Byzantine and papal sources about the Mongols

“I think you just will not find. They simply do not.
All references to the Mongols from Arab sources.
Vitali (lucul)

Contemporaries of the Mongols. Publishing material "Persian sources about the Mongol-Tatars" caused a “heated discussion” on “VO”, so we will have to start with some “preamble” to the main text.

Byzantine and papal sources about the Mongols

Siege of the city. Thumbnail of the manuscript of "Roman about Alexander". XIV century. (Archive of the Hellenistic Institute of Venice)

First of all the sentences: I am not against “alternative” points of view on the course storiesBut let us discuss in the materials about the Mongols precisely them, and not the class affiliation of the author of commentators, as well as their nationality and prospects for the world revolution. There will be an article stating that "Stalin and Hitler differ in the length of a mustache" - that’s there, please. Second, already specifically to “alternatives”: please do not a priori consider exactly your point of view to be the only correct one, but if you still think that this is the case, but you are not academicians of the Russian Academy of Sciences, then cite references to the sources of your deep awareness. Also note that the articles are not candidates and doctors of science published on popular sites, including “VO”, but without reference to the literature used in them, DO NOT CONSIDER. Any person can write any fabrications today, he has every right to do this, until he is locked in a place where doctors should decide. But let him show where his ideas came from, because unfounded statements do not prove anything to anyone, especially to me, and, moreover, are not needed by anyone. Do not take time from yourself or from others. Next, before you write something, look first at the Internet. After all, in him, darling, today there is almost everything that is needed, even in Russian, not to mention English. Remember that one fool (meaning the ignorant, of course!) Can ask so many questions that even a hundred wise men will not answer them. Don't be like this ... Why, for example, is the epigraph placed here? Yes, simply because its author was convinced that there are no Byzantine sources about the Mongols and that they cannot be found. However, they are, and they are many. If he wanted, he could check it out very easily. But he did not want to. And that is why this material is dedicated to the subject of Byzantium’s connection with the Mongols.

Everyone has their own world!

Let's start with the fact that we will remember, think or find out (who did not know before) that all civilizations of the planet Earth, starting from the Stone Age, and even from the Bronze Age and even more so, had the character of global communication. People exchanged goods produced thousands of kilometers from the place where archaeologists found them. And in the same way they exchanged ideas. Not without reason, researchers of national epics and legends constantly pay attention to the similarity of their subjects and characteristic images. Here, for example, that the Persian Pahlevan Rustam in Shahnameh says about his significance: “My throne is a saddle, my crown is a helmet, my glory on the field. What is Shah Cavus? The whole world is my power. ” But the words of the bogatyr Ilya Muromets: "Drink you, goals, do not fail, / I will serve as prince in Kiev, / And with me you will be the leaders." Appeared writing facilitated this process. The information process materialized. There were records of trade deals, travel stories, reports, spy reports ...

At the same time, the question of faith was very acute at all times. People tend to strive for like-mindedness, and even more so they strove for it at a time when it could be mined with a sword blow. But ... the death of people was already perceived (albeit for different reasons) as a tragedy that could have been avoided if they had the same “correct faith”. In the Middle Ages, everyone aspired to this, and above all, Christians and Muslims. Moreover, it was “the choice of faiths” by Prince Vladimir that became the very point of bifurcation that could change the whole course of world history in the last thousand years. It could, but ... did not change. Nevertheless, everyone tried to spread his faith then and later. And in particular - the papal throne, which, naturally, was aware of the fact that the newcomers from Asia, who destroyed the Christian troops at Legnitz, and on the river Shayo - are pagan polytheists! Well, since they are pagans, then the holy duty of Christians is to direct them to the true path and curb them! Correspondence between Pope Gregory IX and the Georgian Queen Rusudan has been preserved, from which one can clearly see his concern with Mongolian expansion as harming primarily the political interests of the popes in the Caucasus. The pope did not like the claims of Khan Ogedey to world domination, since the Holy See himself sought to do the same! The relations of the Mongolian nomadic empire with the popes after the invasion of Hungary deteriorated even more, followed by messages sent to Western rulers from Khan Guyuk (1246) and Khan Munke (1251) with the requirements of absolute subordination.

Mongol Empire during its maximum expansion in 1279

Why dads did not like the Mongols?

