In Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, writer Jack Weatherford shares how Genghis led an army “that subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in 400.” Perhaps that’s why this quote by him is so fitting:
“A leader can never be happy until his people are happy.”
Nevertheless, it’s surprising given the fierce and barbaric reputation of this 12th century warrior from Mongolia. Yet, it’s not when you understand there are as many misconceptions as there are truths in the legacy of Genghis as a ruler and a conqueror.
This week, WomanScape travels back in time to meet Hoelun, the mother of Genghis. She taught Genghis the importance of community and collaboration, especially after Genghis lost his father, Yesugei, as a young boy.
On the Mongolian Steppe (painting by Artist Zdenek Burian)
One of the traditions central to Mongolian communities and their nomadic life from centuries ago was the importance of the ger. The painting above depicts this portable housing structure. Nomads working as herders in the steppes of Central Asia built these tent-like structures from wooden slats and animal covers (now felt), so they could move quickly with relative ease from place to place.
Today, families still live, eat, and sleep inside them all together, without walls or privacy. Gers are usually set a few kilometers apart so nomads can help each other in harsh climates. A ger has a door and no windows, and the top is ventilated for smoke and heat to escape the cooking stove in the middle.
Join us Wednesday as WS features the story of Hoelun, the mother of Genghis Khan.