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Death Of The Sultan

The First Battle

Vang Khan

Adventures Of Prince Kushluk

Progress Of The Quarrel

Temujin In Exile

Establishment Of The Empire

Victorious Campaigns

Dominions Of Genghis Khan

The War With The Sultan

Grand Celebrations

The Death Of Vang Khan

Idikut

Battles And Sieges

Pastoral Life In Asia

The Story Of Hujaku

Rupture With Vang Khan

The Sultan Mohammed

The Fall Of Bokhara

Conquests In China


Establishment Of The Empire





1203

Plans for the formation of a government.--His court at
Karakorom.--Embassadors.--Temujin forms a constitution.--Election
of khans.--Division of the country.--Organization of the
army.--Arms and ammunition.--Hunting.--Slaves.--Polygamy and
slavery.--Concubines.--Posthumous marriages.--Punishment for
theft.--Religion.--Freedom of choice.--Assembly of the khans.--Dilon
Ildak.--Their encampment.--Tents and herds of cattle.--Temujin's
address.--Temujin is elected grand khan.--He is enthroned and
honored.--The old prophet Kokza.--Probably insane.--His
predictions.--The title Genghis Khan.--Homage of the khans.--Inaugural
address.--Rejoicings.--Departure of the khans.


There was now a vast extent of country, comprising a very large
portion of the interior of the Asiatic Continent, and, indeed, an
immense number of wealthy, powerful hordes, under Temujin's dominion,
and he at once resolved to consolidate his dominion by organizing a
regular imperial government over the whole. There were a few more
battles to be fought in order to subdue certain khans who still
resisted, and some cities to be taken. But these victories were soon
obtained, and, in a very short time after the great battle with
Tayian, Temujin found himself the undisputed master of what to him was
almost the whole known world. All open opposition to his rule had
wholly disappeared, and nothing now remained for him to do but to
perfect the organization of his army, to enact his code of laws, to
determine upon his capital, and to inaugurate generally a system of
civil government such as is required for the management of the
internal affairs of a great empire.

Temujin determined upon making Karakorom his capital. He accordingly
proceeded to that city at the head of his troops, and entered it in
great state. Here he established a very brilliant court, and during
all the following winter, while he was occupied with the preliminary
arrangements for the organization and consolidation of his empire,
there came to him there a continual succession of embassadors from the
various nations and tribes of Central Asia to congratulate him on his
victories, and to offer the allegiance or the alliance of the khans
which they respectively represented. These embassadors all came
attended by troops of horsemen splendidly dressed and fully armed, and
the gayety and magnificence of the scenes which were witnessed in
Karakorom during the winter surpassed all that had ever been seen
there before.

In the mean time, while the attention of the masses of the people was
occupied and amused by these parades, Temujin was revolving in his
mind the form of constitution which he should establish for his
empire, and the system of laws by which his people should be governed.
He conferred privately with some of his ablest counselors on this
subject, and caused a system of government and a code of laws to be
drawn up by secretaries. The details of these proposed enactments
were discussed in the privy council, and, when the whole had been well
digested and matured, Temujin, early in the spring, sent out a
summons, calling upon all the great princes and khans throughout his
dominions to assemble at an appointed day, in order that he might lay
his proposed system before them.

Temujin determined to make his government a sort of elective monarchy.
The grand khan was to be chosen by the votes of all the other khans,
who were to be assembled in a general convocation for this purpose
whenever a new khan was to be installed. Any person who should cause
himself to be proclaimed grand khan, or who should in any other way
attempt to assume the supreme authority without having been duly
elected by the other khans, was to suffer death.

The country was divided into provinces, over each of which a
subordinate khan ruled as governor. These governors were, however, to
be strictly responsible to the grand khan. Whenever summoned by the
grand khan they were required to repair at once to the capital, there
to render an account of their administration, and to answer any
charges which had been made against them. Whenever any serious case
of disobedience or maladministration was proved against them they were
to suffer death.

Temujin remodeled and reorganized the army on the same or similar
principles. The men were divided into companies of about one hundred
men each, and every ten of these companies was formed into a regiment,
which, of course, contained about a thousand men. The regiments were
formed into larger bodies of about ten thousand each. Officers were
appointed, of all the various necessary grades, to command these
troops, and arrangements were made for having supplies of arms and
ammunition provided and stored in magazines under the care of the
officers, ready to be distributed to the men whenever they should
require.

