Cumys consumption in the perspective of 13th-century Franciscan friars among the Mongols



Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Franciscan friars travelling to the Mongols in the 13th century, namely John of Carpini and William Rubruck, refer to various troubles connected to the food supply, its quality and food cultures among the Mongols. Among the issues that complicated the physical health and social position of the friars was the question of the consumption of cumys. This beverage consisting of fermented mare´s milk, was one of the essential items for nutrition among the nomadic people in the steppe. At the same time, it played a central role in the social life of the Mongols and their interaction with foreigners. However, it also carried specific cultural and religious meanings. As a food used in Mongolian tradition for ritual libations, cumys was tabooed by Russian Christians. The paper focuses on the question of the friars' attitudes towards cumys and its possible consequences for the success of their missionary endeavours.
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