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HIST102: Early Globalizations - East Meets West (1200s-1600s)

Unit 5: The Mongol Empire   The Mongols—nomads of central Asia—dominated world history during the thirteenth century.  The Mongols invaded many postclassical empires and built an extensive cultural and commercial network.  Led by Chinggis Khan and his successors, the Mongols brought China, Persia, Tibet, Asia Minor, and southern Russia under their control.  Often portrayed as barbarians and destructive warriors, most of the peoples conquered by the Mongols lived in relative peace, enjoyed religious tolerance, and had a unified law code.  The Mongol empire also opened trade routes and communication between different regions in Asia.  As will see in this unit, the Mongols presented a formidable nomadic challenge to sedentary, civilized societies throughout Asia.

In this unit, we will begin by examining who the nomadic Mongols were and what motivated their ambitious expansion.  We will then turn our attention to specific Mongol rulers, the Mongol military machine, and the nature of the Mongol imperial system.  We will also examine Mongol rule in China, called the Yuan Dynasty, and its impact on Chinese culture.  Finally, we will study outsiders’ perceptions of Mongol rule and conquest.

Unit 5 Time Advisory
This unit will take you 9 hours to complete.
 
☐    Subunit 5.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 5.4: 3 hours

Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Define key milestones in the rise of the Mongol Empire and the sources of its power.
  • Describe some of the results of the cultural interactions that the spread of Mongol rule helped to promote.
  • Identify some of the key factors that are used to explain the decline of Mongol power in Asia and Europe.

5.1 The Mongols   - Lecture: Harvard Extension School Distance Education: “China: Traditions and Transformations”: “Lecture 17: The World Empire of the Mongols” Link: Harvard Extension School Distance Education: “China: Traditions and Transformations”: “Lecture 17: The World Empire of the Mongols” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions:  Please watch the entirety of this lecture by Harvard University Professor Peter Bol for an introduction to the rise of the Mongol Empire.  Consider how the Mongol Empire compares to others that have been studied to date as well as the manner in which this material illustrates some of the processes of globalization cited in earlier resources. 
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.1.1 Reasons for Conquest   - Reading: Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquests”: “What Led to the Conquests?” Link: Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquests”: “What Led to the Conquests?” (HTML)

 Also available in:  
 [PDF (p.
7-8)](http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/index.html) (At the
bottom of the right column, select link "Transcript (PDF)" and
scroll down to page 7)  
    
 Instructions: Please read the entirety of this section to get a
sense of what motivated the Mongol conquest of Asia.  
    
 Note on the Text: This text was created by the Asia for Educators
Program at Columbia University under the direction of Professor
Morris Rossabi, who teaches Chinese History at both CUNY and
Columbia University.  This project was funded by The Freeman
Foundation.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

5.1.2 Chinggis Khan   - Reading: Selections from Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquests” Link: Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquests”:
Tribal Group vs. Mongol Identity under Chinggis Khan(HTML)
Chinggis’s Mastery of Organization and Military Tactics(HTML)
Three Invasions Led by Chinggis(HTML)
Chinggis’s Successor and Further Expansion of the Empire(HTML)
 
Also available in:
PDF (p.8-10) (At the bottom of the right column, select link "Transcript (PDF)" and scroll down to page 8)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of these four sections in order to get a sense of Chinggis Khan’s vision of Mongol identity, his military strategy, the many battles he fought, and those Mongol leaders who succeeded him.
 
Note on the Text: This text was created by the Asia for Educators Program at Columbia University under the direction of Professor Morris Rossabi, who teaches Chinese History at both CUNY and Columbia University.  This project was funded by The Freeman Foundation.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.1.3 Conquering a Vast Territory   - Reading: Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquest”: “How a Small Group of Mongols Conquered Such a Vast Domain” Link: Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquest”: “How a Small Group of Mongols Conquered Such a Vast Domain” (HTML)
 
Also available in:
PDF (p.10-11) (At the bottom of the right column, select link "Transcript (PDF)" and scroll down to page 10)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this section to learn of how and why the Mongols were able to bring so much territory under their control.
 
Note on the Text: This text was created by the Asia for Educators Program at Columbia University under the direction of Professor Morris Rossabi, who teaches Chinese History at both CUNY and Columbia University.  This project was funded by The Freeman Foundation.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.1.4 The Pax Mongolica   - Reading: Silkroad Foundation: Professor Daniel C. Waugh’s “The Pax Mongolica” Link: Silkroad Foundation: Professor Daniel C. Waugh’s The Pax Mongolica(HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this webpage, which discusses Waugh’s contention that relative peace characterized the Mongol Empire in the wake of their military conquests.
 
Note on the Text: Author, Daniel C. Waugh, is a professor at the University of Washington, Seattle.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above

5.1.5 Empire’s Collapse   - Reading: Columbia University: “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquests”: “The Collapse of the Empire” Link: Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquest”: “The Collapse of the Empire” (HTML)
 
Also available in:
PDF (p.11-12) (At the bottom of the right column, select link "Transcript (PDF)" and scroll down to page 11)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this section in order to get a sense of how the struggles among Mongol leaders led to a breakdown in power in the empire.
 
