History: Knights, Samurai vs Mongols

Samurai and Knights vs Mongols

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The Mongol Effects on Knights and Samurai: a Comparative Study.

By: Benjamin Junk Germanic Knights

Knights and Samurai: A Comparative Study

The Japanese samurai and European knightly classes represent some of the most chronicled and impressive military forces of their time. Bred for battle, they helped to strengthen both areas of the world and bring about some order and semblance of peace. On opposite sides of the world, little ties them together, but there is one undeniable connection between the samurai of Japan and the knights of Europe: their mutual problem, the Mongols. In the 13th century the Mongols swept across much of Asia, even subduing the formidable Chinese. Then into the Middle East and on into Eastern Europe the Mongols kept coming until they were at the doors of both the Japanese samurai and the European knight. The Mongols were fast moving master horsemen who subjugated or destroyed all in their path. Never before or since has such a large land based empire been created at such a dizzying pace. The knights and samurai alike prepared for this unbeatable foe, but how?

The Knights and the Latin West would at first see the world come crashing in around them, until by the 14th century, the Mongol world became an opening to the new world of Asia. With this came knowledge, science, and most of all trade with Asia which had not existed previously. If fact, it can even be argued that opening Asia and interactions with the Muslim world spurred the Renaissance and changed the knightly classes themselves. The knights learned new tactics and improved their weaponry, assuring the Mongols could not dominate them. In turn, Europe learnt to dominate not only with guns, but more powerfully by spreading the Christian faith.

The story played a bit differently in Japan. Barely weathering two Mongol invasions and not because of their own fighting prowess but because of typhoons. The Japanese and Japan herself survived. Instead of taking lessons from the Mongols on fighting tactics, and becoming more open to trade and technology the Japanese closed their country and in effect helped perpetuate the samurai’s dominance and role in society. Symbolic of their approach, physical and costly defense against the Mongols was the wall constructed around Hakata in the southern island of Kyushu. This project weakened the Kamakura (bakufu) government and paved the way for the samurai to reign supreme in Japan until the Meiji period in the 18th century. Ultimately the Mongols taught Japan that if an enemy was going to come for Japan, it would come through Korea. This lesson would play a key role in all future Japanese military and diplomatic plans.

These dramatically contrasting responses were to alter subsequent centuries. Reacting to the same Mongol threat, their approaches were totally different. The West grew in many areas of knowledge and culture while Japan walled up itself to the world. True, both benefited from geography more than from success in battle with the Mongols. Not only was Japan a chain of mountainous islands ill suited to cavalry even if it could be transported to her shores, but literally an act of nature, a typhoon – what the Japanese would later call the kamikaze or ‘divine wind’ – saved the day and allowed the Japanese to remain independent. In Europe, the lack of grazing land for the Mongol horses compounded the extreme distance from the Mongol seat of power; moreover, the timely death of Chinggis Kahn and some incredibly fortunate miscommunication helped the West stay out of the path of the rampaging Mongol armies.

Both forces also used an abundant resource, stone, to create an additional barrier to the Mongols. The Japanese built defenses along the coast of Kyushu where the first Mongol invasion occurred and the West fortified castles, building them ever larger. In the end, this many have been another reason neither was ever subdued by the Mongols, who were neither adept at seafaring nor siege warfare. These lands at the extremes of their reach also took the Mongols out of their element, the open field of battle where the Mongol cavalry could crush opposing forces with their organization, speed horsemanship and archery skills. On their own turf, the samurai and knights took away an assured victory and held off their dangerous foe.

