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             From the first explosion of Mongol military might from the steppes of.
             central Asia in the early decades of the 13th century to the death of Timur in.
             1405, the nomads of central Asia made a last, stunning return to center stage.
             in world history. Mongol invasions ended or interrupted many of the great.
             empires of the postclassical period, while also extending the world network.
             that had increasingly defined the period. Under Chinggis Khan - who united his.
             own Mongol tribesmen and numerous nomadic neighbors into the mightiest war.
             machine the world had seen to that time - central Asia, northern China, and.
             eastern Persia were brought under Mongol rule. Under Chinggis Khan's sons and.
             grandsons, the rest of China, Tibet, Persia, Iraq, much of Asia Minor, and all.
             of southern Russia were added to the vast Mongol imperium. Though the empire.
             was divided between Chinggis Khan's sons after his death in 1227, the four.
             khanates or kingdoms -which emerged in the struggles for succession -dominated.
             most of Asia for the next one and one-half centuries. The Mongol conquests and.
             the empires they produced represented the most formidable nomadic challenge to.
             the growing global dominance of the sedentary peoples of the civilized cores.
             since the great nomadic migrations in the first centuries A.D. Except for.
             Timur's devastating but short-lived grab for power at the end of the 14th.
             century, nomadic peoples would never again mount a challenge as massive and.
             sweeping as that of the Mongols.
             In most histories, the Mongol conquests have been depicted as a savage.
             assault by backward and barbaric peoples on many of the most ancient and.
             developed centers of human civilization. Much is made of the ferocity of.
             Mongol warriors in battle, their destruction of great cities, such as Baghdad,.
             in reprisal for resistance to Mongol armies, and their mass slaughters of.
             defeated enemies. Depending on the civilization from whose city walls a.

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