Genghis Khan

founder and first khan of the Mongol Empire

Genghis Khan (c.1162 – 18 August 1227), 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).


Quotes without citations to published works can be suggested on the "Unsourced" section of the Discussion page
  • O people, know that you have committed great sins, and that the great ones among you have committed these sins. If you ask me what proof I have for these words, I say it is because I am the punishment of God. If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.
    • As quoted in Tarikh-i Jahangushay [History of the World Conqueror] by 'Ala-ad-Din 'Ata-Malik Juvaini (ca. 1252-1260), translated by J.A. Boyle (1958), p. 105
  • Be of one mind and one faith, that you may conquer your enemies and lead long and happy lives.
    • As quoted in The Mongol Empire : Its Rise and Legacy (1940) by Michael Prawdin, p. 224
  • In the space of seven years I have succeeded in accomplishing a great work and uniting the whole world in one Empire.
    • As quoted in The Tyrants : 2500 Years of Absolute Power and Corruption (2006) by Clive Foss, p. 55 ISBN 1905204965
  • If one must drink, then let one drink thrice a month, for more is bad. If one gets drunk twice a month, it is better; if one gets drunk once a month, that is better still; and if one doesn't drink at all, that is the best of all.
    • As given in Rashid al-Din's Compendium of Chronicles (Jami' al-Tawarikh) ([1]) (Can find a translated version on google books: [2])
  • My children, I am nearing the end of my life.

With the help of Tengri, I leave you such an empire that it is a year's walking distance from its center to its tip. If you want to preserve it, stay united, act together against your enemies, agree to increase the wealth of those who are loyal to you. One of you must sit on the throne. Ögedei will be my successor. Respect this choice after my death.

  • Our sons and grandchildren will wear silk clothes, eat delicious and fatty food, ride excellent war horses, hold the most beautiful women and the most charming young girls in their arms, and they will not remember that all of this happened thanks to us.


  • God is everywhere, and you can find him everywhere. [specific citation needed]
    • Attributed by Mohammad Habib and Khaliq Ahmad Nizami (ed.), A Comprehensive History of India, New Delhi, 1970, Volume V, The Sultanat, First Reprint, 1982.
    • Habib, Nizami, p. 81 gives no source for its anecdote, nor does it offer any specificity regarding the nature of this line put in quotes. Anecdote is placed in Samarkand, although other sources link it (Without quote) to Bukhara.
  • The greatest joy for a man is to defeat his enemies, to drive them before him, to take from them all they possess, to see those they love in tears, to ride their horses, and to hold their wives and daughters in his arms.
    • As quoted in Genghis Khan & the Mongols (1973) by Michael Gibson, p. 3; this has been disputed with the statement that it was "not recorded until a century after his death and is surprisingly out of character."
  • [What, in all the world, could bring the greatest happiness?]
    • "The open steppe, a clear day, and a swift horse under you," responded the officer after a little thought, "and a falcon on your wrist to start up hares."
    • "Nay," responded the Khan, "to crush your enemies, to see them fall at your feet — to take their horses and goods and hear the lamentation of their women. That is best."
      • As quoted in Genghis Khan: The Emperor of All Men (1927) by Harold Lamb, Doubleday, p. 107.
    • Variant translation: The real greatest pleasure of men is to repress rebels and defeat enemies, to exterminate them and grab everything they have; to see their married women crying, to ride on their steeds with smooth backs, to treat their beautiful queens and concubines as pajamas and pillows, to stare and kiss their rose-colored faces and to suck their sweet lips of nipple-colored.

Quotes about Genghis Khan

  • [Militarily] ... he was the equal of Alexander the Great or Napoleon I.
    • Says Encarta Encyclopedia.
  • Genghis Khan is infamous as a merciless and bloodthirsty conqueror - outside Mongolia, where he is a national hero. One of the greatest organizers in history, he forged mutually hostile and disunited tribes into a Mongolian nation that extended its power over an unprecedentedly vast Empire. He patronized learning and founded dynasties that dominated Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Near East for centuries after his death. Although he slaughtered huge numbers of his enemies, he brought peace to lands he ruled and prosperity to his homeland.
    • Clive Foss, The Tyrants: 2,500 Years of Absolute Power and Corruption (2006), p. 56
  • The one name which Muslims hate and fear most is that of Chengiz Khan. He is a spectre which has haunted Muslim historians for centuries. He swept like a tornado over the then most powerful and extensive Islamic empire of Khwarazm. In a short span of five years (1219-1224 CE), he slaughtered millions of Muslims, forced many others including women and children into slavery, and razed to the ground quite a few of the most populous and prosperous cities of the Muslim world at that time. [...] The logic which declares Tengiri to be a satan and denounces Chengiz Khan as an archcriminal but which, in the same breath, proclaims Allah as divine and hails the Ghaznavis, Ghuris, Timurs and Baburs as heroes, is, to the say the least, worse than casuistry...
  • Possessed of great energy, discernment, genius and understanding.
    • Persian historian Juzjani, a contemporary of Genghis Khan. Quoted in the Awake! magazine, 2008, 5/08, article: Asian Nomads Who Forged an Empire.
  • Thuswise Chingiz Khan made a nation out of dust.
    • K.S. Lal, History of the Khaljis (1950) p 147
  • Although time was running out for horse-borne warriors, they remained formidable in the right circumstances. In the thirteenth century Genghis Khan welded quarrelling Mongol tribes together into a highly centralised state which proved, for a time, to be an unstoppable military force, sweeping away regimes in China and Persia. Mongol warriors were highly mobile and, when they were challenged by forces from more settled empires, withdrew into the vast spaces of Central Asia. One of the secrets of their success may have been another simple piece of technology like the stirrup. Mongol warriors wore silk undershirts, so that if they were hit by an arrow the silk wrapped around its head. It was not only easier to get the arrow out; the risk of infection, until the modern age a greater killer of soldiers than death in battle, was much less. Under Genghis’s successors his warriors stormed westwards through Central Asia and Russia to the shores of the Black Sea, carrying all before them and leaving a trail of death and ruin. No force could stand against them and by 1241 they were probing into Hungary, Poland and present-day Romania and Austria. It looked as though much of what was a weak and divided Europe would become part of their empire – and think what a different history it would have had – when the Mongols suddenly stopped and withdrew in 1242. It may be because word had come that, thousands of miles to the east, the Great Khan had died, but historians have recently speculated that poor weather had turned the ground marshy and ruined the fodder for the Mongol horses.
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