1. Describe the direct and indirect contacts between China and Europe prior to the Song dynasty in China and the Crusades in Europe.What, specifically, did each civilization know – or think that it knew – about the other?
2. What factors account for the military successes of the Mongols through the course of the 13th century – not only in Western Asia and Europe but in East Asia as well?Of those factors, which do you consider the most important? Why?
3. Using the accounts of John of Plano Carpini and William of Rubruck, describe the court of the Great Khans (both at the capital of Karakorum and when they were “on the move” outside of the capital). You should consider how dwellings were laid out, the kinds of people they encountered, and their interactions with the Great Khans and their close relatives (including their wives).
4. Since Marco Polo was the primary source for European knowledge about China from the 14th to 16th centuries, the information that he provided was of considerable importance historically. Please describe as fully as you can in a 25-minute essay Marco’s treatment about one of the following topics: Chinese cities and city life, the variety and practice of religion in China, or important goods produced by the Chinese.