Genghis Khan Essays

Genghis Khan and Qin Shi Huang Essay

706 WordsMay 7th, 20143 Pages

Zhen Zou
History is an amazing thing, which can let us harvest experience, which can make us look back at the past, which can get us to compare with now. You can also find some incredible coincidences. However, there were some differences in these coincidences. In old China, there were two great emperors who both unified China — Qin Shi Huang and Genghis Khan. As founders of Dynasties, they were powerful leaders, military geniuses and brutal rulers. But, Genghis Khan paid more attention to wars and the expansion of territory, and Qin Shi Huang unified the currency, word and measures while establishing centralization.
People widely recognized that even though Genghis Khan, whose military talent was strong, was very cruel. According to…show more content…

Qin Shi Huang is the best there ever was. After he defeated other countries with his army and built the centralization, he unified the currency, word, and measures. From 475 BC to 221BC, ancient China was divided into a collection of seven states that were constantly at war. By 221BC, Qin Shi Huang was able to bring the seven states under his control. After that, Qin Shi Huang became the first emperor in Chinese history. According to the Encyclopedia of World Biography, the author had particularly given us a point that Qin Shi Huang began a series of reforms to consolidate his rule with the defeat complete and the establishment of his emperorship. (Szczepanski) Thanks to Qin Shi Huang’s political talent and sensible policies, those reforms helped the Qin Dynasty restore the economy after war. In order to consolidate his rule, he reformed by unifying currency, word, and measures. Even though he unified the Chinese characters in writing, which promoted the development of culture, he also suppressed scholars who were not to his liking. Consequently, many scholars involved were killed in the capital of the Qin Dynasty. In spite of this, he still is the best there ever was.
All in all, these two powerful, talented, and brutal leaders promoted the development of Chinese history. Comparing the two great emperors, Genghis Khan was so

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Genghis Khan (ca. 1162–1227) and the Mongols are invariably associated with terrible tales of conquest, destruction, and bloodshed. This famed clan leader and his immediate successors created the largest empire ever to exist, spanning the entire Asian continent from the Pacific Ocean to modern-day Hungary in Europe. Such an empire could not have been shaped without visionary leadership, superior organizational skills, the swiftest and most resilient cavalry ever known, an army of superb archers (the “devil’s horsemen” in Western sources), the existence of politically weakened states across Asia, and, of course, havoc and devastation.

Yet, the legacy of Genghis Khan, his sons, and grandsons is also one of cultural development, artistic achievement, a courtly way of life, and an entire continent united under the so-called Pax Mongolica (“Mongolian Peace”). Few people realize that the Yuan dynasty in China (1279–1368) is part of Genghis Khan’s legacy through its founder, his grandson Kublai Khan (r. 1260–95). The Mongol empire was at its largest two generations after Genghis Khan and was divided into four main branches, the Yuan (empire of the Great Khan) being the central and most important. The other Mongol states were the Chaghatay khanate in Central Asia (ca. 1227–1363), the Golden Horde in southern Russia extending into Europe (ca. 1227–1502), and the Ilkhanid dynasty in Greater Iran (1256–1353).

The Mongols were remarkably quick in transforming themselves from a purely nomadic tribal people into rulers of cities and states and in learning how to administer their vast empire. They readily adopted the system of administration of the conquered states, placing a handful of Mongols in the top positions but allowing former local officials to run everyday affairs. This clever system allowed them to control each city and province but also to be in touch with the population through their administrators. The seat of the Great Khanate in Dadu (Beijing) was the center of the empire, with all its pomp and ceremony, whereas the three semi-independent Central and western Asian domains of the Chaghatay, the Golden Horde, and the Ilkhanids were connected through an intricate network that crisscrossed the continent. Horses, once a reliable instrument of war and conquest, now made swift communication possible, carrying written messages through a relay system of stations. A letter sent by the emperor in Beijing and carried by an envoy wearing his paiza, or passport, could reach the Ilkhanid capital Tabriz, some 5,000 miles away, in about a month.

The political unification of Asia under the Mongols resulted in active trade and the transfer and resettlement of artists and craftsmen along the main routes. New influences were thus integrated with established local artistic traditions. By the middle of the thirteenth century, the Mongols had formed the largest contiguous empire in the world, uniting Chinese, Islamic, Iranian, Central Asian, and nomadic cultures within an overarching Mongol sensibility.

Genghis Khan’s grandson Hülegü (died 1265) subdued Iran in 1256 and conquered Baghdad, the capital of the ‘Abbasid caliphate, in 1258. Hülegü’s dynasty—the Ilkhanids, or Lesser Khans—ruled this area, called Greater Iran, until about 1353. After their rapid gain of power in the Muslim world, the Mongol Ilkhanids nominally reported to the Great Khan of the Yuan dynasty in China, and in the process imported Chinese models to better define their tastes. However, the new rulers were greatly impressed by the long-established traditions of Iran, with its prosperous urban centers and thriving economy, and they quickly assimilated the local culture. The Mongol influence on Iranian and Islamic culture gave birth to an extraordinary period in Islamic art that combined well-established traditions with the new visual language transmitted from eastern Asia.

Stefano Carboni
Department of Islamic Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Qamar Adamjee
Department of Islamic Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

October 2003

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