The Arab chronicler Ibn al-Faqih wrote that there were two types of saqaliba: those with swarthy skin and dark hair that live by the sea and those with light skin that live farther inland.
In the Muslim world, Saqaliba served in a multitude of ways: servants, eunuchs, craftsmen, soldiers, and even as caliph's guards.
In particular, Ibn Fadlan referred to the ruler of the Volga Bulgaria, Almış, as "King of the Saqaliba", although another likely reason for this is that there were many genuine Slavs living at that time in his domain, both slaves and ordinary settlers.
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