War Tactics of the Mongols Essay
A brute, a cannibal, a hooligan, a monster, a rascal, and a barbarian all describe a savage person in a primitive state or a person without culture, refinement or education. Barbarians have always been seen as uncivilized, wild, savage, crude, and uneducated. So is it just to describe the Mongols as such? The answer is no. The Mongols were not barbaric. As the documents discussed in this essay demonstrate, they had highly sophisticated military tactics; they lived by a code of conduct, and actually helped improved life for a conquered people.
The Mongols grouped their warriors in armies of 10,000. These in turn were organized into 1,000-man brigades, 100-man companies, and 10-man squads. Their strategy was to attack the enemy head-on and far right & left to surround them. The Mongols could be outnumbered, but they brought women and children on horses so it would appear they had many more soldiers. They positioned themselves to surround the fortress so that no one can enter of leave. They divided their up their forces and take turns fighting so they did not get too tired.
John of Plano Carpini, the person who saw them fight, most likely did not see all of the Mongol’s war strategies or he might have not have described it in the exact way. He could have left out a valuable note to winnings of the entire Mongol’s battle. With their warmongering maneuvers, they killed over 6 million people. These are reported deaths from varied sources. That is like slaughtering everyone in Chicago twice. They conquered 4,860,000 square miles of land, more than the United States. They controlled more land in 40 years than any “non-barbarians”.
More than Alexander the Great and Tamerlane combined. To achieve such feats the Mongols had to be educated to gain an empire larger than the United States. (Documents 1-4) Barbarians have no code of conduct. They could not care less what happened to there conquered people. The Mongols did care have each other behaved. There were two codes of conduct that guided Mongol life. On of these was the yasa, usually referred to as the Mongol law. The second was the bilik, which was a set of rules to live by. Both codes had rules on hospitality, drinking, and adultery.
The codes taught them to share, that adultery could be punished my death and that too much drinking is a punishable offense. The Mongol rulers wanted to root out all adultery and theft and kept severe laws against theft. Scenes have been recorded of Mongol soldiers burying Persian prisoners not just leaving their bodies out to decompose. Barbarians would not care about how they treated other people, but the Mongols were taught to show considerable respect to each other. The Mongols believed in one god and tolerated the religion of others. All Mongols did not live by these codes and did what ever they wanted. Document 5, 7, 9, 10) The Mongols conquered control of the continental caravan routes from China to Persia. The Mongol Empire made significant contributions to economic development. They promoted diversified economic development by taking up residence among their new subjects. In both China and Persia, agriculture and craft production flourished because the leaders were patrons of art. The Mongol emperors built canals to improve transportation and communication. When one of the Great Khan’s messengers set out, they used the system of post-horses.
Every 25 miles a messenger arrived at post to rest and trade horses. It is sort of, like when a trucker stops in a small town to refuel and rest before hitting the road again. Marco Polo most likely never used the Yams to travel and did not how difficult to was to ride an unfamiliar horse, to keep the message uncompromised, and to stay safe from attackers through the route. If the Mongols were barbaric, they would care about helping China and Persia flourish their economy and would not be such fans of art. Of course, the documents did tell of how the Mongols weakened the economy of conquered people. Documents 6 & 8) None of the documents discusses the opinions of the Mongols from a citizen of a conquered nation. That would tell whether they thought their new leaders were just or cruel. Also, while the documents provide examples of the Mongol’s military tactics they do not mention the life of an average Mongol compared to any other soldier who is apart of an army that is consider known barbaric to compare behaviors and daily;iug;iug;i routines. Memoirs or a diary demonstrating a Mongol leader’s opinion on whether or not his people are barbarians would have been useful to get his idea of his empire that they rule.