There were some features of the Mongol empire that were different from what had occurred in previous civilizations, such as the enormous size of their empire, their tolerance of different religions, the equality of men and women and their global integration. Prior to the time they built their empire, pastoral people rarely banded together at all, but stayed in kinship groups that often competed with each other. Although other civilizations such as the Romans and the Chinese had amassed large empires, the Mongols did have some things that were different from these earlier civilizations.
The Mongols were pastoral people skilled in horsemanship with a well-organized military. Under the leadership of Chinggis Khan, Mongols amassed the largest land based empire in history. Not only was their army extremely well organized, their talented mounted warriors could bring down an army on foot quickly with their powerful bows and arrows. The Mongols left a path of destruction in their wake that was more devastating to people and the land than any other empire before them. The Mongol army destroyed any city that resisted them, killing every man, woman and child, razing the buildings and deliberately ruining the land.
Although the Mongols had their own kinship-based form of religion, they did not impose it upon others. They maintained a policy of tolerating all religions alike, as long as the religions stayed away from politics. In the Mongolian empire, Buddhism, Islam, Christian and other religions were encouraged and were exempt from taxation. Previous world empires had generally followed the religion of the leader’s preference, and others were persecuted or taxed.
Another feature of the Mongols that was new to the world was their attitude toward women. In Mongolian society, women were considered equals with few restrictions and they participated in government as well as sometimes fought beside the men in battle. Like other pastoral societies, the women were on an equal basis with men because they were equally needed to provide. Boys and girls were both taught to become skilled at riding horses from a young age. At the same time that Chinese women were binding their feet, Mongolian women often wore pants and rode into battle as skilled warriors.