Medieval was captured in a raid on his tribe

Encounters Project Part 1

    In this essay, I will evaluate the context
to which the expertise and achievements of Genghis Khan with that of Marco Polo
are similar and different during the medieval period. Genghis Khan, also so
known as The Great Khan, was the founder of the Mongol Empire, which became the
largest contiguous empire after his passing. In his lifetime Khan has accomplished
many great feats, but nothing compares to the number of children he was the
father of, so many to the point that 16 million people are descendants of Khan
today. One of those descendants was Kublai Khan his grandson whom Marco Polo, a
Venetian merchant explorer, and writer, met on his travels. Although Marco Polo
was not the first European traveler to reach China, he was the first traveler
to leave a detailed memoir of
his experience. His detailed
account was so “amazing” that it later inspired Christopher Columbus.

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Khan had many skills and expertise, but one of the most recognized of
those are his amazing and mischievous ability to control a great mass of people
in self profiting ways. When he was 20 years old he was captured in a raid on
his tribe by the very same people that poisoned and killed his father, during
his imprisonment he used his learned military tactics and skills to negotiate
with his captors. Soon after his release he gathered his Mongol military and
decimated the army that raided his tribe and had his father poisoned, and then
he gave the order to kill every man that was associated in the raid, he even
boiled people alive in the fit of rage and avarice. Marco Polo as a trader and merchant
also had these aspects in which he coerced fellow traders and townspeople to
trade and buy from him. When he met a grandson of Genghis Khan he used that
opportunity to his advantage. Using his tradesman skills, he coerced and
persuaded Kublai Khan into allowing Marco to travel with
him to modern day china on a great expedition. This resulted in Marco’s
greatest achievement.  

     Another skill that both Genghis Khan and
Marco Polo had was that they were both very literate and smart. Marco Polo
gained his recognition after he published a detailed account of his travel to
China from Italy with Kublai Khan. When he published his novel between 1298 and
1299 it was called “The Description of the World”, but was later renamed into
the more commonly known name “The Travels of Marco Polo”. Genghis Khan too wrote
his own literature, but in many ways what Khan did literature wise outstands
the achievement of Marco Polo. Genghis Khan wrote and implemented his own
Mongolian script that his empire used to communicate and use in their day to
day life. Khan also wrote many other forms of literature in his lifetime.

     Another expertise of both Genghis Khan and
Marco Polo was their knack of leadership. Genghis Khan ruled and entire Mongolian
empire as their leader. At the youthful age of 9 he became the head of his
family when his father was poisoned and killed. He was such a great leader that
he eventually created the largest empire in the world. In doing so he unified
North and South China into one nation. When he conquered areas, he did so in
the vision of one nation that was not divided, so he sought to destroy individual
tribes and unite them under his rule. Though not as great as Genghis Khan;
Marco Polo was a great leader. He led a Venetian galley into combat against the enemy Italian city-state of Genoa.
Even though it wasn’t successful and led to his eventual arrest and punishment
for treason in a Genoese prison it proves that Marco Polo understood the traits
of leadership. In addition, his arrest and imprisonment gave him and an unknown
opportune meet a fellow prisoner named Rustichello. Rustichello helped Marco in
the making of his book about his travels.

     Both men had
very many great distinct achievements, but ironically the achievements of
Genghis Khan eventually led to the achievements of Marco Polo. Most of Marco Polo’s
success hinged on the fact that one of Khan’s grandsons, Kublai Khan, allowed
Marco Polo to travel to China with him. Khan’s legacy is what allowed his
grandson to be recognized by Marco Polo on his expedition to China.
Coincidentally, one of Marco Polo’s greatest achievements were that he traveled
to China on a great expedition with Kublai Khan. Genghis Khan could leave
behind an empire after his death because he ruled through fear. He made
examples of people to show that he was merciless and would not hesitate to keep
his role in the empire. He even killed a half-brother of his to ensure he would
inherit the thrown after his father’s death. Marco Polo on the other hand was a
simpler man. His father was a merchant and trader, so he also became a merchant
and trader. Marco started his expedition and wasn’t even seeking recognition
for what he was going to do, he only wanted to finish what his family started,
and that was to accomplish the journey from Italy to China. His family was a
rather poor family, so they decided to travel the Silk Road to China. His
father had travel it before, but never reached China. In total, he spent twenty-four
years abroad and seventeen of those years in China.

     One aspect of Genghis Khan’s achievements was
that he valued bravery and loyalty more than he did money, and in doing so he built
a strong loyal empire. He wasn’t a hated ruler rather he was admired very much,
so much so that he became recognized as the Great Khan. Although he committed
mass genocide on a huge scale, Genghis Khan was very tolerant of the nation
that he ruled over. After destroying a civilization or tribe, Khan actually
assimilated it into his great empire. Doing so he also allowed any religion to
be practiced and didn’t force any single religion onto the peoples. He was also
big on women’s rights and equality. Most importantly he respected women. He was
said to be very tolerant to women and sometimes even chivalrous towards them.
As a very recognized emperor he was a decent guy.

    The most recognized achievement of Marco Polo
was that he was the first person to have a detailed chronicle of his travels to
China on the Silk Road. His main goal at the time was to complete the journey
to China unlike his father and uncle who only made it part way, and with the
help of Kublai Khan he did so. He eventually made it to China and recorded a detailed
piece of literature that described his experience. Once in China he lived in
the Mongol Empire for seventeen years. He was only seventeen years old when he
started the great expedition from Venice, Italy to China and back. The expedition
that he took lasted for 24 years before he returned to Venice, Italy.

     As a closing statement, the context to
which the expertise and achievements of Genghis Khan with that of Marco Polo
are similar and different during the medieval period was that they both were
very accomplished men and were set in stone in history. Marco Polo and Genghis
Khan were both existent in the medieval times and both were very well know
during and after their life. Genghis Khan left behind a legacy as one of the
greatest rulers of the largest empires in the world, and Marco Polo left an
endowment of being the first traveler that publicized a detailed chronicle of
his travels on the Silk Road to China.