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Joining the Vast, Insatiable Armies of Khan: The Mongol Military – Part I

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 19:17
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Joining the Vast, Insatiable Armies of Khan: The Mongol Military – Part I

Genghis Khan, founder and emperor of the Mongol Empire rarely needs an introduction, but it is crucial in understanding how he gained his place in history by examining the Mongol military organization he pieced together to become one the world’s greatest fighting machines ever seen.

So how did Genghis Khan take the Mongols and turn them into a fighting machine? It starts with abandonment.

The Abandonment of Temujin and Rise of Genghis

It was through his abandonment that Genghis Khan, whose real name was Temujin, learned quickly whom he could trust and whom he could not. Because of this, he sought to rebuild his family’s status through alliances, and he started with Börte of the Onggirat tribe. At age 16, Temujin rode to the Onggirat tribe to take his wife. After much talk, the marriage took place, and Dei-sechen presented Temujin with a valuable sable coat. After much celebration, Temujin took his sable coat as treasure with which to connect with a more powerful alliance.

After his marriage to Borte, Temujin and his brothers traveled to meet with his father’s blood brother, Tooril Khan, known as Ong Khan, leader of the Kereit people. Ong was a powerful chieftain whose territory expanded from the Onon River across the lands of Mongol to the eastern borders of China. When Temujin arrived and approached Ong, he said, “In earlier days you and my father agreed to swear brotherhood, so you are almost as a father to me.” Then he said, “I have acquired a wife and brought you the emüsgel (new clothing).” Temüjin presented Ong with the sable jacket.

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