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Giovanni da Pian del Carpine, variously rendered in English as John of Pian de Carpine, John of Plano Carpini or Joannes de Plano (ca 1185– 1 August 1252), was a medieval Italian diplomat, archbishop and explorer and one of the first Europeans to enter the court of the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. He is the author of the earliest important Western account of northern and central Asia, Rus, and other regions of the Mongol dominion. He was the Primate of Serbia, based in Antivari, from 1247 to 1252.
Giovanni appears to have been a native of Umbria, in central Italy. His surname was derived from Pian del Carpine (literally "Hornbeam Plain"), an area known later as Magione, between Perugia and Cortona. He was one of the companions and disciples of his near-contemporary and countryman Saint Francis of Assisi.
Highly-esteemed within the Franciscan order, Giovanni had a prominent role in the propagation of its teachings in northern Europe, holding in succession the offices of warden (custos) in Saxony and provincial (minister) of Germany. He may also have held positions in Barbary and Cologne, and been provincial of Spain.
Giovanni was provincial of Germany at the time of the great Mongol invasion of eastern Europe and the Battle of Legnica (modern Legnickie Pole) on 9 April 1241. The defeat of European forces at Legnica led almost to Ögedei, Khan of the Mongol Empire, controlling most of Eastern Europe.
In Europe, dread of the "Tatars" (Mongols) was still widespread four years later, when Pope Innocent IV decided to dispatch the first formal Catholic mission to the Mongols. The missionaries were sent partly in protest at the Mongol invasion of Christendom and partly to gain information regarding the Khan's intentions and military strength.
Pope Innocent IV chose Giovanni to head this mission, and apparently was in charge of nearly everything in the mission. As a papal legate, he bore a letter from the Pope to the Great Khan, Cum non solum . "At the age of sixty-three Carpini embarked from Lyon,"where the Pope then resided, on Easter day (16 April 1245), accompanied by another friar, Stephen of Bohemia, who broke down at Kaniv near Kiev and was left behind. After seeking counsel of an old friend, Wenceslaus, king of Bohemia, Giovanni was joined at Wrocław by another Franciscan, Benedykt Polak, appointed to act as interpreter.
The route passed by Kiev, entered the Tatar posts at Kaniv, and then ran across the Nepere to the Don and Volga. Giovanni is the first Westerner to give us the modern names for these rivers. On the Volga stood the Ordu, or camp, of Batu, the famous conqueror of eastern Europe and supreme Mongol commander on the western frontiers of the empire. He was one of the most senior princes of the house of Genghis Khan. Here the envoys, with their presents, had to pass between two fires to remove possible injurious thoughts and poisons,before being presented to the prince (beginning of April 1246).
Batu ordered them to proceed to the court of the supreme Khan in Mongolia. On Easter day once more (8 April 1246), they started on the second and most formidable part of their journey. They were "so ill", writes the legate, "that we could scarcely sit a horse; and throughout all that Lent our food had been nought but millet with salt and water, and with only snow melted in a kettle for drink". Their bodies were tightly bandaged so they could endure the excessive fatigue of this enormous ride, which took them across the Jaec or Ural River, and north of the Caspian Sea and the Aral to the Jaxartes or Syr Darya (quidam fluvius magnus cujus nomen ignoramus, "a big river whose name we do not know"), and the Muslim cities that then stood on its banks. Then they went along the shores of the Dzungarian lakes until, on the feast of St Mary Magdalene (22 July), they reached the imperial camp called Sira Orda (i.e., Yellow Pavilion), near Karakorum and the Orkhon River. Giovanni and his companions rode an estimated 3000 miles in 106 days.
Since the death of Ögedei Khan, the imperial authority was in interregnum and Güyük, Ögedei's eldest son, was designated to the throne. His formal election in a great Kurultai, or diet of the tribes, took place while the friars were at Sira Orda, which entailed the gathering of 3000 to 4000 envoys and deputies from all parts of Asia and eastern Europe, bearing homage, tribute and presents. On 24 August they witnessed the formal enthronement at another camp in the vicinity called the Golden Ordu, after which they were presented to the new emperor.
