mongol art gallery berlin germany'ZURAG' film original  in German 2010 Berlin

'ZURAG' film in the Mongolian national television, 2011 Ulan Bator
(Original record from the MNB broadcast)
The Secret History of the Mongols
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Deutsch - Erstes Kapitel: Tschingis Chaans Vorfahren und seine Kindheit
English -
First Chapter: Genghis Khan's Ancestors and his childhood


Mongol invasion of Europe
The Mongol invasions of Europe, under the leadership of Subutai, centered on the destruction of East Slavic principalities, such as Kiev and Vladimir. The Mongols then invaded the Kingdom of Hungary (Battle of Mohi) and the fragmented Poland (Battle of Legnica) (see History of Poland (966–1385)), the former invasion commanded by Batu Khan, a grandson of Genghis Khan, and the latter a diversion commanded by Kadan, also a grandson of Genghis Khan, though both invasions were also masterminded by Subutai.
Since the 13th century, historians have debated whether or not the Eastern European campaigns of the Mongols had macrohistorical importance. Most military historians believe they were essentially diversions, meant to frighten the Western powers sufficiently to keep them out of the Mongols' affairs in the east of Europe, specifically in Russia. The evidence does indicate that Batu Khan was primarily interested in securing the western frontiers of his Russian conquests, and only after the swift destruction of both the Hungarian and Polish armies did he begin thinking about the conquest of Western Europe. For the Mongols, the European invasions were a third theater of operations, along the Middle East and Song China.

Invasions and conquest of Rus' lands
Ogedei Khan ordered Batu Khan to conquer Russia in 1235. The main force headed by the Jochi, Mongke Khan and Guyuk Khan arrived at Ryazan in December, 1237. Ryazan refused to surrender, and the Mongols sacked it and then stormed Suzdalia. Among the many defeated Rus' armies was Grand Prince Yuri, killed on the Sit River (March 4, 1238). Major cities like Vladimir, Torzhok, and Kozelsk were captured.
Afterwards the Mongols turned their attention to the steppe, crushing the Kypchaks and the Alans and sacking Crimea. Batu reappeared in Russia in 1239, sacking Pereyaslavl and Chernigov. Most Russian princes fled when it became clear resistance was futile. The Mongols sacked Kiev in December 6, 1240. After the sack of Kiev, the Mongols conquered Galich and Volodymyr. Batu sent a small detachment to probe the Poles before passing on to Central Europe. One column was routed by the Poles while other defeated the Polish army and returned.

Invasion into Eastern and Central Europe (1241-1242)
The Mongols invaded Central Europe with three armies. One army defeated an alliance which included forces from the fragmented Poland and members of various Christian military orders, led by Henry II the Pious, Duke of Silesia in the battle of Legnica. A second army crossed the Carpathian mountains and a third followed the Danube. The armies re-grouped and crushed Hungary in 1241, defeating the Hungarian army at the Battle of Mohi on April 11, 1241. The devastating Mongol invasion killed half of Hungary's population. The armies swept the plains of Hungary over the summer and in the spring of 1242, regained impetus and extended their control into Austria and Dalmatia and Moravia. The Great Khan had, however, died in December, 1241, and on hearing the news, all the "Princes of the Blood" (of Genghis Khan) went back to Mongolia to elect the new Khan.
After sacking Kiev, Batu khan sent a smaller group of Mongols to Poland, destroying Lublin and defeating an inferior Polish army. Other elements—not the main Mongol force—saw difficulty near the Polish-Galich border. The Invasion of Poland and Hungary were not reconnaissance operations, but, rather, retaliations for the killing of Mongol envoys (also related to the issue of escaping Cumans), and an occasion to plunder. The Mongols suffered significant casualties at Olmutz in Moravia, in a fight with a numerically superior pan-European army in terrain disadvantageous for the use of cavalry. As for Poland, the Mongols were just passing through and the efforts of king Wenceslas amounted to little in Mongol strategic considerations.
The Tatars then reached Polaniec on the River Czarna, where they set up camp. There, the Voivode attacked them with the remaining Cracovian knights, which were few in number, but determined to conquer or die. Surprise gave the Poles an initial advantage and they managed to kill many Mongol soldiers. When the Mongols realized the actual numerical strength of the Poles, they regrouped, broke through the Polish ranks and defeated them. During the fighting, many Polish prisoners of war found ways to escape and hide in the nearby woods. In part, the Polish defeat was due to the fact that following their initial success the Polish knights were distracted in searching for loot. The attack on Europe was planned and carried out by Subutai, who achieved, perhaps, his most lasting fame with his victories there. Having devastated the various Russian Principalities, he sent spies into Poland, Hungary, and as far as Austria, in preparation for an attack into the heartland of Europe. Having a clear picture of the European kingdoms, he prepared an attack nominally commanded by Batu Khan and two other princes of the blood. Batu Khan, son of Jochi, was the overall leader, but Subutai was the strategist and commander in the field, and as such was present in both the northern and southern campaigns against Russian Principalities. He also commanded the central column that moved against Hungary. While Kadan's northern force won the Battle of Legnica and Güyük's army triumphed in Transylvania, Subutai was waiting for them on the Hungarian plain. The newly reunited army then withdrew to the Sajo River where they inflicted a decisive defeat on King Béla IV of Hungary at the Battle of Mohi. Again, Subutai masterminded the operation, and it would prove to be one of his greatest victories.

