DBQ: Attitudes Toward the Mongols
Mongol invaders from the Central Asian steppe burst into relevance in the 1200s C.E. Driven by their leader, Genghis Khan, to conquer the largest land empire in history, the Mongols created mixed feelings throughout Eurasia. Some had an impressed attitude, admiring both the ability of the Mongols to organize and protect their empire, as well as their great wealth. However, others had a loathing attitude toward the Mongols, who were viewed as vicious and ignorant barbarians. Due to the great success of these conquering pastoralists, the attitudes of the people who encountered them were extremely diverse.
A document written by a common Mongol soldier involved in the conquests would give more insight into attitudes toward the Mongols. A rank-and-file soldier would allow a more complete analysis of insider attitudes about the Mongols, especially as there is only one Mongol viewpoint given by an elite man, the shaman of Genghis Khan himself, (Doc. 1). A powerful holy man would have received booty from conquest, creating a positive attitude, but it is not possible to tell if a common soldier felt the same way.
Some people had an impressed attitude toward the Mongols’ ability to organize and protect their territories. Many who felt this way spent time in the capital city, seeing the huge empire function firsthand. The idea that Genghis Khan was a bringer or order and peace is evident, as shown by the Khan’s shaman, (Doc. 1). However, the shaman may have been influenced by his elite position in contact with the Khan himself. Writing in a book that was public, he may have intentionally praised Genghis Khan as a peace-bringer, as it could help advance his own position in the eyes of the Khan. Not only native Mongols, but also European visitors viewed the Mongols as a well-organized, productive force. The Mongols had an impressive system of accountability in the military, (Doc. 3) and good law enforcement in the cities,...
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