The Mongols and the Black Sea Trade in the Thirteenth and by Virgil Ciocîltan, Translated by Samuel Willcocks

By Virgil Ciocîltan, Translated by Samuel Willcocks

The inclusion of the Black Sea basin into the long-distance alternate community – with its axes of the Silk highway in the course of the Golden Horde (Urgench-Sarai-Tana/Caffa) and the Spice highway during the Ilkhanate (Ormuz-Tabriz-Trebizond) – was once the 2 Mongol states’ most crucial contribution to creating the ocean a “crossroads of foreign commerce”.
The closest recorded operating courting among ecu and Asian powers within the medieval interval, accomplished by means of the joint efforts of the Chinggisid rulers and the Italian service provider republics, used to be no longer realised through the standard geographic channels of the jap Mediterranean and the Fertile Crescent, yet really by means of roundabout routes to the Black Sea. hence whilst the ocean fulfilled its functionality as a crossroads of long-distance Eurasian exchange, it used to be additionally a skip.

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Extra info for The Mongols and the Black Sea Trade in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries

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The ­similarities 24 chapter one do not end with scale alone. A comparison of the two episodes of expansion reveals fundamental problems and solutions, including in the reign of long-distance trade. The warriors around the Prophet Muḥammad, like those around Chinggis Khan, came from peripheral areas of the world economy, and their most striking common feature is the shared form of motivation. Living conditions in the Arabian Peninsula, like those in the Mongol steppe, were precarious at best, and when the call to arms came, those who lived in the areas responded en masse to the prospect of material wealth.

These Jochid successor states survived not in the open steppe, as might be expected, but in and around the great commercial centres. Even the names of these khanates are instructive: Crimea, Astrakhan, Kazan. These were the true commercial strongholds, islands of trade in a surrounding nomadic landscape. It is hard for us, accustomed as we are to the realities of today, to imagine the truly exceptional importance of the transit trade in the Middle Ages as a source of revenue. Its role only began to decline with the start of industrialisation, which increased productivity many times over and stimulated activity enormously in many different sectors of the economy which then became major contributors to the budget.

This decision was the declaration of war that Chinggis Khan had been waiting for. 15 The deployment of great numbers of nomad cavalry to support the merchant caste is the first striking proof of how important commerce was to imperial policy promoted at the highest echelons of the Mongol state. The Otrar incident also demonstrates the contribution of long-distance commerce to the expansion of Chinggis Khan’s power. 16 From the professional point of view, this decision to betray their lord can be explained in terms of the turncoats’ commercial habits of mind: they showed remarkable foresight in recognising the victorious rival ahead of time, a conqueror willing and able to let the merchant class thrive in step with the breakneck expansion of his empire.

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