Franco-Mongol alliance

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Many attempts were made towards forming a Franco-Mongol alliance between the mid-1200s and the early 1300s, starting around the time of the Seventh Crusade. According to various historians, these attempts evolved into a regular alliance, complete with military cooperation. In this context, the term Franks designates all western Europeans, but especially those associated with the Crusader States). Between the 11th to the 15th century, the Crusaders were usually called Franks,1 and the Mongols are those of the Il-Khanate, located in Persia. This alliance occured in the mid-1200s to the early 1300s.

Historians note that in hindsight, an alliance between the Mongols and the Franks often appears a logical choice.<ref name=atwood-583/><ref>"In later years Christian chroniclers would bemoan a lost opportunity in which Crusaders and Mongols might have joined forces to defeat the Muslims. But they were writing from the benefit of hindsight, after the Crusader States had been destroyed by the Muslim Mamluks." Nicolle, David, The Mongol Warlords, p. 114</ref><ref name=jackson-4>""The failure of Ilkhanid-Western negotiations, and the reasons for it, are of particular importance in view of the widespread belief in the past that they might well have succeeded." Jackson, Peter Mongols and the West, p. 4</ref> The Mongols were already very sympathetic to Christianity as many Mongols were Nestorian Christians. The Europeans were open to the idea of assistance coming from the East, due to the longrunning legend of a mythical Prester John, an Eastern king in a magical kingdom who many believed would arrive someday to help with the fight in the Holy Land. The Mongols and the Franks also shared a common enemy in the Muslims. There were numerous exchanges of letters, gifts and emissaries between the Mongols and the Europeans as well as offers for varying types of cooperation.<ref name=atwood-583/> However, despite many attempts, there was never any successful military collaboration.<ref name=jackson-170>"Arghun had persisted in the quest for a Western alliance right down to his death without ever taking the field against the mutual enemy." Jackson, Mongols and the West, p. 170</ref> Modern historians also debate whether or not such an alliance, if it had been successful, would have been effective in shifting the balance of power in the region, and/or whether or not it would have been a wise choice on the part of the Europeans.<ref>See History in Dispute: The Crusades, 1095-1291 where the question that is debated is, "Would a Latin-Ilkhan Mongol alliance have strengthened and preserved the Crusader States?'"[2]</ref> Traditionally, the Mongols tended to see outside parties as either subjects, or enemies, with little room in the middle for something such as an ally.

The Franks and the Mongol entered into military cooperation in various instances. Cooperation started between the Mongols and the Frankish Principality of Antioch and County of Tripoli when they fought together for the invasion of Syria in 1260, to continue until 1268 with the Fall of Antioch to the Mamluks.<ref name=tyerman-806/><ref>"Hetoum tried to win the Latin princes over to the idea of a Christian-Mongol alliance, but could convince only Bohemond VI of Antioch." Nersessian, "The Kingdom of Cilician Armenia" in Setton's Crusades, p. 653</ref><ref>""The authorities of the crusader states, with the exception of Antioch, opted for a neutrality favourable to the Mamluks." Morgan, David. "The Mongols and the Eastern Mediterranean", p. 204</ref><ref>"The Barons of the Holy Land refused an alliance with the Mongols, except for the king of Armenia and Bohemond VI, prince of Antioch and Count of Tripoli" Lebedel, Claude Les Croisades, Origines et consequences, p. 75</ref><ref>"The refusal of the Latin Christian states in the area to follow Hetoum's example and adapt to changing conditions by allying themselves with the new Mongol empire must stand as one of the saddest of the many failures of Outremer. Burger, Glenn A Lytell Chronicle, pp. xiii-xiv</ref> Other Christian vassal states included Georgia, and Cilician Armenia.<ref>Stewart-p.8</ref> From 1263, numerous exchanges of letters and ambassadors between the Pope, Western European powers and the Mongols led to further combined actions, as during the Ninth Crusade of Edward I. Finally in 1300-1302, the Franks entered into combined actions with the Mongols in attempts at reclaiming the Holy Land.

There were considerable logistical difficulties involved, which usually resulted in the forces arriving months apart, and being unable to satisfactorily combine their activities. Ultimately, the attempts at alliance bore little fruit, and ended with the victory of the Egyptian Mamluks, the total eviction of both the Franks and the Mongols from Palestine by 1303, and a treaty of peace between the Mongols and the Mamluks in 1322.

These contacts were part of a broader web of Mongol alliances in the Middle-East which occurred throughout the second half of the 13th century and the beginning of the 14th century, and involved widely spread polities. These multiples alliances were organized between, on the one hand a North-South axis consisting of the Mongol Golden Horde, the Egyptian Mamluks and the Genoese, and on the other, a East-West axis consisting of the Mongol Il-Khanids, the Armenians, the Franks. The Byzantine Empire would ally with the two parties alternatively.

>==Christianity among the Mongols==

File:Stone 1-1-.jpg
The Nestorian Stele in China, erected in 781.

Template:Main Overall, Mongols were highly tolerant of most religions, and typically sponsored several at the same time, though shamanism, Buddhism, and Christianity were the most popular in the early 1200s. When Temüjin, a shamanist who would later be titled Genghis Khan, declared the Baljuna Covenant with 17 of his companions, several of them were Christian.<ref>Weatherford, p. 58</ref> Many Mongol tribes, such as the Kerait,<ref>"The Keraits, who were a semi-nomadic people of Turkish origin, inhabited the country round the Orkhon river in modern Outer Mongolia. Early in the eleventh century their ruler had been converted to Nestorian Christianity, together with most of his subjects; and the conversion brought the Keraits into touch with the Uighur Turks, amongst whom were many Nestorians", Runciman, p.238</ref> the Naiman, the Merkit, and to a large extent the Kara Khitan, were Nestorian Christian.<ref>"In 1196, Gengis Khan succeeded in the unification under his authority of all the Mongol tribes, some of which had been converted to Nestorian Christianity" "Les Croisades, origines et conséquences", p.74</ref> All the sons of Genghis Khan had taken Christian wives, from the tribe of the Kerait. While the men were away at battle, the empire was effectively run by the Christian women.<ref>Weatherford, pp. 160-161</ref><ref>"In 1196, Gengis Khan succeeded in the unification under his authority of all the Mongol tribes, some of which had been converted to Nestorian Christianity" "Les Croisades, origines et conséquences", p.74</ref> Genghis Khan's grandson Sartaq was Christian;<ref>"Early in 1253 a report reached Acre that one of the Mongol princes, Sartaq, son of Batu, had been converted to Christianity", Runciman, p.280</ref> as was the general Kitbuqa,<ref name=runciman-308>"Kitbuqa, as a Christian himself, made no secret of his sympathies", Runciman, p.308</ref> commander of the Mongol forces of the Levant. Under Mongka, another of Genghis Khan's grandsons, the main religious influence was that of the Nestorians.<ref>Under Mongka "The chief religious influence was that of the Nestorian Christians, to whom Mongka showed especial favour in memory of his mother Sorghaqtani, who had always remained loyal to her faith" Runciman, p. 296</ref> Marital alliances with Western powers also occurred, as in the 1265 marriage of Maria Despina Palaiologina, the Christian daughter of Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus, with Hulagu's son, the Mongol khan Abaqa, who himself was a Buddhist.




Early contacts (1209-1244)

Among Europeans, there had long been rumors and expectations that a great Christian ally would come from "the East." These rumors circulated as early as the First Crusade, and usually surged in popularity after the loss of a battle by the Crusaders, which resulted in a natural human desire that a Christian hero would arrive from a distant land, to help save the day. This resulted in the development of a legend about a figure known as Prester John. The legend fed upon itself, and some individuals who came from the East were greeted with the expectations that they might be the long-awaited Christian heroes. For example, around 1210, news reached the West of the battles of the Mongol Kuchlug, leader of the largely Christian tribe of the Naiman, against the powerful Khwarezmian Empire, whose leader was Muhammad II of Khwarezm. Rumors circulated in Europe that Kuchlug was the mythical Prester John, and was again battling the Muslims in the East.<ref>Foltz, p.111</ref>

During the Fifth Crusade, as the Christians were unsuccessfully laying siege to the Egyptian city of Damietta in 1221, the legends of Prester John again conflated with the reality of the Mongols under Genghis Khan.<ref>Foltz, p.112</ref> Mongol raiding parties were beginning to invade the eastern Islamic world, in Transoxania and Persia in 1219-1221.<ref name=raids-236>Mongol Raids, p. 236</ref> Rumors circulated among the Crusaders that a "Christian king of the Indies", a King David who was either Prester John or one of his descendants, had been attacking Muslims in the East, and was on his way to help the Christians in their Crusades.<ref name=knobler>Template:Cite journal</ref> In a letter dated June 20, 1221, Pope Honorius III even commented about "forces coming from the Far East to rescue the Holy Land".<ref>Regesta Honorii Papae III, no 1478, I, p.565. Quoted in Runciman, p.246</ref>

In 1220, the Mongols invaded Persian territory, successfully destroying the Turkish Khwarezmian Empire (some of the remains of which moved West in 1244 to ally with the Egyptian Mamluks, taking Jerusalem from the Christians along the way). But Genghis Khan then returned to Mongolia, and Persia was reconquered by Muslim forces.<ref>Runciman, p.249</ref> In 1231, a much larger Mongol army arrived, under the general Chormaqan. He ruled over Persia and Azerbaijan from 1231 to 1241.<ref>Runciman, p.250</ref> In 1242, Baichu further invaded the Seldjuk kingdom, ruled by Kaikhosrau, in modern Turkey. The Mongol conquest was seen by the Europeans as a positive one, since the Mongols were eliminating an enemy of Christendom.<ref>Runciman, p.253</ref>

Genghis Khan died in 1227, and his Empire was split up into four sections, for each of his sons. The northern section, known as the Golden Horde began to encroach upon Europe, primarily via Hungary and Poland. The southwestern section, known as the Ilkhanid, under the leadership of Genghis Khan's son Hulagu, continued to advance towards Persia and the Holy Land. City after city fell to the Mongols, including some Christian realms in their path. Christian Georgia was repeatedly attacked starting in 1220,<ref>Runciman, p.246-247</ref> and in 1243 Queen Rusudan formally submitted to the Mongols, turning Georgia into a vassal state which then became a regular ally in the Mongol military conquests.<ref>Runciman, p.250</ref><ref name=weatherford-181>Weatherford, p. 181. "To supplement his own army, Hulegu summoned the armies of the vassal states of Armenia and Georgia"</ref> This was a common practice in use by the growing Mongol empire -- as they conquered new territories, they would absorb the populace and warriors into their own Mongol army, which they would then use to further expand the empire.

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Papal overtures (1245-1248)

File:Letter from Guyuk to Innocent IV.gif
The 1246 letter of Güyük to Pope Innocent IV, written in Persian.<ref>David Wilkinson, Studying the History of Intercivilizational Dialogues [1]</ref>

The Mongol invasion of Europe subsided in 1242 with the death of the Great Khan Ögedei, successor of Genghis Khan. However, the relentless march westward of the Mongols had displaced the Khawarizmi Turks, who themselves moved west, and on their way to ally with the Ayyubid Muslims in Egypt, took Jerusalem from the Christians in 1244.<ref>Runciman, p.256</ref> This event prompted Christian kings to prepare for a new Crusade, decided by Pope Innocent IV at the First Council of Lyons in June 1245, and revived hopes that the Mongols, who had their Nestorian Christian princesses among them and had brought so much destruction to Islam, could be converted to Christianity and become allies of Christendom.<ref>Runciman, p.254</ref><ref name=newman-1274>Sharan Newman, "Real History Behind the Templars" p. 174, about Grand Master Thomas Berard: "Under Genghis Khan, they [the Mongols] had already conquered much of China and were now moving into the ancient Persian Empire. Tales of their cruelty flew like crows through the towns in their path. However, since they were considered "pagans" there was hope among the leaders of the Church that they could be brought into the Christian community and would join forces to liberate Jerusalem again. Franciscan missionaries were sent east as the Mongols drew near."</ref>

In 1245, Pope Innocent IV issued bulls and sent an envoy in the person of the Franciscan John of Plano Carpini to the "Emperor of the Tartars". The message initiated what was to be a regular pattern in Christian-Mongol communications:<ref>Richard, p. 422 (english) "In all the conversations between the popes and the il-khans, this difference of approach remained: the il-khans spoke of military coopration, the popes of adhering to the Christian faith."</ref> Pope Innocent asked the Mongol ruler to become a Christian and to stop killing Christians. The new Mongol khan Güyük was installed at Karakorum on April 8, 1246<ref name=ce>Catholic Encyclopedia, "The Crusades"</ref> and received numerous personalities and ambassadors from foreign countries including John of Plano Carpini: the Grand Duc of Moscow Yaroslav II of Vladimir, the incumbents for the throne of Georgia, the brother of the king of Armenia Sempad, the future Seljukid Kilij Arslan IV, ambassadors of the Baghdad Califate and of the emperor of India.<ref>Jean-Paul Roux, L'Asie Centrale, p.312</ref>. He replied to the Pope's letter with a demand for his submission and a visit from the rulers of the West in homage to Mongol power:<ref>David Wilkinson, Studying the History of Intercivilizational Dialogues [3]</ref>


File:Hetoum and Zabel.jpeg
Coin showing the Christian Armenian king Hetoum I with his wife and predecessor, Queen Zabel of Armenia. Hetoum I was a major ally (some say vassal) of the Mongols.

This pattern was to be repeated over and over during the coming decades. In 1245 Innocent sent another mission, through another route, led by the Dominican Ascelin of Lombardia, also bearing letters. The mission met with the Mongol commander Baichu near the Caspian Sea in 1247. Baichu, who had plans to capture Baghdad, welcomed the possibility of an alliance and had envoys, Aïbeg and Serkis, accompany the embassy back to Rome, where they stayed for about a year.<ref>Runciman, p.259</ref> They met with Innocent IV in 1248, who again appealed to the Mongols to stop their killing of Christians.<ref>David Wilkinson, Studying the History of Intercivilizational Dialogues [4]</ref><ref>Runciman, p.259</ref>

Mongol relations with Cilician Armenia

Template:Main In the meantime, the Christian king Hetoum I of Cilician Armenia, seeing that the Mongols were approaching rapidly and he had to choose between submission or annihilation,<ref name=bournotian-109>Bournotian, p. 109. "It was at this juncture that the main Mongol armies appeared [in Armenia] in 1236. The Mongols swiftly conquered the cities. Those who resisted were cruelly punished, while submitting were rewarded. News of this spread quickly and resulted in the submission of all of historic Armenia and parts of Georgia by 1245.... Armenian and Georgian military leaders had to serve in the Mongol army, where many of them perished in battle. In 1258 the Ilkhanid Mongols, under the leadership of Hulagu, sacked Baghdad, ended the Abbasis Caliphate and killed many Muslims."</ref> sent his brother Sempad to the Mongol court in Karakorum. Sempad met Kublai Khan's brother Mongke Khan, and made a formal agreement in 1247 between Cilicia and the Mongols, against their common enemy the Muslims.<ref name=bournotian-100>Bournotian, p. 100. "Smbat met Kubali's brother, Mongke Khan and in 1247, made an alliance against the Muslims"</ref> The nature of this relationship is disputed by various historians, some of whom call it an alliance,<ref>Mutafian describes it as "The Armeno-Mongol Alliance", p.56</ref> and others who say that the Armenians had submitted to Mongol overlordship, and had become a vassal state similar to any other conquered region.<ref name=weatherford-181/><ref>Stewart, "Logic of Conquest", p. 8. "The Armenian king saw alliance with the Mongols -- or, more accurately, swift and peaceful subjection to them -- as the best course of action."</ref> Armenian and Georgian military leaders were required to serve in the Mongol army, and many of them perished in Mongol battles.<ref name=bournotian-109/>

Seventh Crusade: Saint Louis and the Mongols (1248-1254)

Louis IX of France, also called Saint Louis, had a series of written exchanges with the Mongol rulers of the period, and went on crusade twice, once in 1248 and once in 1270.

His contacts with the Mongols started in 1248 with the Seventh Crusade. After Louis left France and disembarked at Nicosia in Cyprus, he was met on December 20, 1248, in Nicosia by two Mongol envoys, Nestorians from Mossul named David and Marc, bearing a letter from Eljigidei, the Mongol ruler of Armenia proper and Persia.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> They communicated a proposal to form an alliance against the Muslim Ayyubids, whose Caliphate was based in Baghdad.<ref>Grousset, p.523</ref> The medieval historian Jean de Joinville said about the communiques:


Eljigidei was planning an attack on the Muslims in Baghdad in 1248, and sought assistance from Louis and his forces. According to the 13th century monk and historian Guillaume de Nangis, Eljigidei suggested that King Louis should land in Egypt, while Eljigidei attacked Baghdad, in order to prevent the Saracens of Egypt and those of Syria from joining forces.<ref>"The Memoirs of the Lord of Joinville", Chap. V, Jean de Joinville.The Memoirs of the Lord of Joinville</ref>

Though at least one historian has criticized Louis as being "naive" in trusting the ambassadors, and Louis himself later admitted that he regretted the decision,<ref>Tyerman, p. 786</ref> Louis sent André de Longjumeau, a Dominican priest, as an emissary to the Great Khan Güyük in Mongolia. However, Güyük died, from drink, before the emissary arrived at his court, and his widow Oghul Ghaimish simply gave the emissary a gift and a condescending letter to take back to King Louis,<ref>Runciman, p.260</ref> demanding that the king pay tribute to the Mongols.<ref>Tyerman, p. 798. "Louis's embassy under Andrew of Longjumeau had returned in 1251 carrying a demand from the Mongol regent, Oghul Qaimush, for annual tribute, not at all what the king had anticipated.</ref>

Louis IX did go on to attack Egypt, starting with the rapid capture of the port of Damietta in June 1249.<ref>Tyerman, p. 787</ref> However, Güyük's early death made Eljigidei postpone operations until after the interregnum. Louis's attack did cause some disruption in the Muslim Ayyubid empire, especially as the current sultan was on his deathbed. But the march from Damietta towards Cairo through the Nile River Delta went slowly. During this time, the Ayyubid sultan died, and a sudden power shift took place, as the sultan's slave wife Shajar al-Durr set events in motion which were to make her Queen, and eventually place the Egyptian's slave army of the Mamluks in power. Louis eventually lost his army at the Battle of al Mansurah and was captured by the Egyptians. His release was eventually negotiated, in return for a ransom (some of which was a loan from the Templars), and the surrender of the city of Damietta.<ref>Tyerman, pp. 789-798</ref>

14th century copy of the February 7, 1248, letter of Sempad to Henry I of Cyprus and Jean d'Ibelin, stating that "If God hadn't brought the Tartars who then massacred the pagans, they [the Sarasins] would have been able to invade the whole land as far as the sea."<ref>"Le Royaume Armenien de Cilicie", p66</ref> The letter was also shown to Louis IX.

