Destruction under the Mongol Empire
||This article has been nominated to be checked for its neutrality. (November 2012)|
||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: formatting and readability. (August 2012)|
Destruction under the Mongol Empire quantifies death toll and infrastructure damage ensuing from the 13th century Mongol conquests. Historian Wei-chieh Tsai has written, "The Mongol conquests shook Eurasia and were of significant influence in world history."
Historians regard the Mongol raids and invasions as some of the deadliest conflicts in human history up through that period. Brian Landers has offered that, "One empire in particular exceeded any that had gone before, and crossed from Asia into Europe in an orgy of violence and destruction. The Mongols brought terror to Europe on a scale not seen again until the twentieth century." Diana Lary contends that the Mongol invasions induced population displacement "on a scale never seen before," particularly in Central Asia and eastern Europe. She adds, "the impending arrival of the Mongol hordes spread terror and panic."
The Mongol style of warfare was an outgrowth of their nomadic way of life, coupled with experience gained in fighting tribes such as the Naimans, Keraits, and Uyghurs. Their strategies were swift and short attacks to plunder (they supported their armies and shared food with all by law, Zasag/Yassa) and disappear quickly.
There was long-standing enmity between Mongol tribes and China because Mongol nomads wanted land to graze while the Chinese feudal lords wanted to rule and tax them heavily, imposing forced manual labour upon their nomadic way of life. Living on the Central Asian steppes was complicated by seasonal cold temperatures such as zud that resulted in large number of livestock being lost during the winter, which made subsistence difficult, while nomads were not allowed emergency shelter in feudal lord-controlled lands. The nomads on the steppes did not practice farming and as a result they were highly dependent on seasonal and weather changes. Winter was extremely cold in northern Mongolia with cold winds and blizzards blowing in from Siberia through the steppes (that can't stop the wind because of the flat surface). For instance, the average winter temperature in Mongolia can be −30 °C (−22 °F), which usually freezes the soil. The southern area of Gobi is basically uninhabitable for long durations because it is an extremely inhospitable desert.
The Chinese sought to defuse the Mongol threat by fomenting inter-tribal strife amongst the various Mongol factions who were known to habitually feud amongst themselves due to numerous reasons such as robberies, misunderstanding and vendetta. The Mongols viewed China as rich who did not share food with anyone as the Zasag/Yassa enjoins while enjoining order in the feeding of captives in a manner that can be easily exploited; the Chinese of the administrations and rulers viewed Mongols as non-Chinese not yet under their taxpaying peasant system, there to gradually disappear and be absorbed into the Empire.
Genghis Khan, his generals and successors preferred to offer their enemies the chance to surrender without resistance in order to avoid war, to become vassals by sending tribute, accepting Mongol residents, and/or contributing troops. The Khans guaranteed protection only if the populace submitted to Mongol rule and was obedient to it.
Sources record massive destruction, terror and death if there was resistance. David Nicole notes in The Mongol Warlords: "terror and mass extermination of anyone opposing them was a well-tested Mongol tactic." The alternative to submission was total war: if refused, Mongol leaders ordered the collective slaughter of populations and destruction of property, as the source of oppressive evil. Such was the fate of resisting communities during the invasions of the Khwarezmid Empire.
|This article may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards. (June 2013)|
The success of Mongol tactics hinged on fear: to induce capitulation amongst enemy populations. From the perspective of modern theories of international relations, Quester suggests that, "Perhaps terrorism produced a fear that immobilized and incapacitated the forces that would have resisted." Although perceived as being bloodthirsty, the Mongol strategy of "surrender or die" still recognized that conquest by capitulation was more desirable than being forced to continually expend soldiers, food, and money to fight every army and sack every town and city along the campaign's route, it might appear in the missing portions of the Yassa/Zasag and be in accordance probably with Chinese norms and codes (dispensed optionally in cases of popular uprising and rebellion against the Celestial Empire, but recommendable by Confucius Minister of Crime or Interior apparently of the duchy of Fu).
