The 1250s were 1/4 of the way from 1000 to 2000. And the world was a lot more like the one we live in than it had been 250 years earlier. And yet, sometimes things seem a little alien to us today.
1. In 1260, Hulagu Khan, leading a powerful Mongol army south from Damascus, sent a letter to the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt:
From the King of Kings of the East and West, the Great Khan. To Qutuz the Mamluk, who fled to escape our swords. You should think of what happened to other countries and submit to us… Resist and you will suffer the most terrible catastrophes. We will shatter your mosques and reveal the weakness of your God and then will kill your children and your old men together.The Sultan responded by beheading the envoys and putting their heads on pikes. What happened next?
2. Meanwhile, in Pisa, a master sculptor was working on the Baptistery pulpet. Was the sculptor Francis Picabia, Nicola Pisano, Camille Pissarro, Jacopo Pontormo, or Nicolas Poussin?
3. In 1261, the Empire of Nicaea conquered and eliminated the Latin Empire, thereby re-establishing what?
4. From the 1230s to the 1250s, Mindaugas unified the tribes and dutchies of the southern Baltic, forging together a country that would become immensely powerful in the next two centuries. He was its first and only king. A convert to Christianity, he ordered the construction of a cathedral in Vilnius. But after he was assassinated in 1263, the new country would have to endure seven years of unrest and chaos. Of what country is Mindaugas usually considered the father?
5. The Tang had called it Tanyeng, the Yan called it Yanjing, the Liao called in Nanjing, the Jurchin Jin called it Zhongdu, and the Mongols razed it. But in 1264, Kublai Khan changed his mind about Xanadu and decided to build his imperial capital there, naming it Dadu or Khanbaliq. What do we call the city today?
6. Somewhere around this time period, Manqu Qhapaq died of natural causes and left his son, Sinchi Roca, as the successor to the Kingdom of Cusco. In a couple of centuries, that kingdom would expand rapidly into what empire?
7. In 1264, Simon de Montfort called a big meeting, inviting all of the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls and barons in England, as well as a handful of knights and minor officials from each shire. Although it was by no means the first major meeting of the English nobility, this assembly is still often thought of as the first what?
8. He is considered the Catholic Church's greatest theologian and philosopher. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy developed or opposed his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory… The works for which he is best known are the Summa Theologiae and the Summa contra Gentiles.” And he finished the “Summa contra Gentiles” in the 1260s. Who was this important brainy guy?
9. In the 1266 Treaty of Perth, Norway ceded the Isle of Man, the Hebrides, the Orkneys, and Shetland, in exchange for a cash payout and additional yearly payments. What country was on the other side of the deal?
10. When Pope Clement IV died in 1268, the College of Cardinals was split down the middle on Italian political questions. What was remarkable about the ensuing papal election?
Through History with The New Monday Quiz: the 1250s
1. Out with the Ayyubids and in with the Mamuluks in medieval Egypt.
2. Element 33: Arsenic.
3. Where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic: Stockholm.
4. Florins are from Florence.
5. Dali was subsumed by the Mongols.
6. Pope Innocent was creating the doctrine of purgatory.
7. Lisbon, the capital on the western tip of Europe.
8. Bagdad, put to slaughter by the Mongols.
9. Osman I would found the Ottoman dynasty.
10. The Golden Horde was an increasingly independent semi-nomadic khanate, a splinter group of the Mongols as they began to lose their cohesion. Mongols, in a way; anti-Mongols, in a way.
Morgan and Susan provided superb sets of answers, but if one were to be persnickety -- and here I go -- Christine M and pfly would have to take joint custody of the victor's cup, which they can take turns enjoying until the Mongols arrive.