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 Temujin and Tamerlane

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MessageSujet: Temujin and Tamerlane   Temujin and Tamerlane EmptyVen 9 Sep - 8:43

Citation :
Genghis Khan's Blue Eyes
by
Karl Earlson


The Mongol leader Temujin (AD 1167-1227), better known by his title Genghis Khan (Universal Ruler), was a man of strongly Nordish racial ancestry. According to the Persian historian Ab ul Ghasi, the tribal clan to which Temujin belonged, were known as the Bourchikoun (Grey-Eyed Men). [Günther (1934) 185; Lamb (1928) 22.] The ancestral mother and founder of this clan was known as Alan goa (beautiful Alan). According to the Mongol and Chinese legends on the subject, she was said to have been visited in her tent by a divine being, who possessed golden hair, a fair complexion and grey eyes. Shortly after this visitation, she gave birth to the first member of the Bourchikoun clan. [Günther (1934) 184.]

Temujin himself was noted in Chinese descriptions of him, for his tall stature and heavy beard. [Günther (1934) 185.] We should also note the following depiction of Temujin's appearance, as given by Harold Lamb, in his biography of the great Khan:

"He must have been tall, with high shoulders, his skin a whitish tan. His eyes, set far apart under a sloping forehead, did not slant. And his eyes were green, or blue-grey in the iris, with black pupils. Long reddish-brown hair fell in braids to his back." [Lamb (1928) 23.]

Ab ul Ghasi also observed that the family of Yesukai, the father of Temujin, were known for the fact that their children often had fair complexions, and blue or grey eyes. [Günther (1934) 185.] Temujin's wife, Bourtai, bore a name which means "Grey-Eyed". [Lamb (1928) 23.] As both Günther (1934) and Lamb (1928) note, Temujin's relatives and descendants also possessed fair features: Temujin's son and successor Ogadei (1229-41), had gray eyes and red hair; Temujin's grandson Mangu (1251-9), had reddish eyebrows and a red-brown beard; Subatei, who conquered China, had a long, reddish beard. [Edwards (1997) 13.] Indeed, it was said that people were surprised Kubilai Khan had dark hair and eyes, because most of Genghis Khan's descendants had reddish hair and blue eyes. [Günther (1934) 185.]

Another of Genghis Khan's descendants, the great conqueror Tamerlane (1336-1405), also inherited Nordish racial characteristics. According to a contemporary, Ibn Arabshah, Tamerlane was tall and strong, with broad shoulders, a large head and high forehead, he had a heavy beard, was white-skinned and had a ruddy complexion. He also seems to have been fair-haired. [Günther (1934) 187; Lamb (1929) 153.] This description has been confirmed in recent times. In 1941, the Soviet Archaeological Commission opened the tomb of Tamerlane, which resides in the city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Within it, Tamerlane's physical remains were discovered: they proved that he had indeed been a man of strong build and imposing stature. Most interestingly of all however, the last few hairs of a reddish-brown moustache were found adhering to the skull. [Brent (1976) 237-8.]
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