Why should the world know about Genghis Khan?

Why should the world know Genghis Khan? In fact, what is there to know about a man who has been clearly established a terrifying tyrant who ordered the extermination of millions, who wiped out complete cities, who was a barbarian from the wilderness, who rained death and destruction on the thundering hooves of his horse?

A lot!

Recent studies and research have revealed a lot has been unacknowledged by the recorders of history of the past centuries for the simple reason that the so-called civilized world of the 12th century found it difficult to accept the humiliation of being totally outwitted and subjugated by a nomad from the back of beyond.

 

Genetic Signature

In March 2003, 23 geneticists studying DNA discovered the same genetic pattern running through population groups scattered from the Caspian to the Pacific pinpointing to a common ancestor. Some more research and without doubt the finger pointed at Genghis Khan, who living in Mongolia in the 12th century, had spread his genetic signature across half of Eurasia resulting in nearly 16 million men being one extended family! So, one in every 200 men living today bear Genghis Khan’s genes. Therefore, you never know, he may be your great, great, great….grandad! Now, does that whet your interest? Wouldn’t you like to know more about the kind of person Genghis Khan was and not let your knowledge remain restricted to what some historian has written?

 

Conqueror of the World

He was a conqueror of the world in the true sense of the word. Nobody has yet ruled such a mammoth empire as he did. At the time of his death, the Mongolian Empire was four times the size of Alexander’s and twice the size of Rome’s. It was larger than any nation today except possibly Russia. And it was only half complete. By 1300 CE, his descendants had doubled it adding what is now known as China, Tibet, Korea, Pakistan, Iran, most of Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, most of habitable Russia, Ukraine, and half of Poland. They had explored breaching the borders of western Europe, Egypt, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Japan. One-sixth of the world’s land area was the Mongolian Empire. There has never been or will be another world conqueror such as Genghis Khan.

 

Leadership Qualities

Genghis Khan was an extraordinary leader. He commanded his men by demanding loyalty and rewarding that loyalty. At a time when social status and advancement all over the world was decided by birth and Mongolia was no different before Genghis came, he let his men climb the social ladder solely on merit. It was no wonder that people from the lower rungs of society (not just Mongols, even people from regions he conquered) flocked to join him. In him they saw the redemption of their aspirations. He rewarded the poor Taychuit, Sorkan-shira and his sons for their loyalty making them his quiver-bearers. Thus, many men who had been herders, shepherds, carpenters or blacksmiths were raised from obscurity due this policy of Genghis Khan.

Genghis was notorious for his brutality but his ruthlessness was focused. There have been many genocides and massacres, but nothing can compare with those unleashed by Genghis Khan and his sons. He achieved what others dream of: annihilation of those who opposed him. The extent of it was unthinkable giving birth to a new term---urbocide. But unlike modern genocide, this was not ideological. While Mongols truly believed that they were the top nation, Genghis’ aim was purely strategic---total capitulation through terror. Besides, he appreciated talent whatever its ethnic background and we find he absorbed it whenever and wherever he found it. His purpose of destruction was clear: oppose me and die, surrender and you become part of my heaven-backed Empire. In fact, John Man who has analysed him extensively believes that Genghis Khan’s many leadership qualities, of which I have discussed only two here, could become a learning for today’s leaders.

 

Women Empowerment

For centuries, Mongolia’s nomadic herding traditions have ensured that its women have been as self- reliant as the men. Nevertheless, it was Genghis Khan who brought about a revolution in the status of women of his Empire. These changes are remarkable given that during the 11th and 12th century women were little more than chattels held by males across the rest of the world and especially in so-called civilized Europe. Possibly, it was the female influence throughout his growing years that made Genghis especially benevolent towards the fair sex. He bestowed women with equal rights as men so that they were respected as matriarchs of their families. Property of widows remained with their families. Thus, his men went into battle with an assurance that their families will not be deprived on their death. Even a share of the plunder was handed over to the bereaved families. Genghis Khan encouraged women to train in warfare and often during his campaigns they were given administrative roles in his army when the men were busy fighting. It is recorded that the conquest of Nishapur during his campaign of Khwarezm was spearheaded by Genghis’ daughter whose husband had been killed just a couple of days ago.

 

Now if I ask you why the world should know Genghis Khan, what will your reply be?

What I have expounded here is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to the incredible phenomena that is Genghis Khan. Is it any wonder that I have been dazzled blind by his persona and found it impossible to stop writing about this legendary figure?

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