In 1252, Louis attempted an alliance with the Egyptians, for the return of Jerusalem if the French assisted with the subduing of Damascus. And in 1253, Louis tried to seek allies from among both the Ismailian Assassins and the Mongols.<ref>Runciman, pp. 279-280</ref> Louis received word that the Mongol leader Sartaq, son of Batu, had converted to Christianity,<ref>Runciman, p.380</ref> While in Cyprus, he also saw a letter from Sempad, brother of the Armenian ruler Hetoum I, who, on an embassy to the Mongol court in Karakorum, was describing to the Western ruler a Central Asian realm of oasis with many Christians, generally of the Nestorian rite.<ref>Jean Richard, “Histoire des Croissades”, p. 376</ref>

Louis dispatched an envoy to the Mongol court in the person of the Franciscan William of Rubruck, who went to visit the Great Khan Möngke in Mongolia. William entered into a famous competition at the Mongol court, as the khan encouraged a formal debate between the Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims, to determine which faith was correct, as determined by three judges, one from each faith. The debate drew a large crowd, and as with most Mongol events, a great deal of alcohol was involved. As described by Jack Weatherford in his book Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World: Template:Quote

But even after the competition, Möngke replied only with a letter to William in 1254, asking for the King's submission to Mongol authority.<ref>J. Richard, 1970, p. 202., Encyclopedia Iranica, [5]</ref>

His Crusade a failure, Louis returned to France in 1254, due to the death of his mother and regent, Blanche de Castille.

In the early 1250s, the Latin emperor of Constantinople Baldwin II also sent an embassy to Mongolia in the person of the knight Baudoin de Hainaut, who, following his return, met in Constantinople with the departing William of Rubruck.<ref>Jean Richard, p. 377</ref>

Sartaq's embassy

The Mongol Il-Khan ruler Sartaq Khan, reputed to be a Christian convert, is said to have sent an embassy to the West as early as 1254. It seems however that the embassy was intercepted in Sicily by king Manfred, who was an ally of the Mamluks and was under attack from a Crusade launched by the Pope to deprive him of his kingdom. The embassy was ultimately sent back to the Levant.<ref>Jackson, p.166</ref>

Collaboration in the Middle East (1258-1260)

Hulagu with his Christian queen Dokuz Khatun. Hulagu conquered Muslim Syria, in collaboration with Christian forces from Cilician Armenia, Georgia, and Antioch.

A certain amount of military collaboration between the Christians and the Mongols did not really take place until 1258-1260, when Bohemond VI of Antioch and Tripoli, the Christian Armenians under his father-in-law Hetoum I, and the Christian Georgians combined forces with the Mongols under Hulagu. Hetoum I had also himself visited the court of Mangu Khan at Karakorum in 1254 to renew the Cilician-Mongol alliance.<ref name=bournotian-101>Bournotian, p. 101</ref><ref>Guillaume de Tyr, Chap. II. The event is mentionned and quoted in Runciman.</ref>

The leader of the Ilkhanid section of the Mongol Empire, Hulagu, was generally favourable to Christianity. He was the son of a Christian woman, Sorghaghtani Beki, and one of his most important generals, Kitbuqa, was a Naiman Christian.

The years from 1258 to 1260 brought both some of the greatest Mongol victories in the region, and their first major defeat. On the one hand, the combined forces of the Mongols with their Christian allies (or vassals) successfully conquered Syria, and in Iraq they conquered the center of the most powerful Islamic dynasty in existence at that time, that of the Abbasids in Baghdad. On the other hand, because of the neutrality of the Franks in Acre, and the passive alliance which was struck between the Franks and the Egyptian Mamluks, in late 1260 the Mamluks achieved a decisive victory against the Mongols at the pivotal Battle of Ain Jalut. This action effectively stopped the Mongol expansion into the area, and set the western border for the Mongol Empire.

Bohemond VI and the Mongols

File:LittleArmeniaPrincipality of AntiochTripoli.jpg
Among the Christian allies (some say vassals) of the Mongols, Bohemond VI ruled over the Frankish state of the Principality of Antioch, and to the south of it, the County of Tripoli (both in green), and his father-in-law Hetoum I ruled over Little Armenia (in blue).

Sometime in the 1250s, Bohemond VI, Frank ruler of the Principality of Antioch and the County of Tripoli, and one of the Outremer's most important power-brokers,<ref>"Bohemond VI, briefly one of Outremer's most important power broker", Tyerman, p.806</ref> allied (or submitted) to the Mongols.<ref>"Bohemond of Antioch-Tripoli became their [the Mongol's] ally” John Riley-Smith, The Oxford History of the Crusades, p.136</ref><ref>"Hethoum's attempts to build a great Christian alliance to aid the Mongols was well received by the local Christian; and Bohemond of Antioch, who was under his father-in-law's influence, gave his adhesion. But the Franks of Asia held aloof.", Runciman, p.299</ref><ref>"The Armenians, in the person of king Hethoum, sided with the Mongols, as did Bohemond of Antioch". Amin Maalouf, p.261 (Les Croisades vues par les Arabes). Also: "Bohemond of Antioch and Hethoum of Armenia, principal allies of the Mongols". Amin Maalouf, p.265 (Les Croisades vues par les Arabes)</ref> The Principality of Antioch was the most ancient of the Frankish realms, and its capital Antioch was the largest Frank city in the Levant.<ref>Amin Maalouf, "Les Croisades..", p267</ref> Some historians also describe that Bohemond submitted to Mongol and accepted their overlordship to become their vassal.<ref>"Customary marks of submission to which Bohemond VI ... had had to conform." (Jean Richard, p. 422).</ref> According to the historian Reuven Amitai-Preiss however, Bohemond showed "unreserved support for the Mongols".<ref>"Bohemond VI's unreserved support for the Mongols was probably looked upon with disfavor by the leaders of Acre. The Papal legate was certainly displeased: he excommunicated Bohemond early in 1260.", in Mongols and Mamluks, p.39</ref>

There is a possibility that Antioch had actually become a tributary of the Mongols even earlier: in 1247 the Dominicans under Carpini placed the limit of Mongol dominions 2 days' journey south of Antioch, and Matthew Paris included Bohemond V among those who in 1246 became tributary to the Mongols.<ref>Jackson, p.103</ref> According to Alain Demurger and De Reuven Amitai-Preiss, Cilician Armenia as well as Antioch and Tripoli were paying tribute and supplying troops to the Mongols since 1247.<ref>Demurger, "Jacques de Molay", p.55. "The Count of Tripoli and Prince of Antioch (the two state had the same ruler), and the king of Cilician Armenia (or Little Armenia) had made their submission to the Mongols. Since 1247 already, they had paid tribute and supplied troops. King Hetoum I went to Karakorum to make his submission in 1253, and Bohemond VI was present in Baghdad in 1258."</ref><ref>De Reuven Amitai-Preiss Mongols and Mamluks, p.24 "Already in 1246, it is reported that Bohemond V of Antioch, along with king Hetoum of Cilician Armenia had become tributary of the Mongols"</ref>

Bohemond was certainly induced into this alliance by his father-in-law the Armenian king Hetoum I, with whom he was closely connected since a rapprochement organized by Louis IX in 1254, and concretized by Bohemond's marriage with the daughter of the Armenian ruler.<ref>Bohemond entered in a relationship with the Mongols because of pressure from his father-in-law Hethoum I: "The principality of Antioch was dominated by its Armenian neighbour -- it was through the will of the Armenian king that the Antiochenes came to aid Hulegu in 1259-60." ("The Logic of Conquest" Al-Masaq, v. 14, No.1, March 2002, p. 8)</ref> Hetoum's own association with the Mongols had netted him some rich rewards, since his own submission in 1247. Bohemond resided permanently in Tripoli and from 1254 left the daily management of his dominion of Antioch to the Armenians, so that Antiochian Franks were drawn into the long-standing Armeno-Mongol alliance.<ref>The Islamic World in Ascendency: From the Arab conquest to the Siege of Vienna by Dr. Martin Sicker (p.111): "Bohemond, however, resided exclusively in Tripoli and, as a practical matter, Hetoum, whose realm was contiguous with it, ruled Antioch. Accordingly, Antioch was drawn into the Mongolian-Armenian alliance".</ref>

When the Principality of Antioch joined with the Mongols, a Mongol representative and a Mongol garrison were stationed in the capital city of Antioch, where they remained until the capture of the city by the Mamluks in 1268.<ref>"Bohemond VI, briefly one of Outremer's most important power broker, had already accepted Mongol overlordship, with a Mongol resident and battalion stationed in Antioch itself, where they stayed until the fall of the city to the Mamluks in 1268". Tyerman, p. 806</ref> In return for Bohemond's submission, and Bohemond's acceptance of the restoration of a Greek patriarch, Euthymius, to the patriarchate of Antioch, Hulagu returned to Bohemond all the Antiochene territories which had been lost to the Muslims in 1243. These included Darkush, Kafar-dubbin, Laodicea, and Jabala, which Bohemond re-claimed with Templar help.<ref>Jean Richard, p.425</ref><ref name=tyerman-806>Tyerman, p. 806. The Frankish Antiochenes assisted in the Mongols' capture of Aleppo, thus in part achieving a very traditional Frankish target, and had received lands in reward."</ref>

For his relations with the Mongols, Bohemond was temporarily excommunicated by Jacques Pantaléon, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.<ref>Online Reference Book for Medieval studies</ref><ref>Runciman, p.307, "Bohemond was excommunicated by the Pope for this alliance (Urban IV, Registres, 26 May 1263</ref><ref>Saunders, p. 115</ref> At the time, the Patriarch saw the Mongols as a clear threat, and had written to the Pope to warn him about them in 1256. In 1259 and 1260, Pope Alexander IV had even been encouraging a new Crusade against the Mongols. Alexander had put Bohemond's case on the agenda of his upcoming council (as well as the cases of Hetoum I of Armenia, and Daniel of Russia).<ref>Jean Richard, p.423</ref> However, Alexander died in 1261, just months before the Council could be convened, and before the new Crusade could be launched. For a new Pope, the choice fell to Pantaléon, the same Patriarch of Jerusalem who had earlier been warning of the Mongol threat. He took the name Pope Urban IV, and tried to raise money for a new crusade, but could not succeed, since the French clergy pointed out that there was a truce with the Muslims. In May 1263, Pope Urban, having heard Bohemond's explanation, suspended his excommunication sentence.<ref>Jean Richard, p.426</ref>

Christian involvement in the conquest of Baghdad (1258)


File:Hulagu Baghdad 1258.jpg
Mongol attack of Baghdad (1258).

On February 15, 1258, the Mongols were successful in the Siege of Baghdad, an event often considered as the single most catastrophic event in the history of Islam. The attacking army also had a large contingent of Christian forces. The Georgians and Armenians participated in the offensive,<ref>Grousset, p.574, mentionning the account of Kirakos, Kirakos, #12</ref><ref>"After this, [the Mongols] convened a great assembly of the old and new cavalry of the Georgians and Armenians and went against the city of Baghdad with a countless multitude." Grigor of Akner's History of the Nation of Archers, Chap 12, circa 1300</ref> and possibly some Frankish troops from the Principality of Antioch.<ref>In Alain Demurger's Jacques de Molay, p.55: "The Count of Tripoli and Prince of Antioch (the two state had the same ruler), and the king of Cilician Armenia (or Little Armenia) had made their submission to the Mongols. Since 1247 already, they had paid tribute and supplied troops. King Hetoum I went to Karakorum to make his submission in 1253, and Bohemond VI was present in Baghdad in 1258." In Demurger Les Templiers (p.80-81): "The main adversary of the Mongols in the Middle-East was the Mamluk Sultanate and the Califate of Baghdad; in 1258 they take the city, sack it, massacre the population and exterminate the Abassid familly who ruled the Califate since 750; the king of Little Armenia (of Cilicia) and the troops of Antioch participated to the fight and the looting together with the Mongols." In Demurger Croisades et Croisés au Moyen-Age (p.284): "The Franks of Tripoli and Antioch, just as the Armenians of Cilicia who since the submission of Asia Minor in 1243 had to recognize Mongol overlordship and pay tribute, participated to the capture of Baghdad."</ref>

When they conquered the city, the Mongols demolished buildings, burned entire neighborhoods, and massacred nearly 80,000 men, women, and children. The Georgians had been the first to breach the walls, and were among the fiercest in their destruction.<ref>"The Georgian troops, who had been the first to break through the walls, were particularly fiercest in their destruction" Runciman, p.303</ref> At the intervention of the Mongol Hulagu's Nestorian Christian wife Dokuz Khatun, the Christian inhabitants were spared.<ref>Maalouf, p. 243</ref><ref>"A history of the Crusades", Steven Runciman, p.306</ref> Hulagu offered the royal palace to the Nestorian Catholicus Mar Makikha, and ordered a cathedral to be built for him.<ref>Foltz, p.123</ref>

The conquest of Baghdad marked the tragic end of the Abbasid Caliphate. The city of Baghdad, which had been the jewel of Islam and one of the largest and most powerful cities in the world for 500 years, became a minor provincial town.

Participation of the Franks to the Mongol invasion of the Levant (1260)

1260 Mongol offensive in the Levant.

After Baghdad, in 1260 the Mongol forces, along with their Christian allies, conquered Muslim Syria, domain of the Ayyubid dynasty. They took the city of Aleppo with the help of the Franks of Antioch,<ref>Tyerman, p.806 "The Frankish Antiochenes assisted the Mongols' capture of Aleppo".</ref> and on March 1, 1260 proceeded to capture Damascus,<ref>Saudi Aramco World "The Battle of Ain Jalut"</ref><ref name=grousset-581/> under the Christian Mongol general Kitbuqa. Numerous historians, some of them quoting Le Templier de Tyr, explain that Kitbuqa entered the city of Damascus in triumph together with Hethoum and Bohemond VI, and that great Christian celebrations were made.<ref>Grousset, p.586: "We known from Le Templier de Tyr that the king of Armenia Hetoum I and the Prince of Antioch Bohemond VI accompanied Kitbuqa in this offensive: "The king of Armenia and the Prince of Antioch went to the army of the Tartars and went to take Damas"."</ref><ref>"On 1 March Kitbuqa entered Damascus at the head of a Mongol army. With him were the King of Armenia and the Prince of Antioch. The citizens of the ancient capital of the Caliphate saw for the first time for six centuries three Christian potentates ride in triumph through their streets", Runciman, p.307</ref><ref>Jean Richard, p.423: "Bohemond... supported Hulegu with his troops in the siege of Aleppo; he also occupied Baalbek, and entering into Damascus with the Mongols, had the satisfaction of celebrating mass in the great Mosque"</ref><ref>"On March 1st 1260, Damascus had to let general Kitbuqa inside its walls. He was accompanied by king Hetoum and Prince Bohemond" Jean-Paul Roux, Histoire de l'Empire Mongol, p.346</ref><ref>"The Mongols then attacked Muslim Syria, and they were accompanied by Hetoum and his son-in-law Bohemond when they took Aleppo and Damascus", Claude Mutafian, p.58</ref> According to Peter Jackson, writing in 1980, Bohemond VI of Antioch was said to be present in some later accounts but not in contemporary sources, and it is likely a later legend.<ref>Peter Jackson, "Crisis in the Holy Land in 1260," English Historical Review 376 (1980) 486</ref> In 2005 however, Peter Jackson wrote that Bohemond is recorded to have participated to the Mongol conquest of Baalbek, not far from Damascus, and that he may have ridden into Damascus with the Mongols.<ref>Jackson, "The Mongols and the West", p.117. Jackson also references Al-Yunani as recording Bohemond in Ba'labakk (Baalbek), and later asking to receive the land from the Mongols.</ref> The historian De Reuven Amitai-Preiss concludes that the accounts may be exagerated, but have some truth to them, and says of Bohemond VI that after his passage at Baalbek "it is most probable that he also passed through Damascus".<ref>"While this report cannot be taken literally, it may contain a grain of truth. Armenian troops were part of Ketbuqa's force, while some time during the Mongol occupation Bohemond visited Baalbek and even intended to ask Hulegu for possession of the town. (...) If this prince reached as far as Baalbek, it is most probable that he also passed through Damascus." De Reuven Amitai-Preiss, "Mongols and Mamluks", p.31</ref>

According to the contemporary account of Le Templier de Tyr, mass was celebrated in the Grand Mosque of the Umayyads (the former cathedral of Saint John the Baptist),<ref>Jean Richard, p.423</ref>, and numerous mosques were profaned:


On the contrary the southern Franks of the Kingdom of Jerusalem were weary of the Mongols, but their policy was rather incoherent.<ref>Demurger, "Jacques de Molay", p.55-56</ref> At the beginning of 1260, the Templars and knights from the Kingdom of Jerusalem launched an offensive against the Muslim cities of Tibnin and Tiberias. The offensive was a failure, and ended with many knights being imprisoned, including Guillaume de Beaujeu and Thibaud Gaudin, future Grand Masters of the Templars, so that they had to be ransommed. Afterwards however, the southern Franks made a passive alliance with the Mamluks, which facilitated the Mamluk victory over the Mongols at Ain Jalut.<ref>Demurger, "Jacques de Molay", p.55-56</ref>

The Mongol invasion effectively destroyed the Ayyubid Dynasty, who had been overthrown in Egypt ten years before but had held on in Syria. The last Ayyubid king An-Nasir Yusuf died in 1260.<ref>Atlas des Croisades, p.108</ref> With the Islamic power centers of Baghdad and Damascus gone, the center of Islamic power transferred to the Egyptian Mamluks in Cairo.

