Mongol Hordes Birth Of An Empire

800 years ago Europe awoke to a terrible army which suddenly appeared out of the eastern mists [Music] very little was known about it what was known was terrifying it had already annihilated everything and everyone who dared stand in its path these were the Mongols the Tartars the Devils horsemen save us O Lord from the wrath of the Tartars [Music] the call went out for the defense of Christendom to Germany ardent at war to France who nurses an undaunted soldiery to Spain to England mighty with warriors and ships to Sicily to Ireland to frozen Norway [Music] but to no avail across Poland and Hungary entire armies were put to the sword it seemed nothing not even prayer could stop the invaders from sweeping right through Europe to the sea the judge convinced that Armageddon was upon them all preached that the invaders were none other than the children of Gog and Magog the servants of Satan sent to punish a sinful world to others it seemed that God himself had deserted them this was the end of everything of time itself [Music] [Music] [Music] this scatter of stones on the steppes of Mongolia is all that is left of Karakoram it was once the capital of the greatest land empire that there has ever been for a few decades during the 13th century this was the most important city in the world ambassadors and envoy's were summoned here from as far afield as - Baghdad Moscow and Leo to pay tribute to the great heart and it was from here that the Mongol rulers governed an empire that stretched for more than 5,000 miles from the Pacific to the Danube [Music] Mongolia is today emerging from 70 years of isolation imposed by a communist regime which erased all reference to that early Empire the heroes of the past were dismissed as irrelevant and replaced by more contemporary idols men like su K battle a contemporary of Lenin but with glasnost and all the despotic Mongolians have begun to rediscover and celebrate the heroes of their distant past [Music] [Applause] the figure that stands at the heart of this Renaissance is the Mongolian once and future king [Applause] Genghis Khan his deeds have been turned into folklore and the man himself elevated to the status of a God he is now regarded as the father of the nation the focus of resurgent Mongolian nationalism his spirit is destined they say to return and lead the country to another era of greatness yet to the rest of the world the name of Genghis Khan is still synonymous with the rape of civilization but history also shows him to have been a leader of genius and he could hardly have been that simply on a basis of terror it's difficult to unravel the truth many of the early accounts of the man were written by his enemies the first Mongolian account the famous secret history was written after his death and not surprisingly is a mixture of fact and fantasy it begins absolutely in the realms of myth by describing the genesis of the mongol people near the shores of lake baikal in the heart of central asia [Music] there was once a blue wolf whose destiny had been wrought from heaven and who took as his mate a fallow deer passing over the waters of the sea they camped at the head of the onin river where berta sein was born near the foot of mount birkin khaldoun according to the secret history the descendants of the blue wolf potassium and his family were the tribe of nomadic people that became known as the Mongols by the 12th century the Mongols had settled in a remote plateau in Central Asia they were one of half a dozen similar nomadic tribes whose names the key reads the murids the Nieman's the on goats and the kittens are long forgotten the lives of the steppe nomads have always been governed by the need to find pasture for their flocks the nomads are also dependent on the horse ever since its domestication in southern Russia between four and five thousand years ago the steppe nomads have learnt to exploit its remarkable speed and style it's not surprising then that they were not just herdsmen but also great hunters the summer pastures sustained vast herds but it's the winters which have always tested both man and beast life is governed by the rhythm of the seasons in the summer when the temperature is over a hundred degrees the steppe nomads migrate with their flocks up into the cool highlands then in the winter when it's 30 below zero for months at a time they return to the sheltered valleys the lakes and rivers remain frozen for up to six months a year so generations of nomads have had to cut and cart great slabs of ice back to their camps for drinking water the steppe nomads have always lived in tents known as yurts augers made of felt stretched across a wooden frame they can be dismantled and loaded onto ox carts in less than an hour in this bleak environment a life developed which is stripped of all but the bare necessities the fuel dried animal dung for there's no wood on the step eight hundred years ago as today the staple food was mutlar almost every part of the sheep is eaten or used in one way or another the Mongols made no pots they never forged metal they didn't even weave cloth they never cultivated the land nor kept pigs or chickens they did nothing that might impede their ability to simply pack up and move on to new pastures life was a timeless battle with the environment and was mirrored in the struggles to