Why the Mongols Conquered the World, According to the Mongols

Illustration of Rashid-ad-Din’s Gami’ at-tawarih. Tabriz (?), 1st quarter of 14th century. 
Source: Wikimedia.

One day after the suppression of the Sambyeolcho rebellion, the two comrades in arms, Koryo general Kim Pang-kyong and Mongol general Hsintu enjoyed a moment together in Kaeyong. Presently, Hsintu caught a young sparrow and, after playing with it awhile, he clubbed it to death. Then he asked Kim Pang Kyong what he thought of the performance. General Kim said: Hsintu’s act would have been for the assuagement of farmer’s distress caused by these birds that pecked at the grain. Nay, the Mongol said: the Koreans, like the Chinese, could read and believed in Buddha. They contemptuously looked down at the Mongols as barbarians who made a profession of killing, thinking that heaven would loathe them. But, he continued, the very Heaven bestowed it upon the Mongols, therefore they simply accepted it, and Heaven would not regard killing as a sin. That was the reason why Koreans were now made to serve Mongols.”

-Wanne J. Joe, Traditional Korea: A Cultural History, rev. ed. (Seoul: Hollym Corp, 1997), 207.

T. Greer, The Scholar’s Stage (6 November 2013)

T. Greer, The Scholar’s Stage (18 December 2014)

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