After the victory, Hulagu gave numerous gifts to Bohemond VI, including some of the conquered cities, including Lattakieh.<ref>"Subsequently, Hulegu sent presents to [sent for, oe41] the duke of Antioch [Bohemond VI] who was a relative of the King of Armenia [son-in-law of the King of Armenia, oe41], and ordered that all the districts [g50] of his kingdom which the Saracens had held be returned to him. He also bestowed many other favors on him." Fleur des Histoires d'Orient, Chap.29</ref> But then because of a new internal conflict in Turkestan, Hulagu had to stop the Mongol invasion before it reached Egypt, and departed with the bulk of his forces, leaving only about 10,000 Mongol horsemen in Syria under Kitbuqa to occupy the conquered territory,<ref>Runciman, p.310</ref> including Nablus and Gaza in the south, as well as the fortress of Ajlun, east of River Jordan.<ref>Grousset, p.586</ref> The Mongols engaged in raids southward towards Egypt, reaching as far as Ascalon and Jerusalem, and a Mongol garrison of about 1,000 was placed in Gaza,<ref>Jean Richard, p.428</ref><ref>Amin Maalouf, p.264</ref><ref>Tyerman, p.806</ref> with another garrison located in Naplouse.<ref>Amin Maalouf, p.262</ref> Runciman considers that Nablus and Gaza were occupied, but that Jerusalem itself was not reached by the Mongols.<ref name=runciman-308/> The Mongols however claimed repeatedly that they had remitted Jerusalem to the Christians on this occasion.<ref>"Hulegu informed Louis IX that he had handed over the Holy City to the Franks already, during the brief Mongol occupation in 1260 (although, as we have seen, this is nowhere indicated in any of the Muslim sources, still less in the Frankish appeals for help to the West), and the claim was reiterated in 1274 by Abaqa's envoys.", Jackson, p.174</ref>

Sidon incident (1260)

With Mongol territory now bordering the Franks, a few incidents occurred, one of them leading to large-scale trouble in Sidon. Julian de Grenier, Lord of Sidon and Beaufort, described by his contemporaries as irresponsible and light-headed, took the opportunity to raid and plunder the area of the Bekaa in Mongol territory. When the Mongol general Kitbuqa sent his nephew with a small force to obtain redress, they were ambushed and killed by Julian. Kitbuqa responded forcefully by raiding the city of Sidon, although the Castle of the city was left unattained.<ref name=runciman-308/><ref>"It happened that some men from Sidon and Belfort gathered together, went to the Saracens' villages and fields, looted them, killed many Saracens and took others into captivity together with a great deal of livestock. A certain nephew of Kit-Bugha who resided there, taking along but few cavalry, pursued the Christians who had done these things to tell them on his uncle's behalf to leave the booty. But some of the Christians attacked and killed him and some other Tartars. When Kit-Bugha learned of this, he immediately took the city of the Sidon and destroyed most of the walls [and killed as many Christians as he found. But the people of Sidon fled to an island, and only a few were slain. oe43]. Thereafter the Tartars no longer trusted the Christians, nor the Christians the Tartars." Fleur des Histoires d'Orient, Chap. 30</ref> Another similar incident occurred when John II of Beirut and some Templars led a raid into Galilee.<ref>Runciman, p.309</ref> These events generated a significant level of distrust between the Mongols and the Crusader forces, whose own center of power was now in the coastal city of Acre. The incidents also raised the ire of the Mamluk leader Baibars. He declared that the treaty that had been signed between the Crusaders and the Mamluks in 1240 had been invalidated when Christian forces assisted the Mongols to capture Damascus. He demanded the evacuation of Saphet and Beaufort, and when the Christians balked, Baibars used that as his excuse to violate the pre-existing truce, and start launching new attacks on such settlements as Nazareth, Mount Tabor, and Bethlehem.<ref>Richard, p. 416 (english)</ref>

Battle of Ain Jalut (1260)

The Franks of the Principality of Antioch and the County of Tripoli and the Armenians aside, in 1260, the Franks of Acre maintained a position of cautious neutrality between the Mongols and the Mamluks. The powerful Venetian commercial interests in the city regarded with concern the expansion of the northern trade routes opened by the Mongols and serviced by the Genoese, and they favoured an appeasement policy with the Mamluks, that would support their traditional trade routes to the south. In May 1260 they sent a letter to Charles of Anjou, complaining about Mongol expansion and Bohemond's subservience to them, and asking for his support.<ref>Runciman, p.307</ref>

They did send the Dominican David of Ashby to the court of Hulagu in 1260,<ref>Encyclopedia Iranica article</ref> but also entered into a passive alliance with the Egyptian Mamluks, which allowed the Mamluk forces to move through Christian territory unhampered,<ref>Runciman, p.312</ref> in exchange for an agreement to purchase captured Mongol horses at a low price in the event of a Mamluk victory (a promisse which was not honoured by the Mamluks).<ref>"They allowed the Mamluks to cross their territory, in exchange for a promesse to be able to purchase at a low price the horses captured from the Mongols", Richard, "Histoire des Croisades", p.425</ref> This allowed the Mamluks to counter-attack the Mongols, at the pivotal Battle of Ain Jalut on September 3, 1260. It was the first major battle that the Mongols lost, and effectively set the western border for what had seemed an unstoppable Mongol expansion. According to the 13th century historian Kirakos, many Armenians and Georgians were also fighting in the ranks of Kitbuqa.<ref>"Among Ket-Bugha's warriors were many Armenians and Georgians who were killed with him" Kirikos, Chap. 62</ref> The Armenian historian Smpad writes that about 500 troops from Armenia accompanied the Mongols.<ref>"These, however, were not all Mongol horsemen, but included contingents from Georgia and Lesser Armenia; Smpad writes that the latter numbered 500 men." Mongols and Mamluks, p.40</ref>

Following Ain Jalut, the remainder of the Mongol army retreated to Cilician Armenia under the commander Ilka, where it was received and re-equipped by Hetoum I. Hulagu sent a counter-attack which briefly occupied Aleppo, but it was repelled by the princes of Hama and Homs, subjects to the Sultan.<ref>Jean Richard, p.428</ref>

Papal-Mongol agreement (1263)

Letter to Louis IX of France

On April 10, 1262, the Mongol leader Hulagu sent through John the Hungarian a new letter to the French king Louis IX from the city of Maragheh, offering again an alliance.<ref>Richard, p. 436 (french), p. 422 (english). "What Hulegu was offering was an alliance. And, contrary to what has long been written by the best authorities, this offer was not in response to appeals from the Franks."</ref> The letter explained that two years before, in 1260, Hulagu had to withdraw the bulk of his army from Syria due to the hot weather and the lack of provisions and grass for the horses.<ref>Jackson, p.178</ref> The letter mentioned Hulagu's intention to capture Jerusalem for the benefit of the Pope, and asked for Louis to send a fleet against Egypt:


Papal agreement (1263)

Pope Urban IV tentatively agreed to an alliance with the Mongols in 1263.

King Louis sent the embassy with the letter to Pope Urban IV. John the Hungarian transmitted to the Pope Hulagu's request for help as well as his interest in baptism.<ref>Reuven-Amitai, "Mongols and Mamluks" p.95</ref> In response, the Pope issued a short letter, known as the bull Exultavit cor nostru, which congratulated Hulegu on his expression of goodwill towards the Christian faith. The historian Knobler described it as saying that the Pope tentatively agreed to Hulagu's plans, but only cautiously.<ref name=knobler/> According to Reuven-Amitai the Pope wrote that he rejoyced at Hulegu's interest in Christianity, and that "with his baptism effected, Christendom would help Hulegu in his struggle against the Saracens, including the dispatch of soldiers".<ref>Reuven-Amitai, "Mongols and Mamluks", p.95</ref>

The French historian Jean Richard describes this event as the turning point in the relations with the Mongols, from which the Mongols were considered as allies, rather than enemies.<ref>"On the side of the Franks of Syria, things had taken a different orientation. The point was not anymore to lead a Crusade against the Mongols. From that time on, the point was to engage in a Crusade together with them." Jean Richard, p.427</ref> He also claims that the exact terms of this alliance offered in 1262, can be learned from the report of the monk Richardus, which were presented in 1274 at the Council of Lyon. Richard says that according to Richardus, that Hulagu had welcomed the Christian ambassadors to his court, and then agreed to exempt Latin Christians from taxes and charges, in exchange for their prayers for the Qaghan. Hulagu also prohibited that Frank establishments should be molested, and committed to return Jerusalem to the Franks.<ref>Jean Richard, p.435</ref> Richard further says that the successful offensives of the Sultan Baibars at the time helped rally Westerners to the idea of an alliance,<ref>"The sustained attacks of Baibar (...) rallied the Occidentals to this alliance, to which the Mongols also convinced the Byzantines to adhere", in "Histoire des Croisades", p.453.</ref> and that it was in response to this coalition between the Franks, Ilkhanid Mongols and Byzantines, that the Mongols of the Golden Horde allied with the Muslim Mamluks in return.<ref>"In 1264, to the coalition between the Franks, Mongols and Byzantines, responded the coalition between the Golden Horde and the Mamluks.” In Jean Richard, p.436</ref>

Combined operations in the Levant (1262-1265)

Meanwhile, the Mamluk leader Baibars began to threaten Antioch, which (as a vassal of the Armenians) had earlier supported the Mongols.<ref>Runciman, p.313</ref> In the summer of 1262, the king of Armenia went to the Mongols and again obtained their intervention to deliver the city.<ref>"Antioch was only saved (...) by the intervention of Hethoum who called the Mongols to intervene in favour of Bohemond. Les Gestes des Chiprois even seems to say that the Armenia monarch went in person to fetch the nearest Mongol troops". Grousset, p.609</ref><ref>Mentionned in Grousset, p.609. In 1262, the king of Armenia went to the Mongols and again obtained their intervention to deliver the city. - "In the year 1262, the sultan Bendocdar of Babiloine, who had taken the name of Melec el Vaher, put the city of Antioch under siege, but the king of Armenia went to see the Tatars and had them come, so that the Sarazins had to leave the siege and return to Babiloine.". Original French:"Et en lan de lincarnasion .mcc. et .lxii. le soudan de Babiloine Bendocdar quy se fist nomer Melec el Vaher ala aseger Antioche mais le roy dermenie si estoit ale a Tatars et les fist ehmeuer de venir et les Sarazins laiserent le siege dantioche et sen tornerent en Babiloine."Guillame de Tyr "Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum" #316</ref> The city was saved through Mongol intervention.<ref>”In the meantime, [Baibars] condicted his troops to Antioch, and started to besiege the city, which was saved by a Mongol intervention” Jean Richard, p.429</ref>

Bohemond VI was again present at the court of Hulagu in 1264, trying to obtain as much support as possible from Mongol rulers against the Mamluk progression. His presence is described by the Armenian saint Vartan:<ref>"Grousset, p565</ref>


However, in response to Hetoum I and Bohemond VI's request for help, Hulagu was only capable of attacking the frontier fort of Al-Bira (1264-1265).<ref>Jean Richard, p.428</ref> The Mamluks were deeptly aware of the Franco-Mongol threat however. After the battle of Al-Bira, Baibars complained in a letter to a Frank prince (the Castellan of Jaffa, apparently Jean d'Ibelin) of the collaboration between the Franks of Syria and the Mongols:


Death of Hulagu

The Mamluks defeated the Armenians at the Battle of Mari in 1266, killing one of Hetoum I's sons and capturing another (the future king Leon II). They then ravaged the land of Armenia.<ref>Mutafian, p.58</ref>

Following the death of Hulagu in 1265, the Muslim leader Baibars attacked the Franks, and brought terrible devastation to the kingdom of Little Armenia.

In 1265, the new Khan Abaqa further pursued Western cooperation. He corresponded with Pope Clement IV through 1267-1268, and reportedly sent a Mongol ambassador in 1268. Abaqa proposed a joint alliance between his forces, those of the West, and the father of Abaqa's wife, the Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Palaeologos. Abaqa received responses from Rome and from Jaume I of Aragon, though it is unclear if this was what led to Jaume's unsuccessful expedition to Acre in 1269.<ref name=knobler/>

In 1268, the Mamluk leader Baibars raided the area of Acre, taking the castle of Beaufort, and attacked Tripoli, where Bohemond VI was entrenched with his subjects. Baibars then arrived in front of Antioch, the largest of the Frankish cities, on May 14, 1268, and took the city after a siege of only 4 days, in the Siege of Antioch.<ref>Amin Maalouf, p.267</ref> After this defeat, Bohemond obtained a truce with Baibars<ref> Amin Maalouf, p.268 (French)</ref> but this left Bohemond with no estates except Tripoli.<ref>Runciman, 325-327</ref>

Cooperation during the Eighth and Ninth Crusades

Abaqa (1234-1282) was the second Mongol emperor in Persia, controlling that quarter of the Mongol empire known as the Ilhanate. A devout Buddhist, he reigned from 1265-1282. Upon his succession, he received the hand of the Christian Maria Despina Palaiologina, the illegitimate daughter of Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus, in marriage.<ref>Runciman, p.320</ref> During his reign, he attempted to convert the Muslims and harassed them mercilessly by promoting Nestorian and Buddhist interests ahead of the Muslims, many of whom attempted to assassinate him.

Letters and embassies (1266-1268)

File:Papst Clemens IV.jpg
The French Pope Clement IV sent an ambassador to the Mongols in 1267.

In the 1260s, the Mamluks were extending their conquests in Syria, putting the Syrian Franks in a difficult situation. In 1266 Pope Clement IV was considering an alliance with the Mongols, although he famously explained that, in spite of the fact that the Mongols were allies against the Sarazins, they could not benefit from the "Crusade indulgence", as they were not Christians.<ref>Jean Richard, p. 435</ref> His October 1, 1266, bull famously mentions the help of the Mongols against the Muslims: Template:Quote

In preparation for the Eighth Crusade (the second of Louis IX), letters about coordinated operations were again exchanged between Pope Clement IV and the Mongols. Abaqa sent an embassy in late 1266 or early 1267 to Pope Clement IV and Jaime I of Aragon, who had already taken the cross for the Eighth Crusade against Egypt. In 1267, Pope Clement IV and James I of Aragon responded by sending an ambassador to the Mongol ruler Abaqa in the person of Jayme Alaric de Perpignan.<ref>Runciman, p330-331</ref> In his 1267 letter from Viterbo, the Pope wrote:


Abaqa again sent a letter and an embassy accompanied by Jayme Alaric and an envoy of the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus in the summer of 1268, explaining that he had sent troops under his brother Ejei to assist the Christians, possibly in response to the recent Loss of Antioch in May, with the mission of joining with the army promissed by the Pope as well as James of Aragon and the Byzantine Emperor to defeat the Mamluks.<ref>Reuven-Amitai, "Mongols and Mamluks", p.97</ref>

Pope Clement welcomed Abaqa's proposal in a non-committal manner, but did inform him of an upcoming Crusade. The embassy then met with James of Aragon, who wrote down in a note that the Mongols would give him supplies and provide assistance should he disembark in the Levant. These contacts gave a new impetus to James' plans for a Crusade, and in September 1269 he sailed with a large fleet in what would become the Aragonese Crusade.<ref>Reuven-Amitai, "Mongols and Mamluks", p.97</ref>

The embassy further endeavoured to meet with Louis IX, who had just taken the cross, but while in Genoa encountered an embassy from Baibars in the city's main square, leading to a full-blown skirmish.<ref>All information in this paragraph from Jackson, p.167</ref>

Cooperation during the Aragonese Crusade (1269)

The crusade initiated by James I of Aragon met with a huge storm. Most of the fleet to return, except for a small force under the King's two bastards Fernando Sanchez and Pedro Fernandez, which arrived in Acre in December 1269. At that time, Abaqa had to face an invasion in Khorasan by fellow Mongols from Turkestan, and could only commit a small force on the Syrian frontier from October 1269, only capable of brandishing the threat of an invasion.<ref name=runciman-332>Runciman, p.332</ref> Although these actions were limited in scale, on this occasion "the Franks of the coast made common cause with the Mongols to attack Muslim territory".<ref>Reuven-Amintai, "Mongols and Mamluks", p.102</ref>

When Abaqa finally defeated his eastern enemies near Herat in 1270, he wrote to Louis IX offering military support as soon as the Crusaders landed in Palestine.<ref name=runciman-332/>

Failed second Crusade of Louis IX (1270)

Louis IX, who had been preparing for a new Crusade since March 24, 1267, left on July 1, 1270. However, his travels in the Eighth Crusade took him to Tunis in modern Tunisia instead of Syria, apparently with the intention of first conquering Tunis, and then to move his troops along the coast to reach Alexandria. Saint-Louis seems to have coordinated his second Crusade with the Mongols.<ref>”It really seems that Saint Louis’s initial project in his second Crusade was an operation coordinated with the offensive of the Mongols.” Demurger, “Croisades et Croises”, p.285</ref> According to the French historian Jean Richard, he probably postponed his attack on the Middle-East, and instead temporarily derouted his Crusades to Tunis following a message from Abaqa that he would not be able to commit his forces in 1270, asking to postpone the campaign to 1271.<ref>Jean Richard, p.443</ref> Envoys from the Byzantine emperor, the Armenians and the Mongols of Abaqa were present at Tunis, but events put a stop to plans for a continued Crusade.<ref>Jean Richard, p.445</ref> Louis IX did not achieve his goal, and instead died of illness in Tunis. According to legend, his last words were "Jerusalem".<ref>Grousset, p.647</ref>

Cooperation during the Ninth Crusade (1269-1274)

Edward I desired and obtained the assistance of the Mongols, against the Mamluks

In 1269, the English Prince Edward (the future Edward I), inspired by tales of his uncle, Richard the Lionheart, and the second crusade of the French King Louis, started on a Crusade of his own, the Ninth Crusade.<ref>Hindley, pp. 205-206</ref> The number of knights and retainers that accompanied Edward on the crusade was quite small,<ref>Nicolle, p. 47</ref> possibly around 230 knights, with a total complement of approximately 1,000 people, transported in a flotilla of 13 ships.<ref>Tyerman, p. 818</ref><ref>Grousset, p.656</ref> Many of the members of Edward's expedition were close friends and family including his wife Eleanor of Castile, his brother Edmund, and his first cousin Henry of Almain.

