European Encounters with the Mongols
National University of Ireland, Galway
Area of Study
European Studies, History
Taught In English
Students may only take one History Seminar. Spaces are limited.
Course Level Recommendations
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Recommended U.S. Semester Credits5
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units7
Hours & Credits
This Colloquium examines Europeans? encounters with the Mongols from the initial shock and
outrageous rumours after the Mongols? destructive attacks on central European cities in the 1240s
to the studied attempts--through ?fact-finding? and other diplomatic embassies--both to acquire
accurate knowledge of the Mongols? way of life and to forge alliances with some of them against
the Muslim powers of the middle east. Emphasis will be on the considered discussion of
contemporary reports, most notably those by the papal envoy John of 'Planus Carpinus' and by
William of Rubruck, sent by the French king Louis IX, in attempts to see how knowledge of the
Mongols and central Asia affected Europeans? views of themselves and their wider world.
By the end of this module, students will be able to:
- Find relevant material, both printed and online, relating to European encounters with the
- Carry out a short independent research project about European encounters with the Mongols
- Avoid plagiarism through careful note-taking and citation
- Construct coherent and well-informed arguments, based on primary sources analysed as
evidence for past events, about European encounters with the Mongols
- Communicate historical information orally and in writing, in a well-organised and wellpresented
- Critique widely held myths about thirteenth-century Europeans and Mongols with reference to
contemporary evidence and established facts
Core readings include:
?History of the Mongols? by John of 'Planus Carpinus' in C. Dawson, ed., The Mongol Mission:
Narratives and Letters of the Franciscan Missionaries in Mongolia and China in the Thirteenth
and Fourteenth Centuries (1955)
Mission of Friar William of Rubruck: His Journey to the Court of the Great Khan Möngke, 1253-
1255 , ed. & trs. P. Jackson (1990)
P. Jackson, The Mongols and the West, 1221-1410 (2005)
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.
Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.
ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.
Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.
Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.