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Speaker Series: Dr. Reuven Amitai – More than First Meets the Eye: The Impact of the Mongols on the Arab Middle East

August 15, 2017 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

August 15th from 5:30 -7 pm

Natsagdorj Library, American Corner presentation room

Recent years have witnessed a number of important publications about the long-term implications of Mongol rule in the Middle East, with particular emphasis on cultural, intellectual, social and economic influence.  Without denying the often-destructive nature of the waves of Mongol conquest, today’s researchers are more aware of decisive, often positive impact of subsequent Mongol rule, that has left a long-term mark on the region even until today.  One area that has received particular attention is cultural and intellectual activity and development, but one might also note demographic transformations, the evolution of military structures and the effect on political culture.  Most studies have been devoted to Iran and surrounding countries, and there is thus room to extend the discussion to the Arab-speaking countries, not the least to Syria (including Palestine) – only twice occupied briefly by the Mongols – and Egypt that never fell under Mongol rule.  This lecture comes to show that Mongol influence was decisive not only in Iraq – an important component of the Ilkhanid state, but also those countries that never came under long-term Mongol control.

Among the topics to be surveyed here will be demographic developments, political and military formations, and cultural and intellectual activity.  Like so-much of the eastern Middle East (and Eurasia as a whole), the long-term impact of the Mongols on the central Arabic speaking countries (Iraq, greater Syria and Egypt) was decisive, and one could suggest that without taking the Mongols into consideration, we cannot fully understand the later development of the region.  The lecture will highlight some of the conclusions in the author’s chapter in the forthcoming Cambridge History of the Mongol Empire (co-edited by Michal Biran and Hodong Kim).


Dr. Reuven Amitai

The Institute of Asian and African Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel


Reuven Amitai is the Eliyahu Elath Professor of Islamic History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializing in the history of the Middle East and neighboring areas in the later Middle Ages.  He has published on the history of the Mongols in the Middle East, the Mamluk Sultanate, medieval Palestine, military history and processes of Islamization.  Among his books are Holy War and Rapprochement: Studies in the Relations between the Mamluk Sultanate and the Mongol Ilkhanate (1260-1335) (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013); Nomads as Agents of Cultural Change: The Mongols and Their Eurasian Predecessors, co-edited with Michal Biran (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2015); Slavery and the Slave Trade in the Eastern Mediterranean, 11th to 15th Centuries, co-edited with Christoph Cluse (Turnhout: Brepols, forthcoming).



August 15, 2017
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
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