- André de Longjumeau
Andrew of Longjumeau (Original French name: André de Longjumeau) was a 13th century Dominican missionary and diplomat and one of the most active Occidental diplomats in the East in the 13th century. He led two embassies to the Mongols: the first carried letters from
Pope Innocent IVand the second bore gifts and letters from Louis IX of Franceto Güyük Khan. Well acquainted with the Middle-East, he spoke Arabic and "Chaldean" (thought to be either Syriac or Persian).Roux, "Les explorateurs", p.96]
Mission for the Holy Crown of Thorns
Andrew's first mission to the East was when he was asked by the French king Louis IX to go and fetch the
Crown of Thornswhich had been sold to him by the Latin king of ConstantinopleBaldwin II in 1238, who was anxious to obtain support for his tottering empire. Andrew was accompanied on this mission by brother Jacques.
Papal Mission to the Mongols (1245-1247)
Andrew of Longjumeau led one of four missions dispatched to the Mongols by
Pope Innocent IV. He left Lyonin the spring of 1245 for the Levant[Gregory G. Guzman, "Simon of Saint-Quentin and the Dominican Mission to the Mongol Baiju: A Reappraisal" "Speculum", Vol. 46, No. 2. (April., 1971), p. 235.] . He visited Muslim principalities in Syriaand representatives of the Nestorian and Jacobite churches in Persia, finally delivering the papal correspondence to a Mongol general near Tabriz[Igor de Rachewiltz, "Papal Envoys to the Great Khans" (Stanford University Press, 1971), p. 113.] . In Tabriz, André de Longjumeau met with a monk from the Far East, named Simeon Rabban Ata, who had been put in charge by the Khan of protecting the Christians in the Middle-East. [Richard, "Histoire des Croisades", p.376]
econd Mission to the Mongols (1249-1251)
At the Mongol camp near Kars Andrew had met a certain David, who in December 1248 appeared at the court of King
Louis IX of Francein Cyprus. Andrew, who was now with Saint Louis, interpreted David's message to the King, a real or pretended offer of alliance from the Mongol general Eljigidei, and a proposal of a joint attack upon the Islamic powers of Syria.
In reply to this the French sovereign dispatched Andrew as his ambassador to
Güyük Khan; with Longjumeau went his brother William (also a Dominican) and several others — John Goderiche, John of Carcassonne, Herbert "Le Sommelier," Gerbert of Sens, Robert (a clerk), a certain William, and an unnamed clerk of Poissy.
The party set out on
27 January 1249, with letters from King Louis and the papal legate, and rich presents, including a chapel-tent, lined with scarlet cloth and embroidered with sacred pictures. From Cyprus they went to the port of Antiochin Syria, and thence traveled for a year to the Khan's court, going ten leagues (55.56 kilometers) per day. Their route led them through Persia, along the southern and eastern shores of the Caspian Sea, and certainly through Talas, north-east of Tashkent.
On arrival at the supreme Mongol court — either that on the
Imyl river(near Lake Alakoland the present Russo-Chinese frontier in the Altay), or more probably at or near Karakorumitself, south-west of Lake Baikal— Andrew found Güyük Khan dead, poisoned, as the envoy supposed, by Batu Khan's agents. The regent-mother Oghul Qaimish(the "Camus" of William of Rubruck) seems to have received and dismissed him with presents and a letter for Louis IX, the latter a fine specimen of Mongol insolence. But it is certain that before the friar had quit "Tartary" Möngke, Güyük's successor, had been elected.
Andrew's report to his sovereign, whom he rejoined in 1251 at Caesarea in the
Palestine, appears to have been a mixture of history and fable; the latter affects his narrative of the Mongols' rise to greatness, and the struggles of their leader Genghis Khanwith Prester John; it is still more evident in the position assigned to the Mongols' homeland, close to the prison of Gog and Magog. On the other hand, the envoy's account of Mongol customs is fairly accurate, and his statements about Mongol Christianity and its prosperity, though perhaps exaggerated (e.g. as to the 800 chapels on wheels in the nomadic host), are based on fact.
Mounds of bones marked his road, witnesses of devastations which other historians record in detail. He found Christian prisoners from
Germanyin the heart of "Tartary" (at Talas), and was compelled to observe the ceremony of passing between two fires, as a bringer of gifts to a dead Khan, gifts which were of course treated by the Mongols as evidence of submission. This insulting behaviour, and the language of the letter with which Andrew reappeared, marked the mission a failure: King Louis, says Joinville, "se repenti fort" ("felt very sorry").
Andrew died some time after 1253, while he was active as a missionary in Palestine. The
Franciscanmissionary, William of Rubruck, in his work on Asian customs, declares that everything he had heard from Andrew on the subject was fully borne out by his own personal observations.
We only know of Andrew through references in other writers: see especially
William of Rubruck's in "Recueil de voyages", iv. (Paris, 1839), pp. 261, 265, 279, 296, 310, 353, 363, 370; Joinville, ed. Francisque Michel (1858, etc.), pp. 142, etc.; Jean Pierre Sarrasin, in same vol., pp. 254–235; William of Nangisin "Recueil des historiens des Gaules", xx. 359–367; Rémusat, "Mémoires sur les relations politiques des princes chrétiens… avec les… Mongols" (1822, etc.), p. 52.
Giovanni da Pian del Carpine
Lawrence of Portugal
Ascelin of Lombardia
Simon of St Quentin
Exploration of Asia
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