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2017 is a wonderful year to study the history of Russia.
In 845, Li Deyu 李德裕 (787–850), arguably the most powerful man of the realm at that time and scion of one of the great aristocratic clans of medieval China, submitted a ‘Stele Inscription for Commemorating the Sagely Deeds in Youzhou, with preface’ (‘Youzhou ji shenggong beiming bing xu’ 幽州紀聖功碑銘并序) to Emperor Li Yan 李炎 (r. 840–46), better known under his temple name Wuzong 武宗.
In Malay Kingship in Kedah: Religion, Trade, and Society, Maziar Mozaffari Falarti offers a fascinating contribution to the study of local history and political models in Southeast Asia.
There can surely have been few other books in Asian Studies and certainly not in South East Asian Studies in recent years that have been as widely anticipated as James C. Scott’s The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Southeast Asia (Yale University Press, 2009).
What is a ‘Companion’ for?
Many scholars have thought to write a full presentation of the relations between the Catholic West and the Mongol Empire during the Middle Ages. It is a demanding task. The author should be specialised in many areas, know many languages, and he or she has to fit his or her presentation into a world historical context.
Ask most people, including Russians, who have a modest familiarity with European history what they know about medieval Russia and their answer will probably be brief, but will include something about the Mongols, perhaps even 'the Tatar yoke' (for a succinct statement of the difference between Mongols and Tatars see Ostrowski's preface, p. xiii).