Temujin also made provision for the building of cities and palaces,
the making of roads, and the construction of fortifications, by
ordaining that all the people should work one day in every week on
these public works whenever required.

Although the country over which this new government was to be
established was now at peace, Temujin was very desirous that the
people should not lose the martial spirit which had thus far
characterized them. He made laws to encourage and regulate hunting,
especially the hunting of wild beasts among the mountains; and
subsequently he organized many hunting excursions himself, in
connection with the lords of his court and the other great chieftains,
in order to awaken an interest in the dangers and excitements of the
chase among all the khans. He also often employed bodies of troops in
these expeditions, which he considered as a sort of substitute for
war.

He required that none of the natives of the country should be employed
as servants, or allowed to perform any menial duties whatever. For
these purposes the people were required to depend on captives taken in
war and enslaved. One reason why he made this rule was to stimulate
the people on the frontiers to make hostile excursions among their
neighbors, in order to supply themselves and the country generally
with slaves.

The right of property in the slaves thus taken was very strictly
guarded, and very severe laws were made to enforce it. It was
forbidden, on pain of death, to harbor a slave, or give him meat or
drink, clothing or shelter, without permission from his master. The
penalty was death, too, if a person meeting a fugitive slave
neglected to seize and secure him, and deliver him to his master.

Every man could marry as many wives as he pleased, and his female
slaves were all, by law, entirely at his disposal to be made
concubines.

There was one very curious arrangement, which grew out of the great
importance which, as we have already seen, was attached to the ties of
relationship and family connection among these pastoral nations. Two
families could bind themselves together and make themselves legally
one, in respect to their connection, by a fictitious marriage arranged
between children no longer living. In such a case the contracts were
regularly made, just as if the children were still alive, and the
ceremonies were all duly performed. After this the two families were
held to be legally allied, and they were bound to each other by all
the obligations which would have arisen in the case of a real
marriage. This custom is said to be continued among some of the Tartar
nations to the present day. The people think, it is said, that such a
wedding ceremony, duly solemnized by the parents of children who are
dead, takes effect upon the subjects of it in the world of spirits,
and that thus their union, though arranged and consecrated on earth,
is confirmed and consummated in heaven.

Besides these peculiar and special enactments, there were the ordinary
laws against robbery, theft, murder, adultery, and false witness. The
penalties for these offenses were generally severe. The punishment for
stealing cattle was death. For petty thefts the criminal was to be
beaten with a stick, the number of the blows being proportioned to the
nature and aggravation of the offense. He could, however, if he had
the means, buy himself off from this punishment by paying nine times
the value of the thing stolen.

In respect to religion, the constitution which Temujin made declared
that there was but one God, the creator of heaven and earth, and it
acknowledged him as the supreme ruler and governor of all mankind, the
being "who alone gives life and death, riches and poverty, who grants
and denies whatever he pleases, and exercises over all things an
absolute power." This one fundamental article of faith was all that
was required. For the rest, Temujin left the various nations and
tribes throughout his dominions to adopt such modes of worship and to
celebrate such religious rites as they severally preferred, and
forbade that any one should be disturbed or molested in any way on
account of his religion, whatever form it might assume.

At length the time arrived for the grand assembly of the khans to be
convened. The meeting was called, not at Karakorom, the capital, but
at a central spot in the interior of the country, called Dilon Ildak.
Such a spot was much more convenient than any town or city would have
been for the place of meeting, on account of the great troops of
horses and the herds of animals by which the khans were always
accompanied in all their expeditions, and which made it necessary
that, whenever any considerable number of them were to be convened,
the place chosen should be suitable for a grand encampment, with
extensive and fertile pasture-grounds extending all around.

As the several khans came in, each at the head of his own troop of
retainers and followers, they severally chose their ground, pitched
their tents, and turned their herds of horses, sheep, and oxen out to
pasture on the plains. Thus, in the course of a few days, the whole
country in every direction became dotted with villages of tents, among
which groups of horsemen were now and then to be seen galloping to and
fro, and small herds of cattle, each under the care of herdsmen and
slaves, moved slowly, cropping the grass as they advanced along the
hill-sides and through the valleys.

At length, when all had assembled, a spot was selected in the centre
of the encampment for the performance of the ceremonies. A raised seat
was prepared for Temujin in a situation suitable to enable him to
address the assembly from it.[C] Before and around this the various
khans and their attendants and followers gathered, and Temujin made
them an oration, in which he explained the circumstances under which
they had come together, and announced to them his plans and intentions
in respect to the future. He stated to them that, in consequence of
the victories which he had gained through their co-operation and
assistance, the foundation of a great empire had been laid, and that
he had now called them together in order that they might join with him
in organizing the requisite government for such a dominion, and in
electing a prince or sovereign to rule over it. He called upon them
first to proceed to the election of this ruler.

