1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Simon of St Quentin

SIMON OF ST QUENTIN (fl. 1247), Dominican mission-traveller and diplomatist. He accompanied, and wrote the history of, the Dominican embassy lunder Friar Ascelin or Anselm, which Pope Innocent IV. sent in 1247 to the Mongols of Armenia and Persia. Simon's history, in its original form, is lost; but large sections of it have been preserved in Vincent of Beauvais's Speculum historiale, where nineteen chapters are expressly said to be ox libello fratris Simon-is, or entitled frater Simon. The embassy of Ascelin and Simon, who were accompanied by Andrew of Longjumeau, proceeded to the camp of Baiju or Bachu Noyan (i.e. “General” Baiju, Noyan signifying a commander of 10,000) at Sitiens in Armenia, lying between the Aras river and Lake Gokcha, fifty-nine days’ journey from Acre. The papal letters were translated into Persian, and thence into Mongol, and so presented to Baiju; but the Tatars were greatly irritated by the haughtiness of the Dominicans, who implied that the pope was superior even to the Great Khan, and offered no presents, refused the customary reverences before Baiju, declined to go on to the imperial court, and made unseasonable attempts to convert their hosts. The Frankish visitors were accordingly lodged and treated with contempt: for nine weeks (June and July 1247) all answer to their letters was refused. Thrice Baiju even ordered their death. At last, on the 25th of July 1247, they were dismissed with the Noyan’s reply, dated the 20th of July. This reply complained of the high words of the Latin envoys, and commanded the pope to come in person and submit to the Master of all the Earth (the Mongol emperor). The mission thus ended in complete failure; but, except for Carpini’s (q.v.), it was the earliest Catholic embassy which reached any Mongol court, and its information must have been valuable. It performed something at least of what should have been (but apparently was not) done by Lawrence (Lourenco) of Portugal, who was commissioned as papal envoy to the Mongols of the south-west at the same time that Carpini was accredited to those of the north (1245).

See Vincent of Beauvais, Speculum historiale, book xxxii. (sometimes quoted as xxxi.), chaps. 26–29, 32, 34, 40–52, (cf. pp. 453 A–454 B in the Venice edition of 1591); besides these, several other chapters of the Spec. hist. probably contain material derived from Simon, e.g. bk. xxxi. (otherwise xxx.), chaps. 3, 4, 7, 8, 13, 32; and bk. xxx. (otherwise xxix.), chaps. 69, 71, 74–75, 78, 80. See also d'Ohsson, Histoire des Mongols, ii. 200–201, 221–233; iii. 79 (edition of 1852); Fontana, Monumenta Dominicana, p. 52 (Rome, 1675); Luke Wadding, Annales Minorum, iii. 116–118; E. Bretschneider, Mediaeval Researches from Eastern Asiatic Sources, vol. i., notes 455, 494 (London, 1888); M. A. P. d'Avezac’s Introduction to Carpini, pp. 404–405, 433–434, 464–465, of vol. iv. of the Paris Geog. Soc.’s Recueil de Voyages, &c. (Paris, 1839); W. W. Rockhill, Rubruck, p. xxiv–xxv (London, Hakluyt Soc., 1900); C. R. Beazley, Dawn of Modern Geography, ii. 277, and Carpini and Rubruquis.

 (C. R. B.)