The Mongols and the West: 1221-1410, Edition 2

Routledge
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The Mongols and the West

provides a comprehensive survey of relations between the Catholic West and the Mongol Empire from the first appearance of Chinggis (Genghis) Khan’s armies on Europe’s horizons in 1221 to the battle of Tannenberg in 1410. This book has been designed to provide a synthesis of previous scholarship on relations between the Mongols and the Catholic world as well as to offer new approaches and conclusions on the subject. It considers the tension between Western hopes of the Mongols as allies against growing Muslim powers and the Mongols’ position as conquerors with their own agenda, and evaluates the impact of Mongol-Western contacts on the West’s expanding knowledge of the world.

This second edition takes into account the wealth of scholarly literature that has emerged in the years since the previous edition and contains significantly extended chapters on trade and mission. It charts the course of military confrontation and diplomatic relations between the Mongols and the West, and re-examines the commercial opportunities offered to Western merchants by Mongol rule and the failure of Catholic missionaries to convert the Mongols to Christianity.

Fully revised and containing a range of maps, genealogical tables and both European and non-European sources throughout, The Mongols and the West is ideal for students of medieval European history and the crusades.

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About the author

Peter Jackson

is Emeritus Professor of Medieval History at Keele University, and a Fellow of the British Academy. His publications cover the Mongols, the Crusades and medieval Islam, and his most recent book is The Mongols and the Islamic World from Conquest to Conversion (2017).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
Apr 9, 2018
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Pages
426
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ISBN
9781351182829
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Asia / Central Asia
History / Europe / General
History / Europe / Medieval
History / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In the Roman Empire, relations between East and West meant connections between the eastern and western parts of a unified structure of empire. Romans sometimes complained about the corrupting influence on their city of Greeks and Orientals, but they employed Greek tutors to educate their sons. People did not think of the eastern and western parts of the empire as being separate entities whose relations with each other must be the object of careful study. Even at the moment of the empire's birth, there was a clear idea of where the Latin West ended and the Greek East began. This began to change with Constantine, when the Roman Empire was split in two, with Rome itself in decay.

This volume, first published in 1973, derives from a colloquium on medieval history held at Edinburgh University. Its theme was the fl uctuating balance-of-power of Latin West and Greek East, Rome and Constantinople. The book starts with Justinian's attempt to reunite the two halves of the old Roman Empire and then goes on to consider the polarization of Christianity into its Catholic and Orthodox sectors, and the misunderstandings fostered by the Crusades; and ends with the growing power and conquests of Islam in the fourteenth century.

The contributions included in Relations between East and West in the Middle Ages are: Old and New Rome in the Age of Justinian, by W. H. C. Frend; The Tenth Century in Byzantine-Western Relationships, by Karl Leyser; William of Tyre, by R. H. C. Davis; Cultural Relations between East and West in the Twelfth Century, by Anthony Bryer; Innocent III and the Greeks, Aggressor or Apostle? by Joseph Gill; Government in Latin Syria and the Commercial Privileges of Foreign Merchants, by Jonathan Riley-Smith; and Dante and Islam, by R. W. Southern.

Prior to the 13th century the horizons of Western Christians extended no further than the principalities of what is now European Russia and the Islamic powers of the near East. Beyond lay a world of which they had only the haziest impressions. The belief that Christian communities were to be found here was nurtured in the 12th century by the growth of the legend of Prester John; but otherwise Asia was peopled in the Western imagination by monstrous races borrowed from the works of late Antiquity. The rise of the Mongol empire, however, and the Mongol devastation of Hungary and Poland in 1241-2, brought the West into much closer contact with Inner Asia. Embassies were being exchanged with the Mongols from 1245; Italian merchants began to profit from the commercial opportunities offered by the union of much of Asia under a single power; and the newly emerging orders of preaching friars, the Franciscans and the Dominicans, who had been active in Eastern Europe and in the Islamic world since the 1220s, found their field of operations greatly expanded. The Franciscan William of Rubruck, who travelled through the Mongol empire in 1253-55, composed the earliest report of such a missionary journey that has come down to us. Couched in the form of a long letter to the French king Louis IX, this remarkable document constitutes an extremely valuable source on the Mongols during the era of their greatness. Rubruck was also the first Westerner to make contact with Buddhism, to describe the shamanistic practices by which the Mongols and other steppe peoples set such store, and to make detailed observations on the Nestorian Christian church and its rites. His remarks on geography, ethnography and fauna (notably the ovis poli, which he encountered a generation before the more celebrated Venetian adventurer from whom it takes its scientific name) give him an additional claim to be one of the keenest of medieval European observers to have travelled in Asia. This new annotated translation is designed to supersede that of W.W. Rockhill, published by the Society in 1900, by relating Rubruck's testimony to the wealth of material on Mongol Asia that has become accessible in other sources over the past nine decades.
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