge in the Church of the Virgin of the Pharos, where they were tonsured as monks and nuns. Michael and his sons were castrated to make them incapable of claiming the throne in the future, exiled to Plate, one of the Princes' Islands in the Sea of Marmara.
Leo accorded them an annual stipend. According to Theophanes Continuatus, who adopted the monastic name Eustratius, died five years after his father, on 15 January 849, was buried alongside him in a church on Plate Island. Theophanes Continuatus reports that his body was transferred by his brother, Patriarch Ignatios, to the monastery known as "tou Satyrou"
Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2, it is the country's most populated comune, it is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio, along the shores of the Tiber; the Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been defined as capital of two states. Rome's history spans 28 centuries. While Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe; the city's early population originated from a mix of Latins and Sabines.
The city successively became the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, is regarded by some as the first metropolis. It was first called The Eternal City by the Roman poet Tibullus in the 1st century BC, the expression was taken up by Ovid and Livy. Rome is called the "Caput Mundi". After the fall of the Western Empire, which marked the beginning of the Middle Ages, Rome fell under the political control of the Papacy, in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. Beginning with the Renaissance all the popes since Nicholas V pursued over four hundred years a coherent architectural and urban programme aimed at making the city the artistic and cultural centre of the world. In this way, Rome became first one of the major centres of the Italian Renaissance, the birthplace of both the Baroque style and Neoclassicism. Famous artists, painters and architects made Rome the centre of their activity, creating masterpieces throughout the city.
In 1871, Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, which, in 1946, became the Italian Republic. Rome has the status of a global city. In 2016, Rome ranked as the 14th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, the most popular tourist attraction in Italy, its historic centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The famous Vatican Museums are among the world's most visited museums while the Colosseum was the most popular tourist attraction in world with 7.4 million visitors in 2018. Host city for the 1960 Summer Olympics, Rome is the seat of several specialized agencies of the United Nations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development; the city hosts the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean as well as the headquarters of many international business companies such as Eni, Enel, TIM, Leonardo S.p. A. and national and international banks such as Unicredit and BNL.
Its business district, called EUR, is the base of many companies involved in the oil industry, the pharmaceutical industry, financial services. Rome is an important fashion and design centre thanks to renowned international brands centered in the city. Rome's Cinecittà Studios have been the set of many Academy Award–winning movies. According to the founding myth of the city by the Ancient Romans themselves, the long-held tradition of the origin of the name Roma is believed to have come from the city's founder and first king, Romulus. However, it is a possibility that the name Romulus was derived from Rome itself; as early as the 4th century, there have been alternative theories proposed on the origin of the name Roma. Several hypotheses have been advanced focusing on its linguistic roots which however remain uncertain: from Rumon or Rumen, archaic name of the Tiber, which in turn has the same root as the Greek verb ῥέω and the Latin verb ruo, which both mean "flow". There is archaeological evidence of human occupation of the Rome area from 14,000 years ago, but the dense layer of much younger debris obscures Palaeolithic and Neolithic sites.
Evidence of stone tools and stone weapons attest to about 10,000 years of human presence. Several excavations support the view that Rome grew from pastoral settlements on the Palatine Hill built above the area of the future Roman Forum. Between the end of the bronze age and the beginning of the Iron age, each hill between the sea and the Capitol was topped by a village. However, none of them had yet an urban quality. Nowadays, there is a wide consensus that the city developed through the aggregation of several villages around the largest one, placed above the Palatine; this aggregation was facilitated by the increase of agricultural productivity above the subsistence level, which allowed the establishment of secondary and tertiary activities. These in turn boosted the development of trade with the Greek colonies of southern Italy; these developments, which according to archaeological ev
Charlemagne or Charles the Great, numbered Charles I, was King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774, Holy Roman Emperor from 800. He united much of central Europe during the Early Middle Ages, he was the first recognised emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire, he was canonized by Antipope Paschal III. Charlemagne was the eldest son of Pepin the Short and Bertrada of Laon, born before their canonical marriage, he became king in 768 following his father's death as co-ruler with his brother Carloman I. Carloman's sudden death in December 771 under unexplained circumstances left Charlemagne as the sole ruler of the Frankish Kingdom, he continued his father's policy towards the papacy and became its protector, removing the Lombards from power in northern Italy and leading an incursion into Muslim Spain. He campaigned against the Saxons to his east, Christianizing them upon penalty of death and leading to events such as the Massacre of Verden.