And how could it be otherwise, when Khan Mongke openly declared the need to continue the Mongolian expansion and expansion of the empire to the West to the “last sea”. In the Middle East, this led to the campaign of Khan Hulagu and the destruction of Baghdad, Aleppo and Damascus. The kingdom of Jerusalem, he also presented an ultimatum demanding to obey. Then the Mongols took and destroyed the city of Sidon (February 1260 of the year), which clearly showed the strength of the Outremer crusaders. In Rome, all of this was immediately reported in a series of letters, among which the message of the Bishop of Bethlehem, Thomas of Anya, is very interesting. Most of all, he was outraged by the statements of the Khan not so much by the demand for submission as by the words about the divine origin of the power of the Mongolian kagan.

Did Hulagu want to be a Christian?

However, the papacy would not be what it was, if it did not possess the vast experience of managing the rulers of other countries with the help of various methods. When Hulagu in 1260 decided to found a new ulus, it became an innovation, which was not provided for by the traditional Mongolian ruling elite division of the empire between the sons of Genghis Khan, and therefore was not recognized by the khan of the Golden Horde Berke. Hulagu’s relationship with the Golden Horde immediately deteriorated due to Hulagu’s refusal to give Berke a certain share of taxes from Transcaucasia and Khorasan, and so much so that they led to war between them in 1262. The clash between Ilkhanat and Horde repeated in 1279 year. And this “stab in the back” for the Khulaguid state was all the more dangerous since at the same time it was conducting active military actions against the sultanate of the Mamelukes of Egypt (1281 and 1299-1303). It is clear that it took allies, which here in the East for Hulagu could become only ... Western Europeans! In 1260 -1274 In the camp of Ilkhan there was a bishop from Bethlehem, a certain David from Ashby, and it was he who became the mediator in the Franco-Mongol negotiations. A letter from Hulagu, dated 1262 year, was transmitted to the King of France and the Roman Curia. In it, the khan openly declared ... his sympathies for Christianity (even as it happens!) And suggested coordinating the actions of the Mongolian troops against Egypt with the naval expedition of the Western crusaders. Dominican John of Hungary confirmed that Hulagu was baptized, but Pope Urban IV did not really believe it and invited the Jerusalem Patriarch to check this information and, if possible, find out how missionary activity among the Mongols is possible.

Restoration of the "second Rome"

As for the Byzantine-Mongolian relations known to us, they began to develop gradually from the middle of the 13th century, when the Byzantine Empire, yes, we can say that it no longer existed. But ... there was the Trebizond Empire, which was trying to establish friendly relations with the Golden Horde and the State of Hulaguids. In addition, just in 1261, the Byzantine Empire was able to re-establish itself, after which it entered into active relations with the Mongols, trying to push Hulaguids dangerous for it with the Golden Horde and thereby weaken both those and others. The implementation of the eternal principle of “divide and rule” included in practice not only the exchange of embassies and gifts, but also military cooperation, not to mention the dynastic marriages popular at that time and ... active correspondence. All this was and is reflected in the documents of both parties, and many of them have survived to our time.

As for the Trebizond Empire, after the defeat of the Seljuk sultan Giyas al-Din Key-Khosrov II in the battle with Baiju-noyon at Kose-dag in 1243 (near the city of Sivas in modern Turkey) during the Mongol invasion of Anatolia, she hurried to recognize a vassal of the Hulaguid state, which immediately opened up the Mongols to the land of Asia Minor.

Frightened by a possible attack from the Mongols, the emperor of the Latin Empire Balduin II de Courtenay, at the beginning of the 1250s, sent his knight Baudouin de Hainault to the great Khan Munch with an embassy mission. At the same time, the embassy from the emperor of the Nicene empire John Vatac also went there, which marked the beginning of diplomatic relations between these two states of the West and the East under the rule of the Mongol khans.

