By Peter Jackson, David Morgan
Sooner than the thirteenth century the horizons of Western Christians prolonged no additional than the principalities of what's now eu Russia and the Islamic powers of the close to East. past lay an international of which that they had merely the haziest impressions. the idea that Christian groups have been to be discovered right here was once nurtured within the twelfth century by way of the expansion of the legend of Prester John; yet differently Asia was once peopled within the Western mind's eye by means of tremendous races borrowed from the works of overdue Antiquity. the increase of the Mongol empire, notwithstanding, and the Mongol devastation of Hungary and Poland in 1241-2, introduced the West into a lot nearer touch with internal Asia. Embassies have been being exchanged with the Mongols from 1245; Italian retailers started to benefit from the industrial possibilities provided through the union of a lot of Asia less than a unmarried energy; and the newly rising orders of preaching friars, the Franciscans and the Dominicans, who have been energetic in japanese Europe and within the Islamic international because the 1220s, stumbled on their box of operations enormously accelerated. The Franciscan William of Rubruck, who travelled in the course of the Mongol empire in 1253-55, composed the earliest document of the sort of missionary trip that has come all the way down to us. Couched within the kind of a protracted letter to the French king Louis IX, this striking record constitutes an incredibly invaluable resource at the Mongols throughout the period in their greatness. Rubruck used to be additionally the 1st Westerner to make touch with Buddhism, to explain the shamanistic practices in which the Mongols and different steppe peoples set such shop, and to make precise observations at the Nestorian Christian church and its rites. His feedback on geography, ethnography and fauna (notably the ovis poli, which he encountered a iteration sooner than the extra celebrated Venetian adventurer from whom it takes its clinical identify) supply him an extra declare to be one of many keenest of medieval eu observers to have travelled in Asia. This new annotated translation is designed to supersede that of W.W. Rockhill, released by way of the Society in 1900, via touching on Rubruck's testimony to the wealth of fabric on Mongol Asia that has develop into available in different resources over the last 9 a long time.
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Additional info for The Mission of Friar William of Rubruck: His Journey to the Court of the Great Khan Möngke, 1253-1255
2 P. Jackson, 'The crisis in the Holy Land in 1260', EHR, XCV (1980), 488. 3 For Het'um's journey, as described by the Armenian chronicler Kirakos Ganjakeci, see J. A. Boyle, "The journey of Het'um I, king of Little Armenia, to the court of the Great Khan Mongke', CAJ, IX (1964), 175-89; repr. in his The Mongol World Empire 1206-1370 (London, 1977). 4 Fennell, pp. 76-7. T. T. Allsen, 'Prelude to the Western campaigns: Mongol military operations in the Volga-Ural region, 1217-1237', Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi, III (1983), 5-24.
W. Rockhill, The journey of William ofRubruck to the eastern parts of the world, 1253-1255 (London, 1900) [hereafter Rubruck}, p. l. In the opinion of C. W. Connell, 'Western views of the origin of the " Tartars ",' Journal ofMedieval and Renaissance Studies, III (1973), 1 IT18, this probably represented a conscious distortion rather than genuine error. Elsewhere, Paris says that the name derives from a river Tar' (III, 488; tr. Giles, I, 131) or 'Tartar' (IV, 78; tr. -hist. Kl. (1956), no. 6, p.
In his The Mongol World Empire 1206-1370 (London, 1977). 4 Fennell, pp. 76-7. T. T. Allsen, 'Prelude to the Western campaigns: Mongol military operations in the Volga-Ural region, 1217-1237', Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi, III (1983), 5-24. 5 Fennell, pp. 77-83. 14 INTRODUCTION (who had been at war with the Muslims for some years prior to the Mongol invasion of western Asia, and one of whose ancestors figures in David's supposed genealogy), 1 the Khwarazmshah and Chinggis Khan himself. At the outset, there had been a tendency to pay greater attention to the encouraging news about David's Christian army than to more sinister reports that were available.