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Although his tribe, the Barlas descended from the Mongol Barulas tribe , was largely still nomadic, Timur was well integrated in the dominant, Turko-Mongolian culture of fourteenth-century Transoxania. This culture — with Islam as its religion, Turkic as its language, and a Mongolian political ideology — made him well-equipped to deal with both nomadic and settled populations.
It has been suggested that, while mughul referred to ethnically Mongol people, tatar referred to people who had become Mongol politically. See, e. Reuven Amitai has the impression that this distinction in use between mughul and tatar is confirmed in some of the Arabic sources he uses Amitai-Preiss, Mongols and Mamluks , n. Given the general ambiguity on this topic, more research is clearly necessary. View all notes He and his people trace their ancestry to Chaghadai. I do not know whether this is Chaghadai the son of Chinggis Khan or another Chaghadai of the Mongol [ mughul ] peoples, but the former is more likely.
Regarding information on the Mongols, these two texts complement each other, with only a small partial overlap. He describes the rise of Chinggis Khan and his conquests, in addition to giving a short biography of this founder of the Mongol empire.
In this chapter, 13 13 Ibid. He ends with the rise of Timur, a passage that he wrote before meeting the vanquisher. Here too he describes how Chinggis Khan subdued large areas in Central Asia, which he subsequently divided among his sons. It was from this same Chagadhaid khanate that Timur and his series of invasions came.
He recounts their conversations and relates his impressions of this feared ruler. Sometimes this is as a simple historical reference for instance to the fall of Baghdad , but he occasionally gives the Mongols as an illustration of parts of his theories on the rise and fall of dynasties. View all notes This ingrained obedience does, however, pose a problem for the founder of a new dynasty, so founders of new dynasties need perseverance in order to overthrow the ruling dynasty: one successful battle is not enough. The decay of the ruling dynasty needs to become overtly clear to both its subjects — who will then lose their ingrained obedience — and the armies of the conquering new ruler — who will then have enough confidence to attack and overthrow the ruling dynasty.
Other instances where the Mongols are used as an example can be found in ibid. Nomadic groups lead harsher lives and are consequently not only hardier and more courageous, but also reliant on one another's support and solidarity for survival. These individuals will then become aware of that superiority, and follow and obey this leader. First, this is found in the person of Chinggis Khan himself.
Chinggis Khan also wrote the yasa , the Mongol law code. The yasa was a Mongol law code, supposedly introduced by Chingghis Khan. To this day, its exact contents are unknown and it remains shrouded in mystery. It did, however, captivate the minds of many Muslim writers, and references to it — ranging from passing mentions to elaborate and imaginative lists of what this yasa supposedly contained — are frequent.
Nicola Di Cosmo, Allen J. Frank, and Peter B. Golden Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, , pp. View all notes under his wing, taking care of both the young king and the latter's mother. A large number of Timur's troops were Turkic. This is a clear proof of what I have claimed about this king [i.
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View all notes he does appear to believe his statement, since this digression was by no means necessary. View all notes But instead, he opted to explain this statement in a way fully consistent with his own ideas on dynasty formation and rulership. Timur, by responding that he is merely a representative rather than a king himself, is depicted as modest and putting his legitimate king's interests before his own.
View all notes No less than five of the characteristics given relate to the treatment of religious scholars by these leaders — it is clearly a matter close to his heart. On the list we find: respect for the religious law and for the scholars who are learned in it, observation of the things to be done or not to be done that [those scholars] prescribe for them, thinking highly of [religious scholars], belief in and veneration for men of religion and a desire to receive their prayers, great respect for old men and teachers.
A man had requested an audience with Timur, claiming that he was the rightful caliph.
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View all notes The same goes for Timur's men. This depiction of Timur and his army as devout Muslims contrasts with the way he is portrayed in other works from this period. View all notes but it is true that the Chaghadaid ulus was the slowest to Islamise — although by the late-thirteenth century, Islam had gained a strong foothold there, and not just among the elite. View all notes Other authors did consider Timur to be Muslim, but accused him of being Shiite — which was copied by several later scholars, 54 54 Forbes Manz, Rise and Rule , Contemporary works discussing the Mongols often contain these elements, as they emphasise religious conflict between the Muslims and the Mongols, even after the latter have been Islamised, in addition to violent atrocities committed by the Mongol armies.
