Simon of Saint-Quentin

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French Dominican missionary, fl. mid-13th century, author of Fratris Simonis historia, an account of a journey to Tatary. He is known only through vincent of beauvais. Simon's Historia is lost but its substance has been preserved in the Speculum historiale of Vincent (29.6989, 95; 30.26, 3250; 31.2) who supplements Simon's information with extracts drawn from the work of the Franciscan, john da pian del carpine. After the Council of lyons (1245), Innocent IV sent six missionaries into Tatary: two Franciscans, Carpine and Benedict the Pole; and four Dominicans: the Lombard ascellino, the Poles Alexander and Alberic, and the Frenchman Simon, almost certainly a native of Saint-Quentin. The Franciscans traveled by way of Bohemia, Poland, and Russia, while the Dominicans took the Acre, Armenia, Georgia, and Persia route. When the Dominicans arrived at the court of the prince of the Tatars, Bajothny (Bacin, Bochin, or Batu Khan), they would not offer presents and thus earned bitter reproaches. They also refused to accord him divine honors and would have been massacred, had not one of the prince's six wives interceded for them. Simon's account gives the letter of Bajothny to the pope and dwells on the sufferings and bad treatment the Dominicans had to endure, but it is vague in its description of the country and its inhabitants. This mission to Tatary lasted from 1245 to July 1248 or 1249 and the friars are believed to have spent two years and six weeks in the country.

Bibliography: j. quÉtif and j. Échard, Scriptores ordinis praedicatorum (New York 1959) 1.1:122. j. a. fabricius, Bibliotheca latina mediae et infimae actatis, 6 v. in 3 (Florence 185859) 3:586. m. daunou, Histoire littéraire de la France 18 (1835) 400402. b. altaner, Die Dominikanermissionen des 13. Jh. (Habelschwerdt 1924). Bibliotheca missionum (Freiburg 1918) 4:910.

[j. daoust]