The Mongol Empire was characterized by being one of the most powerful that stepped on the face of the Earth and which gained special importance in the middle of the Middle Ages. Specifically, its apogee was in the third century, at which time it became one of the most extensive in the entire history of mankind.
Along with him, a name comes to mind: Genghis Khan, one of its most important rulers. This was a fierce warrior who is remembered for being a great conqueror. Do you want to know more about him and about the Mongol Empire? Here we tell you a series of curiosities.
Brief history of the Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire was one of the largest and most unique in history. It had its origin in an important nomadic culture that moved through the territories of present-day Mongolia. Some experts have quantified the extension of the Mongol Empire and have placed it around 30 million square kilometers.
Its development began after the unification of the Mongolian tribes under the reign of Genghis Khan, in the year 1206. At its time of maximum expansion, it occupied territories of China, Mesopotamia and Eastern Europe. However, it soon began its decline and ended in 1368, after going through various crises and a gradual loss of its military power.
5 curiosities of the Mongol Empire
These are 5 facts that not everyone knows about this mythical empire:
1. From aristocratic politics to meritocracy
In its beginnings, the Mongol Empire based its organization on an aristocratic system, that is, the main government positions, such as the treasury and magistrates, were inherited. The emperor was the one who chose the most important positions and had the power to place whoever he wanted.
This ended with the death of Genghis Khan, since from that moment on the meritocracy was used for the most important positions. Because of this, public office was held by people who stood out on the battlefield, loyal and brave.
2. Creativity for executions in the Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire was forged with blood and fire, so it excelled at being creative in punishing its enemies. One of the preferred punishments of the warriors of this empire was to roll their prisoners in rugs for the horses to pass over.
Another method used is the one applied to the Russian princes captured in the Battle of the Kalka River: they were forced to stand under the boards that would serve as a passage for the Khan’s parade.
Meanwhile, other prisoners had their body holes blocked, wrapped in cloth and thrown into the river. These practices were performed by the warriors of the Mongol Empire to avoid shedding blood, which they considered bad luck.
3. Genghis Khan, a murderer from a young age
Known at the time as Tenujin, Genghis Khan began his criminal life when he was only 14 years old, the age at which he committed his first murder. Genghis Khan had a lot of hatred for his older brother, Begter, because he intimidated him and his younger brother, as well as stealing their food.
For this reason, he hatched a plan to get rid of him and, together with his younger brother, convinced Begter to go to an unpopulated area. Once there, he riddled him with arrows.
4. An empire of assassinations
The Mongol Empire has thousands of dead behind it, and not just on the battlefield. It also boasts of the executions that took place during its existence, which marked a turning point in imperial history. The story goes that, in 1221, more than a million and a half prisoners were executed in just one hour.
This event occurred with the inhabitants of a recently conquered city; its inhabitants were forced to stand against a wall to be beheaded with machetes. As a sign of success, the warriors cut off the ears of the decapitated heads to take them to the emperor.
5. Women as spoils of war
Another of the bloody actions of the Mongol Empire was to capture the women of the conquered cities. These became Genghis Khan’s slaves. This is why today there are millions of people in the world who are related to this emperor.
Lastly, it is noteworthy that the growth of the Mongol Empire and its status as a world power allowed its inhabitants to have some luxuries. Among these, we can highlight the unlimited availability of alcohol, something that caused significant damage, as many soldiers fell victim to alcoholism and even died from it. Among them, for example, are the sons of the Khan himself.