Mongols: angels or devils?
I've been enjoying a lovely row - conducted of course with the politest of stilletos - on H-Asia over the nature of the Mongol conquest and empire.
Posters fall roughly into three camps:
* There were total barbarians who killed even the cockroaches (roughly the Chinese camp, or those relying on Chinese sources).
* They were only behaving according to the norms of the times, and the dictates of real politik (the Mongol camp)
* They were pretty bad, but then so were Chinese rulers (which you might class as the "you can't trust any ruler" camp)
It also pointed me in the direction of an interesting review of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, by Jack Weatherford, which made a bit of a splash recently, and it seems presents an alternative to the book on which I recently posted which attributes the Renaissance to the Arabs.
Another pointer was to an article on Attitudes towards Conversion Among the Elite in the Mongol Empire.
I have what I might describe as a mild interest in the Mongols, having visit the supposed burial place of the great Genghis, one of the most fascinating days of my life. (There's an article I wrote about it here.)
Other recommended reads, included Thomas Allsen, Culture and Conquest in Mongol Eurasia(Cambridge University Press, 2001) and Nicola Di Cosmo, ed. Warfare in Inner Asian History 500-1800. Neither in the London Library, but you can request purchases ...
If I could only give up sleeping, how much time I'd have to read.