defend good grazing land against their neighbors murder and tribal wars were commonplace yet from these unpromising conditions even harsher 800 years ago than today there emerged the figure of Temujin the man who would become Genghis Khan from clues in the secret history it is thought that Temujin was born in 1167 near Mont birkin Khaldoon in eastern Mongolia his father a local chieftain was murdered by a rival tribe and Temujin and his family were abandoned from the age of 13 he struggled to avenge his father's death and retake his birthright the early part of his story tells of the making of important friendships and alliances but after a series of betrayals his private struggle turns into a campaign for absolute supremacy for more than 15 years Temujin and his followers waged war against one tribe after another after each victory supporters would flock to his cause only to melt away again at the next setback such fickleness persuaded him that he could rely on no one but himself and his immediate followers those that remain by his side were fiercely loyal for it soon became obvious that 1000 Jian was a brilliant military commander it also became apparent that he was as much driven by personal revenge against those who had betrayed him as he was by a desire for conquest in time the Victory's became ever more frequently until finally in 1204 in a great battle against an alliance of all the remaining tribes demo Jean was completely victorious two years later Temujin was accepted as master overall the steppe nomads and invested with the title Genghis Khan as he surveyed his army he knew that victory was meaningless unless he could now impose some kind of nationhood on the disparate tribes first he had to destroy old loyalties and demand allegiance to him and him alone he did this by removing traditional commanders of tribal armies and replacing them with commanders of his own choice in this way he made himself the only possible focus of the new Army's loyalty [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] for the first time in centuries the nomadic tribes were united under a single standard the ninetails the new mongol nation under Genghis Khan embraced all the eastern steppes its territory lay between two immensely wealthy civilizations China to the south and east and the Islamic empire of the kharazim Shah to the west though neither of these two empires posed an immediate threat genghis was never one to assume the best or to take things on trust so he set about transforming his army into a most formidable force he concentrated on developing the skills and discipline of his mounted soldiers his cavalry he began by taking the Mongols favorite sport the hunt and turning it into a military exercise thousands of men were deployed in long continuous lines that stretched for miles across the countryside they were then sweep forward driving before them all the animals in their path other units would be positioned at pre-arranged points around what would later become the killing ground each soldier was taught absolute obedience to learn his place in the line to hold that place no matter what and to think and act as part of a larger entity once the quarry had been flushed out the riders surrounded it preventing its escape no one was ever allowed to kill until the Khan gave his command then it was an opportunity for soldiers to show off their individual skills what emerged from these exercises was discipline and organization genghis structured his armies on a decimal system decreasing from a two men roughly 10,000 men to units of a thousand then a hundred down to basic patrols of ten men known as an Arvin each unit commander from patrol leader after general was chosen because he was the best man for the job most other armies of the time were commanded by hereditary nobles and princes the size of their armies was an indication of their personal wealth not their skills as commanders not so with the Mongols their leaders had all come up through the ranks there were men who had proved their ability and loyalty in the field since it is near satai under invited that's all that was rightly great rule in the entire army tens of thousands of men was closely organized and disciplined each soldier was required to keep four or five horses a scimitar shield lance two bows and a quiver of 60 arrows he had to be ready to move maybe on a journey of hundreds of miles in just a few minutes in his saddlebags he had to carry cooking pots dried meat a water bottle files for sharpening arrows and even a needle and thread by twelve hundred and seven this fully equipped and disciplined fighting force was ready genghis had long known that if he was to retain the Army's loyalty at home he would have to provide it with military success raiding the civilized lands beyond the frontier that meant China [Music] for centuries before Genghis Khan nomadic Raiders had swept down from the steppes to attack the towns and cities on the plains of northern China to keep the barbarians out the Chinese had thrown up a series of walls eventually these walls were linked together to form the Great Wall but that wasn't until some centuries later despite their proximity the two societies held each other in mutual contempt to the Chinese the nomads were the terrible uncooked while to the Mongols China was a soft and irresistible source