FilmQ03c_Ch.12: The Mongols
How to Use Video as a Source
Step #1: Familiarize yourself with film questions prior to viewing the film. By reading the questions and understanding the vocabulary contained within, you allow yourself the luxury of viewing the film without having to look at the questions continuously.
Step #2: View and Listen Attentively. Unlike a book, a video provides information via visual images and audio. Both forms of data are ‘more valuable together’ than separately. For example, turn the volume off on your TV during your favorite program. Then, raise the volume while ‘blacking out’ the image. Under which conditions was the data most richly delivered? Always make sure that you have unobstructed viewing of a film and that the sound is audible.
As you view the video, pay attention to visual and/ or audio cues that reflect the issues raised by the questions below. Your responses should refer to video content as well as your current knowledge and understanding of history.
Step #3: Organize Your Thoughts. Unlike a book, the data from a video is often delivered at a constant rate. With a book, you can slow your reading speed when you encounter a particular segment that is complicated. You can also turn back to a previous page to review information. A film is a bit different in that you may not always have the option to use ‘slow motion’ or ‘rewind’. Therefore, maintaining focus on the imagery and sound is important. Targeted Notes will reduce the amount of time you’re looking away from the film. By writing quick and simple phrases of a few words each, you maintain greater attention to film events. Targeted notes use key words/ phrases that will ignite a thought or idea when you read them later. There is no concern for grammar or spelling while doing this. After the film has ended, you look at your targeted notes and manipulate the data to compile responses in complete sentences.
Organizational Tip: Vertically divide your sheet of paper (where you’ll write your responses). On the ‘left’ half, take targeted notes for each question given. After viewing the video, use the targeted notes to compose complete responses to each question (on the ‘right’ half of the sheet).
Your responses to these film questions will form the foundation of, or supplement, your notes for these lessons. While the focus of the film clips is the Mongol conquest and rule, pay attention to the forces of human interaction that can turn conquerors into the conquered. Here too one can see that oft repeated phenomena reminiscent of Hindu wisdom- “from the ashes of destruction comes a rebirth”.
SOURCE: CNN’s Millennium Video Series: The 13th Century: Century of the stirrup, narrated by Ben Kingsley. CNN Productions, Inc. ©1999 [3 clips for a total of ~36 min.]
Context: Mongols and other steppe Nomads of East and Central Asia (North and West of the Great Wall);
Cities of Karakorum, Beijing, and Samarkand (Modern Mongolia, China, and Uzbekistan);
c. 12th – 14th C.
Video Clip #1: Unity and Conquest
1. What elements of Mongol life (even today) do you believe proved beneficial in their 12th – 14th C. conquests?
2. Throughout history, ruthlessness and cruelty has been a weapon of conquering armies. Despite this view, how do modern-day Mongols view leaders like Chinggis Khan?*
3. The Mongols were never numerous. How did they compensate for this during or before battles?
4. How did the Mongols take advantage of the advancements and scholarship of those they conquered?
Video Clip #2, Part I: Pax Mongolica
5. Identify one distinct contribution of the Pax Mongolica\* in the following areas:
Video Clip #2, Part II: Assimilation and Fragmentation of the Empire
6a. How did the Mongol nomadic lifestyle change by the time of Kublai Khan’s Yuan dynasty in China? (Provide at least 2 examples of change)
6b. In the long term, were these changes a positive or negative for the Mongol rulers of Eurasia?
Ponder (Video Clips 1 and 2)
7. Matthew Paris (English clergyman), William of Rubruk (a French Franciscan Friar), Marco Polo, Persian and Ming historians were all chroniclers of this period.
-Why should we group these people together?
-Why should we NOT group them together?
-Why should we be critical of their accounts of the Mongol conquest and rule?
Video Clip #3: Timur (the lame)*
When answering this question, don’t fail to consider: the environment, battle tactics, impact as rulers, historical impact, etc…
8. What similarities existed between Timur and…
-the Mongols of Chinggis Khan?
-the Mongols of Kublai Khan?
Chinggis Khan: In Western textbooks, the name has been corrupted to Genghis Khan
Pax Mongolica: Mongol Peace
Timur (the lame): In Western textbooks, the name has been corrupted to Tamerlane.