Discover more from Proof of Work
Summary of "Genghis Khan" by James Chambers (Part I)
Chapter 1: The Sons Of The Grey Wolf
Before we can start unpacking Genghis Khan's story, we need to know the legend, written before he was born, that would later be called "the prophecy" fulfilled by Genghis Khan.
In the 1000s, from Hungary to China, there were almost 100,000 square miles of desolate land called the steppes. The conditions for humans were frozen or scorching hot, so inhospitable. However, on the eastern side, hidden behind a valley, was a tribe with rolling pastures and many rivers, later known as the Mongols.
Here in these plains, the legend starts with a lady named Alan. She has three sons and two more with another husband. The three original brothers were of Mongol blood. One day, they traded their youngest brother, named Bodonchar, for a hunk of venison (not uncommon in these times). However, the older brother eventually felt terrible about this and went out to find him. When he did, he saw his brother Bodonchar surviving while hunting for fish with a trained hawk.
When Bodonchar returned with his eldest brother, he told his brothers all about the tribe he made friends with and how they could raid it because the defences were low. It was not uncommon for friends to come back and raid your village back then, either. Surviving is more important than morale for these guys. So, they did just that. They took their wealth and auctioned off the families individually to other tribes.
They kept doing this to more and more tribes. And the end of the legend depicts a descendant of Bodonchar riding beyond the steppes, acquiring unimaginable riches. Genghis Khan eventually fulfilled this prophecy.
Genghis Khan's original name was Temujin, an illiterate military genius who conquered the most extensive empire as a single commander. Larger than Alexander The Great.
Even after his death, his followers became the largest continuous empire in the world. The British Empire was more extensive, but it was more spread worldwide. Genghis Khan's empire was all within one boundary.
Around the 12th century, Mongol tribes united for the first time under Kabul, the first Khan. At the same time, Beijing had rotations of savage political leaders in and out of control. There was massive turmoil among the population, and civil wars broke out. The Emporer in Beijing got nervous about this and invaded the Khans prematurely. During the battle, there was one man who was such a good warrior that everyone was in shock. His name was Yesugei, and he claimed to be a descendant of Bodonchar from the legend. It caused many people to rally under his banner and fight with him.
He even attracted a religious leader named Toghrul. Toghrul and Yesugei became blood brothers and swore a solemn oath of friendship, and they would ensure an alliance for their future family generations.
One day, Yesugei stole a woman from a neighbouring tribe and made her his wife. They bore four sons. Temujin (Genghis Khan) was one of them. Temujin meant man of iron. By the age of 9, his archery skills were top-tier. He was so good that a chief wanted him to marry his daughter. And Temujin did marry the Chief's daughter and lived with them.
Eventually, he and his dad travel home, and Temujin's dad (Yesugei) is poisoned by food while camping. Now Temujin, a 9-year-old archer, was to be the clan's leader. Their family moved away because it was too dangerous to stay at home.
The situation grew so dire for them that Temujin (Genghis) killed his half-brother because he kept stealing food. Eventually, they get attacked, and Temujin leads a fantastic defence with his natural military gift, even at a young age. At night, he rode off and escaped because the reason for the siege was only to capture him. Once he rode out, the attackers followed him.
Nine days later, he gets captured but then escapes. When returning home, he wore the same clothes depicted in the legend of Bodonchar and rode on the same horse.