The Mongols

The Mongols united under Chinggis Khan, a charismatic and ruthless leader who united the fierce nomadic tribes of Mongolia. A common misconception about the Mongols is that they lived purely as nomads. Indeed, they lived mostly on the land without settling, domesticating animals or farming, but most vital to their survival was trade for grain and other important supplies, which were usually obtained from the Chinese.[1] Chinggis Khan built the Mongol Empire through terror, intimidation, well coordinated troop movements, lighting fast attacks from brilliant mounted archers, and new technology e.g. the Central Asian composite bow[2]. His nomads journeyed and conquered from his Steppe home, overtaking the Tartars and absorbing them, then overrunning parts of Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. In each place it was the same: intimidate and demand surrender; those who surrendered faced homage and loss of independence, but resistance was crushed swiftly and without mercy. In other words, all were slaughtered and word spread of the terrors inflicted on those who resisted the great Chinggis Khan. Some, like Ilbn al Athir, saw the Mongols as the riders of death. ‘The Tartars have done things unparalleled in ancient or modern (13th century) times…May God send a defender to the Muslims for never since the Prophet have they suffered such disasters.[3] However, seeing the peace which ensued Abu’l Ghazi wrote ‘Under the reign of Genghis Khan, all the country between Iran and the land of the Turks enjoyed such peace that a man might have journeyed from the land of sunshine to the land of sunset with a golden platter upon his head without suffering the least violence from anyone.’[4]

When the Ogodei Khan (3rd son of Chinngis) died in 1241 from overdrinking just when the Mongols had devastated the Kingdom of Hungary it left no room between Western Europe and the Mongols. Quick thinking had saved the King of Hungary who escaped and found refuge in the Vatican. In Asia, sections of northern China were under the Khan’s sway. Korea and the south of China appeared ready to fall. Changgis’ death in 1227 changed all of this. A tradition of the steppe dictated that all important leaders in the Mongolian Empire attend the funeral and call a great council meeting to decide what happened next. To ensure the future of his clan and empire, Changgis Khan’s most clever move was to introduce and leave behind his yasaq or ‘legal code’; which not only left his tribesmen an empire but a way to keep it going. The Great Khan was followed by a number of his children, but in 1260 his grandson, Kublai became the new Khan with ambitions first for China, then Europe and Japan. He would preoccupy the knights and samurai with the threat of invasion for the whole of his reign. With the power of the Mongolian Empire, it looked as if he might succeed, but in the end neither Latin Christendom nor Japan would fall to Kublai Khan.

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Samurai of Japan

Korea has always been a link between Japan and the rest of the world and in the late 13th century, the Mongols were the Korean’s new masters. The Kingdom of Koryo, which included the Korean Peninsula and part of Manchuria, had grown tired of repeated attacks by bands of Japanese pirates and in 1227 sent the Japanese government word of their troubles.[5] Quite rightly, the Japanese government, the Kamakura (comprised of a group of Regents), determined that the Koreans had a legitimate complaint and had all the pirates found raiding Korea put to death. This solved a major conflict between the two countries, but Korea, having taken care of one problem, found an even bigger one waiting. The Kublai Kahn became the ruler of all China in 1264 and soon after Korea was ‘obliged to submit to Mongol suzerainty.’[6] The Kahn’s next ‘really tempting target…was Japan,’[7] and in 1268 he sent envoys demanding the ‘King of Japan’ pay homage to Kublai Khan who resided in his new capital of Peking. The response, or better yet, how it came about speaks volumes about Japan and how the government functioned. There were two parts of the government: the everyday rulers, the Kamakura and the Royal Court in Kyoto where the Emperor served as a ‘figurehead, a Great High Priest of the Nation’[8] Naturally, the day-to-day administration was given the information first, but because it was matter of state, the Royal Court along with the Emperor received the threat from Kublai Kahn. In the letter written to the Mongols the court hinted at coming to some kind of agreement or compromise. When the Kamakura leaders were given the poorly drafted document for approval, they quickly destroyed the letter and gave the envoys nothing. This was quite an outrageous act, one on which the Khan had to act.

For the invasion of Japan, Kublai Khan looked to Korea, who had surrendered to the Kahn. ‘The difficulty was that Japan could not be reached by cavalry charge.’[9] Korea had possessed the shipbuilding and seafaring ability the Mongol’s lacked, however, in extracting much of Korea’s wealth and sacking the country the Mongols left the Koreans in no position to help them invade Japan. In fact, because the Kamakura had done their best to stamp out piracy and work with the Korean government before it was taken over by the Mongol’s, relations between the two countries were quite good. This may then account for the Koreans stalling the original envoys in 1266 and also warning and informing Japan of Mongol planned invasions when the Mongolian envoys did make it to Japan in the years 1268 and 1271.[10]

