Medieval Warfare Vol V, Issue 6: A Scourge from the Steppes - The Mongol invasion of Europe

Medieval Warfare Vol V, Issue 6: A Scourge from the Steppes - The Mongol invasion of Europe

Medieval Warfare Vol V, Issue 6: A Scourge from the Steppes - The Mongol invasion of Europe

Given the military focus of this magazine it is hardly surprising that the Mongols don't emerge well from these articles. A great military machine yes, but also one that was obscenely destructive, committing countless atrocities from China to Eastern Europe. The Mongols may well have been willing to employ the talents of people regardless of their religion, but in order to take advantage of that tolerance you had to survive their willingness to massacre people regardless of religion.

The introduction looks at the Mongol's first moves to the west, including their destruction of the Khwarizmian Empire and Subotai's first raid into the west, defeating Georgian and Russian armies with some ease.

The first full article covers a rather different topic – the first Christian mission to visit the Mongol court. A Franciscan friar, Givoanni da Pian del Carpine, successfully crossed half the world to visit Karakorum in eastern Mongolia. On his return to Europe he published an account of his visit, 'The Story of the Mongols', which gave the western world its first accurate information about the Mongols.

Second comes a look at the sons of Genghis Khan, their military careers, and the uses made of the descendants of his four legitimate sons. Although one key strength of Genghis Khan was his willingness to use talented men from outside his tribe, his own family also played a key part in the success of the Mongols. 

The article on Mongol arms and armour is interesting, suggesting that the Mongols used a wider range of weapons than is normally acknowledged.

Two articles look at Mongol military campaigns, the equally devastating invasions of Poland and Russia, in which well lead and united Mongol armies defeated disorganised and disunited European armies, leaving an indelible mark on both countries.

Away from the main theme there are articles on the way reputation worked in Scandinavia, the armies of the Frankish civil wars of the Merovingian period and the practical uses of Vegetius in the Middle Ages.

Paul Sjöberg, 'Historical introduction - The Scourge of God'.
Filippo Donvito, 'The travels of Giovanni da Pian del Carpine - Mission to the Great Khan'.
Kurt Hamilton, 'Genghis Khan and his sons - All in the family'.
Borja Pelegro, 'Weapons & armour of the Mongol warrior - Storm from the steppes'.
William E. Welsh, 'The Mongol devastation of Poland - The Battle of Legnica'.
Konstantin Nossov, 'The Mongols' western campaign - The ravage of Rus''.
Jukka Salonen, 'Reputation in medieval Scandinavia - Law and honour'.
Peter van Dop, 'Frankish armies in the 6th century - The King's tool'.
Murray Dahm, 'The use of Vegetius in the Middle Ages - Learning from the Romans'.

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