Start page

Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

Personal site


Embassy of André de Longjumeau

Nicholas Zharkikh

However, for our subject the most significant was arrival of two Nestorians – David and Mark – as a "Mongolian ambassadors" to King Louis. They came to Nikosia (Cyprus) 20 December 1248 and there met with their old friend – André de Longjumeau. Brother Andrew met with them during his previous trip to the Mongols in the camp near Kars (probably in 1246).

"Ambassadors" explained that they were sent by a Mongol general Eljigidei (or Elchyday, governor of Iran), who acted for the order Güyük Khan. They brought "Güyük's letter" to Louis, in which Khan, instead of the usual requirements of all such letters to recognize his sovereignty, wished King successes in the war with Muslims and noted that the Latins, Greeks, Armenians, Nestorians, Jakobites (Syriac christians) and all those who worship the cross, using the same grace of Güyük, and are one community in his eyes. The same he demanded of His Imperial Majesty the King.

Ambassadors reported that Güyük Khan and 18 other princes turned to Christianity and that Eljigidei was a Christian for a long time.

This letter was obviously falsed. At first, no runner would not have enough legs to run down the Karakoram, get there true letter from the real Güyük and back for 33 days (17 November – 20 December 1248). Second, all true letters of all Mongol khans always began and ended in one: the one to whom letter sent, had to plead subjected Mongol Khan. Thirdly, a detailed listing of the smallest parts of Christianity would have showed some unprecedented from Güyük's awareness in this minor issue. All that had to be alert the French.

In fact, the contents of this false letter clearly indicates that it was wrote by "ambassadors" themselves (1, as the Nestorians they were well aware of the Christian confessions, common in the Middle East; and 2, the requirement of equalizing Nestorians of the Latins was in the interest alone Nestorians and published from them; and 3, the desire to king fought against Muslims was in the political interests of all Middle Eastern Christians, including Nestorians). David and Mark said that they heard about the arrival of the King to Cyprus from the sultan of Mosul (900 km from this Nikosia and we should guess, here was formed plan of this "embassy" and was written this false letter).

Does Eljigidei took par in this invention as saying "ambassadors"? He knew very well that Khan's letter fraud in the Mongolian Empire is discouraged, but rather punished. We have to read that Eljigidei was interested to send Louis to Egypt because he want to capture Baghdad, and therefore, they say, he encouraged Louis to attack Muslims. It does not sound too convincing. The intention of Louis fight with Muslims was well known, and to encourage this war was enough to do nothing; between the forces of the Crusaders and the Mongols lay Syrian desert, and there was no danger of collision (and therefore coordination of actions was not necessary). So I believe Eljigidei cannot initiate this "embassy", but did not even know about it. It was intriguing David and Mark, who presented themselves and one more (well, every international adventurer always expects that his unwarranted actions will be approved by this or that political power, but here does not mean that such actions were agreed in advance with these powers.)

So the king, instead of whipping "ambassadors" by 20 lashes and forbid them to appear before the Crusaders – instead of all this the king celebrates Christmas with them, helps them meet the papal legate Eudes de Chateauroux and wrote the answer on their leller!

Gain such a powerful ally! Who wants to fight with Muslims! Destroy Islam to the rest! Broaden the Christian kingdom of the way to China! Bring the Khan and his nobles, who have themselves recognized Christianity, the into submission of Roman papacy!

January 26, 1249 David and Mark went from Cyprus to home. They were accompanied by French embassy, headed by André de Longjumeau (after other sources, Andrew went February 16, 1249). Ambassadors brought gifts and a letter to Güyük Khan. Brother Andrew went up to meet his death.

Rubruk in his book repeatedly stressed: false messengers Mongols killed. How do I know if an ambassador true, or false? Well, if he brought a response to the letter, which Khan was not sent, he clearly was recognized false (even with material evidence).

Andrew saved the miracle – until he reached Khan's headquarters, Güyük died. The exact date of his death is unknown, but generally accepted that this was done in 1248 (There is a statement that . I do not believe in such earlier date. It is incredible that in Iran and the Middle East at the end of 1248, ie after 7 or 8 months, did not know about his death. And if one know, the whole affair of David and Mark was not only absurd, but obviously dangerous for an intriguers.)

Andrew came to headquarters in early 1250 and was accepted by regent Oghul Qaimish (Güyük's widow). Gifts that he brought, Mongolian government perceived as a tribute, and instead the terms of alliance against Muslims Andrew heard the request to King acknowledged the supreme authority of Khan. Positive was that his head was not cut off (although the reasons for this existed).

We have to read that Oghul Qaimish was fool and not understand the value of the embassy and her response destroyed the great political prospects of partnership Mongols and Catholics. Comparing her response to what the Mongol khans wrote to the Catholics before her and after her, we must admit that her position was the exact repetition of the common position of leaders of the Mongolian empire, otherwise the answer would not find support among the Mongol elite and still had no influence to policy (would have been denounced as diplomats say today).

How much time spent French ambassador in the khan's headquarters – is unknown. Based on the fact that in April 1251 he was in Palestine, he went back to the way no later than October 1250 (Plano Carpini travel 6 months from Karakorum to Kyiv, and the Rubruk's return journey took a year; for that reason I think that moving from Mongolia to Palestine required at least 6 months. Another way is to calculate the distance – about 5500 km – between Palestine and the center of Mongolia. Dividing this distance by the length of the day transition – 30 km – get 183 days, ie the same 6 months).

However, I have to read that he left shortly after the election of Möngke Khan. What is the basis of the dating – I do not know, it seems, the source here is the phrase in the 30th chapter of Rubruk:

So this Keu being dead, Mangu was elected by the will of Baatu, and had already been elected when Friar Andrew was there.

Möngke was elected by two kurultai – one held in early 1251, the second – July 1, 1251. Even assuming that Andrew was the witness of first Kurultai, it is still a conflict with a very early date of his arrival in Palestine.

April 6, 1251 André de Longjumeau with his friends reacted to the king in Caesarea (Palestinian Caesarea – now the site of ancient settlement in Israel on the sea beach). The King was very disappointed in this failure – because after the defeat of their own troops ally for him became even more necessary than before going.

A written statement from the Longjumeau's embassy unknown, perhaps it was not written as ambassador reported himself to the King. There is no doubt that this was present Rubruk because he remembered the information received from his brother Andrew, and emphasized that they all correspond to his own observations.