This information was put to good use. The Japanese strengthened defenses around Kyushu and called on warriors from various clans of samurai to prepare for battle. When the invading army did set sail in 1274 with an estimated 15,000 Mongolian and Chinese forces plus 8,000 Koreans, it met with success. The small islands of Tsushima and Iki quickly fell. The next landing was Hakata in Kyushu; if Kyushu fell the Mongols would gain a foothold in Japan. The Kamakura heard the news of the impending invasion of Kyushu and mobilized samurai to meet the invaders. This would be the first all out battle in Japan since the great civil war, the Genpei Wars of the1180’s. Now, over one hundred years later commanders had little knowledge to implement troop movements or engage in maneuvers. Since the Genpei Wars, the Bushido code, literally ‘Way of the Warrior,’ had become the code of the Samurai as they had risen to the fore. ‘It emphasized individual combat between champions and professional samurai who would fight only opponents of similar rank after declaring their names, titles, ancestry and exploits.’[11] This surely was in stark contrast to the Mongolian tactics of well trained soldiers in fine tuned battle formations. Surely, the Mongolians soldiers would have thought the fight in Japan an assured victory when they heard the samurai calling out their names, titles and telling their exploits while the Mongols answered by raining down arrows on them. The Mongolian, Chinese and Korean armies with their superior weaponry and fighting style advanced on Hakata Bay and were able to win a beachhead on the first day of fighting.

What the samurai and their Kamakura commanders learned from this first encounter was that if the Mongols were allowed to get into formation the Japanese stood little chance. Part of samurai honor was not backing down, but despite their honorable ways, things looked grim. That night an annual typhoon raged and with the encouragement of the Koreans, the Mongols gave up the beachhead and boarded their ships to secure them in the rough storm.[12] This was the wrong move. The storm raged so violently nearly half of the force was lost at sea and the remaining invasion forces beat a hasty retreat back to Korea.

The Japanese did fight with passion, but their saving grace was a force of nature. They did learn that Mongolian troops with room to maneuver and fight on land were a nearly unstoppable force. This led to a great building project, the Hakata Wall to help protect the area the Mongols had just invaded. There could be little doubt of another invasion after a summons for the ‘‘King of Japan’ to present himself at Peking to do homage’[13] to the Great Kublai Kahn. This came as a slap in the face of the Kamakura who knew the Mongols would come again. This heightened state of defense drew the country together and the wall was completed in five years. Exceptional timing, because despite his desire to crush the Japanese quickly, the Kahn needed to not only rebuild his invasion fleet, but to not repeat the same mistakes and invade Japan with an overwhelming force. Another loss was not an option. The Koreans were in even worse shape because of the first disaster, but the newly conquered Sung or South Chinese filled the ranks of the next attack force with 100,000 warriors. The Kahn even set up a special department to plan the next invasion, happily named ‘Office for the Chastisement of Japan’. The Kahn was leaving nothing to chance.

Begun in 1281, the second invasion was designed to be a two pronged attack with the 40,000 Korean and Mongols forces from the north and 100,000 Sung Chinese from the south. Again, Japan’s fate looked dire though the military Kamakura had done much to prepare for a second invasion. They trained troops and samurai, built a wall to stop the Mongol army from making their sweeping formations and built ships to wreck havoc with the large invading vessels.[14] The northern army sailed at the Kahn’s order, but the southern army stalled because of poor planning and improper preparation. Again fortune favored Japan.

A problem with large scaled activities, like building a large wall to stop the Mongol invasion is that they tend to be discovered fairly quickly. This was no exception and the Mongol’s northern force struck at the northern edge of the wall. Shortly after, the delayed southern force hit the south of the wall. If either position gave way, the Japanese defending the positions of the inner wall would be slaughtered and the defense of Kyushu would be lost. This time, however, the Kamakura organized the samurai much better and they were prepared for the Mongols. Both sides of the wall held and the Mongols often retreated to the seas after an unsuccessful attack. In the seas lurked the pirates, now defenders of Japan who with their small ships were able to harass the larger less mobile ships of the invaders; in some instances they sank and burned the large ships. From the 23rdof June to the14th of August, the Japanese stubbornly held out. Then, in what would be known as kamikaze, the winds blew again and the storms came. The northern force’s Koreans, fearing a repeat of the last invasion, quickly retreated but still lost a third of their vessels. The less experienced Chinese who comprised the southern group did not make haste and lost an estimated one half of their force; about 50,000 of their men and half their ships perished. Japan was once again safe.

