World Civilizations I
April 3, 2015
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
The Mongol empire was larger than any empire of its time, covering an area almost as large as Africa. Despite this fact, its people were generally known as brutal savages who lived to destroy civilizations. However, Jack Weatherford believes otherwise. He recognizes Mongolia’s leader, Genghis Khan, as a highly influential ruler instead of a blood-thirsty barbarian. In fact, Weatherford attributes many aspects of the Renaissance and European culture in general to Genghis Khan’s rule. In his best-seller, Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, Weatherford describes not only the history of this great Mongolian ruler, but the history of the world itself. Weatherford believes that some elements of today’s society would not have been possible without the existence of Genghis Khan. In the introduction he states, "The new technology, knowledge, and commercial wealth created the Renaissance in which Europe rediscovered some of its prior culture, but more importantly, absorbed the technology for printing, firearms, the compass, and the abacus from the East" (Weatherford XXIV). In other words, he believes that the technology required for creations such as the compass and printing press would not have existed without help from the Mongolians, Genghis Khan in particular. He explains that the Mongolians are primarily responsible for the spread of this technology because of advanced trade routes that they established as they conquered civilizations. These advanced roads also lead to the migration of people, ideas, or negative events such as the Black Plague. Though he makes a clear point about these accomplishments throughout the book, Weatherford recognizes the Mongolian Empire for much more. Aside from spreading technology, Weatherford believed that Genghis Khan’s reign was responsible for the rise of progressive movements. This is mainly...
Cited: Weatherford, J. McIver. Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. New York: Crown, 2004. Print.
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