Online Lecture: The Öngüt Connection: Christianity among the Turks of Medieval Eurasia


East of Byzantium is pleased to announce the final lecture in its 2022–2023 lecture series.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023 | 12:00 PM EDT | Zoom
The Öngüt Connection: Christianity among the Turks of Medieval Eurasia
Joel Walker | University of Washington, Seattle

Early and influential allies of Chinggis Khan, the Öngüt Turks of Inner Mongolia played a pivotal role in the rise of the Mongol Empire (1206–1368). Their adoption of “Nestorian” Christianity represents the culmination of a broad stream of Turkic Christian tradition in medieval Eurasia. The careers of the ascetic Marqos of Koshang, who became the East-Syrian patriarch Yahballaha III (1281–1317), and the ruler Giwargis, the Mongol-appointed “Prince of Gaotang” (d. 1298 or 1299), help reveal the distinctive contours of the Öngüt Christian tradition.

Joel Walker is the Lawrence J. Roseman Associate Professor of History at the University of Washington, Seattle. Trained as a historian of Late Antiquity, his publications include: The Legend of Mar Qardagh: Narrative and Christian Heroism in Late Antique Iraq (2006); “From Nisibis to Xi’an: The Church of the East in Late Antique Eurasia” (2012); and “Luminous Markers: Pearls and Royal Authority in Late Antique Iran and Eurasia” (2018). Current projects include Witness to the Mongols: A Global History Sourcebook (co-authored with Stefan Kamola) and a history of cattle in the Ancient World.

Advance registration required.


Author: Dr. Bernard Mulholland

Dr. Bernard Mulholland is a Byzantinist, archaeologist, historian and Patristics scholar with a Ph.D. in history (QUB, 2012). Bernard's publications include: Fiction: Bernard Mulholland, Nazareth Quest (2022). Non-fiction: Bernard Mulholland, The man from MENSA - 1 of 600: Mensa research (2016). ---, The man from MENSA - 1 of the 600: Politics 1990-1995 (2016). ---, Ratio analysis of financial KPI in the Higher Education sector: a case study (2018). ---, Early Byzantine Ireland: a survey of the archaeological evidence (2021). ---, Navan Fort, Ireland: archaeological and palaeoecological analysis (2021). ---, The Early Byzantine Christian Church (Oxford, 2014). ---, 'Identification of Early Byzantine Constantinopolitan, Syrian, and Roman church plans in the Levant and some possible consequences', Patristic Studies in the twenty-first century: proceedings of an international conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the International Association of Patristic Studies, ed. Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony, Theodore de Bruyn and Carol Harrison (Turnhout, 2015), 597-633. Mulholland, B. (2021). 'Can archaeology inform the climate change debate?' Academia Letters, Article4385.

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