Some historians say the Mongol’s invasions had minimal impact on Japan and the samurai, because they failed. In his History of Japan Tanner devotes only two paragraphs to the invasions and in effect dismisses them for this reason. InHistory of Japan to 1331 Sansom shows in depth how crucial this time and winning the war with the Mongols was for Japan and its future. Belief in kamikaze and the concept of an invincible island are formed from these trials. Being able to withstand such a superior army comprised of such amazing numbers also firmly entrenched the Shinto and Buddhist religions. The timing of the typhoons was crucial and many in Japan looked on this as a real sign that the kami or gods of Japan looked upon the people with favor. The Emperor made a pilgrimage to celebrate the victory, ‘although the Court and the Bakufu (Kamakura government) were willing to echo the clergy in thanks to the divine powers for saving the country, there can be no doubt that the direct cause of the victory was the courage and discipline of a military class which had been formed by Yorimoto and his successors…The development of a well-organized feudal state was therefore most fortunately timed in Japan, and much credit is due to the leaders who built it up, from Yorimoto to the Hojo Regents, in particular Tokiyori and Tokimune.’[15]

There were also consequences to waging such a large war and achieving victory for the Kamakura government. They spent much of Japan’s resources on defenses: building walls, paying samurai and soldiers, building ships and maintaining this defense until 1294, twenty years of constant preparation for war after the first invasion. They confronted several severe problems with the samurai. Samurai were traditionally given new titles, lands and wealth for heroic service, but in the conflict with the Mongols, there was no booty to divide among the victors. Ships sank and no new lands were gained which left the government trying to please warriors who had often spent their own treasure assuming they would be well compensated for their loyalty and heroics. Not so this time, and the government could do little about it as they had all of their resources committed to keeping Japan fortified from further attacks. However, an ‘unanimous opposition of his (Kublai Khan) advisors and his own eventual death (1294) stopped his third attempted invasion of Japan’.[16] Japan finally lowered her defenses after twenty years. True to their warrior code, the samurai were patient and waited for proper payment; in most cases it never came.

Disappointing the samurai coupled with a weakness in the leadership of the Kamakura would eventually lead to its downfall. In Kyushu the feeling of alienation and mistrust of the government ran deep. The once powerful organizers who helped repel the Mongol invasions were weakened to the point that when a question of succession to the throne came up by 1333 they were imbedded in a war over the Emperor which would last for fifty years and end in the Kamakura’s downfall.

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Knights of Europe

No account of the West meeting the Mongols would be complete without the legend of Prester John. At the time, Europeans, the Arab World, and Asia all had relatively the same ideas about each other: other lands were filled with monsters, deformed people or ‘dog-headed men’.[17] To slowly help erode this image of Asia, a most amazing person made his appearance in Rome in 1122. The mysterious Prester John amazed everyone who heard his stories of God’s miracles happening in India and Asia in general. Whether he was a Nestorian or an absolute hoax is open for discussion, but his name came up again in 1144 when ‘…news spread all over Europe that a powerful Christian ruler of the East, called Prester John had inflicted severe defeats on the Moslems.’[18] The common take for Latin Christendom was optimism about Asia, because this lost tribe of Christians would come someday soon to triumph over the Muslims. Prester John became a legend but they were all misjudging the new ‘friends’ from the East.

Western Christendom flourished at the time and the Catholic or ‘universal’ faith was following the ‘successful’ Crusades to the Holy Land and pushing out to the Russian and pagan lands further east. Henry of Livonia’s tale of converting the pagans of Lavonia and creating the Christian town of Riga is a classic example of how the western form of Christianity pushed out into the world by baptizing and building.[19] Henry worked from 1198 to 1226, eventually to see a new city which influenced its neighbors and spread the Christian word.