He reached the height of his power in 800 when he was crowned "Emperor of the Romans" by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day at Rome's Old St. Peter's Basilica. Charlemagne has been called the "Father of Europe", as he united most of Western Europe for the first time since the classical era of the Roman Empire and united parts of Europe that had never been under Frankish or Roman rule, his rule spurred the Carolingian Renaissance, a period of energetic cultural and intellectual activity within the Western Church. All Holy Roman Emperors considered their kingdoms to be descendants of Charlemagne's empire, as did the French and German monarchies. However, the Eastern Orthodox Church views Charlemagne more controversially, labelling as heterodox his support of the filioque and the Pope's recognition of him as legitimate Roman Emperor rather than Irene of Athens of the Byzantine Empire; these and other machinations led to the eventual split of Rome and Constantinople in the Great Schism of 1054. Charlemagne died in 814, having ruled as emperor for 14 years and as king for 46 years.
He was laid to rest in his imperial capital city of Aachen. He married at least four times and had three legitimate sons, but only his son Louis the Pious survived to succeed him. By the 6th century, the western Germanic tribe of the Franks had been Christianised, due in considerable measure to the Catholic conversion of Clovis I. Francia, ruled by the Merovingians, was the most powerful of the kingdoms that succeeded the Western Roman Empire. Following the Battle of Tertry, the Merovingians declined into powerlessness, for which they have been dubbed the rois fainéants. All government powers were exercised by their chief officer, the mayor of the palace. In 687, Pepin of Herstal, mayor of the palace of Austrasia, ended the strife between various kings and their mayors with his victory at Tertry, he became the sole governor of the entire Frankish kingdom. Pepin was the grandson of two important figures of the Austrasian Kingdom: Saint Arnulf of Metz and Pepin of Landen. Pepin of Herstal was succeeded by his son Charles known as Charles Martel.
After 737, Charles declined to call himself king. Charles was succeeded in 741 by his sons Pepin the Short, the father of Charlemagne. In 743, the brothers placed Childeric III on the throne to curb separatism in the periphery, he was the last Merovingian king. Carloman resigned office in 746. Pepin brought the question of the kingship before Pope Zachary, asking whether it was logical for a king to have no royal power; the pope handed down his decision in 749, decreeing that it was better for Pepin to be called king, as he had the powers of high office as Mayor, so as not to confuse the hierarchy. He, ordered him to become the true king. In 750, Pepin was elected by an assembly of the Franks, anointed by the archbishop, raised to the office of king; the Pope ordered him into a monastery. The Merovingian dynasty was thereby replaced by the Carolingian dynasty, named after Charles Martel. In 753, Pope Stephen II fled from Italy to Francia, appealing to Pepin for assistance for the rights of St. Peter.
He was supported in this appeal by Charles' brother. In return, the pope could provide only legitimacy, he did this by again anointing and confirming Pepin, this time adding his young sons Carolus and Carloman to the royal patrimony. They thereby became heirs to the realm that covered most of western Europe. In 754, Pepin accepted the Pope's invitation to visit Italy on behalf of St. Peter's rights, dealing with the Lombards. Under the Carolingians, the Frankish kingdom spread to encompass an area including most of Western Europe. Orman portrays the Treaty of Verdun between the warring grandsons of Charlemagne as the foundation event of an independent France under its first king Charles the Bald; the middle kingdom had broken up by 890 and absorbed into the Western kingdom and the Eastern kingdom and the rest developing into smaller "buffer" nations that exist between Fr
Al-Mas‘udi was an Arab historian and traveler. He is sometimes referred to as the "Herodotus of the Arabs". Al-Mas‘udi was one of the first to combine history and scientific geography in a large-scale work, The Meadows of Gold and Mines of Gems, a world history. More described as prolific and as a polymath, he was the author of "over twenty" works, which dealt with "a wide variety of religious and secular subjects, including history, the natural sciences and theology." Apart from what Al-Mas‘udi writes of himself little is known. He had been born in Baghdad and was descended from Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad, he mentions the names of many scholar associates. The true extent of al-Mas‘udi's travels has met some skepticism, yet conservative estimates hold it was considerable: Al-Mas‘udi's travels occupied most of his life from at least 903/915 CE to near the end of his life, his journeys took him to most of the Persian provinces, Armenia and other regions of the Caspian Sea.
