Հայկական յոյսեր, թոսկանական ցնորք. Սուրբ Երկրի ազատագրման Հեթումի առաջարկները՝ Ճիովաննի Վիլլանիի «Նոր Ժամանակագրութեան» ոսպնեակով

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ARMENIAN HOPES AND TUSCAN UTOPIA:
HAYTON (HETHUM) OF KORYKOS’S PROPOSALS
DE RECUPERATIONE TERRAE SANCTAE
AS REPRESENTED IN
THE NUOVA CRONICA OF GIOVANNI VILLANI
 
LUCA MANTELLI

 

The Nuova Cronica that the Florentine merchant Giovanni Villani wrote in the 1330s and 1340s is an extraordinary source of information which goes well beyond the local horizon of Florence and Tuscany. Taking in much of the Mediterranean basin and Europe, it also often describes events in north Africa and Asia. As regards the latter, what Villani writes about possible plans for an alliance between the Christian kingdoms of the West and the Mongol Ilkhanate of Persia founded by the successors of Genghis Khan is of great interest. The topic gave rise to vigorous debate in the Curia and at the royal courts of Europe for nearly a century, starting in the middle of the 1200s. Villani seems to have been strongly in favour of an alliance, contrary to the official stance of Florentine authorities and their closest allies. The Florentine chronicler’s position is surprising for this reason and because the death of the last Ilkhan Abu Sa‘id in 1335 meant the political end of the Ilkhanate, which had in the meanwhile become Muslim and concluded with the Mameluke sultanate of Cairo the peace that was inevitable. 
 
The anachronism involved in Villani’s stance is partially explained by the source that he employed to describe those events in which the Mongols played a leading role, the Flos Historiarum Terre Orientis of Hethum of Korykos. An Armenian prince who converted to the Latin rite, Hethum of Korykos wrote this treatise in 1307, and personally presented to pope Clement V. According to the Armenian perspective of this source, an agreement with the Mongols represented the sole chance for the Kingdom of Cilicia’s survival in the face of threats from the Mamelukes and Turks. This perspective visibly influenced Villani’s stance towards the Mongols. The author of the Nuova Cronica, however, sets forth his view as part of a general criticism of Christianity that as a whole has proved incapable of overcoming its internal divisions and providing a united opposition to the Islamic threat. As a result, the impossibility of currently realising an alliance with the Mongols is less readily obvious.
 
 
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