View all notes He himself witnessed the seizure of Damascus, and the circumstances of this takeover were hardly better. Helaine Selin Berlin: Springer, , pp. View all notes of goods from people in the city. The fire spread to the houses' walls, which were supported by wood. It kept burning until it reached the Great Mosque [the Umayyad Mosque] and it climbed up to its roof. The lead melted, and its roof and walls collapsed. This deed was unimaginably horrible and appalling.
The events are in God's hands, He does with His creation what he wants, and decides in His kingdom what He wants.
The Mongols are here referred to as al-tatar. View all notes there is massacre and slaughter, they commit atrocities. View all notes He generally keeps his descriptions rather succinct, without many details. Occasionally, however, he does elaborate.
One such instance relates to the infamous sack of Baghdad — this was, of course, a unique event, since it also meant the fall of the caliphate, which sent shock waves through the Islamic world. Two noteworthy mentions can be found in volume III and volume V. Women and youths went out with books and boards above their heads, but they were trampled by the soldiers and died. It is said that that day, 1. They took possession, from the caliphal palace and its treasuries, of what cannot be described or counted. All the books of knowledge that where in the treasury were thrown into the Tigris, and this was something that does not compare to what is claimed the Muslims did at the first conquest with the books of the Persians and their sciences.
It is said that there were 1. The scholarly books from the treasury were thrown into the Tigris, doing as it is claimed the Muslims did to the books of the Persians when they conquered [their] cities. Not only does the number of dead differ between these two fragments, but there is also a striking divergence in the way he compares the Mongol and Muslim treatment of the Persians' books. Whereas in the first fragment, he draws explicit attention to the possible comparison with the Muslim actions but then denies it, in the second he does appear to directly link and compare the two.
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If it is error, God has protected us against it. Asha, commander of the Western Xia troops, could not afford to meet the Mongols as it would involve an exhausting westward march from the capital Yinchuan through kilometers of desert, and so the Mongols steadily advanced from city to city. In August , Mongol troops approached Wuwei , the second-largest city of the Western Xia empire, which surrendered without resistance in order to escape destruction. Genghis reached Yinchuan in , laid siege to the city, and launched several offensives into Jin to prevent them from sending reinforcements to Western Xia, with one force reaching as a far as Kaifeng , the Jin capital.
One of the major goals of Genghis Khan was the conquest of the Jin dynasty, allowing the Mongols to avenge the earlier death of a Mongol Khan, gain the riches of northern China and to establish the Mongols as a major power in the East-Asian world. Genghis Khan declared war in , and while Mongols were victorious in the field, they were frustrated in their efforts to take major cities.
In his typically logical and determined fashion, Genghis and his highly developed staff studied the problems of the assault of fortifications.
With the help of Chinese engineers, they gradually developed the techniques to take down fortifications. This eventually would make troops under the Mongols some of the most accomplished and most successful besiegers in the history of warfare. As a result of a number of overwhelming victories in the field and a few successes in the capture of fortifications deep within China, Genghis had conquered and consolidated Jin territory as far south as the Great Wall by Cherik soldiers were non-nomad soldiers in the Mongol military. Jin defectors and Han Chinese conscripts were recruited into new armies formed by the Mongols as they destroyed the Jin dynasty.
A critical role in the defeat of the Jin was carried out by the Han Chinese cherik forces. In Xijing fell to Liu Bolin's army. The original Han cherik forces were created in and Liu Bolin appointed as their leading officer. As Han troops kept defecting from the Jin to the Mongols the size of Han cherik forces swelled and they had to be partitioned between different units.
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Han soldiers made up the majority of the Khitan Yelu Tuhua's army, while Juyin soldiers from Zhongdu made up Chalaer's army and Khitan made up Uyar's army. Chalaer, Yelu Tuhua and Uyar led three cherik armies in northern China under the Mongol commander Muqali in addition to his tamma armies in Genghis advanced with three armies into the heart of Jin territory, between the Great Wall and the Yellow River. With the help of Chenyu Liu, one of the top officers who betrayed Jin, as well as the Southern Song, who wanted revenge on Jin, Genghis defeated the Jin forces, devastated northern China, captured numerous cities, and in besieged, captured and sacked the Jin capital of Yanjing modern-day Beijing.
However, the Jin emperor, Xuan Zong , did not surrender, but moved his capital to Kaifeng. The city fell in the siege of Kaifeng in Emperor Aizong fled to the town of Caizhou. The Jin dynasty collapsed after the siege of Caizhou in The first Han armies in the Mongol army were those led by defecting individual officers.