of gold and silks there to be plundered china in the 13th century was divided into three separate kingdoms the real heart of China lay in the South it had been ruled for hundreds of years by a dynasty known as the Sun to the north lay the Jean Empire governed by a Manchurian dynasty to the West Was shishya easily the weakest of the three yet it had never been conquered this is where Genghis made his first raid into foreign territory in 1200 and 7 it was also the Mongols first encounter with a civilization which built cities static defenses and huge monuments although the kingdom was not conquered after two years of raids genghis had extorted a vast amount of loot from this rich and opulent domain Genghis also extracted a promise from the king that he would provide troops to assist the mongols in future campaigns whenever the need arose satisfied genghis withdrew from shishya and decided to turn his attention further east towards the chin vagine were far more experienced to dealing with invaders the northern highlands had always been their first line of defense the gene kept close guard on the passes but the Mongols had planned carefully and by 1211 after several sharp engagements they over ran the mountain Garrison's after that they hoped the way was open onto the fertile plains beyond but the gene were not about to succumb that easily right across their empire the alarm drums were sounded [Music] this was the traditional way of inspiring almost hypnotizing the Jean defenders by the summer the Mongols finally confronted the Jean army though heavily outnumbered Genghis decided to attack in a devastating display of mobility and discipline genghis is mounted archers poured a shower of arrows onto the Jean ranks totally demoralized the Jin army then faced a shattering charge of the Mongol heavy cavalry [Music] within a few hours the 70,000 strong defensive army was utterly destroyed when the terrible news reached the capital the gin commanders retreated behind their fortified walls here they reckoned they were safe for they knew the Mongols did not have the equipment or the training to breach these defenses genghis had to admit that they were right for the time being but he vowed to return if the gene walls and cities were strange incomprehensible to Mongol eyes so too was the fertile countryside peopled by millions of peasants they wondered at the well-ordered terracing of the irrigation canals at the farms and villages what the mongols didn't understand they despised and what they despised they destroyed over the next few years hundreds of thousands of Chinese peasants were slaughtered by the time genghis is armies returned to attack the capital in 1214 they were equipped with rudimentary siege machines the Mongols isolated the city for almost a year condemning the citizens to appalling privations in 1215 the capital finally surrendered and the mongols entered unopposed [Music] once inside the walls of the alien sights and sounds of the city perplexed and aggravated the Mongols for once discipline broke down the soldiers ran amok they rode up and down the narrow streets setting everything ablaze tens of thousands were slaughtered in a frenzy of uncontrolled butchery a visiting ambassador reported that when the fires were put out the city was littered with corpses and the streets greasy with human fat [Music] Genghis Khan was not there to see the slaughter he was already preoccupied by events far off to the West in 1218 a caravan of Mongol merchants traveling to the great western empire of the kharazim Shah were stopped and then executed as spies Genghis sent an invoice of demand an explanation when the envoi was also executed genghis khan was furious revenge was inevitable the kharazim Shahs empire was fabulously wealthy especially the cities for they lay along the Great Silk Road from China to the Middle East the greatest of these cities was the capital Samarkand which the Karussell Shah had turned into an opulent pleasure palace here lived Chinese and urgent artisans the wolf soup worked leather produced silver LeMay wove carpets and even forged an early type of steel it was a lively cosmopolitan society the carrizal Shah himself was a vain creature fated by his courtiers as the second Alexander the Great he believed their flattery and was confident he could handle this arrogant barbarian called Genghis Khan Genghis took his time indeed he took a year to prepare for the campaign he withdrew his army from China summoned men from every corner of the steppe and put together the greatest concentration of Mongol power ever seen estimates put the Mongol army at more than 100,000 but it was probably still less than half the size of the car Assam chars forces before setting out genghiz sent word to the king of shishya calling in his promise to provide troops whenever they were needed but the king replied that if genghis didn't have enough men then he didn't deserve to be the Great Khan as Genghis turned his army west he resolved one day to avenge this insult the mongols faced a march of more than 1500 miles towards their objective the cities of Bukhara and Samarkand their spies had told them that the Karazhan Shah had deployed his defenses along the sea of Darya River the Empire's frontier genghis divided his army into four separate divisions three of which attacked the frontier at several points