Note on the Text: This text was created by the Asia for Educators Program at Columbia University under the direction of Professor Morris Rossabi, who teaches Chinese History at both CUNY and Columbia University.  This project was funded by The Freeman Foundation.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

Subunit 5.1 Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation's "Reading Questions for Subunit 5.1" Link: The Saylor Foundation's "Reading Questions for Subunit 5.1" (PDF)
 
Instructions: Once you have worked through all of the assigned resources in the subunit above, please open the linked PDF and respond to all questions.  When you are done--or if you are stuck--please check your work against The Saylor Foundation's "Guide to Responding to Reading Questions for Subunit 5.1" (PDF).

5.2 The Mongols in China   5.2.1 The Mongols’ Influence on China   - Reading: Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquest”: “What was the Mongols’ Influence on China?” Link: Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquest”: “What was the Mongols’ Influence on China?” (HTML)
 
Also available in:
PDF (p. 12-13) (At the bottom of the right column, select link "Transcript (PDF)" and scroll down to page 12)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this section, which questions whether the Mongols’ influence on imperial China was destructive or beneficial.
 
Note on the Text: This text was created by the Asia for Educators Program at Columbia University under the direction of Professor Morris Rossabi, who teaches Chinese History at both CUNY and Columbia University.  This project was funded by The Freeman Foundation.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.2.2 Kubilai Khan in China   - Reading: Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquest”: “Kubilai Khan in China” Link: Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquest”: “Kubilai Khan in China”(HTML)
 
Also available in:
PDF (p. 13) (At the bottom of the right column, select link "Transcript (PDF)" and scroll down to page 13)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this section on Kubilai Khan’s rule in China.
 
Note on the Text: This text was created by the Asia for Educators Program at Columbia University under the direction of Professor Morris Rossabi, who teaches Chinese History at both CUNY and Columbia University.  This project was funded by The Freeman Foundation.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.2.3 Life in China under Mongol Rule   - Reading: Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquest”: Selections from “Life in China under Mongol Rule” Link: Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquest”: Selections from “Life in China under Mongol Rule”:
 
For Peasants(HTML)
For Artisans(HTML)
For Merchants(HTML)
Legal Codes(HTML)
Civilian Life(HTML)

[Religion](http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/china/china3_f.htm)(HTML)  

[Culture](http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/china/china3_g.htm)(HTML)  
    
 Also available in:  
 [PDF (p.
13-18)](http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/index.html) (At the
bottom of the right column, select link "Transcript (PDF)" and
scroll down to page 13)  
    
 Instructions: Please read all of these links to get a sense of the
way of life in China during Mongol rule.  
    
 Note on the Text: This text was created by the Asia for Educators
Program at Columbia University under the direction of Professor
Morris Rossabi, who teaches Chinese History at both CUNY and
Columbia University.  This project was funded by The Freeman
Foundation.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

5.2.4 Beginnings of Mongol Collapse   - Reading: Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquest”: Selections from “Beginnings of Mongol Collapse” Link: Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquest”: Selections from “Beginnings of Mongol Collapse”:
Military Successes and Failures(HTML)
Public Works Failures(HTML)
 
Also available in:
PDF (p. 18-19) (At the bottom of the right column, select link "Transcript (PDF)" and scroll down to page 18)
 
Instructions: Please read both of these links to learn about the internal and external pressures that drove the Mongol Empire toward collapse.
 
Note on the Text: This text was created by the Asia for Educators Program at Columbia University under the direction of Professor Morris Rossabi, who teaches Chinese History at both CUNY and Columbia University.  This project was funded by The Freeman Foundation.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.3 The Pastoral-Nomadic Life of the Mongols   5.3.1 Nomads   - Reading: Selections from Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Pastoral-Nomadic Life”; John Masson Smith, Jr.’s “Dietary Decadence and Dynastic Decline in the Mongol Empire”; and Morris Rossabi, “All the Khan’s Horses” Link: Selections from Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Pastoral Nomadic Life”

[Introduction](http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/pastoral/pastoral.htm)(HTML)  
 [Sheep: A Source of
Bounty](http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/pastoral/pastoral1.htm)(HTML)  

[Goats](http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/pastoral/pastoral2.htm)(HTML)  
 [Survival of the
Flocks](http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/pastoral/pastoral3.htm)(HTML)  
 [Yaks and
Oxen](http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/pastoral/pastoral4.htm)(HTML)  

[Camels](http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/pastoral/pastoral5.htm)(HTML)  

[Horses](http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/pastoral/pastoral6.htm)(HTML)  
 [Mare’s
Milk](http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/pastoral/pastoral7.htm)(HTML)  
 [Traditional Clothing and
Jewelry](http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/pastoral/pastoral8.htm)(HTML)  
 [The Portable Home: The
Ger](http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/pastoral/pastoral9.htm)(HTML)  
    
