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Profile of Kublai Khan
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He restored many traditional Chinese features of government,
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Hi, I'm Zach Toombs for About.com. Today we're here to take a look at the life of Kublai Khan.Kublai Khan was said to be a favorite grandson of Genghis Khan. After Genghis' death in 1227, there was a string of short lived emperors until in 1251, when the line of succession fell to Kublai's fathers line. There was strong opposition from his cousins, who felt rule was stripped away from them, but Kublai's older brother Möngkë became the new khan. At this time Kublai found himself in charge of the administration of the Chinese in the eastern part of the empire.Over the next few years, Kublai continued his work in China, receiving a personal fief, or a large parcel of land, in the Wei River valley in 1253. His Chinese advisors continued to influence him, and many of them became his chief administrators. Kublai continued expanding his rule in China until 1259, when Möngkë unexpectedly died in battle. Kublai returned to Mongolia and was elected khan by the Mongolian assembly in 1260. However, his younger brother Arigböge disputed the claim and named himself khan. The brothers would continue to fight until 1264, when Kublai defeated him and forced him to submit. Even with that settled, there were always disputes by some Mongolian princes because Kublai veered the Mongols away from the nomadic lifestyle of their ancestors and toward a society more similar to China's.Kublai spent much of the first decade of his rule reorganizing his government. He restored many traditional Chinese features of government, such as Confucian rites and music. Once the reorganization was mostly complete in 1267, he built a new capital city. Kublai Khan then primarily lived in a home in southern Mongolia in the summer and lived in his new Chinese capital in the winter. The Mongolian military still held traditional standards and stayed nomadic. The complexity of uniting an empire of such various cultures while allowing them to maintain their identity is seen as a testament to how strong a ruler Kublai Khan was.Kublai Khan continued to rule for many years. During this time he became known for many things, such as his tolerance for foreign religions. Following the footsteps of his grandfather Genghis, he allowed a multitude of different religions in his empire, including Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Neo-Taoism, and Christianity. He even requested Christian scholars and technicians from the Pope with the help of the Polo brothers, but did not receive them.Marco Polo spent seventeen years, from 1275-1292, with Kublai Khan. His records make up the only personal account of Kublai Khan available. He called Kublai Khan a wonderful sovereign, but also noted the ruler's flaws, such as a sometimes violent streak.Kublai Khan died in 1294 after ruling for 34 years, considered by many Mongols as the second greatest Khan after Genghis. While he was a very different ruler than his grandfather was, he brought change to the government and foreign policies that let those under his reign prosper for a very long time.And that's a brief overview of the life of Kublai Khan. For more information, check out About.com.
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