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The narratives by John of Plano Carpini and William of Rubruck of their journeys to Mongolia in the middle of the thirteenth century differ from the majority of works in this series. The authors were not canonized saints or beati, and their travels were not missionary journeys in the strict sense, but were more of the nature of political embassies. Nevertheless, they were servants of Christendom as few men have been. They give a first-hand authentic account of the first contact between Western Christendom and the Far East, and this at the moment when the whole oriental world from Korea to Hungary was being turned upside down and remade by one of the greatest catastrophes in the history of the world.