Most Westerners accept the stereotype of the 13th-century
Mongols as barbaric plunderers intent merely to maim, slaughter,
and destroy. This perception, based on Persian, Chinese, Russian,
and other accounts of the speed and ruthlessness with which
the Mongols carved out the largest contiguous land empire
in world history, has shaped both Asian and Western images
of the Mongols and of their earliest leader, Chinggis
Such a view has diverted attention from the considerable
contributions the Mongols made to 13th- and 14th-century civilization.
Though the brutality of the Mongols' military campaigns ought
not to be downplayed or ignored, neither should their influence
on Eurasian culture be overlooked.