When Edward finally arrived in Acre on May 9, 1271, the situation in the Holy Land was particularly critical. Baibars was besieging Bohemond VI in the city of Tripoli. Baibars sent a letter to Bohemond threatening him with total annihilation and taunting him for his alliance with the Mongols:


At the same time, in 1271, one of the vassals of Bohemond VI, named Barthélémy de Maraclée, lord of Khrab Marqiya, a small coastal town between Baniyas and Tortosa, is recorded as having fled from the Mamluk offensive, taking refuge in Persia at the Mongol Court of Abaqa, where he exhorted the Mongols to intervene in the Holy Land.<ref>Grousset, p.650</ref><ref>Runciman, p334</ref>

As soon as Edward arrived in Acre he renewed the Mongol alliance,<ref>"Edward I renewed the precious Mongol Alliance", Grousset "L'épopée des Croisades", p.301</ref> and immediately sent an embassy to the Mongol ruler Abaqa.<ref>"When he disembarked in Acre, Edward immediately sent envoys to Abagha (…) As he (Abagha) could not commit himself to the offensive, he ordered the Mongol forces stationned in Turkey under Samaghar to attack Syria in order to relieve the Crusaders” Jean Richard, p.446</ref> Edward's plan was to use the help of the Mongols to attack the Muslim leader Baibars.<ref name=runciman-335>"Edward was horrified at the state of affairs in Outremer. He knew that his own army was small, but he hoped to unite the Christians of the East into a formidable body and then to use the help of the Mongols in making an effective attack on Baibars", Runciman, p.335</ref> The embassy from Edward to Abaqa was led by Reginald Russel, Godefrey Welles and John Parker.<ref name=grousset-653>Grousset, p.653.</ref> <ref>Runciman, p.336</ref> Abaqa answered positively to Edward's request in a letter dated September 4, 1271: Template:Quote

In mid-October 1271, the Mongol troops requested by Edward arrived in Syria and ravaged the land from Aleppo southward. Abaqa, occupied by other conflicts in Turkestan, could only send 10,000 Mongol horsemen under general Samagar from the occupation army in Seljuk Anatolia, plus auxiliary Seljukid troops,<ref name=runciman-336/> but they triggered an exodus of Muslim populations (who remembered the previous campaigns of Kithuqa) as far south as Cairo.<ref name=grousset-653/> The Mongols defeated the Turcoman troops that protected Aleppo, putting to flight the Mamluk garrison in that city, and continued their advance to Maarat an-Numan and Apamea.<ref name=runciman-336/> The historians Runciman and Grousset quote the medieval historian William of Tyre:

Combined operations during the Ninth Crusade.


When Baibars mounted a counter-offensive from Egypt on November 12, 1271, the Mongols had already retreated beyond the Euphrates, unable to face the full Mamluk army.

There is dispute among historians as to the effectiveness of Edward's actions. Most historians say that they accomplished little. For example, historian Geoffrey Hindley described it as saying that Edward's forces merely engaged in some fairly ineffectual raids that did not actually achieve success in gaining any new territory.<ref name=hindley-207/> According to Tyerman, Edward "saw some action" in defending Acre from Baibars in December 1271, and "launched a couple of military promenades into the surrounding countryside."<ref>Tyerman, p. 813</ref> Runciman also agrees that when Edward engaged in a raid into the Plain of Sharon, he proved unable to even take the small Mamluk fortress of Qaqun.<ref name=runciman-337>Runciman, p.337</ref> The Muslim leader Baibars later taunted Edward for not even being able to take a small fortified house.<ref>"The Sultan said to the messengers of the king of Charles d'Anjou that, since so many men had failed to take a house, it was not likely they should conquer the kingdom of Jerusalem!" Grousset, p.655</ref>

However, other historians point out that as a result of Edward's military operations, limited though they were, he was able to obtain a 10-year truce between the city of Acre and the Mamluks, signed in 1272.<ref name=runciman-337/> In June 1272, Edward was wounded by an assassination attempt with a poisoned dagger, but he survived, and after recuperating returned to England in September,<ref name=hindley-207>Hindley, pp. 207-208</ref> arriving in 1274.

Promulgation of a new Crusade in liaison with the Mongols (1274)

Niccolo and Maffeo Polo remitting a letter from Kubilai to Pope Gregory X in 1271.

As soon as he was elected in 1271, Pope Gregory X received a letter from the Mongol Khan Kubilai, remitted by Niccolo and Maffeo Polo following their travels to his court in Mongolia. Kubilai was asking for the dispatch of a hundred missionaries, and some oil from the lamp of the Holy Sepulcher. The two Polos (this time accompanied by the young Marco Polo) returned to Mongolia, accompanied by two Dominican monks, Niccolo de Vicence and Guillaume de Tripoli, and remitted the presents from the Pope to Kubilai in 1275.<ref>"Le Livre des Merveilles", p.5-17</ref>

The Second Council of Lyon was convened by Pope Gregory X in 1274. The Mongol leader Abaqa sent a delegation of 16 Mongols to the Council, which created a great stir, particularly when their leader underwent a public baptism. Among the embassy were David of Ashby, and the clerk Rychaldus.<ref>Richard, "Histoire des Croisades", p.452</ref> According to one chronicler, "The Mongols came, not because of the Faith, but to conclude an alliance with the Christians".<ref>Quoted in Jean Richard, p.452</ref>

Pope Gregory X promulgated a new Crusade in liaison with the Mongols, in 1274.<ref>"1274: Promulgation of a Crusade, in liaison with the Mongols", Jean Richard, "Histoire des Croisades", p.502</ref>

Abaqa's Latin secretary Rychaldus delivered a report to the Council, which outlined previous European-Ilkhanid relations under Abaqa's father, Hulagu, where after welcoming the Christian ambassadors to his court, Hulagu had agreed to exempt Latin Christians from taxes and charges, in exchange for their prayers for the Qaghan. According to Richardus, Hulagu had also prohibited the molestation of Frank establishments, and had committed to return Jerusalem to the Franks.<ref>Jean Richard, p.435</ref> Richardus told the assembly that even after Hulagu's death, Abaqa was still determined to drive the Mamluks from Syria.<ref>Jackson, pp. 167-168</ref>

At the Council, Pope Gregory promulgated a Crusade, to start in 1278 in liaison with the Mongols.<ref>"1274: Promulgation of a Crusade, in liaison with the Mongols", Jean Richard, "Histoire des Croisades", p.502</ref> The Pope put in place a vast program to launch the Crusade, which was written down in his “Constitutions for the zeal of the faith”. This text puts forward four main decisions to accomplish the Crusade: the imposition of a new tax during three years, the interdiction of any kind of trade with the Sarazins, the supply of ships by the Italian maritime Republics, and the alliance of the West with Byzantium and the Il-Khan Abagha.<ref>”Le Pape Grégoire X s’efforce alors de mettre sur pied un vaste programme d’aide à la Terre Sainte, les “Constitutions pour le zèle de la foi”, qui sont acceptées au Concile de Lyon de 1274. Ce texte prévoit la levée d’une dime pendant trois ans pour la croisade, l’interdiction de tout commerce avec les Sarasins, la fourniture de bateaux par les républiques maritimes italiennes, et une alliance de l’Occident avec Byzance et l’Il-Khan Abagha » Michel Balard, Les Latins en Orient (XIe-XVe siècle), p.210</ref>

The Polos returned to Kubilai (seated, right) in 1275 with a letter and presents from Pope Gregory X.<ref>"Le Livre des Merveilles", p.18</ref>

After the Council, the Mongol embassy visited Edward I of England on January 28th, 1275. A letter from Edward is known, in which he acknowledges Abagha's promise to fight together with the Crusaders.<ref>Richard, "Histoire des Croisades", p.452</ref> David of Ashby, another member of the embassy wrote a treatise on the Mongols, entitled "Les faits des Tartares" ("The facts about the Tartars").<ref>Richard, "Histoire des Croisades", p.452</ref>

Following these exchanges, Abagha sent another embassy, led by the Georgian Vassali brothers, to further notify Western leaders of military preparations. Gregory answered that his legates would accompany the Crusade, and that they would be in charge of coordinating military operations with the Il-Khan.<ref>Richard, "Histoire des Croisades", p.465</ref>

These projects of a major new Crusade essentially came to a halt with the death of Gregory X on January 10, 1276. The money which had been saved to finance the expedition was distributed in Italy.<ref>Riley-Smith, "Atlas des Croisades", p.69</ref> His successors however continued to pursue projects of cooperation with the Mongols and Byzantines for future Crusades.<ref>"They continued the cooperation projects between the Latins, the Byzantines and the Mongols for future Crusades" Jean Richard, p.453</ref> From that time, hopes of reconquering the Holy Land rested on the Mongol alliance.<ref>"Success in re-capturing the Holy Land now depended on the Mongol alliance", Richard, "Histoire des Croisades", p.454</ref>

Another embassy from the Mongols visited Europe in 1276-1277, led by the Vassalli brothers, who were either Georgian or Greek. They visited the court of Edward I in England, where they conveyed the Khan's apologies for the lack of support during Edward's 1271 Crusade. They also met with the new Pope John XXI. On their return to Persia, they were accompanied by an ambassador from Charles of Anjou.<ref>Jackson, p.168</ref>

Joint invasion of Syria (1280-1281)

Without support from the Crusades, some Franks of Syria, particularly the Hospitallers, and to some extent the Franks of Cyprus and Antioch, joined in combined operations with the Mongols in 1280-1281. The historian Zoe Oldenbourg in The Crusades mentions in 1280 the "Alliance of Franks and Mongols against Qalawun".<ref>Oldenbourg, "The Crusades", p.620 "1280: Alliance of Franks and Mongols against Qalawun")</ref>

Campaign of autumn 1280

The Hospitaller Knights of the fortress of Marqab fought together with the Mongols.

Following the death of Baibars in 1277, and the ensuing disorganisation of the Muslim realm, conditions were ripe for a new action in the Holy Land.<ref>Richard, "Histoire des Croisades", p.465</ref> The Mongols seized the opportunity and organized a new invasion of Syrian land. In September 1280, the Mongols occupied Baghras and Darbsak, and took Aleppo on October 20, where they massacred many inhabitants.


On the Frank side the king of Cyprus Hugues III and Bohemond VI also mobilized their army, but they could not intervene because the Mamluks had already positionned themselves between them and the Mongols.<ref>Richard, "Histoire des Croisades", p.465</ref> In October 1280, the Mongols sent envoys to Acre to request military support for the campaign, but the Vicar of the Patriarch invoked that the city was suffering from hunger, and that the king of Jerusalem was embroiled in another war.<ref>Richard, "Histoire des Croisades", p.466</ref> The Mongols also requested support for a campaign the following winter, informing the Franks that they would bring 50,000 Mongol horsemen and 50,000 Mongol infantry, but the request apparently remained without a response.<ref>Runciman, p.390</ref>

According to Runciman, Abagha and Leo III of Armenia urged the Franks to start a new Crusade, but only the Hospitallers and Edward I (who could not come for lack of funds) responded favourably.<ref>Runciman, p.387</ref> The Hospitallers of Marquab made combined raids into the Buqaia, and won several engagements against the Sultan.<ref>Runciman, p.390</ref> They raided as far as the Krak des Chevaliers in October 1280, and defeated the Mamluk army of the Krak in February 1281.<ref>Richard, "Histoire des Croisades", p.466</ref>

The Mongols finally retreated, pledging to come back for the winter of 1281.

Campaign of Autumn 1281

Defeat of the Mongols (left) at the 1281 Battle of Homs.

In order to prevent new combined actions between the Franks and the Mongols, the new Muslim sultan Qalawun signed a new 10-year truce on May 3, 1281 (following the expiration of the old truce from 1271) with the Barons of Acre (a truce he would later breach)<ref>Qalawun inadvertanly laid siege to, and captured, Marqab in the spring of 1285. Grousset, p.692</ref> and a second 10-year truce with Bohemond VII of Tripoli, on July 16, 1281. The truce also authorized pilgrim access to Jerusalem.<ref>Grousset, p. 688</ref>

The announced Mongol invasion started in September 1281. They were joined by the Armenians under Leo II, and by about 200 Hospitaliers knights of the fortress of Marqab,<ref>Grousset, p.687</ref><ref>"The Crusades Through Arab Eyes", p. 253: The fortress of Marqab was held by the Knights Hospitallers, called al-osbitar by the Arabs, "These monk-knights had supported the Mongols wholeheartedly, going so far as to fight alongside them during a fresh attempted invasion in 1281."</ref> who considered they were not bound by the truce with the Mamluks.<ref name=runciman-391/> Some knights from Cyprus also probably accompanied them.<ref>The “Syrian knights” were probably including knights from Cyprus. in Jean Richard, p.466</ref>


On October 30, 1281, 50,000 Mongol troops, together with 30,000 Armenians, Georgians, Greeks, and the Hospitalier Knights of Marqab fought against the Muslim leader Qalawun at the Second Battle of Homs, but they were repelled, with heavy losses on both sides.<ref name=runciman-391>"Mangu Timur commanded the Mongol centre, with other Mongol princes on his left, and on his right his Georgian auxiliaries, with King Leo and the Hospitallers", Runciman, p391-392</ref>

With Abaqa's death in 1282, and his replacement by the Muslim Mongol ruler Teguder, the Sultan Qalawun was free again to attacks Frankish territory.<ref>Tyerman, p.817</ref>

Arghun's proposals for a new crusade (1284-1291)

1289 letter of Arghun to Philip the Fair, in the Uyghur script, with detail of the introduction. The letter was remitted to the French king by Buscarel of Gisolfe. The seal is that of the Great Khan, in Chinese characters: "Seal of the upholder of the State and the purveyor of peace to the People". The paper is of Korean manufacture. 182x25 cm. French National Archives.<ref>Grands Documents de l'Histoire de France, Archives Nationales de France, p.38, 2007.</ref>

The new Mongol ruler Arghun, son of Abaqa, again revived the idea of an alliance with the West, and sent envoys to Europe. He promised that if Jerusalem were conquered, he would have himself baptised. But Western Europe was no longer as interested in the crusades, and the missions were ultimately fruitless,<ref>Prawdin, p. 372. "Argun revived the idea of an alliance with the West, and envoys from the Ilkhans once more visited European courts. He promised the Christians the Holy Land, and declared that as soon as they had conquered Jerusalem he would have himself baptised there. The Pope sent the envoys on to Philip the Fair of France and to Edward I of England. But themission was fruitless. Western Europe was no longer interested in crusading adventures.</ref> except for the dispatch of a corps of 800 Genoese to the Mongol realm to establish a naval raiding force in the Indian Ocean. During his reign, the Mamluks continuously increased their power in Syria, and the Sultan Qalawun managed to capture the northern fortress of Margat in 1285, Lattakia in 1287, and completing the Fall of Tripoli in 1289 and the Fall of Acre in 1291 managed to eliminate the last major Christian bases in the Levant.<ref>Tyerman, p.817</ref>

First mission to the Pope

In 1285, Arghun sent an embassy and a letter to Pope Honorius IV, a Latin translation of which is preserved in the Vatican.<ref name=runciman-398>Runciman, p.398</ref><ref>"This Arghon loved the Christians very much, and several times asked to the Pope and the king of France how they could together destroy all the Sarazins" - Le Templier de Tyr - French original:"Cestu Argon ama mout les crestiens et plusors fois manda au pape et au roy de France trayter coment yaus et luy puissent de tout les Sarazins destruire" Guillame de Tyr (William of Tyre) "Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum" #591 </ref> Arghun's letter mentioned the links that Arghun's family had to Christianity, and proposed a combined military conquest of Muslim lands:<ref>"The Crusades Through Arab Eyes" p. 254: Arghun, grandon of Hulegu, "had resurrected the most cherished dream of his predecessors: to form an alliance with the Occidentals and thus to trap the Mamluk sultanate in a pincer movement. Regular contacts were established between Tabriz and Rome with a view to organizing a joint expedition, or at least a concerted one."</ref>


Second mission, to Kings Philip and Edward

Debate between Western Christians (left) and Oriental Christians (right) in the 13th century. Miniature from Acre, circa 1290.

Apparently left without an answer, Arghun sent another embassy to European rulers in 1287, headed by the Nestorian Rabban Bar Sauma, with the objective of contracting a military alliance to fight the Muslims in the Middle East, and take the city of Jerusalem.<ref name=runciman-398/> The responses were positive but vague. Sauma returned in 1288 with positive letters from Pope Nicholas IV, Edward I of England, and Philip IV the Fair of France.<ref>Boyle, in Camb. Hist. Iran V, pp. 370-71; Budge, pp. 165-97. Source</ref> According to the medieval Syriac History of the two Nestorian Chinese monks, Bar Sawma of Khan Balik and Markos of Kawshang, as translated in Sir Wallis Budge's book The Monks of Kublai Khan Emperor of China, Philip seemingly responded positively to the request of the embassy, gave him numerous presents, and sent one of his noblemen, Gobert de Helleville, to accompany Bar Sauma back to Mongol lands:


Rabban Bar Sauma travelled from Pekin in the East, to Rome, Paris and Bordeaux in the West, meeting with the major rulers of the period, even before Marco Polo's return from Asia.

Gobert de Helleville departed on February 2, 1288, with two clerics Robert de Senlis and Guillaume de Bruyères, as well as arbaletier Audin de Bourges. They joined Bar Sauma in Rome, and accompanied him to Persia.<ref>"Histoires des Croisades III", Rene Grousset, quoting "La Flor des Estoires d'Orient" by Haiton</ref>

According to a medieval historian, King Edward was also said to have welcomed the embassy enthusiastically:


In one of his letters, Nicholas IV also recognized the role of many Franks in the service of the Il-Khan, among them Ugi de Sienne, ilduci in the Guard of the Il-Khan, who would also bring a message to the West.<ref>Richard, "Histoire des Croisades", p.469</ref>

Christian missions to Mongol China from 1289

Template:Main This period saw the start of major Christian missions to Mongol China, which would last until the fall of Mongol power and the establishment of the Ming Dynasty a century later. In 1289, Pope Nicholas IV sent the Franciscan John of Monte Corvino to China by way of India, thereby bypassing Karakorum.<ref>Foltz, p.130</ref> Although the great Khan Kubilai had already died by the time John arrived (1294), the court at Khanbaliq received him graciously and encouraged him to settle there. John was China’s first Roman Catholic missionary, and he was significantly successful. He laboured largely in the Mongol tongue, translated the New testament and Psalms, built a central church, and within a few years (by 1305) could report six thousand baptized converts. He also established a lay training school of 150 students. Other priests joined him and centers were established in the coastal provinces of Kiangsu (Yangchow), Chekiang (Hangchow) and Fukien (Zaitun).

