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Pagans and PhilosophersThe Problem of Paganism from Augustine to Leibniz$
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John Marenbon

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691142555

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691142555.001.0001

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Arabi, Mongolia and Beyond: Contemporary Pagans in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries

Arabi, Mongolia and Beyond: Contemporary Pagans in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries

Chapter:
(p.109) Chapter 7 Arabi, Mongolia and Beyond: Contemporary Pagans in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries
Source:
Pagans and Philosophers
Author(s):

John Marenbon

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691142555.003.0008

This chapter studies accounts of contemporary paganism circulating in Eastern and Northern Europe from the eleventh century onward. In the mid-thirteenth century, when the Mongols had conquered a vast empire, two Franciscan travellers, John of Piano Carpini and William of Rubruk, were received by the Great Khan and wrote about the life and traditions of a pagan society at first hand. Medieval readers also knew a mass of partly fantastical material, much of it inherited from antiquity, about the remote lands of Asia and their pagan inhabitants. In the mid-fourteenth century, an anonymous writer wove this material together with the reports of genuine travellers into The Book of John Mandeville, a medieval best seller which takes a surprisingly deep and original look at the Problem of Paganism. In addition, this chapter takes a look at Willehalm, a Middle High German poem written c. 1210–20 by Wolfram von Eschenbach.

Keywords:   contemporary pagans, Mongols, John of Piano Carpini, William of Rubruk, pagan society, Asia, The Book of John Mandeville, Willehalm

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