Medieval

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 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

Kuniyuki_Japanese_Armies_Defeating_Mongol_Invaders.jpg

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 1: From Venice to the World

the polos.jpeg

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.


To See the Mongols 7: Mongol Civil War

FallOfBaghdad.jpg

It’s a busy episode. We’re catching up on the Mongol world and all that was happening away from the specific journeys of European friars. That means the rise of Hulagu and Kublai, the Mongol expansion into Persia and Syria in the west and Song China in the east, the death of Mongke Khan, and a civil war over the future of the empire. Thanks for listening everybody!

(MP3)

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

Sources:

  • Al-Din, Rashid. The Successors of Genghis Khan, translated by John Andrew Boyle. Columbia University Press, 1971.

  • Asbridge, Thomas. The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land. Simon & Schuster, 2010.

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

  • Lambert, Malcolm. Crusade and Jihad: Origins, History, and Aftermath. Profile Books, 2012.

  • Man, John. Kublai Khan: From Xanadu to Superpower. Bantam Press, 2006.

  • Marshall, Robert. Storm from the East: From Genghis Khan to Khubilai Khan. University of California Press, 1993.

  • Rachewiltz, Igor de. Papal Envoys to the Great Khans. Faber & Faber, 1971.

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


To See the Mongols 6: The Road from Karakorum

William of Rubruck's route 1253-55.jpg

Friar William wraps up his affairs at the court of Mongke Khan and heads for home. Today, we cover his last audience with the khan, cross the walls of Alexander, and advise King Louis IX as to the future of the crusades. Thanks for listening!

(MP3)

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

Sources: 

  • Carpini, Giovanni. The Story of the Mongols: Whom we Call the Tartars, translated by Erik Hildinger. Branden Books, 1996.

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

  • The Mongol Mission: Narratives and Letters of the Franciscan Missionaries in Mongolia and China in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries, edited by Christopher Dawson. Sheed & Ward, 1955.

  • Rachewiltz, Igor de. Papal Envoys to the Great Khans. Faber & Faber, 1971.


To See the Mongols 5: The Great Debate

Mongke1.jpg

Friar William goes through stone-cracking cold, frozen toes, and the threat of demons to reach the camp of Mongke Khan. There, his interpreter causes him more problems, and he falls into the bizarre religious life of the camp before being drawn into a debate between Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians before the khan. Thanks for listening!

(MP3)

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

 Sources: 

  • Carpini, Giovanni. The Story of the Mongols: Whom we Call the Tartars, translated by Erik Hildinger. Branden Books, 1996.

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

  • The Mongol Mission: Narratives and Letters of the Franciscan Missionaries in Mongolia and China in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries, edited by Christopher Dawson. Sheed & Ward, 1955.

  • Gladysz, Mikolaj. The Forgotten Crusaders: Poland and the Crusader Movement in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, translated by Paul Barford. Brill, 2012.

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

  • Morgan, David. The Mongols. Blackwell, 1986.

  • Rachewiltz, Igor de. Papal Envoys to the Great Khans. Faber & Faber, 1971.


To See the Mongols 4: A William Leaves Town

Mongols.jpg

We go east again this episode, in the company of a friar who carried a letter to the son of Batu Khan. Was he there on behalf of King Louis IX? Was his mission more personally religious in nature? Why was he so concerned with the noses of Mongol women? All (or most) will be revealed... Thanks for listening!

(MP3)

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

Sources:  

  • Carpini, Giovanni. The Story of the Mongols: Whom we Call the Tartars, translated by Erik Hildinger. Branden Books, 1996.

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

  • The Mongol Mission: Narratives and Letters of the Franciscan Missionaries in Mongolia and China in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries, edited by Christopher Dawson. Sheed & Ward, 1955.

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

  • Morgan, David. The Mongols. Blackwell, 1986.

  • Rachewiltz, Igor de. Papal Envoys to the Great Khans. Faber & Faber, 1971.