The Mongols frequently faced states with armies and resources much greater than their own. In the beginning, Temujine started off with a band of youths and some women, then he had troops of 20,000 initially facing the city states and interests of the Kin domain which mainly included China, with then probably a 2-million strong army each city being populated with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants - and simply invading everyone was out of the question, nor was it the policy of a ruler who wished to be for all humanity via their ideals originally expressed since the days of the Huns (simply meaning "People" through "hunnu" plural of "humun", translated into Latin as "Alemanni", "All People", mankind being the term then in use, but in the Hun version meaning both, as in an Oriental dialect where "person", "people" and "good"are all under the same syllable). Furthermore, a supine nation was more desirable than a sacked one, in fact, however, the Mongols spared scholars and the skilled and academics, (including doctors by the time of Khubilai Khan) and brought them for the spiritual and educational benefit of all people under their guidance through their leader or master to which the name Khan basically corresponds, in what they described as the Great United State of the Mongols(this name meaning the followers of Wang Mang/ short for the Mengshu Shiwei - Single Soldiers´Committees committed apparently to defend the people and the needs of the people, not too theistic and to some extent apparently including women) While both provided the same territorial gains, the former would continue to provide taxes and conscripts long after the conflict ended, whereas the latter would be depopulated and economically worthless once available goods and slaves were seized, their word which is translated as "slave" conveys initially the idea of a wounded military prisoner pardoned by reason of his wounds, given the popular disposition of the vanquishing troops and more of the Generals and Khans - Masters, close to Lord in the less popular interpretation - (cf. the word for martial piety, and clemency in an Oriental dialect) and the execution commuted to tent work and functions, this custom in another allied culture being generally only in reference to females, whereas this included males.
Thus whenever possible, by using the "promise" of wholesale execution for resistance to the primary and correct state for all humanity (as thus definable in some later interpretations) which was the basic idea behind Hunnu and Wang Mang, as well as the "deed" (reference probably to Oriental legal custom of the supreme consummation, the most high, sublime, celestial enactment, both correct, in other words the supreme execution of the enemies of the people as ruled according to their needs outside their Great United State of the Mongols - Followers of Wang Mang, the blind peasant emperor, or short abbreviation for members of the Single Soldiers Committees), Mongol forces made efficient conquests, in turn allowing them to attack multiple targets and redirect soldiers and matériel where most needed.
The reputation of guaranteed wholesale enactment (mass execution following upon resistance, with exception under the Yassa/Zasag of minor infants, as corresponding to the definition under British Law) on those who fought them, was also the primary reason why the Mongols could hold vast territories long after their main force had moved on, however they did not touch who submitted, apart from apparently popularly endorsed executions, ("of the proud and arrogant", the apparent popular rural Banquet ritual) but sought the re-education of some of the oppressors through hard labour, military porter work etc. Even if the tumens (tyumens) were hundreds or thousands of miles away, the conquered people, or their neighbours or erstwhile rulers would usually not dare to interfere with the token Mongol occupying force, for fear of a likely Mongol return.
