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Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

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Nicholas Zharkikh

The Rubruk's book contains a lot of exact dates, named by religious holidays. Rubruk was carrying a missal (which he repeatedly mentioned) and, of course, noted the days of journey with it. There is no doubt that he writed notes on his impressions in the form of rough notes (at least on the big stops), although he did not leave any hints on these notes.

To read Rubruk's dates not cause much difficulty, given: 1, then operated the Julian calendar; 2, religious holidays should look for Catholic church calendar; 3, counting days of week Rubruk began on Sunday and ending Saturday (like modern English count).

I will bring all chronological instructions from the book for reference. Part of them borrowed from comments to the above-mentioned russian publication of Rubruk, and some added by me. Sometimes dates, deducted by me, differ by 1 – 3 days from the same in the comments, for unknown reasons. While comparing dates in commentaries to russian translation (1957) and english translations by W. Rockhill (1900) and P. Jackson (1990), I observe that dates in russian edition in general corresponds to W. Rockhill's ones (and probably borrowed from him); but my calculations corresponds to P. Jackson's dates.

In three cases, I noticed errors in the comments and made appropriate corrections. All these changes appear in bold. But all this refinement does not significantly affect the general chronology of the journey.

To calculate the date of Easter and all the transitional holidays I enjoyed friendly program on the site .

