By the end of the thirteenth century, Western merchants had gained access to a 'world system' – or, rather, what has been called 'a network of interlinked sub-systems', connecting an 'archipelago of world cities'. This network was not, of course, 'global' in the modern sense, but it represented an incipient globalization of the Old World. The relationship between the Mongol leadership and foreign merchants was thus an intimate one. As early as c.1203, two Muslim traders are found among the few close adherents of the future Chinggis Khan. The reason was that many long-distance merchants entered into contracts with the Mongol government, which advanced them the capital to enable them to import the commodities the Mongols desired: traders who enjoyed this contractual relationship with the regime were known as ortogh. For all the favour that Mongol princes exhibited towards traders, the now venerable concept of a Pax Mongolica is open to question.