Thus does Riga always water the nations…By washing the purges of sin and grants the kingdom of the skies. She flourishes with both higher and lower irrigation. These gifts of God are a delight…To vanquish rebels, to baptize those who come voluntarily and humbly…When this is finished, when it is done, when all people are baptized…when the captives freed, return to joy, O Rigans! Brilliantly triumphal victory always follows you. Glory be to the Lord. Praise to God beyond the stars.[20]

The Christian world was flourishing, but it would all come to an end sooner than anyone would have expected. A new menace came not from the Muslim world, but from the unknown area of Prester John: Asia.

There was a chance to see the trouble brewing as the Mongols raged across Russia and Georgia. Reports came to the Pope from both areas, but they left unclear the intents and origins of the invaders themselves. “In 1223 the king of Hungary, Andreas II (1205-35), informed the pope about the coming to Russia of ‘a certain King David or, as he is more usually called, Prester John’’.[21] Then Chinggis Khan died and as per Mongolian custom the warriors returned home to settle who would be the next Khan, no doubt leaving those in the Latin world to ponder the origins and intent of strange people from the East.

What the West missed was that the passing of Chinggis Khan and his naming of his third son as the new Khan sparked a meeting of the quriltai, or great assembly. Traditionally, Mongol Khans’ successors were chosen after the death of the Khan by the quriltai and under Mongol law the eldest son got the ‘hearth’ which is to say he took over the most valuable family properties and the home hut.[22] Chinggis broke both customs which caused quite a stir in the Mongol community. Batu was left Russia and the West and, with the blessing of the new Khan, planned to bring Europe into the Mongolian sphere.[23]

The Dominican Friar Julian tried first to make a barrier of Christian peoples to stop the Mongols. Having failed to make enough inroads for his idea to come to fruition, he fled the oncoming Mongol invasion force. In 1237 he delivered this message, unequivocally to all who could hear, “Their (the Mongols’) main aim is world domination, with Rome as the goal of the next invasion…the Mongols”.[24] As truth tends to do, it vanquished the myth of Prester John when the Mongols returned and came not only into Russia but continued into Poland and Hungary. This left little to the imagination and the veil of Prester John was lifted; the West had an enemy, yet “…nothing was done. Pope and Emperor allowed no mere Mongol invasion to interrupt their bickering, and if Batu had not turned back in 1242 he would not have had to encounter a formidable pan-European force.”[25]Historian Rashid Al-Din makes it clear how the choice of Chinggis’ third son, Ogodei was a good one. He had but one weakness, ‘Qa’an was extremely fond of wine, and (he) drank continuously and to excess.’[26] Ogodei died in 1241 and again the death of the Khan required another meeting of the ‘great assembly’. Europe escaped, thanks to the drink.

Pope Innocent IV (elected in 1243) took the reigns of the papacy and decided to address this growing Mongol threat. He took the Dominicans Friar Julian’s writings, the letters of the exiled Hungarian King Bela and an ecclesiastical Rus named Peter who informed “that the Mongols received embassies favorably (benigne) and did not mistreat them”.[27] Innocent decided more knowledge of the Mongols would be of great benefit and sent three embassies in 1245. The move paid off. This connection allowed Latin Christendom a view of the Mongols, how they worked and what they wanted. Many of the embassies were sent to evangelize the Mongols, but they met with little success, which can easily be explained looking at Mongol principles of law or josun. According to Chinggis’ josun, future Khans from his family “should not favor one religion above any other”.[28] Perhaps this is a precursor to the idea of separation of church and state?

The Mongols never again gained enough strength to stretch their forces and threaten Western Europe. They did manage to hold Rus, Poland, Hungry, Georgia and Romania in Eastern Europe for varying amounts of time. The Papacy continued their embassies and gathering of information on the Mongols and still hoped for a mass conversion. Then it seemed the idea of bringing the Mongols into cooperation with the Latin world might actually happen; 1260 brought a golden chance to make an alliance with a once feared enemy. The Frankish army stationed in Syria chose to remain neutral to the fighting between the Mongols and Muslims, mainly because of good information about the Mongols, “They had no allies, only subjects or enemies.”[29] Second, The Franks were weak and not ready to engage in heavy fighting after being overwhelmed in the battle of La Forbie in 1244.[30] What some through history have seen as a great blunder is now seen as a sensible enough decision when taken in context. The next decades would see a rise in missionary work which would reach all the way to China via the Mongols. Throughout this time, the Mongols requested on various occasions joint efforts aimed at the Muslims, but by this time the West could not garner public will to support another crusade to the Holy Land.