Third mission

File:Philippe IV Le Bel.jpg
Philip the Fair (1268-1314) sent an ambassador to the court of the Mongol leader Arghun (1258-1291), to try and arrange details of an alliance.<ref>Runciman, p. 399</ref> But Arghun died before anything could be achieved.<ref name=runciman-402/>

In 1289, Arghun sent a third mission to Europe, in the person of Buscarel of Gisolfe, a Genoese who had settled in Persia. The objective of the mission was to determine at what date concerted Christian and Mongol efforts could start. Arghun committed to march his troops as soon as the Crusaders had disembarked at Saint-Jean-d'Acre. Buscarel was in Rome between July 15 and September 30, 1289, and in Paris in November-December 1289. He remitted a letter from Arghun to Philippe le Bel, answering to Philippe's own letter and promises, offering the city of Jerusalem as a potential prize, and attempting to fix the date of the offensive from the winter of 1290 to spring of 1291:<ref>Runciman, p.401</ref>


Buscarello was also bearing a memorandum explaining that the Mongol ruler would prepare all necessary supplies for the Crusaders, as well as 30,000 horses.<ref>Jean Richard, p.468</ref> Buscarel then went to England to bring Arghun's message to King Edward I. He arrived in London January 5, 1290. Edward, whose answer has been preserved, answered enthusiastically to the project but remained evasive about its actual implementation, for which he deferred to the Pope.<ref>"Histoire des Croisades III", p.713, Rene Grousset.</ref>

Assembly of a raiding naval force

In a concrete example of military collaboration, a maritime raiding force consisting in two war galleys was prepared in Baghdad by a corps of Genoese, in order to curtail the maritime trade of the Mamluks. A contingent of 800 Genoese carpenters and sailors was sent in 1290 to Baghdad, as well as a force of arbaletiers, but the enterprise apparently foundered when the Genoese government ultimatey disowned the project, and an internal fight erupted at the Persian Gulf port of Basra among the Geneose (between the Guelfe and the Gibelin families).<ref>"Only a contingent of 800 Genoese arrived, whom he (Arghun) employed in 1290 in building shipd at Baghdad, with a view to harassing Egyptian commerce at the southern approaches to the Red Sea", p.169, Peter Jackson, The Mongols and the West</ref><ref>Jean Richard, p.468</ref>

Fourth mission

With the Fall of Acre in May 1291, the last major Christian city in the Levant disappeared.

Arghun then sent a fourth mission to European courts in 1290, led by a certain Andrew Zagan (or Chagan), who was accompanied by Buscarel of Gisolfe and a Christian named Sahadin.<ref>Runciman, p.402</ref>

As a result, with Acre in great danger, Pope Nicolas IV proclaimed a Crusade and negotiated agreements with Arghun, Hetoum II of Armenia, the Jacobites, the Ethiopians and the Georgians. On January 5, 1291, he addressed a vibrant prayer to all the Christians to save the Holy Land, and predicators started to rally Christians to follow Edward I in a Crusade.<ref>Dailliez, p.324-325</ref>

However, all these attempts to mount a combined offensive were too little and too late. On May 18th 1291, Saint-Jean-d'Acre was conquered by the Mamluks in the Siege of Acre. In August 1291, Nicholas IV wrote a letter to Arghun informing him of the plans of Edward I to go on a Crusade to recapture the Holy Land, and explaining that the Crusade could only be successful with the help of the "powerful arm" of the Mongols.<ref>Schein, p.809</ref> He asked Arghun to reiceive baptism and to march against the Mamluks.<ref>Jackson, p.169</ref> However Arghun himself had died on March 10, 1291, and Pope Nicholas IV would die in March 1292, putting an end to their efforts towards combined action.<ref>Runciman, p.412</ref>

Edward I sent an ambassador to Arghun's successor Gaikhatu in 1292 in the person of Geoffrey de Langley, but extensive contacts would only resume under Arghun's son Ghazan.

According to the 20th century historian Runciman, "Had the Mongol alliance been achieved and honestly implemented by the West, the existence of Outremer would almost certainly have been prolonged. The Mameluks would have been crippled if not destroyed; and the Ilkhanate of Persia would have survived as a power friendly to the Christians and the West"<ref name=runciman-402>Runciman, p.402</ref>

Alliance to recapture the Levant (1297-1303)

Ghazan (center) was raised a Christian but converted to Islam upon accession to the throne. He still considered the Mamluks as his mortal enemies.

In 1297, the new Mongol ruler Ghazan was able to resume offensives against the Mamluks and revive the Franco-Mongol alliance.<ref>”Ghazan resumed his plans against Egypt in 1297: the Franco-Mongol cooperation had thus survived, in spite of the loss of Acre by the Franks, and the conversion of the Persian Mongols to Islam. It was to remain one of the political factors of the policy of the Crusades, until the peace treaty with the Mumluks, which was only signed in 1322 by the khan Abu Said”, Jean Richard, p.468</ref> Ghazan had been baptized and raised as a Christian, though he had became a Muslim upon accession to the throne.<ref>Foltz, p.128</ref> He retained however a strong enmity towards the Egyptian Mamluks.

These coordinated actions between the Mongols and the Franks of Cyprus came very close to succeeding.<ref>”The renewed offensives of the Mongol Khan, the Il-Khan Ghazan, in the year 1299-1302, deployed in collaboration with the Christians forces of Cyprus, were very close to succeed”. Demurger, “Croisades et croises”, p.287</ref> The plan was to coordinate actions between the Christian military orders, the King of Cyprus, the aristocracy of Cyprus and Little Armenia and the Mongols of the khanate of Ilkhan (Persia).<ref>"The Trial of the Templars", Malcolm Barber, 2nd edition, page 22: "The aim was to link up with Ghazan, the Mongol Il-Khan of Persia, who had invited the Cypriots to participate in joint operations against the Mamluks".</ref> The Christian forces of Cyprus and Armenia were determined to reconquer the Holy Land in liaison with the Mongol offensives. However, they had little support from Europe, and Crusades to help sustain their actions.<ref>”During these years, no Crusade was preached in the Occident. Only the Frank forces of Cyprus and Little Armenia did cooperate with the Mongols”. Demurger, “Croisades et croises”, p287</ref>

According to the French historian Alain Demurger, the Knights Templar and their leader Jacques de Molay strongly advocated, and attempted a collaboration with the Mongols under Ghazan to fight against the Mamluks.<ref>Demurger, p.139 "During four years, Jacques de Molay and his order were totally committed, with other Christian forces of Cyprus and Armenia, to an enterprise of reconquest of the Holy Land, in liaison with the offensives of Ghazan, the Mongol Khan of Persia". Also p.283: "But especially, from 1299 to 1303, he [Molay] plays the Mongol card to the utmost. With his Order, and the other Christian forces of the kingdoms of Cyprus and Little Armenia, he tries to coordinate some operations with the Ilkha Khanate."</ref> In an interview, Demurger credited the Templars and De Molay with being the artisans of the alliance with the Mongols from 1299-1303.<ref>"The order of the Templars, and its last Grand-Master Jacques de Molay, were the artisans of the alliance with the Mongols against the Mameluks in 1299-1303, in order to regain a foothold in the Holy Land" ("L’ordre du Temple et son dernier grand maître, Jacques de Molay, ont été les artisans de l’alliance avec les Mongols de Perse contre les Mamelouks en 1299-1303, afin de reprendre pied en Terre sainte.") Alain Demurger, Master of Conference at Université Paris-I, in an interview with Le Point, "La Chute du Temple", May 27th 2008. Also: Online article</ref> Another French historian, Laurent Dailliez in Les Templiers explains that the Templars allied with the Mongols and that Jacques de Molay signed a treaty with them against their common Muslim enemy.<ref>"The Mongols, after taking Damascus and several important cities from the Turks, after having been routed by the Sultan of Egypt at Tiberiade in 1260, allied themselves with the Templars. Jacques de Molay, in his letter to the king of England said that he had to sign such a treaty to fight against the Muslims, "our common enemy" Dailliez, p.306-307</ref> However, some other historians put less emphasis on Templar involvement in the matter, and some barely mention the hopes of Mongol involvement at all. Of the attempts of military action that were there, Jackson in "The Mongols and the West" gives the credit to King Henry II of Cyprus, and says that the actions were joint efforts of all of the Cypriots.<ref>Jackson</ref> He mentions however that Jacques de Molay seems to have been particularly enthousiastic about the project.<ref>"The Templar Master, Jacques de Molay, seems to have been particularly enthousiastic about the project", Jackson, p.171</ref> In a 1300 letter to the Mamluk Sultan, Ghazan boasted that the contingents ranged under his banner now included Franks.<ref>Jackson, p.182</ref>

Papal naval embargo

The most common weapon used by the Papacy in the fight between the Christians and the Muslims was the naval embargo, as the Mamluks were dependent on Mediterranean shipping for iron, wood and military slaves.<ref>Luisetto, p.126</ref> Pope Boniface VIII used two bulls, the first one on May 12th, 1295, and the second one on April 16th, 1299, to interdict trade with Egypt. A vast amount of prohibited goods were listed, and penalties could go as far as excommunication. The embargo was implemented by Cyprus, which used four galleys to patrol the coast of the Levant. Interceptions were also launched from the island of Ruad. The agent of the Mongols Isol the Pisan specifically had interviews with the Pope to organize the fight against smuggling. The embargo thus brought strategic support to the efforts of the Mongols.<ref>"This embargo had a truely political dimension, since Boniface VIII promissed to Hetoum II that he would maintain it. Also, with the continued requests by Ghazan to the Pope, the latter showed by the continuation of the embargo his goodwill towards the Khan's propositions. Thus an upstream support was given to the Mongols.", Luisetto, p.127</ref>

Armenian campaigns (1298-1299)

In 1298 or 1299, the military orders—the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller—and their leaders, including Jacques de Molay, Otton de Grandson and the Great Master of the Hospitallers, briefly campaigned in Armenia, in order to fight off an invasion by the Mamluks.<ref>Demurger, p.142-143</ref><ref>Hayton of Corycus mentions "Otton de Grandson and the Masters of the Temple and of the Hospitallers as well as their convents, who were at that time [1298 or 1299] in these regions [Cilician Armenia]", quoted in Demurger, p.116</ref><ref>Newman, p. 231, that says that De Molay had an "ill-fated expedition to Armenia around 1299, in which the last Templar holding in that kingdom was lost."</ref> However, they were not successful, and soon, the fortress of Roche-Guillaume in the Belen pass, the last Templar stronghold in Antioch, was lost to the Muslims.<ref name=demurger-142>Demurger, p.142</ref>

Campaign of winter 1299-1300

Franco-Mongol operations in the Levant, in 1299-1300.
Victory of the Mongols (left) over the Mamluks (right) at the 1299 Battle of Homs.

In the summer of 1299, King Hetoum II of Armenia sent a message to the Mongol khan of Persia, Ghâzân to obtain his support. In response, Ghazan marched with his forces towards Syria and sent letters to the Franks of Cyprus (the King of Cyprus, and the heads of the Knights Templar, the Hospitallers and the Teutonic Knights), inviting them to come join him in his attack on the Mamluks in Syria. Ghazan's first letter was sent on October 21, which arrived 15 days later. He sent a second letter in November.<ref>Demurger, p.143</ref>

There is no record of any reply, and Ghazan moved ahead, the Mongols successfully taking the city of Aleppo. There, Ghazan was joined by King Hetoum, whose forces included some Templars and Hospitallers from the kingdom of Armenia, who participated in the rest of the offensive.<ref>Demurger, p.142 (French edition) "He was soon joined by King Hethum, whose forces seem to have included Hospitallers and Templars from the kingdom of Armenia, who participate to the rest of the campaign."</ref> The Mongols and their allies defeated the Mamluks in the Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar, on December 23 or 24, 1299.<ref>Demurger, p.142</ref> One group of Mongols then split off from Ghazan's army, and pursued the retreating Mamluk troops as far as Gaza,<ref>Demurger, p.142 "The Mongols pursued the retreating troops towards the south, but stopped at the level of Gaza"</ref> pushing them back to Egypt.

The bulk of Ghazan's forces then proceeded on to Damascus, which surrendered somewhere between December 30, 1299, and January 6, 1300, though its Citadel resisted.<ref>Demurger 142-143</ref><ref>Runciman, p.439</ref> Contemporary Arab writers attribute partially or totally the exactions in Damas to the Armenian and Georgian Christians who accompanied the Mongols.<ref>Note by Michaud: "Ibn Kathir attributes partially the responsibility of these massacres and destructions to the Georgian and Armenian Christians that were accompanying the Mongols", "Textes Spirituels D'Ibn Taymiyya", Chap XI</ref><ref>"Rashid al-Din attributes these exactions to "ostlers, the Armenians, the Georgians and some renegades"", Luisetto, p.207</ref> Ghazan then retreated most of his forces in February, probably because their horses needed fodder. He promised to return in the winter of 1300-1301 to attack Egypt.<ref>Demurger, p.146</ref>

In the meantime the remaining forces of the Mongols, about 10,000 horsemen under the Mongol general Mulay, ruled over Syria,<ref>Demurger (p.146, French edition): "After the Mamluk forces retreated south to Egypt, the main Mongol forces retreated north in February, Ghazan leaving his general Mulay to rule in Syria".</ref> and engaged in raids as far south as Jerusalem and Gaza.<ref name=schein-raid>"Meanwhile the Mongol and Armenian troops raided the country as far south as Gaza." Schein, 1979, p. 810</ref><ref>"He pursued the Sarazins as far as Gaza, and then turn to Damas, conquering and destroying the Sarazins". Original French: "Il chevaucha apres les Sarazins jusques a Guadres et puis se mist vers Domas concuillant et destruyant les Sarazins." Le Templier de Tyr, #609</ref><ref>"Arab historians however, like Moufazzal Ibn Abil Fazzail, an-Nuwairi and Makrizi, report that the Mongols raided the country as far as Jerusalem and Gaza"— Sylvia Schein, p.810</ref><ref>The Arab historian Yahia Michaud, in the 2002 book Ibn Taymiyya, Textes Spirituels I-XVI, Chap XI, describes that there were some firsthand accounts at the time, of forays of the Mongols into Palestine, and quotes two medieval Arab sources stating that Jerusalem was one of the cities that was invaded by the Mongols</ref> But that small force had to retreat when the Mamluks returned in May 1300.

Frankish interventions (Feb-July 1300)

Jacques de Molay was one of the leaders contacted by Ghazan, in an attempt to coordinate military operations

Finally in early 1300, two Frank rulers, Guy d'Ibelin and Jean II de Giblet, had moved in with their troops from Cyprus in response to Ghazan's earlier call, and established a base in the castle of Nefin in Gibelet on the Syrian coast with the intention of joining him, but Ghazan was already gone.<ref>Demurger, p.144</ref><ref>"After Ghazan had left, some Christians from Cyprus arrived in Gibelet and Nefin, led by Guy, Count of Jaffa, and Jean d'Antioche with their knights, and from there proceeded to go to Armenia where the camp of the Tatars was. But Ghazan was gone, so they had to return."|Le Templier de Tyr, 614. - Le Templier de Tyr, 614: "Et apres que Cazan fu partis aucuns crestiens de Chipre estoient ales a Giblet et a Nefin et en seles terres de seles marines les quels vous nomeray: Guy conte de Jaffe et messire Johan dantioche et lor chevaliers; et de la cuyderent aler en Ermenie quy estoit a lost des Tatars. Cazan sen estoit retornes: il se mist a revenir"</ref> They also started to besiege the new city of Tripoli, but in vain.<ref>Jean Richard, p.481</ref> They soon had to reembark for Cyprus.

The Mongol leader Ghazan had sent letters in late 1299 requesting Frankish help, primarily with naval operations.<ref name=demurger-147>Demurger, p.147</ref> Naval operations were mounted in July 1300. A fleet of sixteen galleys with some smaller vessels was equipped in Cyprus,<ref>According to the "Chronicle of Cyprus", by Florio Bustron, quoted in in "Adh-Dhababi's Record of the Destruction of Damascus by the Mongols in 1299-1301", Note 18, p.359</ref><ref name=demurger-147/><ref name=schein-811/>, commanded by King Henry II of Jerusalem, the king of Cyprus, accompanied by his brother, Amalric, Lord of Tyre and the heads of the military orders. The banner of the Mongol Il-Khan was hoisted on the boats, because Ghazan's ambassador was onboard.<ref>"The banner of the Mongol Il-Khan was hoisted on the boats, because he [Ghazan's ambassador] was onboard" ("La banniere de l'Ilkhan fut hissee sur les bateaux parce qu'il etait a bord"), Demurger, "Jacques de Molay", p.147</ref><ref>Templar of Tyre: "At Rosetta Our men returned to their galleys, and then the Saracens saw Ghazan's banner on our galleys. Ghazan's envoys, whom Ghazan had sent to the king in Cyprus, had placed it there and had raised it over our galleys. Because of Ghazan's banner, four Tartars who were with the forty mounted Saracens that I have mentioned and now had been held there by the Saracens as if in prison, spurred their horses and came galloping up to our galleys. Our men received them..."</ref> The ships left Famagusta on July 20, 1300, to raid the coasts of Egypt and Syria: Rosette,<ref name=demurger-147/> Alexandria, Acre, Tortosa, and Maraclea, before returning to Cyprus.<ref name=schein-811>Schein, 1979, p. 811</ref> According to the French historian Jean Richard, the raids along the way were directed by Admiral Baudoin de Picquigny, who was accompanied onboard by the envoy of the Mongols Isol the Pisan, and when the raids took place at Alexandria, they were able to free Christian prisoners who had been captive since the Fall of Acre in 1291.<ref>Jean Richard, p.481</ref> The ships then returned to Cyprus, and prepared for an attack on Tortosa in late 1300.

In a May 18th 1300 letter from Lerida, James II of Aragon also sent a congratulation letter to Ghazan "King of the Kings of all the Levant (...) elected by the Omnipotent to take revenge on his enemies and recover the Holy Land",<ref>"Adh-Dhababi's Record of the Destruction of Damascus by the Mongols in 1299-1301", Note 18, p.359</ref> and offered to procure him ships, troops and supplies in exchange for one fifth of the territory of the Holy Land.<ref>Luisetto, p.116</ref><ref>Schein, p.819</ref>

The fate of Jerusalem in early 1300

File:Chaime II d'Aragón.jpg
James II of Aragon complimented Ghazan for his victories in 1300, and offered to procure him ships, troops and supplies in exchange for one fifth of the territory of the Holy Land.

