AN03c2_Ch12: The Mongols
Timeline: 13th – 14th Century
FQ: To what extent were conditions favorable for a Mongol invasion of Eurasia?
Main Idea: The rapidity and extent of Mongol conquests was amazing. Clearly there must be an explanation for such military prowess, particularly from a people who traditionally lived in divided tribal groups. For our purposes, we will occupy ourselves with discussions centered on three pivotal topics as they relate to the focus question.
First, the Mongols and the Central Asian nomads of the steppes were unified for the first time. Second, the Mongolian lifestyle consisted of many activities and skills that had direct military applications. Thirdly, opponents, like the Khwarazemid Empire and Europeans, failed to counter Mongol military tactics with innovative tactics of their own. Politically, these two targets of Mongol expansion were fragmenting at the time when Mongols were unifying.
I. Mongol Lifestyle & Military Applications
B. Herds provide all needs
C. Constant & Rapid Travel
D. Survival under Harsh Conditions
II. The Great Hunt
An annual exercise instituted by Chinggis Khan to be conducted during times of peace. It sharpened the daily skills of Mongolian nomads. Emphasis was placed on using those skills for military application.
A. Strengthened Morale
B. Reinforced the value of teamwork.
C. Established discipline
D. Developed and practiced ways to Communicate Silently
E. Tested a Mongol’s Horsemanship
F. Learned to accomplish a mission with limited resources (Ex. Not permitted to use weapons)
III. East Asia is Divided
A. Xia vs. Jin
B. Sung vs. Xia/ Jin
IV. Europe is Caught Unprepared
1. Lessons of the Crusades were not learned.
2. Castles & burghs reflects Europe’s siege mentality.
3. Heavily armored Knights reflect Europe’s limited cavalry use
B. European Fragmentation (Disunity)
1. Christian vs. Muslim (Crusades)
2. Pope vs. Monarch (Frederick II, Holy Roman Empire)
3. Monarch vs. Monarch (Frederick II of Holy Roman Empire & King Bela of Hungary)
4. England vs. France
5. Monarch vs. Aristocracy
6. Western ‘Catholic’ Church vs. Eastern ‘Orthodox’ Church
7. Turk vs. Byzantine Greeks
8. The Reconquest (La Reconquista)
V. Summary: Why it matters now.
The Mongols built the largest unified land empire in world history.
-World History: Patterns of Interaction
-Film: CNN’s Millennium Series- The 13th C.: Century of the Stirrup
-Assorted Readings (Excerpts: The Devil’s Horsemen, by James Chambers)
-Lecture by Prof. Morris Rossabi, Columbia Univ. 28 Sept. ’00 (Stuyvesant H.S.), Author of _Khubilai Khan: His Life and Times_