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The Rise of The Golden Horde
May 4, 1997
The Mongols rose to power because they were a highly advanced culture as seen through their
military technology, their trade and preservation of elaborate art work, and their fair
The Mongols were one of the most feared groups in history. The very mention of the
name "Genghis Khan" struck terror into every king and every peasant. How did a scattered
collection of goat herders, led by the fatherless child of a minor chieftain, build the largest
empire in history? How were they able to build an empire that would eventually stretch across
Asia, India, the Mid-East and Eastern Europe? The Mongols were able to rise to power because
they were a highly advanced culture as seen through their military technology, their trade and
preservation of elaborate art work, and their fair administrative policy.
One of the greatest factors in the Mongol\'s favor was their highly advanced military
technology. Mongols were so skilled at siege-craft that they rarely lost when besieging a castle.
In order to use the latest in military siege craft, the Mongols contracted Chinese and Middle
Eastern engineers who could design, build and use siege devices like catapults (Lemonick, 67).
On one occasion the Mongols built their own wall outside the city\'s own walls so they could
shoot missiles from relative safety. When the Mongols besieged a city, they also used many
ingenious strategies. One of the most commonly used Mongol tactic was to besiege the city for a
while, then fall back. The army inside the city walls, thinking the Mongols were retreating,
would open the gates and come out in pursuit. From there the powerful Mongols would destroy
the tired army, which was probably suffering water and food shortages inside the sealed-off
walls. One very clever tactic used by the Mongols was the use of water.
"On one occasion that the caliph\'s troops ventured forth, the Mongols broke a dike
behind them, trapping them with flood waters." (Edwards, The Great Khans, 25)
This quote refers to an incident when the city of Nishapur, capital of Shah Mohammed. The
Mongols used almost the same strategy when attacking Xi Xia. The Mongols, unable to take the
city by conventional means, looked to a nearby river and broke its levy. This flood either
threatened to or did destroy the city\'s wall, and forced the city to surrender (Edwards, Lord of the
Mongols, 37). The Mongols also