at once the fourth and largest contingent led by Genghis himself secretly crossed the sea of Darya River further north and then promptly disappeared instead of turning south towards the enemy lines Genghis led his army due west straight into the keys elcome desert the castle combe was impenetrable there were no known water holes no roads no landmarks but genghis had a guide who did know a route of a sort through the wasteland for months his contingent made its way secretly across the sands then in March 1218 as the defending armies used up their strength against the other Mongol attacks genghis suddenly emerged over 400 miles behind their lines outside the walls of Bukhara military historians still point to it as one of the most dramatic outflanking movements in the history of warfare panic swept through the city and shortly afterwards the Baqarah garrison abandoned their posts once inside Genghis and his men galloped into what they imagined was a palace when it was explained that he was inside a mosque he ordered that it be converted into stables copies of the Koran were thrown to the four winds and the boxes that had held them were used as rangers then genghis mounted the pulpit and berated the citizens about the treachery of their Sultan and the reasons for his victory I am the punishment of God if you had not committed great sins he would not have sent a punishment like me terrified by the accounts of massacres in China the boo Carens awaited their fate unlike China the sacking of bukhara was disciplined and controlled beneath this very minaret thousands of people were put to death as a deliberate warning to others that there was no alternative to immediate submission the city was stripped of its treasures and a tribute extracted from the wealthy families then most of the women and children were herded off to Mongolia the city walls were then systematically destroyed and refugees were dispatched to spread the news that bukhara had fallen genghis khan was a knowing exponent of psychological warfare [Music] a large contingent of the male population was then herded out in front of his army and with this human shield Genghis marched on Samarkand from behind these very walls the citizens of Samarkand watched for the dustcloud of the approaching mongols the corazon Shah had already abandoned them he had fled westward a few days earlier the Mongols put to the torch that part of the city which lay outside the walls and Samarkand surrendered within five days within just a few months the Mongols had smashed one of the largest empires in the world but there were still a personal score to settle to seek out the kharazim Shah one of Genghis Khan's finest generals sooo bad I was dispatched to the West Genghis himself turned south toward Afghanistan in pursuit of the Sultan's son and the remnants of the Empire's army to the Mongols this was a strange and alien land they knew of it only from stories told by nomadic Wanderers like these to a journey between China and Afghanistan for centuries a thousand years before Christ Zarathustra had preached to his followers here 700 years later Alexander marched his army through these hills now came Genghis Khan the cities of these parts were some of the oldest known to man and among the wealthiest places like Merv nyship or to Seurat bulk Genghis Khan and his army had only once before seen cities like these and that was thousands of miles away in China from Samarkand all the way to the Indus River almost everything they came across was a revelation to a people who traveled only with what they could carry on their horses and who lived in felt tents it was bewildering Genghis Khan determined that in future his people would live their lives as richly endowed as these people glassware silks pottery carpets tapestries gold silverware these were the trappings of cities that had for centuries set their inhabitants apart from the nomads these things would now adorn the inside of Mongol tents they were loaded up and taken back across the steppes in massive caravans more importantly the Mongols also sent back to their homeland all of the artisan families who produce these works alongside them marched clerics physicians mystics and poets from the great city of Gauguin CH chroniclers claimed 100,000 artisans were deported the story was repeated everywhere it was one of the greatest enforced migrations in history the tongues raw materials and all the skills of the great cities were transplanted to the empty grasslands of Central Asia this was more than just plunder genghis was setting down the foundations of an empire the most highly prized of the city dwellers were the metal workers and engineers these were the people who would build and update the Mongol war machinery they would Forge scimitars design and manufacture catapults and ballistas and all the other siege machines the Mongols would deploy in future campaigns suddenly her people who had known little more than herding and hunting now had in their employ some of the finest tool makers metal workers and artisans in the world but Genghis Khan had not embarked on this campaign simply to enrich his domain his first purpose was still punitive revenge when he rode past these Buddha's at Banyan in the heart of Afghanistan he was still in pursuit of the car Azam Shah son when one of his own grandsons was killed here he ordered