The Late Post Classical Era was a time when nomadic people started gaining more power than ever before. One of the principal examples are the Mongols, who became united by Chinggis Khan, to create the largest empire ever seen before, stretching all the way from China to Russia, shown in the map in Document 8. The Mongol’s expansion in conquering much of Eurasia brought several disagreements because of their barbaric behavior and the way they mistreated settled people and since many were afraid of them it was easy for the Mongols to expand their authority. This lead to conquered societies not reacting positively to Mongol rule, but if I had a document from a skilled person, I would have a better understanding of the reactions of people that came into contact with the Mongols.
The Mongols were cruel and extremely arrogant to the conquered people, but had good intentions in unifying all of Eurasia. As seen in Document 1, the Mongols were some of the most honorable people who helped each other in their time of need but when it came to people of other descent they were merciless warriors, well trained in the art of combat and equestrian skills. Due to their superior talent, future armies had to come up with better tactics to be able to rebel against them, since Document 9, states how the Mongols loved to fight and were brutal when they did. One idea that the Mongols used was sending skilled people to certain locations that best suited their flair, as evident in Document 4, by how the Mongol’s capital of Karakorum was depicted as glorious with all the works of art done by a man originally from Paris. This gave talented people a chance at a better life, with more opportunities then what they had before. The Mongols did increase trade during this time, since they directly connected the land from east to west, demonstrated in Document 8 by how much land the Mongols controlled because of their ruthlessness; Document 2 when Marco Polo described how valuable and well-made the goods of India were and how if not for the Mongols there would be chaos, and trade would be unsafe for merchants also shows this idea. The Mongols kept trade routes safe but in doing so they also helped spread disease, which in long-term, added to the eventual decline of the empire. Finally, in Document 5, by Ibn Battuta, a very dedicated Muslim, talks about how competent the Mongols were at painting and how they used their talent to help the government with criminals; Battuta mentions how Muslims were honored in China, showing how he could be bias towards how he describes the Mongols, exaggerating their skills because of his hardcore belief of Islam. Overall, the Mongols helped create more opportunities to better society, with the increase in trade, keeping trade routes safe and how they used skilled workers to their advantage all impacted how some of the people saw the Mongols as good rulers, with positive contributions.
Some settled people reacted well with the Mongols as rulers, but most opposed them especially Muslims, for their cruel ways of governing and the Pope, because of how powerful they were becoming. According to Document 6, the Mongols destroyed whoever opposed them and had no compassion towards anyone, which was why everyone was afraid of a Mongol even when they outnumbered them and could easily fight back. This fear is also mentioned in Document 7, saying that many just gave up when the Mongols came and didn’t even try to defend themselves, because they knew fighting would mean sure death. Both of these documents demonstrate how by installing fear across the country, the Mongols as unfair and vicious as they were, were allowed to triumph, when clearly something could have been done to stop them. With all of their success they became even more supercilious and began seeing themselves as better than the rest, shown in Document 1 and 4, when the Khans consider themselves gods. Pope Innocent the 4th also was against Mongol rule, since they wanted to conquer the land and held more authority than the pope himself, as shown in the letter to him (Doc 3) where the Mongols told him to surrender or that he would be responsible for a war. This shows the arrogance and persistence on behalf of the Mongols and how they felt they were doing nothing wrong for killing so many children and women, displaying how they had so much confidence and what seem like no weakness. Generally, the Mongols were seen as barbarians who seemed unstoppable and all mighty, which had many negative reactions from the people because of the ways they ruled and their overall attitude toward others.
In order to further understand the impact that the Mongols had on the people of Eurasia, having an additional document from one of the skilled worker that were relocated would be useful. Having a firsthand account of how the Mongols were able to help the talented would demonstrate how the Mongols did some good deeds. It would give insight to how educated and talented people were treated by the Mongols since the commoners were seen as less than themselves. Another helpful document would be one from a common Mongols, like a teenager or one who didn’t fight and kill, because it would help us see if all Mongols were truly the same or if the barbaric ones were only the warriors and the rest were considerate individuals. In addition, it would allow us to see what the common Mongol thought of the warriors and their violent methods of conquering. Having either of these additional documents would greatly help develop a better understanding of the Mongols and the motives behind their actions.
As shown in all nine documents, the Mongols had some positive impacts, like giving opportunities to those with skills, and negative such as all the innocent lives they took to further their own authority. All of this resulted in the negative reaction they got from the settled people that they so often looked down upon, being such heartless humans not many were actually happy about their rule, because all of the positives were overlooked by the bad deeds they eventually became known for. Today the Mongols are remembered as having the largest empire ever, but back then in the 13th and 14th century they were seen as coldhearted egotistical beast.