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Timewatch: The secret history of Genghis Khan

Updated Wednesday 18th January 2006

The Secret History of the Mongols reveals an unexpected, secret history of Genghis Khan.

Actor portraying Genghis Khan Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC

The Secret History of the Mongols, said to have been written by Genghis Khan’s adopted son, reveals a very different man to the brutal butcher of Western legend. Not just a womaniser, but a devoted husband. Not just a warrior, but a politician. Not just a conqueror, but a legislator. A man who wanted the lessons he had learnt – good and bad - to be passed on to his successors. Within its pages lies the 'inside story' of how an illiterate nomad inspired his successors to conquer the largest land empire the world had ever seen.

This programme tells the story of this equally famous, notorious and enigmatic figure from new perspectives, through the eyes of his own people, past and present, as well as those of his enemies.  We watch how the conqueror's rapid transformation into a shrewd statesman and ruler, turned a military machine into a politcal meritocracy. From his orphaned childhood in poverty to the valley of the Onon River to his secret burial we follow the life of Genghis Khan. It is an ancient story with a modern search for its traces.

 

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