A Franciscan friar who in went to seek out the Great Khan in the hope of persuading him to become a Christian reported that, during a siege of a Chinese city, a Mongol army ran out of food and ate one of every ten of its own soldiers. On their treeless steppes, they tended to get hit by lightning a lot. They wore armor made of scales of iron sewn to garments of thick hide, and iron helmets that sometimes came to a point on top.
Their swords were short and sometimes curved. The notches in their arrows were too narrow to fit the wider bowstrings of the Western people they fought, so that the arrows could not be picked up and shot back at them. Mongol bows, made of layers of horn and sinew on a wooden frame, took two men to string.
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Warriors carried them strung, in holsterlike cases at their belts. The globally eye-opening books of Marco Polo would not have been possible without the safe passage provided for him by Mongol power. Mongols were curious about religions, and tolerant toward them. Mongol armies sometimes did not destroy churches, mosques, and monasteries. Eventually, many of the Mongol hordes combined their own shamanist beliefs with the Islam or Buddhism prevailing in the lands they overran. Unlike previous steppe barbarians, the Mongols had a strong body of laws, the yasaq, based on the decrees of Genghis Khan, and in many cases it remained in place for centuries in their conquered territories.
In general, the Mongols were well organized. By the fifteenth century, better defenses and the increased sophistication of firearms began to give civilized places an advantage over Mongol horsemen in warfare. The Mongols were becoming less dangerous, too, as they took up the domesticated customs of people they had ruled. Sonam Gyatso, who became the Dalai Lama in , set out on a missionary journey to Mongolia in , performed many miracles on the way, and was greeted by the Mongols with rejoicing.
In less than a generation, many Mongols had become Lamaists, renouncing not only warfare but all other violence, including hunting and hawking. Today the Tibetan Buddhists believe that the saintly Sonam Gyatso is alive in his latest reincarnation, in the person of Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama, recently seen smiling beatifically in ads for a computer brand.
During the time of Hulagu, the Mongols were still centuries from being peaceable.
Hulagu was the third-youngest among four brothers, all of them famous: Mongke, who outmaneuvered rivals to become khan in , and who died of dysentery; Kubilai, arguably the most powerful khan ever, who occupied Peking and founded a Chinese dynasty that lasted almost a hundred years; Hulagu, an il-khan, or subsidiary khan, whose domains were in Persia and the west; and Arigh-boke, who rebelled against Kubilai and held out for years until Kubilai defeated him.
Because the Mongols absorbed many peoples and tolerated different religions, they soon had Buddhists, Muslims, Taoists, and even Christians among them. Hulagu was educated by a Nestorian Christian priest.
Nestorians held a less exalted view of the divinity of Christ, and were regarded by the Roman and Orthodox churches as heretics. Dokuz-khatun was said to be descended from one of the wise men who visited the baby Jesus in the manger. Hulagu seems never to have become a Christian himself, but members of the faith in the middle east saw him as their champion. Great sorrow came to all the Christians throughout the world.
Mongols destroyed cities; Islam built them. Along the way, they founded new cities or enlarged old ones, and, of all the cities of early Islam, Baghdad became the wonder. The Abbassid caliphate lasted for five hundred years. Mansour chose the small village of Baghdad, on the Tigris, as the site for his future capital because of its possibilities for transportation and agriculture. He also liked its remoteness.
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The name Baghdad, however, prevailed. Within forty years, Baghdad had become the storied and romantic place it would forever be in popular imagination. Poets who pleased the caliph might have pearls poured upon them; concubines for his harem sold for tens of thousands of gold dirhams. Almost everybody in ninth-century Baghdad could read and write. While Europe still moiled in its Dark Ages, Baghdad was a city of booksellers, bathhouses, gardens, game parks, libraries.
Harun al-Rashid was the first chess-playing caliph; Baghdadis also played checkers and backgammon. Translators took Greek works and rendered them into Arabic, in which they were preserved to be translated into European languages several centuries later. The palaces of the caliphs were of marble, rare woods, jade, and alabaster, with fountains and interior gardens, and carpets and wall hangings by the thousand. Servants sprinkled guests with sprinklers of rosewater and powdered musk and ambergris. Because of the need for accuracy in setting the religious calendar and orienting mosques to face Mecca, astronomy was especially important.
Its cooks knew how to make highly complicated dishes, and sweets like halvah and baklava. Political changes made the caliph less powerful, limiting his temporal domain to Baghdad and nearest regions, though Sunni Muslims in other places still accepted his spiritual authority. The city remained a center of wealth and commerce, and an imposing sight architecturally.
Caliph Mustasim, the thirty-seventh in the Abbassid line, who became caliph in , had confidence that his house would reign until Resurrection Day. Rumors of the approach of the Mongol army in did not worry him. During the reign of his father, the armies of the caliph had been among a very few opponents to defeat and turn back the Mongols. From deep in Mongolia Hulagu set out in , marching westward at the head of a large force that included siege-engine experts of several nationalities.
His trebuchets could hurl huge rocks, and smaller stones covered in flaming naphtha, and his arbalesters could shoot bolts dipped in burning pitch a distance of twenty-five hundred paces. Would you like to view this in our Australian edition? Would you like to view this in our Asia edition? Would you like to view this in our German edition? Would you like to view this in our French edition?
Would you like to view this in our Spanish edition? Would you like to view this in our Brazilian edition? Grandes interrogantes que no nos ha resuelto Disney. Looks Destacados. Fitness con Cata. Herald Sun. The Herald and Weekly Times. Consultado el 19 de febrero de Undercover FM. Archivado desde el original el 27 de abril de Consultado el 28 de abril de Archivado desde el original el 23 de julio de Consultado el 13 de septiembre de Minogue's Official Website.
EMI Group. Archivado desde el original el 6 de enero de Archivado desde el original el 5 de diciembre de Consultado el 2 de diciembre de La Cronica de Hoy. EMI Music Group. Archivado desde el original el 5 de marzo de Consultado el 2 de marzo de Archivado desde el original el 18 de abril de Consultado el 14 de marzo de Music Actu. You can find much of that pueblo feeling even in parts of Madrid! Madrid is one of the best cities in the world in my opinion and you can get the best of the village life along with a super vibrant culture and nightlife.
In any case, best of luck with your move. Hey Casie, your article made me feel a little bit proud about this country. This is a big city but it belongs to everyone who lives in here. Any help write me! I am not a psychokiller or something… Madrid sunset would be nice if you are in the right place. Are you teaching again? Eso iba a decir yo, que desde toda la zona alta que comprende desde el Palacio de Oriente hasta el parque del Oeste se pueden contemplar unas puestas de sol espectaculares.
I have truly enjoyed your post, Casie Casey? You clearly posess a lovely mindset and the ability to discover the beauty beyond your own constraints. Roy, thank you so much! It means a lot. Everyone can find a place…so good luck in your new adventure and thanks for such a nice post!
Hoy can look at the sunsets in Madrid too. Of course not in downtown, but there are a lot of places.
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Good to know…. Live is to enjoy each and every moment at a time.
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Life lessons to live by. Thank you our Wandering Casiedilla for your wisdom. I love the idea of speaking honestly! What a lovely post! Yes at all, but this things are at small towns, im from spain, and i can say all the same. I assume they were joking when they put Ted Mosby on a Mexican hat saying that he was going to Spain. And more. I assume they were joking as well. What a stupid comment… Did you read the whole blog to understand why she mixes several aspects of different Spanish cultures in the introducing picture?