First Year Course on Genghis Khan (Chinggis Khaan)
Here is blood in Latin:
The word blood is used rather infrequently throughout the
Secret History of the Mongols yet its significance to the history
of the Mongol people and the life of Chinggis Qahan cannot be overstated.
Blood is first mentioned during the story of the birth of Chinggis Qahan,
where a mysterious blood clot appears in his clenched fist. The ambiguity
that environs this event not only makes it difficult to conjure images
of this scene, but it also empasizes the connotation between Chinggis
Qahan and blood, further establishing its importance. Blood is also mentioned
throughout the text in scenes of injury, the most crucial being the injury
to Chinggis Qahan's neck after being struck by an arrow. In these instances
blood merely is used to establish the seriousness of a battle situation.
The word blood within Mongolian culture in the 13th century
is extremely important to aspects of spirituality. Blood is represented
in the Secret History as the carrier of a Mongol's soul, which
should never be unjusty spilt or disrespected. Its importance is exemplified
through a scene in which Buri the Wrestler cut Belgutei's (one of Chinggis
Qahan's sons) shoulder with a sword during a wrestling match. This act
was so disrespectful in the eyes of Chinggis Qahan that he ordered for
Buri to be killed. There is also a inherent fear of blood's presence within
Mongolian culture, so much so that a bloody body will at times be left
naturally where it falls rather than be handled.
Blood carries a historical significance through the manner
in which it shaped Chinggis Qahan's battle techniques. While the Mongolian
war machine did kill thousands of their enemies during their conquests,
contrary to popular belief, they were not unmerciful barbarians. Bloods
spiritual connotations within Mongolian culture helped develop strategies
such as only leaving the general population of a city unscathed while
only killing its leaders. Mongolian leaders also made a concerted effort
to never torture or publicly maim their enemies because of their beliefs.