Friday, January 10, 2014


Silk Road, Colin Falconer, Genghis KhanThere is a one in two hundred chance you are related to Genghis Khan.
It doesn’t matter that your surname is not Khan. His DNA may be in you somewhere.
This is one of the delightful snippets I found when researching Silk Road.
I could never use it in the book. Genghis’s sex life had to go in my trash bin.
But what a guy.
Here was the man who made Alexander the Great look like Alexander the Underachiever.
His empire was twice the size of Rome’s and included large parts of modern day China, Mongolia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Moldova, South Korea, North Korea and Kuwait. All the Stans and then some.
Genghis Khan’s empire at the time of his death. Kill as many as you like, there’s still lots left.
His real name was Temujin; Genghis Khan is an honorific meaning ‘Universal Ruler’ and he took that on when he united the fractious Mongolian tribes at his coronation in 1206.
Other titles included Lord of the Four Colors and Five Tongues, Lord of Life and Emperor of all Men.

He was also known as Mighty Manslayer and Scourge of God.

photograph: ChineebAnd that was on a good day.
And I quote: “The greatest pleasure in life is to vanquish your enemies and chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth and see those dear to them bathed in tears, to ride their horses and clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters.”
A sensitive new age guy, then.
For twenty years he led his pony-mounted armies on a whirlwind of rape and slaughter unmatched before or since.
By some estimates he killed 35 million people.

Over two decades, that’s one person killed every twenty seconds.

He hardly had time for lunch.
Colin Falconer, Genghis Khan, Silk RoadNorthern China is thought to have lost about three- quarters of its population.
Some historians estimate he massacred so many Persians that Iran’s population did not reach its pre-Mongol levels again until the mid-20th century.
His army was the most efficient war machine ever assembled at that time, a juggernaut that swept all before it.
Merv in Persia was regarded as the greatest seat of learning in all Asia. Genghis razed it to the ground, overseeing one of the greatest genocides in history.

It took the survivors two weeks just to count the bodies.

' Oh God sergeant - not raping detail again!'
‘ Oh God sergeant – not raping detail again!’
In Russia he conquered an army four times the size of his own. Their leader, Prince Romanovitch of Kiev, along with his generals, were tied up and laid flat; he then built a wooden platform on top of them for himself and his officers to sit on while they divided the spoils.
The Prince and his officers were crushed to death underneath them.
He once even diverted a river to erase a rival emperor’s birthplace from the map.

No act of spite or sadism was too much trouble.

800px-Chinggis_Khan_hillside_portraitBut Genghis wasn’t all bad; he was just drawn that way.
He is also credited with bringing the Silk Road under one political administration which allowed trade as well as cultural exchange between the East and West. He was tolerant of all religions. He instituted a system of meritocracy in his government at a time when the West was still largely feudal.

He was a lover as well as a fighter.

the last of the red hot lovers
the last of the red hot lovers
In 2007 researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences analyzed tissue samples from people living in those areas approximating Genghis’ ancient empire.
They found an identical Y-chromosomal lineage is present in about 8% of the men. (That’s half of one per cent of the world’s population!)
Apparently this spread is inconsistent with the theory of genetic drift, and the most likely scenario is that all these people are male line descendants of the Manslayer.
In Mongolia alone as many as 200,000 of the country’s 2 million people could be mini Manslayers.
It is calculated that Genghis Khan now has around 16 million male descendants across Asia and the Middle East. In fact it could be argued that he almost made genocide a self sustainable industry.

For every two people he killed, he created one.

His seduction technique was, however, suspect.
Genghis had a rating system: he kept the nines and tens and anything with a lower rating went to his officers.At the victory feasts he and his commanders would sit in their tent and tear at lumps of raw and bloody horsemeat with their teeth while captive beauties were paraded in front of them.
He had a personal harem of two to three thousand women – plus girlfriends I suppose – and his sons had comparably sized harems, but 16 million male descendants is still impressive, especially with the pressure of having to kill someone every twenty seconds.
Silk Road, Colin Falconer, Genghis Khan
‘Hurry up, we haven’t killed anyone for almost 3 minutes!’
Genghis died in 1227, while campaigning in north-western China. It is reported that he fell from his horse, exhausted.
However a legend persists that he was actually killed by a captured Chinese princess, a perfect ten, who herself rated Genghis a perfect 0 and castrated him with a concealed knife before running off into the dark.
No disrespect; but you’d like to think so.
Silk Road, Colin Falconer, Genghis Khan
SILK ROAD available in the US for the first time.