Genghis Khans Life and Accomplishments
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Genghis Khanís Life and Accomplishments
Genghis Khan was a powerful ruler of the Mongols, who was responsible for expanding the Mongol Empire, making advancements and changes in politics, religion, and the way of life among the steppe people. The Mongol people were found throughout the steppes of Asia. Mongolia itself, is the eastern most part of the Eurasiatic belt. This area was subject to temperature extremes. Winters were often harsh, with subzero temperatures, while the summers were hot and dry. "The Mongol tribes consisted of two groups: the pastoral-nomads, who moved from one steppe pasture to another; and the forest-hunters, who also engaged in fishing." Both types of nomadic tribes hunted to acquire food to survive. Also, the pastoral-nomads kept sheep, horses, cattle, and goats. These animals were used for food, milk (the Mongolsí staple drink), felt, and other useful products. The felt was made by beating out the furs of the animals until they were soft. This felt was essential for warm clothing and for coverings of their dwellings. The forest-hunters lived much the same way but didnít focus on maintaining large herds of animals. They mostly hunted the wild game, but did keep some cows or other livestock for a source of milk.
Hunting among the Mongols was important and necessary. It was often done individually with bows and arrows or lassos. The preferred targets of these hunts were antelope, boars, and wild donkeys that lived and roamed about the steppes. Battues were also held. A battue was a hunt that was a combined effort of the whole tribe. First, the tribe scouted an area. Then, they
formed a large circle around the chosen area, and slowly closed up, making the circle smaller. This trapped the animals in the middle of all the people. When the circle was
very tight and the animals were tightly packed in the middle, the leader or khan would begin the hunt by slaying the first animal with his bow and arrow. The rest of the tribe then joined in and didnít stop until all the animals were slain. This whole, elaborate hunt was done in practice for military battle.
The Mongols practiced a shamanism type religion that was centered around the worship of one god, Tengri. Tengri means Eternal Heaven, or Eternal Blue Sky. The Mongols never had public prayers or worship services for their religion. Instead, they followed strict laws, and certain things around them were considered to be sacred, such as the rising sun.
Temuchin (later Genghis Khan) was born sometime between AD 1155 and AD 1167. He was born into the Borjigin clan and was the oldest of his siblings. His father was the leader in charge of this clan. When Temuchin was twelve or thirteen his father died. Temuchin and his family were forced to leave the tribe, as nobody wanted to take orders from a young boy. So, Qasar (his younger brother), his mother, and Bekter (his half brother) moved away to the Kentai Mountains. In the mountains, the hunting and fishing were good, and the family could live without fear of being attacked or raided by another tribe. It was common practice among the tribes to share the spoils of what was collected during hunting or fishing. One day, Temuchin caught a fish and also a meadowlark. Bekter stole these from Temuchin for his own use. Temuchin and Qasar wanted revenge on their half brother, so they confronted him in a field. Bekter was watching the horses when the two approached him. He made no attempts to defend himself and was shot at close range by a bow and arrow.
Temuchinís election as the khan was directly related to his knowledge and fearlessness in battles and raids. There were many other relatives of Temuchin who had more power and rank, but they declined the position of khan. Temuchin accepted the khanship and began revolutionizing Mongol life. In 1206, after successfully uniting the many tribes of the steppe, Temuchin "was proclaimed Genghis Khan--khan of khans, or ĎUniversal Rulerí of all the Mongol peoples." All this came about when Genghis Khan was only 45 years old. With uniting all the tribes and having been declared the Khan of Khans, Genghis Khan was in a very powerful position. The
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Mongol Empire, Descendants of Genghis Khan, Yuan dynasty, Genghis Khan, Borjigin, Mongols, Mongol conquest of Khwarezmia, Religion in the Mongol Empire
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