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Pastoral Life In Asia

The Monguls

The Death Of Yemuka

The Death Of Vang Khan

Establishment Of The Empire

Yezonkai Khan

Dominions Of Genghis Khan

Battles And Sieges

Conquests In China

Rupture With Vang Khan

Victorious Campaigns

Temujin In Exile

Progress Of The Quarrel

The War With The Sultan

The Fall Of Bokhara

The Story Of Hujaku

Death Of The Sultan

The Sultan Mohammed

The First Battle


Pastoral Life In Asia

Four different modes of life enumerated.--Northern and southern
climes.--Animal food in arctic regions.--Tropical regions.--Appetite
changes with climate.--First steps toward civilization.--Interior of
Asia.--Pastoral habits of the people.--Picture of pastoral life.--Large
families accumulated.--Rise of patriarchal governments.--Origin of the
towns.--Great chieftains.--Genghis Khan.

There are four several methods by which the various communities into
which the human race is divided obtain their subsistence from the
productions of the earth, each of which leads to its own peculiar
system of social organization, distinct in its leading characteristics
from those of all the rest. Each tends to its own peculiar form of
government, gives rise to its own manners and customs, and forms, in
a word, a distinctive and characteristic type of life.

These methods are the following:

1. By hunting wild animals in a state of nature.

2. By rearing tame animals in pasturages.

3. By gathering fruits and vegetables which grow
spontaneously in a state of nature.

4. By rearing fruits and grains and other vegetables by
artificial tillage in cultivated ground.

By the two former methods man subsists on animal food. By the two
latter on vegetable food.

As we go north, from the temperate regions toward the poles, man is
found to subsist more and more on animal food. This seems to be the
intention of Providence. In the arctic regions scarcely any vegetables
grow that are fit for human food, but animals whose flesh is
nutritious and adapted to the use of man are abundant.

As we go south, from temperate regions toward the equator, man is
found to subsist more and more on vegetable food. This, too, seems to
be the intention of nature. Within the tropics scarcely any animals
live that are fit for human food; while fruits, roots, and other
vegetable productions which are nutritious and adapted to the use of
man are abundant.

In accordance with this difference in the productions of the different
regions of the earth, there seems to be a difference in the
constitutions of the races of men formed to inhabit them. The tribes
that inhabit Greenland and Kamtschatka can not preserve their
accustomed health and vigor on any other than animal food. If put upon
a diet of vegetables they soon begin to pine away. The reverse is true
of the vegetable-eaters of the tropics. They preserve their health
and strength well on a diet of rice, or bread-fruit, or bananas, and
would undoubtedly be made sick by being fed on the flesh of walruses,
seals, and white bears.

In the temperate regions the productions of the above-mentioned
extremes are mingled. Here many animals whose flesh is fit for human
food live and thrive, and here grows, too, a vast variety of
nutritious fruits, and roots, and seeds. The physical constitution of
the various races of men that inhabit these regions is modified
accordingly. In the temperate climes men can live on vegetable food,
or on animal food, or on both. The constitution differs, too, in
different individuals, and it changes at different periods of the
year. Some persons require more of animal, and others more of
vegetable food, to preserve their bodily and mental powers in the best
condition, and each one observes a change in himself in passing from
winter to summer. In the summer the desire for a diet of fruits and
vegetables seems to come northward with the sun, and in the winter the
appetite for flesh comes southward from the arctic regions with the

When we consider the different conditions in which the different
regions of the earth are placed in respect to their capacity of
production for animal and vegetable food, we shall see that this
adjustment of the constitution of man, both to the differences of
climate and to the changes of the seasons, is a very wise and
beneficent arrangement of Divine Providence. To confine man absolutely
either to animal or vegetable food would be to depopulate a large part
of the earth.

It results from these general facts in respect to the distribution of
the supplies of animal and vegetable food for man in different
latitudes that, in all northern climes in our hemisphere, men living
in a savage state must be hunters, while those that live near the
equator must depend for their subsistence on fruits and roots growing
wild. When, moreover, any tribe or race of men in either of these
localities take the first steps toward civilization, they begin, in
the one case, by taming animals, and rearing them in flocks and herds;
and, in the other case, by saving the seeds of food-producing plants,
and cultivating them by artificial tillage in inclosed and private
fields. This last is the condition of all the half-civilized tribes of
the tropical regions of the earth, whereas the former prevails in all
the northern temperate and arctic regions, as far to the northward as
domesticated animals can live.