There are pervasive contemporary accounts, whether from European, Armenian or Arab sources, claiming that the Mongols occupied Jerusalem around that time, but modern scholars are divided on the question. After their defeat at Homs, the Mamluk forces retreated south to Egypt, and the Mongols occupied the Levant as far as Gaza. In February, the main Mongol forces retreated north, and Ghazan left his general Mulay to rule in Syria.<ref>Demurger, p.146</ref> Accordingly, there existed a period of about four months from February to May 1300, when the Mongol il-Khan was the "de facto" lord of the Holy Land.<ref>"For a brief period, some four months in all, the Mongol Il-Khan was de facto the lord of the Holy Land", Schein, p810</ref> But that small force had to retreat when the Mamluks returned in May 1300.<ref name=schein-810>Schein, 1979, p. 810</ref><ref>Le Templier de Tyr mentions that one of the generals of Ghazan was named Molay, whom he left in Damas with 10,000 Mongols - "611. Ghazan, when he had vanquished the Sarazins returned in his country, and left in Damas one of his Admirals, who was named Molay, who had with him 10,000 Tatars and 4 general."611. Cacan quant il eut desconfit les Sarazins se retorna en son pais et laissa a Domas .i. sien amiraill en son leuc quy ot a nom Molay qui ot o luy .xm. Tatars et .iiii. amiraus.", but it is thought that this could instead designate a Mongol general "Mûlay". - Demurger, p.279</ref> Ghazan also promised to return in the winter of 1300-1301 to attack Egypt.<ref>Demurger, p.146</ref>

In Les Templiers, Alain Demurger states that "in December 1299, he (Ghazan) vanquished the Mamluks at the Second Battle of Homs and captured Damascus, and even Jerusalem",<ref>Demurger, Les Templiers, 2007, p.84</ref> and that the Mongol general Mulay occupied the Holy City in 1299-1300.<ref>"Mulay, a Mongol general who was effectively present in Jerusalem in 1299-1300", Demurger, Les Templiers, 2007, p.84</ref> According to Frederic Luisetto, Mongol troops penetrated into Jerusalem and Hebron, and are recorded to have committed numerous massacres there.<ref>Frédéric Luisetto, p.205, also p.208</ref> In The Crusaders and the Crusader States, Andrew Jotischky used Schein's 1979 article and later 1991 book to state, "after a brief and largely symbolic occupation of Jerusalem, Ghazan withdrew to Persia"<ref>Jotischky, The Crusaders and the Crusader States, p. 249</ref>. According to Peter Jackson in The Mongols and the West, the Mongols liberated the Holy City.<ref>"The Mongol liberation of the Holy City, of course, furnished the opportunity for Pope Boniface and Western chroniclers alike to castigate Latin princes by claiming that God had preferred a pagan ruler as His instrument", p.173, Peter Jackson, The Mongols and the West</ref> Steven Runciman in "A History of the Crusades, III" stated that Ghazan penetrated as far as Jerusalem, but not until the year 1308.<ref>Runciman, p.439. "Five years later, in 1308, Ghazzan again entered Syria and now penetrated as far as Jerusalem itself. It was rumoured that he would have willingly handed over the Holy City to the Christians had any Christian state offered him its alliance."</ref> Claude Mutafian, in Le Royaume Arménien de Cilicie mentions the writings and the 14th century Armenian Dominican which claim that the Armenian king visited Jerusalem as it was temporarily removed from Muslim rule.<ref>Claude Mutafian, p.73</ref> Demurger, in Jacques de Molay, mentions the possibility that the Mongols may have occupied Jerusalem, quoting an Armenian tradition describing that Hethoum celebrated mass in Jerusalem in January 1300.<ref>Demurger, p.143</ref>

However, Phillips, in The Medieval Expansion of Europe, states that "Jerusalem had not been taken or even besieged."<ref name=phillips-128>Phillips, p. 128. ""Disillusionment came swiftly. Jerusalem had not been taken or even besieged; Ghazan evacuated Syria within a few weeks of its conquest probably because his horses were short of fodder. He attacked it again in 1301, and planned further campaigns for the next two years, but achieved nothing. His bitterness at the failure of the European powers to provide the military assistance he had asked for expressed itself in 1303 in yet another embassy to Philip IV and Edward I, to which Edward replied tactfully that he and Philip had been at war and could not send help."</ref> According to Riley-Smith in The Crusades, "a rumour swept the West that the Mongols had conquered Palestine and handed it over to the Christians".<ref name=riley-smith>"In 1300 a rumour swept the West that the Mongols had conquered Palestine and handed it over to the Christians. Pope Boniface VIII sent 'the great and joyful news' to Edward of England and probably to Philip of France as well. He encouraged the faithful to go at once to the Holy Land and he ordered the exiled Catholic bishops to return to their sees. All over Europe men hurriedly took the cross and in Genoa several ladies sold their jewelry to help pay for a crusading fleet, although in the end the project was dropped." (Riley-Smith, p. 246)</ref> Schein, in her 1979 article "Gesta Dei per Mongolos", stated "The alleged recovery of the Holy Land never happened,"<ref name=gesta-805>Schein, 1979, p. 805</ref> but in her 1991 book mentioned in a footnote that the Mongol capture of Jerusalem was confirmed because they had removed a gate from the Dome of the Rock, and transferred it to Damascus.<ref>"The conquest of Jerusalem by the Mongols was confirmed by Niccolo of Poggibonsi who noted (Libro d'Oltramare 1346-1350, ed. P. B. Bagatti (Jerusalem 1945), 53, 92) that the Mongols removed a gate from the Dome of the Rock and had it transferred to Damascus. Schein, 1991, p. 163</ref> David Morgan in The Mongols, using Schein as a reference, wrote that of the taking of Jerusalem and the returning of the city to the Christians, "this had not in fact happened."<ref>The Mongols by David Morgan, p. 161. "Indeed, at one point Europe was swept with rumours that the Mongols had actually taken Jerusalem from the Mamluks and had returned it to Christian rule. Although this had not in fact happened, the stories did reflect the reality of Ghazan's remarkable successes in 1299-1300 when he drove the Mamluk forces completely out of Syria, only to withdraw again to Persia."Source</ref>

Muslim medieval sources

According to the historian Sylvia Schein "Arab chroniclers, like Moufazzal Ibn Abil Fazzail, an-Nuwairi and Makrizi, report that the Mongols raided the country as far as Jerusalem and Gaza."<ref>Schein, "Gesta dei per Mongolos 1300", p.810</ref>

In a 1301 letter, the Sultan al-Malik an-Nasir accused Ghazan of introducing the Christian Armenians and Georgians into Jerusalem, "the most holy sanctuary to Islam, second only to Mecca":<ref>"In a letter dated 3 October 1301, Ghazan was accused by the Sultan al-Malik an-Nasir of introducing the Christian Armenians and Georgians into Jerusalem 'the most holy sanctuary to Islam, second only to Mecca!". Schein, 1979, p. 810.</ref>


The Arab historian Yahia Michaud, in the 2002 book Ibn Taymiyya, Textes Spirituels I-XVI, describes that there were some firsthand accounts at the time of forays of the Mongols into Palestine, and quotes two major contemporary Muslim sources (Abu al-Fida and Ibn Taymiyyah) who state that Jerusalem was one of the cities that was invaded by the Mongols:<ref>Michaud Yahia (Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies) (2002). Ibn Taymiyya, Textes Spirituels I-XVI (in French). Chap. XI.</ref>



The 14th century Muslim historian Al-Mufaddal also mentions the massacres of the populations of Jerusalem and the nearby city of Hebron (30 km south of Jerusalem) by the Mongols during the 1299-1300 campaign,<ref>Referenced in Luisetto, p.205</ref> and even mentions, together with Al-Nuwayri, that a cross was raised on the top of the Mosque of Abraham in Hebron.<ref>Luisetto, quoting Al-Mufaddal and Al-Nuwayri, p.206</ref>

Armenian medieval sources
According to Western and Armenian tradition, King Hetoum II visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, in early 1300, though this account is disputed.

A single Armenian account by the monk Nerses Balients (an Armenian monk converted to Catholicism by the Dominicans)<ref>Mutafian, p.73</ref> relates the capture of Jerusalem by the Mongols, and describes a prominent involvement of the Armenian king Hetoum II in the invasion. Of this account, the modern French historian Demurger said, "There is a tradition that Hethoum celebrated a religious office at the Saint-Sepulcre on the day of the Epiphany (January 6).<ref>Demurger, p.143: "There is a tradition that Hethoum celebrated a religious office at the Saint-Sepulcre on the day of the Epiphany (January 6th)."</ref> Dr. Schein listed in both her 1979 paper and 1991 book Fidelis Crucis the account of Nerses Balients which stated that the Armenian King Hetoum II, with a small force, had reached the outskirts of Cairo and then spent some fifteen days in Jerusalem visiting the Holy Places after its capture by the Mongols:


File:Cathedral of St. James .JPG
It may be on the occasion of a visit to Jerusalem in 1300 that Hetoum II remitted his amber scepter to the Armenian convent of Saint James of Jerusalem.

According to the historian Claude Mutafian, this may be on this occasion that Hetoum II remitted his amber scepter to the Armenian convent of Saint James of Jerusalem.<ref>Mutafian, p.73</ref>

In her 1991 book, Schein expanded her earlier statement to say that the Armenian information about Hetoum's visit was confirmed by Arab chroniclers.<ref>Schein, Fidelis Crucis, p. 163. "According to an Armenian source confirmed by Arab chroniclers, Hetoum II with a small force reached the outskirts of Cairo and then spent some fifteen days in Jerusalem visiting the Holy Places.</ref> However, Schein's interpretation of the Armenian involvement has been challenged by Angus Donal Stewart in his 2001 book The Armenian Kingdom and the Mamluks, where he called the Armenian statement an "absurd claim" from an unreliable source, and said that the Arab chroniclers did not confirm an Armenian involvement in the capture of Jerusalem by the Mongols.<ref>Stewart, p. 14. "At one point, 'Arab chroniclers' are cited as being in support of an absurd claim made by a later Armenian source, but on inspection of the citations, they do no such thing." Also Footnote #55, where Stewart further criticizes Schein's work: "The Armenian source cited is the RHC Arm. I version of the 'Chronicle of the Kingdom', but this passage was in fact inserted into the translation of the chronicle by its editor, Dulaurier, and originates in the (unreliable) work of Nerses Balienc... The "Arab chroniclers" cited are Mufaddal (actually a Copt; the edition of Blochet), al-Maqrizi (Quatremere's translation) and al-Nuwayrf. None of these sources confirm Nerses' story in any way; in fact, as is not made clear in the relevant [Schein] footnote, it is not the text of al-Nuwayrf that is cited, but D.P. Little's discussion of the writer in his Introduction to Mamluk Historiography (Montreal 1970; 24-27), and in that there is absolutely no mention made of any Armenian involvement at all in the events of the year. It is disappointing to find such a cavalier attitude to the Arabic source material."</ref> Another historian, Reuven Amitai, also did a detailed comparison of all of the available primary sources about the events around the Battle of Wadi al-Khazindar, and concluded that the Armenian account was in error, as it did not match up with other similar sources about the same events, was provably full of exaggerations and inaccuracies, and had been written as to glorify the Armenian king Hetoum. Amitai also pointed out that despite Dr. Schein's acceptance of the Armenian source as genuine, that even the original editor of the work, Edouard Dulaurier, had "unequivocally" denied the veracity of the Armenian account.<ref>Mongol Raids, p. 246. "A less charitable attitude can be taken towards the other Armenian source, written by the anonymous continuator of Constable Smpad's work. His account is full of exaggerations and inaccuracies, the first of which is the year given for the campaign (751 of the Armenian calendar which equals 5 Jan. 1302 - 4 Jan. 1303). This unknown writer does not even mention Mulay or the Mongols in the raid into Palestine. In their stead only King Het'um of Armenia is found: after the victory of Hims, the king rushed forward to pursue the fleeing sultan. He was joined by 4,000 of his troops. After eleven days of hard riding, Het'um arrived at a location near Cairo called Doli (which I cannot identify). Throughout the pursuit, the sultan was but 10-12 miles ahead of the king. The latter soon withdrew from Doli because he was afraid of being captured. On his return, Het'um entered Jerusalem and gathered all the Christians from the city who had hitherto hidden in caves. During the 15 days he spent in Jerusalem, Het'um performed magnificent Christian ceremonies and also received a patent from Ghazan granting him the city and its surroundings. Afterwards, Het'um left Jerusalem and rejoined Ghazan in Damascus, spending the rest of the winter with him. Even the editor of this work, Edouard Dulaurier, unequivocally denies the veracity of the account and writes that the author's purpose was to glorify King Het'um. There is little resemblance between the facts described here and the Mamluk works or even the account of the historian Het'um, who certainly cannot be accused of lacking a desire to eulogize the Armenian king. It is quite improbable that the Mamluk writers would have missed an opportunity to attack [the muslim] Ghazan for such a despicable action, i.e., abandoning Muslim territory, especially Jerusalem to Christian depredations."</ref> However, Edouard Dulaurier actually only mentions that Nerses Balients may have added a few fantastic details to exagerate Hetoum's accomplishments somewhat, specifically disputing that Hetoum went as far as Cairo when Ghazan himself sent 15,000 men only as far as Gaza, but he does not otherwise challenge the account of the Mongol's capture of Jerusalem and Hetoum's visit to the Holy City for 15 days afterwards.<ref>Receuil des Historiens des Croisades, Historiens Armeniens I, Chronique du Royaume de Petite Armenie, p. 659-660 Page 659, note 1:
"The account of the battle of Homs, in which Ghazan routs the Egyptians, on December 23, 1299, can be compared with that of Hayton, De Tartare, cap. XLII, and the narration of M. d'Ohsson, Hist. des Mongols, liv. VI, Chap. vi, t. IV, p.233-240. It is obvious that Nerses Balients added here a few fantastic details, devised to enhance the role played by the king of Armenia Hetoum II, as an auxiliary of the Tartars. We can very certainly put in doubt the pursuing of the Egyptians by this prince, after the battle, as far as the place named Doli by the compiler, which he located near Cairo. Indeed, the Mongol general who had been dispatched with a body of 15,000 men to pursue Sultan Nacer, did not go farther than Gaza, and stopped at the desert limit between Syria and Egypt". End of the note.</ref>

Western medieval sources

In February 1300, a Francisan monk in Nicosia, Cyprus, wrote a letter saying that King Hetoum had celebrated mass in Jerusalem,<ref>A letter from a Franciscan monk in Nicosia, dated February 4, 1300, relates that Hethoum celebrated mass in Jerusalem and informs that "Our Minister and a lot of our brothers are preparing to go to Syria, together with Knights and soldiers, and all the others of the religious orders". Quoted in Demurger, p.145</ref> evidently at the Holy Sepulchre on January 6, 1300.

According to Demurger in The Last Templar, the first announcement of the Mongol success was in a letter written in Cyprus in March 1300, which mentions that Ghazan controlled both Damas and Jerusalem:<ref>Demurger, p. 145</ref>


According to Schein, the earliest letter was dated March 19, 1300, and was probably based on accounts from Venetian merchants who had just arrived from Cyprus, which they had left on February 3, 1300.<ref>"The earliest letter was dated 19 March 1300 and addressed to Boniface VIII. Its contents suggest that it was probably written by the Doge Pietro Gradenigo (1289-1311). - Schein, 1979, p. 814</ref> The account gave a more or less accurate picture of the Mongol successes in Syria, but then expanded to say that the Mongols had "probably" taken the Holy Land by that point.

Other reports also mention that Christians were in Jerusalem in April to celebrate Easter.<ref>Chroniques de France, edited by Jules Viard: "Et a Pasques ensivant, si comme l'en dit, en Jherusalem le service de Dieu les crestiens avec exaltacion de grant joie celebrerent". Quoted in Demurger, p.280</ref>.

Removal of the Golden Gate of the Temple of Jerusalem by the Mongols (1300)

According to historian Sylvia Schein in her 1991 book, the conquest of Jerusalem by the Mongols was "confirmed" because they are documented to have removed the Golden Gate of the Temple of Jerusalem in 1300, to have it transferred to Damascus.<ref>"The conquest of Jerusalem by the Mongols was confirmed by Niccolo of Poggibonsi who noted (Libro d'Oltramare 1346-1350, ed. P. B. Bagatti (Jerusalem 1945), 53, 92) that the Mongols removed a gate from the Dome of the Rock and had it transferred to Damascus. Schein, 1991, p. 163</ref> The account emerged from a 14th century priest named Niccolo of Poggibonsi, who gave a detailed architectural description of Jerusalem, and mentionned the acts of the Mongols on the gate. Denys Pringle in his 1993 The Chruches of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem also mentions that "Nicolas relates how the Tartars, or Mongols, when they took Jerusalem (c.1300), tried at first to remove the entire gate, then, having failed, to undermine it, and finally to burn it, but with no more success".<ref>Denys Pringle, 1993, The Chruches of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, p.106</ref> It is recorded that after these deeds, the Sultan, when he re-captured the city, had the gate walled up.<ref>Pringle, p.106</ref>

European rumors
File:Giotto - Bonifatius VIII.jpg
Pope Boniface VIII spread the news about the capture of the Holy Land in 1300.

Most scholars agree that whatever the facts involving Jerusalem, that the situation led to wild rumors in Europe, though there is disagreement as to when exactly the rumors started, when the word about the Mongol activities reached Europe, and which sources from the time were reliable, and which were embellished, misinformed, or simply false.

One thing that is certain, is that whatever their source, that once they had reached Europe, the rumours spread and were inflated widely, due to wishful thinking, and the urban legend environment of large crowds that had gathered in Rome for the Jubilee. The story grew to say (falsely) that the Mongols had taken Egypt, that the Mongol Ghazan had appointed his brother as the new king there, and that the Mongols were going to further conquer Barbary and Tunis. The rumors also stated that Ghazan had freed the Christians who were held captive in Damascus and in Egypt, and that some of those prisoners had already made their way to Cyprus. From Italy, the rumors spread to Austria and Germany, and then to France.<ref>Schein, pp. 814-815</ref>

By April 1300, Pope Boniface was sending a letter announcing the "great and joyful news to be celebrated with special rejoicing,"<ref name=riley-smith/> that the Mongol Ghazan had conquered the Holy Land and offered to hand it over to the Christians. In Rome, as part of the Jubilee celebrations in 1300, the Pope ordered processions to "celebrate the recovery of the Holy Land," and he further encouraged everyone to depart for the newly-recovered area. Edward I was asked to encourage his subjects to depart as well, to visit the Holy Places. And Pope Boniface even referred to the recovery of the Holy Land from the Mongols, in his bull Ausculta fili.

