Podcast: Temujin Rising; How a Slave Would Change World History By Donald Carrick
In June 2015, Donald Carrick gave his talk ‘Temujin Rising: How a Slave Would Change World History’ at The Counting House. Almost everyone has heard of Genghis Khan, but what do you really know about him? In all likelihood if you know anything you know about his conquests and wars, about the huge numbers of people he killed, or about the huge numbers he fathered. None of this is wrong but it isn’t the whole story, life is never this simple.
He was a slave, his mother was kidnapped when he was a child. Later his first wife would be kidnapped. He would forge a deep friendship with the man he would eventually face in battle. He would through a combination of determination, genius and ruthlessness rise to power but he wasn’t a man driven by a lust to conquer alone. He was driven by a desire to change the world, not simply to rule it. He was also a monster who slaughtered his enemies without mercy.
In this talk I explore the idea that humans require narrative structure to understand history, that whether a story is true or not we seek to make it obey the same rules. Using the life of Genghis Khan I will over the course of 3 talks seek to educate my audience about this most fascinating individual and also call into question the manner in which all history is conceived.
The podcast covers the following points:
- A brief reflection on the role of story-telling in history
- The introduction of our protagonist and his mother in 1162
- A description of life in this time and for these people
- Our protagonist loses his father and watches his life fall apart in the aftermath
- A description of subsistance lifestyle and a meeting with an important friend
- The death of a brother
- Attack, capture and enslavement
- A description of life s a slave
- A dramatic escape
- Finding a life of peace
- Revenge and rescue
- Old friends become fierce enemies
- Civil war and the rise of King Temujin
- Victory and a strange bargain
- A nation is formed and an empire is founded
- The naming of the world conqueror
After the talk Donald takes questions from the audience on topics including historical sources, cultural context, the role of women and origins of this series of talks. You can hear Donald continue the story on the 18th of August at the Leith Beer Company