Genghis Khan

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At military exercises I am always in front, and in time of battle am never behind. In the space of seven years I have succeeded in accomplishing a great work, and uniting the whole world in one empire.

Genghis Khan (c.1162 - 1227-08-18), born Temüjin, founded and ruled the Mongol Empire, after unifying the Central Asian tribes. He is also known as the first Great Khan or Khagan (Khan of Khans).

I am the flail of god. Had you not created great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.

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  • One arrow alone can be easily broken but many arrows are indestructible.
    • His speech to unite the Mongol tribes.
  • I will rule them by fixed laws so that rest and happiness shall prevail in the world.
    • Said after being named Khan.
  • Those who were adept and brave fellows I have made military commanders. Those who were quick and nimble I have made herders of horses. Those who were not adept I have given a small whip and sent to be shepherds.
  • All who surrender will be spared; whoever does not surrender but opposes with struggle and dissension, shall be annihilated.
  • Heaven grew weary of the excessive pride and luxury of China... I am from the Barbaric North. I wear the same clothing and eat the same food as the cowherds and horse-herders. We make the same sacrifices and we share our riches. I look upon the nation as a new-born child and I care for my soldiers as though they were my brothers.
    • (Alternate translation) Heaven has abandoned China owing to its haughtiness and extravagant luxury. But I, living in the northern wilderness, have not inordinate passions. I hate luxury and exercise moderation. I have only one coat and one food. I eat the same food and am dressed in the same tatters as my humble herdsmen. I consider the people my children, and take an interest in talented men as if they were my brothers. We always agree in our principles, and we are always united by mutual affection. At military exercises I am always in front, and in time of battle am never behind. In the space of seven years I have succeeded in accomplishing a great work, and uniting the whole world in one empire.
  • As my calling is high, the obligations incumbent upon me are also heavy; and I fear that in my ruling there may be something wanting.
  • If the great, the military leaders and the leaders of the many descendants of the ruler who will be born in the future, should not adhere strictly to the Yasa, then the power of the state will be shattered and come to an end, no matter how they then seek Genghis Khan, they shall not find him.
  • I am the flail of god. Had you not created great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.
    • (Alternative translation) It is the great among you who have committed these sins. If you had not committed great sins, god would not have set a punishment such as me upon you.
With Heaven's aid I have conquered for you a huge empire. But my life was too short to achieve the conquest of the world. That task is left for you.
  • Be of one mind and one faith, that you may conquer your enemies and lead long and happy lives.
  • Say ye unto the Khwarezmians that I am the sovereign of the sunrise, and [he is] the sovereign of the sunset. Let there be between us a firm treaty of friendship, amity, and peace, and let traders and caravans on both sides come and go.
    • Expressing his intention for peace with Khwarezmian Empire
  • The greatest pleasure is to vanquish your enemies and chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth and see those dear to them bathed in tears, to ride their horses and clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters.
  • Heaven has appointed me to rule all the nations, for hitherto there has been no order upon the steppes.
  • If there is no means to prevent drunkenness, a man may become drunk thrice a month; if he oversteps this limit he makes himself guilty of a punishable offence. If he is drunk only twice a month, that is better — if only once, that is more praiseworthy. What could be better than that he should not drink at all? But where shall we find a man who never drinks? If, however, such a man is found, he deserves every respect.
  • Conquering the world on horseback is easy; it is dismounting and governing that is hard.
  • Despite all expectations, the time of my last campaign and of my passing is near. I wish to die at home. Let not my end disarm you, and on no account weep for me, lest the enemy be warned of my death.
  • How can you say this about Jochi? Jochi is my eldest son, is he not? Do not ever say this again.
    • Expressing his opinion when Chagatai said that Jochi is not his son and should not succeed him.
  • With Heaven's aid I have conquered for you a huge empire. But my life was too short to achieve the conquest of the world. That task is left for you.
    • Said to his sons at the end of his life.
  • It is not sufficient that I succeed--all others must fail.
  • The merit of an action lies in finishing it to the end.

External links

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