Rabban Sauma Part 7 The History of the Christian Church

    • Christianity

This is the 7th episode in the on-going saga of Rabban Sauma.Last episode ended with the Mongol Ilkhan Arghun in Persia surrounded by enemies. He had a powerful ally in the Great Khan Khubilai, but Persia and China were too far apart and Khubilai was already locked into his own troubles in his contest with his cousin Khaidu.Arghun had risen to the Ilkhanate in Persia by supplanting his nemesis Ahmad, a pro-Muslim ruler who’d been removed & executed after a short reign. Arghun worried Ahmad’s allies, the Muslim Mamluks to the West would embark on a campaign to conquer Persia. But as he looked for allies, the offerings were slim. Khubilai was not help. Only one option remained; Christian Europe. The same realms the Mongol Machine had just a few decades before almost overwhelmed. Would Christian Europe set aside that recent horror to ally with the Ilkhanate in a new Crusade to purge the Middle East of the Muslim threat? Well,  that’s the plan Arghun settled on. For Europeans, the Mongols were deemed as great a threat as the Mamluks. Maybe more so. So, in a nod to the old saw, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” Arghun hoped maybe an alliance could be forged between Persia and the crusading states of Europe.But, who to send with the proposal? This is where we open chapter 2 on Rabban Sauma’s amazing epic.We open that chapter with some background on the political situation in Persia & Europe.Arghun wasn’t the first Ilkhan to propose a treaty with Christian Europe against the Mamluks. In 1265, Abakha sent an embassy to the Pope requesting an alliance. Since the Mamluks were pressing hard to wipe out the last of the Outremer; the Crusaders states in the Middle East, Abakha assumed they’d gladly want assistance in the fight. But Europe was weary of crusading. Much ado had been made over the previous 200 yrs with little lasting result. Indeed, the success of the First Crusade was followed on by tragedy after tragedy. In addition to that weariness, the European kingdoms weren’t exactly getting along. Just in Italy, the Pope was faced with hostility between the many city-states, with the conflict between Venice and Genoa dominating the Mediterranean.A further intrigue inserted at this time was the relationship between Charles of Anjou and the Pope. Brother of the French King St. Louis IX, Charles was quite ambitious. He secured the Pope’s blessing to become the King of Naples and Sicily. His goal was to dominate the Byzantine Empire so as to control trade in the Eastern Med. He saw the Mongols in Persia as a threat to that ambition because the Ilkhan Abakha had married a Byzantine princess. Charles let the Pope know he wasn’t to entertain any overtures from the Mongols for an alliance. Both Kings Edward of England & Louis of France wanted to stage a Crusade. But the turmoil in Europe stalled their plans.They managed to pull a Crusade together in 1270, but Charles once again deftly managed to take charge of the venture. He changed the goal of the Crusade from the Holy Land to Tunis in North Africa, a land he wanted to conquer in his bid for naval hegemony. When the Tunisians sued for peace and promised to pay tribute, Charles declared the campaign a success. Edward was stunned and sailed his forces to Acre on the coast of Palestine. He then sent an embassy to the Ilkhan Abakha, asking for an alliance against the Mamluks in Syria. But wouldn’t you know it? It just so happened that the Chagatai Mongols on Persia’s Eastern border had invaded and Abakha was now engaged there. He had no troops to send to Edward’s aide. Even though Edward was without allies and had a relatively small force, he carried on his campaign for a year that wore both sides out. The Mamluks agreed to a truce that safeguarded the Outremer for 10 yrs.Edward went home, and things settled down for a while, only to spin up again a few yrs late

This is the 7th episode in the on-going saga of Rabban Sauma.Last episode ended with the Mongol Ilkhan Arghun in Persia surrounded by enemies. He had a powerful ally in the Great Khan Khubilai, but Persia and China were too far apart and Khubilai was already locked into his own troubles in his contest with his cousin Khaidu.Arghun had risen to the Ilkhanate in Persia by supplanting his nemesis Ahmad, a pro-Muslim ruler who’d been removed & executed after a short reign. Arghun worried Ahmad’s allies, the Muslim Mamluks to the West would embark on a campaign to conquer Persia. But as he looked for allies, the offerings were slim. Khubilai was not help. Only one option remained; Christian Europe. The same realms the Mongol Machine had just a few decades before almost overwhelmed. Would Christian Europe set aside that recent horror to ally with the Ilkhanate in a new Crusade to purge the Middle East of the Muslim threat? Well,  that’s the plan Arghun settled on. For Europeans, the Mongols were deemed as great a threat as the Mamluks. Maybe more so. So, in a nod to the old saw, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” Arghun hoped maybe an alliance could be forged between Persia and the crusading states of Europe.But, who to send with the proposal? This is where we open chapter 2 on Rabban Sauma’s amazing epic.We open that chapter with some background on the political situation in Persia & Europe.Arghun wasn’t the first Ilkhan to propose a treaty with Christian Europe against the Mamluks. In 1265, Abakha sent an embassy to the Pope requesting an alliance. Since the Mamluks were pressing hard to wipe out the last of the Outremer; the Crusaders states in the Middle East, Abakha assumed they’d gladly want assistance in the fight. But Europe was weary of crusading. Much ado had been made over the previous 200 yrs with little lasting result. Indeed, the success of the First Crusade was followed on by tragedy after tragedy. In addition to that weariness, the European kingdoms weren’t exactly getting along. Just in Italy, the Pope was faced with hostility between the many city-states, with the conflict between Venice and Genoa dominating the Mediterranean.A further intrigue inserted at this time was the relationship between Charles of Anjou and the Pope. Brother of the French King St. Louis IX, Charles was quite ambitious. He secured the Pope’s blessing to become the King of Naples and Sicily. His goal was to dominate the Byzantine Empire so as to control trade in the Eastern Med. He saw the Mongols in Persia as a threat to that ambition because the Ilkhan Abakha had married a Byzantine princess. Charles let the Pope know he wasn’t to entertain any overtures from the Mongols for an alliance. Both Kings Edward of England & Louis of France wanted to stage a Crusade. But the turmoil in Europe stalled their plans.They managed to pull a Crusade together in 1270, but Charles once again deftly managed to take charge of the venture. He changed the goal of the Crusade from the Holy Land to Tunis in North Africa, a land he wanted to conquer in his bid for naval hegemony. When the Tunisians sued for peace and promised to pay tribute, Charles declared the campaign a success. Edward was stunned and sailed his forces to Acre on the coast of Palestine. He then sent an embassy to the Ilkhan Abakha, asking for an alliance against the Mamluks in Syria. But wouldn’t you know it? It just so happened that the Chagatai Mongols on Persia’s Eastern border had invaded and Abakha was now engaged there. He had no troops to send to Edward’s aide. Even though Edward was without allies and had a relatively small force, he carried on his campaign for a year that wore both sides out. The Mamluks agreed to a truce that safeguarded the Outremer for 10 yrs.Edward went home, and things settled down for a while, only to spin up again a few yrs late

Top Podcasts In Christianity