Category Archives: Muslim Empire

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 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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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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More about the Mongols

The Mongols’ cultural ways were so different that by comparison, Arabs and Europeans look like they’re part of one single culture. In a way, they were; they were all part of the Mediterranean continuum. They had been influencing each other … Continue reading

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Temujin’s Rise, 1206-1218

Far away, in a part of the world utterly unknown to Europe, a world-changer had been born around 1167. Temujin,¬†or Genghis Khan, is one of those people in history whose intelligence still shines brightly. First, Genghis is pronounced Jengis. Modern … Continue reading

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The Fifth Crusade, 1216-1221

With many French and Anglo-Norman knights already fighting a Crusade in France, and several crowned heads excommunicated, the pickings were slim for a major crusade effort. After Pope Innocent III died, his successor Honorius III inherited the task. Pope Honorius … Continue reading

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