Genghis Khan: The Merciless Mongol Elijah Gaglio History 101: World Civilization 23 January 2012 Elijah Gaglio Professor Harrison History 101 23 January 2012 Genghis Khan: The Merciless Mongol Genghis Khan ruled one of the most rapid growing empires in the 13th century. His military tactics along with his merciless fist, helped him achieve one of the greatest empires of that time and some say the entire world. He knew early on of the power of a united front. Therefore, he united all of the local tribes and created what is now known as the Mongol Empire.
He was able to do this by offering himself, as a chief general, which led to an inheritance of leadership in several tribes, from there he used himself as an ally and created treaties with his neighboring tribes. His army and his tactics, were one of the main reason for his many successes. One of his greatest feats was when he won over control of the Khwarezmian Empire, through his military procedures, he savaged through the place not leaving a single thing behind connecting him to the treasured silk road.
Genghis Khan although known as a tyrant and powerful ruler, he tolerated numerous of other religions and was more interested in trade, goods, and land, then he actually was in killing and destruction; although he was not afraid to commit these actions. Through all of his feats, trading and learning flourished from the East to the West. Khan’s unique set of skills launched him into a huge powerful World player, his constant gain of knowledge, and his utilization of resources are the reasons for his infamous legacy. Genghis Khan was born around 1162 CE, into the Mongol tribes, he was the son of a chief of one of the clans at the time. i] His father unfortunately died from an opponents attacked, which left him in charge when he was only twelve years old. [ii] His father’s followers were not about to take orders from a kid, so they exiled Genghis as well as his brothers, sisters, and mother from the clan. [iii] They were relatively poor, eating whatever they were able to find. [iv] During their exile he killed his half-brother, Begter, out of resentment and anger; because of this he was seized as a slave however he was able to escape several years later around the age of sixteen. v] After he was freed he created an alliance with the Konkirat tribe and was able to gain his strength back. [vi] However when he was 20 years old he was enslaved by the Touchiest tribe, but with the help from one of his captors he was able to escape to the safety of his brothers. [vii]
He created an army of over 20,000 men, and his main goal for them was to combine any borders between the mongol tribes. [viii] He was going to conquer all of the local tribes, and reorganize them so that they were all under Ong Khan’s rule. ix] Impressed with his military strategies, he soon earned the role as the great chief as well as his sole heir. [x]Ong Khan’s actual son, Senggum, was slightly unhappy about this, and so he tried to have Genghis assassinated, Genghis caught wind of this and he had Senggum killed by his own “loyal followers. [xi] One of his very first raids with his newly founded army was against the Tatar tribe, this was a huge goal for Ghengis because they were the tribe responsible for poisoning his father. [xii] In this raid, he orders that, “every Tatar male less than 3 feet tall” be killed and all of the “chiefs were boiled alive”. xiii] This was one of the first times, Genghis showed his merciless, and extreme militaristic actions, which discouraged some of his followers. [xiv] But it paved the path to his merciless reputation. The Tatar army was used as an object to scare the rest of the tribes subconsciously; because it played off his strength and his military tactics. His military tactics is one of the main reasons for his success although he was tenacious and driven, his keen understanding of enemy techniques and motives allowed him to utterly conquer any opposition in his path.
One of his better techniques was quickly adopting any strategy, technology, or people that seemed stronger then his army or tactic. [xv] Along his journey of conquering lands, he only kept the best of the best even if the best was not his own. [xvi] His overall organization of his army was superb. Unlike many of the armies at the time, the only way to get promoted to a higher position, or au position of authority was solely based on their overall ability in battle. [xvii] Khan learned this from his leader, because he himself was promoted based on his skill, he was not an actual heir to the throne. xviii]Because of this promotion line, it gave each warrior hope, that if they were good enough they would be able to move up in ranks, make more money, and gain more power, this thought encouraged warriors to work harder then they would normally in the fighting and skill. [xix] This also allowed the leaders of the army, to be the most intelligent and the most capable, which gave them an advantage, because they knew first hand how it goes in battle. [xx] Plus, the leaders were more understanding, and were more fair when they rose to power. [xxi]
However this was not his only military tactic, he also like many other nomadic tribes at that time, had several battle strategies, that allowed him to quickly and efficiently hurt his opponents. His first form of war, was for the flat lands, without any real terrain, however on his conquest, he developed and morphed his “steppe” warfare, advancing his strategy into a real force not to be reckon with. [xxii] His early years as a military leader, he was able to plant roots in his army that allowed it to become more organized and expand dramatically with the areas that they conquered and their dedication. xxiii] Because of their origins, they were originally archers on horseback. They developed a technique that they were able to be mobile as well as effective using a “hit and run” tactic. [xxiv] His army would come in phases, attacking his opponents, and then running back, while still “showering them” with arrows. [xxv] Because of their number of people in their army this gave them the ability to defeat, their opponents, which normally out numbered them. [xxvi] They would encircle their opponents and surprise attack them, so they did not have any vulnerable points within their formation. xxvii] This hit and run strategy transformed and evolved throughout his years in power, it got stronger and it became a seemingly unstoppable force, especially with their newly expanded army. One of their more popular tactics was the Caracole tactic. [xxviii] They had several jaghun which were smaller sections of their larger army, each of these jaghun had 100 men, 20 which were used for defense, while the other 80 attacked in “arrow storms” that would weaken their enemy a little at a time. [xxix]
