Accepted paper:

An Earth-shattering kaboom!: The Mongols and the use and transmission of gunpowder


Timothy May (University of North Georgia)

Paper abstract:

The Mongols never met a weapon that they didn't use. Gunpowder is one of them. In the past I have argued that there is no evidence that the Mongols used gunpowder outside of East Asia. While some scholars have agreed with this, other scholars indicate they did. Regardless, gunpowder was certainly transmitted to Europe, South Asia, and the Middle East during the period of the Mongol Empire. The question remains as to how Roger Bacon received his recipes in the thirteenth century as well as why early European cannons bear a remarkable resemblance to those used by the Yuan and Ming. This paper will explore arguments on both sides and attempt to make a conclusion based on the documentary and archaeological evidence as to the Mongols use as well as the transmission of gunpowder and firearm technology.

panel HIS-06
New Approaches to the Mongol Empire