GENGHIS Khan (aka Chinggis Khan, c. 1162/67-1227 CE) was the founder of the Mongol Empire (1206-1368 CE) which he would rule from 1206 until his death in 1227 CE. Born Temujin, he acquired the title of Genghis Khan, likely meaning ‘universal ruler’, and, after unifying the Mongol tribes, he attacked the Xi Xia and Jin states and then Song China. In the other direction, his fast-moving armies invaded Persia, Afghanistan, and even Russia.
Utterly ruthless with his enemies, countless innocents were slaughtered in his campaigns of terror – millions according to medieval chroniclers. Genghis Khan was, though, an able administrator who introduced writing to the Mongols, created their first law code, promoted trade and permitted all religions to be freely practised anywhere in the Mongol world. In this way, Genghis Khan built the foundations of an empire which would, under his successors, ultimately control one-fifth of the globe.
PARTHIA: ROME’S ABLEST COMPETITOR:
AS a superpower in its own right and in competition with Rome, Parthia’s empire – ruling from 247 BCE to 224 CE – stretched between the Mediterranean in the west to India in the east. Not only did the Parthians win battles against Rome they were also successful commercial competitors. On the military front, as part of their original expansion, Parthia’s victories against the Seleucid Empire would include the defeat of Antiochus VII by Phraates II at the Battle of Ecbatana in 129 BCE and the expansion and consolidation of their empire through the military campaigns of Mithridates I (r. 171-132 BCE) and Mithridates II (r. 124-88 BCE), but perhaps their greatest victories were against Rome.
While in control of the eastern trade routes by way of the Red Sea and overland routes through Arabia, Rome wanted to expand its interests to include the lucrative Silk Road through Mesopotamia. There was only one problem; Parthia was in the way. Mesopotamia was theirs, and Parthia would prove capable in defending its interests. After Crassus’ defeat at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BCE and Mark Antony’s retreat from Media in 36 BCE, a peace agreement was reached with Rome in 20 BCE. With peace obtained and its silk routes protected, Parthia could now go on to successfully compete with Rome through trade.
BRONZE AGE COLLAPSE:
THE Bronze Age Collapse (also known as Late Bronze Age Collapse) is a modern-day term referring to the decline and fall of major Mediterranean civilizations during the 13th-12th centuries BCE. The precise cause of the Bronze Age Collapse has been debated by scholars for over a century as well as the date it probably began and when it ended but no consensus has been reached. What is clearly known is that, between c. 1250 – c. 1150 BCE, major cities were destroyed, whole civilizations fell, diplomatic and trade relations were severed, writing systems vanished, and there was widespread devastation and death on a scale never experienced before.
The primary causes advanced for the Bronze Age Collapse are:
- Natural Catastrophes (earthquakes)
- Climate Change (which caused drought and famine)
- Internal Rebellions (class wars)
- Invasions (primarily by the Sea Peoples)
- Disruption of Trade Relations/Systems Collapse (political instability)