1. Construct a response that compares the "insider" view of the Mongols ("Genghis Khan and the Rise of the Mongols") with the "outsider" accounts ("The Mongol Empire Takes Shape"). Do you see any similarities? What are the key differences? Why are both points of view important in understanding who the Mongols were?
Answer: These days, there are centuries of scholarship to draw on and almost every important source is easily available and published, so it might seem like a golden age of Mongolian studies. However, the truth is that many ambiguities arise when it comes to understanding who the Mongols were because of the clash of insider views and outsider accounts of the Mongols. Right now, there is a high level of interest particularly in the period of the era of the Mongolian Empire. However, the problem is that there is an acute shortage of actual specialists who can actually give an insider view of the Mongols. In other words, there is a lack of insider views of the Mongols, or they are very rare to begin with, which makes it a bit tricky to study the age of the Mongolian Empire broadly. A majority of the primary sources of information about the Mongols are nothing but outside accounts. Today, the Mongol age is viewed as nothing but nostalgic past by most scholars. Even they are dependent on outside accounts and even they do not have a clear idea of who the Mongols truly were. In fact, it is because of these outsider accounts that they are left with no choice but to view the Mongol age through rose-colored glasses. Of course, one reason behind the lack of insider views of the Mongols is that today, very few actually know any Mongolians at all. This leaves them with no choice but to depend on what others have written about the Mongols and try to understand them through the accounts of others. While outsider accounts can still help in learning about the history of the Mongols, but insider views of the Mongols are equally necessary because they give a true insider feeling for the view of the Mongol people and the events of that period.
2. Using the document titled "The Christian Crusades"? Christian and Muslim Reactions", discuss and evaluate the significance of the Crusades as a cross-cultural event. How is it possible to have different perceptions of the same historical event?
Answer: Traditionally, in the Western world, the focus of the study of the Christian Crusades has almost exclusively been on the view of events presented by the European Christians. However, the recent years has seen the emergence of a more complete picture of the long series of conflicts in the Holy Land between the Christians and the Muslims. After all, the Crusades that started in 1095 and continued for more than 400 years can be viewed as an act of preserving cultures. In fact, not only did the cultures involved have their own perceptions about the Crusades but were also impacted in different ways as well. The West had a positive picture of the Crusades. For them it renewed their interest in architecture, art, learning and literature. The Muslim world became distrustful, fearful and restful about Christian Europe as a result of the Crusades. The Byzantine strongly believed that the Crusades led to the downfall of the Byzantine Empire. It is intriguing but not surprising that the same historical event experienced by different people is seen from polar opposite viewpoints. Culture tends to shape an individual’s view of history, in fact, their view of just about anything. An individual’s culture shapes the way they view the world, which in turn causes them to see and perceive things, including historical events, differently as people from another culture. Since multiple major cultures were involved in the Crusades, it is apparent that today we have so many perceptions and views of the Crusades. Although every individual has the right to have their own perception of anything but this causes two problems. Discrepancies in cultural perceptions make it difficult to analyze which perception might be correct and cultural perceptions tend to challenge an individual’s ability to understand how another individual from another culture perceives the same cultural event.