Invasion of the Kingdom of Hungary
More than 200 years before the event of the Mongol invasion, the Hungarian army (descendants of the Huns) was based on light cavalry. An interesting aspect is the former tactics of the Hungarian army were similar to those of the Mongols, but had been forgotten by 1241. One of the major light cavalry tactics was a sudden rush on the enemy. If the enemy held (or reformed ) light cavalry was insufficient for a win. Another of the tactics was a feigned retreat. The light cavalry would attack the enemy and then withdraw, apparently fleeing. The enemy would pursue and become disorganised, and would then be attacked by units hidden in reserve. The light cavalry would reform and attack the flanks or rear of the enemy forces. The Hungarians stopped using these tactics in the 11th century. In late 11th century the major force of the Hungarian army consisted of mounted sergeants (heavy knights) and infantry. The Hungarian allies, who still used these Light cavalry combat style, were the Cumans who settled down in Hungary not long before the Mongol invasion. Their task was to form the light cavalry in the Hungarian army. A tense situation erupted when Mongol troops burst into Hungary. The Hungarians, frustrated by their own helplessness, took revenge on the Cumans, whom they accused of being Mongol spies. After a bloody fight the Hungarians killed Kuthen (the Cuman Leader) and his bodyguards, and the remaining Cumans fled to the Balkans. After the Mongol invasion Béla IV of Hungary recalled the Cumans to Hungary to populate settlements devastated by war. The nomads subsequently settled throughout the Great Hungarian Plain.
Around 1241, Kingdom of Hungary looked much like any other feudal kingdom of Europe. Although the throne was still inherited by the successors of Árpád, the authority and power of the king was greatly curtailed. The rich magnates cared less about the national security of the whole kingdom than about petty feudal quarrels with their fellow landlords. The Golden Bull of 1222 authorized the magnates to rebel against the king in some circumstances, and made the king only 'primus inter pares'—first among equals. Bela IV tried to restore the king's former authority and power without much success. Thus, Hungary lived in a state of feudal anarchy when the Mongols began to expand toward Europe.
The Hungarians had first learned about the Mongol threat in 1229, when King Andrew granted asylum to some fleeing Russian boyars. Magyars, left behind during the main migration to the Pannonian basin, still lived on the banks of the upper Volga; in 1237, a Dominican friar, Julianus, set off on an expedition to lead them back, and was sent back to King Béla with a letter from Batu Khan. In this letter, Batu Khan called upon the Hungarian king to surrender his kingdom unconditionally to the Tatar forces or face complete destruction. Béla did not reply. Two more Mongol messages were brought to Hungary: the first, in 1239, by the defeated Cuman tribes, who asked for and received asylum in Hungary, and the second, in February, 1241, by the defeated Polish princes.
Only then did King Béla call his magnates to join his army in defense of the country. He also asked the papacy and the Western European rulers for help. Foreign help came in the form of a small knight-detachment under the leadership of Frederick, Prince of Austria, but it was too small to influence the outcome of the campaign. The majority of the Hungarian magnates did not realize the seriousness of the Mongol danger. Some may have hoped that a defeat of the royal army would force Béla to discontinue his centralization efforts and thus strengthen their power.
Although the Mongol danger was serious and real, Hungary was not prepared to deal with it, as in the minds of the people (who had lived free from nomadic invasions for the last few hundred years) a new invasion seemed impossible. The population was no longer a soldier population. Only the rich nobles were trained as heavy-armored cavalry. The Hungarians had long since forgotten the light-cavalry strategy and tactics of their ancestors, which were similar to those now used by the Mongols.
The Hungarian army (some 60,000 on the eve of the Battle of Muhi) was made up of individual knights without tactical knowledge, discipline, or talented expert commanders.As much as the Hungarian army was not expert in nomadic warfare, King Béla welcomed the Cuman king, Kuthen also known as Kotony, and his fighters. Soon a rumor began to circulate in Hungary that the Cumans were the agents of the Mongols. On the other hand, Batu Khan himself justified his invasion of Hungary because Béla had given asylum to the Cumans who were regarded as rebels and traitors in the Mongol Empire.
