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Famines, State, and the Stability of Mongol Eurasia: Preliminary Remarks

Ishayahu Landa

Pages 115 - 154

This paper addresses the complex interrelation between climatic extremes, famines, and the stability (or instability) of the ruling powers of the various Chinggisid states across the Eurasian continent during the thirteenth to fourteenth centuries. It pays special attention to the variability of the impact of famines on the nomadic and the sedentary population under the Chinggisid rule. Looking into the primary textual sources in Arabic, Chinese, Persian and Old Slavonic, quite unevenly dispersed across the continent, this paper advocates cautiousness and a critical approach in the question of interrelations between climatic hazards of the beginning Little Ice Age (early fourteenth century onward), the impact of such hazards (e.g. demographic shocks) and the succession (or the lack of thereof) of the Chinggisid governance to manage such crisis situations. On a broader scale, the paper also addresses the issue of the interrelations between the Great Chinggisid Crisis of the mid-fourteenth century and the climatic extremes, cautioning against monocausality in historical research and insisting on the multiplicity of factors that have to be borne in mind when analysing the breakup of Mongol Eurasia.


本文探討元代期間極端氣候、飢荒與歐亞大陸各個成吉思汗國家統治權力的穩 定(或不穩定)之間複雜的相互關係,特別關注成吉思汗統治下飢荒對遊牧民 族和定居人口影響的變化。 本文研究阿拉伯語、漢語、波斯語和古斯拉夫語 的主要文本來源,分析於歐亞大陸的分佈相當不均勻。本文主張在小冰河時代 初期(十四世紀初以後)的氣候災害之間的相互關係問題上採取謹慎和批判的 態度 )、此類危害的影響(例如人口衝擊)以及成吉思汗政府管理此類危機 局勢的繼承(或缺乏)。 在更廣泛的範圍內,本文也討論十四世紀中葉的成 吉思汗大危機與極端氣候之間的相互關係問題,警告歷史研究中不要採取單一 因果關係,並堅持必須牢記多種因素在分析蒙古歐亞大陸的分裂時。



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