AN03c3\_Ch12: The Mongol Empire- Pax Mongolica & Yuan Dynasty
Timeline: 13th – 14th Century
FQ: To what extent did Mongol rule contribute to future economic, cultural, and social exchange within Eurasia?
Main Idea: The Mongol Empire becomes a cross-continental bridge uniting East with West. As emperor of China, Kublai Khan encouraged foreign trade. Economic innovations are introduced to encourage and facilitate commerce and cultural diffusion soon thrives. Over time, Mongol hegemony contributes to the safe & speedy travel of people, goods, and knowledge.
Pax Mongolica: ‘Mongol Peace’. A term similar in meaning to the Pax Romana. A period of peace and economic stability brought about by the stability and strength of the Mongolian imperial government.
II. Pax Mongolica: 13th C. version of “The Pax Romana”?
A. Law Enforcement: Patrol major routes. Safe to travel and transport goods.
B. Commercial Innovation: “Post Towns” established along major trade routes. They become commercial centers along remote stretches of Silk Road paths.
C. Currency: Replaces specie as a medium of exchange. Merchants can travel without the weight and worry of inconsistent exchange rates for gold and silver.
D. Post Riders: In emergencies, these messengers of the Khans can travel 300 miles in a day. It aids in governing the vast territories under Mongol rule.
III. East – West Exchange
1. Firearms: Gunpowder applications.
a. Handheld weapons
b. Cannon and Mortar.
B. Paper Money: Accelerates feudal Europe’s abandonment of manorial system. Economically and politically, land’s value is diminishing as specie-backed mediums of exchange gain importance.
C. Eastern Scholarship: Eastern philosophies, precursors to the natural sciences, flow westward. They fuel changes in both science and religion. (1, 2)
D. Chronicles: Mongol tolerance of foreigners offers an opportunity for visitors to record events and sites during the Pax Mongolica. Among these, we must include Marco Polo, Fr. William of Rubruk, and Ibn Battuta.
IV. Summary: Why it matters now.
The influence of Chinese ideas on Western civilization began with the Mongols’ encouragement of trade.
1 Roger Bacon, 13thC. Franciscan Friar who is credited with being an early adopter of empiricism and the scientific method.
2 Francis of Assisi, a Franciscan Friar who saw all things in nature as sure signs of God’s existence and work.
-Map of Eurasia
-Ibn al-Athir: The Tatars \
-World History: Patterns of Interaction
-Film: CNN’s Millennium Series- The 13th C.\_Century of the Stirrup
-The Human Record textbook: ‘Travel in the Age of the Pax Mongolica’, read pages 426 – 430.
-The Human Record textbook: ‘Traveling the Silk Road’, read pages 431 – 435.
-Lecture by Prof. Morris Rossabi, Columbia Univ. 28 Sept. ’00 (Stuyvesant H.S.), Author of _Khubilai Khan: His Life and Times_