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I've heard some rumors that Vikings have travelled as far as the Middle-east, and that would be where they've gotten the secret of making their steel so efficient, so early in history.
Is that a thing? Did they actually :
- Travel all the way to the middle east?
- Traded, with the locals?
And if they did, do we have any documentation, written journals perhaps, of how they reacted to such different climates?
Answer revised to a Yes: jamesqf correctly pointed out the example of the Varangian Guard in Constantinople.
Back in Scandinavia, Viking burial materials were found to carry Arabic and Muslim motifs. Metcalf's paper What happened to Islamic dirhams after their arrival in the Northern Lands? discusses hoards of coinage acquired directly from the mints far to the south.
There are also more dubious claims about such contact. J. Edgar Taylor's Vikings in the Gulf: fact or fancy? dismisses a specific claim that "Medieval Vikings hauled two or more ships across the Isthmus of Suez and sailed through the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf".