Armenians are an ethnic group native to the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia. Armenians constitute the de facto independent Artsakh. There is a wide-ranging diaspora of around 5 million people of full or partial Armenian ancestry living outside modern Armenia; the largest Armenian populations today exist in Russia, the United States, Georgia, Germany, Lebanon and Syria. With the exceptions of Iran and the former Soviet states, the present-day Armenian diaspora was formed as a result of the Armenian Genocide. Most Armenians adhere to the Armenian Apostolic Church, a non-Chalcedonian church, the world's oldest national church. Christianity began to spread in Armenia soon after Jesus' death, due to the efforts of two of his apostles, St. Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew. In the early 4th century, the Kingdom of Armenia became the first state to adopt Christianity as a state religion. Armenian is an Indo-European language, it has two mutually intelligible and written forms: Eastern Armenian, today spoken in Armenia, Artsakh and the former Soviet republics.
The unique Armenian alphabet was invented in 405 AD by Mesrop Mashtots. The name Armenian has come to internationally designate this group of people, it was first used by neighbouring countries of ancient Armenia. The earliest attestations of the exonym Armenia date around the 6th century BC. In his trilingual Behistun Inscription dated to 517 BC, Darius I the Great of Persia refers to Urashtu as Armina (in Old Persian. In Greek, Αρμένιοι "Armenians" is attested from about the same time the earliest reference being a fragment attributed to Hecataeus of Miletus. Xenophon, a Greek general serving in some of the Persian expeditions, describes many aspects of Armenian village life and hospitality in around 401 BC, he relates that the people spoke a language that to his ear sounded like the language of the Persians. Armenians call themselves Hay; the name has traditionally been derived from Hayk, the legendary patriarch of the Armenians and a great-great-grandson of Noah, according to Moses of Chorene, defeated the Babylonian king Bel in 2492 BC and established his nation in the Ararat region.
It is further postulated that the name Hay comes from one of the two confederated, Hittite vassal states—the Ḫayaša-Azzi. Movses Khorenatsi, the important early medieval Armenian historian, wrote that the word Armenian originated from the name Armenak or Aram; the Armenian Highland is the area surrounding the highest peak of the region. A controversial hypothesis put forward by some scholars, such as T. Gamkrelidze and V. Ivanov, has proposed that the Indo-European homeland was around the Armenian Highland; the modern Armenian language is grouped with Greek and Ancient Macedonian in the Pontic Indo-European subgroup of Indo-European languages by Eric P. Hamp in his 2012 Indo-European family tree, groups. There are two possible explanations, not mutually exclusive, for a common origin of the Armenian and Greek languages. Ancient Greek scholars, such as Herodotus, suggest that the Phrygians of western Anatolia, who spoke an Indo-European language, had made a contribution to the ethnogenesis of the Armenians: "the Armenians were equipped like Phrygians, being Phrygian colonists".
This appears to imply that some Phrygians migrated eastward to Armenia following the destruction of Phrygia by a Cimmerian invasion in the late 7th century BC. Greek scholars believed that the Phrygians had originated in the Balkans, in an area adjoining Macedonia, from where they had emigrated to Anatolia many centuries earlier. In Hamp's view the homeland of the proposed Greco-Armenian subgroup is the northeast coast of the Black Sea and its hinterlands, he assumes that they migrated from there southeast through the Caucasus with the Armenians remaining after Batumi while the pre-Greeks proceeded westwards along the southern coast of the Black Sea. Some genetics studies explain Armenian diversity by several mixtures of Eurasian populations that occurred between ~3,000 and ~2,000 BC, but genetic signals of population mixture cease after ~1,200 BC when Bronze Age civilizations in the Eastern Mediterranean world and violently collapsed. Armenians have since remained isolated and genetic structure within the population developed ~500 years ago when Armenia was divided between the Ottomans and the Safavid Empire in Iran.
