Genghis Kahn: Barbarian Or Renaissance Man?

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1. The controversy between scholars regarding Weatherford’s claims about Genghis Khan is that Weatherford romanticizes Genghis Khan. They believe that he was much more barbaric than Weatherford claims he is. They attribute his barbarianisms to the fact that he wiped out entire cities, while Weatherford looks towards Genghis Khan’s expansion of the pan-Asian trade and the flourishing of ideas across Eurasia. Weatherford’s portrayal of Genghis Khan is “a progressive leader whose primary mission was to bring peace, not war, throughout his empire”. Though Weatherford’s perspective on Genghis Khan may be a little over the top with romanticism, he is not too far off what I have come to believe about him. The many accomplishments of Genghis Khan heavily outnumber all else that he did. Like Emperor Qin Shi Huang of the Qin Dynasty, Genghis Khan probably had more of an intention of uniting rather than destroying. If he had an intention of just causing havoc and war, then he would not have ended up encouraging trade and enlightening himself and those around him of foreign cultures. He just so happened to do what he had to do to bring a period of unity and peace. Some people just didn’t understand that. 2. Genghis Khan’s savage traits did not cause disruption to pan-Asian trade routes because in the twelve million contiguous square miles that he conquered, he encouraged and allowed trade to flourish. He opened up China which had previously isolated itself and renewed the slowly dying Silk Road. He promoted the spreading of ideas such as the printing press, the abacus, and the compass. This spread of ideas would greatly affect regions on both ends, leading to things such as the age of exploration and the bubonic plague. He brought over a new variety of lemon groves to China so that his grandson, Kublai, could have lemon sherbet. Genghis Khan not only
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