The khans accordingly proceeded to the election. This was, in fact,
only a form, for Temujin himself was, of course, to be chosen. The
election was, however, made, and one of the oldest and most venerable
of the khans was commissioned to announce the result. He came forward
with great solemnity, and, in the presence of the whole assembly,
declared that the choice had fallen upon Temujin. He then made an
address to Temujin himself, who was seated during this part of the
ceremony upon a carpet of black felt spread upon the ground. In the
address the khan reminded Temujin that the exalted authority with
which he was now invested came from God, and that to God he was
responsible for the right exercise of his power. If he governed his
subjects well, God, he said, would render his reign prosperous and
happy; but if, on the other hand, he abused his power, he would come
to a miserable end.

After the conclusion of the address, seven of the khans, who had been
designated for this purpose, came and lifted Temujin up and bore him
away to a throne which had been set up for him in the midst of the
assembly, where all the khans, and their various bodies of attendants,
came and offered him their homage.

Among others there came a certain old prophet, named Kokza, who was
held in great veneration by all the people on account of his supposed
inspiration and the austere life which he led. He used to go very
thinly clad, and with his feet bare summer and winter, and it was
supposed that his power of enduring the exposures to which he was thus
subject was something miraculous and divine. He had received
accordingly from the people a name which signified the image of God,
and he was every where looked upon as inspired. He said, moreover,
that a white horse came to him from time to time and carried him up to
heaven, where he conversed face to face with God, and received the
revelations which he was commissioned to make to men. All this the
people fully believed. The man may have been an impostor, or he may
have been insane. Oftentimes, in such cases, the inspiration which the
person supposes he is the subject of arises from a certain spiritual
exaltation, which, though it does not wholly unfit him for the
ordinary avocations and duties of life, still verges upon insanity,
and often finally lapses into it entirely.

This old prophet advanced toward Temujin while he was seated on his
carpet of felt, and made a solemn address to him in the hearing of all
the assembled khans. He was charged, he said, with a message from
heaven in respect to the kingdom and dominion of Temujin, which had
been, he declared, ordained of God, and had now been established in

fulfillment of the Divine will. He was commissioned, moreover, he
said, to give to Temujin the style and title of Genghis Khan,[D] and
to declare that his kingdom should not only endure while he lived, but
should descend to his posterity, from generation to generation, to the
remotest times.

The people, on hearing this address, at once adopted the name which
the prophet had given to their new ruler, and saluted Temujin with it
in long and loud acclamations. It was thus that our hero received the
name of Genghis Khan, which soon extended its fame through every part
of Asia, and has since become so greatly renowned through all the
world.

* * * * *

Temujin, or Genghis Khan, as we must now henceforth call him, having
thus been proclaimed by the acclamations of the people under the new
title with which the old prophet had invested him, sat upon his throne
while his subjects came to render him their homage. First the khans
themselves came up, and kneeled nine times before him, in token of
their absolute and complete submission to his authority. After they
had retired the people themselves came, and made their obeisance in
the same manner. As they rose from their knees after the last
prostration, they made the air resound once more with their shouts,
crying "Long live great Genghis Khan!" in repeated and prolonged
acclamations.

After this the new emperor made what might be called his inaugural
address. The khans and their followers gathered once more before his
throne while he delivered an oration to them, in which he thanked them
for the honor which they had done him in raising him to the supreme
power, and announced to them the principles by which he should be
guided in the government of his empire. He promised to be just in his
dealings with his subjects, and also to be merciful. He would defend
them, he said, against all their enemies. He would do every thing in
his power to promote their comfort and happiness. He would lead them
to honor and glory, and would make their names known throughout the
earth. He would deal impartially, too, with all the different tribes
and hordes, and would treat the Monguls and the Tartars, the two great
classes of his subjects, with equal favor.

When the speech was concluded Genghis Khan distributed presents to
all the subordinate khans, both great and small. He also made
magnificent entertainments, which were continued for several days.
After thus spending some time in feasting and rejoicings, the khans
one after another took their leave of the emperor, the great
encampment was broken up, and the different tribes set out on their
return to their several homes.





Next: Dominions Of Genghis Khan

Previous: The Death Of Yemuka



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