- Jul 2017
Modern Day Depiction of the Mongols in Marco Polo: One Hundred Eyes and W. Rubruck's Account:
Marco Polo: One Hundred Eyes is a short special on Netflix loosely based off of the real Mongol General Bayan of the Baarin. In comparing Rubruck's primary account to this modern day portrayal of the Mongols in China under Kubilai Khan there are a few similarities and differences. Differences mainly arise from the time and geographic spaces; the special took place in 1262 in Kubilai Khan's China whereas Rubruck's was between 1253-1255 in the Mongol capital of Karakorum. Rubruck noted the nomadic lifestyle where the Mongols resided in non-fixed dwellings, but in the special this is not shown; the Khan is shown not in a tent, but in a permanent building. Both sources (and our textbook) depict the Mongols as fierce warriors, who used curved bows, horses, and fear (of being massacred) as a means of conquering people. In the special, the Khan states he takes conquered craftsmen, employing them to further his conquests. Our text repeatedly emphasized this unique aspect of the Mongols of using those they captured to create siege engines or help run their armies as the real Bayan of the Baarin did. Though Rubruck's account is a primary source unlike this Netflix special- which was most likely based off of a plethora of primary sources- they both provide different view of how Mongols functioned and lived in various areas within the same mammoth empire.