Genghis Khan by Jacob Abbott
Genghis Khan , Makers of History , by Jacob Abbott 1803-1879
The word khan is not a name, but a title. It means chieftain or king.
It is a word used in various forms by the different tribes and nations
that from time immemorial have inhabited Central Asia, and has been
applied to a great number of potentates and rulers that have from time
to time arisen among them. Genghis Khan was the greatest of these
princes. He was, in fact, one of the most renowned conquerors whose
exploits history records.
As in all other cases occurring in the series of histories to which
this work belongs, where the events narrated took place at such a
period or in such a part of the world that positively reliable and
authentic information in respect to them can now no longer be
obtained, the author is not responsible for the actual truth of the
narrative which he offers, but only for the honesty and fidelity with
which he has compiled it from the best sources of information now
I. PASTORAL LIFE IN ASIA
II. THE MONGULS
III. YEZONKAI KHAN
IV. THE FIRST BATTLE
V. VANG KHAN
VI. TEMUJIN IN EXILE
VII. RUPTURE WITH VANG KHAN
VIII. PROGRESS OF THE QUARREL
IX. THE DEATH OF VANG KHAN
X. THE DEATH OF YEMUKA
XI. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE EMPIRE
XII. DOMINIONS OF GENGHIS KHAN
XIII. THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE KUSHLUK
XV. THE STORY OF HUJAKU
XVI. CONQUESTS IN CHINA
XVII. THE SULTAN MOHAMMED
XVIII. THE WAR WITH THE SULTAN
XIX. THE FALL OF BOKHARA
XX. BATTLES AND SIEGES
XXI. DEATH OF THE SULTAN
XXII. VICTORIOUS CAMPAIGNS
XXIII. GRAND CELEBRATIONS
PASTORAL LIFE IN ASIA.
Four different modes of life enumerated.- -Northern and southern
climes.- -Animal food in arctic regions.- -Tropical regions.- -Appetite
changes with climate.- -First steps toward civilization.- -Interior of
Asia.- -Pastoral habits of the people.- -Picture of pastoral life.- -Large
families accumulated.- -Rise of patriarchal governments.- -Origin of the
towns.- -Great chieftains.- -Genghis Khan.
There are four several methods by which the various communities into
which the human race is divided obtain their subsistence from the
productions of the earth, each of which leads to its own peculiar
system of social organization, distinct in its leading characteristics
from those of all the rest. Each tends to its own peculiar form of
government, gives rise to its own manners and customs, and forms, in
a word, a distinctive and characteristic type of life.
These methods are the following:
1. By hunting wild animals in a state of nature.
2. By rearing tame animals in pasturages.
3. By gathering fruits and vegetables which grow
spontaneously in a state of nature.
4. By rearing fruits and grains and other vegetables by
artificial tillage in cultivated ground.
By the two former methods man subsists on animal food. By the two
latter on vegetable food.
As we go north, from the temperate regions toward the poles, man is
found to subsist more and more on animal food. This seems to be the
intention of Providence. In the arctic regions scarcely any vegetables
grow that are fit for human food, but animals whose flesh is
nutritious and adapted to the use of man are abundant.
As we go south, from temperate regions toward the equator, man is
found to subsist more and more on vegetable food. This, too, seems to
be the intention of nature. Within the tropics scarcely any animals
live that are fit for human food; while fruits, roots, and other
vegetable productions which are nutritious and adapted to the use of
man are abundant.
In accordance with this difference in the productions of the different
regions of the earth, there seems to be a difference in the
constitutions of the races of men formed to inhabit them. The tribes
that inhabit Greenland and Kamtschatka can not preserve their
accustomed health and vigor on any other than animal food. If put upon
a diet of vegetables they soon begin to pine away. The reverse is true
of the vegetable-eaters of the tropics. They preserve their health
and strength well on a diet of rice, or bread-fruit, or bananas, and
would undoubtedly be made sick by being fed on the flesh of walruses,
seals, and white bears.
In the temperate regions the productions of the above-mentioned
extremes are mingled. Here many animals whose flesh is fit for human
food live and thrive, and here grows, too, a vast variety of
nutritious fruits, and roots, and seeds. The physical constitution of
the various races of men that inhabit these regions is modified
accordingly. In the temperate climes men can live on vegetable food,
or on animal food, or on both. The constitution differs, too, in
different individuals, and it changes at different periods of the
year. Some persons require more of animal, and others more of
vegetable food, to preserve their bodily and mental powers in the best
condition, and each one observes a change in himself in passing from
winter to summer. In the summer the desire for a diet of fruits and
vegetables seems to come northward with the sun, and in the winter the
appetite for flesh comes southward from the arctic regions with the
When we consider the different conditions in which the different
regions of the earth are placed in respect to their capacity of
production for animal and vegetable food, we shall see that this
adjustment of the constitution of man, both to the differences of
climate and to the changes of the seasons, is a very wise and
beneficent arrangement of Divine Providence. To confine man absolutely
either to animal or vegetable food would be to depopulate a large part
of the earth.
It results from these general facts in respect to the distribution of
the supplies of animal and vegetable food for man in different
latitudes that, in all northern climes in our hemisphere, men living
in a savage state must be hunters, while those that live near the
equator must depend for their subsistence on fruits and roots growing
wild. When, moreover, any tribe or race of men in either of these
localities take the first steps toward civilization, they begin, in
the one case, by taming animals, and rearing them in flocks and herds;
and, in the other case, by saving the seeds of food-producing plants,
and cultivating them by artificial tillage in inclosed and private
fields. This last is the condition of all the half-civilized tribes of
the tropical regions of the earth, whereas the former prevails in all
the northern temperate and arctic regions, as far to the northward as
domesticated animals can live.
From time immemorial, the whole interior of the continent of Asia has
been inhabited by tribes and nations that have taken this one step in
the advance toward civilization, but have gone no farther. They live,
not, like the Indians in North America, by hunting wild beasts, but by
rearing and pasturing flocks and herds of animals that they have
tamed. These animals f