Research press release


Scientific Reports

Environmental social sciences: A change in the weather led to a Mongol retreat



今回、Ulf BuntgenとNicola Di Cosmoは、木の年輪データと気象条件の変動と気候に関する情報を含む文献を使って、1230~1250年の環境条件を調べた。この研究で、Buntgenたちは、1241~1242年にハンガリーで発生した気候条件が、土地の生産力だけでなく、モンゴル人が行った軍事行動にとっての地形の適性に影響を及ぼしたという考えを示している。そして、Buntgenたちは、小規模な気候の変動によってハンガリー平原全体が湿地帯のような地形となり、牧草地が減り、移動しにくくなっただけでなく、モンゴルの騎馬隊の軍事的有効性も損なわれてしまったと主張している。つまり、1241~1242年以降の気候の変化は、モンゴル軍がハンガリーに侵攻した当初の条件を変えるに十分な規模のものであり、撤退の一因になった可能性があるというのだ。

The sudden withdrawal of the Mongol armies from Hungary in 1242 may have been influenced by environmental factors according to a new study in Scientific Reports.

The Mongols began their expansion in the early 13th century and by 1279 had conquered much of Eurasia including China, central Asia, Russia and Iran. In early 1242 the Mongols crossed the Danube into western Hungary and, after a further two months, suddenly began to withdraw via a southern route through Serbia and Bulgaria, back to Russia. No reason is given in Mongol sources to explain their departure.

Using tree-ring data and documentary sources that include information on weather fluctuations and climate, Ulf Buntgen and Nicola Di Cosmo investigated environmental conditions between 1230 and 1250. The authors suggest that the climatic conditions that occurred in Hungary between 1241 and 1242 had an impact on the productivity of the land as well as on the suitability of the terrain for military operations of the types performed by Mongols. They argue that small climatic fluctuations resulted in marshy terrain across the Hungarian plain, which led to reduced pastureland and decreased mobility, as well as hampering the military effectiveness of the Mongol cavalry. The climatic changes from 1241-1242 may have been sufficiently extensive to alter the conditions under which the Mongols first invaded Hungary and thus could have contributed to their withdrawal.

doi: 10.1038/srep25606

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