Head Calendar date Rubruk's description Event
1 In the commentary – April 12, 1253, by my count – April 13, 1253 Palm Sunday publicly preached in Saint Sophia [in Constantinople, before sailing]
1 May 7, 1253 1253, Nones of May I entered the Sea of Pontus
1 May 21, 1253 on the 12th of the calends of June We arrived then in Soldaia
1 June 1, 1253 about the calends of June We set out on our journey
11 June 1 – July 31, 1253 For two months from the time we left Soldaia to when we came to Sartach
12 In the commentary – June 5, 1253, by my count – June 6, 1253 on the octave of Ascension I also gave him [Scatay] the letter from the emperor of Constantinople
12 In the commentary – June 7, 1253, by my count – June 9, 1253 until the day after Pentecost we went about with him [Scatay]
15 July 22, 1253 a few days before the feast of blessed Mary Magdalen we came to the great river Tanais
15 for three days we remained there on the river bank
15 July 31, 1253 on the second day of the Calends of August we reached the camp of Sartach
17 August 1, 1253 on the Feast of Saint Peter in Chains meeting with Sartach
18 August 2, 1253 The next morning, came to us a priest
20 July 31 – August 3, 1253 During the four days we were at Sartach's ordu
18 August 6, 1253 on the third day [on the departure from Sartach] we came to the Etilia
22 August 14, 1253 On the eve of the Assumption he (Gosset) reached the ordu of Sartach
22 August 15, 1253 next day the Nestorian priests were dressed in our vestments in the presence of Sartach
22 August 12 – September 16, 1253. Here I am counting down 35 days from the next date for 5 weeks We drove about with Baatu, following the Etilia down its course
22 September 16, 1253 about the feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross we left [from the headquarters of Batu]
22 November 1, 1253 until the feast of All Saints we rode constantly eastward
23 September 28, 1253 After traveling twelve days from the Etilia we found a great river which they call Jagac
23 September 16 – November 1, 1253 from the feast of the Holy Cross to the feast of All Saints we rode through the country of the Cangle
24 September 29, 1253 from the date of the feast of Saint Michael we had had frost in the desert
24 October 31, 1253 The eve of All Saints we left the road to the east
24 until November 7, 1253 continually for eight days we made our way by some alps due south
24 November 8, 1253 On the octave of All Saints we entered a certain town of Saracens called Kinchat
25 November 9, 1253? The next day we came to another village
25 A few days later we entered the alps
25 After that… After that…
25 November 16 – 17, 1253? The next day crossed those mountains
25 November 17 – 29, 1253, calculated from the date of leaving Cailac twelve days Here [in Cailac] we rested
26 November 18, 1253 The day following was the first of the month and the Easter of the Saracens
29 November 30, 1253 On the feast of Saint Andrew we left this city (of Cailac)
29 December 6, 1253 On the feast of Saint Nicholas we began greatly accelerating our speed
29 December 13, 1253 On the second Saturday of Advent, in the evening, we passed through a very scary place among the rocks
31 December 26, 1253 on the day of the Blessed Stephen we entered a plain vast as a sea
31 December 27, 1253 the following day, on the feast of St. John the Evangelist we arrived at the ordu of the great lord
32 There is a contradiction, since in 1254 Easter was April 12 about Easter, which was at the end of April there fell so much snow
32 In the commentary – January 3, 1254, by my count – January 4, 1254 On the Octave of the Innocents we were taken to court
35 January 6, 1254 the day of the Epiphany and an Armenian monk named Sergius told me that baptize Mangu Khan, on this day
36 January 10, 1254, Sundays were 4, January 11, 1254 on the day before the octave of the Epiphany we settled with a monk in front of the ordu
36 January 11, 1254 The next day, that is on the octave of the Epiphany all the Nestorian priests assembled before dawn in the chapel
37 Septuagesima = Easter – 64 days, in our case – February 7, 1254 Before Septuagesima Sunday the Nestorians fast three days
37 February 13, 1254 W. Rockhill's translation (1900): Sunday of Septuagesima (Feb 7)
P. Jackson's translation (1990): Septuagesima Saturday
Russian translation by A.Malein (1911), to which we follow: Septuagesima Saturday (Feb 13)
which is as it were the Easter of the Hermenians, we went in procession to the dwelling of Mangu
38 Sexagesima = Easter – 57 days in our case – February 14, 1254 Sunday of Sexagesima the lady Cota, who had fallen ill
40 In the commentary – February 23, 1254, by my count – February 22, 1254 When came Quinquagesima
40 March 1, 1254 on Quadragesima Sunday we were called to the court
41 Around March 20, 1254 Toward the middle of Lent the son of master William arrived
41 There is a contradiction in Rubruk's text. Since the first day of the week is Sunday, Sunday of Holy Week (Passion Sunday) is the same thing that Palm Sunday marked separately in the next record. The commentary states: March 29, 1254, that one week prior to Palm Sunday. With this correction we can agree, considering the course of events: March 29, Khan started in the direction to Karakorum, and April 5 close to the city. toward Passion Sunday khan started out with his light tents
41 April 5, 1254 On Palm Sunday we were near the Karakoram.
42 Maundy Thursday – April 9, Easter – April 12, 1254 Holy Thursday and Easter were nigh and I did not have our vestments
44 In the commentary – May 7, 1254; by my calculations, Ascension Day was May 21, 1254 and Sunday before it – May 17, 1254 Sunday before Ascension We arrived in Karakorum
44 during the whole of January, February, March, April, and May we had been at the Mangu Chan court
45 May 24, 1254 The next day, which was Sunday before Pentecost they took me to court
45 May 30, 1254 Pentecost eve came Preparing for debate
46 May 31, 1254 On Pentecost day Mangu Chan called me before him
48 June 7, 1254 on the octave of Pentecost held his great ceremony
48 June 24, 1254 On the feast of Saint John khan held a great drinking bout
48 June 29, 1254 on the feast of the apostles Peter and Paul likewise
48 July 8, 1254 a fortnight after the feast of saint John we were to take our leave
49 Exactly 72 days before the September 16, 1254 In two months and ten days we came to Baatu
49 September 16, 1254 the same day we had left it a year previously, the second day after the Elevation of the holy Cross We reached the ordu of Baatu
49 September 16 – October 16, 1254 about for a month We drove with him Baatu
49 In a comment – October 16, 1254; by my count – October 18, 1254 fifteen days before the feast of All Saints So we started in the direction of Saraj
50 November 1, 1254 on the feast of All Saints Leaving Saraj
50 In the commentaries: russian edition (1957) and W. Rockhill's translation (1900): December 15, 1254; P. Jackson's translation (1990) December 13. This is a mistake. In the Catholic church day of st.Martin of Tours – November 11, st.Martin of Braga – March 20, st.Pope Martin I – April 14. From all this suits us just the day of Martin of Tours – November 11, 1254, which is commonly referred to as St. Martin's day; this agrees better with the subsequent chronological indications. by the feast of Saint Martin we reached the mountains of the Alans
50 November 12, 1254 The next day we came to the Iron Gate
51 In the commentary – from November 23, 1254 to February 15, 1255
November 23 – day of st.Pope Clement 1st;
November 25 – day of st.Clement of Okhrid (Orthodox, for Rubruk may not holy);
December 4 – day of st.Clement of Alexandria.
In general we can agree with the commenter that Rubruck meant St. pope Clement, because it is much better known than Clement of Alexandria.
from the feast of saint Clement (23rd November) to the second Sunday of Quadragesima So we ascended along the Araxes
51 December 25, 1254 I kept the Christmas feast as well as I could in Naxua
51 January 13, 1255 on the Octave of the Epiphany We only left city Naxua
51 January 17, 1255 In four days we came to the country of Sahensa
51 February 2, 1255 On the (feast of the) Purification I was in a town called Aini
51 In the commentary – 15 February 1255, i. e. double error (2 + 15 = 17; Feb 15 was Monday, 17 – Wednesday). I assumed an error in Rubruk's text – instead «15 days» should be «5 days». According to my calculations, Sunday of Quadragesima was February 7, 1255 In fifteen days, on the Sunday of Quadragesima from that city we entered the country of the Soldan of Turkie
52 February 14, 1255 on the second Sunday after Quadragesima we came to the head of the Araxes
52 March 21 – 27, 1255 in the Greater Week We were in Sebaste in Lesser Hermenia
52 April 4, 1255 On the Octave of Easter we came to Cesarea of Capadocia
52 April 19, 1255 After that in fifteen days we came to Iconium
52 May 5, 1255 the day before the Ascension I arrived to Curta, a port of the king of Hermenia
52 May 17, 1255 to the day after Pentecost I remained in the [port]
51 June 17, 1255 eight days before the feast of saint John the Baptist I entered to Cyprus
52 June 29, 1255 for the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul We were in Antioch
53 August 15, 1255 on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin In Tripoli we held our chapter