chapter  6
30 Pages

Images of the enemy

For those who seek an insight into the Mongol view of the Westernworld, there are only two avenues – both somewhat indirect, given the absence of any Mongolian narrative source that details the invasion of Europe. One way entails gleaning what we can from sources composed by the Mongols’ subjects, notably Chinese material and the universal history of the Ilkhanid statesman RashÇd al-DÇn, which includes a section on the Franks (1305/6). The other route is through the accounts of the Latin visitors to the Mongol empire. Some of the material they supply is problematic. To take one example, the way in which the Mongols are said to anticipate a final defeat at Frankish hands within a certain period owes far more, as we shall see, to Western exegesis of apocalyptic texts than it does to conversations in the steppe.