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In the Shadow of the Mongol Empire
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Book description

During the thirteenth century, the Mongols created the greatest empire in human history. Genghis Khan and his successors brought death and destruction to Eurasia. They obliterated infrastructure, devastated cities, and exterminated peoples. They also created courts in China, Persia, and southern Russia, famed throughout the world as centers of wealth, learning, power, religion, and lavish spectacle. The great Mongol houses established standards by which future rulers in Eurasia would measure themselves for centuries. In this ambitious study, David M. Robinson traces how in the late fourteenth century the newly established Ming dynasty (1368–1644) in China crafted a narrative of the fallen Mongol empire. To shape the perceptions and actions of audiences at home and abroad, the Ming court tailored its narrative of the Mongols to prove that it was the rightful successor to the Mongol empire. This is a story of how politicians exploit historical memory for their own gain.


'By concentrating on the ambivalence and uncertainty with which the early Ming viewed their mighty Mongol predecessors, David M. Robinson provides a new and richly-nuanced history which moves well beyond centuries-old stereotypes. This is a major contribution to the history of Eurasia, the implications of which should change our view of imperial China's place in the world.'

Craig Clunas - University of Oxford

'David M. Robinson has produced a superbly researched study that tells the story of the early Ming dynasty’s reckoning with and refashioning of the memory and legacy of Mongol rule in China. The book vividly illustrates the continent-wide extent of Mongol ruling culture, and presents a fresh and insightful new portrait of the Ming dynastic founder.'

Nicola Di Cosmo - Institute for Advanced Study, New Jersey

'By revealing for the first time Zhu Yuanzhang’s monumental project of legitimating his rule in terms of the Mongol imperial legacy, David M. Robinson has completely rewritten our understanding of not only the Ming dynasty and Chinese history, but also the history of early modern Eurasia.'

Johan Elverskog - Southern Methodist University, Texas

‘… this learned book contributes to the study of global history, aided by Robinson's clear and jargon-free writing, though readers should be generally familiar with Asian history.’

M. Rossabi Source: Choice

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  • 1 - Eurasia after the Fall
    pp 29-46


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