During 1200s, the eastern hemisphere of the world witnessed the rise of the Mongol empire. The
Mongols, who had been previously living in the Steppes mountains and divided into multiple different
tribes were united by Genghis Khan into one nation. With their increased numbers, the Mongols
conquered all the land from China to Eastern Europe, creating the largest contiguous land empire
the world has ever had. The Mongols were civilized because of their military structures, and their
social systems, however their military, and society also showed traits of Barbarism.
The Mongols had an organized and well structured military. As John of Plano Carpini explains in
Document 2, the Mongol army was divided into units called Tumens. Their were different levels of
power a person had in the military, for example a person could be a captain of ten, a captain of a
hundred or a captain of a thousand, although two or three chiefs had command of the whole army.
Mongols had a very common battle tactic. They first sent a small force to fight the enemy, then the
small force pretended to be defeated and retreats. The enemy therefore thinking they have won chases
them but are ambushed by the Mongol's main army. This tactic had been used before, by other
civilizations and the Mongols used it often sometimes on the same enemy but it was effective. If a city
or a town decided to give up without a fight the Mongols would recruit soldiers from there to be in their
army. The Mongols sometimes used psychological warfare to trick their enemies into giving up or to
making themselves vulnerable, and when they are few in numbers they put figures of men in horses to
intimidate the enemy or to sow that they still had more men to fight for them(document 3). The
effectiveness of the Mongol army can be seen on the map provided by document 1, which shows that
the Mongols had conquered more land than any empire before or after them. The military conquests by
the Mongols led to a larger social population than before.
Because the Mongols had conquered land all over Europe, Middle East and Asia, they had a diverse
society. The main religion practiced by the Mongols was Shamanism, however, according to William
Rubruck, Mongol's believed in religious tolerance therefore there were many different religions
practiced in the empire and Mongol rulers often converted to these religions. Women in Mongol society had large amount of freedom. Women were allowed to be in the street anytime and even though they
didn't go to the front lines, they went to war with the men. When their husbands were not home, women
ran their homes. Women were also spared from foot binding. John of Plano Carpini states that men
were allowed to marry many wives, including concubines and relatives. This statement could have
been exaggerated because it was wrote by a European during the time Mongols were conquering
Europe. Paul Ratchnevsky explains how, although the Mongols were violent and hateful towards
outsiders, there were a lot of trust and friendship among the Mongols. He also states that there were no
locks in Mongol homes and Mongols also left many pack animals unattended outside, because of the
strictness of Mongol law against theft. As document 6 describes the Mongols protected the trade routes,
improving trade as well as promoting the merchant class, and the popularity of some occupations like
wine making and the silk industry. After Marco Polo lived in the Mongol empire for many years, he
wrote about how the Yams helped the spread of messages across the empire as well as creating new
jobs. Mongol society thrived in population and diversity under the military conquests in Europe,
Middle East and Asia.
Although Mongol's achieved significant advancements in their military and social systems, they
showed traits of barbarism. During the time when the Mongol...
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