Simon of St Quentin

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Simon of St Quentin (fl. 1245-48) was a Dominican friar and diplomat who accompanied Ascelin of Lombardia on an embassy which Pope Innocent IV sent to the Mongols in 1245. Simon’s account of the mission, in its original form, is lost; but a large section has been preserved in Vincent of BeauvaisSpeculum Historiale, where nineteen chapters are expressly said to be ex libello fratris Simonis.

The embassy of Ascelin and Simon proceeded to the camp of Baiju at Sitiens in Armenia, lying between the Aras River and Lake Sevan, fifty-nine days' journey from Acre.

The papal letters were translated into Persian, and thence into Mongolian, 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 July 25, 1247, they were dismissed with the Noyan's reply, dated July 20. 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, 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 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. (some-times 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 Speculum historiale 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[edit]


  • Simon de Saint-Quentin, Histoire des Tartares, edited by Jean Richard (Paris, 1965).
  • Constantin d'Ohsson, Histoire des Mongols, ii. 200-201, 221-233; iii. 79 (edition of 1852)
  • V. M. 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)
  • Marie Armand Pascal d'Avezac, Introduction to Carpini, pp. 404–405, 433-434, 464-465, of vol. iv. of the Paris Geog. Soc.'s Recueil de Voyages, etc. (Paris, 1839)
  • William W. Rockhill, Rubruck, pp. xxiv-xxv (London, Hakluyt Soc., 1900)
  • C. R. Beazley, Dawn of Modern Geography, ii. 277, and Carpini and Rubruquis, 269-270.