The Mongols

It has been said that the Mongols were the most cruel and barbaric of the peoples that have roamed this

earth. My research paper is on the greatest of the Mongols, Genghis Khan. Genghis Khan was, even in the

lightest sense, a military genius. Genghis Khan almost conquered the world. He instilled in humankind a

fear that lasted for ages. But what drove him to do it? Was it by chance? This paper will explain how the

general's childhood molded the man into the best war general of the known world.

The Mongols originally consisted of loosely organized nomadic tribes. (Nomadic refers to a tribe

whose members wander and travel around, never staying in one place very long). They were considered

barbarians, by European standards. They had no written language, and they were uneducated, except in

warfare. Their land was in the most sense barren, for it was the Gobi Desert.

In the Gobi, weather could change at a moments notice, from scorching heat to blustering cold.

To protect themselves from the unforgiving cold, the Mongols smeared themselves with oil and grease.

This offered sufficient protection, but they had to still worry about the wind, for the desert was barren, and

with no trees to divert the wind, the gusts were sometimes enough to make riding on horseback difficult.

Their culture was very unique. In the spring, meat, fur, and milk were abundant. In the winter,

however, it was not. The Mongols evidently did not care much for their children, for they

did not sacrifice their food for them. Whenever food was brought in during the winter, all of it was put in

the a pot and then the order of people got it. The order of people were - the able-bodied men taking the

first portions, the aged and the women received the pot next, and the children had to fight for the rest

(Lamb 23). When there was a shortage of cattle, the children didn't survive so easily. Milk, one of their

chief sources of nutrition, existed only in the form of kumiss, milk put in leather satchels, fermented and

beaten. It was nourishment, and also intoxicating, especially to a kid of three or four years (Lamb 26).

Their fires were not fueled by wood, since trees were scarce in the desert. Instead, it was fueled by cattle

and horse dung, which had to make for a certainly unpleasant smell. When festivals came about, as they

rarely did, big piles of dung were lit and the same order of the eating applied to the fire, with the women

sometimes being able to sit!

on the left of the fire.

The children were not introduced to hardship; they were born into it. After they were weaned

from their mothers milk to mare's milk, they were expected to manage almost entirely for themselves. The

children learned to live by themselves, in houses, called yurts and they learned to organize hunts, stalking

dogs and rats, beating them with crude, blunt clubs and arrows. They also learned to ride sheep by holding

on to the wool. The yurts were made of felt, animal skin shaved close, stretched over wooden sticks, with

an opening at the top to let out the smoke.

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The felt was covered with white lime, and pictures were drawn onto it. This tent was serviceable,

for its dome shaped top allowed it to resist the high winds (Fox 29).

Endurance was life for the young Genghis Khan, called at birth Temujin, or "The Finest Steel". It

was a name given to him by his father, the name of an enemy taken prisoner. Temujin's father was the

Khan of the Yakka, or Great, Mongols. He had control of over 47,000 tents and his name was Yesukai

(Lamb 24).

Temujin had numerous duties, just as did the other boys of the camp. They had to fish the streams

that the family passed on their trek. They looked after the family's horses, learning out of necessity to stay

in the saddle for several days at a time, and to survive without food for three to four days. The boys

watched the skyline for raiders and spent many nights in the snow without a fire. When there was food

available, in the form of mutton or horse flesh, they ate and made up for lost time, eating incredible

amounts of