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Unit 1&2: Practice DBQ Mongols
2020 – 5-Doc-DBQ Format
Sample Intro & Body Paragraph
Intro Paragraph (Context-2 / Context 1 / Thesis)
During the time of the “Middle Ages” between 1200 to 1400 there was tremendous of
amount of variation in the development of the many different people, societies and
civilizations of the world. In some areas like in North America and Australia peoples
were isolated and culturally and technologically behind other societies elsewhere, that
had wider and richer contacts with their neighbors and other civilizations. In West
Africa the empires of Mali and Songhai thrived along the Sand Roads – trading Gold
for Salt with traders from North Africa, Spain and the Middle East - who transferred
Islamic cultural achievements such Arabic, math / science and medical advances from
Andalusia & dar es Islam – which experiencing a cultural golden age. While western
Europeans were completing their crusades, dominated culturally by Christianity and
politically by feudalism. Beginning in 1204, the nomadic Mongols united under their
Great Khan – Ghengis – conquering Song dynasty China and beginning their conquest
of East Asia, the Middle East, Russia and Eastern Europe. Over the next 150+ years
the Mongols would create the largest land based empire in history. The Mongols
concurrently created a massive trade network connecting these conquered realms
known as the Pax Mongolica which greatly facilitated technological and cultural
transfers both positively and negatively – both within their empire as well as between
the Mongol Empire and other civilizations and societies outside of their sphere of
Body Parag: 1 (OI + Doc support & sourcing)
The Mongols facilitated positive cultural exchanges both between societies within their sphere of influence, but also
between the Mongol Empire and societies outside of their direct influence. (Theme/Arg). After their conquest of
areas such as Persia and Anatolia – during the Pax Mongolica, the Mongol Golden Age between the mid-1200s to
mid-1300s, the Mongols facilitated positive cultural exchanges through their use and transfer of educated, adept
officials from the Muslim world – which had been experiencing a Golden Age of Math w/ the developments of
scholars such as al-Jabir in Algebra and al-Razis in medical knowledge – such as surgery, pharmaceuticals and the
diagnosis of diseases such as Small Pox. The transfer and use of these officials throughout the Mongol Empire
resulted in the positive diffusion of not only the Arabic language, but Muslim knowledge, inventions and culture
eastward. The Mongols’ tolerance of religions of the conquered also helped to ensure & facilitate these cultural
transfers. (OI). These positive cultural transfers by the Mongols are evidenced by Docs 1-3. In Doc 1, Hulegu Khan
– an educated Muslim Vizier – official – is shown working for the Khan of the Ilkhanate as an advisor. In this
illustration from the 1300s the time of the Pax Mongolica – the purpose of this primary document was to show
conquered peoples that their knowledge, skills and education were valued by the Mongols and that there was a place
for such people within the Mongol system. (Purp/Sourcing)/(Doc1). The positive transfer of western culture within
the Mongol Empire is also evidenced by Doc 2 – in the writings of Marco Polo a 13th C. Italian merchant and
traveler who lived the Mongol capital of China and worked as an advisor. The Purpose of Polo’s text is to show the
extent & complexity of the Mongols’ relay communication system called the “Yam”, which not only transferred
Mongol communications but cultural knowledge. (Doc.2 / Purp). The Mongols’ positive facilitation of cultural
diffusion is also evidenced by Doc 3 – the Journal of a westerner from 1254 – William Rubriuk – a primary source
document that describes Mongke Khan’s curiosity about and tolerance of foreign religions including “…Christians,
Saracens… and Tuins…”. (POV). This doc furthers the argument that the Mongols facilitated positive cultural
transfer, when Rubruck quotes the Khan as referencing the cultural and literary contributions of these foreign
religious leaders, stating “…his law is the best and his literature, that is his books…”, suggesting that they, as well as
the Khan, had access to these cultural achievements and that they had been moved from their places of origin, to
China during the Yuan Dynasty by 1259 the time of the Khan’s death (Doc 3).
Body Parag: 2 (Theme/Arg/claim & OI)
• The Mongols facilitated positive technolical exchanges both between societies within
their sphere of influence, but also between the Mongol Empire and societies outside
of their direct influence. (Theme/Arg). After their conquest of areas such as Persia
and Anatolia – during the Pax Mongolica, the Mongol Golden Age between the mid1200s to mid-1300s, the Mongols facilitated positive Technological transfers through
their use of their extensive trade network – like the Silk Roads and their efficient
communication network called the Yam. Some examples of these exchanges from
east to the west were Chinese printing techniques such as moveable type – which
would eventually help spur Johann Gutenberg’s invention of the Printing Press in the
mid-1400s. The Chinese invention of gun powder which the Ottomans and
Europeans would further develop as instrument of war, conquest & control in the
subsequent centuries. The Mongols also transferred warfare technology – such as the
stirrup, recurve bow and varioius technologies used in siege warfare. Finally, the
negative transfer of new diseases such as the Bubonic Plague which would ravage the
Middle East, North Africa and Europe from the 1300s-the 1400s. Some of these
technological transfer are evidenced by Docs…
Paragraph 4: Conclusion / Complexity
To summarize, the Mongols greatly facilitated the transfer of both culture
and technology – both positively, negatively -- throughout their empire
impacting peoples both within their sphere of control as well as outside of it.
Some of these impacts and transfers to would outlast the Mongol Empire
itself – including gun powder, the stirrup and the Black Death. The Mongol’s
facilitation of cultural and technological transfer via trade routes is similar
to that seen during the Roman empire during the first 2 centuries of the
Common Era. Like the Mongols the Romans utilized and moved promising
skilled people (like Trajian) throughout their empire. Like the Mongols, the
Romans also facilitated the transfer of technologies such concrete, dome
and aqueduct construction and cultural transfers – sometimes by force –
like Judaism – throughout their empire and beyond – and also like the
Mongols these transfer had both positive and negative impacts.