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More Genghis Khan / Mongol History Articles

Progress Of The Quarrel

Rupture With Vang Khan

Battles And Sieges

Grand Celebrations

The Monguls

The Sultan Mohammed

The Fall Of Bokhara


The First Battle

Establishment Of The Empire

Pastoral Life In Asia

Victorious Campaigns

Conquests In China

The Death Of Yemuka

The Story Of Hujaku

The Death Of Vang Khan

Temujin In Exile

Dominions Of Genghis Khan

The War With The Sultan

Adventures Of Prince Kushluk

Temujin In Exile


Temujin's popularity.--Rivals and enemies
appear.--Plots.--Yemuka--Wisulujine.--Yemuka's disappointment.--His
rage.--Conspiracy formed.--Progress of the league.--Oath of the
conspirators.--The oath.--Karakorom.--Plan formed by Temujin.--The
campaign.--Unexpected arrival of Vang Khan.--His story.--Temujin's
promises.--Result of the battle.--Temujin victorious.--State of things
at Karakorom.--Erkekara.--Preparations for the final conflict.--Erkekara
vanquished.--Vang Khan restored.--Temujin's popularity.

Vang Khan gave Temujin a very honorable position in his court. It was
natural that he should do so, for Temujin was a prince in the prime of
his youth, and of very attractive person and manners; and, though he
was for the present an exile, as it were, from his native land, he was
not by any means in a destitute or hopeless condition. His family and
friends were still in the ascendency at home, and he himself, in
coming to the kingdom of Vang Khan, had brought with him quite an
important body of troops. Being, at the same time, personally
possessed of great courage and of much military skill, he was prepared
to render his protector good service in return for his protection. In
a word, the arrival of Temujin at the court of Vang Khan was an event
calculated to make quite a sensation.

At first every body was very much pleased with him, and he was very
popular; but before long the other young princes of the court, and
the chieftains of the neighboring tribes, began to be jealous of him.
Vang Khan gave him precedence over them all, partly on account of his
personal attachment to him, and partly on account of the rank which he
held in his own country, which, being that of a sovereign prince,
naturally entitled him to the very highest position among the
subordinate chieftains in the retinue of Vang Khan. But these
subordinate chieftains were not satisfied. They murmured, at first
secretly, and afterward more openly, and soon began to form
combinations and plots against the new favorite, as they called him.

An incident soon occurred which greatly increased this animosity, and
gave to Temujin's enemies, all at once, a very powerful leader and
head. This leader was a very influential chieftain named Yemuka. This
Yemuka, it seems, was in love with the daughter of Vang Khan, the
Princess Wisulujine. He asked her in marriage of her father. To
precisely what state of forwardness the negotiations had advanced does
not appear, but, at any rate, when Temujin arrived, Wisulujine soon
began to turn her thoughts toward him. He was undoubtedly younger,
handsomer, and more accomplished than her old lover, and before long
she gave her father to understand that she would much rather have him
for her husband than Yemuka. It is true, Temujin had one or two wives
already; but this made no difference, for it was the custom then, as,
indeed, it is still, for the Asiatic princes and chieftains to take as
many wives as their wealth and position would enable them to maintain.
Yemuka was accordingly refused, and Wisulujine was given in marriage
to Temujin.

Yemuka was, of course, dreadfully enraged. He vowed that he would be
revenged. He immediately began to intrigue with all the discontented
persons and parties in the kingdom, not only with those who were
envious and jealous of Temujin, but also with all those who, for any
reason, were disposed to put themselves in opposition to Vang Khan's
government. Thus a formidable conspiracy was formed for the purpose of
compassing Temujin's ruin.

The conspirators first tried the effect of private remonstrances with
Vang Khan, in which they made all sorts of evil representations
against Temujin, but to no effect. Temujin rallied about him so many
old friends, and made so many new friends by his courage and energy,
that his party at court proved stronger than that of his enemies, and,
for a time, they seemed likely to fail entirely of their design.

At length the conspirators opened communication with the foreign
enemies of Vang Khan, and formed a league with them to make war
against and destroy both Vang Khan and Temujin together. The accounts
of the progress of this league, and of the different nations and
tribes which took part in it, is imperfect and confused; but at
length, after various preliminary contests and manoeuvres,
arrangements were made for assembling a large army with a view of
invading Vang Khan's dominions and deciding the question by a battle.
The different chieftains and khans whose troops were united to form
this army bound themselves together by a solemn oath, according to the
customs of those times, not to rest until both Vang Khan and Temujin
should be destroyed.

The manner in which they took the oath was this: They brought out into
an open space on the plain where they had assembled to take the oath,
a horse, a wild ox, and a dog. At a given signal they fell upon these
animals with their swords, and cut them all to pieces in the most
furious manner. When they had finished, they stood together and called
out aloud in the following words:

"Hear! O God! O heaven! O earth! the oath that we swear against Vang
Khan and Temujin. If any one of us spares them when we have them in
our power, or if we fail to keep the promise that we have made to
destroy them, may we meet with the same fate that has befallen these
beasts that we have now cut to pieces."

They uttered this imprecation in a very solemn manner, standing among
the mangled and bloody remains of the beasts which lay strewed all
about the ground.

