Thus did Normandy forsake—as Anjou and Maine had already forsaken—the heir of its ancient rulers for the King of the French.
The origin and early history of the Mongols are very obscure, but from Chinese annals we learn of the existence of the race, from the sixth to the ninth century, in regions around the north of the great desert of Gobi and Lake Baikal in Eastern Asia. The name Mongol is derived from the word mong, meaning “brave” or “bold.” Chinese accounts show that it was given to the Mongol race long before the time of Genghis Khan. It is conjectured that the Mongols were at first one tribe of a great confederacy whose name was probably extended to the whole when the power of the imperial house which governed it gained the supremacy. The Mongol khans are traced up to the old royal race of the Turks, who from a very early period were masters of the Mongolian desert and its borderland. Here from time immemorial the Mongols “had made their home, leading a miserable nomadic life in the midst of a wild and barren country, unrecognized by their neighbors, and their very name unknown centuries after their kinsmen, the Turks, had been exercising an all-powerful influence over the destinies of Western Asia.”
But at the beginning of the thirteenth century arose among them a chief, Genghis Khan, the “very mighty ruler,” whose prowess was destined to lead the Mongolian hordes to the conquest of a vast empire, extending over China and from India through Persia and into Russia.
Who and what this mighty ruler was, and by what achievements he advanced to lay the foundations of his empire, are told by Howorth, not only with an authoritative fidelity to history, but with a literary art that is no less faithful in its appreciation of oriental character and custom.
Among the men who have influenced the history of the world Genghis Khan holds a foremost place. Popularly he is mentioned with Attila and with Timur as one of the “scourges of God,” one of those terrible conquerors whose march across the page of history is figured by the simile of a swarm of locusts, or a fire in a Canadian forest; but this is doing gross injustice to Genghis Khan. Not only was he a conqueror, a general whose consummate ability