User:Elonka/Mongol quickref

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This was a temporary page used in 2007, acting as a quickref for other editors who were coming up to speed on a POV dispute. The dispute has since been resolved via an ArbCom case. In March 2008, ArbCom decreed that the editor who was pushing the inappropriate POV, PHG, was to be banned for one year from working on articles related to medieval history. The dozens of affected articles are still undergoing cleanup, but the worst of the damage has since been repaired.

Crib notes for the history of the situation:


The Crusades are generally considered to have lasted from roughly 1099, when the European Crusaders captured Jerusalem, until 1291, when they were completely kicked off the continent by the Muslims, though there were some last gasp efforts that stretched into the 1300s.

About 75% of the way through this process, the Mongols started joining the party. Their empire had been growing rapidly, and they'd taken over much of the Asian continent and were starting to push into Eastern Europe, and also into the Middle East.

Some of the Christian countries in the path of the Mongols faced an unpleasant choice: Submit to Mongol overlordship, or try to fight back, lose, and then watch tens of thousands of citizens get brutally slaughtered. The Mongols generally made one request to surrender, and if it wasn't honored, they then killed everyone -- men, women, children, even the dogs and cats.

Accordingly, some Christian countries rapidly capitulated: Georgia acknowledged Mongol overlordship in the 1230s, Cilician Armenia in the 1240s, and Antioch/Tripoli in 1259. Other Christians further away from the front such as Acre, held more aloof, and even wondered if they could leverage the Mongol situation to help kick the Muslims out of Jerusalem.

Communications went back and forth between the leaders of Europe and the Mongols for most of the late 1200s. The communications generally went like this: The Europeans asked the Mongols to convert to Christianity. The Mongols told the Europeans to submit. This went back and forth through various letters and ambassadors for decades, but nothing formal was ever agreed to. The few times that coordinated military action was attempted, the forces tended to arrive months apart (if they showed up at all), and they never made any serious military gains.

POV Problem #1: The alliance[edit]

One of the POV problems with the Franco-Mongol alliance article, is that it's trying to push a POV that there was an alliance. It's also trying to say that countries such as Armenia and Antioch "allied" with the Mongols, instead of simply submitting to them. But the truth of the matter is that Armenia and Antioch were Mongol subjects, and that there was never a Franco-Mongol alliance. There were attempts at an alliance, but they never came together, despite decades of trying.

For more details (such as exact quotes of what historians have said), see User:Elonka/Mongol historians

POV problem #2: The status of Jerusalem in 1300[edit]


In 1299/1300, the Mongols (with their Christian subjects) were able to briefly capture the cities of Syria from the Muslims. The Muslims retreated their forces south back to Cairo to regroup. The Mongols also retreated most of their forces north, to give the horses better grazing room. This "mutual retreat" left a bit of a power vacuum in Palestine for a few months. The Mongols were the de facto rulers of the area, since they'd won the last battle, and they did send a few raiding parties to loot and pillage, but they generally left the fortified places alone, and they didn't set up any kind of a permanent administration in Palestine (which is what's necessary to deem something "conquered" as opposed to "raided").

A few months later (May 1300), the Muslims regrouped and advanced northwards again, pushing the Mongols all the way back to Iran.


The article is trying to make the case that the Mongols may have captured Jerusalem during this "power vacuum" phase. There are no modern historians which say this. But, it is true that in 1300, there were many urban legends circulating which said that the Mongols had captured Jerusalem and were going to give it back to the Christians. These rumors were widespread, but false. Some of the rumors even persisted to as recently as the 1800s, by which time they'd expanded to the point where they were saying not just that the Mongols had captured Jerusalem, but that the Mongols had done it in concert with Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, who had personally been in charge of one of the Mongol divisions, and had coordinated the capture of the city. The rumors were so widespread in France in the 1800s, that a French encyclopedia even printed this story as fact. And a painting was commissioned for the Versailles museum, "Jacques de Molay takes Jerusalem, 1299." However, none of it is true, and modern historians (such as Demurger) have thoroughly debunked the stories. However, the Wikipedia article is still trying to make the case that maybe it's true after all, and the Mongols did take Jerusalem. Which is bunk. Historians say it's bunk, I say it's bunk, and the RfC at the talkpage says it's bunk. But it's proven very difficult to get the bunk out of the article.

That's it in a nutshell. If you have questions, let me know.  :)