Mongols mania

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Mongol Mania Introduction :

Mongol Mania Introduction The Mongols had wide-spread influence in world history.  In class, you have already read traditional discussions of this culture, where the Mongols are depicted as savages and destroyers of civilization. This tutorial will broaden your understanding, as it explores the Mongols’ society, empire, and influence.  As you read this tutorial and experience the photos of traditional Mongolians, consider how these slides contradict what you have already learned.       Remember, you are to be reading for facts that contradict the concept of the Mongols as barbarians.  Take notes that disprove the belief in Mongols as savages.  Get ready!  You’re about to enter the world of the Mongols. 

Mongolian Environment:

Mongolian Environment Most of Mongolia is a harsh environment.  There are five harsh months of winter.  The land varies with mountain ranges, severe deserts, thick forests, and vast areas of grassy plains.


Herdsmen The Mongol tribes relied on horses, goats, camels, yak, sheep, and cattle for supplies.  Wealth was measured in the number of animals owned.  Due to the harsh living conditions, the people were poor and stole whenever they could.  Due to the nomadic nature of their lives, the Mongol tribes traded their animals, fur, meat, and wool in order to gain grain, tea, cloth, corn, and iron. 


Horses Horses provided food and transportation. Mongolia was populated with wild horses that roamed in herds of 10,000 or more.  Mongolian horses were different than European ones; they could withstand the extreme steppe environment and were smaller and more sturdy than European horses. The people adapted to life on horseback.  The Mongols were a short people with an average height of 5’6” and were also bow-legged from life on horseback.  From an early age, children were taught to ride.  Some parents even tied toddlers to the backs of horses before the children could even walk. 

Horses Provide Food:

Horses Provide Food If food was scarce, a rider would slit a vein to drink the blood of a horse.  Each soldier traveled with at least 3 and would change horses as they tired.  Mongol soldiers could stay two days and nights or more on horseback without dismounting.  Soldiers would hunt, eat, and cook all while riding; they would also carry and drink mare’s milk.  Mongols sometimes would kill and eat a weak horse when food was needed, yet a horse that had been used in battle could never be eaten.

Mongolian Women:

Mongolian Women Women played an essential role in Mongol society. As all adult males could be called upon to be a part of the army, women had to manage the family’s flocks and herds.  In Mongol society, women were not allowed to marry within their own clan.  This meant that finding wives was difficult and raiding and kidnappings were common. 

Women’s Rights:

Women’s Rights Because women were essential partners within the families, they had many rights that their European and Asian counterparts did not.  Mongol women could buy, sell, or trade their husband’s possessions, because they were trusted and obedient to the family.

Genghis Khan’s Cunning:

Genghis Khan’s Cunning In an attempted siege of Volohai, Genghis was afraid his men would desert if he lost.  He made a deal with the city leaders to call off the attack if they gave him 1,000 cats and 1,000 swallows.  The city complied.  Genghis ordered his men to tie pieces of cloth to the animals and to set them afire.  The scared and hurting animals returned to their old homes in the city, setting it on fire.  It allowed Genghis to keep the morale among his men and to get revenge on the city for resisting.

Genghis Khan:

Genghis Khan Genghis Khan was the first to ever unite the Mongol tribes and clans into one empire.  As he rose to power among the Mongol people, those who resisted were killed, and the women and children were captured and brought into his own tribe.  He named himself the khakan, king of all khans in 1206 and later commanded an empire with over two million people. Genghis Khan enslaved tribes when they were defeated.  Those who offered the most resistance were slaughtered.  Later, he would not be as merciful to non-Mongol people.  For non-Mongols, all were slaughtered when there was resistance. 

Writing and Literacy:

Writing and Literacy Before Genghis Khan united them, the Mongols were largely illiterate.  When Genghis Khan was introduced to writing after the capture of a literate tribe, he recognized its value.  Genghis made the chieftains of the literate tribe his scribes.    One of these men was Tatatungo, who’s job became the recording of all of Genghis Khan’s words and actions.  Tatatungo was the official scribe and was ordered to teach all of the Khan’s children and the children of the nobles how to read and write.

Religion and Tolerance:

Religion and Tolerance The Mongol’s religious beliefs were animistic. The people believed there were powerful spirits that lived in fire, running water, wind, and animals; they also worshipped ancestors and gods.  In their empire, the Mongols allowed conquered people to keep their native beliefs, and religious toleration was the norm of the Mongol empire.   For people in Russia, India, China, and portions of the Middle East, local religion, art, education, and government were relatively unchanged by Mongol rule.

The Law Code:

The Law Code Genghis Khan’s law code incorporated what was learned from the people who had been conquered and also provided one standard for all of the Mongol tribes.  This law code stressed high moral standards and respect for resources and each other.  Honor was stressed.

Interaction with Other Cultures:

Interaction with Other Cultures In capturing Russia, Korea, North China, and Manchuria, the khans used taxation instead of destruction, contradicting their destructive reputation.  Sometimes Mongols would settle with the conquered people and become a part of their culture, especially after Genghis Khan’s death. 

Importance of the Mongols:

Importance of the Mongols Why were the Mongols so important?  While Mongols destroyed a great deal, they opened great roads that had been closed since the fall of the Roman Empire.  Free trade was encouraged and land routes were well-maintained and safe day or night.  This expansion of trade allowed technology to flow into Europe from the more advanced civilizations in Asia, such as the technique of printing, the compass, and firearms. 

The Opening of Trade:

The Opening of Trade The Mongol Empire was the largest continuous land empire in history, allowing diverse people to have contact, despite different cultures, religions, and developments. Furs came from Siberia, silk; porcelain, herbs, and mirrors were traded from China; Muslim and Chinese civilizations exchanged physicians and astronomers; Persians translated great Chinese works; Mongols identified and encouraged craftsmen and artists; and seeds from India and China were tested. 

Mongol Legacy:

Mongol Legacy All of the spread of ideas, laws, and goods helped to open the world and set the stage for a new age of trade and later of imperialism.  All thanks to a culture that is still believed to be “barbaric.” 

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