In the Bronze Age, several states flourished in the area of Greater Armenia, including the Hittite Empire and Hayasa-Azzi. Soon after Hayasa-Azzi came Arme-Shupria, the Nairi and the Kingdom of Urartu, who successively established their sovereignty over the Armenian Highland; each of the aforementioned nations and tribes participated in the ethnogenesis of the Armenian people. Under Ashurbanipal, the Assyrian empire reached the Caucasus Mountains. Yerevan, the modern capital of Armenia, was founded in 782 BC by king Argishti I; the first geographical entity, called Armenia by neighboring peoples was established in the late 6th century BC u
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a scholarly religious congregation of the Catholic Church for men founded by Ignatius of Loyola and approved by Pope Paul III. The members are called Jesuits; the society is engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations. Jesuits work in education, intellectual research, cultural pursuits. Jesuits give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes, sponsor direct social ministries, promote ecumenical dialogue. Saint Ignatius of Loyola, a Basque nobleman from the Pyrenees area of northern Spain, founded the society after discerning his spiritual vocation while recovering from a wound sustained in the Battle of Pamplona, he composed the Spiritual Exercises to help others follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 1534, Ignatius and six other young men, including Francis Xavier and Peter Faber and professed vows of poverty and obedience, including a special vow of obedience to the Pope in matters of mission direction and assignment. Ignatius's plan of the order's organization was approved by Pope Paul III in 1540 by a bull containing the "Formula of the Institute".
Ignatius was a nobleman who had a military background, the members of the society were supposed to accept orders anywhere in the world, where they might be required to live in extreme conditions. Accordingly, the opening lines of the founding document declared that the society was founded for "whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God to strive for the defence and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine." Jesuits are thus sometimes referred to colloquially as "God's soldiers", "God's marines", or "the Company", which evolved from references to Ignatius' history as a soldier and the society's commitment to accepting orders anywhere and to endure any conditions. The society participated in the Counter-Reformation and in the implementation of the Second Vatican Council; the Society of Jesus is consecrated under the patronage of Madonna Della Strada, a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it is led by a Superior General. The headquarters of the society, its General Curia, is in Rome.
The historic curia of Ignatius is now part of the Collegio del Gesù attached to the Church of the Gesù, the Jesuit mother church. In 2013, Jorge Mario Bergoglio became the first Jesuit to be elected Pope, taking the name Pope Francis; as of 2012, the Jesuits formed the largest single religious order of priests and brothers in the Catholic Church. The Jesuits have experienced a decline in numbers in recent decades; as of 2017 the society had 16,088 members, 11,583 priests and 4,505 Jesuits in formation, which includes brothers and scholastics. This represents a 42.6 percent decline since 1977, when the society had a total membership of 28,038, of which 20,205 were priests. This decline is most pronounced in Europe and the Americas, with modest membership gains occurring in Asia and Africa. There seems to be no "Pope Francis effect" in counteracting the fall of vocations among the Jesuits; the society is divided into 83 provinces along with six independent regions and ten dependent regions. On 1 January 2007, members served in 112 nations on six continents with the largest number in India and the US.
Their average age was 57.3 years: 63.4 years for priests, 29.9 years for scholastics, 65.5 years for brothers. The current Superior General of the Jesuits is Arturo Sosa; the society is characterized by its ministries in the fields of missionary work, human rights, social justice and, most notably, higher education. It operates colleges and universities in various countries around the world and is active in the Philippines and India. In the United States the Jesuits have historical ties to 28 colleges and universities and 61 high schools; the degree to which the Jesuits are involved in the administration of each institution varies. As of September 2018, 15 of the 28 Jesuit universities in the US had non-Jesuit lay presidents. According to a 2014 article in The Atlantic, "the number of Jesuit priests who are active in everyday operations at the schools isn’t nearly as high as it once was". Worldwide it runs 172 colleges and universities. A typical conception of the mission of a Jesuit school will contain such concepts as proposing Christ as the model of human life, the pursuit of excellence in teaching and learning, lifelong spiritual and intellectual growth, training men and women for others.
Ignatius laid out his original vision for the new order in the "Formula of the Institute of the Society of Jesus", "the fundamental charter of the order, of which all subsequent official documents were elaborations and to which they had to conform." He ensured that his formula was contained in two papal bulls signed by Pope Paul III in 1540 and by Pope Julius III in 1550. The formula expressed the nature, community life, apostolate of the new religious order, its famous opening statement echoed Ignatius' military background: Whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God beneath the banner of the Cross in our Society, which we desire to be designated by the Name of Jesus, to serve the Lord alone and the Church, his spouse, under the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ on earth, after a solemn vow of perpetual chastity and obedience, keep what follows in mind. He is a member of a Society founded chiefly for this purpose: to strive for the defence and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine, by means of public preaching and any other ministration whatsoever of the Word of God, further by means of ret
The Azores the Autonomous Region of the Azores, is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal. It is an archipelago composed of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean about 1,360 km west of continental Portugal, about 1,643 km west of Lisbon, in continental Portugal, about 1,507 km northwest of Morocco, about 1,925 km southeast of Newfoundland, Canada, its main industries are agriculture, dairy farming, livestock and tourism, becoming the major service activity in the region. In addition, the government of the Azores employs a large percentage of the population directly or indirectly in the service and tertiary sectors; the main capital of the Azores is Ponta Delgada. There are an islet cluster, in three main groups; these are Corvo, to the west. They lie in a northwest-southeast direction. All the islands have volcanic origins, although some, such as Santa Maria, have had no recorded activity since the islands were settled. Mount Pico, on the island of Pico, is the highest point in Portugal, at 2,351 m.
If measured from their base at the bottom of the ocean to their peaks, which thrust high above the surface of the Atlantic, the Azores are some of the tallest mountains on the planet. The climate of the Azores is mild for such a northerly location, being influenced by its distance from the continents and by the passing Gulf Stream. Due to the marine influence, temperatures remain mild year-round. Daytime temperatures fluctuate between 16 °C and 25 °C depending on season. Temperatures above 30 °C or below 3 °C are unknown in the major population centres, it is generally wet and cloudy. The culture, dialect and traditions of the Azorean islands vary because these once-uninhabited and remote islands were settled sporadically over a span of two centuries. A small number of alleged hypogea, earthen structures carved into rocks that were used for burials, have been identified on the islands of Corvo, Santa Maria and Terceira by Portuguese archaeologist Nuno Ribeiro, who speculated that they might date back 2000 years, implying a human presence on the island before the Portuguese.
These kinds of structures have been used in the Azores to store cereals and suggestions by Ribeiro that they might be burial sites are unconfirmed. Detailed examination and dating to authenticate the validity of these speculations is lacking, it is unclear whether these structures are natural or man-made and whether they predate the 15th-century Portuguese colonization of the Azores. Therefore, clear confirmation of a pre-Portuguese human presence in the archipelago has not yet been published; the islands were known in the fourteenth century, parts of them appear in the Catalan Atlas. In 1427, a captain sailing for Prince Henry the Navigator Gonçalo Velho, may have rediscovered the Azores, but this is not certain. In Thomas Ashe's 1813 work, A History of the Azores, the author identified a Fleming, Joshua Vander Berg of Bruges, who made landfall in the archipelago during a storm on his way to Lisbon, he stated that the Portuguese claimed it for Portugal. Other stories note the discovery of the first islands by sailors in the service of Henry the Navigator, although there are few documents to support the claims.
Although it is said that the archipelago received its name from the goshawk, a common bird at the time of discovery, it is unlikely that the bird nested or hunted in the islands. There were no large animals on Santa Maria, so after its discovery and before settlement began, sheep were let loose on the island to supply future settlers with food. Settlement did not take place however. There was not much interest among the Portuguese people to live in an isolated archipelago so far from civilization. Gonçalo Velho Cabral patiently gathered resources and settlers for the next three years and sailed to establish colonies first on Santa Maria and on São Miguel. Settlers cleared bush and rocks to plant crops—grain, grape vines, sugar cane, other plants suitable for local use and of commercial value, they brought domesticated animals, such as chickens, cattle, sheep and pigs and built houses and established villages. The archipelago was settled from mainland Portugal. Portuguese settlers came from the provinces of Algarve, Minho and Ribatejo as well as Madeira.
São Miguel was first settled in 1449, the settlers – from the Estremadura, Alto Alentejo and Algarve areas of mainland Portugal, under the command of Gonçalo Velho Cabral – landed at the site of modern-day Povoação. Many early settlers were Portuguese Sephardic Jews who fled the pressures of inquisition in mainland Portugal. In 1522, Vila Franca do Campo the capital of the island, was devastated by an earthquake and landslide that killed about 5,000 people, the capital was moved to Ponta Delgada; the town of Vila Franca do Campo was rebuilt on the original site and today is a thriving fishing and yachting port. Ponta Delgada received its city status in 1546. From the first settlement, the pioneers applied themselves to agriculture and by the 15th century Graciosa exported wheat, barley and brandy; the goods were sent to Terceira because of the proximity of the island. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Gra
Yarkant County known as Shache County transliterated from Uyghur as Yakan County is a county in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, located on the southern rim of the Taklamakan desert in the Tarim Basin. It is one of 11 counties administered under Kashgar Prefecture; the county written "Yarkant" or "Yarkand" in English, was the seat of an ancient Buddhist kingdom on the southern branch of the Silk Road. The county sits at an altitude of 1,189 metres and as of 2003 had a population of 373,492; the fertile oasis is fed by the Yarkand River which flows north down from the Karakorum mountains and passes through Kunlun Mountains known as Congling mountains. The oasis now covers 3,210 square kilometres, but was far more extensive before a period of desiccation affected the region from the 3rd century CE onwards. Today, Yarkant is a predominantly Uyghur settlement; the irrigated oasis farmland produces cotton, corn and walnuts. Yak and sheep graze in the highlands. Mineral deposits include petroleum, natural gas, copper, bauxite and coal.
The territory of Yārkand is first mentioned in the Book of Han as "Shaju", related to the name of the Iranian Saka tribes. Descriptions in the Hou Hanshu contain insights into the complex political situation China faced in attempting to open up the "Silk Routes" to the West in the 1st century CE. According to the "Chapter on the Western Regions" in the Hou Hanshu: "Going west from the kingdom of Suoju, passing through the countries of Puli and Wulei, you arrive among the Da Yuezhi. To the east, it is 10,950 li from Luoyang; the Chanyu of the Xiongnu took advantage of the chaos caused by Wang Mang and invaded the Western Regions. Only Yan, the king of Suoju, more powerful than the others, did not consent to being annexed. During the time of Emperor Yuan, he was a hostage prince and grew up in the capital, he admired and loved the Middle Kingdom and extended the rules of Chinese administration to his own country. He ordered all his sons to respectfully serve the Han dynasty generation by generation, to never turn their backs on it.
Yan died in the fifth Tianfeng year. He was awarded the posthumous title of'Faithful and Martial King', his son, succeeded him on the throne. At the beginning of Emperor Guangwu's reign, Kang led the neighbouring kingdoms to resist the Xiongnu, he escorted, protected, more than a thousand people including the officers, the soldiers, the wife and children of the former Protector General. He sent a letter to Hexi to inquire about the activities of the Middle Kingdom, expressed his attachment to, admiration for, the Han dynasty. In the fifth Jianwu year the General-in-Chief of Hexi, Dou Rong, following Imperial instructions, bestowed on Kang the titles of: “King of Chinese Suoju, Performer of Heroic Deeds Who Cherishes Virtue Commandant-in-Chief of the Western Regions.” The fifty-five kingdoms were all made dependencies after that. In the ninth year Kang died, he was awarded the posthumous title of “Greatly Accomplished King.” His younger brother, succeeded him on the throne. Xian conquered the kingdoms of Jumi and Xiye.
He killed both their kings, installed two sons of his elder brother, Kang, as the kings of Jumi and Xiye. In the fourteenth year, together with An, the king of Shanshan, he sent envoys to the Imperial Palace to offer tribute. Following this, the Western Regions were in communication with China. All the kingdoms to the east of the Congling were dependent on Xian. In the seventeenth year, Xian again sent an envoy to present offerings, to ask that a Protector General be appointed; the Son of Heaven questioned the Excellency of Dou Rong, about this. He was of the opinion that Xian, his sons and brothers who had pledged to serve the Han were sincere. Therefore, it would be appropriate to give him higher rank to maintain security; the Emperor using the same envoy that Xian had sent to him, bestowed upon him the seal and ribbon of “Protector General of the Western Regions,” and gave him chariots, gold and embroideries."Pei Zun, the Administrator of Dunhuang, wrote saying that foreigners should not be allowed to employ such great authority and that these decrees would cause the kingdoms to despair.
An Imperial decree ordered that the seal and ribbons of “Protector General” be recovered, replaced with the seal and ribbon of “Great Han General.” Xian’s envoy refused to make the exchange, Zun took them by force. Xian became resentful. Furthermore, he falsely named himself “Great Protector General,” and sent letters to all the kingdoms, they all submitted to him, bestowed the title of Chanyu on him. Xian became arrogant making heavy demands for duties and taxes. Several times he attacked the other kingdoms. All the kingdoms were fearful. In the winter of the twenty-first year, eighteen kings, including the king of Nearer Jushi, Shanshan and others, sent their sons to enter the service of the Emperor and offered treasure; as a result, they were granted audience when they circulated weeping, prostrating with their foreheads to the ground, in the hope of
China the People's Republic of China, is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering 9,600,000 square kilometers, it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. China emerged as one of the world's earliest civilizations, in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, or dynasties, beginning with the semi-legendary Xia dynasty in 21st century BCE. Since China has expanded, re-unified numerous times. In the 3rd century BCE, the Qin established the first Chinese empire; the succeeding Han dynasty, which ruled from 206 BC until 220 AD, saw some of the most advanced technology at that time, including papermaking and the compass, along with agricultural and medical improvements.
The invention of gunpowder and movable type in the Tang dynasty and Northern Song completed the Four Great Inventions. Tang culture spread in Asia, as the new Silk Route brought traders to as far as Mesopotamia and Horn of Africa. Dynastic rule ended in 1912 with the Xinhai Revolution; the Chinese Civil War resulted in a division of territory in 1949, when the Communist Party of China established the People's Republic of China, a unitary one-party sovereign state on Mainland China, while the Kuomintang-led government retreated to the island of Taiwan. The political status of Taiwan remains disputed. Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China's economy has been one of the world's fastest-growing with annual growth rates above 6 percent. According to the World Bank, China's GDP grew from $150 billion in 1978 to $12.24 trillion by 2017. Since 2010, China has been the world's second-largest economy by nominal GDP and since 2014, the largest economy in the world by purchasing power parity.
China is the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army and second-largest defense budget; the PRC is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as it replaced the ROC in 1971, as well as an active global partner of ASEAN Plus mechanism. China is a leading member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, WTO, APEC, BRICS, the BCIM, the G20. In recent times, scholars have argued that it will soon be a world superpower, rivaling the United States; the word "China" has been used in English since the 16th century. It is not a word used by the Chinese themselves, it has been traced through Portuguese and Persian back to the Sanskrit word Cīna, used in ancient India."China" appears in Richard Eden's 1555 translation of the 1516 journal of the Portuguese explorer Duarte Barbosa. Barbosa's usage was derived from Persian Chīn, in turn derived from Sanskrit Cīna.
Cīna was first used including the Mahābhārata and the Laws of Manu. In 1655, Martino Martini suggested that the word China is derived from the name of the Qin dynasty. Although this derivation is still given in various sources, it is complicated by the fact that the Sanskrit word appears in pre-Qin literature; the word may have referred to a state such as Yelang. The meaning transferred to China as a whole; the origin of the Sanskrit word is still a matter of debate, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The official name of the modern state is the "People's Republic of China"; the shorter form is "China" Zhōngguó, from zhōng and guó, a term which developed under the Western Zhou dynasty in reference to its royal demesne. It was applied to the area around Luoyi during the Eastern Zhou and to China's Central Plain before being used as an occasional synonym for the state under the Qing, it was used as a cultural concept to distinguish the Huaxia people from perceived "barbarians". The name Zhongguo is translated as "Middle Kingdom" in English.
Archaeological evidence suggests that early hominids inhabited China between 2.24 million and 250,000 years ago. The hominid fossils of Peking Man, a Homo erectus who used fire, were discovered in a cave at Zhoukoudian near Beijing; the fossilized teeth of Homo sapiens have been discovered in Fuyan Cave in Hunan. Chinese proto-writing existed in Jiahu around 7000 BCE, Damaidi around 6000 BCE, Dadiwan from 5800–5400 BCE, Banpo dating from the 5th millennium BCE; some scholars have suggested. According to Chinese tradition, the first dynasty was the Xia, which emerged around 2100 BCE; the dynasty was considered mythical by historians until scientific excavations found early Bronze Age sites at Erlitou, Henan in 1959. It remains unclear whether these sites are the remains of the Xia dynasty or of another culture from the same period; the succeeding Shang dynasty is the earliest to be confirmed by contemporary records. The Shang ruled the plain of the Yellow River in eastern China from the 17th to the 11th century BCE.
Their oracle bone script
The Yuan dynasty the Great Yuan, was the empire or ruling dynasty of China established by Kublai Khan, leader of the Mongolian Borjigin clan. It preceded the Ming dynasty. Although the Mongols had ruled territories including modern-day North China for decades, it was not until 1271 that Kublai Khan proclaimed the dynasty in the traditional Chinese style, the conquest was not complete until 1279, his realm was, by this point, isolated from the other khanates and controlled most of modern-day China and its surrounding areas, including modern Mongolia. It was the first foreign dynasty to rule all of China and lasted until 1368 which ended in Ming dynasty defeating the Yuan dynasty, the rebuked Genghisid rulers retreated to their Mongolian homeland and continued to rule the Northern Yuan dynasty; some of the Mongolian Emperors of the Yuan mastered the Chinese language, while others only used their native language and the'Phags-pa script. The Yuan dynasty was the khanate ruled by the successors of Möngke Khan after the division of the Mongol Empire.
In official Chinese histories, the Yuan dynasty bore the Mandate of Heaven. The dynasty was established by Kublai Khan, yet he placed his grandfather Genghis Khan on the imperial records as the official founder of the dynasty as Taizu. In the Proclamation of the Dynastic Name, Kublai announced the name of the new dynasty as Great Yuan and claimed the succession of former Chinese dynasties from the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors to the Tang dynasty. In addition to Emperor of China, Kublai Khan claimed the title of Great Khan, supreme over the other successor khanates: the Chagatai, the Golden Horde, the Ilkhanate; as such, the Yuan was sometimes referred to as the Empire of the Great Khan. However, while the claim of supremacy by the Yuan emperors was at times recognized by the western khans, their subservience was nominal and each continued its own separate development. In 1271, Kublai Khan imposed the name Great Yuan. "Dà Yuán" is from the clause "大哉乾元" in the Commentaries on the Classic of Changes section regarding the first hexagram Qián.
The counterpart in the Mongolian language was Dai Ön Ulus rendered as Ikh Yuan Üls or Yekhe Yuan Ulus. In Mongolian, Dai Ön was used in conjunction with the "Yeke Mongghul Ulus", resulting in ᠳᠠᠢᠦᠨᠶᠡᠬᠡᠮᠣᠩᠭᠣᠯᠦᠯᠦᠰ, meaning "Great Yuan Great Mongol State"; the Yuan dynasty is known by westerners as the "Mongol dynasty" or "Mongol Dynasty of China", similar to the names "Manchu dynasty" or "Manchu Dynasty of China" which were used by westerners for the Qing dynasty. Furthermore, the Yuan is sometimes known as the "Empire of the Great Khan" or "Khanate of the Great Khan", which appeared on some Yuan maps, since Yuan emperors held the nominal title of Great Khan. Both terms can refer to the khanate within the Mongol Empire directly ruled by Great Khans before the actual establishment of the Yuan dynasty by Kublai Khan in 1271. Genghis Khan united the Mongol tribes of the steppes and became Great Khan in 1206, he and his successors expanded the Mongol empire across Asia. Under the reign of Genghis' third son, Ögedei Khan, the Mongols destroyed the weakened Jin dynasty in 1234, conquering most of northern China.
Ögedei offered his nephew Kublai a position in Hebei. Kublai was unable to read Chinese but had several Han teachers attached to him since his early years by his mother Sorghaghtani, he sought the counsel of Chinese Confucian advisers. Möngke Khan succeeded Ögedei's son, Güyük, as Great Khan in 1251, he granted his brother Kublai control over Mongol held territories in China. Kublai built schools for Confucian scholars, issued paper money, revived Chinese rituals, endorsed policies that stimulated agricultural and commercial growth, he adopted as his capital city Kaiping in Inner Mongolia renamed Shangdu. Many Han Chinese and Khitan defected to the Mongols to fight against the Jin. Two Han Chinese leaders, Shi Tianze, Liu Heima, the Khitan Xiao Zhala defected and commanded the 3 Tumens in the Mongol army. Liu Heima and Shi Tianze served Ogödei Khan. Liu Heima and Shi Tianxiang led armies against Western Xia for the Mongols. There were 4 Han Tumens and 3 Khitan Tumens, with each Tumen consisting of 10,000 troops.
The three Khitan Generals Shimobeidier and Xiaozhacizhizizhongxi commanded the three Khitan Tumens and the four Han Generals Zhang Rou, Yan Shi, Shi Tianze, Liu Heima commanded the four Han tumens under Ogödei Khan. Möngke Khan commenced a military campaign against the Chinese Song dynasty in southern China; the Mongol force that invaded southern China was far greater than the force they sent to invade the Middle East in 1256. He died in 1259 without a successor. Kublai returned from fighting the Song in 1260 when he learned that his brother, Ariq Böke, was challenging his claim to the throne. Kublai convened a kurultai in Kaiping. A rival kurultai in Mongolia proclaimed Ariq Böke Great Khan. Kublai depended on the cooperation of his Chinese subjects to ensure that his army received ample resources, he bolstered his popularity among his subjects by modeling his government on the bureaucracy of traditional Chinese dynasties and adopting the Chinese era name of Zhongtong. Ariq Böke was hampered by inadequate supplies and surrendered in 1264.
