Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
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The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in twenty-five years than the Romans did in four hundred. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization. Vastly more progressive than his European or Asian counterparts, Genghis Khan abolished torture, granted universal religious freedom, and smashed feudal systems of aristocratic privilege. From the story of his rise through the tribal culture to the explosion of civilization that the Mongol Empire unleashed, this brilliant work of revisionist history is nothing less than the epic story of how the modern world was made.
of walls on their borders had been a way of limiting such trade and literally keeping the wealth of the nation intact and inside the walls. For such administrators, giving up trade goods was the same as paying tribute to their neighbors, and they sought to avoid it as much as they could. The Mongols directly attacked the Chinese cultural prejudice that ranked merchants as merely a step above robbers by officially elevating their status ahead of all religions and professions, second only to
of the Gobi, tenuously and sporadically connecting Chinese and Muslim societies. Yet enough trade goods filtered north to make the Mongols aware of the treasures that lay in the south. For the nomads, trading with their neighbors and fighting with them constituted an interrelated part of the yearly rhythm of life, as customary and predictable as tending the newborn animals in the spring, searching for pastures in the summer, or drying meat and dairy products in the fall. The long, cold winter
occasion, a list would usually be made and memorized as a form of election verification, but no tally survives, possibly indicating a modest turnout. A large number of the steppe lineages, perhaps even a majority, still supported Jamuka. Temujin’s tribe, which now consisted of his family, a loyal coterie of friends, and scattered families, was small by comparison to the other steppe tribes, and he was still a vassal to Ong Khan. To show that his new office was not meant as a challenge to Ong
but was stopped by another Jurkin known as Buri the Wrestler. As a sign that he stood ready to fight Buri, Belgutei pulled the top of his clothing down, leaving most of his upper body exposed. Rather than wrestle Belgutei, as would have been the custom in a disagreement among equals, Buri treated Belgutei with contempt as a lesser by unsheathing his sword and slicing Belgutei across the shoulder with it. To draw blood in this manner, even with just a small cut, constituted a grave insult.
entry for 1242, the Novgorod Chronicle began referring to the new ruler not only as Khan Batu of the Mongols, but also as Tsar Batu, a title that literally meant Caesar Batu, signifying a newly united rule over the many warring princely families of Russia. As Prince Michael said on being presented before Batu Khan, “To thee, Tsar, I bow, since God hath granted thee the sovereignty of this world.” With the fall of Kiev, the Mongol conquest of the European east was complete. The Mongols evicted