The linchpin of Mongol success was the widespread perception amongst their enemies, that they were facing an insurmountable juggernaut that could only be placated by surrender. The Mongols may have counted on reports of horrifying massacres, i.e. the mass execution as by the decrees (biliqs) of the opponents of any nature other than infants as corresponding to British legal definition of any resistance to the Golden (probably similar to Glorious) Army of the Great Union of the Single Soldiers Committees members as abbreviated in the term of the Mongols (or of the Followers of Wang Mang as referred to, or other means cf. modern cinematography) and torture (usually not legal or explicitly referred to as under Temujine made Chinggis Khan´s (corresponds to Paramount Leader roughly, but is no reference to identical modern Chinese title as sometimes translated nor need functions in any way be comparable, may have an allied origin in some form to the term "Fuehrer" but basically still may differ in significant form)declaration and probable decree "to bring all the world to the dignity of the steppes" possibly influenced by Jamukha and his followers, possibly reflecting their will as expressed in the Khuriltai popular assembly, not even Chinggis Khan specifically made use of the word "torture" in connection with his sexual abuse suspicion in regard of one of his officers reported in the Nuvs Tobchaan Mongolyn, the allegedly classified chronicle document from Khubilai Khan´s secret archives with secret access, there is also an online account where he is reported to have presumably allowed or due to his interests to have treated or supported the survival prolonged - to which Jamukha of the Jadaran faction, Jadaran means simultaneously the "able proletariat" ("jadar" means literally the "able, capable" and "lacking, in want") objected - of those oppressive chiefs facing execution for opposing the followers of the single soldiers committees or followers of the blind peasant emperor, or other popular movement of the people, engaging on occasion probably in sexual assault, torture of a very severe form, and debasing those inflicting the same, armed robbery and torture, and sexual assault,in collaboration with the Kin enemy of the free peasant and nomad,hunter and fisher including the fostering of murders robberies and vendettas, imposition of too high customs duties,collaboration to produce famine, and thirst, trade in and sexual assault of women, murder of infants)to terrify their foes. The goal was to convince all-and-sundry that the costs of surrendering were not nearly onerous enough to risk an un-winnable war, given the guarantee of complete annihilation if they lost, the reality was that the people united in this system would execute by decree (biliq) whoever resisted the system as acting under decree (biliq) excepting infants, and at times injured which was only made public in a time of full maturity of rule and decline of martial invincibility, but previously implicit, and in regard of infants in the Yassa/Zasag, it is possible the injured were regarded under some circumstances as comparable to infants, or in fact this reflected the permitted exercise of Islam given the decree of religious tolerance in the Zasag/Yassa, however Chinggis Khan was also prepared reportedly to alleviate in his superior capacity the conditions of those to be executed, or even stay the same as in the incident said to be objected to by Jamukha of the "Able Proletariat", the Jadarans (literally "The Able that Lack, are in Want"). This strategy was partially adopted because of the Mongols lesser numbers that if their opponents are not sufficiently subdued, there was a greater chance they can rise again and attack the Mongols when the Mongols left to deal with another town and settlements. This way they were technically covering their rear and flanks and creating the condition where they won't have to fight a people they fought and thought they subdued before and therefore saving resources, in their point of view, on unnecessary second engagement.
As Mongol conquest spread, this form of psychological warfare proved effective at suppressing resistance to Mongol rule. There were tales of lone Mongol soldiers riding into surrendered villages and executing peasants at random as a test of loyalty. If correct this may have represented random acts, as is reflected in the Zasag/Yassa prohibition of homicide of foreigners, however the penalty is less because of the difficulty of proof given wartime conditions. It also may represent more dubiously the execution of particular oppressors and evil lawbreakers, after inquiry, this may be allied to the Banquet, and some alleged Central European executions. Also, it was widely known that a single act of resistance would bring the entire Mongol army down on a town to obliterate its occupants. Thus they are ensuring obedience through fear. The Mongols, however, in fact may have seen themselves as imposing the Zasag/Yassa. Peasants frequently appear to have joined the troops or readily accepted their demands as followers of the blind Peasant Emperor or of the Mengwu Shiwei 
Demographic changes in war-torn areas
The majority of kingdoms resisting Mongol conquest were taken by force (some were subjected to vassaldom and not complete conquest), their populations where resisting and not rising up against their rulers, wherein they enter a different category according to the followers of the blind peasant emperor, or of the Single Soldiers Committees, mostly massacred; only skilled engineers and artisans (at the time of Khubilai Khan also doctors) were spared, but also at times manual workers, to become slaves literally in their language "prisoners", wherein it may originally suggest the primary legitimacy of incapacity, with presumption of continued status in virtue of crimes committed hereditarily. Documents written during or just after Genghis Khan's reign state that following a conquest Mongol soldiers looted, pillaged and raped, while the Khan had first pick of women captives.
These techniques were used to spread terror and warning to others. Some troops who submitted, respectively overthrew or rose up against their rulers, were incorporated into the Mongol system in order to expand their manpower; this also allowed the Mongols to absorb new technology, knowledge and skills for use in military campaigns against other opponents.
