Introduction: Mobility Transformations and Cultural Exchange in Mongol Eurasia

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Michal Biran The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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The Mongol Empire is as an early example of the transformative role of mobility, celebrated in the contemporary social sciences. The only way in which the Mongols who by the time of Chinggis Khan numbered less than a million nomads, were able to create and rule their huge empire was by fully mobilizing the resources—both human and material—from the regions under their control. This high measure of mobility fostered robust cross-cultural exchanges in various fields, resulting in a huge expansion of knowledge and connectivity, cultural relativism, and a common imperial culture—political, material, institutional—with regional variants. These developments set the stage for major transformations in world history. The introduction presents the articles included in this special issue, which tackle various case-studies of mobility and transformation while looking at the Mongol Empire in Eurasian perspective, and highlighting the impact of the Mongols’ indigenous culture on the proto-global world of the 13th and 14th centuries.

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