In the summer of the Jubilee year (1300), Pope Boniface VIII received a dozen ambassadors, dispatched from various kings and princes. One of the groups was of 100 Mongols, led by the Florentine Guiscard Bustari, the ambassador for the Il-khan. The embassy, abundantly mentioned in contemporary sources, participated in the Jubilee ceremonies.<ref>Schein, p.815</ref> Supposedly this ambassador was also the man nominated by Ghazan to supervise the re-establishment of the Franks, in the territories that Ghazan was going to return to them. There was great rejoicing for a short time, but the Pope soon learned about the true state of affairs in Syria, from which in fact Ghazan had withdrawn the bulk of his forces in February 1300, and the Mamluks had reclaimed by May.<ref>Schein, p.815-816</ref> But the rumors continued through at least September 1300.<ref name=schein-805>Schein, p. 805</ref>

19th century reconstructions
"Jacques Molay takes Jerusalem, 1299", a painting created in the 1800s by Claude Jacquand, and hanging in the "Hall of Crusades" in Versailles. In reality, though the Mongols may have been technically in control of the city for a few months in early 1300 (since no other troops were in the area), De Molay was almost certainly on the island of Cyprus at that time, nowhere near the landlocked city of Jerusalem.

The story of this alleged capture of Jerusalem was retold by historians during the following centuries, and even expanded in the 19th century to claims that Jerusalem was taken not by Mongols, but by Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar.<ref>Demurger, p.278-279</ref> In 1805, the French historian/ playwright Raynouard said, "In 1299, the Grand-Master was with his knights at the taking of Jerusalem."<ref name=raynouard>"Le grand-maître s'etait trouvé avec ses chevaliers en 1299 à la reprise de Jerusalem." Template:Cite web</ref> The story was also expanded to say that Jacques de Molay had actually been placed in charge of one of the Mongol divisions. According to Demurger in The Last Templar, this may have been because the medieval history Templar of Tyre referred to a Mongol general named Mulay.<ref>Le Templier de Tyr mentions that one of the generals of Ghazan was named Molay, whom he left in Damas with 10,000 Mongols - "611. Ghazan, we he had vanquished the Sarazins returned in his country, and left in Damas one of his Admirals, who was named Molay, who had with him 10,000 Tatars and 4 general."611. Cacan quant il eut desconfit les Sarazins se retorna en son pais et laissa a Domas .i. sien amiraill en son leuc quy ot a nom Molay qui ot o luy .xm. Tatars et .iiii. amiraus.", but it is thought that this could instead designate a Mongol general "Mûlay". - Demurger, p.279</ref> In the 1861 edition of the French encyclopedia, the Nouvelle Biographie Universelle, it says in the "Molay" article:


There is even a painting, Molay Prend Jerusalem, 1299 ("Molay Takes Jerusalem, 1299"), hanging in the French national museum in Versailles, created in 1846 by Claude Jacquand,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> which depicts the supposed event in 1299. However, De Molay was certainly nowhere near Jerusalem at the time. His actual whereabouts were that he was recorded in Armenia in 1298-1299 for a failed military operation, and may or may not have participated in the Crusader coastal raids during the summer of 1300, attacking such cities as Alexandria and Acre. He was also surely on the island of Ruad in November 1300, attempting (unsuccessfully) to retake the coastal city of Tortosa. But there are no reliable sources that say that he was anywhere near the landlocked city of Jerusalem in 1299 or 1300.<ref>"He was seldom on the field: in Armenia in 1298 or 1299 maybe, at Ruad in november 1300 surely, but probably not in the naval operations of July-August 1300 in Alexandria, Acre, Tortosa. If the planned 1301 offensive of the Mongols had occurred, he would have been at the head of his troops in combat." Demurger, p. 159</ref>

Campaign of winter 1300-1301

Combined offensives in 1300-1301.

According to Demurger's account, the medieval historian the Templar of Tyre wrote that Ghazan sent ambassadors to Cyprus in 1300, led by the Italian Isol le Pisan, the Mongols' chief ambassador to Cyprus. In agreement with the Cypriotes, a joint embassy was then sent to the Pope.<ref>Demurger, p.146</ref><ref>Demurger, p.136. "From the Tatars, the king of Armenia, the king of Cyprus, the Great Master of the Templars or other nobles from Outremer, are arriving embassadors on a visit to the Pope. They are already in Apulia and should reach the Pope in the next few days" - Letter by Romeu de Marimundo, counsellor of the king of Aragon, dated July 2nd, 1300, in Barcelona, quoted by Demurger</ref> In 1300 the Templars sent men of arms to Cyprus for coordinated actions with the Mongols.<ref>”In 1300 , again, the Templars were able to send a few hundred combattants to Cyprus, in view of combined operations with the Mongols”. Demurger, “Croisades et croises”, p.189</ref> In May 1300, the king of Aragon announced that he was sending ships and warriors, in exchange for a fifth of the Holy Land.<ref>Jean Richard, p.481</ref>

Frank bridgehead in Ruad

In the end of 1300, another message came from Ghazan asking to coordinate operations, inviting the Cypriots to meet him in Armenia.<ref name=schein-811/> The Cypriots then prepared a land-based force of approximately 600 men: 300 under Amalric of Lusigan, son of Hugh III of Cyprus, and similar contingents from the Templars and Hospitallers.<ref name=schein-811/> The men and their horses were ferried from Cyprus to a staging area on the island of Ruad, a mile off the coast of Tortosa.<ref name=demurger-147/><ref name=schein-811/> From there, they had a certain amount of success attacking Tortosa (some sources say they engaged in raids, others that they captured the city), but when the hoped-for Mongol reinforcements were delayed (sources differ on whether the delay was caused by weather or illness), the Crusaders had to retreat to Ruad.<ref>"The Trial of the Templars", Malcolm Barber, 2nd edition, page 22: "In November, 1300, James of Molay and the king's brother, Amaury of Lusignan, attempted to occupy the former Templar stronghold of Tortosa. A force of 600 men, of which the Templars supplied about 150, failed to establish itself in the town itself, although they were able to leave a garrison of 120 men on the island of Ruad, just off the coast.</ref><ref>"That year [1300], a message came to Cyprus from Ghazan, king of the Tatars, saying that he would come during the winter, and that he wished that the Franks join him in Armenia (...) Amalric of Lusignan, Constable of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, arrived in November (...) and brought with him 300 knights, and as many or more of the Templars and Hospitallers (...) In February a great admiral of the Tatars, named Cotlesser, came to Antioch with 60,000 horsemen, and requested the visit of the king of Armenia, who came with Guy of Ibelin, Count of Jaffa, and John, lord of Giblet. And when they arrived, Cotelesse told them that Ghazan had met great trouble of wind and cold on his way. Cotlesse raided the land from Haleppo to La Chemelle, and returned to his country without doing more". - Le Templier de Tyre, Chap 620-622. Quoted in Demurger, p.147. Original:Guillame de Tyr (William of Tyre), Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum #620-622</ref>

According to historian Malcom Barber, this suggests a considerable effort on the part of the Templars, as the manpower being engaged corresponds to "close to half the size of the normal complement for the twelfth-century Kingdom of Jerusalem".<ref>Malcom Barber, The New Knighthood, p. 294</ref> However, when the Mongols still did not appear, the majority of the Christian forces returned to Cyprus, though they left a garrison on Ruad which was manned by rotating groups of different Cypriot forces.

Mongol operations

File:Cours de la forteresse d'Arouad.jpg
Ruad was the bridgehead of the Franks for a coordinated offensive with the Mongols.

In January 1301, the Mongols finally made a two-pronged advance into Syria. General Kutlushka went to Cilicia to fetch Armenian troops and moved south through Antioch. Ghazan crossed the Euphrates and reached the walls of Aleppo on January 6th, 1301. Soon however, on February 3rd, Ghazan retreated. According to Arab sources this was apparently due to a very cold winter and terrible road conditions. For the same reason, the Mamluk Sultan al-Nasir himself could not move his troops north due to heavy rains. According to Hayton the Mongols retreated because Ghazan had fallen ill.

Kutlusha, with the Armenians and Georgians continued to ravage the region of Aleppo for three months.<ref>Luisetto, p.220</ref> He had a force of 60,000, but could do little else than engage in some raids around Syria. Kutlushah (Qutlugh-Shah for the Mongols, Cotelesse in Frank sources) stationed 20,000 horsemen in the Jordan valley to protect Damas, where a Mongol governor was stationed.<ref>Jean Richard, p.481</ref> Soon however, they had to withdraw:


From mid-1301, the Knights Templar left a small garrison to maintain the island of Ruad, in anticipation of further operations with the Mongols.<ref>"From 1299, Jacques de Molay and his Order fully committed, with the other Christian forces of Cyprus and Armenia, to a reconquest of the Holy Land in liaison with the offensives of Ghazan, the Mongol khan of Persia; the occupation of Ruad for two years, on the Syrian coast near Tortosa, must be understood in this perspective, and would even add, in this perspective only." Alain Demurger, p.139</ref>

Canceled campaign of winter 1301-1302

Seal of Mahmud Ghazan, over the last two lines of his 1302 letter to Pope Boniface VIII. The seal, in Chinese script, reads "Seal certifying the authority of his Royal Highness to establish a country and govern its people". Vatican Archives.<ref>Michaud, Yahia (Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies) (2002). Ibn Taymiyya, Textes Spirituels I-XVI", Chap. XI</ref>

Plans for combined operations were again made for the following winter offensive. A letter has been kept from Jacques de Molay to Edward I, and dated April 8, 1301, informing him of the troubles encountered by Ghazan (who had to fight against a relative in Khorasan, whom Molay names "Portefferi"), but announcing that Ghazan was supposed to come in Autumn 1301:


And in a letter to James II of Aragon on November 8, 1301:


In late 1301, Ghazan sent a letter to the Pope, asking the Pope to send troops, priests, peasants, in order to make the Holy Land a Frank state again,<ref>Jean Richard, p.481</ref> but this time Ghazan did not appear with his troops due to a very cold winter and terrible road conditions.

Diplomatic moves (1302)

Beginning of 1302, Ghazan again sent a message to Edward I through an embassy led by Buscarello de Ghisolfi.<ref>Luisetto, p.103</ref> Edward I answered personally in March 1302, explaining that he welcomed combined actions but that he was caught up with conflicts at home: Template:Quote

On April 12, 1302, Ghazan sent a letter and an embassy to Pope Boniface VIII, apparently in answer to an encouraging letter by the latter suggesting Western troops would be dispatched for the 1302/1303 offensive.<ref>"Ghazan's letter to Boniface VIII, dated 12 April, 1302, suggests that, having received an encouraging letter from the Pope, he counted on Christian participation in his expedition to Syria in 1303.</ref>

File:Letter by Ilkhan Ghazan to Pope Boniface VIII1302.jpg
Letter from Ghazan to Pope Boniface VIII, April 12th, 1302. Vatican archives.


Ghazan's ambassadors stayed at the court of Charles II of Anjou. When they returned to Persia after April 27, 1303, they were accompanied by Gualterius de Lavendel, as ambassador of Charles II to Ghazan.<ref>Schein, p.813</ref>

Mamluk counter-offensive (July-September 1302)

Through the summer however, the Mamluks were back on the offensive. In July 1302, the Mamluks attacked Cilician Armenia. They captured the city of Sis.<ref>Luisetto, p.221</ref> They would next turn their attention to the Franks in Ruad, to expell them from their last foothold in the Levant.

Loss of Ruad

Template:Main In September 1302, a Mamluk fleet of 16 ships left Egypt and reached Tripoli to assemble a fighting force. The fleet then attacked the island of Ruad and disembarked in two points. The island had been occupied by 120 Templar knights, 500 bowmen and 400 men and women serving the garrison, all under the command of Barthélemy de Quincy, Marshall of the Order of the Knight Templars.

After some fighting, the Muslims managed to establish themselves on the island, and started the siege of the fortifications. Barthélemy de Quincy died in the ensuing combat. The Templars finally surrendered on September 26th, at the condition that they could safely escape to a Christian land of their choice. However the Mamluks did not respect the agreement. All the bowmen and Syrian Christians were executed, and the Templars were taken prisoners to Cairo, where they died of starvation after during years of ill-treatment.<ref>"Nearly 40 of these men were still in prison in Cairo years later where, according to a former fellow prisoner, the Genoese Matthew Zaccaria, they died of starvation, having refused an offer of 'many riches and goods' in return for apostatising"" The Trial of the Templars, Malcolm Barber, p.22</ref>

Campaign of winter 1302-1303

Ghazan ordering the King Of Armenia Hetoum II to accompany Kutlushka on the 1303 attack on Damascus.<ref>In "Le Royaume Armenien de Cilicie", p.74-75</ref>

The remaining Templars from Cyprus continued making raids on the Syrian coast in early 1303, and ravaged the city of Damour, south of Beyrouth. As they had lost Ruad, though, they were not capable of providing important troops.<ref name=demurger-158>Demurger, p158</ref> In 1303, the Mongols appeared in great strength (about 80,000) together with the Armenians.<ref name=demurger-158/>

Defeat of Shaqhab

The Mongols finally suffered a heavy defeat against the Mamluks at Homs on March 30, 1303, and at the decisive Battle of Shaqhab, south of Damas, on April 21, 1303.<ref name=demurger-158/> It is considered to be the last major Mongol invasion of Syria.<ref>Nicolle, p. 80</ref>

In 1303, Ghazan had again sent a letter to Edward I, through an embassy led by Buscarello de Ghizolfi, reinterating Hulagu's promise that they would give Jerusalem to the Franks in exchange for help against the Mamluks.<ref>Encyclopedia Iranica article</ref> Ghazan prepared a new offensive for the Autumn in order to avenge his defeat, but he died on May 10, 1304, and dreams of a rapid reconquest of the Holy Land were destroyed.<ref>Jackson, p.170</ref>

New attempts at a joint Crusade (1305-1313)

Oljeitu, also named Mohammad Khodabandeh, was the great-grandson of the Ilkhanate founder Hulagu, and brother and successor of Ghazan. His Christian mother baptized him as a Christian and gave him the name Nicholas.<ref>"Arghun had one of his sons baptized, Khordabandah, the future Oljaitu, and in the Pope's honour, went as far as giving him the name Nicholas", Histoire de l'Empire Mongol, Jean-Paul Roux, p.408</ref> In his youth he at first converted to Buddhism and then to Sunni Islam together with his brother Ghazan. He then changed his first name to the Islamic name Muhammad.

In April 1305, Oljeitu sent letters to the French king Philip the Fair,<ref>Mostaert and Cleaves, pp. 56-57, Encyclopedia Iranica</ref> the French Pope Clement V, and Edward I of England. After his predecessor Arghun, he offered a military collaboration between the Christian nations of Europe and the Mongols against the Mamluks, re-stating the merits of concord between the Christian nations of Europe and the Mongols against the Mamluks:


He also explained that internal conflicts between the Mongols were now over, and that they were united under Temür Khan:


Oljeitu also pointed out that European nations also had made peace between themselves (the 1302 Peace of Caltabellotta), and that the time was thus ripe for a new offensive.<ref>Jackson, p.171</ref> This message reassured European nations "that the Franco-Mongol alliance had not ceased", even though the Khans had converted to Islam.<ref>Jean-Paul Roux, in Histoire de l'Empire Mongol ISBN 2213031649: "The Occident was reassured that the Mongol alliance had not ceased with the conversion of the Khans to Islam. However, this alliance could not have ceased. The Mamelouks, through their repeated military actions, were becoming a strong enough danger to force Iran to maintain relations with Europe.", p.437</ref>

Overtures from Clement V

Clement V ordered studies on the preparation of a new Crusade. On June 6, 1306, he invited the leaders of the Templars and Hospitallers for a consultation on this subject and that of the fusion of the Orders.<ref>Demurger, p.284</ref> In 1307 Jacques de Molay remitted a memorandum for a new Crusade.<ref>Demurger, p.202</ref>

Hayton of Corycus remitting his report on the Mongols, to Pope Clement V, in 1307.

The Armenian monk Hayton of Corycus also went to visit Pope Clement V in Poitiers, where he wrote his famous "Flor des Histoires d'Orient", a compilation of the events of the Holy Land describing the alliance with the Mongols, and setting recommendations for a new Crusade:


Another embassy was sent to the West in 1307, led by Tommaso Ugi di Siena, an Italian described as Oljeitu's ildüchi ("Sword-bearer").<ref>Peter Jackson, p.173</ref><ref>Demurger, p.203</ref> This embassy encouraged Pope Clement V to speak in 1307 of the strong possibility that the Mongols could remit the Holy Land to the Christians, and to declare that the Mongol embassy from Oljeitu "cheered him like spiritual sustenance".<ref>Peter Jackson, The Mongols and the West, p.171</ref>

Relations were quite warm: in 1307, the Pope named John of Montecorvino the first Archbishop of Khanbalik and Patriarch of the Orient.<ref>Foltz, p.131</ref> A corps of Frank mangonel specialists is known to have accompanied the Ilkhanid army in the conquest of Herat in 1307.<ref>Peter Jackson, The Mongols and the West, p.315</ref> In 1308, Oljeitu actively participated to a Byzantine-Mongol alliance by supplying 30,000 men to the Byzantine emperor Andronicus II to recover many Byzantine towns in Bithynia.<ref>I. Heath, Byzantine Armies: AD 1118–1461, pp. 24–33.</ref>

On April 4, 1312, a Crusade was promulgated by Pope Clement V at the Council of Vienne. Another embassy was sent by Oljeitu to the West and to Edward II in 1313.<ref>Peter Jackson, p.172</ref> That same year, the French king Philippe le Bel "took the cross", making the vow to go on a Crusade in the Levant, thus responding to Clement V's call for a Crusade. He was however warned against leaving by Enguerrand de Marigny,<ref>Jean Richard, "Histoire des Croisades", p.485</ref> and died soon after in a hunting accident.<ref>Richard, p.485</ref>

Oljeitu finally launched a last campaign against the Mamluks (1312-13), in which he was unsuccessful. A final settlement with the Mamluks would only be found when Oljeitu's son signed the Treaty of Aleppo with the Mamluks in 1322.

Last contacts

A few marital alliances between the Mongols and Christian rulers would continue to occur, as when the Byzantine emperor Andronicus II gave daughters in marriage to the Golden Horde ruler Toqto'a, as well as his successor Uzbek (1312–1341),<ref>Jackson, p.203</ref>

The French Pope John XXII was the last to request the help of the Mongols in 1322.

