December 8, 2010
In ancient history there are many people and events that have played some sort of significant outcome towards the future. With so much history out there to find, it is hard to choose one era that can catch one’s attention. Personal opinions aside, the Mongol conquests is one for the ages. With ruthless leadership under Genghis Khan, the Mongols accomplish so much. Genghis Khan and the Mongol Conquest is a book that describes their outstanding conquests.
Stephen Turnbull wrote Genghis Khan and the Mongol Conquest with the intentions of sharing with the world the expansion of the Mongol empire under the Khan dynasty. The book is broken down into eight chapters, each chapter explaining something about the Mongols and their military ways. The way Turnbull writes helps the reader to vividly imagine these events taking place as they are reading. He literally puts one right into the scene of the battle. This sort of writing helps the reader to keep on reading and wanting to turn the page.
Chapter one is called the rise of the Mongols and it talks about the background of war. The beginning of this chapter talks about how the Mongols were just a bunch of savage people with no leadership and a do what one feels kind of attitude. Turnbull states that, “there was no unity within the tribe, and they stole, fought, and drank mare’s milk for wine” (p. 12). He then tells the date when Temuchin, Genghis Khan, was born and that date was 1167. Just like most Mongol children he was forced into military action and shown little love by elders. After years of military training he was given the title Genghis Khan, which translates to “Universal Ruler”. Genghis Khan first campaign was at Xixia. He won this land due to a flood incident (p. 14). His second Campaign in this chapter was at Kara-Khitai. Kara-Khitai is located in central Asia and this was Genghis Khan’s most important military operation. When the locals saw the Mongols coming they thought they were coming to set them free so they started a riot and the Mongols had an easy time taking over (p.16). So as one can see Turnbull get right into the Mongol Conquest and makes the reading very interesting.
Chapter two relates to the Mongol Army. The Mongols had a very war like mindset and this played into how they dressed for war. Their protection was made up of small scales of iron tied together by leather and filled in with amour plates. On top that was a heavy coat filled with metal plates. They also wore leather heavy boots, an iron helmet, and iron plates. Their weapons of choice were bows, swords, and maces (p.17). Turnbull then talks about how the Mongols were very well organized and disciplined. He states that they never tell a lie and are the most obedient people in the world (p.17). The Mongols had a reputation of being incredible horsemen. It was believe by other people that the Mongols eat in the saddle, tenderized meat by using it as a pad when ridding their horses, they fought in the saddle, shot arrows in the saddle, and when they got tired they even slept in the saddle (p.18). With a reputation like that is was common to see some villages and nations give up on the sight of the Mongols riding in on their horses. Even though most people thought of the Mongols as demonic horsemen, the Mongols knew that they had to have about sixteen horses with them so they can switch off when the other horses are tired (p.18). This is how they gave an illusion to people that they could ride for miles and mile without stopping. Turnbull then switched the subject to the Mongol enemies. The Mongols were a group that no one liked, yet they all feared and respected them. The Chinese proved to be their greatest nemeses.
Chapter three is about the outbreak of war. This chapter talks about the Khwarazm campaign. During this campaign Genhis Khan made it his mission to kill the Shah Muhammad. This came about because Muhammad ordered a...
Cited: Turnbull, Stephen. Genghis Khan and the Mongol Conquests. Botely: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2003.
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