The Hellenic, Roman and future European expansions were not the only ones of history. The Mongols were a loosely connected group of tribes brought together in the late 12th century by Temujin, better known as Genghis Khan.
He invaded northern China, headed west to the Black Sea and went into northern India. His grandson subjugated Russia and headed into Europe. Inflicting heavy defeats, if he had not turned away, Europe would have fallen.
Having a shamanic spirituality, the Mongols were nomads at heart, using light cavalry and fear to conquer. Once achieved, they employed Chinese bureaucrats to set up what proved to be a relatively fair administration. However, the empire eventually self-destructed in 1502, having lost direction and invincibility.
Prior to Mongol invasion, China had had a succession of dynastic rulers from the 3rd Millenium BC. Spiritually they adopted Taoism and Confucianism by about 600BC. Taoism is based on the Tao or Way, formed around a universal life force called Ch’i, which has the opposing forces of Yin and Yang, or creation and destruction. Meditation tries to form harmony and balance among them. Confucianism added a moral code and patriarchal leadership based on ancestor worship.
China had constantly gravitated between absolute rule and disintegration. In 221BC Shi Huangdi became emperor, forming a dictatorial bureaucracy and building the Great Wall. The empire collapsed shortly afterwards, China again descending into the to and fro of dynastic rule and disintegration, although by the 3rd century AD the Silk Road was established, trading with the wider world.
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