The road to Cathay

Colloque qui se tiendra à Milan (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore), les 24-25 octobre 2018

The road to Cathay : East-West contacts in Marco Polo’s time


Scholarly interest in contacts between Europe and East Asia during the Middle Ages has not faded over time; rather, it has intensified over the past few decades. In addition to the major contributions by European and American scholars from the 1990s, it is important to remember the numerous works dedicated to this topic by Chinese, Korean, and Japanese scholars. Cross-disciplinary dialogue has become essential in a research environment where multiple, highly varied interests and skills cross paths. These specific needs have inspired the international conference The Road to Cathay. East-West Contacts in Marco Polo’s time.

In the mid-13th century a particular phase of the contacts between the Western and the Far Eastern worlds began, which ended with the fall of the Yuan dynasty. The unification of most of Asia and Eastern Europe under the Mongols led to the formation of a new space for religious, economic, and cultural exchanges, which stretched from the Danube to the shores of the Pacific. For over a century, emissaries, missionaries, and merchants travelled from West to East and from East to West, moving along the Silk Road or sailing along the sea route that linked the Persian Gulf with southern China.

The first Europeans to penetrate into the heart of the Mongol empire were the Franciscans Giovanni da Pian di Carpine and William of Rubrouck, and the Dominicans Ascelin and Andrée de Longjumeau. A few decades later, numerous travellers reached as far as Khanbaliq (modern Beijing), the new capital of the Great Khan: Marco Polo, Giovanni da Montecorvino, Odoric of Pordenone, Giovanni dei Marignolli, etc. Material wealth and ideas circulated along with the movement of people. A flow of information reached Europe, gradually reshaping the traditional, consolidated image of East Asia that the Middle Ages inherited from classical sources. With the end of the Mongol dominance in China, the exchanges between Europe and East Asia came to a sharp halt. Nevertheless, the data gathered by travellers up to then continued to circulate, even during the period of Renaissance humanism, often melding with the scant information from Antiquity.

The scientific purpose of the international conference The Road to Cathay. East-West Contacts in Marco Polo’s Time is to investigate the diverse aspects and dimensions of religious, economic, and cultural exchanges in the 13th and 14th centuries, focusing on the modes of perception and representation of otherness during the period of the Pax Mongolica.


24 Octobre 2018,
9:30 Aula G.127 PIO XI
Giovanni GOBBER, Dean of Linguistic Sciences and Foreign Literatures Faculty, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
Marisa VERNA, Director of Linguistic Sciences and Foreign Literatures department, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
Agostino GIOVAGNOLI, Scientific Commitee Istituto Confucio Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Elisa GIUNIPERO, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore : Introduction

Alvise ANDREOSE, Università eCampus – Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore : Travellers and texts between Europe and China in Marco Polo’s time

RONG Xinjiang, Peking University : From Sogdian Merchants to Marco Polo

Federico MASINI, Università degli Studi di Roma «La Sapienza» :  Marco Polo, one of many

Hans Ulrich VOGEL, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Tübingen : Marco Polo’s Crouching Dragons and Hidden Tigers

Eugenio BURGIO, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia : Borders. Notes on the relationship between history and geography in the description of the provinces of Central Asia and China in the Devisement dou monde

24 Octobre 2018, 15:00
Chair: Tiziana LIPPIELLO, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia
Samuela SIMION, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia : On the road to Cathay: mineralogical entries from the Devisement dou Monde

DANG Baohai, Peking University : Maritime Links between China and the Persian Gulf in Marco Polo’s Time

Chiara CONCINA, Università degli Studi di Verona : The correspondence between the Papacy and the Mongols: old and new perspectives

MA Xiaolin, Nankai University : The Great Qaan’s court rituals described by Marco Polo and Odorico da Pordenone

WANG Yidan, Peking University : “Shu‘ab-i Panjgana” (“The five genealogies”), a Persian historical document of cross-cultural communication

25 Octobre,

9:00 Aula G.016 Maria Immacolata
Chair: Alvise ANDREOSE, Università eCampus – Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Davor ANTONUCCI, Università degli Studi di Roma «La Sapienza» : The legacy of Marco Polo: the Jesuits and the Cathay

QIU Zhirong, Peking University : From Mediterranean to China: Mastic in Yuan and Ming Sources

Chiara PICCININI, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore : The studies of Huang Shijian 黄时鉴 on Marco Polo

CHEN Xi, Peking University : A Study of the Ranking of Religions in Yuan Decrees for Temples


OpenEdition vous propose de citer ce billet de la manière suivante :
Christine Gadrat-Ouerfelli (11 octobre 2018). The road to Cathay. Il ne scet rien qui ne va hors. Consulté le 21 juillet 2024 à l’adresse

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