Roman Empire versus Mongol Empire. Who is cooler?

“A big empire, like a big pie, is starting to crumble from the edges.”
Benjamin Franklin

Dzin everyone! Anyone who loves history is always primarily interested in the fate of large states, which at one time determined the face of the entire planet. Such countries are usually called empires. And not casual. After all, in order to acquire significant significance, one must first of all have strength. Military force. This is how a person and all the formations invented by him are arranged. This is how the ubiquitous Wikipedia defines empire:

Empire (from lat… imperium – power) – a monarchical state headed by an emperor or a colonial or internationally significant power, relying in its domestic and foreign policy on the military estates (organized army) and acting in the interests of the military estates.

You and I are kind of lucky and we live in a country that just recently was an empire. In the West, the USSR was called the “evil empire”, but we know that it was possible only for its citizens . Although, of course, everyone has their own vision and opinions on this matter can be radically different.

But whoever says anything, it is absolutely certain that our country made a decisive contribution to the victory over another empire, which this time can be categorically called the empire of evil – fascist Germany. Perhaps this battle of the titans was the largest military campaign in history . But today I propose to plunge into deeper times and talk about states that have always been heard by those who are more or less interested in the affairs of bygone days.

Ancient empires

I think that if you ask 100 passers-by on the street to name the Greatest Empire in history, the votes will be approximately equally divided between the Roman Empire and the Mongol Empire. And, in many ways, this will be true. After all, it is these two territorial formations that probably left the most significant mark in the minds of people and it is about them that most of the materials have been written in textbooks and popular science publications .. Moreover, they combined many cultures and peoples that sometimes did not even know about the existence each other. Of course, we all know that someday the Empires collapse and these states have not escaped this fate, but today I propose to consider them at the peak of their power. Let’s take a look at the map and once again wonder how vast lands were under their control…. And I remind all this without modern logistics. The fastest transport of those times was the most ordinary horse.

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As we can see, these two empires, despite the radically different way of life, even had intersections in the Black Sea region and the Southwestern Caspian. Of course at different times, but this area has always attracted the mighty of this world. So let’s look at both of these giants separately.

The Roman Empire

Let’s start with respect, seniority. The Roman state exactly how the Empire did not find the time of Julius Caesar, as many mistakenly think. She just received her status some time after his death. Historians consider the battle of Actium as the starting point for the emergence of a new hegemon, at the end of which Cleopatra and Mark Antony committed suicide. Octavian executed the only heir to the throne and single-handedly led the Roman world . It was he who was later named Augustus. And then the Emperor.

From that moment and for almost 120 years, Julia-Claudia became the main dynasty of the world. It was they who massively reformed the army and the economy of the state, as well as laid the foundations of the infrastructure. However, Rome reached its peak during the reign of Trajan from the third dynasty, the so-called era of the five good emperors. from AD 98 to 117 he occupied the throne and at the same time the territory of the empire grew incredibly. In the North, the border passed through the island of Great Britain, in the East, the possession extended through the lands of present-day Bulgaria and Romania and further to Syria, Palestine and Armenia . In addition, all of North Africa was also part of the state. The population was then about 50 million people, and the territory totaled more than 5 million square kilometers.

It would seem a lot, but with such an indicator Rome is not even included in the top 20 largest states in history. It is remarkable, first of all, for its innovative management structure at that time. The political and social system of the Roman Empire was a breakthrough in those wild and gray times and for a long time became a reference. And military science has completely reached a fundamentally different level. Largely, thanks to her, it was possible to keep such an area under control.

The good old principle of hiring soldiers from conquered lands almost always worked flawlessly. This added strength to the army, and as you know, sometimes quantity still beats quality, although Rome was fine with the latter.

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Mongol Empire

And now let’s move on to the Mongol Empire, in which there were not so many Mongols proper. If the Roman Empire fell in about 476 AD, then the beginning of the formation of the Great Ulus is considered to be the beginning of the XIII century, when Temujin defeated his old enemies, the Naimans and Merkits, and won the so-called Steppe War of 1206, after which he was elected the Great Khan. In Mongolian, this title sounds like Chinggis Khan. (Many people confuse the name with the rank).

From that moment on, one of the most legendary states began to grow. The first significant milestone in the expansion of the Mongols was the aggression against the Jin Empire. Already in 1215, under the onslaught of 50,000 cavalry warriors, the capital Zhongdu (modern Beijing) fell . And a few years later, almost all of Central Asia knelt before the young leader. And in 1223, an event took place about which, I think, each of us heard – the Battle of the Kalka River, where the rivals of Temujin’s comrades-in-arms were the Polovtsian Khan Kotyan in alliance with the Kiev prince Mstislav. As we know, the Mongols won. By the way, it should be noted that the Kalka River itself flows on the territory of the modern Donetsk region. This speaks of the highest mobility of the Horde troops.

In 1227, the founder of the Empire died and for some time the country fell into a stupor. But the third son of Temujin Ogedei, who ascended the throne in accordance with the will, quickly restored the ambitious claims of the empire entrusted to him by the father, and it was decided to launch an offensive in four directions at once: against the Song empire, the Middle East, Koryo (Korea), and a decision was made to the west direct a blow against the Bulgars, Polovtsians and Russians. And I must say that the western campaign was successful. In the period from 1236 to 1240 Ryazan, Moscow, Vladimir, Torzhok, Tver, Chernigov and Kiev were sequentially taken . And then the troops moved even further, to Hungary. And then to Poland and the Czech Republic. In 1242, the Mongols captured the Croatian Zagreb and Split, which is located on the shores of the Adriatic Sea.By 1279, the territory of the Empire was almost 33 million km², and the population was approximately 110 million people . This is the scale! Just imagine! However, then the country entered into a protracted period of internal strife and its strength gradually came to naught, although it was still so impressive that even attempts were made to seize Japan and Indonesia.

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At the end of the 13th century, a single state of lard split up, and this is a well-known sign of the beginning of the end. In 1380, the famous Battle of Kulikovo took place, the defeat in which significantly reduced the influence of the Mongols on the Moscow principality. Thus, the period of the so-called yoke lasted about 140 years and there is no need to talk about the “thousand-year period of kneeling” before the Mongols . This is a moment by the standards of history.

Who is cooler?

Of course, it is difficult to compare states that are so seriously separated in time. Maneuverability certainly belongs to the obvious advantages of the Mongol. Their equestrian tumens turned out to be extremely effective in battles in open territory, where they definitely have where to turn around. The advantages of Rome clearly include the fleet, which could give an invaluable advantage in battles along the coast. If we talk about the number of troops, then according to many sources, the total number of Temujin’s military formations reached a maximum of 100,000 people, while Rome could deploy an army at least 2 times more… The third point is morality. The Mongols were clearly weak in diplomacy and had no special dealings with the conquered peoples, well, except for collecting tribute, which did not add allies to them. On top of that, an irrepressible and slightly haphazard desire to conquer everything would not immediately give an advantage in a confrontation with an organized and trained opponent. Thus, in my subjective opinion, the war between the Roman and Mongol Empires would have ended in a clear victory for the former . Although in the early stages of the conflict, the Romans could have had some problems, but the ability to defend for a long time would discourage the furious Asians from the desire and the possibility of an equally long siege and they would return back with nothing, and then self-destruct due to an ineffective control system. What actually happened.

What do you think about this? Who would have won this hypothetical confrontation? Write in the comments!

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