Genghis Khan was by and large tolerant of multiple religions and there are no cases of him or other Mongols engaging in religious war, as long as populations were obedient. He also passed a decree exempting all followers of the Taoist religion from paying taxes. (This might appear to date from the time of Khubilai Khan.) However, all of the campaigns caused deliberate destruction of places of worship, if their populations resisted.
Ancient sources described Genghis Khan's conquests as wholesale destruction on an unprecedented scale in certain geographical regions, causing great demographic changes in Asia. According to the works of the Iranian historian Rashid al-Din (1247–1318), the Mongols killed more than 700,000 people in Merv and more than a million in Nishapur. The total population of Persia may have dropped from 2,500,000 to 250,000 as a result of mass extermination and famine. Population exchanges did also in some cases occur but depends as of when.
China reportedly suffered a drastic decline in population during the 13th and 14th centuries. Before the Mongol invasion, Chinese dynasties reportedly had approximately 120 million inhabitants; after the conquest was completed in 1279, the 1300 census reported roughly 60 million people. The most likely is that in fact up to and around 30 million outstanding was posted outside in the army levies. The 92 cities would not appear to account for this population fall, but further reckless foreign Kin imperial recruitment to oppose the system of the followers of the blind peasant emperor Wang Mang, or the Mengshu Shiwei, not met by popular uprising, or their not being able or sensible to do so, might account for the same. Yet 92 cities might account for 45 million, but not all were that large, while another 15 million might represent additionally mustered troops, however history has reported a figure of 14 million. While it is tempting to attribute this major decline solely to Mongol ferocity, scholars today have mixed sentiments regarding this subject. The South Chinese deprived of civil rights, without passports, might likely account for some 40 million unregistered alive deprived of civil rights probably also including passport identifications (there are extant copies both paper and metal of Mongol passports marked with the emblems, or stamped probably signed in either case, allegedly through the influence of the Khatun Chabi, so that without passports they would not have appeared in the census. Regional scholars who are capable of humanity, calm and objectivity may be more able to adequately assess this latter possibility, but it would definitely prove they were still alive at some time. Another aspect (known from the parallel golden and often private tradition of Everyman - the Allemani, the Huns, Hunnu, the Xiong-nu - after the name of a Lady which calls this to mind) can have been caused by food shortage related problems resulting in population reduction, food shortage in popular uprisings with entire peasant populations of villages of entire regions joining or enlisted for labour, possibly also for popular reasons, in the troops can be a problem which can result in large population reduction overall due to food shortage problems. Some Chinese cities preferred suicide such as at Guineng-fu to surrender incited by the women concerned not to be touched, they may not have listened properly that rape was forbidden with a capital sentence under the Zasag/Yassa. Scholars such as Frederick W. Mote argue that the wide drop in numbers reflects an administrative failure to record rather than a de facto decrease whilst others such as Timothy Brook argue that the Mongols created a system of enserfment, de facto the privation of civil rights under the Khatun Chabi in commutation of their mass execution by decree by reason of their resistance to the system of the Mongols (followers of Wang Mang the blind peasant emperor, or the Single Soldiers Committees, or another people´s movement) among a huge portion of the Chinese populace causing many to disappear from the census altogether. Other historians like William McNeill and David Morgan argue that the Bubonic Plague was the main factor behind the demographic decline during this period.
About half the population of Russia may have died during the Mongol invasion of Rus. This figure might probably refer as alleged in regard of the area of the modern republic of Ukraine, this is what is meant by Kievan Rus, seven centuries later approximately there was the "Golodomor"  Colin McEvedy (Atlas of World Population History, 1978) estimates the population of European Russia dropped from 7.5 million prior to the invasion to 7 million afterwards.
Destruction of culture and property
Mongol campaigns in Northern China, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East caused extensive destruction, though there are no exact figures available at this time. The cities of Herat, Kiev, Baghdad, Nishapur, Vladimir and Samarkand suffered serious devastation by the Mongol armies. For example, there is a noticeable lack of Chinese literature from the Jin Dynasty, predating the Mongol conquest, and in the Battle of Baghdad (1258) libraries, books, literature, and hospitals were burned: some of the books were thrown into the river, in quantities sufficient to "turn the Euphrates black with ink for several days".