He travelled to the Indus Valley, other parts of India the western coast. He sailed on the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean and the Caspian; some biographies include Sri Lanka and China among his travels, but we know that he received information on China from Abu Zaid al-Sirafi whom he met on the coast of the Persian Gulf. In Syria al-Mas‘udi met the Byzantine admiral convert-to-Islam, Leo of Tripoli, from whom he learned much about Byzantium, he spent his last years in Egypt. In Egypt he found a copy of a Frankish king list from Clovis to Louis IV, written by an Andalusian bishop. Little is known of his means and funding of his extensive travels within and beyond the lands of Islam, it has been speculated that like many travelers he may have been involved in trade. Towards the end of The Meadows of Gold, al-Mas‘udi wrote: The information we have gathered here is the fruit of long years of research and painful efforts of our voyages and journeys across the East and the West, of the various nations that lie beyond the regions of Islam.
The author of this work compares himself to a man who, having found pearls of all kinds and colours, gathers them together into a necklace and makes them into an ornament that its possessor guards with great care. My aim has been to trace the lands and the histories of many peoples, I have no other. We know that al-Mas‘udi wrote a revised edition of Muruj adh-dhahab in 956 CE. Al-Mas ` udi in his Tanbih states. Lunde and Stone provide a detailed reminder of the intellectual environment in which al-Mas‘udi lived: He lived at a time when books were available and cheap. Aside from large public libraries in major towns like Baghdad, many individuals, like Mas‘udi's friend al-Suli, had private libraries containing thousands of volumes; the prevalence of books and their low price was the result of the introduction of paper to the Islamic world by Chinese papermakers captured at the Battle of Talas in 751. Soon afterwards there were paper mills in most large towns and cities; the introduction of paper coincided with the coming to power of the Abbasid dynasty, there is no doubt that the availability of cheap writing material contributed to the growth of the Abbasid bureaucracy, postal system, lively intellectual life.
They note that Mas‘udi encourages his readers to consult other books he has written, expecting these to be accessible to his readership. They note the stark contrast between contemporary European conditions confronting say the author of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and this literate Islamic world. Ahmad Shboul mentions the rich blend of Greek philosophy, Persian literature, Indian mathematics and the rich heritage of the ancient cultures that went into the vigorous life of the day; this enabled the society of the day to manifest a knowledge seeking and analytical attitude. There was a natural association of scholarly minded people in this civilized atmosphere, al-Mas‘udi much took part in this energizing activity. Al-Mas‘udi was a pupil or junior colleague of a number of prominent intellectuals, including the philologists al-Zajjaj, ibn Duraid and ibn Anbari, he was acquainted with famous poets, including Kashajim, whom he met in Aleppo. He was well read in philosophy, knowing the works of al-Kindi and al-Razi, the Aristotelian thought of al-Farabi and the Platonic writings.
Al-Mas‘udi's extant writings do not confirm his meeting with his contemporaries al-Razi and al-Farabi, however such meetings were likely. He does record his meeting with al-Farabi's pupil Yahya ibn Adi. In addition he was familiar with the medical work of Galen, with Ptolemaic astronomy, with the geographical work of Marinus and with the studies of Islamic geographers and astronomers, he indicates training in jurisprudence. He was aware of the work of others. Subki states that al-Mas‘udi was a student of ibn Surayj, the leading scholar of the Shafi'ite school. Al-Subki claimed. Al-Mas‘udi met Shafi'ites during his stay in Egypt, he met Zahirites in Aleppo such as Ibn Jabir and Niftawayh.