[Marxism] Exchange with Jack Weatherford

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jun 9 09:19:56 MDT 2008

Jack, I wonder if you have ever thought or written about the Ottoman 
Empire. My wife is Turkish and as a result I have been taking language 
classes at Columbia where I work and studying their culture. I noted 
that in your analysis of Genghis Khan's 10-man restructuring of the 
Mongolian army, the word "ordu" was used. This is the Turkish word for 
army. Also, in describing the "brother-in-law" adoption of non-Mongols 
into the army, the word "khari" or black was used. Again, kari means 
black in Turkish. I wonder if there is a dotted line between Khan's 
method of ruling with a light footprint and the Ottoman's. Or am I just 

Jack Weatherford:
You are absolutely correct.  The Turks originated in Mongolia, and the 
Mongols used them as their model of civilization.  The Mongols fairly 
much rejected Chinese, Christian and Muslim models but steadfastly 
followed the Turks.

The people and the languages are so intertwined, and the Mongols 
borrowed many words from the Turks for new things and for the vocabulary 
of nomadic life.

In the time of Genghis Khan, both the Naiman and the Kereyid were Turkic 
peoples.  All of his sons married Turkic women, and four of his 
daughters married Turkic khans.

In turn, the Mongols had a great influence on the Ottomans who followed.

Turkey is a wonderful country.  I truly love it, and I have so much 
respect for them.  When I look at the soaring domes of Sinan the 
Architect, I feel that I am in a nomad's tent turned into marble.  It is 
a wonderful blend of cultures.

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