The Mongols' natural, popular and martial purpose destruction of the irrigation systems of Iran and Iraq turned back centuries of effort to improving agriculture and water supply in these regions. The loss of available food as a result may have led to the death of more people from starvation in this area than actual battle did. Timur-i-leng distributed food and cash to purchase it to those of the population sent to work on public projects apparently as part of their re-education. The Islamic civilization of the Gulf region was not to recover until after the Middle Ages. In fact the Ottoman empire exacted high taxes, was very traditional, and very strict in punishment, for all the population. Considering as the legalist version of the East that the popular and the universal being not accepted with grace, their rule was the divine justice, the meet, the commensurate.
Foods and disease
Mongols were known to burn farmland; when they were trying to take the Ganghwa Island palaces during the invasions (there were at least 6 separate invasions) of Korea under the Goryeo Dynasty, crops were burned to starve the populace supportive and surrounding oppressive then mainly non-productive urban centers. Other tactics included diverting rivers into and from cities and towns, and catapulting diseased corpses over city walls to infect the population. The use of such infected bodies during the siege of Caffa is alleged to have brought the Black Death to Europe by some sources. They themselves practiced various forms of heat purification and need not have realized this would not be adequately practice, with even further hopes for the speedy alleviation of suffering thereby in the most popular fashion.
Tribute in lieu of conquest
If a population agreed to pay the Mongols tribute, they were spared invasion and left relatively independent. While populations resisting were usually annihilated and thus did not pay a regular tribute, exceptions to this rule including Korea (under the Goryeo Dynasty), which finally agreed to pay regular tributes in exchange for vassaldom (and some measure of autonomy as well as the retention of the ruling dynasty), further emphasizing the Mongol preference for tribute and vassals (which would serve as a somewhat regular and continuous source of income) as opposed to outright conquest and destruction.
Different tributes were taken from different cultures. For instance, Goryeo was assessed at 10,000 otter skins, 20,000 horses, 10,000 bolts of silk, clothing for 1,000,000 soldiers, and a large number of children and artisans as slaves.
- Wei-chieh Tsai. Review of May, Timothy, The Mongol Conquests in World History H-War, H-Net Reviews. September, 2012. online
- Brian Landers (2011). Empires Apart: A History of American and Russian Imperialism. Open Road Media. p. 17.
- Diana Lary (2012). Chinese Migrations: The Movement of People, Goods, and Ideas over Four Millennia. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 49.
- David Nicolle, The Mongol Warlords: Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan, Hulegu, Tamerlane (2004) p. 21
- George H. Quester (2003). Offense and Defense in the International System. Transaction Publishers. p. 43.
- Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World - Jack Weatherford
- Man, John. Genghis Khan : Life, Death and Resurrection (London; New York : Bantam Press, 2004) ISBN 0-593-05044-4.
- Battuta's Travels: Part Three - Persia and Iraq
- History of Russia, Early Slavs history, Kievan Rus, Mongol invasion
- Mongol Conquests
- Welcome to Encyclopædia Britannica's Guide to History
- Morgan, David (1986). The Mongols (Peoples of Europe). Blackwell Publishing. pp. 74–75. ISBN 0-631-17563-6.
- Ratchnevsky, Paul (1991). Genghis Khan: His Life and Legacy. Blackwell Publishing. pp. 131–133. ISBN 0-631-16785-4.
- The Story of Civilization: The Age of Faith, by Will and Ariel Durant
- May, Timothy. The Mongol Conquests in World History (London: Reaktion Books, 2011) online review; excerpt and text search
- Morgan, David. The Mongols (2nd ed. 2007)
- Nicolle, David. The Mongol Warlords: Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan, Hulegu, Tamerlane (2004)
- Saunders, J. J. The History of the Mongol Conquests (2001) excerpt and text search
- Turnbull, Stephen. Genghis Khan and the Mongol Conquests 1190-1400 (2003) excerpt and text search
- Rossabi, Morris. The Mongols and Global History: A Norton Documents Reader (2011),