An­cient Mon­go­lian in­ven­tions

The UB Post - - Front Page - By R.UNDARIYA

His­to­ri­ans of­ten em­pha­size the ex­pan­sive pol­i­tics and con­quests of Mon­go­lia. The Mon­gol peo­ple did not have a writ­ten lan­guage un­til the Mid­dle Ages and most of what we know about their an­cient his­tory comes from their oral leg­ends, myths and proverbs...

His­to­ri­ans of­ten em­pha­size the ex­pan­sive pol­i­tics and con­quests of Mon­go­lia. The Mon­gol peo­ple did not have a writ­ten lan­guage un­til the Mid­dle Ages and most of what we know about their an­cient his­tory comes from their oral leg­ends, myths and proverbs. How­ever, there are many writ­ten sources that doc­u­ment the af­fairs of the Mon­gol Empire. Through th­ese, his­to­ri­ans learned that the Mon­gol Empire was a pro­gres­sive na­tion which con­trib­uted greatly to the over­all de­vel­op­ment of Western cul­tures.

From East­ern Asia to the Mid­dle East, the Mon­gol Empire spread and an im­por­tant con­se­quence of the ex­pan­sion was the cre­ation of the Silk Road, which was a cru­cial eco­nomic route that con­nected the coun­tries of Europe with the far­thest cor­ners of Asia. Mon­gols car­ried new in­ven­tions back and forth across Eura­sia, and many of them even­tu­ally found their way into Europe.

For in­stance, China in­vented the tri­an­gu­lar plow and the blast fur­nace, which im­proved Euro­pean me­tal pro­duc­tion, the tri­an­gu­lar plow rev­o­lu­tion­ized agri­cul­ture and gun­pow­der was re­spon­si­ble for the de­vel­op­ment of modern war­fare.

How­ever, Mon­gols were more than the trans­porters of im­por­tant in­ven­tions, they were great in­ven­tors them­selves. Mon­gols were the first na­tion to use dried milk, a prod­uct that is nowa­days used all over the world. Ital­ian ex­plorer Marco Polo spoke of the vi­cious Mon­go­lian Tatar troops that were ac­tive dur­ing the reign of Khublai Khaan and men­tioned that they car­ried paste made of sun-dried milk and used it as a di­etary sup­ple­ment. He was speak­ing of the modern day, aaruul, eezgii and khu­ruud.

Per­haps one of Mon­go­lia's great­est tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion was the “stir­rup”. A stir­rup is a light frame or ring that holds the foot of a rider at­tached to the sad­dle by a strap, of­ten called a stir­rup leather. Though seem­ingly a sim­ple in­ven­tion, the mil­i­tary suc­cess of the Cos­sacks is of­ten at­trib­uted to two loops of leather. The same is with the Goths and the Huns.

No­body is sure of when the stir­rup was first in­vented, but they are cer­tain that it was ben­e­fi­cial to the armies that used the method. Even the sim­plest stir­rups, a leather loop, let mounted soldiers ride longer dis­tances and stay mounted on their horses dur­ing bat­tle.

A gen­eral of the Song Dy­nasty (960-1279) de­scribed the Mon­gols rid­ing long dis­tances stand­ing up in the sad­dle, with “the main weight of the body upon the calves or lower part of the leg with some weight upon the feet and an­kles”. The rider could then main­tain hands-free bal­ance on the horse while the horse twisted and turned while the rider him­self turned in the sad­dle. A flu­idly mo­bile rider could then use his hands to fire ar­rows in any dis­cre­tion as he rode.

The mil­i­tary suc­cess of the fore­bears of the Cos­sacks is of­ten at­tributes to two loops of leather. Some believe that the stir­rup even shifted the bal­ance of power in Europe from foot soldiers to mounted knights, dubbed the “ar­mored tanks” of the me­dieval world by his­tory Ro­man Jo­hann Jary­mowycz.

Some of the great­est mil­i­tary tac­tics were also in­vented by Mon­gols. At the time when most armies won by mov­ing in­eluctably for­ward, Mon­gols ad­vanced and re­treated while never let­ting up on their as­sault. When they met their op­po­si­tion, their cavalry gal­loped for­ward with wild agility, shoot­ing ar­rows con­tin­u­ously, pre­sent­ing a ter­ri­fy­ing united front. As they got within a few yards of the other army, the charg­ing horse­men’s unity broke. They turned and gal­loped away as quickly as they’d come.

More­over, the Mon­gol Empire in­vented some unique in­ven­tions that are still used to­day. For in­stance they have cre­ated the first hand grenade and laid the foun­da­tion for the mod­ern­day

grenades that armies use to­day. Ad­di­tion­ally, the Mon­gol Empire has also in­vented many other things such as the com­pos­ite bow and dried milk.

COM­POS­ITE BOW

Com­pos­ite was cre­ated us­ing wood, sinew and horn. The bows were a lot more ac­cu­rate than Europe’s bows, which were short-ranged and not par­tic­u­larly ac­cu­rate. Mon­gols used small and pre­cise com­pos­ite bows that were made of wood, horn and sinew. In ad­di­tion to the bows, Mon­gols also de­signed many types of ar­rows, in­clud­ing hol­low ar­rows that cre­ated dis­tinc­tive whistling sounds when shot.

GRENADES

The Chi­nese in­vented gun­pow­der. This in­ven­tion led to the cre­ation of modern war­fare. The Mon­gol Empire took the idea of gun­pow­der, used it to cre­ate the first hand grenades and be­came the first empire to use them.

ICE CREAM

The Mon­go­lian horse­men are be­lieved to have in­vented ice cream more than 700 years ago. When car­ry­ing cream in con­tain­ers on horse­back in win­ter across the Gobi Desert and the trot­ting of the horse shook the frozen cream into ice cream.

Though Mon­gols are not di­rectly re­spon­si­ble for bring­ing new tech­nol­ogy to the world, they did in­flu­ence the world at large in­clud­ing ar­eas out­side the con­trol of Mon­gols, and bridged gaps be­tween peo­ple by in­clud­ing them in the empire and spread­ing dif­fer­ent tech­nol­ogy across Eura­sia.

Mon­gols also had a pol­icy of re­li­gious tol­er­ance and re­built, or­ga­nized and cleared the Silk Road of ban­dits. There are nu­mer­ous rea­sons as to why the empire shrunk in power and size, but even af­ter its col­lapse, some of their in­flu­ence stuck, even play­ing a ma­jor role in kick start­ing the Ital­ian Re­nais­sance.

...Some of the great­est mil­i­tary tac­tics were also in­vented by Mon­gols. At the time when most armies won by mov­ing in­eluctably for­ward, Mon­gols ad­vanced and re­treated while never let­ting up

on their as­sault...

An­cient paint­ing of Mon­go­lian horse­man

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