Finally, in 1340, roughly one hundred years after the Mongol menace became realized in Latin Christendom, there was a crusade to push the Mongols out of Poland and Hungary.[31] The Mongols were weakened by internal disorder, strife and losses to the Muslims, and the Papacy was finally determined to free the Christian states from their bondage. The crusades found mixed success, but with as many as four Khans claiming the throne, the Mongolian Empire disintegrated without much help from the crusaders.

Effects of the Mongols upon Latin Christendom were numerous. The most important was the bridge to Asia the Mongols proved to be. Religion, trade, and knowledge were then transferred between the two cultures and with Asia in general. Missionaries leapt at the opportunity and became involved in Asia, remaining so to the present day. “The elimination of Muslim sovereignty throughout a considerable portion of Western and Central Asia meant that Christian proselytism was freed from the impediments it had hitherto encountered.”[32] Historians David Morgan and Peter Jackson would disagree about how profoundly Marco Polo’s adventures shaped European minds, with Morgan clinging to Marco Polo’s great importance for discoverers like Columbus who had a copy of Marco Polo’s book and was looking for Cathay when he landed in the Americas.[33] Jackson takes another line saying “it is by no means certain that at the time of his first voyage he had even read the book”.[34] One thing they assuredly both would agree on is that the Mongols allowed Marco Polo to go on his travels and inspire Europeans, two-hundred years after the he wrote his book, to follow in his adventures.

Samurai against Mongolians
Comparisons and Finale

To compare the knights and samurai in the sphere of their reaction to the Mongol ‘menace’ is quite a leap. Due to certain differences in context, the knights of Western Europe did not literally face the Mongols until quite late in their reign when the Mongols were weakened. On the other hand, the samurai met the Mongol challenge bravely. Worth noting is that if the knights of Europe and the samurai of Japan had faced the Mongols on a traditional field of battle, there is a more than a fair chance the Mongols would have prevailed. For both the samurai and the knights, it seems, chance played into their survival as much as bravery or skill. Yes, Japan did quite effectively hold off the Mongols on their second invasion, it seems unlikely they would have won both battles without the kamikaze.The knights of Europe were not a homogenous group representing one country, so if the Mongols had made it to Europe they would likely have faced a less organized front than in Japan. Diplomacy held out long enough for Western Europe to gain in strength and face a weakened Mongol empire; Japan had no such luxury. When the Kamakura received the ultimatum from Kublai Khan, it was either, submit and be ruled by the Khan, or fight for survival. Things never rose above threats for the West and so the Vatican was able, through skill and mistake and miscommunication to keep the Mongols from destroying them.

Another example of fine timing, this time for the Europeans, is the death of Chinggis Khan. When the Khan died in 1224 the Golden Horde was sacking Eastern Europe and the Latin Christendom stood by too weakened by internal strife to form a cohesive defense against the coming invaders. Like a kamikaze, in the West the death of Chinggis took the wind out of the Mongol’s sails and it never returned as a real threat again for the West. It is quite obvious, too, that Asia was a finer jewel than Europe and, therefore, Japan a more valuable prize. Being so close to the new Khan’s seat of government in Perking also made Japan a more favorable target than far away Europe. The Mongol’s, through no intent of their own, opened Europe and had the opposite effect on Japan. Defending their island left the Japanese in distain of the outside world. Europe was spared this savagery and learnt to be diplomatic and gaining from greater exposure to the rest of the world. So again, Japan and Europe’s geography played a crucial role in defining their fate.

Many and varied circumstances play their parts in history. Early in the last millennium a warrior caste in widely separated feudal societies bracketing one of the largest, most aggressive empires the world has known, played their roles in limiting the reach and grasp of the Khans. Among the results were Renaissance Europe and Isolationist Japan; the effects of each ripple through our world today.

