Temujin, who later took the name Genghis Khan, came from humble beginnings which helped to form the foundations of the type of leader he became later in life. After his warlord father was killed by a rival tribe, Temujin and his family were exiled to the steppes and into poverty. Temujin’s “personal magnetism and courage and his inclination to rely on trusted friends rather than kinship allowed him to build up a small following and to ally with a more powerful tribal leader” (Strayer, 2009). From an early age, his charismatic form of leadership brought many warriors into his fold, including warriors from defeated enemies, where they were rewarded for their skill and loyalty as opposed to their bloodlines. The warriors were all accountable to one another “by the provision that should one or two members of a unit desert in battle, all were subject to the death penalty” (Strayer, 2009). This system of punishment and rewards helped hold the Empire armies together and contributed to its success.
In 1206, Temujin became known as Genghis Khan, which means “oceanic ruler”, and the Mongol tribes became unified as the Great Mongol Nation. Because the spoils of conquest were used to reward and pay the soldiers, Genghis Khan...
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...leader was self-control. Maintaining the dress of the common man, “the greatest of civilizers never slept indoors and only once set food in a building” (Lessem, 2009). Genghis Khan could have defined luxury for his time, but instead chose to live as his people lived. Genghis Khan believed that the world had been given to the Mongols by God and that “God had condemned the civilizations around him because of their haughtiness and their extravagant luxury” (Lessem, 2009). Materialism had no role in the Mongol empire and that was a concept that Genghis Khan passed on to his own sons.
It is not hard to understand why so many countries lay claim to a man thought of in the West as a savage. Genghis Khan was far ahead of his time when it came to organizing and launching his armies to setting up a centralized administration and written laws for his growing empire.
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