The Mongol Mission: Narratives and Letters of the Franciscan Missionaries in Mongolia and China in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries

The Mongol Mission: Narratives and Letters of the Franciscan Missionaries in Mongolia and China in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries

The Mongol Mission: Narratives and Letters of the Franciscan Missionaries in Mongolia and China in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries

The Mongol Mission: Narratives and Letters of the Franciscan Missionaries in Mongolia and China in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries

Excerpt

The narratives by John of Plano Carpini and William of Rubruck of their journeys to Mongolia in the middle of the thirteenth century differ from the majority of works in this series. The authors were not canonized saints or beati and their travels were not missionary journeys in the strict sense, but were more of the nature of political embassies. Nevertheless they were servants of Christendom as few men have been. They endured all the hardships of which St. Paul speaks, in an entirely selfless devotion to the service of Christendom. They were, moreover, disciples of St. Francis of the first generation who possessed the genuine Franciscan spirit of simplicity and poverty and self-abnegation. But above all they give an absolutely first-hand authentic account of the first contact between Western Christendom and the Far East, and this at the moment when the whole oriental world from Korea to Hungary was being turned upside down and remade by one of the greatest catastrophes in the history of the world.

I. THE RELATION OF EUROPE TO ASIA: THE TWO EUROPES AND THE TWO ASIAS

To understand these events we must go back a long way in history. The ancient civilization's were oases in a wilderness of barbarism. It was only gradually that these oases were connected with one another by a common culture and became an oecumene, an orbis terrarum, a civilized world. The world from which we came is the orbis terrarum of the Mediterranean lands, which attained political unification in the Roman Empire in the first century b.c. At the other end of the old world a similar unity was constituted by China—the Middle Kingdom—which attained political unity much earlier than the West, though later than . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.