13th Century

Rabban Bar Sauma 3: Barbazoma, Tartarus, Orientalis

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This is Rabban Bar Sauma part 3 of 4: the story of the Mongol envoy's diplomatic efforts in Paris, Bordeaux, and Rome, his experience as a pilgrim to the sites and saints of Italy and France, and his attempts to improve the Ilkhanid cause against the Mamluks. (MP3)

If you like what you hear and want to chip in to support the podcast, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is here.

Sources
:

  • The Monks of Kublai Khan, translated by Sir E. A. Wallis Budge. The Religious Tract Society, 1928.

  • Epstein, Steven. Genoa and the Genoese, 958-1528. University of North Carolina Press, 2001.

  • Jackson, Peter. The Mongols and the Islamic World. Yale University Press, 2017.

  • Jackson, Peter. The Mongols and the West: 1221-1410. Pearson Longman, 2005.

  • Kolbas, Judith. The Mongols in Iran: Chingiz Khan to Uljaytu 1220–1309. Routledge, 2006.

  • Lower, Michael. The Tunis Crusade of 1270: A Mediterranean History. Oxford University Press, 2018.  

  • Nicol, Donald M. Byzantium and Venice: A Study in Diplomatic and Cultural Relations. Cambridge University Press, 1992. 

  • Prestwich, Michael. Edward I. Yale University Press, 2008.

  • Rossabi, Morris. Voyager from Xanadu: Rabban Sauma and the First Journey from China to the West. Kodansha International, 1992.


Rabban Bar Sauma 2: Ilkhanid Infighting, Ilkhanid Envoy

Arghun Khan of the Ilkhanate

In this episode, our monkish friends attempt to navigate the violent waters of Ilkhanid Mongol politics, and Bar Sauma himself embarks on another long journey, this time heading for Rome.(MP3)

Sources:

  • The Monks of Kublai Khan, translated by Sir E. A. Wallis Budge. The Religious Tract Society, 1928.

  • Aigle, Denise. The Mongol Empire Between Myth and Reality: Studies in Anthropological History. Brill Academic Pub, 2014.

  • Benjamin, Sandra. Sicily: Three Thousand Years of Human History. Steerforth Press, 2010.

  • Grousset, René. The Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia, translated by Naomi Walford. Rutgers, 2002. 

  • Jackson, Peter. The Mongols and the Islamic World. Yale University Press, 2017.

  • Jackson, Peter. The Mongols and the West: 1221-1410. Pearson Longman, 2005.

  • Kolbas, Judith. The Mongols in Iran: Chingiz Khan to Uljaytu 1220–1309. Routledge, 2006.

  • Pfeiffer, Judith, "Reflections on a 'Double Rapprochement': Conversion to Islam among the Mongol Elite during the Early Ilkhanate," in Beyond the Legacy of Genghis Khan, edited by Linda Komaroff. Brill Academic Pub, 2006.

  • Rose, Susan. Medieval Naval Warfare, 1000-1500. Routledge, 2002.

  • Rossabi, Morris. Voyager from Xanadu: Rabban Sauma and the First Journey from China to the West. Kodansha International, 1992.


Rabban Bar Sauma 1: The Monks of Kublai Khan

Hulagu Khan and Doquz Khatun of the Ilkhanate

First in a series on Rabban Bar Sauma, covering his life from miracle-baby through cave-bound monk and on to pilgrim, with ambassador to the cities of western Europe not far behind. This episode takes us from Yuan China to Jerusalem, or perhaps not quite that far. (MP3)

If you like what you hear and want to chip in to support the podcast, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is here

Sources:  

  • The History of Yaballaha III Nestorian Patriarch and of his Vicar Bar Sauma Mongol Ambassador to the Frankish Courts at the End of the Thirteenth Century, translated by James A. Montgomery. Columbia University Press, 1927.

  • The Monks of Kublai Khan, translated by Sir E. A. Wallis Budge. The Religious Tract Society, 1928.

  • Nestorian Tablet: Eulogizing the Propagation of the Illustrious Religion in China, with a Preface, composed by a priest of the Syriac Church, 781 A.D. https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/eastasia/781nestorian.asp 

  • Jackson, Peter. The Mongols and the Islamic World. Yale University Press, 2017.

  • Jackson, Peter. The Mongols and the West: 1221-1410. Pearson Longman, 2005. 

  • Keevak, Michael. The Story of a Stele: China's Nestorian Monument and Its Reception in the West, 1625-1916. Hong Kong University Press, 2010.

  • Rossabi, Morris. Khublai Khan: His Life and Times. University of California Press, 1988. 

  • Rossabi, Morris. Voyager from Xanadu: Rabban Sauma and the First Journey from China to the West. Kodansha International, 1992.


Geoffrey's Crusade 4: Simon and the Seven Thieves

1204 Siege of Constantinople

This one will be a bit of a side step in the Fourth Crusade story. This is a story of furta sacra, or sacred theft, following the fall of Constantinople, and of one theft in particular. This the story of Saint Simon and how he came to Venice. (MP3)

The medieval Christmas card Kickstarter which I mentioned can be found here.

If you like what you hear and would like to chip in, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is here.

