Indis and China

Medieval India and China


June 23, 2010

Central Asia Nomads, Turks and Mongols
      During the tenth through fourteenth centuries, Central Asian nomads made a huge impact on the Central Asian area.   Some took control of northern China, where they formed empires and dynasties there. Others were much smaller and basically made up tribes or clans.   One of these was the Seljuk Turks, conquered Islamic Southwest Asia, embraced the Islamic faith, and sparked a series of conflicts with the Christian world.   Later, the Mongols, led by Genghis Khan and his heirs afterwards, overran most of Eurasia, and created one of the largest land empires ever.   Over time, these conquerors adopted many practices of the societies they conquered.   They also expanded commerce and helped spread ideas, technologies, and weapons.

The Turks
      The Turks were a group of nomadic people who wandered Central Asia.   They were the first Inner Asian people to leave a written record of their language.   The Turkic language is thought to have been spoken in areas of the Steppe, which was also known as “the arid grasslands.”   The religion of the Turks was originally shamanistic and worshipped Heaven, which was similar to other groups in the steppe area.

      Herding was the main way of life for most Central Asian nomadic tribes and clans including the Mongols.   These pastoral nomads were herders and moved in search of fresh grasslands, areas where their herds could pasture.   Once the nomads found grounds for grazing, they set-up camp, which would become small villages.   Generally, they would move twice a year or when the grassland became depleted.   The Mongols mainly ate meat, milk, cheese, and butter, and clothed themselves largely with fleeces and hides, supplied by their herds. To protect themselves from the elements, they built large tents, known as yurts, which were made from matted wool and animal hair and were greased to...