Father of many — but not of…

While I find paeans to Genghis Khan’s tolerance absurd, it is not because I am convinced Genghis was some kind of monster in human guise. The reason is the effect of the Mongol conquest on the conquered peoples. For one, George Vernadsky, the author of The Mongols and Russia, admitted that the victim count might have reached millions, and the temporal concentration of atrocities was indeed exceptionally high.

According to popular belief, Genghis Khan fathered a host of children (even more than Chairman Mao would, perhaps in imitation). But the Mongol commander was not sure he was the real father of his first son, Juchi (or Jochi). Before Temuchin (or Temujin) became Genghis, he had to endure an attack of a rival tribe seeking revenge for his father’s abduction of one of their girls (which had happened twenty years earlier), who would become the mother of Genghis Khan. Temuchin fled, leaving his young wife to the mercy of the enemy; she was taken prisoner and made another warrior’s concubine. Temuchin returned reinforced, crushed his enemies and freed his wife. Yet when she bore a child, he was not sure of his paternity and, although Genghis never doubting Juchi’s rights as the eldest son, he showed little personal interest in his firstborn.

Or so goes the historians’ tale.

One comment

  1. He fathered so many children (it’s actually hard to find someone in who’s veins there is no trace of Khan’s blood), that maybe it was only fitting that his firstborn wasn’t really “his” after all.
    In other words, what goes around comes around.


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