Cambridge University to explore legacy of Genghis Khan

An illustrated portrait of Genghis Kahn
Image caption,Genghis Khan, known as Chinggis Khaan in Mongolia, was the founder of the Mongol Empire

By Jasmine Gardiner & Sam Russell

BBC News, Cambridge and PA Media

The legacy of Genghis Khan is to be explored in a new collaborative study involving the University of Cambridge.

The collaboration with the Mongolian government aims to promote deeper study – and strengthen academic links.

The 13th Century warlord had a brutal reputation but was also revered as “a great diplomat, innovator and ruler”.

Mongolian culture minister Nomin Chinbat said she hoped the project would “help foster the next generation of Mongolian academics”.

The warrior king, known as Chinggis Khaan in Mongolia, conquered more than a million square miles of land and was the founder of the Mongol nation.

He died in 1227.

The study – involving the university’s Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit – was agreed last month when Ms Chinbat visited the UK.

statue of genghis khan in Mongolia
Image caption,A gigantic statue of Genghis Khan in Tsonjin Boldog, Mongolia – where he is revered as an innovator

Ms Chinbat, a former media executive who brought the TV show Mongolia’s Got Talent to the country, said she hoped the research partnership would “strengthen understanding of the Mongol Empire’s impact across the world”.

“How many people know he invented the postal service, the first passports?” Ms Chinbat said.

“That he showed great religious tolerance, and he himself was a peacemaker?”

“Of course Chinggis Khaan is primarily known for his warriorship, but he was also a great diplomat, innovator and ruler,” she said.

The partnership might also include the possibility of visiting research fellowships and travel grants.

Professor David Sneath, director of the university unit, said: “This is all about exploring the historical reality behind the myth.

“We are interested not just in the man himself, Chinggis Khaan – although of course he is of great historical interest – but in his legacy.

“We are trying to encourage a deeper study of Chinggis Khaan and his impact.”

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