the slaughter of the entire population the terror that this unleashed had no precedent just as in China those who suffered most were the peasants who worked the land to a people who had never grown anything themselves the connection between fertility and prosperity was something they just didn't understand peasants were worthless thousands were slaughtered and so terrible disaster swept the land this part of the world has very few rivers and the traditional form of irrigation is the cannot an underground tunnel which brings water from the mountain foothills out onto the plain the tunnel protects the precious water from evaporation and from blowing sand but like most irrigation systems cannot Snead to be cleared of choking sediment but where the peasants have been slaughtered or chased away the cannot system collapsed and the land turned into a desert a Persian chronicler described the catastrophe if for a thousand years to come no more evil befall the country yet it will still not be possible to repair the damage the city's suffered almost as badly these are the foundations of a city doe built by Alexander the Great at Iraq in western Afghanistan after the Mongols had stormed the new signal above parts of which have been recently restored they butchered almost the entire population news of this and other massacres spread like shockwaves to other cities as a warning that anything but complete submission would cost them dearly psychological warfare and it worked from then on for every city that was wiped out many others surrendered and were left unharmed but nevertheless the roll call of devastation was numbing Persian chroniclers claimed nearly two and a half million died here at Herat at nYSCI pour the chroniclers put the figure at 2 million none of these figures can be taken literally but they do indicate the enormous impact the Mongol invasion had on this corner of the Islamic world the cold and deliberate slaughter of entire populations had no precedent in history add bulk once a jewel of mosques and universities nothing remains but the walls here at tus in Iran even the walls have crumbled eventually genghis grew tired of the campaign and at the shores of the Indus River turned his army around and headed home he was 55 and aware of his own mortality but away in the West his general Suba died was still far from finished with war he had pursued the car Azam Shah for nearly 500 miles but the Sultan died before sue but I could get to him so with reinforcements he took the long way home he rode across to the Black Sea in the Ukraine finally he struck eastwards across an unsuspecting Russia subitize raid took him from the open steps to the forests from searing summers to icebound winters in two and a half years he and his men rode five and a half thousand miles it was one of the greatest achievements in mobile warfare in fact it was nothing less than a reconnaissance in force to test the opposition on the long ride east homeward sue bird I decided that the Mongols would be back to the devastated Russians the Mongol whirlwind had been incomprehensible a chronicler wrote for our sins unknown tribes came who no one exactly knows who they are nor whence they came out nor what their language is nor of what race they are nor what their faith is congregations begged the Lord to spare them from any further depredations by the devil's horsemen after six years of campaigning the Mongol armies returned home having defeated every opponent they had encountered just thirty years before they had been an anonymous tribe of nomadic herdsmen now they were indisputably the greatest military force anywhere in Asia in recognition and fear of Genghis Khan's reputation Korea and Tibet and other lands too offered their submission and tribute to the new world conqueror but genghis still had unfinished business there was the kingdom of XI Shia in western China before setting out on his campaign against the kharazim Shah Genghis had called upon the king to fulfill his promise to provide him with troops and had been refused that was seven years before now he was to take his revenge by the time the Mongols had departed all that remained of shishya was this burial ground of its kings their once great civilization was buried too and the remains of the last King were scattered to the four winds this also proved to be the last of genghis campaigns although the outcome was never in doubt he did not live to see it finished the creator of the greatest cavalry the world had ever seen died in August 12 27 after a fall from his horse he left behind an empire already twice the size of Alexander the Great's it was inevitable that the life and death of a man like Genghis would soon be shrouded in myth and so it was that no sooner was he gone than it was claimed that all that he had accomplished had been preordained [Music] according to the secret history a bird of prey had come down to Genghis from heaven with a message from the Mongol God Tengri this message was interpreted by the shamans who danced at the mongol Court God spoke to me saying I have given the whole earth to Temujin and his sons and I have named him genghis khan Tengri or the blue heavenly sky God had granted the genghis dynasty and the mongol people a mandate to rule the world that would be the purpose and the meaning of the mongol empire [Music] [Music] [Music]