Mongolian Landscape History Questions Assignment Project
Answer the questions as directed. Your total writing should be at least 200 words and you should also comment on the work of a colleague.
Part 1: Answer two of the questions based on the documentary “In Search of Genghis Khan.”
What do we learn of the Mongolian landscape? (The steppe, the desert)
What aspect of the Mongol diet made it easier for them to be a conquering people?
What do we learn about the Mongols abilities with horses and camels?
What is significant about the Mongol Gur or Yurt in terms of their military success?
Part 2: Answer the research and discussion questions for one of the following from Material Culture and Memory.
Mongol Yurt, 50-
Samurai Swords, 54-
The Mongol Yurt or Ger
In 1206, after a series of successful campaigns a meeting of leaders or kurultai, proclaimed Chinggis Khan (formerly Temujin) the supreme khan of all who dwell in tents of felt. I After consolidating his power, Chinggis Khan launched an invasion of China in 1211. After breaching the Great Wall, the northern capital of Beijing was conquered in 1215. The campaign in China would continue until 1234, a few years after Chinggis Khanís death.
In the meantime, the Mongols turned west in a series of extremely brutal campaigns against Muslim states. Chingis Khan then returned to the East where, after a brief period of study, he focused his attention on the war in China before dying in 1227. The Mongol age continued under his successors with major wars in Eastern and Central Europe. The Mongol Empire was not long-lasting, but the aftermath of the Mongol Age left major legacies in China, the Islamic world, and in Europe. As J.J. Saunders wrote, the Mongols turned the thirteenth century world upside down and left the great part of the Old World shaken and transformed. I
The above-mentioned tents of felt, I refer to the Gers (gurus) or yurts of the Mongols. As a nomadic people, the Mongols did not have a rich material culture. They did not have a tradition of pottery and their metalwork was mostly limited to necessary blacksmithing. The ger, however, is a remarkable aspect of Mongol material culture. The ger is a felt tent covered with additional layers of insulation as needed. It resembles a squat cylinder with a conical roof. It can be assembled or disassembled in less than an hour and is portable, easily carried by an ox cart, horses, or camels. The design of the ger is instantly recognizable as Mongol and the basic design can still be seen today in ger suburbs on the outskirts of Mongolia’s only sizable city, Ulaanbaatar.
Research and Discussion Questions
What military advantages did the Mongols enjoy as a result of their yurts and their pastoral way of life in general? Consider their diet for example. What did they eat and how did this play a role in their military success?
Locate and describe the following features of central Asian geography: the taiga, the steppe, the Altai Mountains, the Gobi Desert, the Ural Mountains, the Aral Sea, the Caspian Sea, and the Black Sea.
Find a contemporary example of how the Mongols are remembered in the lands they conquered.
The word samurai stems from the verb sabra, which means to serve. I Originally palace guards, beginning with the Kamakura period, samurai referred to the regional warriors also known as bush. Because, medieval and early-modern Japan was a governed by a rigid feudal hierarchy, the samurai were especially important as the landed class, or daimyo, relied on these fighting men. Japanese samurai became a privileged warrior caste paid a stipend in rice from the peasant farmers. Samurai lived by an elaborate honor code. By the 17th century this would be known as the bushido. Among their privileges was a monopoly on the possession of weapons.
Initially, samurai were known being mounted bowmen, but with the knowledge of steel, the sword became the most important weapon. Samurai typically carried both short and long swords. The best quality swords became highly prized and were invested with spiritual power.
Research and Discussion Questions
Explain the samurai sword as an object of material culture and provide a specific example. Is there something unique about Japanese swords compared to swords from other cultures?
Other than weapons, what were some other unique aspects of samurai dress, hairstyle, etc.?