Thus King Béla had taken an unnecessarily great risk, which proved to be detrimental to his plans. When some hot-headed Hungarians attacked the Cuman camp and killed their king, the Cumans escaped to the south, looting, ravaging the countryside, and slaughtering the surprised Magyar population. The Austrian troops moved back to Austria shortly thereafter to "enlist more Western help." The Hungarians remained alone.
Arriving at the Hornád river without having been challenged to a fight by the Mongols, the Hungarian army encamped on April 10, 1241. The Mongols began their attack the next night. Soon, it was clear that the Hungarians were losing the battle. The king escaped with the help of his bodyguard, but the rest of the army was either killed without mercy by the Mongols or drowned in the rivers while attempting an escape. The Mongols now systematically occupied the Great Hungarian Plains, the slopes of the northern Carpathian Mountains, and Transylvania. Where they found local resistance, they mercilessly killed the population. Where the people did not offer any resistance, they forced the men into servitude in the Mongol army. Still, tens of thousands avoided Mongol domination by taking refuge behind the walls of the few fortresses or by hiding in the forests or the large marshes alongside the rivers. The Mongols, instead of leaving already defenseless and helpless peoples behind and continuing their campaign through Pannonia to Western Europe, spent the entire summer and fall securing and pacifying the occupied territories. Then, during the winter, contrary to the traditional strategy of the nomadic armies which started campaigns only in spring-time, they crossed the Danube and continued their systematic occupation including Pannonia. They eventually reached the Austrian borders and the Adriatic shores in Dalmatia. At this time Croatia was part of Hungary, since it was conquered by the Kingdom of Hungary in 1091. The Mongols appointed a darughachi in Hungary and minted coins in the name of Khagan. According to Michael Pravdin, the country of Béla was assigned to Orda by Batu as an appanage.
At least 20%-40% of the population died, if not in slaughter then in epidemic. However the Mongols took control of Hungary they couldn't occupy any fortressed cities like Fehérvár, Esztergom, Veszprém, Tihany, Győr, Pannonhalma, Moson, Sopron, Vasvár, Újhely, Zala, Léka, Pozsony -(today Bratislava Slovakia), Nitra, Komárom, Fülek and Abaújvár. Learning from this lesson, the fortresses came to play a significant role in Hungary. (See:next section) King Béla IV rebuilt the country and invested in fortifications. With a shortage of money, he settled down Jewish families, investors and tradesmen giving them rights. The King settled tens of thousands of Kun (Cumans) who had fled the country before the invasion. This is called the second foundation of Hungary.
During the spring of 1242, Ögedei Khan had died at the age of fifty-six after a binge of drinking during a hunting trip. Batu Khan, who was one of the contenders to the imperial throne, returned at once with his armies to Asia (before withdrawal, Batu Khan ordered wholesale execution of prisoners), leaving the whole of Eastern Europe depopulated and in ruins. Because of his death, the Western Europe escaped unscathed.
Some Hungarian historians claim that Hungary's long resistance against the Mongols actually saved Western Europe. Many Western European historians reject this interpretation. They point out that the Mongols evacuated Hungary of their own free will, and that Western Europe was saved by the sudden death of Ögedei Khan, not by the struggle of the Hungarians. Other European and American historians have questioned whether the Mongols would have been able to, or even wished to, continue their invasion into Europe west of the Hungarian plain at all, given the logistical situation in Europe and their need to keep large number of horses in the field to retain their strategic mobility.
The Mongolian invasion taught the Magyars a simple lesson: although the Mongols had destroyed the countryside, the forts and fortified cities had survived. To improve their defense capabilities for the future, they had to build forts, not only on the borders but also inside the country. During the remaining decades of the 13th century and throughout the 14th century, the kings donated more and more royal land to the magnates with the condition that they build forts and take care of their defenses.

