The Monk of Kublai Khan, Emperor of China; or The History of the Life and Travels of Rabban Sawma, Envoy and Plenipotentiary of the Mongol Khans to the Kings of Europe and Markos who as Yahbh-Allaha III Became Patriarch of the Nestorian Church in Asia

I am a history buff, and I love to read history books, especially those on civilizations and wars. My favorite history text is Edward Gibbon’s famous The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, which, despite its age, is still the gold standard for historical writing. I am interested in history not as an academic exercise (I tend to avoid modern historical text with dense language and heavy footnoting) but as a practical matter: to learn what people who lived before me were up to.

How did I get interested in history? I don’t know, I just find it enjoyable reading about human folly. People were as messed up back then as they are now.

A few days ago, I discovered this historical text called The Monk of Kublai Khan, Emperor of  China; or The History of the Life and Travels of Rabban Sawma, Envoy and Plenipotentiary of the Mongol Khans to the Kings of Europe and Markos who as Yahbh-Allaha III Became Patriarch of the Nestorian Church in Asia. This text is available online at http://www.nestorian.org/rabban_bar_sawma.html

This text was written by Rabban Sawma and is about (what else) the life and travels of one Rabban Sawma and another guy Markos. It is splendidly written and gives a good overview of world politics at the time. Rabban Sauma and Markos originally planned to make a pilgrimage from Beijing to Jerusalem but they had to settle down in Baghdad due to political unrest on the way. They took office as religious leaders in Baghdad and from there Rabban Sawma was sent as ambassador to European kings (this guy is hardcore, from China to Western Europe on land, respect man). The book chronicles their adventure and how they met kings and the usual yada yada historical stuff.

If you like history, then I suggest you read this book The Monk of Kublai Khan, Emperor of China; or The History of the Life and Travels of Rabban Sawma, Envoy and Plenipotentiary of the Mongol Khans to the Kings of Europe and Markos who as Yahbh-Allaha III Became Patriarch of the Nestorian Church in Asia. Hopefully you will enjoy as much as I did reading The Monk of Kublai Khan, Emperor of China; or The History of the Life and Travels of Rabban Sawma, Envoy and Plenipotentiary of the Mongol Khans to the Kings of Europe and Markos who as Yahbh-Allaha III Became Patriarch of the Nestorian Church in Asia.

(NB: This version of The Monk of Kublai Khan, Emperor of China; or The History of the Life and Travels of Rabban Sawma, Envoy and Plenipotentiary of the Mongol Khans to the Kings of Europe and Markos who as Yahbh-Allaha III Became Patriarch of the Nestorian Church in Asia was translated by Sir E. A. Wallis Budge in 1928.)

4 Responses to The Monk of Kublai Khan, Emperor of China; or The History of the Life and Travels of Rabban Sawma, Envoy and Plenipotentiary of the Mongol Khans to the Kings of Europe and Markos who as Yahbh-Allaha III Became Patriarch of the Nestorian Church in Asia

  1. tombak says:

    is that the book title or summary of the book?

  2. tamoshima says:

    I just finished reading genghis Kahn and the making of the modern world by jack weatherford in which rabban sawma popped up – thanks for link to text – looking forward to another great read

  3. jbbird says:

    Nice article. Thanks for the recommendation. The title is a long one though, may take as long to read as the book.🙂

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