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Voyager from Xanadu

Rabban Sauma and the First Journey from China to the West

Morris Rossabi

Editeur - Casa editrice

Univ of California Press

Asia Centrale

CittÓ - Town - Ville


Anno - Date de Parution


Pagine - Pages


Titolo originale

Voyager from Xanadu: Rabban Sauma and the First Journey from China to the West

Lingua originale

Lingua - language - langue


Voyager from Xanadu  


Recensione in altra lingua (English):

Morris Rossabi has done a remarkable and meticulous piece of scholarship with this book. In it he reconstructs the journey of a Nestorian Christian and his lifelong friend to the Christian west, sent as emissaries of the Mongol emperor of China, Kublai Khan, to hopefully meet with the heads of the churches and major players: the Pope, European monarchs, the Byzantines in Constantinople.
It was a long and at times hazardous journey for the two. They were detained from their mission because of the political turmoil caused by the Islamic empires which were gaining control of the Levant. It was these very Islamic kingdoms that caused the Khan to send his ambassadors westward.
Kublai Khan was aware that the Islamic upstarts could pose his reign some problems, a distant Kjan, the Ilkhan of Persia was having more immediate problems of the same sort. What the Great Khan proposed to the west was a military alliance against the Muslims but it was not to be. Rabban Sauma did get to meet the Pope and the kings of France and England, but never made it back home. Although he wrote a memoir of his journey, only a quite truncated version has come down to posterity, and the document is a trial for skilled Syriacists.
In its place we have Rossabi's skillfull blending of not only Sauma's text, but material from his contemporaries as well. Across a number of cultures Professor Rossabi shows an ease and familiarity with their texts and histories and uses all of them to create an at times, quite gripping book.