FUCK YEAH Genghis Khan – an emergency pubcast

On this day in 1227 one of the most important men ever to exist – Genghis Motherfucking Khan – died.
I am still cut up about it.

People are out here being basic as hell about Genghis on the regular to which I say please consider – if you believe that Alexander the Great was, in fact, Great, but think that Genghis Khan was not one of the greatest men who ever lived, you are uncritically accepting racist – and discredited and outmoded – historical narratives.

Assigned reading:
Jack Weatherford, Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World (Three Rivers Press, 2005)
Jon Man, Genghis Khan, His Heirs, and the Making of Modern China (Corgi, 2015)
Frank McLynn, Genghis Khan: The Man Who Conquered the World (The Bodly Head Ltd, 2015)
Jack Weatherford, Genghis Khan and the Quest for God: How the World’s Greatest Conqueror Gave Us Religious Freedom (Viking: 2016)

Or maybe just take Hark A Vagrant’s and my word for it.

For more on the myths surrounding the medieval period see:
On the concept of the Renaissance and Outkast’s Hey Ya
On medieval healthcare and American barbarism
There’s no such thing as the Dark Ages, but OK
On why the misuse of the word ‘medieval’ is a bad thing

Author: Dr Eleanor Janega

Medieval historian, lush, Kendrick Lamar enthusiast.

3 thoughts on “FUCK YEAH Genghis Khan – an emergency pubcast”

  1. Twitter brought me here. Loving what you do, the world needs hip-hop literate medievalists now more than ever and doesn’t even know it.

    Can we get a bit more of a drill-down into your thoughts on the Cults of Conquerors? Because of course it’s totes racist to regard Alexander as “great” and Temujin as the spectre of Oriental tyranny. But what if you were more inclined to the view that, say, they’re both basically murderous thugs and that the way much of history (at least popular history) revolves around the exploits of such men — as if they alone dictate the shape and achievements of civilizations — indicates a kind of endemic misogyny more than anything else? Would that seem like a true statement to you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that is really prescient and one of the problems that we have with history, generally. We tend to focus on the lives of those who are considered ‘great’, by which we mean had a large impact on the world. Historically a lot of the time that is measured in violence, specifically. Large scale violence changes things, and we tend to focus history around change as a fulcrum. I’m going to think on this one – I think it’s worth a longer reflection.


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