 Also available in:  
 [PDF (p.
25-29)](http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/index.html) (At the
bottom of the right column, select link "Transcript (PDF)" and
scroll down to page 18)  
    
 John Masson Smith, Jr., [“Dietary Decadence and Dynastic Decline in
the Mongol
Empire,”](http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/pop/menu/readings_pop.htm)*Journal
of Asian History*, vol. 34, no. 1, 2000 (PDF)  
    
 Also available in:  

[HTML](http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:3LcG2ePYuA8J:afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/pastoral/masson_smith.pdf+http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/pastoral/masson_smith.pdf&hl=en&gl=us)  
    
 Morris Rossabi, [“All the Khan’s
Horses,”](http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/pop/menu/readings_pop.htm)*Natural
History*, 1994 (PDF)  
    
 Also available in:  

[HTML](http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:ynqOf9iuJmMJ:afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/conquests/khans_horses.pdf+http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/conquests/khans_horses.pdf&hl=en&gl=us)  
    
 Instructions: Please read all of these links to get a sense of the
features that defined Mongol nomadic life.  You will need to
download the PDFs of the two articles by John Masson Smith, Jr. and
Morris Rossabi, respectively. Click the link on the title of each
article to download these.  Please read these articles, one about
the Mongol diet and one about the importance of the horse in Mongol
culture.  
    
 Note on the Text: This text was created by the Asia for Educators
Program at Columbia University under the direction of Professor
Morris Rossabi, who teaches Chinese History at both CUNY and
Columbia University.  This project was funded by The Freeman
Foundation.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

5.4 Perceptions of the Mongols   5.4.1 Persian Views   - Reading: Michigan State University: David Morgan’s "Persian Perceptions of Mongols and Europeans” Link: Michigan State University: David Morgan’s “Persian Perceptions of Mongols and Europeans” (HTML)
 
Also available in:
Google Books
 
Instructions: Please read this entire text for information on how the Persians perceived Mongol invaders.
 
Note on the Text: This excerpt is from Chapter VI of Stuart B. Schwartz’ (ed) Implicit Understandings: Observing, Reporting, and Reflecting on the Encounters Between Europeans and Other Peoples in the Early Modern Era, which is published by Cambridge University Press (1994).
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.4.2 The Mongols and Christian Europe   - Reading: Michigan State University: Robert Marshall’s Selections from Storm from the East: from Genghis Khan to Khubilai Khan Link: Michigan State University: Robert Marshall’s Selections from Storm from the East: from Genghis Khan to Khubilai Khan (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please read the entire webpage to get a sense of how medieval European Christians perceived the Mongol conquests of Asia and the Middle East.
 
Note on the Text: These selections from “Chapter 5: From Prester John to Cultural Strangers” comes from Marshall’s textbook Storm from the East: from Genghis Khan to Khubilai Khan, which is published by University of California Press (1993).
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Stetson University: “Correspondence between Roman Pope and Great Khan” Link: Stetson University: “Correspondence between Roman Pope and Great Khan” (HTML)
     
    Instructions:  By the middle of the Thirteenth Century Mongol armies had penetrated into Central Europe.  These events inspired a response from Pope Innocent IV who dispatched emissaries to the Great Khan in 1245.  As you will find in the subsequent exchange of letters included on this page, Pope and Khan appeared to have very different views on how one should interpret the“commands of Heaven.” 
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

  • Assessment: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: AP Edition: “Chapter 14, Multiple Choice Quiz” Link: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: AP Edition: “Chapter 14, Multiple Choice Quiz” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please take the assigned multiple choice quiz on this webpage in order to assess your understanding of the empire built by the Mongols.  Click the “Submit Answers for Grading” at the bottom of the webpage to link to the answer key.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 5 Essay: The Nature of Mongol Rule” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 5 Essay: The Nature of Mongol Rule” (HTML)

    Instructions: This is an ungraded activity. If you choose to complete the activity, you may record your answer anywhere you like. You do have the option to use the link above to save your answers on Saylor.org, though you will need to create a free account in order to do so --  this will only take a minute, and you may do so here.

    • As the resources in Unit 5 indicate, the Mongol Empire extended across a considerable part of the world. In this assignment you will compare what different historians featured in our resources have to say about the nature of Mongol rule. Specifically, do you find any major similarities or differences of opinion in their assessments of Mongol policies and attitudes towards the populations under their control?

      Tips for getting started: This assignment is intended to reinforce our understanding of the interpretive nature of historical scholarship. That is to say that it is not uncommon for historians to arrive at different perspectives or conclusions on the causes or nature of the same event. Your review of the resources from the unit may suggest several possible subjects upon which there exists a range of opinion. These may include Mongol attitudes toward local religious traditions, taxation or the use of force. You may in fact find it helpful to organize your comparison in this fashion.