Views of the Mongols DBQ

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The Mongols were a group of nomadic people who were known for not only their ferocity in battle but also their tolerance of other cultures. Over the course of their many empires, the Mongols conquered lands from as far as the Korean peninsula to the Islamic civilizations of the Middle East. The movement of the Mongol people into these areas was met with mixed opinions, as members of some societies respected the braveness of the Mongols while others saw them as destructive. According to Ala-ad-Din Ata-Malik Juvaini, 15th century Korean scholars, and Rashid al-Din, the Mongols were a group of tolerant people who attempted to eradicate injustice and corruptness (1,3,4). However, members of other societies viewed the Mongols as coldhearted and merciless because of the damage they dealt in the conquest of Russian cities and the taxes they forced upon their conquered societies (1,2). Nonetheless, some scholars and historians recognized the Mongols power and braveness, but were indifferent with their views of the Mongol civilization.
Firstly, the Mongol society was viewed as merciful and fair-minded. According to Ala-ad-Din Ata-Malik Juvaini, a Persian historian who served the Mongols as the governor of Baghdad in the 1200’s, the Mongols would not use excessive punishments when collecting taxes from their tributaries. Likewise, Korean scholars who documented the battle of Kuju between the Mongols and the Koreans in the 15th century reported that after the battle an elderly Mongol general recognized the Korean military leaders for their persistence and courage in their refusal to surrender. The general said he believed that these leaders would become distinguished rulers of the state, and in fact it came to pass. Another instance ...

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... were positive, one may argue that these individuals only saw the tolerant and fair-minded side of the Mongols, and not the relentless warrior part of the society who was known for its “dirty” tactics of war, which went as far as launching diseased-ridden corpses over the walls of castles during sieges. Alternatively, one may argue that the scholars who provided negative documentation of the Mongols only saw the destructive side, not the open-minded side of the society who were known for their cultural acceptance. Although these accounts allowed for an adequate idea of the nature of the Mongols, a record from a peasant who was not a member of the upper class in their society, as all reports presented were from historians, scholars, and political leaders. This would allow for a different perspective on the issue and would produce a better understanding of the topic.

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