Mongolia, Chinggis Khan (Genghis Khan) and the history of the Mongolian people has held a deep fascination for numerous authors for centuries and continues to inspire writers today. There is a large amount of literature available about Chinggis Khan, the Mongol tribes, the Mongol Empire, and modern Mongolia.
The roots of this fascination with the Mongol peoples lie with the founder of the largest empire the world has ever known, Chinggis Khan. Chinggis Khan has been the inspiration for hundreds of books about himself and the Mongol Empire. For many authors and readers the fact that a minor chieftain from an obscure nomadic tribe called the Mongols could come to rule a vast world empire is astounding. Chinggis Khan's ability to conquer his numerous enemies and his success at incorporating those enemies into the ranks of Mongol armies and his growing empire is a riddle for which scholars and experts have yet to provide a cogent answer. The creation of the Mongol Empire has remained a powerfully compelling story and seemingly beyond comprehension for many.
Central Asian, Middle Eastern, European, Russian, and Chinese kingdoms were systematically invaded and conquered by Chinggis Khan and his sons in the thirteenth century. This galvanized the world's attention and created the need for understanding of this revolutionary historical development.
Some authors have said that the idea of a "world history" actually began with the Mongol conquests and their creation of the world's largest empire because it established the first long term connection between the East and West. Most of the history about the Mongols was written by authors that were natives of nations that were conquered and ruled by the Mongols. This has caused a notable bias against the Mongols in many historical texts including those written by Persian, Arab, Russian and Chinese historians. The inherent prejudice of these learned historians whose countries and kings were subjugated by the "uncivilized" Mongols permitted them to include distorted views of the Mongols and their history. One of the exceptions to this pattern is the famous Mongolian book titled "The Secret History of the Mongols" which contains elements of Mongol folk mythology and narratives of actual historical events.
Others have argued that the rise of Chinggis Khan and the creation of the Mongol Empire was an aberration, a mere accident of history, a military "juggernaut" created without long term planning or vision. Their rationale for this conclusion is based in the belief that an "uncivilized, non-intellectual barbarian" nomadic tribe could not possibly think in such powerfully complex and prescient terms.
The fact remains that the Mongols not only conquered very powerful nations, administered them ably for hundreds of years, successfully negotiated alliances with European rulers, and opened up long term East/West trade. They also created new schools of art, commissioned the writing of the first world history, and consolidated the Russian and Chinese kingdoms to help create the Russia and China of today; all of which when assessed objectively clearly contradicts the naive view of the "aberrationists".
Many others thought that God had sent the "pagan barbarian" Mongols as a punishment for their sins and sought understanding of these events through religious envoys sent to the courts of the Mongol Khans. Some of the earliest works about Mongolia and the Mongol emperors were written by the envoys of the pope to the Mongol courts in the thirteenth century. Since these early books about the Mongols, many other books have been written about the Mongols and Mongolia by travelers, scholars including the most famous, which is "The Travels of Marco Polo".
Recommended Articles & Books
"China as a Successor State to the Mongol Empire" by Hidehiro Okada
"The Vicissitudes of Mongolian Historiography in the Twentieth Century" by Thomas D. Haining
"Cassiodorus and Rashid al-Din on Barbarian Rule in Italy and Persia" by David O. Morgan
"History of the World Conqueror" by 'Ala ad-Din 'Ata-Malik Juvaini
"The Influence of Chingiz Khan's Yasa Upon the General Organization of the Mamluk State"
by A.N. Poliak
"The Journey of William Rubruk" by W.W. Rockhill
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