From Temujin to Genghis Khan: Hard Life Leads to Path of Vengeance – Part I

From Temujin to Genghis Khan: Hard Life Leads to Path of Vengeance – Part I

It is obvious that Genghis Khan needs no introduction. Most know who he was. However, it would be unfitting not to provide some details concerning his early life and rise to power.

According to the oldest surviving Mongolian literary work, the Secret History of the Mongols, Genghis Khan (or Temujin) was born in Del’iun-boldok on the Onon River. His father was Yesugei Baghatur and his mother was Hoelun. He was one of four children. The date of Temujin’s birth is disputed. Rashid al-Din, Persian historian and grand wazir (prime minister) of the Ilkhanate Mongols, cites 1155 as the year of Temujin’s birth. Much later, after the fall of the Yuan Dynasty established by Temujin’s grandson, Kublai Khan, Ming scholars (1368-1644), cite 1162 as the year of birth.  However, other evidence suggests the years 1165, 1167, and 1168 as the official year.

The Secret History states “At the moment he was born, he was born, holding in his right hand a clot of blood the size of a knuckle bone.” He was named Temujin after his father captured the “Tatar Temüjin-üge, they thought to name him Temüjin.” At age nine, Yesugei arranged for his son to be married to a girl from his wife’s tribe. After making the journey, Yesugei left Temujin with his future in-laws.

Illustration of Yesugei, Temujin’s father.


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