The Italian Cultural Institute and the Centre d’études médiévales de l’Université de Montréal, as part of the conference program (17 September 2019-10 December 2019) on the theme “Francesco e al-Malik, 800 anni dopo. L’incontro tra Francesco d’Assisi e il sultano al-Malik al-Kamil (1219)“, are pleased to present Francesco D’Arelli’s conference entitled “Vie di terre: Mongoli e missionari francescani nell’Oriente dei secoli XIII-XIV” and introduced by Prof. Gabriele Giannini, Université de Montréal.
Tuesday December 10, 2019 – 6pm
Institut Italien de Culture
1200, Av. du Dr. Penfield
Montreal (QC), QC H3A 1A9
Conference in Italian
The meeting between Francis of Assisi and the Sultan of Egypt took place eight centuries ago, in 1219. More than celebrating a centenary, the cycle of conferences, organized by the Italian Cultural Institute and the Center d’études médiévales of the Université de Montréal, bringing together scholars of various disciplines, all of high profile and international fame, wants to bring the public closer to meaning of this extraordinary event for contemporaries and for posterity, up to us. When the Franciscan Giovanni da Pian del Carpine (1182-1252) witnessed, in 1246, the ascension to the throne of Güyük, son of the Great khān Ögödei (1229-1241), third son of Gènghiz khān, Francis of Assisi had already disappeared twenty years earlier (1226). With the last mission, in the years 1342-1346, at the court of the Great Khān of the Franciscan Giovanni de ‘Marignolli (end of the 13th century-1358/59) the Franciscan journeys along the lands of East Asia in medieval times come to an end. Why were they sent to lands so remote and perilous, plagued by raids, devastation and occupations? The conference recounts this generous century of Eurasian history, where the “missionary zeal and boldness of the Italian merchants” – as Giuseppe Tucci wrote years ago – were often overtaken by the “spirited ambassadors of culture, who on so much trouble in wars they sought [to] build a bridge of understanding and peace and to extend to the East the fraternal hand of the West ”.
Francesco D’Arelli, Ph.D. in Oriental Studies (Istituto Universitario Orientale, Napoli), studied at the Sinological Institute of Leiden and at the Catholic University of Louvain, taught at Ca ‘Foscari, at the Pontifical Urbaniana and Antonianum Universities and at University of International Studies in Rome. He directed the library and the publishing activities of the Italian Institute for Africa and the East (2002-2011) and since 2012 he has been in the Farnesina’s role as a cultural attaché. From March 2016 he is director of the Italian Cultural Institute of Montréal. He has published numerous essays, especially on the diffusion and presence of Christianity in China in the 17th and 18th centuries, and with Angelo Tartuferi (Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence) he was the scientific curator of the exhibition and of the catalog The art of Francis. Masterpieces of Italian art and Asian lands from the 13th to the 15th century (Florence, Galleria dell’Accademia, 30 March-11 October 2015). This year he also published the essay “Vie di terre: Mongoli e missionari francescani nell’Oriente dei secoli XIII-XIV” in the volume San Francesco d’Assisi (Rome, 2019), a valuable work of the Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana Treccani.
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