Visiting Buda castle on family holidays last June, Dr Kim LoPrete caught sight of some old stones as the rest of the gang soaked in the panoramic vista of the Danube & Pest below…. ‘Oh no’, they groaned, ‘not more historic rubble…’. Undeterred –or was that totally bored– nephew no. 1 decided to follow her ’round the corner, where she stumbled into the ruins of the 13th-century Dominican church, serving as the atrium of a modern office building, complete with quarter-vaulted steel pillars mimicking the lost Gothic arches of the old nave (now you know why they groaned…).
But who was that cowled campaigner pointing east? Why, none other than brother Julian, with his side-kick Gerard, who had set off c.1235 to find the original Magyar homeland & convert a few Cumans (nomadic Turkic folk) and arrived just in time to meet Russians fleeing from renewed Mongol onslaughts–and even advance envoys of the Mongols themselves.
Those of you taking her Colloquium, ‘European Encounters with the Mongols’ can read about some of brother Julian’s adventures, including the ultimatum, a virtual declaration of war, he transmitted from the Mongol leader Batu to the king of Hungary….