Today in Chinese history: the Siege of Kaifeng ends (1233)

Chinese history isn’t really what we cover around here, but I’m making an exception for the 1232-1233 Siege of Kaifeng. Why? Well, partly because the Mongols were involved, but also because, from the standpoint of military history, there were some incredible things happening in China in this period. The Jin, who were the ruling dynasty … Continue reading Today in Chinese history: the Siege of Kaifeng ends (1233)

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Today in Middle Eastern history: the Mongols sack Baghdad (1258)

The end of the Abbasid caliphate managed to be both somewhat anti-climactic and historically pivotal at the same time. In any practical sense, the caliphs had stopped being politically relevant in 945, when the Iranian Buyids seized Baghdad and put the caliphate under their “protection.” Even this was really the end of a process rather … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Mongols sack Baghdad (1258)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Assassin imam surrenders to the Mongols (1256)

If we’re going to talk about the end of the Assassin order, we should probably talk about who they were first. You may already know something about them–of all the topics one can cover in Islamic history, they’re one of the most provocative and interesting to Western audiences. There’s even a whole video game series … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Assassin imam surrenders to the Mongols (1256)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Köse Dağ (1243)

When the Mongols expanded their empire to the west in the early-mid 13th century they were certainly not the first steppe peoples to make that journey. Indeed, it was a group of ex-slaves who’d come from the Eurasian steppe, the Mamluks, who eventually ended the Mongols’ westward expansion at the Battle of Ayn Jalut in 1260. … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Köse Dağ (1243)

Today in Chinese history: the Siege of Kaifeng ends (1233)

Chinese history isn’t really what we cover around here, but I’m making an exception for the 1232-1233 Siege of Kaifeng. Why? Well, partly because the Mongols were involved, but also because, from the standpoint of military history, there were some incredible things happening in China in this period. The Jin, who were the ruling dynasty … Continue reading Today in Chinese history: the Siege of Kaifeng ends (1233)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Mongols sack Baghdad (1258)

Still, imagine the psychological shock to Muslims around the world to see Islam’s greatest city and its symbolic leader brought down like this. I don’t think we have any modern reference for it–maybe seeing the Nazis march into Paris, though I don’t even think that does it justice. Constantinople’s fall to the Ottomans was probably … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Mongols sack Baghdad (1258)