Al-Din, Rashid, translated by Boyle, John Andrew, The Successors of Genghis Khan (New York, 1971)

Brundage, J., The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia (Madison, 1961)
Halliday, M., The Language of the Chinese “Secret History of the Mongols”(Oxford, 1959)
Jackson, P., The Mongols and the West, 1221-1410 (Harlow, 2005)

Morgan, David, The Mongols (Cambridge, 1986)
Nicolle, D., The Mongol Warlords (United Kingdom, 1990)

de Rachewiltz, I., Papal Envoys to the Great Khans (London, 1971)
Sansom, G., A History of Japan to 1334 (London, 1958).
Totman, C., A History of Japan, 2nd Edition (Oxford, 2005)

Teshima, Ikuro, ‘Christians Among Mongol Invaders” in The Ancient Refugees from Religion Persecution in Japan’ {http://www.keikyo.com/books/hada/Christians_Among.html} 21 Dec 2006.

[1] P. Jackson, The Mongols and the West 1221-1410, (Harlow, 2005) p.31.

[2] D. Nicolle, The Mongol Warlords (United Kingdom, 1990) p. 8. These bows were smaller, yet more armor piercing than the English Longbow and could be fired from horseback.

[3] Nicolle, The Mongol Warlords, p. 46.

[4] Nicolle, The Mongol Warlords, p. 46. These were writers of the day who experienced the Khan firsthand while writing their histories. Both are Arab Historians.

[5] Sansom, A History of Japan to 1334 (London, 1958) p.438.

[6] Sansom, A History of Japan, p.439.

[7] Morgan, The Mongols, p. 120.

[8] I. Teshima, ‘Christians Among Mongol Invaders’ in The Ancient Refugees from Religion Persecution in Japan (1998) p. 1.

[9] Morgan, The Mongols, p.120.

[10] Sansom, A History of Japan, pp. 439-441.

[11] Nicolle, The Mongol Warlords, p. 66.

[12] Sansom, A History of Japan, pp. 443-444.

[13] Sansom, A History of Japan, p. 444-448.

[14] Sansom, A History of Japan, pp. 445-450. There was a plan to attack Korea and take the offensive, but the Bakufu realized they had best act defensively as to not stretch their resources to thin. The decision was reached to employ the pirates (those who remained alive) to build small, fast coastal ships to be used to attack the Mongol invasion fleet. The decision was well founded.

[15] Sansom, A History of Japan, pp. 444-467. The Shogun and Emperor had lost power and Regents or the Bafuku ran the country. Yorimoto and the others arranged and organized the samurai into not only dangerous individual warriors, but dire situations into an army of warriors.

[16] Nicolle, The Mongol Warlords, p. 67.

[17] D. Morgan, The Mongols (Cambridge, 1986) p.177. The ‘dog-headed men’ come from Hamad Allah Mustawfi Qazwini in Nuzhat al-qulub a book which mapped out Asia for the Arabs.

[18] I. de Rachewiltz, Papal Envoys to the Great Khans, (London, 1971) p. 31.

[19] H. Livonia, The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, (Madison, 1961) pp.38-9.

[20] Livonia, The Chronicle, pp. 245-46.

[21] de Rachewiltz, Papal Envoys, p. 59.

[22] de Rachewiltz, Papal Envoys, p. 64.

[23] de Rachewiltz, Papal Envoys, pp. 65, 68-9.

[24] de Rachewiltz, Papal Envoys, p. 72.

[25] Morgan, The Mongols, p. 179.

[26] R. Al-Din, The Successors of Genghis Khan, (New York, 1971) p. 65. Although measure were taken to prevent Ogodei Khan from drinking too much he found ways around it and towards a speedy death from presumably, alcohol poisoning.

[27] Jackson, The Mongols and the West, p. 87.

[28] Jackson, The Mongols and the West, p. 41.

[29] Jackson, The Mongols and the West, p. 121.

[30] Jackson, The Mongols and the West, p. 121.

[31] Jackson, The Mongols and the West, pp. 213-217.

[32] Jackson, The Mongols and the West, p.361.

[33] Morgan, The Mongols, p.198.

[34] Jackson, The Mongols and the West, pp. 348-49.


Of further interest in the Mongols, here’s a very nice presentation on the Mongol Hordes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMgwN85qzeU

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