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Cypress College Remember the Mongols Discussion

Cypress College Remember the Mongols Discussion


Write a paragraph describing something that was new for you in this week’s content, or something you found particularly interesting/compelling. Make certain to use your own words, and write clearly and with specific examples.

If you are not sure what to write about, one tip is to go back to the lecture for the week. There are many analytical questions sprinkled throughout the lecture – you can always use one as a jumping off point for your post!

Before you submit, please review the rubric in the Syllabus Module or attached here in the upper right-hand corner.

Discussion Reminders:

  • Be kind and respectful to others
  • Use full sentences and proper grammar/spelling
  • Don’t use too much jargon
  • Treat others online as you wish to be treated
  • Use language that supports others
  • Try to add something original to the conversation

Exceeding Credit- The student demonstrates through critical written analysis their ability to identify and evaluate the week’s lesson by using important concepts found within the context of the course. Responds to multiple classmates.
Meeting Credit: Student articulates clearly the weekly lesson in a well written paragraph using a particular historical topic found in the week’s material. Responds to classmates
Approaching Credit: Student identifies a topic in the reading that interested them. This topic is not tied to the weekly lesson or within the context of the course. Responds to Classmate.
–Paper was submitted late. Per the late policy in syllabus will receive 70% Link:… and question you can answer down below for this discussion

Why were the Mongols able to conquer such a vast empire?

What were the effects of the Mongol conquests?
Why did the Mongols fail to conquer Egypt, India, and Japan?
How did Kubilai Khan’s reign blend Mongol and Chinese traditions?
What technologies did the West develop in the thirteenth century, and what were the consequences?
Why did nothing comparable to the Mongol Empire develop in Africa or the Americas?

1.14 Chapter 13: Lecture 2B

Remember the Mongols!

Welcome to World History. Even though History 2B covers the second half of world history, we are starting in a very important and wonderful place: the Mongols. I generally expect that students have some knowledge or at least awareness of the Mongols, so let me explain why they are such a great starting place and why that is important to World History.

The Mongols make for great history. They are nomads. They conquer much of the known world. They are violent, ruthless, and, most easily described as barbaric. You could imagine a blockbuster film featuring the Mongols, right? (Not too hard, there are many!) Honestly, they are not one of the most boring things to learn about in a history course! They terrorize the “civilized” world with their military tactics…but never completely conquer Europe – clearly a sign of strength and higher civilization, wouldn’t you say? After extending themselves as far as they can, the Mongols decline, fragment and are absorbed into other states and history…and (phew) civilization gets back on track. It all sounds well and good, but there is so much more!

Context for the Mongols…and for our course

Until about 20 years ago, World History was not offered as a general requirement course. Instead, students took a sequence of courses titled “Western Civilization”. You can still take those courses (but not at Citrus), however, they are no longer seen as the most valuable requirement for undergraduate studies. Does that seem odd? Certainly students should learn the story of Western Civilization…it starts in Mesopotamia, includes a bit of Egypt, jumps to Greece, and then we have democracy. From Ancient Greece, through Rome, to Europe, and, finally culminating with the United States, Western Civilization courses traced the origins and development of democracy. Of course, there were wonderful highlights along the way: the Dark Ages, Crusades, Renaissance, Scientific Revolution, and Enlightenment. These periods helped to shape the Western world as we know it today…but might there be more?

Increasingly, historians grew concerned that students finished their college education knowing nothing about China, Africa, Latin America, India, Persia (the Middle East), Oceania…quite a bit of the world actually. Compounding this concern was the fact that our classrooms included students from all over the world – not just Western Europe. And so, World History began to emerge to correct a fundamental bias toward the West (which for all purposes is Western Europe and the United States) within the historical profession. Our own profession needed correcting and so did our students. World History should give you a more balanced view of the global history. It should break away from national boundaries and show the trends and processes that connect regions of the globe. It should give you context for understanding what happened in the past and what is happening in the present.

And so then, why are the Mongols such a good starting place? Because the information I provided in the second paragraph of this lecture is what you would expect to find in a Western Civilization course. The Mongols were not a merely a barbaric blip on the world’s timeline…they were the real deal. They integrated the world between 1000 and 1500. Make sure that you understand the term “integrated” – it is one that we will use a lot in this course. The Mongols created a global connection that we have continued to build on. They did not do it alone, but just because we describe them as nomadic doesn’t mean that they lacked the potential for statesmanship and organization. We are looking at a process and that is important to keep in mind.

Prior to the Mongol conquest, Islam had spread out of Arabia and through much of Eurasia. Islam played an important role in the rise of the nomadic empires. Islam created cultural unity throughout much of the continent. (Make sure you confront your biases as you read this. Most of you know very little about Islam and are informed primarily by the media that we have seen since the 9/11 attacks.) Between 600 and 1200 C.E., Islamic states emerged and spread. Arabic became a “lingua franca”. It was the language for trade in much the same way that English is the language of business today. Merchants were able to travel from West Africa to China, speaking Arabic and following the basic tenets of Islamic law. It is a significant phenomenon. In the next chapters you will read about Ibn Battuta and others who experienced this easy fluidity.

The Mongols will build on the cultural unity established through Islam and provide political unity on top of that. During the Mongol empires, the trade routes are secure, the regions are integrated, and there is relative peace and prosperity. Historians have begun to really ponder and question the importance of the “nomadic” empires in the last 8 years or so. Now, much credit is given to the Mongols for the European Renaissance. Huh!?! The re-birth of classical Europe happened because the Mongols conquered the continent! Others acknowledge the important consequences of the increased volume of trade between East and West. Others point to the regional states that appear as the Mongol rule begins to break and fragment. Yet we still hesitate to give full credit because they were “nomads”.

Working with Armesto:

Your textbook gives important attention to how we conceptualize the role of nomads in world history. There is a process of development that has taken place between the nomadic peoples and the settled states. They begin with challenges and conflict, they then turn to trade and interaction, and finally, the nomadic people emerge as the rulers. The process is important because it points to the exchange that has taken place. Nomads are learning about the settled states and not just in terms of what they can get “out” of them. They are learning about strengths and weaknesses. They are learning about organization and administration. What they learn, I think, can quite legitimately be seen as a first step of globalization. It is a step that we build on today!

Armesto is presenting the current historical argument that “the Mongols made the modern world”. Think about what that means. How do we understand “modern world”? What were the contributions of the Mongols? Consider what this says about Europe…particularly the Renaissance. The Renaissance is typically defined as a re-birth of Europe’s classical past. Historians are not arguing that any longer. Instead, more and more, we are viewing the Renaissance as a consequence of a complex series of interactions and exchanges that began far across the continent. As you read this chapter, consider what you have assumed about the Mongols and the Renaissance prior to taking this class. How does this chapter change that assumption?

Welcome to the class. Welcome to World History. There is a lot out there to learn. Open your mind and have fun!

“Good Study” Practice:

1. Identify four areas where we can measure the Mongol legacy.
2. Thinking about assimilation, can you explain how settled states influenced Mongol military successes?
3. Evaluate the responses of different regions to the Mongol threat.
4. Defend or refute the claim that the “Mongols made the modern world.”

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