Muslim historians recorded the Mongol conquest of Baghdad. In order to evaluate potential bias in these records, it would be useful to compare them to other records of Mongol conquests. Since the Mongols didn't record their side of the story, do we have any other, more neutral records of Mongol conquest and their behavior towards conquered peoples?

  • Yes, what was the Mongol attitude towards conquered people.. Apr 27 '14 at 18:43
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    It would have been hard to kill 2 million people during the Siege of Baghdad given that the population figure given in the same Wikipedia article mentions that the city's population peaked much earlier at 1 million.
    – Comintern
    Apr 27 '14 at 20:16
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    I think the answer can be summarised in one sentence: if you fully submit and rescind all your human rights, then brutal; if you resist, then supremely brutal!
    – Noldorin
    Apr 29 '14 at 0:50
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    It'd probably be a good idea to look at Chinese sources. They had less incentive to lie about Mongols.
    – DVK
    Apr 29 '14 at 15:55
  • Since most resources are from the conquered places or the people who could run away, maybe looking for "neutral" sources is a bit challenging. Also, I find the question about attitude rather vague: attitude means thinking or feeling about something. I think it is objectively hard the answer how the Mongols was feeling out people they massacred by millions, except "they didn't care", esp. there is no much Mongol source about it.
    – Greg
    Jul 13 '17 at 16:05

In Russia Mongols usually demanded the cities to surrender. If a city surrendered without a major fight, the Mongols usually would not conduct much of mass killings. They would impose a heavy taxation and require the city to provide troops for their further conquests.

Other than that they usually did not intervene much in the internal affairs and customs. They did not impose their laws and did not try to win the popularity with the people either.

Particularly since they did not force people to convert into another religion, their conquests were not associated with much of religious bloodshed which accompanied the religious wars of the time, such as the Crusades.

On the other hand if a city would not surrender, they could proceed as far as killing all the inhabitants except a few people whom they then would instruct to go to the other cities in the area and spread the word about how the Mongols brutal to those who does not surrender so to advise them to give up without resistance.

  • 8
    Good answer but would benefit from sources
    – DVK
    Apr 29 '14 at 15:54
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    As DVK stated, a very good answer. However, we would be grateful, if you support us with sources. May 4 '14 at 10:22

"Contrary to popular belief, Mongol rulers were intensely interested in the culture of their sedentary subjects. Under their auspices, various commodities, ideologies and technologies were disseminated across Eurasia. The result was a lively exchange of scientists, scholars and ritual specialists between East and West." - Culture and Conquest in Mongol Eurasia, T.T. Allsen (Cambridge,2004)


Here is an interesting first-hand account of an Armenian cleric who experienced their behavior. Don't know for sure if his account is completely unbiased. Link

  • 6
    Since links may break sometimes in future, it's advisable to quote the relevant passages in your answer...
    – tohuwawohu
    Feb 20 '15 at 8:39

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