chapter  3
Medieval Christendom's Encounter with the Alien*
ByPeter Jackson
Pages 23

To explain the devastation of eastern Europe in 1241-2 by a hitherto unknown people, the Mongols, Latin Christians resorted to Scripture and to apocalyptic prophecy, notably the seventh-century Revelations of Pseudo-Methodius. They may have been encouraged to do so by information gleaned from contemporary Rus' and the Islamic world and by the Mongols' own notions about their origins. For all the accuracy of their reports, the Friars who visited the Mongol empire in the period 1245-55 were still apparently influenced by this perspective; they also transmitted to the West fresh material derived from the folklore they encountered in Asia.