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Hülegü and His Wise Men: Topos or Reality?

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Chapter Summary

The author briefly relates two well known instances in the historical literature describing pre-Mongol Steppe rulers and wise men from the realm of religion. The first example is the council of scholars who were assembled by the Qaghan of the Khazars, as reported in the Book of Refutation and Proof on Behalf of the Despised Religion. The second example, also has the motif of a steppe ruler, holding a debate between religious leaders as a prelude to conversion. The Mongol ruler assembles wise men of various types for consultations about real affairs of state. The author presents passages dealing with Hülegü's relations and patronage with scientists, wise men, religious scholars and philosophers. According to Ibn al- Furāt, Hülegü had thirty wise men, as had Alexander. This group was comprised of five Arabs, five Persians, five Greeks, five Jews, five Christians and five Zoroastrians.

Keywords: Hülegü; Ibn al- Furāt; Mongol ruler; wise men



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