They would run up to them, but keep around 50 meters of distance so they would be able to shoot their arrows with successfully, but also have the flexibility to run the other way and escape if necessary. [xxx] While they were going back to the back of the line, they would often use the ‘Parthian shot’, which is a shot that they took while they rode their horse but looked back and shot at their target. [xxxi] With Khan’s resources he was able to attack his enemies for hours, this would lower their opponents moral, and although they were firing from 50 meters back they were still able to pierce through armor. xxxii] This proved successful after numerous attempt on various different cities and tribes of the time, no defense seemed to strong compared to Khan’s unrelenting force. One of his most memorable battles was his war between the Khwarezmian Dynasty. Genghis Khan saw the future of Khwarezmian Dynastic, and how it would help him access and control trade on the silk road. [xxxiii] He however, saw that this massive Dynasty and knew that he could not use his old military tacts, so instead he sent a “500-man caravan” to go in and begin to trade, and build tithes throughout the community. xxxiv] However the government had heard about Genghis Khan’s ventures and attacked the 500 men and when Khan asked for payment because they had no proof of their crimes, the governor did not subdue to his wishes. [xxxv] So Genghis Khan had a sent a second group to meet the the Shah, their kings, directly; however the Shah had all but one of his men beheaded. [xxxvi] The Khwarezmian Dynasty did not know the force that they were about to unleash, because after hearing of the incident Khan swooned into offense.
He was so outraged that he organized over 200,000 soldiers, but he used his most tactic and dutiful people, some which included his sons. [xxxvii] He split his army into 3 divisions one was ld by his so Jochi and they were going to come from the North East, the second one was led by Jebe, and it was going to do a surprise attack on the South East part of the empire, and then Genghis Khan, with his head general Toll would attack the North West part of the Empire. [xxxviii] The Shah army was easily defeated and the Mongol Empire, took control of this key city and was able to extend and expands it trade.
They were able to defeat them because the Shah had already divided up their army, the Mongols were able to pick off bits and pieces of the army. [xxxix] It was like as if the Shah had served up his own Empire on a tray, and Genghis Khan devoured it. By far, this was of the most brutal beating the Mongols had ever given out, Khan used this battle as a stage for the world, to show them that, if you kill his men, he will kill your city, your state, your family, your government, and anyone else who happens to be in his way.
He moved the capital, and he completely destroyed anything remaining of the Khwarezmian Empire, which included royal building, farmlands, and even entire towns. [xl] He left one of his sons in charge, and he made it law that nay further Khan’s and rulers of his Empire would be straight descendants from his line. [xli] Khan was able to conquer several Dynasty’s, he was able to expand his empire from Russia, moving into Northern China, the middle east, and stopping as the Caspian Sea.
This entire empire, was a vast land with diverse people and intense trade and learning throughout the land, there was a mixture of ideas form East to West that had not been there several years prior to his reign. [xlii] Khan realized the land before him was rich with learning, trade, and ideas, and he knew that he was going to have to harness that power for the betterment of the Mongol Empire. [xliii]Because of this realization he was able to unite the Mongol empire, and seize the significant trade routes, but because he was a fan of commerce he protected and helped trade go throughout the silk road. xliv] This allowed and created trade that was not there before, because of his intermingling, they were able to interact with different, parts of the world, that were not a normal access to them. [xlv] The merchants also profited under Khan’s empire, they were as successful as The Great Khan was in his own empire. Because the merchants were protected under Khan’s law they supported his empire. [xlvi] There was also an extreme growth of information from these merchants, most of which worked willingly with the Khan, and they were able to support each other. xlvii] Genghis Khan also used these merchants, as spies, they sent the neutral merchants into the land that they were about to conquer to gather information, and report back to them. [xlviii] Khan utilized every single one of his last resources to create, a network of espionage, one of his greater tactics to the demolishing of his his enemies. [xlix] He died in August in 1227 CE, it has been rumored that he past away, due to a fall on the horse. He was burried in the valleys of his home town, in Mongolia. l] His death and burial was kept a secret, no one knew of the fall of the “Great” Khan, or how it dramatically this event would rock the world. [li] On his death bed, it is said that he gathered his four sons on his death bed and he split up the empire into 4 giving each of his son a separate empire. But before he did that, he gave them each a stick, and asked each one of them to break it, and they did with ease, but then he gave them a bundle of sticks and asked them to brake it and they were unable to. lii] He told them, that the Mongols were like these sticks, by themselves we are all easily broken but together we are a torrent river unable to be stopped. [liii] He then named his third son, Ogedei, as his successor, he controlled central Asia, and Northern Iran, Jochi and aBtu, took control of Russia, and his four son and youngest Tolui took over some of the homeland where Genghis had started out. [liv] Ogedei was able to continue to expand the empire, but it reached its climax during his reign, he was still able to invade Persia and southern China. lv] They were at the gates of Vienna, when Ogedei past away and Batu, had to go back to his home town, because of this they lost their momentum and the empire was soon on a downward spiral. [lvi] Genghis Khan, throughout his empire, never slowed down, not even on his death bed, he was still making decisions that could change his empire forever. His intelligence and drive created an empire as far as his eye could see, no opponent was too tough, and no civilization was capable of defending his mighty wrath. His military tactics, like the hit and run formations kept his army strong, and forever expanding.