From time immemorial, the whole interior of the continent of Asia has
been inhabited by tribes and nations that have taken this one step in
the advance toward civilization, but have gone no farther. They live,
not, like the Indians in North America, by hunting wild beasts, but by
rearing and pasturing flocks and herds of animals that they have
tamed. These animals feed, of course, on grass and herbage; and, as
grass and herbage can only grow on open ground, the forests have
gradually disappeared, and the country has for ages consisted of great
grassy plains, or of smooth hill-sides covered with verdure. Over
these plains, or along the river valleys, wander the different tribes
of which these pastoral nations are composed, living in tents, or in
frail huts almost equally movable, and driving their flocks and herds
before them from one pasture-ground to another, according as the
condition of the grass, or that of the springs and streams of water,
may require.

We obtain a pretty distinct idea of the nature of this pastoral life,
and of the manners and customs, and the domestic constitution to which
it gives rise, in the accounts given us in the Old Testament of
Abraham and Lot, and of their wanderings with their flocks and herds
over the country lying between the Euphrates and the Mediterranean
Sea. They lived in tents, in order that they might remove their
habitations the more easily from place to place in following their
flocks and herds to different pasture-grounds. Their wealth consisted
almost wholly in these flocks and herds, the land being almost every
where common. Sometimes, when two parties traveling together came to a
fertile and well-watered district, their herdsmen and followers were
disposed to contend for the privilege of feeding their flocks upon it,
and the contention would often lead to a quarrel and combat, if it had
not been settled by an amicable agreement on the part of the

The father of a family was the legislator and ruler of it, and his
sons, with their wives, and his son's sons, remained with him,
sometimes for many years, sharing his means of subsistence, submitting
to his authority, and going with him from place to place, with all his
flocks and herds. They employed, too, so many herdsmen, and other
servants and followers, as to form, in many cases, quite an extended
community, and sometimes, in case of hostilities with any other
wandering tribe, a single patriarch could send forth from his own
domestic circle a force of several hundred armed men. Such a company
as this, when moving across the country on its way from one region
of pasturage to another, appeared like an immense caravan on its
march, and when settled at an encampment the tents formed quite a
little town.

Whenever the head of one of these wandering families died, the
tendency was not for the members of the community to separate, but to
keep together, and allow the oldest son to take the father's place as
chieftain and ruler. This was necessary for defense, as, of course,
such communities as these were in perpetual danger of coming into
collision with other communities roaming about like themselves over
the same regions. It would necessarily result, too, from the
circumstances of the case, that a strong and well-managed party, with
an able and sagacious chieftain at the head of it, would attract other
and weaker parties to join it; or, on the arising of some pretext for
a quarrel, would make war upon it and conquer it. Thus, in process of
time, small nations, as it were, would be formed, which would continue
united and strong as long as the able leadership continued; and then
they would separate into their original elements, which elements would
be formed again into other combinations.

Such, substantially, was pastoral life in the beginning. In process of
time, of course, the tribes banded together became larger and larger.
Some few towns and cities were built as places for the manufacture of
implements and arms, or as resting-places for the caravans of
merchants in conveying from place to place such articles as were
bought and sold. But these places were comparatively few and
unimportant. A pastoral and roaming life continued to be the destiny
of the great mass of the people. And this state of things, which was
commenced on the banks of the Euphrates before the time of Abraham,
spread through the whole breadth of Asia, from the Mediterranean Sea
to the Pacific Ocean, and has continued with very little change from
those early periods to the present time.

Of the various chieftains that have from time to time risen to command
among these shepherd nations but little is known, for very few and
very scanty records have been kept of the history of any of them. Some
of them have been famous as conquerors, and have acquired very
extended dominions. The most celebrated of all is perhaps Genghis
Khan, the hero of this history. He came upon the stage more than three
thousand years after the time of the great prototype of his class, the
Patriarch Abraham.

Next: The Monguls

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