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Original Articles Home > Acta Via Serica > Archives > Original Articles
Title The Journey of Benedictus Polonus or a European Discovery of Asia before Marco Polo
Volume Vol. 4 No. 2
Pages pp. 79~95 (all 17 pages)
Publication Date December, 2019
Keyword 13th century Europe-Asia contacts, early Western accounts of Asia and the Mongol Empire, Benedictus Polonus, Giovanni da Pian del Carpine, European journeys to Asia before Marco Polo
Abstract This article presents a brief reconstruction of the historic journey of Benedict the Pole and John of Pian de Carpine, the first known Europeans after A.D. 900 who completed a successful return journey east of Baghdad and gave surviving accounts of their travels. The article, which focuses mainly on the role of Benedict the Pole, is divided into five parts: the reasons and organization of the deputation sent to the Mongols by Pope Innocent IV from 1245-1248, the route travelled by the Papal envoys, the existing versions of the two surviving accounts of the mission, the role of Benedict the Pole as the secretary and translator to the papal legate Pian de Carpine, and the outcome of the journey as seen from the perspective of Europe-Asia contacts.