Author Archives: Ruth

Sack of Jerusalem, 1244

When the Mongols invaded the land of Khwarezmia, south of the Aral Sea, they sent a wave of ferocious refugees who had been the toughest kids on the block until the Mongols showed them up. Bands of Khwarezmian fighters went … Continue reading

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Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes, 1244

Jalal ad-Din Mohammed Rumi was born in Balkh, Afghanistan in 1207. There’s some unpacking to be done here: I think Mohammed would have been his father’s personal name, and Jalal his own. Ad-Din, of course, was a chosen or consensus-given … Continue reading

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The Battle on the Ice: 1242

The Mongols had not touched the city-state of Novgorod, as it was just out of range to north and west. In this period, the region is known as the Novgorod Republic.¬†Novgorod was ruled by a Prince who was appointed or … Continue reading

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The Barons’ Crusade, 1239-1241

Historians who later numbered the Crusades did something very odd at this point. Emperor Frederick II’s peaceful negotiation for a ten-year control of Jerusalem was the Sixth Crusade, but when that time ran out and a new army came to … Continue reading

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Baba Ishak’s revolt, 1239

I want to talk about a minor revolt that took place in Anatolia between 1239 and 1241 not because it’s important on the world stage, but because it illustrates very clearly the strains in the Muslim world at this time. … Continue reading

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The Khan’s Grandsons and the Golden Horde, 1236-41

The four ruling sons of Genghis Khan didn’t last long. Jochi, the controversial oldest son, died before his father. So already at the Great Khan’s death, grandsons had been assigned to rule parts of the western Empire. Batu was the … Continue reading

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Stupor Mundi and the Sixth Crusade, 1229

While the Mongols were trampling Central Asia, life went on as before for the European West and the Middle East. During the years of Temujin’s rise, Europe was focused on the young King of Sicily and Germany, who had finally … Continue reading

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Death of Genghis Khan, 1228

Genghis Khan had been having a serious internal family problem during the later campaigns. Although he had promoted on a merit basis for years, and although he railed against aristocratic inheritance, in truth of course he wanted his sons to … Continue reading

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Mongols invade Christendom, 1222-3

In four years, Genghis Khan had trampled the Muslim East that is now Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. His armies then ran into a serious problem: as they came out of the mountain and steppe country, heat and humidity made … Continue reading

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Mongols invade Islam: 1220-1221

By 1218, the Mongol hordes were ruling the Kara Khitan, the last province that was culturally part of northern China’s long reach. This placed them on the border of the easternmost outpost of the Muslim empire. This eastern territory by … Continue reading

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