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Culture and Conquest in Mongol Eurasia


  • Page extent: 264 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.4 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521602709 | ISBN-10: 052160270X)

In the thirteenth century, the Mongols created a vast transcontinental empire that functioned as a cultural 'clearing house' for the Old World. Under Mongol auspices various commodities, ideologies and technologies were disseminated across Eurasia. The focus of this path-breaking study is the extensive exchanges between Iran and China. The Mongol rulers of these two ancient civilizations 'shared' the cultural resources of their realms with one another. The result was a lively traffic in specialist personnel and scholarly literature between East and West. These exchanges ranged from cartography to printing, from agriculture to astronomy. The book concludes by asking why the Mongols made such heavy use of sedentary scholars and specialists in the elaboration of their court culture and why they initiated so many exchanges across Eurasia. This is a work of great erudition which crosses new scholarly boundaries in its analysis of communication and culture in the Mongol empire.

• A major new synthesis, engagingly told, path-breaking and erudite in approach • Places Islamic cultural history in a wider Eurasian/world history context • Author is one of the most distinguished authors writing today on Mongol history


Part I. Background: 1. Introduction; 2. Before the Mongols; Part II. Political-Economic Relations: 3. Formation of the Il-qans, 1251–65; 4. Grand Qans and Il-qans, 1265–95; 5. Continuity and change under Ghazan, 1295–1304; 6. Sultans and Grand Qans, 1304–35; 7. Economic ties; 8. Overview of the relationship; Part III. Intermediaries: 9. Marco Polo and Po-lo; 10. Qubilai and Bolad Aqa; 11. Rashid al-Din and Pulad chinksank; Part IV. Cultural Exchange: 12. Historiography; 13. Geography and cartography; 14. Agriculture; 15. Cuisine; 16. Medicine; 17. Astronomy; 18. Printing; Part V. Analysis and Conclusions: 19. Models and methods; 20. Agency; 21. Filtering; 22. Summation.


'The focus of this path-breaking study is the extensive exchanges between Iran and China … is informative and erudite and promises to become a classic in the field.' The Middle East

'… will occupy and entertain specialists for some time to come …' Bulletin of the School of Oriental & African Studies

'Thomas Allsen's book is a very compact and informative account of the cultural changes which took place during the supremacy of the Mongols. Allsen is able to share with the reader his impressive knowledge of the Arabic, Persian, and Chinese sources regarding the Mongols. The cross-cultural links, their implications and their background in this highly interesting period of history are presented in a systematic manner, making the book of great value for scholars in a variety of fields.' Bibliotheca Orientalis

'… this is mature scholarship at its best, and a must not only for every student of the Mongol empire, but also for cultural and world historians, historians of China and the Muslim world, and anybody interested in the ongoing exchange between East and West.' Journal of the American Oriental Society

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