2019-01-15 13:31 #0 by: Max

One historical conqueror who tends to get a seriously bad press in the West is Temujin who became Ghenghis Khan.  For anyone currently playing on what  we in England call a "sticky wicket", Temujin provides perhaps the ultimate inspiration.  Born into an undistinguished position in a rather secondary tribe things went dramatically downhill when at age 12 his Dad was poisoned by Tartars.  The rest of his tribe abandoned Temujin's family who were left to scrabble a living in semi starvation.   Things reached a low  point when he was captured by a formerly allied  tribe enslaved and forced to wear a cangue.  To go from this to ruling the biggest Empire the world had ever seen in his remaining 50 years  was quite an incredible  achievement.  

Though there is no doubt that Temujin was often utterly ruthless, the comparable Western figures, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler were hardly without blame either.

Because the mongols were so demonised in the West, their achievements have also been rather overlooked or minimised.  Probably the most important Mongol achievement was to impose order and a uniform political system over the entire length of the Silk Road enabling significant cultural exchange between the civilizations of the West and East for the first time.

Especially in comparison with what was happening in Europe at the time the Mongols were far more tolerant of different religions.  Ghengis was also merciful, at least to those who surrendered without a fight!  A large part of Ghangis 's success was his choosing subordinates according to merit, no matter their family background rather than according to noble birth.  This also applied to his magnanimity towards defeated foes who were also allowed to flourish under his command if they demonstrated appropriate  loyalty and skill.

In the Mongol tradition Ghengis was buried anonymously in an unknown place assumed to be somewhere near the Onan river where he lived.  This seems modest especially compared with the funerals of other successful Emperors.  On the other hand apparently the funeral party killed everyone they met en route to maintain secrecy which is not quite  so noble.  

What is your  take on Ghengis  and the mongol Empire in general?