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Saber and Scroll

Abstract

From the thirteenth to the early fifteenth century, the Mongols influenced, either directly or indirectly, one of the largest empires the world has ever seen. It included the valuable Silk Road where traders could bring exotic goods from the Far East to markets in the Arab world, Africa, and Europe. The increased security of the Silk Road due to the stability of the Mongol Empire allowed for more than the trade of goods and ideas; disease also moved along its routes. The Mongols rapidly swept through Asia and Eastern Europe conquering all in their path, regardless of religion, culture, or race. Among the diseases that initiated in the steppes of Central Asia, the Black Death of 1313 – 1353 spread through the trade routes killing millions in its wake. The four decades of that iteration of the plague altered art, religion, and trade at a global scale in no small part due to the speed by which distant lands were connected via the Pax Mongolica and Silk Road. The Black Death caused by the bubonic plague devastated the eastern hemisphere. Mongolian imperial peace and the stability it provided to the ancient Silk Road served as a conduit for cultures to trade and transmit knowledge, goods, wealth and infectious disease.

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