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Voyager from Xanadu

Rabban Sauma and the First Journey from China to the West

Morris Rossabi (Author)

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Toward the end of the thirteenth century, at about the time Marco Polo was being received by the great Khubilai Khan, a Nestorian Christian monk from China called Rabban Sauma was making the reverse journey from the Mongol capital (what is now Beijing) to Jerusalem. Upon reaching Baghdad—the first traveler to arrive from China—Sauma learned that his pilgrimage could not be fulfilled because of Islamic control of the Holy Land. In Voyager from Xanadu, Morris Rossabi traces Sauma’s trans-Eurasian travels against the turbulent era of the Mongol Empire and the last Crusades. His indispensable book provides a unique first-hand Asian perspective on Europe and illuminates a crucial period in the early history of global, diplomatic, and commercial networking.
Morris Rossabi is Distinguished Professor of History, City University of New York, and Adjunct Professor of Chinese and Mongolian History at Columbia University. He is the author of many books, including Khubilai Khan: His Life and Times (UC Press).
“Timely. . . . Well-fashioned. . . . A very helpful resource.”—Steven Heine, Florida International University European Legacy
“The story of Rabban Sauma's journey from Peking to Paris in the late thirteenth century is absorbing in its own right. But by his erudite commentary and fine evocation of context Morris Rossabi has given this adventure a wider scope, one that lets us ponder Marco Polo's travels from a reverse perspective, and thus gain a new focal point from which to start our studies of China and the Western world.”—Jonathan Spence, author of The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci

“A wonderful story which Morris Rossabi tells with scholarship and skill.”—Steven Runciman, author of History of the Crusades

Voyager from Xanadu is fascinating reading; I sat down with it and read straight through, unable to put it down. Morris Rossabi draws on all his immense erudition and yet never lets it obscure his sensitive concern with the intensely human character of this story. He importantly illumines lost pages in the history of thirteenth-century Europe and Asia, but in essence this is a triumph of sophisticated, cosmopolitan storytelling. Rabban Sauma lives.”—Frederick W. Mote, author of The Intellectual Foundations of China

“This book is a wonderful resource for the student of world history.”—John E. Wills, Jr., author of Mountain of Fame

Voyager from Xanadu is a text no student should miss. It is an engaging account of Nestorian monk Rabban Sauma's trans-Eurasian travels at a crucial period in the early history of global diplomatic and commercial networking. Rossabi's text is always well-researched, highly readable, and guaranteed to intrigue with details of life and attitudes across thirteenth-century China, Iran, and Europe.”—Roxann Prazniak, author of Dialogues Across Civilizations

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