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The Introduction to our volume starts by delineating changing attitudes towards the word “empire” in Western scholarship from the 20th to the 21st century. It then explains our concept of an empire as an entity with strongly pronounced aspirations to attain universal rule and with clear hegemonic position in its macro-region. We continue with a brief outline of the three waves of the empires’ formation in five Eurasian macro-regions (Near East, South Asia, Europe, East Asia, and the Inner Asian steppe belt). The second half of the Introduction deals with the factors that influenced spatial dimensions of Eurasian empires — from ideological and religious commitment to attaining universal rule to a variety of ecological, military, economic, and administrative considerations that prevented the empires’ leaders from realizing this goal. The multiplicity of these factors suffices to caution against any attempt to create a neat uniform scheme that would explain the empires’ expansion and contraction.
This study seeks to explain how the Mongol imperial space was created and administrated by the Mongols and conceived by the Mongols and their subjects mainly in Yuan China and Ilkhanid Iran. It stresses the interplay between the Mongols’ universal vision, their construction of a “Chinggisid space,” and the revival of “glocal” (i.e., local with global characteristic) spatial concepts in Mongol-ruled China and Iran. It starts by reviewing Mongol expansion, analyzing the reasons for its unprecedented success and the impact of its halt, and concludes in assessing the impact of the Mongol Empire on the shaping of the post-Mongol imperial space across Eurasia.
All major continental empires proclaimed their desire to rule 'the entire world', investing considerable human and material resources in expanding their territory. Each, however, eventually had to stop expansion and come to terms with a shift to defensive strategy. This volume explores the factors that facilitated Eurasian empires' expansion and contraction: from ideology to ecology, economic and military considerations to changing composition of the imperial elites. Built around a common set of questions, a team of leading specialists systematically compare a broad set of Eurasian empires - from Achaemenid Iran, the Romans, Qin and Han China, via the Caliphate, the Byzantines and the Mongols to the Ottomans, Safavids, Mughals, Russians, and Ming and Qing China. The result is a state-of-the art analysis of the major imperial enterprises in Eurasian history from antiquity to the early modern that discerns both commonalities and differences in the empires' spatial trajectories.
The Mongol conquest of Baghdad in 656/1258 has often been described as a medieval holocaust, an extremely violent act, which led not only to the collapse of the ‘Abbāsid caliphate (750–1258) and the city of Baghdad, but to the decline of Islamic civilisation as a whole. Clichés such as: ‘If the Mongols had not burnt the libraries of Baghdad in the 13th century, we Arabs would have had so much science, that we would long since have invented the atomic bomb’ can still be heard in the Arab world. Moreover, this anachronistic view has been revived in the last decade when the Mongol conquest of Baghdad became a favourable metaphor for the American occupation of 2003. Descriptions of the fall of Baghdad as an act of infidels’ vandalism directed against Islamic or Iraqi civilisation or as a burst of violence that took centuries to overcome prevail in contemporary Arabic literature and in Muslim Internet sites, as well as in some of the Western general surveys that seek to explain Iraq from Chinggis Khan to Saddam Hussein and after.
This chapter aims to look afresh at the question of violence in the conquest of Baghdad. While not denying that the conquest was a violent occupation, it highlights the non-violent means that were involved in it, and the ways in which such violence was understood and legitimised by the contemporaneous Muslim writers. On the basis of biographical literature from both the Īl-Khānate and the Mamlūk sultanate, it argues that the violence was not addressed towards the Islamic civilisation as a whole, and that the non-violent means and Baghdad's swift and overall successful restoration contributed significantly to the legitimation and marginalisation of the violence involved in the conquest in the collective memory of the Eastern Islamic world until the rise of nationalism. As a starting point I would like to refer to a unique and highly personal eye-witness account of the conquest, which is quite different from its conventional descriptions.
The evidence in question is that of ‘Abd al-Mu’min b. Yūsuf b. Fākhir Ṣafī al-Dīn Urmawī, one of the more illustrious musical artists and theoreticians in the Muslim world.
As is well known, Hülegü, Chinggis Khan's grandson and the founder of the
Ilkhanate (r. 658–664/1260-65), never converted to Islam. Moreover, as the
man who annihilated the Abbasid Caliphate (750-1258), that had led the
Islamic umma for more than half a millennium, Hülegü was
often portrayed—albeit mainly outside his realm—as one of the great
destroyers of Islam. Yet around the mid-seventh/fourteenth century we find
at least two different conversion stories relating to Hülegü in both
Ilkhanid and Mamluk sources, both allegedly originating in Baghdad. This
paper aims to present these narratives and analyse their origin and use in
the context of the later or post-Ilkhanate period. I may say already at this
stage that I have more questions than answers, and that my explanations as
to why such stories were invented are rather speculative.
The nomadic Mongols embarked upon an unprecedented mobilization of peoples, goods and ideas to forge the largest contiguous empire the world has known. This chapter focuses on the Mongols' promotion of cultural, religious and economic exchange. It also discusses the legacy that they bequeathed to future empires and the Mongols' imperial enterprise. The basis for supra-tribal unity in Mongolia was the legacy of the prior steppe empires, most notably the Turks, as these polities bequeathed a religio-political ideology and templates for military organization. The immense size of the Mongol Empire encouraged cross-cultural ties both within and beyond its borders, as no polity had hitherto commanded such a large portion of Eurasia's talent pool. The Mongols cultivated economic ties that extended well beyond the empire's borders. The Chinggisids' bequeathed a different institutional legacy to each of the various civilizations that they encountered.
This chapter describes the various stages of lexical retrieval process, their biolinguistic bases and neural correlates, and the patterns of acquired and developmental anomias that result from selective deficits in each of the stages. It also describes various types of anomia. The chapter focuses on the characteristics of selective anomias, namely, what happens when an individual has a single deficit along the lexical retrieval process. Semantic errors occur both in a semantic lexicon impairment and in a phonological lexicon impairment. To demonstrate how children and adolescents with lexical retrieval impairments may be classified into the different anomia patterns, the chapter presents four case studies, whose loci of impairment are summarized. There are several methods to map the functional components of lexical retrieval onto specific brain locations. One group of methods assesses brain activations in the healthy brain; the other assesses brain areas in individuals with anomia.
Chinggis's campaign into the Muslim world of Central Asia, a watershed in the region's history, completed his transformation from a successful nomadic chieftain on the fringes of China to a world-conqueror on an unparalleled scale. The speedy annihilation of the Qara Khitai and Khwārazm (Khorezm) Shāh realms not only drastically enlarged the territories and manpower under Chinggis's control, but also bolstered his public image as someone predestined by Heaven to conquer the entire world. Moreover, these conquests closely exposed him to Muslim sedentary culture, different from that of China, which for centuries had been the major reference point for the nomads of Mongolia, thereby greatly enlarging the stock of administrative, military and cultural tools at his disposal. As for Central Asia, much of the region's subsequent political culture, ethnic composition and concepts of legitimacy and law go back to Chinggis Khan. Yet the century and a half that followed the Mongol conquest was far from being the region's golden age. Moreover, the history of Chinggisid Central Asia, largely associated with the Chaghadaid khanate, is less studied in comparison with contemporary Mongol states or with other periods of Central Asian history, because of the paucity of written sources. This chapter reviews the political history of Central Asia under the Mongols up to 1347 and then briefly discusses major economic and cultural-religious phenomena.