Benedykt Polak

Benedykt Polak ("Benedictus Polonus", ang. "Benedict the Pole" or "Benedict of Poland") (c. 1200, probably in Wrocław – c. 1280 probably in Kraków) was a Polish Franciscan priest, traveler and explorer.

He was a companion of Giovanni da Pian del Carpine in his journey as delegate of Pope Innocent IV to theGreat Khan of the Mongols in 1245-1247. He was the author of the brief chronicle "De Itinere Fratrum Minorum ad Tartaros". This journey preceded that of Marco Polo.

The report of Benedykt is important because it includes a copy of the letter of the Great Khan to the Pope [ [| biography of Benedykt (in Polish)] ] .


Little is known about the life of Friar Benedykt beyond the story of the journey.He was educated and spoke and wrote Latin. He had become a monk in the Franciscan monastery in Wroclaw about 1236. This was the first major stop of Friar Giovanni after leaving on the mission from Lyon in April 1245. Benedykt was chosen to accompany him as an interpreter because he had also acquired a knowledge of the Old East Slavic language and the first part of their journey was to Kiev.

After their return in 1247, Benedykt wrote his short account of the journey. Later he was a witness at the Canonization of Saint Stanislaus of Szczepanów in 1252 [ [| biography of Benedykt (in Polish)] ] .


ee also

* Giovanni_da_Pian_del_Carpine
* Exploration of Asia

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