He surprised most people, because his background and childhood, but Genghis Khan, knew that his mission and knew his goals, and he was not going to let anyone, or anything stand in between him and his ultimate goal. On his death bed he was still teaching his sons important lessons, and making decisions that would effect his entire empire. His strong will allowed him to be as successful as he was. Genghis Khan, although infamous for his brutal beatings, was one of the key reasons for economic boom, and he was able to connect borders at an age that would probably rather have stood isolated. Bibliography “Genghis Khan,”.
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Man, John Genghis Khan LIfe, Death, and Resurrection, New York, NY: Thomas Dunne Books St. Martin’s Press: 2004 May, Timothy, The Mongol Art of War, Yardley, PA: Westholme: 2007 “The Mongol Military Might”, Coldsiberia. org, http://www. coldsiberia. org/monmight. htm, (accessed Jan 21, 2011) Odi, Mary Masayo, Gesture, gender, Nation: Dance and Social Change in Uzbekistan, Westport, CT: 2002 Stewart, Stanley, In the Empire of Genghis Khan, Guilford, CE: The Lyons Press: 2000 ———————– [i] “Genghis Khan – Biography” Asianhistory. about. com, (accessed Jan 13, 2011). [ii] Ibid. [iii] Ibid. [iv] Ibid. v] Ibid. [vi] “Genghis Khan”, Biography. com, (accessed Jan 05, 2012), 1. [vii] Ibid. [viii] Ibid. [ix] Ibid. [x] “Genghis Khan and the Great Mongol,” Fsmitha. com, http://www. fsmitha. com/h3/h11mon. htm, (accessed January 04, 2012). [xi] Ibid. [xii] Ibid. [xiii] Ibid. [xiv] “Ghengis Khan – Biography” Ashianhistory. about. com. [xv] “Genghis Khan”, Biography. com (2). [xvi] Ibid. [xvii] “The Mongol Military Might”, Coldsiberia. org, http://www. coldsiberia. org/monmight. htm (accessed Jan 21, 2011) [xviii] “Ghengis Khan – Biography” Ashianhistory. about. com. [xix] “The Mongol Military Might”, Coldsiberia. rg, http://www. coldsiberia. org/monmight. htm (accessed Jan 21, 2011) [xx] Ibid. [xxi] Ibid. [xxii] May, Timothy, The Mongol Art of War, Yardley, PA: Westholme: 2007 (69) [xxiii] Ibid. [xxiv] Ibid, (71). [xxv] Ibid. [xxvi] Ibid. [xxvii] Ibid. [xxviii] Ibid, (72). [xxix] Ibid. [xxx] Ibid, (73). [xxxi] Ibid, (72). [xxxii] Ibid. [xxxiii] “Genghis Khan’s Military Campaigns”, Cultural-china. com, http://history. cultural-china. com/en/ 46H2406H11140. html, (accessed Jan 15, 2012). [xxxiv] Ibid. [xxxv] Ibid. [xxxvi] Ibid. [xxxvii] Ibid. [xxxviii] Ibid. [xxxix] Ibid. [xl] Ibid. [xli] Ibid. xlii] Stewart, Stanley, In the Empire of Genghis Khan, Guilford, CE: The Lyons Press: 2000 (56) [xliii] Ibid (55). [xliv] Ibid. [xlv] Ibid. [xlvi] May, Timothy, The Mongol Art, (70) [xlvii] Ibid. [xlviii] Ibid. [xlix] Ibid. [l] “Ghengis Khan – Biography” Ashianhistory. about. com. [li] Man, John Genghis Khan LIfe, Death, and Resurrection, New York, NY: Thomas Dunne 2004 [lii] John P. Mkay, et al. , A History of World Societies Volume 1: to 1600 9th Edition, Boston, NY: Bedford:2011. [liii] Odi, Mary Masayo, Gesture, Gender, Nation, Westport, CT: 2002 [liv] “Genghis Khan”, Biography. com (4) [lv] Ibid. [lvi] Ibid.