Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thursday Thirteen (Ghengis Khan)

Thirteen Facts About Genghis Khan (13th Century)
(From the fascinating book that I'm currently reading, Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World)

1) He was not a "barbarian," and he did not command barbaric hordes.

2) He was an innovative military commander who excelled at battle, plains warfare, and sieges, and his army of Mongol horsemen was composed of tightly organized units of 10, 100, 1000, 10,000, and 100,000.

3) Genghis Khan was the son of an outcast family that was left to die on the steppes with his mother and siblings at a time when warring tribes fought one another across the steppes.

4) From his humble beginnings, he gradually and methodically conquered every tribe on the Mongolian steppe, unified them under his sole control, and then took his armies to conquer what would become modern-day China, parts of India, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe.

5) In 25 years, the Mongol army subjugated more lands and people than the Romans conquered in 400 years.

6) At its zenith, the Mongol empire covered between 11 and 12 million contiguous square miles, an area about the size of the African continent and considerably larger than North America, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the islands of the Caribbean combined.

7) Every where the Mongols went they collected (either as slaves or as new members of their empire) people of learning such as scribes, teachers, religious persons, and crafts people - and used their knowledge and skills to advance the empire.

8) Genghis Khan recognized that religious disagreements created strife between people, so he instituted complete religious freedom throughout the Mongol Empire.

9) The Mongol penetration into Eastern Europe in the 1200s decimated 100s of thousands of knights and the European aristocracy, brought new learning to the Europeans, and seems to have played a pivotal role in ushering Europe out of the Dark Ages and setting the stage for the Renaissance.

10) While the Mongol men were off conquering foreign countries, often on campaigns that lasted several years at a time, women ruled over every facet of the Empire.

11) The Mongols ate a diet consisting mainly of meat and dairy, and as a people they were stronger and hardier than the grain-fed soldiers of foreign nations that they fought against and repeatedly destroyed.

12) Genghis Khan's cavalry redrew the boundaries of the world, consolidating little kingdoms into united nations that still survive to this day, such as China.

13) At a time when most rulers considered themselves above the law, Genghis Khan insisted on laws holding rulers as equally accountable as the lowest herder.

Bonus: Genghis Khan abolished torture; instead he offered the people that he conquered two choices: die or swear complete loyalty to their new ruler.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted


jenn said...

Very interesting.
Happy TT!~

Starshine said...

Fascinating little history lesson. Thank you!

What led you to read this book? Are you a history buff?

Did you know that Word Nerd's dog is named Ghengis? :)

i am the diva said...

That's a great list! So informative. thank you! i had no idea, seems like a completely different Ghengis than Hollywood would have us believe, naturally.

Mine's up.

Interstellarlass said...

Wow. That little bonus gives them a pretty clear cut choice. Makes it easy I guess.

J. Lynne said...

I knew none of that, but it makes him far more interesting. Thanks for the history lesson. :)

Nicholas said...

I need to read more about him. I never knew these facts, though I know he is regarded as a national hero in Mongolia. The main airport there is named after him, I believe.

No Nonsense Girl said...

That's a cool history lesson. Sorry i'm coming soo late to this. :)