The Mongol Empire
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The Mongol empire was strictly governed by its great ruler, Genghis Khan called “Yassa” which means “Order” or “decree”. This code became their standard rule and anybody caught violating severely faces the consequence. Like for instance, it was decreed that a mounted soldier must pick anything dropped by his companion ahead of him. If he fails to do so, death penalty will be imposed. This is how strict Genghis was in imposing his laws which greatly amazed the European travelers. Under this rule, the officials were chosen based on their credibility and religious tolerance. Thief and robbery was strictly forbidden as well as destruction of private properties. The Mongols are governed by non-democratic parliamentary-style ruling called Kurultai wherein the high-ranking officials gather and discuss legal issues with their highest ruler no other than the Great Khan.
The Great Khan was liberal and tolerant when it comes to the belief of other people and nobody was prosecuted because of his/her religious background. Roger Bacon (1202-1292) commented that this may be due to their advanced culture and knowledge though some historians during the 20th century believed that it was a matter of military strategy so as not to inflict war on other countries. When Genghis Khan fought against Sultan Muhammad of Khwaresm, other Muslim leader did not join the Sultan as they viewed it as a personal fight between the two and not on religious issues. During the time of Genghis Khan, each religion was free to find their converts ranging from Buddhism, Christianity, Manichaeism and Islam. To avoid conflicts, Genghis established a non-sectarian institution though he was a shamanist by belief. Under his domain, religious leaders were exempted from taxes and public service. Religious debates were organized by the Mongol emperors through members of the clergy with large audience to participate. The lifestyle of the Mongols was somewhat nomadic in nature so there were only few worship places in formal setting.
During the Mongolian Empire, communication was vastly enhanced. Trading routes were created and the postal system called “yam” was established. Traders, couriers and travelers from China, Middle East and Europe made use of the system. Sometimes, capitals were made available for the Merchants as part of their partnership with the Mongols hence; they likewise enjoy the protection of the Mongols as they passed through the Mongolian realms covering from Mediterranean basin going to China which was later known as the famous “Silk Road” by the travelers.
Genghis Khan introduced literacy through education in writing by using Uighur characters in Mongol language which is still being used in Inner Mongolia today. Although taxes were heavy to other individuals in the empire, teachers, lawyers and artists were exempted from paying their taxes. On the other hand, he imposed massive heavy punishment to those who disobeyed the Mongol orders by destroying the cities and the populace slaughtered.
After Genghis, the merchant partner business continued to flourish under his successors Ogedei and Guyuk. Merchants brought clothing, food, and other provisions to the imperial palaces, and in return the Great Khans gave the merchants tax exemptions, and allowed them to use the official relay stations of the Mongol Empire. Merchants also served as tax farmers in China, Russia and Iran. If the merchants were attacked by bandits, losses were made up from the imperial treasury
During the time of %u04E6gedei, he established respective places of worship in Karakorum for his followers alongside the palaces. Though his wife was a Mongol Christian the dominant religion was Shamanism, Tengriism and Buddhism. His other brothers were converted to Islam faith.
After the death of Genghis Khan, %u04E6gedei and Guyuk continued with the partnership in mercantile business. Merchants bring in food, clothing and other necessities to the palaces. In return, the merchants were exempted from paying taxes. Further, they were sanctioned to use the Empire’s official relay stations. Policies gradually changed during the rule of Mongke, the Great Khan. Due to excessive money laundering and overtaxing, he ordered all merchants to pay revenue taxes. This policy continued until Kublai Khan came to the throne. Kublai Khan founded the Yuan Dynasty and Yuan communication system. More relays with hostels were made.
Consequently, different successions took its part. The fall of the mighty Mongolian Empire led to the downfall of trade and commerce on the Silk Road. In 1368, the Yuan Dynasty was overthrown by the native Chinese and establish their own; the Ming Dynasty and lived independently, totally isolated from other outside forces.
Genghis Khan’s conquests had greatly changed the demography of its people. Its mortality rate decreased considerably though research indicates that the Black Death during the 13th century or better known as Bubonic Plague caused the vast decline of population from China, Mongolian Empire and across Europe up to 14th century.
It was said that when the Genoese traders came to Crimean peninsula, they were under siege by the Mongolian warriors who were already getting weak being infected by the disease. They scattered the infected corpses as their “biological weapon”. The Genoese traders left bringing with them the plague into their ships which rapidly spread towards Europe. An estimate of about 75 Million people died from the pandemic. China declined by half. Others said that it was the result of Mongol ferocity but scholars like Frederick W. Mote asserted that the fear of being captured and enslaved by the Mongols caused the people to just “disappear” altogether. William McNeill and David Morgan likewise argue that the main reason of demographic decline was the Bubonic Plague.
After the fall of Mongolian Empire it was a “Blessing in Disguise” for the people during the 15th century. Perhaps, people got tired to war and captivity for a hundred years that all they want during the 15th century was a renaissance for everybody.
I therefore conclude that the renaissance was a turning point for all individuals who had suffered the bitterness in war during the 1300 to 14500 and the “Black Death” had greatly changed the people’s lives from the “Dark Era” to a more promising renaissance. The chart above shows the effect of the “Black Death” and its impact. Despite of everything, Genghis Khan has shaped and had led history into the world of contemporary art and technology.
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