These preparations had been made thus far very secretly; but tidings
of what was going on came, before a great while, to Karakorom, Vang
Khan's capital. Temujin was greatly excited when he heard the news. He
immediately proposed that he should take his own troops, and join with
them as many of Vang Khan's soldiers as could be conveniently spared,
and go forth to meet the enemy. To this Vang Khan consented. Temujin
took one half of Vang Khan's troops to join his own, leaving the other
half to protect the capital, and so set forth on his expedition. He
went off in the direction toward the frontier where he had understood
the principal part of the hostile forces were assembling. After a long
march, probably one of many days, he arrived there before the enemy
was quite prepared for him. Then followed a series of manoeuvres
and counter-manoeuvres, in which Temujin was all the time
endeavoring to bring the rebels to battle, while they were doing all
in their power to avoid it. Their object in this delay was to gain
time for re-enforcements to come in, consisting of bodies of troops
belonging to certain members of the league who had not yet arrived.

At length, when these manoeuvres were brought to an end, and the
battle was about to be fought, Temujin and his whole army were one day
greatly surprised to see his father-in-law, Vang Khan himself, coming
into the camp at the head of a small and forlorn-looking band of
followers, who had all the appearance of fugitives escaped from a
battle. They looked anxious, way-worn, and exhausted, and the horses
that they rode seemed wholly spent with fatigue and privation. On
explanation, Temujin learned that, as soon as it was known that he had
left the capital, and taken with him a large part of the army, a
certain tribe of Vang Khan's enemies, living in another direction, had
determined to seize the opportunity to invade his dominions, and had
accordingly come suddenly in, with an immense horde, to attack the
capital. Vang Khan had done all that he could to defend the city, but
he had been overpowered. The greater part of his soldiers had been
killed or wounded. The city had been taken and pillaged. His son, with
those of the troops that had been able to save themselves, had escaped
to the mountains. As to Vang Khan himself, he had thought it best to
make his way, as soon as possible, to the camp of Temujin, where he
had now arrived, after enduring great hardships and sufferings on the

Temujin was at first much amazed at hearing this story. He, however,
bade his father-in-law not to be cast down or discouraged, and
promised him full revenge, and a complete triumph over all his enemies
at the coming battle. So he proceeded at once to complete his
arrangements for the coming fight. He resigned to Vang Khan the
command of the main body of the army, while he placed himself at the
head of one of the wings, assigning the other to the chieftain next in
rank in his army. In this order he went into battle.

The battle was a very obstinate and bloody one, but, in the end,
Temujin's party was victorious. The troops opposed to him were
defeated and driven off the field. The victory appeared to be due
altogether to Temujin himself; for, after the struggle had continued a
long time, and the result still appeared doubtful, the troops of
Temujin's wing finally made a desperate charge, and forced their way
with such fury into the midst of the forces of the enemy that nothing
could withstand them. This encouraged and animated the other troops to
such a degree that very soon the enemy were entirely routed and driven
from off the field.

The effect of this victory was to raise the reputation of Temujin as a
military commander higher than ever, and greatly to increase the
confidence which Vang Khan was inclined to repose in him. The victory,
too, seemed at first to have well-nigh broken up the party of the
rebels. Still, the way was not yet open for Vang Khan to return and
take possession of his throne and of his capital, for he learned that
one of his brothers had assumed the government, and was reigning in
Karakorom in his place. It would seem that this brother, whose name
was Erkekara, had been one of the leaders of the party opposed to
Temujin. It was natural that he should be so; for, being the brother
of the king, he would, of course, occupy a very high position in the
court, and would be one of the first to experience the ill effects
produced by the coming in of any new favorite. He had accordingly
joined in the plots that were formed against Temujin and Vang Khan.
Indeed, he was considered, in some respects, as the head of their
party, and when Vang Khan was driven away from his capital, this
brother assumed the throne in his stead. The question was, how could
he now be dispossessed and Vang Khan restored.

Temujin began immediately to form his plans for the accomplishment of
this purpose. He concentrated his forces after the battle, and soon
afterward opened negotiations with other tribes, who had before been
uncertain which side to espouse, but were now assisted a great deal in
coming to a decision by the victory which Temujin had obtained. In the
mean time the rebels were not idle. They banded themselves together
anew, and made great exertions to procure re-enforcements. Erkekara
fortified himself as strongly as possible in Karakorom, and collected
ample supplies of ammunition and military stores. It was not until the
following year that the parties had completed their preparations and
were prepared for the final struggle. Then, however, another great
battle was fought, and again Temujin was victorious. Erkekara was
killed or driven away in his turn. Karakorom was retaken, and Vang
Khan entered it in triumph at the head of his troops, and was once
more established on his throne.

Of course, the rank and influence of Temujin at his court was now
higher than ever before. He was now about twenty-two or twenty-three
years of age. He had already three wives, though it is not certain
that all of them were with him at Vang Khan's court. He was extremely
popular in the army, as young commanders of great courage and spirit
almost always are. Vang Khan placed great reliance upon him, and
lavished upon him all possible honors.

He does not seem, however, yet to have begun to form any plans for
returning to his native land.

Next: Rupture With Vang Khan

Previous: Vang Khan

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