Inscribing the Mongol Invasion into History: The Chronica Majora and Beyond
Paper by Zsuzsanna Papp Reed
Given online at The Mongols in Central Europe: The Profile and Impact of their Thirteenth-Century Invasions conference, held on November 27, 2021
Excerpt: In 1242 the people of Eastern Europe acquired first-hand knowledge about the Mongols in their own lands, but within a short time the news made it to the westernmost edges of Christian Europe. So much so in fact that the news were entered into annals and chronicles resulting in surprisingly accurate accounts of the Mongol invasion far away from the afflicted countries…I will talk about one of the most important chronicles that contains monuments of this busy correspondence, written by Matthew Paris and his team of cloistered monks of the Benedictine monastery of Saint Albans. I will focus primarily on the way in which the Mongol news were inscribed into their chronicle, how news became history. Besides understanding what and how was recorded for posterity, I believe that examining the narrative structure and the text layers can tell us a great deal about Matthew’s sources, agenda and various phases of receiving information, and I argue that this, in turn, is important for our knowledge of the Mongol invasion itself.
You can see more papers from the conference The Mongols in Central Europe: The Profile and Impact of their Thirteenth-Century Invasions on their Youtube page.
Top Image: Matthew Paris depicting a fanciful picture of Mongol warriors as part of his Chronica Majora.