Byzantine warriors of the XII - XIII centuries. Fig. Angus McBride

Byzantium and the Mongols

As for Byzantium, Emperor Michael VIII there immediately after the restoration of the empire in 1263, concluded a peace treaty with the Golden Horde, and two years later went to give out his illegitimate daughter (Christian!) Maria Paleolog for Ilkhan Abaka, the ruler Hulaguidic power, and concluded an agreement with the alliance. But, nevertheless, he still couldn’t avoid invading the nomads. Khan of the Golden Horde Berke did not like the alliance between Byzantium and the state of the Hulaguids, and in response to him in the same 1265, he undertook a joint Mongolian-Bulgarian campaign against Byzantium. This attack led to the plundering of Thrace, after which the Mongols invaded the lands of Byzantium several times. In the 1273 year, after another attack, Mikhail VIII decided to marry the Golden Horde beklyarbek Nogai his daughter Euphrosinia Paleologue and ... in this way, through a marriage bed, he achieved an alliance from him. And not only the union, but also real military assistance! When in the 1273 and 1279 years, the Bulgarians undertook campaigns against Byzantium, Noghai turned his warriors against their yesterday's allies. A Mongol detachment of 4000 warriors was sent to Constantinople in the 1282 year, when the emperor needed military force to fight the rebellious despot of Thessaly.

The basis of diplomacy - dynastic marriage!

Emperor Andronicus II, who assumed the throne in 1282, continued the policy of his father and tried his best to maintain peaceful relations with the Mongolian states. Around 1295 of the year, they were offered Gazan-khan, the ruler of the state of Hulaguids, a dynastic marriage in exchange for rendering him in the fight against the Seljuk Turks, who plagued the Byzantines on the eastern border of the empire. Ghazan Khan accepted this offer, and promised military aid. And although he died in 1304, his successor, Olgeitu Khan, continued the negotiations, and in 1305, concluded a treaty of alliance with Byzantium. Then in the 1308 year, Olzheit sent the Mongol army to 30 000 warriors in Asia Minor and returned Byzantium Bithynia captured by the Turks. Andronik II also managed to maintain peace with the Golden Horde, for which he gave his two daughters as Khans Tokhta and Uzbek, under which, by the way, the Golden Horde converted to Islam.

Byzantine warriors of the 14th century Fig. Angus McBride

But at the end of the reign of Andronicus II, relations with the Golden Horde had deteriorated sharply. In the 1320 — 1324, the Mongols again invaded Thrace, once again plundering it. And after the death of Ilkhan Abu Said in 1335, Byzantium lost its main eastern ally in Asia. It got to the point that already in 1341, the Mongols planned to seize Constantinople, and Emperor Andronicus III had to send an embassy to them with rich gifts, just to prevent their invasion.

Byzantine armor Clivanium, X — XII centuries. Reconstruction of Dimitris, Greece

Papacy reaction

And how did the Roman papacy respond to all these events? His reaction can be seen from the mention of possible Mongolian aggression, which in the messages of Pope Urban IV are becoming less frequent with each year, the last remark relates to 25 in May 1263 of the year. At the same time, relations with Eastern Christians, for example, with the Armenian Church, have improved. There has been a resumption of negotiations on the possible conclusion of a union. An important role in the promotion of Catholic missionaries to the East was also played by the trade colonies created by the Genoese in the Crimea. The Mongol khans did not hinder them, allowed them to trade, but together with the merchants monks, the eyes and ears of the papal throne, penetrated there.

Michael VIII Palaeologus is kneeling before Christ. The image on the coin, issued on the occasion of the celebration of the liberation of the capital of the empire from the Crusaders

Western merchants actively penetrated the Trapezund Empire, which was subject to the Persian khans, where their activity has been observed since 1280. Reaching the capital of the Ilkhanat Tabriz, which became the center of Asian trade after the fall of Baghdad in 1258, they established their trading posts there and established close sea connections with Europe. But they needed to pray somewhere, so they asked for permission to build Catholic churches in the lands subordinate to Mongol rule. That is, papal power began to be present even where the general population professed Islam or Buddhism. For example, Giovanni from Montecorvino managed to build a Catholic church in Beijing next to ... the palace of the Great Khan himself. Funds for the construction were used very different, including they were taken from people of a different faith. Thus, the Catholic archbishop of Fujian, an extremely important center of commerce in southern China, built a church in 1313 there with funds received from a widow of a certain ... Orthodox Armenian merchant.