The great Khan, Güyük, refused the invitation to become Christian, and demanded rather that the Pope and rulers of Europe should come to him and swear allegiance to him. The Khan did not dismiss the expedition until November. He gave them a letter to the Pope—written in Mongol, Arabic, and Latin—that was a brief imperious assertion of the Khan's office as the scourge of God. They began a long winter journey home. Often they had to lie on the bare snow, or on ground scraped bare of snow with a foot. They reached Kiev on 10 June 1247. There, and on their further journey, the Slavonic Christians welcomed them as risen from the dead, with festive hospitality. Crossing the Rhine at Cologne, they found the Pope still at Lyon, and delivered their report and the Khan's letter.
Not long afterward, Giovanni was rewarded with the archbishopric of Primate of Serbia in Antivari in Dalmatia, and was sent as legate to Louis IX of France. He lived only five years following the hardships of his journey. He died, according to the Franciscan Martyrology and other authorities, on 1 August 1252.
The Ystoria Mongalorum is the report compiled by Carpine, of his trip to the Mongol Empire. Written in the 1240s, it is the oldest European account of the Mongols. Carpine was the first European to try to chronicle Mongol history. Two versions of the Ystoria Mongalorum are known to exist: Carpine's own and another, usually referred to as the Tartar Relation.
Erik Hildinger translated Giovanni's book into English.
André de Longjumeau was a 13th-century Dominican missionary and diplomat and one of the most active Occidental diplomats in the East in the 13th century. He led two embassies to the Mongols: the first carried letters from Pope Innocent IV and the second bore gifts and letters from Louis IX of France to Güyük Khan. Well acquainted with the Middle-East, he spoke Arabic and "Chaldean".
Year 1246 (MCCXLVI) was a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar.
The Battle of Legnica, also known as the Battle of Liegnitz or Battle of Wahlstatt, was a battle between the Mongol Empire and the combined defending forces of European fighters that took place at Legnickie Pole (Wahlstatt) near the city of Legnica in the Duchy of Silesia on 9 April 1241.
Batu Khan, also known as Sain Khan and Tsar Batu, was a Mongol ruler and founder of the Golden Horde, a division of the Mongol Empire. Batu was a son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. His ulus was the chief state of the Golden Horde, which ruled Rus', Volga Bulgaria, Cumania, and the Caucasus for around 250 years, after also destroying the armies of Poland and Hungary. Batu or Bat literally means "firm" in the Mongolian language. After the deaths of Genghis Khan's sons, he became the most respected prince, called agha, in the Mongol Empire.
Güyük was the third Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, the eldest son of Ögedei Khan and a grandson of Genghis Khan. He reigned from 1246 to 1248.
Möngke was the fourth khagan of the Mongol Empire, ruling from July 1, 1251, to August 11, 1259. He was the first Khagan from the Toluid line, and made significant reforms to improve the administration of the Empire during his reign. Under Möngke, the Mongols conquered Iraq and Syria as well as the kingdom of Dali.
Chagatai Khan was the second son of Genghis Khan. He was Khan of the Chagatai Khanate in 1226–1242 C.E. The Chagatai language and Chagatai Tajiks take their names from him. He inherited most of what are now five Central Asian states after the death of his father. He was also appointed by Genghis Khan to oversee the execution of the Yassa, the written code of law created by Genghis Khan, though that lasted only until Genghis Khan was crowned Khan of the Mongol Empire. The Empire later came to be known as the Chagatai Khanate, a descendant empire of the Mongol Empire. Chagatai Khan was considered hot-headed and somewhat temperamental by his relatives, because of his attitude of non-acceptance of Jochi as Great Khan. He was the most vocal about this issue among his relations. Chagatai is in some stories held responsible for the death of Jochi and Genghis Khan. At any rate, he was animated by the soldier-like spirit of his father, and succeeded in keeping order among as heterogeneous a population as a kingdom was ever composed of.
