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Ibn al-athir - Essay Example

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He also described how this horde of invaders wreaked complete destruction of the lands they conquered. Ibn Al-Athir even described the rise of the Tatars…
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Ibn al-Athir: On the Tatars, 1220-1221 CE A Reflection The Arab historian Ibn Al-Athir vividly depicts the success of the Tatars in invading numerous territories around the world. He also described how this horde of invaders wreaked complete destruction of the lands they conquered. Ibn Al-Athir even described the rise of the Tatars as “this terrible calamity, the like of which the days and nights had never before brought forth, engulfed the whole of creation and in particular, the Muslims”. He claimed that the Muslims had suffered the most from the invading Tatars.
The document about the Tatars was written by Ibn Al-Athir in 1220-1221 CE. The document was perhaps written in Mesopotamia since the Arab historian lived in Mosul, a place located in Northern Iraq. The document seems to be a narrative of secondhand information about the Tatars. The author had described the stories he heard about the atrocities of the Tatars. For instance, he stated “It is now time for us to describe how they first burst forth into the lands. Stories have been related to me, which the hearer can scarcely credit, as to the terror of the Tatars, which God Almighty cast into men’s hearts; so that it is said that a single one of them would enter a village or a quarter wherein were many people, and would continue to slay them one after another, none daring to stretch forth his hand against this horseman”. Ibn al-Athir wrote a document about the exploits of ‘horsemen’ from China, specifically referring to the Mongols led by Genghis Khan.
The document was written for those who are interested in knowing the nature or characteristics of Mongol invaders. The author specifically addresses the Muslims who were victimized by the cruelties of these conquerors. It seems that the author wants to rekindle the religious zeal of the Muslims who, historically, were insulted and slighted by the ‘bizarre’ religion of the Tatars: “As for their religion, they worship the sun when it rises, and regard nothing as unlawful, for they eat all beasts, even dogs, pigs, and the like…” The main point of the document is that the Tatars were obviously mighty conquerors, whose conquests should be admired by all, but were clearly ‘barbaric’, ‘profane’, and ‘savage’. The author described how these invaders inflicted sufferings in the lands they swept into. They were successful conquerors but the unspeakable horrors they perpetrated should cast them as savages in the eyes of God. The author enumerated the territories conquered by this invading horde and, at the same time, commenting about the lawlessness and corruption of the Mongol invasion.
The document of Ibn al-Athir about the Tatars reveals that the society he was referring to already suffered major invasions, such as that of Nebuchadnezzar. The invasions were extraordinary in character, especially in terms of brutality and severity. It was a period of aggressive territorial expansion, of remarkable leadership. It was a period of power hoarding, the likes of which determine the future of the nations and the world. Read More
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