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Extra resources for Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire (World History)

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Some modern scholars think Genghis Khan himself invented it and circulated it among the enemy population to make them believe he was far too clever for their leader, the King of Gold, to defeat. Scholar Peter Brent summarizes the famous story: He now informed the commander of the fortified town that he would lead his men home if he received [from the city’s leaders] one thousand cats and ten thousand swallows. One imagines the startled debate within the walls. [Eventually] the curious payment was made.

A week or two later, however, the disguised Mongol sent word to his master, the khan, who suddenly returned with his forces and easily captured the now unprotected city. The colorful story of Khan’s capture of another Jurched city may or may not be based in fact. Some modern scholars think Genghis Khan himself invented it and circulated it among the enemy population to make them believe he was far too clever for their leader, the King of Gold, to defeat. Scholar Peter Brent summarizes the famous story: He now informed the commander of the fortified town that he would lead his men home if he received [from the city’s leaders] one thousand cats and ten thousand swallows.

Some also closely mirrored some of the precepts in the sacred books of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims. For instance, one Mongol law forbade lying. Another made it illegal to commit adultery. Still another ordained that a person must treat a neighbor as he or she would want to be treated by that neighbor. In addition, there were humane statutes calling for people to respect and give aid to elderly and impoverished members of society. Several other laws Genghis Khan enacted were influenced by his own experiences as a young man.

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