The Mongols

Information on the battlefield tactics, military operations, and warrior culture of Genghis Khan and his descendants


Portrait of Genghis Khan on a hillside in Ulaanbaatar, 2006

Who Was Who in the Mongol Empire?

Genghis Khan Without Temujin, the man who became Genghis Khan, the Mongol Empire would not have occurred. Genghis Khan was a strong, charismatic, disciplined military genius who gathered all the Mongol and Turkic tribes of Mongolia under his command through political...
Mongol cavalry archery from Rashid-al-Din Hamadani's Universal History using the Mongol bow

The Mongol Empire’s Best Weapon: The Mongolian Horse

Click here to listen to this blog post The Mongol army’s battle tactics depended on their sturdy, agile and durable horses. With their Mongol horses and compound bows, the Mongol armies conquered lands from China to Hungary, from northern India to Russia. The Mongol...
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What Made the Mongol Army So Successful, Part 2

Listen to this blog post here In previous articles on the Mongol Empire at war, we discussed some of the things that made this army so spectacularly successful: training, archery, discipline, breakup of tribal groups, Mongol horses and mobility and speed. While all...
Mongol light cavalryman. Chinese miniature, Ming dynasty. Ink and colour on paper. Victoria and Albert Museum, London

What Made the Mongol Army So Successful?

Listen to this blog post about the Mongol Army here How could a force of 100,000 mounted, lightly armored warriors armed with bow and arrows defeat nearly every other army that came against them? Most of the Mongol’s enemies outnumbered them by the hundreds or...
Genghis Khan as portrayed in a 14th-century Yuan era album

Mongol Empire: Who Was Genghis Khan?

Click here to listen to the post Who was Temujin Borjigin, born in 1162 or so on the steppes of Mongolia? How did this poor, illiterate child grow up to conquer all the countries around him? How did a lowly Mongolian herder become the greatest military genius the...
mongol empire art

Mongol Empire: Arts and Culture

Mongol Empire art was quite sophisticated. While the Mongols didn’t produce much literature or fine art during the Mongol Empire, they appreciated and cultivated the arts of the sedentary peoples around them. The Mongol Khans became great patrons of the arts,...
Mongol "Great Khans" coin, minted at Balkh, Afghanistan, AH 618, 1221 CE

Mongol Trade: Linking East to West

Even before the rise of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire, the Mongols favored trade. As a pastoral, nomadic people, their lives focused on their herds. For that reason, they made very little among themselves and Mongol trade was a cornerstone of their society. They...
A paiza, an official pass with Mongolian inscription reading "By the power of eternal heaven, [this is] an order of the Emperor. Whoever does not show respect [to the bearer] will be guilty of an offence."

Mongol Empire: Special Features

Every empire has unusual features; the Romans, for instance, were civil engineers extraordinaire, building aqueducts and roads still in use today, thousands of years later. The Mongol Empire was noted for its sheer military power, a rapid communication system based on...
Alexander Nevsky standing near Mongol shaman in the Golden Horde. Painting by Henryk Siemiradzki

Mongol Empire and Religious Freedom

The Mongol people were Tengerians, which is a shamanist belief system. Tengerism means to honor the spirits. Shamanism is a form of animism, which holds that everything has a spiritual essence, including rocks, water and plants—everything. Humans are living spiritual...
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