Invasion of the Kingdom of Croatia
During the Mongol invasion of Europe, Kingdom of Croatia was in a personal union with the Kingdom of Hungary, with Béla IV as a king.
When routed on the banks of the Sajo River in 1241 by Tartars and Mongols, Bela IV fled to today's Zagreb, Croatia. Then poorly fortified Zagreb was unable to resist the invasion, and was destroyed whith its cathedral burned by Mongols. To turn back a second invasion, Gradec was given a royal charter or Golden Bull by King Bela IV in 1242. After which citizens of Zagreb engaged in building defensive walls and towers around their settlement, fearing a new Tatar invasion.
The Mongols persuit of Béla IV continued from Zagreb through Pannonia to Dalmatia. Mongols under the leadership of Kaidanovom (Kadan), in March 1242 at Klis Fortress in Croatia, experienced their first European military failure, while in persuit for the head of Béla IV of Hungary. The Mongols persued Béla IV from town to town in Dalmatia. Croatian nobility and Dalmatian towns like Trogir and Rab helped Béla IV to escape. After failure against the Croatian soldiers, the Mongols retreated and Béla IV was awarded Croatian towns and nobility. Only the town of Split did not aid Béla IV in his escape from the Mongols. Some historians claim that the mountainous terrain of Croatian Dalmatia was fatal for the Mongols, because they suffered great losses when attacked by the Croats from ambushes set up in mountain passes. Others historians claim that the death of Ögedei Khan (Croatian: Ogotaj) was the only reason for retreat. In any case, much of Croatia was plundered by the Mongols.
Saint Margaret (January 27, 1242 – January 18, 1271), a daughter of Béla IV and Maria Laskarina, was born in Klis Fortress during a Mongol invasion of Hungary-Croatia in 1242.