Buddhism and Christianity
Although analogies have been drawn between Buddhism and Christianity, there are differences between the two religions beginning with monotheism's place at the core of Christianity, Buddhism's orientation towards non-theism which runs counter to teachings about God in Christianity. Another difference between the two traditions is the Christian belief in the centrality of the crucifixion of Jesus as a single event believed to act as the atonement of sins and its direct contrast to Buddhist teachings. Though some early Christians were aware of Buddhism, practiced in both the Greek and Roman Empires in the pre-Christian period, the majority of modern Christian scholarship has roundly rejected any historical basis for the travels of Jesus to India or Tibet or direct influences between the teachings of Christianity in the West and Buddhism. However, in the East syncretism between Nestorian Christianity and Buddhism was widespread along the Silk Road in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, was pronounced in the medieval Church of the East in China, as evidenced by the Jesus Sutras.
The history of Buddhism goes back to what is now Bodh Gaya, India six centuries before Christianity, making it one of the oldest religions still being practiced. The origins of Christianity go back to Roman Judea in the early first century; the four canonical gospels date from around 70–90 AD, the Pauline epistles having been written before them around 50–60 AD. By the early second century, post-apostolic Christian theology had taken shape, in the works of authors such as Irenaeus, although Christianity is seen as the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy regarding the "Messiah" which dates back much further. Starting in the 1930s, authors such as Will Durant suggested that Greco-Buddhist representatives of Emperor Ashoka who traveled to Syria and Greece may have helped prepare the ground for Christian teaching. Buddhism was prominent in the eastern Greek world and became the official religion of the eastern Greek successor kingdoms to Alexander the Great's empire. Several prominent Greek Buddhist missionaries are known and the Indo-Greek king Menander I converted to Buddhism, is regarded as one of the great patrons of Buddhism.
Some modern historians have suggested that the pre-Christian monastic order in Egypt of the Therapeutae is a deformation of the Pāli word "Theravāda", a form of Buddhism, the movement may have "almost drawn inspiration from the teaching and practices of Buddhist asceticism". They may have been descendants of Asoka's emissaries to the West. Buddhist gravestones from the Ptolemaic period have been found in Alexandria in Egypt decorated with depictions of the dharma wheel, showing that the Buddhists were living in Hellenistic Egypt at the time Christianity began; the presence of Buddhists in Alexandria has led one author to note: "It was in this place that some of the most active centers of Christianity were established." Modern Christian scholars hold that there is no direct evidence of any influence of Buddhism on Christianity, several scholarly theological works do not support these suggestions. However, some historians such as Jerry H. Bentley suggest that there is a real possibility that Buddhism influenced the early development of Christianity.
It is known that prominent early Christians were aware of some Buddhist stories. Saint Jerome mentions the birth of the Buddha, who he says "was born from the side of a virgin"; the early church father Clement of Alexandria was aware of Buddha, writing in his Stromata: "The Indian gymnosophists are in the number, the other barbarian philosophers. And of these there are two classes, some of them called Sarmanæ and others Brahmins, and those of the Sarmanæ who are called'Hylobii' neither inhabit cities, nor have roofs over them, but are clothed in the bark of trees, feed on nuts, drink water in their hands. Like those called Encratites in the present day, they know not begetting of children. Some, too, of the Indians obey the precepts of Buddha whom, on account of his extraordinary sanctity, they have raised to divine honours."In the Middle Ages there was no trace of Buddhism in the West. In the 13th century, international travelers, such as Giovanni de Piano Carpini and William of Ruysbroeck, sent back reports of Buddhism to the West and noted some similarities with Nestorian Christian communities.
Indeed, syncretism in the East between Nestorian Christianity and Buddhism existed along the Silk Road throughout Antiquity and the Middle Ages, was pronounced in the medieval Church of the East in China, as evidenced by the Jesus Sutras. When European Christians made more direct contact with Buddhism in the early 16th century, Catholic missionaries such as St. Francis Xavier sent back accounts of Buddhist practices. With the arrival of Sanskrit studies in European universities in the late 18th century, the subsequent availability of Buddhist texts, a discussion began of a proper encounter with Buddhism. In time, Buddhism gathered followers and at the end of the 19th century the first Westerners converted to Buddhism, in the beginning of the 20th century the fi