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The Lost Tomb of Genghis Khan

Genghis Kahn was both feared and revered during his lifetime. The Great Kahn was adamant about what was to be done after his death: he was to be buried in an unmarked grave in the mountains of Burkhan Khaldun. However, the cause of his death was something he could not control. And neither can historians.

The death of Genghis Khan is shrouded in secrecy. The Great Khan died in the summer of 1227, during a campaign against the Tanguts, along the upper reaches of the Yellow River, in Yinchuan. But the manner of his death is unknown. It is reasonable to believe that he died of injuries sustained during the battle. It is also reasonable to believe that those wounds came not from an enemy arrow, as asserted by Marco Polo, but from falling off his horse during hunting, according to The Secret History of the Mongols—a semi-mythical genealogy of Genghis Khan written sometime after his death. It is unreasonable to believe that Genghis Khan died of bleeding when a crafty Western Xia princess, that the Mongols had carried off as war booty, inserted a contraption into her vagina so that when Genghis Khan came to sleep with her, it tore off his organs. That particular story, some Mongol scholars believe, was created by the Khan’s enemies to vilify him.

Genghis Kahn's burial spot is a mystery as well, but one that may be revealed one day. It won't be easy, because of the shockingly meticulous efforts that went into keeping the exact location a secret. Over time, the reputed area was enlarged until a search became a Sisyphean task. Culture also hinders the search, as Mongolians still try to honor the Khan's wishes. But archaeologists are trying to find a way. Read about the search for Genghis Kahn's tomb at Amusing Planet.  -via Strange Company

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