Sources
:  

  • Geoffrey de Villehardouin. Memoirs or Chronicle of The Fourth Crusade and The Conquest of Constantinople, translated by Frank T. Marzials. J.M. Dent, 1908.

  • Three Old French Chronicles Of The Crusades: The History Of The Holy War; The History Of Them That Took Constantinople; The Chronicle Of Reims, translated by Edward Noble Stone. University Of Washington Publications In The Social Sciences, 1939.

  • O City of Byzantium, Annals of Niketas Choniates, translated by Harry J. Magoulias. Wayne State University Press, 1984.

  • Madden, Thomas F. Enrico Dandolo and the Rise of Venice. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.

  • Madden, Thomas F. Venice: A New History. Viking, 2012.

  • Norwich, John Julius. Byzantium: The Decline and Fall. Viking, 1995.

  • Perry, David M. Sacred Plunder: Venice and the Aftermath of the Fourth Crusade. Penn State Press, 2015.

  • Perry, David M. “The Translatio Symonensis and the Seven Thieves: A Venetian Fourth Crusade Furta Sacra Narrative and the Looting of Constantinople."

  • Queller, Donald E. The Fourth Crusade: The Conquest of Constantinople, 1201-1204.  Leicester University Press, 1978.


Geoffrey's Crusade 1: Venetian Appointments

The Siege of Zara

Using the the chronicles of two participants in the Fourth Crusade - the one a common knight (Robert de Clari), the other a leader involved in decision making and the important work of an envoy (Geoffrey de Villehardouin) - we follow the growth of the Fourth Crusade through the elevation of Pope Innocent III, the negotiation with the Venetians, the ruinous agreement that was the result, and all the way up to the gates of Zara.

(MP3)

If you like what you hear, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is here.

Sources:

  • Geoffrey de Villehardouin. Memoirs or Chronicle of The Fourth Crusade and The Conquest of Constantinople, translated by Frank T. Marzials. J.M. Dent, 1908.

  • Three Old French Chronicles Of The Crusades: The History Of The Holy War; The History Of Them That Took Constantinople; The Chronicle Of Reims, translated by Edward Noble Stone. University Of Washington Publications In The Social Sciences, 1939.

  • Madden, Thomas F. Enrico Dandolo and the Rise of Venice. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.

  • Madden, Thomas F. Venice: A New History. Viking, 2012.

  • Queller, Donald E. The Fourth Crusade: The Conquest of Constantinople, 1201-1204. Leicester University Press, 1978.


Marco and the Polos 7: Marco Polo Comes Home

Venice, Niccolo da Poggibonsi

On this, the last episode of my Marco Polo series, Marco comes home to Venice. I touch on a bit of the history of the book (or books), The Travels of Marco Polo, and we follow Marco as he disentangles himself from the stifling embrace of Kublai Khan, encounters many things new and strange to him on the coast of India, and finds himself mixing with Ilkhan royalty. Thanks for listening!

(MP3)

If you like what you hear, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is here.

Sources:

  • The Travels of Marco Polo, the Venetian, translated by William Marsden, edited by Thomas Wright. George Bell & Sons, 1907.

  • The Travels of Marco Polo: The Complete Yule-Cordier Edition, translated by Henry Yule and revised by Henri Cordier. Courier Corporation, 1993.

  • Bergreen, Laurence. Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu. Vintage Books, 2008.

  • Lambton, Ann K. S. Continuity and Change in Medieval Persia. The Persian Heritage Foundation, 1988.

  • Larner, John. Marco Polo and the Discovery of the World. Yale University Press, 1999.


Marco and the Polos 5: The Echoes of the Wind

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Marco Polo's story of "Zipangu," the secluded island kingdom, abundant with gold, and Kublai Khan's attempt to take it all, is the subject of this episode. I talk about the two Mongol invasions of Japan and how their story has reached us.

It's all about the invasions of 1274 and 1281, Kamakura-era Japan with its Hojo dominated shogunate, the Yuan emperor and his Korean vassals, the kamikaze, a song carved in stone at the Hakozaki shrine and a wall at Hakata Bay, the Sakoku Edict, Commodore Matthew Perry, the scrolls of Takezaki Suenaga, and the work of Torao Mozai and others. Enjoy! 

(MP3)

If you like what you hear, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is here

Sources:

  • The Travels of Marco Polo, the Venetian, translated by William Marsden, edited by Thomas Wright. George Bell & Sons, 1907.

  • The Travels of Marco Polo: The Complete Yule-Cordier Edition, translated by Henry Yule and revised by Henri Cordier. Courier Corporation, 1993.

  • Chase, Kenneth W. "Mongol Intentions Towards Japan in 1266: Evidence from a Mongol Letter to the Sung." Sino-Japanese Studies 9, no. 2 (1997).

  • Conlan, Thomas D. In Little Need of Divine Intervention: Takezaki Suenaga's Scrolls of the Mongol Invasions of Japan. Cornell University (2010).

  • Delgado, James P. Adventures of a Sea Hunter: In Search of Famous Shipwrecks. Douglas & McIntyre, 2004.

