The Mongol civilization was a highly advanced group of people in terms of military characteristics. They had superior weapons and strategic skills that contributed to their success of conquests. The purpose of this investigation is to address the question: To what extent did the Mongols benefit from their advanced military tactics? The major body of evidence will focus on Genghis Khan who was a prominent Mongolian ruler, the Mongol army, their war tactics, the empire and finally, the invading of neighboring countries.
These subtopics will assist in answering the research question by describing the significant role of Genghis Khan in leading his empire, and also their advanced military strategies and to what measure of success these factors resulted in. Sources such as books and databases were used to provide research and background information on the subtopics. They have been evaluated according to their origin, purpose, values and limitations. One of the databases, “Mongol Empire (Overview)” gave me a gist and a clear understanding of how the Mongols used their military skills to conquer many areas.
I gained knowledge of some of their strengths and strategies that allowed them to become a powerful army. The analysis of all these documents will help to establish the extent of the benefit that the Mongols obtained through their advanced military tactics. Summary of Evidence The Mongol Empire originated from the nomadic tribes of the Central Asian steppes, now called Mongolia. The high, dry grasslands and mountainous geography on the steppes was not fit for farming, so they raised sheep and horses instead.
However, this was one of the reasons to why the Mongols were able to vastly expand.
Sheep provided meat, milk and cheese, which were their main diet. Horses were their source of mobility for hunting and transportation. Both of these factors stood as significant advantages for their army. The Mongols, however, were not strongly unified in the beginning. They had no solid foundation for a central government. The civilization was divided into different tribes that were each led by chiefs, and the tribes were always at each others’ throats. In all this time of constant fighting and violence, a man stepped up to unify all of the Mongol tribes and eventually reated an omnipotent empire. His name was Temujin(1162-1227), who later obtained the title, “Genghis Khan”, meaning universal ruler. A man named Juavini once stated, “Before the appearance of Genghis Khan they had no chief or ruler. Each tribe or two tribes lived separately; they were not united with one another, and there was constant fighting and hostility between them. ” Genghis Khan ruled from 1206 to 1227 and led great military campaigns during his reign that contributed to their Golden Age. The Mongol army and their military campaigns were like tidal waves.
They swept away any obstacles in their way and showed no mercy if the enemy resisted against them. One of Genghis Khan’s war strategy was the use of psychological weapons. He manifested terror and panic into the obscure areas of the country. His plan was to create a sense of such fatal destruction that resisting would be foolish. Another explanation to why the Mongol army were successful in their conquests was extreme mobility (up to 100 miles a day) and advanced weapons. The cavalry were always seen to be galloping on their horses.
They shot arrows while charging at the enemy and moved with tremendous speed. The Mongols were also able to adopt new tactics and master new technologies. When Genghis Khan realized their weakness in capturing fortifications, he took captives of Chinese siege engineers and learned siege tactics such as building catapults and ladders. On the battlefield, the Mongols liked to fight in teams rather than individually. While the Japanese army was trained to present their skills by fighting in single combats, the Mongols were trained to work together as a team.
If a samurai individually stepped up to a Mongol for a battle, the samurai would be surrounded and killed. A Japanese warrior named Hachiman Gudokun explained, “According to our manner of fighting, we must first call out by name someone from the enemy ranks, and then attack in single combat. But they took no notice at all of such conventions. They rushed forward all together in a mass, grappling with any individuals they could not catch and killing them. ” This may seem unfair; however, this is one of the barbaric ways that the Mongols fought and it gained them victories.
The Mongols were able to conquer lands and expand their territory; however, the extent of the benefit does not terminate there. Since the Mongol Empire controlled most of Asia and parts of Europe, they ruled much of the territory through which the Silk Road journeyed. Due to the peace within the empire, there was a great flow of merchants, craftsmen and missionaries traveling along the road, exchanging new ideas and creating cultural diffusion. The Mongols brought back new goods and cultures from the area that they conquered.
When Genghis Khan retuned to Mongolia from China, he brought back engineers, musicians, translators, doctors and scribes. He also brought back goods such as silk, porcelain, iron kettles, armor, perfumes, jewelry, wine, medicines, gold and much more. From then on, they received goods from China in a steady flow. Because the Mongols, despite that they were barbaric and strictly militaristic, were able to keep peace and control in their empire, trading and traveling increased and exposed people to new ideas and culture. These factors led to the Golden Age of the Mongol Empire, Pax Mongolica.