Daniel of Galicia was a King of Ruthenia, Prince (Knyaz) of Galicia (Halych) (1205–1255), Peremyshl (1211), and Volodymyr (1212–1231). He was crowned by a papal archbishop in Dorohochyn 1253 as the first King of Ruthenia (1253–1264).
Benedict of Poland was a Polish Franciscan friar, traveler, explorer, and interpreter.
Sorghaghtani Beki or Bekhi, also written Sorkaktani, Sorkhokhtani, Sorkhogtani, Siyurkuktiti was a Keraite princess and daughter-in-law of Genghis Khan. Married to Tolui, Genghis' youngest son, Sorghaghtani Beki became one of the most powerful and competent people in the Mongol Empire. She made policy decisions at a pivotal moment that led to the transition of the Mongol Empire towards a more cosmopolitan and sophisticated style of administration. She raised her sons to be leaders, and maneuvered the family politics so that all four of her sons, Möngke Khan, Hulagu Khan, Ariq Böke, and Kublai Khan, went on to inherit the legacy of their grandfather.
The Brutakhi were a Jewish polity of uncertain location and origin during the early 13th century. Giovanni da Pian del Carpine, a 13th-century papal legate to the court of the Mongol Khan Guyuk, gave a list of the nations the Mongols had conquered in his account. One of them, listed among tribes of the Caucasus, Pontic steppe and the Caspian region, was the "Brutakhi, who are Jews."
The Mongol invasion of Europe in the 13th century was the conquest of much of Europe by the Mongol Empire. The first wave of invasions occurred from the 1220s into the 1240s. In Eastern Europe, the Mongols destroyed Volga Bulgaria, Cumania, and Russian principalities such as Kiev and Vladimir. In Central Europe, the Mongol armies launched a two-pronged invasion of fragmented Poland, culminating in the Battle of Legnica, and the Kingdom of Hungary, culminating in the Battle of Mohi. Invasions also were launched into the Caucasus against the Kingdom of Georgia and the Chechens and Ingush. The operations were planned by General Subutai (1175–1248) and commanded by Batu Khan and Kadan. Both men were grandsons of Genghis Khan. Their conquests integrated much European territory into the empire of the Golden Horde. Warring European princes realized they had to cooperate in the face of a Mongol invasion, so local wars and conflicts were suspended in parts of central Europe, only to be resumed after the Mongols had withdrawn. After the initial invasions, subsequent raids and punitive expeditions continued into the late 13th century.
Kadan was the son of the second Great Khan of the Mongols Ögedei and a concubine. He was the grandson of Genghis Khan and the brother of Güyük Khan. During the Mongol invasion of Europe, Kadan, along with Baidar and Orda Khan, led the Mongol diversionary force that attacked Poland, while the main Mongol force struck the Kingdom of Hungary.
Orda Ichen, was a Mongol Khan and military strategist who ruled eastern part of the Golden Horde during the 13th century.
Ystoria Mongalorum is a report, compiled by Giovanni da Pian del Carpine, of his trip to the Mongol Empire. Written in the 1240s, it is the oldest European account of the Mongols. Carpine was the first European to try to chronicle Mongol history.
Lawrence of Portugal was a Franciscan friar and an envoy sent by Pope Innocent IV to the Mongols in 1245.
Büri was a son of Mutukan and a grandson of Chagatai Khan. According to Rashid-al-Din Hamadani, Büri's mother was a wife of Chagatai Khan's one official. She was a beauty, and Mutukan was attracted by her while she served in the Khan's ger. Mutukan made her pregnant and instead of marrying her, he took her baby, Büri.
Roman Mikhailovich the Old was a Rus' prince. He was prince of Chernigov, and of Bryansk.
An orda or horde was a historical sociopolitical and military structure found on the Eurasian Steppe, usually associated with the Turkic people and Mongols. This entity can be seen as the regional equivalent of a clan or a tribe. Some successful ordas gave rise to khanates.
The first Mongol invasion of Hungary started in March 1241 and started to withdraw in late March 1242.