The impact on Vlachs (Present-day Romanians)
That time, Wallachia and Moldavia was the part of Cumania.
The 1241 Mongol invasion affected first Moldavia and Wallachia, situated east of the Carpathians, and then Transylvania, part of the Kingdom of Hungary. (The Hungarian Historians debate the existence of Vlachs in Transylvania before 1242.) Vallachians Val Tens of thousands of Romanians lost their lives trying to defend the territories from the Golden Horde. Crops and goods plundered from Romanian settlements seem to have been a source of supply for the Golden Horde. The invaders killed up to 1/2 of the population, and burned down most of the settlements, thus destroying the cultural and economic records from that period. Neither Romanians, nor the Kingdom of Hungary had any fighting chance against the Mongol hordes.
The swiftness of the invasion took many by surprise, and forced them to retreat and hide in forests and enclosed valleys of the Carpathians. The major target of the invasion was the Kingdom of Hungary.

End of the Mongol advance
Only strongly fortified cities and abbeys could withstand the assault in Hungary. As a consequence, after the Mongols retreated (1242), King Béla ordered the construction of hundreds of stone/brick castles and fortifications, meant to be defense against a possible second Mongol invasion. Mongols returned to Hungary in 1286, but the new built stone-castle systems and new tactics (using higher ratio of heavy knights) stopped them. The invading Mongol force was defeated near Pest by the royal army of Ladislaus IV of Hungary.
Some western historians attribute European survival to Mongol unwillingness to fight in the more densely populated German principalities, where the wetter weather affected their glue and sinew backed bows. The territory of Western Europe, with more forests and with many castles along with many opportunities for the heavy cavalry to counter-attack possibly made Western Europe a more formidable opponent. Also, despite the steppe tactics of the Avars and early Hungarians, both were defeated by Western States in the 9th and 10th centuries. A significant number of important castles and towns in Hungary had also resisted the formidable and infamous Mongol siege tactics.
Some claim that the reason for Batu's stopping at the Mohi River, was that he never intended to advance further. He had made the Russian conquest safe for the next ten generations, and when the Great Khan died and he rushed back to Mongolia to put in his claim for power, it ended his westward expansion. Subutai's recall at the same time left the Mongol armies without their spiritual head and primary strategist. Batu Khan was not able to resume his plans for conquest to the "Great Sea" (the Atlantic Ocean) until 1255, after the turmoil after Ögedei's death had finally subsided with the election of Möngke Khan as Great Khan.

Mongol infighting
From 1241 to 1248 a state of almost open warfare existed between the son of Jochi, Batu, and the son of Ögedei, Güyük. The Mongol Empire was ruled by a regency under Ögedei's widow Töregene Khatun, whose only goal was to secure the Great Khanate for her son, Güyük. There was so much bitterness between the two branches of the family that Güyük died in 1248 on his way to confront Batu to force him to accept his authority. He also had problems in his last years with the Principality of Halych-Volhynia, whose ruler, Danylo of Halych, adopted a politic of confronting the Golden Horde and defeated some Mongol assaults in 1254. He was only defeated in 1259, under the Berke's rule. Batu Khan was unable to turn his army west until 1255, after Möngke had become Great Khan, 1251, and he had repaired his relations with the Great Khanate. However, as he prepared to finish the invasion of Europe, he died. His son did not live long enough to implement his father's and Subutai's plan to invade Europe, and with his death, Batu's younger brother Berke became Khan of the Kipchak Khanate. Berke was not interested in invading Europe as much as halting his cousin Hulagu Khan from destroying the Holy Land. Berke had converted to Islam before and watched with horror as his cousin destroyed the Abbasid Caliph, the spiritual head of Islam as far as Berke was concerned. The Mamluks of Egypt, learning through spies that Berke was both a Muslim and not fond of his cousin, appealed to him for help and were careful to nourish their ties to him and his Khanate.
Both entities were Turkic in origin. Most of the Mamluks were of Turkic descent and Berke's Khanate was almost totally Turkic also. Jochi, Ghenghis Khan's oldest son, was of disputed parentage and only received 4,000 Mongol warriors to start his Khanate. His nearly 500,000 warriors were virtually all Turkic people who had submitted to the Mongols. Thus, the Khanate was Turkic in culture and had more in common with their brother Muslim Turkic Mamluks than with the Mongol shamanist Hulagu and his horde. Thus, when Hulagu Khan began to mass his army for war against the Mamluk-controlled Holy Land, they swiftly appealed to Berke Khan who sent armies against his cousin and forced him to defend his domains in the north.
Hulagu returned to his lands by 1262, but instead of being able to avenge his defeats, had to turn north to face Berke Khan, suffering severe defeat in an attempted invasion north of the Caucasus in 1263, after Berke Khan had lured him north and away from the Holy Land. Thus, the Kipchak Khanate never invaded Europe; keeping watch to the south and east instead. Berke only sent troops into Europe twice, in two relatively light raids in 1259 and 1265, simply to collect booty he needed to pay for his wars against Hulagu from 1262-65.

