Ibn Batuta Credit: WikiCommons/LoveOfDubai

Source: Digest of Memoirs and Notices published during the years 1869 – 75, and relating to meteorites found before the end of 1868. Author: Walter Flight, DSc, FRS

1325 – Birki, near Arzerrum (Erzroum), Anatolia, Turkey.

[The Travels of Ibn Batuta. Translated from the abridged Arabic manuscript. Copies preserved in the University of Cambridge. By the Rev. S. Lee. Printed for the Oriental Translation Committee. 1829. London: J. Murray. Page 72]

My attention has been directed by Mr. William Simpson to an account of a meteorite, probably a block of meteoric iron, which is given in the translation from the Arabic of “The Travels of Ibn Batuta.”

It appears that a Mahommedan, who had started on his travels from Tanjiers, came in the year 1325 to Birki, near Erzroum, and had audiences with the king.

“The King one day said to me, Have you ever seen a stone that came down from heaven?  I answered, No.  He continued, Such a stone has fallen in the environs of our city. He then called some men, and ordered them to bring the stone, which they did. It was a black, solid, exceedingly hard, and shining substance. If weighed, it would probably exceed a talent (according to some 112, to others 120lbs. weight).

He then ordered some stone-cutters to come in, when four came forward. He commanded them to strike upon it. They all struck together upon it accordingly with an iron hammer four successive strokes, which however made not the least impression upon it. I was much astonished at this.

The king then ordered the stone to be taken back to its place.”