NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

1232 __ Yam - Örtöö
Comment : Yam (Mongolian: Өртөө Örtöö, checkpoint) is a supply point route messenger system employed and extensively used and expanded by Genghis Khan and used by subsequent Great Khans and Khans. Relay stations were used to give food, shelter and spare horses for Mongol armies messengers. Genghis Khan gave special attention to Yam because Mongol armies were known to travel very fast, so their messengers had to be even faster, covering 200-300 km per day. It was used to speed up the process of information and intelligence. The Yam operated with a chain of relay stations at certain distances to each other, usually around 140 miles or 200 kilometers. Messengers for example would go to the next relay station and give the information to the second messenger and rest and let the second messenger go to the third relay station to hand the document to the third messenger. This way information or documents were constantly on the move without each messenger getting tired. In each relay station there would be spare horses, food, and shelter. Each rider had a paiza. The paiza was an engraved metal pendant, usually circular or rectangular. It symbolized that they were messengers of Genghis Khan. It was made of various metals. Their paiza would also make them more respected by the Mongol people. The service has been described in great detail by European travellers including Giovanni da Pian del Carpine, William of Rubruck, Marco Polo, and Odoric of Pordenone. While it was not the first messenger system in history (earlier ones existed in the Persian and Roman Empires), it was unprecedented in size and efficiency. (Leo de Hartog)Genghis Khan installed an empire-wide messenger and postal station system named Örtöö within the Mongol Empire. During the Yuan Dynasty under Kublai Khan, this system also covered the territory of China. Postal stations were used not only for the transmission and delivery of official mail, but were also available for traveling officials, military men, and foreign dignitaries. These stations aided and facilitated the transport of foreign and domestic tribute, and trade in general. By the end of Kublai Khan's rule there were more than 1400 postal stations in China alone, which in turn had at their disposal about 50000 horses, 1400 oxen, 6700 mules, 400 carts, 6000 boats, over 200 dogs and 1150 sheep. The stations were 15 to 40 miles apart and had reliable attendants working for the mail service. Foreign observers, such as Marco Polo have attested to the efficiency of this early postal system. (Frederick W. Mote)
Source : de Hartog, Leo (2004). Genghis Khan: Conqueror of the World. Tauris Parke Paperbacks. pp. 40–41.
Source : Mote, Frederick W., Fairbank, John K. (1998). The Cambridge History of China. Cambridge University Press.

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