  • Delgado, James P. Khubilai Khan's Lost Fleet: In Search of a Legendary Armaga. Douglas & McIntyre, 2008.

  • Delgado, James P. "Relics of the Kamikaze," Archaeology. 56, no. 1 (January/February, 2003).

  • Larner, John. Marco Polo and the Discovery of the World. Yale University Press, 1999.

  • Mass, Jeffrey P., ed. Court and Bakufu in Japan: Essays in Kamakura History. Stanford University Press (1995).

  • Olschki, Leonardo. Marco Polo's Asia. University of California Press, 1960.

  • Rossabi, Morris. Khubilai Khan: His Life and Times. University of California Press, 1988.

  • Sasaki, Randall J. The Origins of the Lost Fleet of the Mongol Empire. Texas A & M University Press, 2015.

  • Yamada, Nakaba. Ghenko, the Mongol Invasion of Japan. London, Smith, Elder, 1916.

Marco and the Polos 4: Did You Go to China, Marco?

Marco Polo with Bow and Sword

In this episode, I look at the question of whether Marco actually went to China. Some have thought he did not at all or only made it to Kublai's capital. I also talk about what he was actually doing there if/when he reached China, what he tells us, and what he might have told the khan. There's the Siege of Xiangyang, war with the Southern Song, the theories of Frances Wood, and all that Marco does and does not say of his time with the khan and in his capital at Dadu or Khanbaliq. 

(MP3)

If you like what you hear, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is here.

Sources:

  • The Travels of Marco Polo, the Venetian, translated by William Marsden, edited by Thomas Wright. George Bell & Sons, 1907.

  • The Travels of Marco Polo: The Complete Yule-Cordier Edition, translated by Henry Yule and revised by Henri Cordier. Courier Corporation, 1993.

  • Haw, Stephen G. Marco Polo's China: A Venetian in the Realm of Khubilai Khan. Routledge, 2006.

  • Larner, John. Marco Polo and the Discovery of the World. Yale University Press, 1999.

  • Man, John. Marco Polo: The Journey that Changed the World. HarperCollins, 2009.

  • Olschki, Leonardo. Marco Polo's Asia. University of California Press, 1960.

  • Rossabi, Morris. Khubilai Khan: His Life and Times. University of California Press, 1988.

  • Vogel, Hans Ulrich. Marco Polo was in China: New Evidence from Currencies, Salts and Revenues. Brill Academic Pub, 2012.


Marco and the Polos 2: Of Assassins and Other Things

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The three Polos depart for the summer palace of Kublai Khan. There'll be Assassins, baked corpses, and papal elections along the way! There'll be the conclusion of the longest of interregnums with the election of Gregory X, the threat of Mamluk attacks, the remnants of Alexander the Great, Prester John, Ong Khan, and Shangdu.

(MP3)

If you like what you hear, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is here.

Sources:

  • The Travels of Marco Polo, the Venetian, translated by William Marsden, edited by Thomas Wright. George Bell & Sons, 1907.

  • The Mission of Friar William of Rubruck, translated by Peter Jackson. The Hakluyt Society, 1990.

  • Cathay and the Way Thither, Being a Collection of Medieval Notices of China, Vol. III, translated and edited by Henry Yule and Henri Cordier. London, 1916.

  • Ackroyd, Peter. Venice: Pure City. Chatto & Windus, 2009.

  • Daftary, Farhad. The Assassin Legends. I. B. Tauris, 1994.

  • Larner, John. Marco Polo and the Discovery of the World. Yale University Press, 1999.

  • Madden, Thomas F. Venice: A New History. Viking, 2012.

  • Olschki, Leonardo. Marco Polo's Asia. University of California Press, 1960.

  • Steinhardt, Nancy Shatzman. Chinese Imperial City Planning. University of Hawaii Press, 1999.


Marco and the Polos 1: From Venice to the World

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The journey of Venice's most famous merchant and traveller begins today, but we won't see much of him in this episode. We'll look at Venice in the early 13th century and touch on the 4th crusade, Mediterranean-Asian trade, and the Pax Mongolica, before following the other Polos, Niccolo and Maffeo, east on their own little adventure. Enjoy! 

(MP3)

If you like what you hear, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is here.

Sources:

  • The Travels of Marco Polo, the Venetian, translated by Willam Marsden, edited by Thomas Wright. George Bell & Sons, 1907.

  • The Mission of Friar William of Rubruck, translated by Peter Jackson. The Hakluyt Society, 1990.

  • Cathay and the Way Thither, Being a Collection of Medieval Notices of China, Vol. III, translated and edited by Henry Yule and Henri Cordier. London, 1916.

  • Abu-Lughod, Janet L. Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350. Oxford University Press, 1989.

  • Ackroyd, Peter. Venice: Pure City. Chatto & Windus, 2009.

  • Ciociltan, Virgil. The Mongols and the Black Sea Trade in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries. Brill Academic, 2012.

  • Larner, John. Marco Polo and the Discovery of the World. Yale University Press, 1999.

  • Madden, Thomas F. Venice: A New History. Viking, 2012.

  • Olschki, Leonardo. Marco Polo's Asia. University of California Press, 1960.