This golden age gave the Mongols a chance to advance in not only military, but economically and socially also. They were able to prosper with all the riches that they obtained from various trades and they were able to develop their society with the new ideas that were brought over from different cultures. Evaluation of Source The book Genghis Khan and the Mongol Conquests 1190-1400 was written by Stephen Turnbull. He is a historian specializing in eastern military history and wrote other books relating to the history of the Mongols, such as the Mongol Warrior.
The publisher, a credible source, Routledge was founded in 1851 and became a major publishing house. The author’s intention for writing this book was for scholars, teachers, and students who are interested in studying the history of the Mongols. The book sought to answer questions such as: How did the Mongols obtain such power with their army? What tactics and strategies did they have in order to succeed in conquest? Therefore, there were some value as well as limitations to this book as it was used for research.
There were quotes from other people who observed the Mongols, for example, soldiers who fought them. They described them to be barbaric and somewhat unfair. However, the book only shows the view of others, mostly the Mongols’ neighboring countries and enemies. There were no quotes from the Mongols that allowed to defend themselves. Another limitation was the fact that this was a secondary source and the author was not a witness to this event. This is a limitation because the information may not be accurate due to the time difference between the event and now.
There were also some unanswered questions such as how their advanced army benefited them with a golden age and how their golden age had a great impact on their society. This limited my amount of research and therefore, I had to look for another source with that information. Analysis The Mongols had two different faces. They were brutal and fierce. They brought destruction among their enemies if they chose to fight. On the other side, they were benevolent and kind with those who yielded to them. It is seen that the Mongols were merciless and barbaric people; however this is not the whole truth.
The Mongols did not torture or mutilate, while their enemies did. They preferred to slaughter in one quick motion which allowed their enemy to feel barely any pain. European rulers often enjoyed bloody executions such as stretching and hacking the body into pieces, but the Mongols did not take part in such gruesome activity. In fact, these horrible executions were carried out on the captured Mongols. An explanation to why the Mongols were able to have a benign side was because of their leader, Genghis Khan.
He is known to be a fierce man but he has a bit of a merciful characteristic also. Genghis Khan said to a man who attempted to assassinate him, “When an enemy wishes to kill someone, he keeps the fact secret…But you have been frank with me. Become, therefore, my companion. In memory of your deed, I will name you ‘Jebei’–the arrow. ” This portrays not only the act of forgiving, but the tremendous amount of confidence that Genghis Khan had in himself by befriending an assassin. On the other hand, he was not so forgiving on the battlefield.
He intimidated his enemies to the point where some even fled before the fight began. Having such a confident leader affirmatively impacted the Mongol Empire and its army. With Genghis Khan leading them, they were fearless and confident that they will take victory. “My friends, Temujin knows how to range men for battle much better than Baibuga,” said Jamuka, who fled from battle after seeing Genghis Khan’s fighting arrangement. The Mongol army were able to conquer and create a vast empire. From the perspective of the conquered people, it may be negative, considering all the orrid destructions that were brought by the Mongols. However, the Mongol Empire was extraordinary. It brought almost the entire continent of Asia under one control. There was no division in the land because there was religious and cultural tolerance. Relevant to culture, as mentioned in the summary of evidence, the Mongols had an impact on the Silk Road. Trade along the Silk Road had decreased since the fall of the Tang dynasty but revived during the Mongol Empire because safe travel was guaranteed throughout the entire empire.
Therefore, it created a huge economical boom and a great deal of new culture and knowledge reached Europe while the Mongols were able to experience a Golden Age. Conclusion The extent of the benefit that the Mongols received from their successful military was a time period of peace, prosperity and technological advancements. They were introduced to many new cultures as well as weapons and goods like silk and gold from China, which allowed them to prosper and become even more powerful. Pax Mongolica, their Golden Age, was the climax of their empire, and the extent of their power.
The Mongol Empire can be compared to the Hellenistic Age. Figures like Alexander the Great and Augustus had conquered great amount of land and expanded their territory just as Genghis Khan did for the Mongols. However, both empires fell after their period of prosperity, which showed another similarity between two great civilizations. What would have happened if the Mongols did not fall after their golden age? The extent of their benefit from their advanced military tactics may have been greater.