In the thirteenth century, a dynamic and expansive Catholic Christendom, which had been free of major attack from its steppe frontier for over two hundred years, was confronted by a new and alien power in the shape of the vast empire of the advancing Mongols. Despite the devastation of Hungary and Poland in 1241-2 and ongoing hostilities in Eastern Europe, the advent of the Mongols appeared to offer the West new opportunities. Historically, the failure to exploit these opportunities - by not allying with the Mongols in the Near East against the Muslims, or by not converting the Mongols to Christianity - is usually blamed on the West. This book demonstrates that such possibilities were illusory. Written in a lively and accessible style, The Mongols and The West reassesses relations between the Catholic West and the Mongols from the first appearance of Chinggis Khan's armies on Europe's horizons in 1221 to the death of Temur or Tamerlane (1405) and the battle of Tannenberg (1410), across the spheres of diplomacy, missionary endeavour and trade.
In particular, it: * evaluates the impact of Mongol-Western contacts on the West's knowledge of the world through to the voyages of Columbus and Cabot * provides a close study of relations with the Golden Horde in Eastern Europe down to the early 15th century * investigates Western dealings with Temur, the last 'Mongol' conqueror to figure as a potential ally against the Muslims * re-examines the failure of the Catholic missionaries to win over the Mongols to Christianity Peter Jackson is Professor of Medieval History at Keele University. He is editor of The Cambridge History of Iran, vol. 6: The Timurid and Safavid Periods (1986); translator and joint editor of The Mission of Friar William of Rubruck (1990); author of The Delhi Sultanate: a political and military history (1999) and of numerous articles on the Mongols, the Crusades and the eastern Islamic world in the Middle Ages.