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Arts and Culture in Area Studies: Culture and Conquest: the impact of the Mongols and their descendants


Admission requirements

Admission to the Research Master Area Studies or the Research Master History. Please, contact Dr. J.J.L Gommans ( or Dr. G.R. van den Berg (, if you are interested in taking this course, but NOT a student of the Research Master Area Studies or the Research Master History.


In the thirteenth century, the Mongols created a vast empire, that covered large parts of Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Their conquests shook the Old World to its very foundations and changed its outlook entirely. In many sources from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, the Mongols are pictured as ruthless barbarians; at the same time, however, the Mongols created numerous new opportunities for cultural exchange and transmission. They made a considerable contribution to 13th and 14th century Eurasian civilization by accommodating the interchange of products, people, technology and science. The Mongol Empire linked Europe and Asia and heralded an era of contacts between East and West: under their rule merchants, missionaries and craftsmen from Europe and the Middle East traveled to Asia and vice versa. The ensuing ever-growing demand of products from the East eventually inspired the European search for a sea route to Asia: one of the books Christopher Columbus had with him when he discovered America was Marco Polo’s Travelogue to the Mongol Court. In this course we will look at the impact of the Mongols and their descendants, the Timurids and the Mughals, on the course of Eurasian history, and we will examine their influence on cultural, economical and political developments in later centuries, both in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.


See course-schedule

Mode of instruction

research seminar

Assessment method

to be announced


Reading list

to be announced


See enrolment-procedure

Contact information

with the tutor: dr. J.J.L.Gommans