In 1320, the Egyptian sultan Naser Mohammed ibn Kelaoun invaded and ravaged Christian Armenian Cilicia. In a letter dated July 1, 1322, Pope John XXII sent a letter from Avignon to the Mongol ruler Abu Sa'id, reminding him of the alliance of his ancestors with Christians, asking him to intervene in Cilicia. At the same time he advocated that he abandon Islam in favor of Christianity. Mongol troops were sent to Cilicia, but only arrived after a ceasefire had been negotiated for 15 years between Constantin, patriarch of the Armenians, and the sultan of Egypt. After Abu Sa'id, relations between Christian princes and the Mongols became very sparse<ref>Les hégémonies mongoles</ref> He died without heir and successor. The state lost its status after his death, becoming a plethora of little kingdoms run by Mongols, Turks, and Persians.

An embassy to the French Pope Benedict XII in Avignon was sent by Toghun Temür, the last Mongol emperor in China (Yuan dynasty), in 1336. The embassy was led by a Genoese in the service of the Mongol emperor, Andrea di Nascio, and accompanied by another Genoese, Andalò di Savignone.<ref>Jackson, p.314</ref> These letters from the Mongol ruler represented that they had been eight years (since Monte Corvino's death) without a spiritual guide, and earnestly desired one. The pope replied to the letters, and appointed four ecclesiastics as his legates to the khan's court. In 1338, a total of 50 ecclesiastics were sent by the Pope to Peking, among them John of Marignolli. In 1353 John returned to Avignon, and delivered a letter from the great khan to Pope Innocent VI. Soon, the Chinese rose up and drove out the Mongols from China however, thereby launching the Ming Dynasty (1368). By 1369 all Christians, whether Roman Catholic or Syro-Oriental, were expelled by the Ming Dynasty.

Technology exchanges

In these invasions westward, the Mongols brought with them a variety of eastern, often Chinese technologies, which may have been transmitted to the West on these occasions. The original weaknesses of the Mongols in siege warfare (they were essentially a nation of horsemen) were compensated by the introduction of Chinese engineering corps within their army,<ref>"Atlas des Croisades", p.112</ref> who therefore had ample contacts with Western lands.


Earliest picture of a European cannon, "De nobilitatibus, sapientiis et prudentiis regum" Walter de Milemete, 1326.

One theory of how gunpowder came to Europe is that it made its way along the Silk Road through the Middle East; another is that it was brought to Europe during the Mongol invasion in the first half of the 13th century.<ref>Template:Harvcolnb</ref><ref name=chase58>Template:Harvcolnb</ref> Direct Franco-Mongol contacts occurred as in the 1259-1260 military alliance of the Franks knights of the ruler of Antioch Bohemond VI and his father-in-law Hetoum I with the Mongols under Hulagu.<ref name=grousset-581>Grousset, p. 581</ref> William of Rubruck, an ambassador to the Mongols in 1254-1255, a personal friend of Roger Bacon, is also often designated as a possible intermediary in the transmission of gunpowder know-how between the East and the West.<ref>"The Eastern Origins of Western Civilization", John M.Hobson, p186, ISBN 0521547245</ref>

Other innovations, such as printing, may have transited through the Mongol routes during that period. John of Marignolli came back from the Mongols in 1353, with a request from the Great Khan to send more Franscicans to China. Most contacts were interrupted however when the Great Plague started to sweep Europe. The reopening of relations would not occur until the 16th century.<ref>Foltz, p.133</ref>


The Mongol Empire connected the European and western Islamic world with the Chinese sphere. It enabled the integration of a large amount of geographical knowledge.

In 1286 Jamāl al-Dīn made Khubilai Khan a proposal for merging several maps of the empire into a single world map, and it resulted in the Tianxia Dili Zongtu (天下地理總圖; now lost). Since most of the official maps are lost, relatively new manuscripts of private, supposedly less accurate maps are known today. The most famous one is the Kangnido (1402), a Korean variant preserved in Japan. Like Istakhri's and al-Idrisi's, the Kangnido depicts Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and Europe. The Kangnido also mentions a hundred European place names.<ref>Jackson, p.330</ref>

Rashid al-Din, the Jewish Prime Minister of Ghazan and later Oljeitu, wrote an extensive History of the Franks (1305/1306), probably based on information from Isol the Pisan or Dominican friars, providing much details on Europe's political organization, the use of mappae mundi by Italian mariners, and regnal chronologies derived from the chronicle of Martin of Opava (d. 1278).<ref>Jackson, p.329-330</ref>

A Mongol embassy (documented in Chinese sources but not European ones) visited Europe in 1314-1320 and brought back geographical knowledge which was incorporated in a Chinese geographical treatise of the middle of the 14th century.<ref>Jackson, p.330</ref> Chinese maps produced in the 13th and 14th century do provide some information about Europe.<ref>Jackson, p. 330</ref>

The 1453 Fra Mauro map may have been partly derived from a Chinese map brought from Cathay by Marco Polo.

Conversely, in Europe the landmark 1459 Fra Mauro map is also said to have been partly based on a Chinese map. Ramusio explained that Fra Mauro's map is an improved copy of the world map brought from Cathay by Marco Polo.<ref>"Dichiarazione d'alcuni luoghi ne' libri di messer Marco Polo, con l'istoria del reubarbaro", preface to Marco Polo's book. Quoted in "Fra Mauro's world map" Piero Falchetta, p61</ref>


Events reminiscent of the Franco-Mongol alliance occurred in the 15th century, when the Mongol ruler Tamerlane developed a friendly, if remote, relationship with Western powers. Tamerlane exchanged letters with Western rulers, inviting ambassadors and traders.<ref>Encyclopedia Iranica</ref> He also fought the Ottoman state as it was on the point of conquering Constantinople in around 1402, and defeating the Ottoman ruler Bazajet in 1402.<ref>”Istanbul”, p.16</ref> Tamerlane was long considered in a very positive light in the West due to his actions against the common Turk enemy.

Modern interpretations

Template:Main There is disagreement among historians over the nature and extent of the alliance between the Franks and the Mongols. There is also dispute about the definition of the term "Frank", and whether it should refer to the Kingdom of Cilician Armenia. Most historians agree that the Armenians, when the Mongols were advancing into their territory in the mid-1200s, did ally with the Mongols for a few years.<ref>"The fact that they [the Mongols] were anti-Muslim was good enough reason for the king [of Armenia] to place his entire army at their disposal. This unholy alliance took the field in 1259", also: "Their Christian allies joined them [the Mongols] in a triumphal entry, forcing the defeated Muslims to carry the cross before them, and later turned one of the city's mosques into a Christian church" in p.8 The Mongols, Stephen Turnbull.</ref> The neighboring Frank Principality of Antioch and County of Tripoli, headed by Bohemond VI, was also long-time recognized allies of the Mongols.<ref>"In 1258 they [the Mongols] sacked Baghdad and two years later Aleppo. Bohemond VI of Antioch-Tripoli (1252-1275) became their ally." p.136 The Oxford History of the Crusades", Joanthan Riley-Smith.</ref><ref>"Bohemond VI, briefly one of Outremer's most important power broker, had already accepted Mongol overlordship, with a Mongol resident and battalion stationed in Antioch itself, where they stayed until the fall of the city to the Mamluks in 1268. The Frankish Antiochenes assisted in the Mongols' capture of Aleppo, thus in part achieving a very traditional Frankish target, and had received lands in reward." (Tyerman, p.806)</ref><ref>Claude Lebédel, p.75</ref><ref>"In 1258 they [the Mongols] sacked Baghdad and two years later Aleppo. Bohemond VI of Antioch-Tripoli (1252-1275) became their ally." p.136 The Oxford History of the Crusades", Joanthan Riley-Smith.</ref><ref>"The fact that they [the Mongols] were anti-Muslim was good enough reason for the king [of Armenia] to place his entire army at their disposal. This unholy alliance took the field in 1259", also: "Their Christian allies joined them [the Mongols] in a triumphal entry, forcing the defeated Muslims to carry the cross before them, and later turned one of the city's mosques into a Christian church" in p.8 The Mongols, Stephen Turnbull.</ref> But there is dispute about whether or not the Mongols ever had a formal alliance with the Franks, meaning some of the Crusader States, Western Europe and the Papacy.Template:Fact Also, some historians describe the relationship of Armenia and Antioch/Tripoli as a "vassal" relationship, not as an alliance.<ref>Prawdin, p. 284. "Their Georgian and Armenian vassals."</ref><ref>"The principality of Antioch was dominated by its Armenian neighbour -- it was through the will of the Armenian king that the Antiochenes came to aid Hulegu in 1259-60." ("The Logic of Conquest" Al-Masaq, v. 14, No.1, March 2002, p. 8)</ref>

See also




  1. More broadly the term applied to any persons originating in Catholic western Europe (medieval Middle Eastern history). The term led to derived usage by other cultures, such as Farangi, firang, farang and barang. "The term [Frank] was used by all the populations of the eastern Mediterranean to designate the totality of the Crusaders as well as the settlers" Atlas des Croisades,1996, Jonathan Riley-Smith, ISBN 2862605530


Actual event

Authors presenting the alliance as an actual occurence:

  • René Grousset mentions especially "Louis IX and the Franco-Mongol alliance" (p521), "Only Edward I understood the value of the Mongol alliance" (p.653) "Edward I and the Mongol alliance" (p.653), "Edward I renewed the precious Mongol Alliance" (in "L'épopée des Croisades", p.301), "The Franco-Mongol coalition, of which the Hospitallers were giving the example" (p.686)
  • Jean Richard in Histoire des Croisades, has the Franco-Mongol alliance start in earnest in the 1260s ("The sustained attacks of Baibars (...) rallied the Occidentals to this alliance, to which the Mongols also convinced the Byzantines to adhere", in "Histoire des Croisades", p.453.) and continue on-and-off until it was strongly revived by Ghazan, to continue to have an influence until 1322 ("In 1297 Ghazan resumes his projects against Egypt (...) the Franco-Mongol cooperation had thus survived, to the loss of Acre by the Franks, and to the conversion of the khan to Islam. It was to remain one of the political factors of the policy of the Crusades, until the peace treaty with the Mamluks, which was concluded in 1322 by khan Abu Said." in "Histoire des Croisades", p.468). He concludes on the many missed opportunities the alliance offered: "The Franco-Mongol alliance (...) seems to have been rich with missed opportunities" in "Histoire des Croisades", 1996, Jean Richard, p.469
  • Reuven Amitai-Preiss in Mongols and Mamluks writes that "Under Bohemond VI, the northern Franks maintained their unequivocal pro-Mongol alliance after 'Ayn Jālūt" (p.54). She also writes about the "Mongol-Frankish rapprochement" (Mamluk perceptions of the Mongol-Frankish rapprochement, MHR 7 (1992), p.50-65)
  • Dr. Martin Sicker, in The Islamic World Ascendancy (p.113): "Ket-Buqa and Bohemond VI fully appreciated the mutual advantages of the Frank-Mongol alliance".
  • Jean-Paul Roux, in Histoire de l'Empire Mongol ISBN 2213031649, has a chapter on the "Frank alliance" with the Mongols. He describes the continuation of this alliance until the time of Oljeitu: "The Occident was reassured that the Mongol alliance had not ceased with the conversion of the Khans to Islam. However, this alliance could not have ceased. The Mamelouks, through their repeated military actions, were becoming a strong enough danger to force Iran to maintain relations with Europe.", p.437
  • Claude Mutafian in Le Royaume Arménien de Cilicie describes "the Mongol alliance" entered into by the king of Armenia and the Franks of Antioch ("the King of Armenia decided to engage into the Mongol alliance, an intelligence that the Latin barons lacked, except for Antioch"), and "the Franco-Mongol collaboration" (Mutafian, p.55)
  • Zoe Oldenbourg in The Crusades mentions the 1280 "Alliance of Franks and Mongols against Qalawun". (Oldenbourg, "The Crusades", p.620)
  • Alain Demurger, in the 2002 Jacques de Molay biography The Last Templar, refers to it as the "Mongol alliance", which came to fruition through such events as the 1300 combined offensives between the Templars and the Mongols.(Demurger, p.147 "This expedition sealed by a concrete act the Mongol alliance"), "The strategy of the Mongol alliance in action(Demurger p.145) "De Molay led the fight for the reconquest of Jerusalem by relying on an alliance with the Mongols", back cover)
  • Jonathan Riley-Smith mentions in his Atlas of the Crusades that in 1285 the Hospitallers of the north agreed to ally to the Mongols.("En 1285, Qalawun, nouveau sultan mamelouk, reprend l'offensive, qu'il dirige contre les Hospitaliers du nord, qui s'etaient montres prets a s'allier aux Mongols", Jonathan Riley-Smith, "Atlas des Croisades", p.114) He also describes Bohemond's alliance with the Mongols: "Bohemond VI of Antioch-Tripoli became their [the Mongol's] ally", in History of the Crusades, p.136
  • Laurent Dailliez, in Les Templiers, mentions that the Knights Templar allied with the Mongols, and that Jacques de Molay signed a treaty with them against the Muslim "their common enemy".("The Mongols, after taking Damascus and several important cities from the Turks, after having been routed by the Sultan of Egypt at Tiberiade in 1260, allied themselves with the Templars. Jacques de Molay, in his letter to the king of England said that he had to sign such a treaty to fight against the Muslims, "our common enemy"" Dailliez, p.306-307)
  • Christopher Tyerman, in God's War: A New History of the Crusades, does mention the existence of "The Mongol alliance", although he specifies that in the end it led nowhere,("The Mongol alliance, despite six further embassies to the west between 1276 and 1291, led nowhere" p.816) and turned out to be a "false hope for Outremer as for the rest of Christendom." (pp. 798-799) He further describes successes and failures of this alliance from 1248 to 1291, with Louis IX's early attempts at capturing "the chimera of a Franco-Mongol anti-Islamic alliance", Bohemond VI's alliance with the Mongols and their joint victories, and Edward's largely unsuccessful attempts.
  • Peter Jackson in The Mongols and the West entitles a whole chapter "An ally against Islam: the Mongols in the Near East" and describes all the viscicitudes and the actual limited results of the Mongol alliance.
  • Claude Lebedel in Les Croisades describes the alliance of the Franks of Antioch and Tripoli with the Mongols: (in 1260) "the Frank barons refused an alliance with the Mongols, except for the Armenians and the Prince of Antioch and Tripoli".
  • Amin Maalouf in The Crusades through Arab eyes is extensive and specific on the alliance (page numbers refer to the French edition): “The Armenians, in the person of their king Hetoum, sided with the Mongols, as well as Prince Bohemond, his son-in-law. The Franks of Acre however adopted a position of neutrality favourable to the muslims” (p.261), “Bohemond of Antioch and Hethoum of Armenia, principal allies of the Mongols” (p.265), “Hulagu (…) still had enough strength to prevent the punishment of his allies [Bohemond and Hethoum]” (p.267), “..the Hospitallers. These monk-horsemen allied with the Mongols, going as far as fighting at their side in a new attempt at invasion in 1281."
  • Sylvia Schein in Gesta Dei per Mongolos describes the Templars, Hospitallers and crusaders of Cyprus as allies of the Mongols in the campaings of 1300-1302: "They (the Templars, Hospitallers and crusaders of Cyprus) sailed to the island of Ruad, and, from that base, captured Tortosa, but retired a few days later when their allies (the Mongols) did not appear.", p.811
  • Patrick Huchet in Les Templiers, une fabuleuse epopee relates that "Jacques de Molay, elected Master in 1292, associated himself with the Mongols to set up military operations on the island of Ruad (near Tortose)."
  • E. L. Skip Knox, Boise State University, in The Fall of Outremer online: "Some of the Crusader States wanted to form an alliance with the Mongols, while others weren't so sure. The allure of destroying Egypt was great, but the Mongols were pretty scary allies. In the end, Armenia and Antioch joined, along with the Templars and Hospitallers." also here: "A double army marched down from the north and east, crossing the Euphrates in 1281. Qalavun marched north and they met near Homs on 30 October. Once again, Christians fought alongside the Mongols (the Hospitallers and the Armenians this time)".
  • Martin Sicker in The Islamic World in Ascendancy: From the Arab Conquests to the Siege of Vienna (Page 113) focuses on the first invasion of Syria in 1258-1260 and mentions an end to the Franco-Mongol alliance after the events of Sidon: "Suitably provoked, the Mongols responded by pillaging Sidon, thereby bringing an effective end to the Frank-Mongol alliance."
  • Emmanuel Berl in Histoire de l'Europe (p. 219) writes about the "Franco-Mongol rapprochement".
  • Bernard de Vaulx in History of the Missions (p. 53) writes about the Franco- Mongol alliance.
  • Peter W. Edbury in The Kingdom of Cyprus and the Crusades, 1191-1374 (p. 92) mentions the Franco-Mongol alliance, and gives as an example that the Mongol staged an attack to coincide with the Frank offensive during the Crusade of Edward I.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature.., p.100: "The fact that the Mongols were in ostensible alliance with Christians princes led to a renewal by the sultan of the ordinances against Jews and Christians."</ref> while others consider that such an alliance was never really achieved and ended in failure.<ref>Authors who consider that an alliance was never really achieved and ended in failure:
  • Tyerman, p. 816. "The Mongol alliance, despite six further embassies to the west between 1276 and 1291, led nowhere."
  • "The possibility of an alliance between the il-khans and the Franks was explored by both parties. . . Contacts between the two were quite frequent and aimed at establishing a coordination of eastern and western forces to counterbalance the formidable Mamluk threat. . . For a number of reasons which it cannot be our task to analyze here, the alliance between the il-khans and the West failed to become operative." Sinor, Denis. "Mongols and the West" in Journal of Asian History[6]
  • "Despite numerous envoys and the obvious logic of an alliance against mutual enemies, the papacy and the Crusaders never achieved the often-proposed alliance against Islam". Atwood, Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire, p. 583, "Western Europe and the Mongol Empire"

Medieval sources

  • Adh-Dhababi, Record of the Destruction of Damascus by the Mongols in 1299-1301 Translated by Joseph Somogyi. From: Ignace Goldziher Memorial Volume, Part 1, Online (English translation).
  • Jean de Joinville, The Memoirs of Lord of Joinville, translated by Ethel Wedwood Online (English translation).
  • Le Templier de Tyr (circa 1300). Chronicle du Templier de Tyr, Online (Original French).
  • Hayton of Corycus (1307). Flowers of the Histories of the East, Online (English translation).
  • Guillaume de Tyr (circa 1300). History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea, Online (Original French).
  • Kirakos (circa 1300). History of the Armenians, Online, (English translation).
  • Template:Cite book (online)

Modern sources

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