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"Mongol Auxiliaries" Topic

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843 hits since 27 Apr 2017
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Hobhood4 Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2017 2:11 a.m. PST

The Mongols seem to have made extensive use of auxiliaries from conquered nations or tribes. Is there any information about whether such warriors were integrated into mongol units or whether they formed separate groupings retaining their original dress styles/appearance? Did they become culturally 'mongol'? I'm aware the separate units were used in various campaigns such as Korean infantry. But I'm really interested to find out whether there is any historical basis in mixing a number of other turkic/cuman/kipchack etc cavalry figures into mongol units.

1ngram27 Apr 2017 3:09 a.m. PST

Thousands of Alans were moved to the borders of China (permanently?)and were, I would have thought, unlikely to have changed dress etc.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2017 3:38 a.m. PST

Yes most likely kept their ways, if only spoke different languages and not permanent formations.

Glengarry527 Apr 2017 3:45 a.m. PST

I think I read somewhere that one of the factors in the Mamluk victory over the Mongols at Ayn-Jalut was the fact the "Mongol" army wasn't all Mongols, having Arab and Turkish auxiliaries drafted into the army.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2017 5:05 a.m. PST

True – in fact, as I recall all of the specialists in the Mongol Army (like the artillery crews) were non-Mongols, and I agree they kept their native dress/language

Personal logo Great War Ace Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2017 6:44 a.m. PST

Let's not get too hasty about non integration. The Mongol hordes looked homogenous to their enemies. And there is a definite "Mongol look" to the artistic depictions. What I think happened is that once a region was assimilated, and the men folk "impressed" into the Mongol army, a tendency to adopt the new ways dominated; including taking on the appearance of the conquerors. "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em", sort of thing. I'm sure that the rapidity and irresistibility of the Mongol conquests led many people into believing that the whole world was "going Mongol". "Mongol fashion" would have been part of that as people allowed that they should stop fighting it and join up………..

Skeptic27 Apr 2017 8:21 a.m. PST

Any integration would likely have taken some time. In nomadic households that made their own clothing, and which likely had little clothing beyond what they wore on their backs, preparing and sewing hides would not have been instantaneous.

Chinggis27 Apr 2017 12:26 p.m. PST

My interpretation would be that as happened at the quriltai (a meeting of high ranking commanders and others)of 1206, apart from a few tribes that had served Temujin before he became Chinggis Qahan who retained their independence and fought together. All other tribes were broken up and divided between the various tumat (divisions) at the time so as there was no chance of a rebellion later. Also, all enemy tribal leaders were killed so as there could be no one to act as a rallying point. Any warriors from conquered tribes would have been treated the same way and as most of them were steppe nomads the only training necessary would have been the legendary and draconian Mongolian discipline. The officers would have all been Mongol as would some troops who would act as role-models for the 'new recruits'.
During the European campaign of 1237-41 there was an attached artillery train consisting of 20,000 engineers, probably a mix of Chinese and Arabic nationalities. Before that there were formations of Jurchen and Chin soldiers fighting the Chin alongside the Mongols under Muqali in the second and third decades of the thirteenth century.
Also, on the style of dress, before 1206 each of the different tribes could be distinguished by the type of hat they wore or a certain type of leatherwork but of course when they were all split warriors from any number of tribes could be represented in the same jagun (10 man unit). Therefore there was probably no uniformity of look at any time with any newcomers wearing what they had.

shurite710 May 2017 11:32 p.m. PST

There is evidence that suggest servitude/subjection to the Mongols, especially for military service, individuals were required to call themselves Mongol, Latin and Arabic sources use the term Tatar, and shave their head in the Mongol style. Mongol apparel was given to client subject princes/emirs/lesser rulers to distinguish him from a foe.

Those from the Steppe regions, including northern China, (who fought in the Mongol fashion) were mixed in with regular Mongol soldiers, to fill the ranks, while others were sent to different areas of the Ulus to form a Tama, pl-Tammachis. The Tama was organized via the decimal system used by the Mongols and Turks. In short, everyone was required to view themselves as Mongol.

With that being stated there are plenty of accounts, especially during the invasion of the Song regions and during the Mamluke – Il-Khanate conflict (notice these are later conquests), of subjects who formed their own entity commanded by their own general. These groups wore their own attire and fought in their own fashion.

Two good secondary sources on this topic are Timothy May and Peter Jackson. Some translated primary sources are Carpini, Juvaini, Rashid al-din Tabib, ibn al-Athir, and the Yuan Shi. The later has been translated into English, but not yet published. The military establishment portion has been translated and published. There are other lesser known (more accurately lesser used) primary accounts which Peter Jackson is quite good at using. The archaeological record is quite bleak on this matter. What is interesting, though, are the pictorial accounts of Mongol troops. They have been drawn into question for accuracy, yet they are still fascinating to look at. See Rashid al-din Tabib and Takezaki Suenaga.

MikeO FKA Durruti11 May 2017 9:43 a.m. PST

Some great points made here especially Chinggis and shurite7.

There was a discussion here that touched on the Yuan foot soldiers that appear in the Takezaki Mongol invasions of Japan scroll (1274 and 1281):

TMP link

It appears that some current thinking regards these as probably meant to depict "Han-jun" (former Jin dynasty troops of northern China), especially the pavisiers. The clothing/armour has a distinctive Mongol influence which would be logical as the Jin had been under Mongol control since 1234. However there are also distinctly Chinese elements like phoenix wing helmet adornments, belly-wrappers for officers and flags suggesting cross-fertilisation of styles and culture. The fact that the Mongols were classically a cavalry-based force and the Chinese more infantry and artillery orientated would suggest separate specialised units perhaps?

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