Fortress walls of Constantinople

To strengthen ties with the Mongolian empire, the activity of the Franciscan monks, who founded their monasteries in the Crimea, in Trebizond, and in Armenia, as well as in the capital of Ilkhanat, was of great importance. They were directly subordinate to the Roman Curia, which, although it experienced considerable difficulties in relations “with its people” in the territory so remote from Rome, but nevertheless considered their work very important. With increased missionary work in Asia, Pope Boniface VIII decided to give it a more independent character and in 1300, he established the Franciscan Diocese in Cuffe, and three years later in Sarai himself. The Diocese of Saray in 1307 was subordinated to the Vicar of China, created by the works of the same Franciscan monk Giovanni from Montecorvino. The Dominican diocese in the new capital of Ilkhanat, Sultania, appeared by the decision of Pope Giovanni XXII, who more favored Dominicans than Franciscans. And again, many of the Catholic missionaries arrived in Asia through Byzantium, and in the East they performed the tasks not only of the popes, but also ... of the Byzantine emperors.

At Vienne Cathedral (1311 - 1312), the issue of teaching missionaries to local languages ​​in special schools in the territory of the Mongolian empire was specifically discussed. Another serious problem was the actual nomadic way of life of the Mongols, their traditional activities and life, greatly complicating the execution of Catholic rites, as well as their polygamy, which could not be eradicated. That is why the preaching of Islam found a greater response in their hearts and contributed to their progressive Islamization. By the way, what the missionaries reported to Rome in their secret reports. At the same time, the popes' reaction to the strengthening of Byzantium’s contacts with the Mongols, and with it the Eastern Church, was sharply negative. Before them was a vivid example of the baptism of Russia according to the Greek rite, and the popes did not want a repetition of such a scenario.

Michael VIII Paleolog. A miniature from the manuscript of the history of Pachimer, XIV century. (State Library of Bavaria, Munich)

In general, the activities of Western missionaries, although they did not produce any special effect, nevertheless contributed to the growth of the authority of the papacy within the European continent. But the Greek Church clearly lost this round of opposition to the papacy. Although the papal envoys had only to testify as a result of the triumph of Islam among the Asian nomads. The negative consequence of the Franco-Mongolian military alliance and the spread of Catholicism in the East was ... and the destruction of the kingdom of Jerusalem in 1291. But if the Persian khans had adopted Christianity, then the states of the Crusaders would exist in Palestine and beyond, and Byzantium would have every chance for further existence. Whatever it was, but all this activity was already useful because it literally left us mountains of documents stored in libraries and archives in many countries, but mainly in the Vatican Apostolic Library in Rome, where there is a whole department for such documents.

Scroll of Joshua, a Greek manuscript of the 10th century, probably made in Constantinople (Vatican Apostolic Library, Rome)

Использованная литература:
1. Karpov S., History of the Trapezund Empire, St. Petersburg: Aletheia, 2007.
2. Malyshev A. B. Report by an anonymous Minorite about Franciscan missionary posts in the Golden Horde in the 14th century. // Archeology of the Eastern European steppe. Interuniversity collection of scientific papers, Vol. 4. Saratov, 2006. C. 183-189.
3. Shishka E.A. Byzantine-Mongolian relations in the context of political and military conflicts in the Mongolian empire in the 60-s. XIII in // Classical and Byzantine tradition. 2018: collection of materials of the XII scientific conference / resp. ed. N.N. Bolgov. Belgorod, 2018. C.301-305.
4. Letter from brother Julian about the Mongol war // Historical archive. 1940. T. 3. C. 83 — 90.
5. Plano Carpini J. Del. The history of Mongalov // J. Del Plano Karpini. The history of Mongal / G. de Rubruk. Journey to Eastern countries / Book of Marco Polo. M .: Thought, 1997.
6. Ata-Melik Juvayni. Genghis Khan. History of the Conqueror of the World = Genghis Khan: The history of the world conqueror / by J. E. Boyle, from the text of Mirza Mohammed Qazvini to English, with a preface and bibliography of D. O. Morgan. Text translation from English to Russian by EE Kharitonova. M .: MAGISTR PRESS Publishing House, 2004.
7. Stephen Turnbull. Genghis Khan & the Mongol Conquests 1190 – 1400 (Essential histories №57), Osprey, 2003; Stephen Turnbull. Mongol Warrior 1200 – 1350 (Warrior # 84), Osprey, 2003; Stephen Turnbull. The Mongol Invasions of Japan 1274 and 1281 (Campaign No. 217), Osprey, 2010; Stephen Turnbull. The Great Wall of China 221 BC – AD 1644 (Fortress # 57), Osprey, 2007.
8. Heath, Ian. Byzantine Army 1118 - 1461AD. L .: Osprey (Men-at-Arms # 287), 1995. RR. 25-35.

To be continued ...
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