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Giovanni de Piano Carpini

Carpini, Giovanni de Piano (jōvänˈnē dā pyäˈnō kärpēˈnē) [key], c.1180–1252, Italian traveler and Franciscan monk, b. Pian del Carpini (now Piano della Magione), Umbria. He was a companion of St. Francis of Assisi and spread Franciscan teachings in Germany and Spain. In 1245 he was sent by Pope Innocent IV to the court of the Mongols. With a Pole, Friar Benedict, he started from Lyons, went to Kiev, then across the Dnieper to the Don and the Volga, where he found the camp of a Mongol prince. He then traveled across central Asia to the imperial court at Karakorum in Mongolia. A journey of c.3,000 mi (4,830 km) was accomplished on horseback in 106 days. At Karakorum he witnessed the installation (1246) of Jenghiz Khan's grandson as the great khan of the Mongols. Carpini returned to Lyons in 1247, and his careful account of the journey, known as Liber Tartarorum, proved invaluable. It is a full record of Mongol manners, history, policy, and military tactics; it was the first of such works to appear in Europe.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


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