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0148 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 148 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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compiled. In the Supplementary Notes to this Essay will be found the chapter on Cathay.'

  1. Just as the three Poli were reaching their native city, the forerunner of a new band of travellers was entering Southern China. This was JOHN OF MONTE CORVINO, a Franciscan monk, who, already nearly fifty years of age, was plunging alone into that great ocean of Paganism, and of what he deemed little better, Nestorianism, to preach the Gospel. After years of uphill -work and solitary labour others joined him ; the Papal See woke up to what was going on ; it made him Archbishop in Khanbalig or Pekin, with patriarchal authority, and sent him spasmodically batches of suffragan bishops and friars of his order ; the Roman Church spread ; churches and Minorite Houses were established at Khanbalig ; at Zayton or Chincheu, at Yangcheu and elsewhere ; and the missions flourished under the immediate patronage of the Great Khan himself. Among the friars whose duty carried them to Cathay during the interval between the beginning of the century and the year 1328, when Archbishop John was followed to the grave by mourning multitudes, Pagan as well as Christian, several have left letters or more extended accounts of their experiences in Cathay. Among these may be mentioned ANDREW OF PERUGIA, Bishop of Zayton ; JOHN . DE CORA, Archbishop of Sultania (though it is not quite certain that his account was derived from personal knowledge), and above all FRIAR ODORIC OF PORDENONE. A short though interesting notice of China belonging to this period, but derived from the information of others, is also contained in the Mirabilia of


The only ecclesiastical narrative subsequent to the time of Archbishop John is that contained in the reminiscences of JOHN MAPJGN0LLI, who spent four years at the court of Peking (1342-46) as Legate from the Pope.

  1. But the Exchange had its emissaries at this time as well

1 See Note XIV.

2 The journey of Ricold of Montecroce, one of the most learned of the monk travellers of the age (d. 1309) did not apparently extend beyond Baghdad. He mentions Cathay only once in noticing the conquests of Chinghiz (Perig. (Nat., 120).