Military Tactics: The Genghis Khan Quiz

By: Staff
Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Genghis Khan united the Mongols to create the largest empire on Earth. Today he is as celebrated for his tactical prowess as he is reviled for his murderous ways. Take our quiz to test your knowledge of all things Genghis Khan!

What year was Genghis Khan born?

The boy who would one day be Genghis Khan was born in 1162 C.E. in an area that is now the border between Mongolia and Siberia.

True or false: Genghis Khan was born with the name Temujin.

Born Temujin, which means "blacksmith," he acquired the name Genghis Khan — "universal ruler" — when he took over the Mongol Empire.

True or false: Khan primarily appointed family members and friends to positions of power.

Khan enjoyed great success partially because he was able to overlook relationships and make appointments based on competency, not blood ties or friendship.

What technique did Khan use to take Xi Xia in northern China?

Khan and his men won Xi Xia in 1209 by feigning withdrawal, then attacking once the Chinese troops left their positions.

What was Genghis Khan's weapon of choice?

Genghis Khan and his men were masters of the bow and arrow and were surprisingly skilled at shooting while on horseback.

Which of these did Khan NOT ban?

Genghis Khan made many positive changes, including banning inherited aristocratic titles and the sale and kidnap of women (his own father kidnapped his mother), but he left many bloody enemy corpses in his wake.

True or false: Khan preferred to use infantrymen over cavalry.

Khan greatly preferred the horse-mounted soldier to the infantryman. Riding on the small, tough Mongol horses, his troops could cover distances of 100 miles (161 kilometers) per day — a much greater distance than any man could travel on foot.

True or false: The Mongols were protected by lightweight suits of armor.

While the Romans wore heavy metal gear, the Mongols use lightweight chain mail or leather plates for protection, giving them greater flexibility and comfort than the Roman troops.

What modern-day country did Khan and his troops conquer at Khwarezm?

Genghis Khan led 200,000 troops into battle at Khwarezm — modern-day Iran — which quickly fell to Mongolian rule in the 13th century.

What did Khan do with the spoils of war, like coins and material goods?

Since Genghis Khan didn't pay his troops, he kept them happy by splitting the spoils of victory with them.

True or false: The weather played a significant role in Genghis Khan's success.

A period of unprecedented rain coincided perfectly with Khan's reign. This extra moisture meant plenty of grass to feed horses, which was critical to Khan's success.

How large was the Mongol Empire at its largest point?

Genghis Khan united an area measuring 11-12 million square miles (28-31 million square kilometers) — roughly the size of Africa.

True or false: Genghis Khan once celebrated an enemy soldier who shot his horse out from under him.

Impressed by the fighting skills of an enemy soldier, Khan made him a commander in his own army. Named Jebe — meaning "arrow" — the man went on to become of Genghis Khan's best generals.

How many deaths are attributed to Khan and his men?

Around 40 million deaths are blamed on Genghis Khan, equal to about 11 percent of the world population at the time.

True or false: Genghis Khan instituted very liberal religious policies for his people.

Khan believed strongly in religious freedom and even issued tax exemptions for religious organizations and churches.

What was the Yam?

Genghis Khan created a courier service called the Yam, which allowed him to stay abreast of political and military news while also communicating with spies and scouts.

What likely killed Genghis Khan?

Khan was badly injured after falling from a horse in 1227. While he didn't die right away, he did die that same year, though no one is exactly sure how.

What is allegedly over Khan's grave?

Khan was buried in an unmarked grave, and legend has it that a river was diverted over his resting spot to make it untraceable.

True or false: One in 200 men are direct descendants of Genghis Khan.

A 2003 study found that 1 in 200 men — 0.5 percent of all men on Earth — are direct descendants of Genghis Khan, who considered women one of the spoils of war.

True or false: Genghis Khan was one of the earliest world leaders to use carrier pigeons.

Khan used relay posts all over Asia and eastern Europe to transport military messages via pigeon.

True or false: When Khan and his men conquered a city, they killed every single citizen.

Khan would save skilled laborers and craftsmen, sending them to the Mongol Empire to make weapons that he could use in battle. Everyone else was fair game.

What was the Yasa?

Under Khan, the Mongol Empire relied on a legal code called the Yasa, which included significant rights for women and strict moral codes for all citizens.

True or false: Genghis Khan often used conquered people as human shields.

After capturing a city, Khan and his men would use the citizens as human shields against their own neighbors as they pillaged and plundered.

Under Khan's rule, what age men were draft eligible?

Khan drafted men from age 15 to 70, allowing him to maintain large armies for his military battles.

What did Genghis Khan and his men use their lances for?

The Mongols carried 12-foot-long (4-meter-long) lances, which were hooked at the end to easily pull an enemy off of his horse.

True or false: The Mongols had great aim with a bow and arrow because they held their horses still while they shot.

Not only did the Mongols have deadly accuracy while moving at high speed, but they learned to release the arrows when all four hooves of the horse were off the ground to maximize the control over each shot.

How many horses did the Mongol forces have on hand for each warrior?

Genghis Khan required six horses for each soldier, with some warriors having as many as 18 war horses.

True or false: The Mongols preferred hand-to-hand contact over any other form of battle.

The Mongols avoided hand-to-hand contact at all costs to minimize casualties.

True or false: No one alive today knows what Genghis Khan looked like.

The legendary warrior would not allow a single person to draw, paint or sculpt him during his lifetime. All modern images were created after his death, many by people who had never even met him.

How long did the Mongol Empire united under Genghis Khan survive?

The massive Mongol Empire remained united through the 14th century. The last living direct descendent of Khan was deposed in 1920.

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