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.

If you enjoyed this, please consider contributing to my patreon. If not, that is chill too!

For more on myths about the medieval period and ignorance, see:
Plague Police roundup, or, I am tired, and you people give me no peace
How to win friends and influence people in medieval Europe on History Hit
If you are going to talk about the Dark Ages, you had better be right
JFC, calm down about the medieval Church
On Medical Milestones, Being Racist, and Textbooks, Part I
On Medical Milestones, The Myth of Progress and Being Racist, Part II
On medieval healthcare and American barbarism
I assure you, medieval people bathed.
On colonialism, imperialism, and ignoring medieval history
“I wasn’t taught medieval history so it is not important” is not a real argument, but ok
There’s no such thing as the ‘Dark Ages’, but OK
On the Concept of the Renaissance and Outkast’s Hey Ya
On why the misuse of the word ‘medieval’ is a bad thing

Author: Dr Eleanor Janega

Medieval historian, lush, George Michael evangelist.

7 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.


  2. Great stuff! I agree completely, and I wonder just how much better the world would have been if his Mongol hordes had managed to finish the job of sweeping across Europe. I love that he is still honoured in Mongolia today. (See for example, The HU, a heavy metal band that uses Mongolian instruments and Mongolian throat singing! Awesome stuff.)


  3. Let it be said by this American settler that George Washington was much closer to a Hitler figure of his time than a Khan. His name in many languages here was “Town Destroyer”, and you can probably guess that he didn’t bother walking them down a trail of tears first. Jackson would have been thrilled to be compared to him. He also owned people. This comment is not to criticize Dr. Janega – the postmodern american character is clearly ignorant of history, and Khan clearly is telling him what he needs to hear in order to understand. But we should understand the comic in this fuller context


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