In 2003 a genetics paper revealed that one in 200 men alive in that year was a direct descendant of Genghis Khan (1162-1227). Khan was the Mongol emperor whose armies swept out of the north to conquer pretty much all of Asia. His successors took big chunks of Europe as well. When Marco Polo traveled to China, he met the conqueror’s grandson Kublai Khan.
Genghis Khan is thought to have left more corpses in his wake than any other invader. The Mongol hordes earned their fearsome reputation. Khan sent emissaries to the city of Merv in Turkmenistan demanding tribute and the pick of the city’s most beautiful women. The Seljuk Turks refused and killed the messengers. Khan’s army returned three years later. The city’s leaders, perhaps having heard of Khan’s ferocity in the interim, surrendered, but Khan’s wrath was not assuaged. He ordered the entire city to be annihilated. Each soldier was to behead 300 civilians. Merv, which contained libraries, gardens and palaces, was razed and made uninhabitable for 100 years.
The Mongol conqueror is supposed to have said:
“The greatest joy for a man is to defeat his enemies, to drive them before him, to take from them all …
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(The opinions in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Southern Nation News or SN.O.)