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MONGOLIAN ART OF DIPLOMACY

Blog | published: 2019-03-18

Mongols were recognized as being skilled in the arts of war and the art of diplomacy.

If we look at back in Mongolian history of 13 century - period of Mongolian hegemony, we will see the remarkable frame and form of art of war, art of diplomacy and great wisdom to respect all believes and raligions. This period is known as the Pax Mongolica and lasted for about two centuries after the initial conquests of Genghis Khan. 

By the late 1230s, Mongol armies had begun raiding parts of Russia and eastern Europe. Between 1236 and 1242, these military campaigns–commanded by Subutai (d. 1248), Batu Khan (d. 1255), and Berke (d. 1266), among others–had wrought major devastation across Russia, Poland, Hungary and the Balkans. Seeking to gauge the intentions of the conquerors and convince them to cease their invasions of Latin Christendom, Pope Innocent IV (r. 1243-1254) sent an embassy with two letters to the Mongol Khan Güyük. The leading papal legate to the Mongols was the Italian Franciscan Giovanni da Pian del Carpine (d. 1252) who departed Lyon in April 1245 & arrived at the court of Güyük Khan near Karakorum in July 1246. The Pop's letter meaning was: Stop the wars and become the christian. 

Güyük Khan of Great Mongol Empire sent back the messenger with his own letter in the automn of 1247. The Mongolian Güyük Khan urged desist from attacking Christians. In his response, which demonstrates perfectly Mongol imperial political theory, the Khan demands that the Pope and European rulers should come to his court and swear allegiance to him, and emphasizes his own superior position. The Mongolian Great king will follow the message from blue sky and never be christian. If you act against us, how then can we know what will happen? Only eternal blue sky knows. 

The emissary, Buscarel of Gisolfe, a Genoan Christian, who lived and worked in the multiethnic Ilkhanate in Central Asia and who often travelled further afield in the Far East on business, would likely have been multilingual. The emissary, Buscarel of Gisolfe, was entered the service of the Mongol ruler Arghun, becoming a officer of his guard, with the title of Qortchi ("Quiver carrier"). He was a Mongol ambassador to Europe from 1289 to 1305, serving the Mongol rulers Arghun, Ghazan and Oljeitu.  The goal of the communications was to form a Franco-Mongol alliance between the Mongols and the Europeans against the Muslims, but despite many back and forth communications, the attempts were never successful.

In late November 1289 the emissary, Buscarel of Gisolfe arrived at the royal palace of the French king Philippe le Bel, at Fontainebleau in the heart of Christian Europe, and he carried with him a The Arghun Khan's official letter, which is the real art of diplomacy and foreign relation.  

The opening lines, following the tradition established by the great Khan himself, would have been:

"Under the power of the eternal sky,
the message of the great king, Arghun, to the king of France” 

The letter original size is 25 sm in width and 180 sm in length. Uigur Mongolian script in Mongolian language and Mongolian script was used on letter and red ink Mongol sovereign seal was stamped on it. Now the original letter is kept in national Archives, France.  

Here Mongols were interested in elaborating the geopolitics and struggles for power over Palestine, the wider Levant and Mesopotamia that were at the heart of this inter-continental diplomatic mission during the period of the Pax Mongolia. Rather, by adopting a hermeneutic approach we seek to uncover the submerged truths and learn from the insightful and surprisingly modern ways that the Mongol rulers were able to appeal across cultural, religious and linguistic barriers to acknowledge the reality of a universally shared natural world that sustains life for all. By drawing on the shared bonds people have in common that tie destinies together they found a way to overcome the divisive and limiting influences of varying and oft-times conflicting tribal, religious and politico-economic belief systems that bred mistrust and suspicion.

The well-known historian and translator Dr. Manaljav Luvsanvandan has pointed out that the universalizing tendencies evident in the Pax Mongolica period were a precursor to modern globalization. 

Narrated by Blue Mongolia Tour team.

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