Later campaigns: Against Poland (1259, 1286 and 1287)
In 1259, 18 years after the first attack, two tumens (20,000 men) from the Golden Horde, under the leadership of Berke, attacked Poland after raiding Lithuania. This attack was commanded by general Burundai with young princes Nogai and Talabuga. Lublin, Sieradz, Sandomierz, Zawichost, Kraków, and Bytom were ravaged and plundered by Mongol army. Berke had no intention of occupying or conquering Poland. After this raid the Pope Alexander IV tried without success to organize a crusade against the Tatars.
In 1286, Tulabuga invaded Poland with Russian princess and sacked some cities. They returned to the Horde with 20,000 polish captives.
An unsuccessful raid followed in 1287, led by Talabuga and Nogai Khan. Lublin, Mazovia, Sandomierz and Sieradz were successful raided, but they were defeated at Kraków. Despite this, Kraków was devastated. This raid consisted of less than one tumen, since the Golden Horde's armies were tied down in a new conflict which the Il-Khanate initiated in 1284. The force sent was not sufficient to meet the full Polish army, nor did it have any siege engineers or equipment to breach city walls. It raided a few caravans, burned a few small towns, and fled when the Polish army was mustered.

Against Lithuania (1259, 1275 and 1277)
The Mongols under Burundai, a famous general of Batu, also successfully raided the Grand Duchy of Lithuania during the campaign of 1259. There were other raids against Lithuania in 1275 and 1277, as the Lithuanians were emerging as a rival to Mongol power. The Lithuanians won and drove out the Mongols.

Against Byzantine Thrace (1265)
During the reign of Berke there was also a raid against Thrace. In the winter of 1265 Nogai Khan led a Mongol raid of two tumens (20,000 soldiers) against the territories of Bulgaria and Byzantine Eastern Thrace. In the spring of 1265 he defeated the armies of Michael VIII Palaeologus. Instead of fighting, most of the Byzantines fled due to powerful Mongol army. After this Thrace was plundered by Nogai's army, and the Byzantine emperor made an alliance with the Golden Horde, giving his daughter Euphrosyne in marriage to Nogai. And also Michael had sent much if valuable fabrics to Golden Horde as tributary since then.

Against Bulgaria (1242, 1271, 1274, 1280 and 1285)
In the return after the premature end of the invasion of Europe, Mongols devastated Bulgaria. In 1271 Nogai Khan led a successful raid against the country, which was a vassal of Golden Horde until the early 14th century. Bulgaria was again raided by the Tatars in 1274, 1280 and 1285. However, Bulgarian tsar accepted suzerainty of Khan Tokhta (Toqta), Mongol control loosen since Nogai and Chaka's deaths.

Against Serbia (1293)
In 1293 Nogai Khan leads a large Mongol raid into Serbia, who forced the king Stefan Uroš II Milutin which was handily defeated by the Serbian king. However, the Serbian king acknowledges his supremacy to prevent further hostility.

Against the Kingdom of Hungary (1280s)
In the mid-1280s Nogai Khan led an invasion of Hungary alongside with Talabuga. Nogai lead an army that ravaged Transylvania with success, where cities like Reghin,Brassó- Braşov and Beszterce-Bistriţa were plundered and ravaged. However Talabuga, who led the main army in Northern Hungary, was stopped by the heavy snow of the Carpathians and the invading force was defeated near Pest by the royal army of Ladislaus IV and ambushed by the Székely in the return. As with later invasions, it was repelled handily, the Mongols losing much of their invading force. The outcome could not have contrasted more sharply with the 1241 invasion, mostly due to the reforms of Béla IV, which included advances in military tactics and, most importantly, the widespread building of stone castles, both in response to the crushing defeat of the Hungarian Kingdom in 1241.

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Text from Wikipedia