59 or 60. He was born in 1167 and died in 1227.
“The Finest Steel” is believed to have been born in the Year of the Swine, 1162. He died in the Year of the Mouse, 1227.
Coincidentally, an individual whom some identify as the latest reincarnation of Chinggis Khan (this is the preferred spelling in Mongolia) recently made headlines in Ulaan Baatar. But not everyone believes she’s really him.
Kinda figured YOU’d answer that one, Temujin.
Since we’ve seen two different birth dates, this may explain that difference.
From The Provincial Museum of Alberta, a world tour of an exhibition that featured archaeological treasures from
one of the greatest empires in history, boasting rare artifacts that date from 2000 B.C. to 1300 A.D., GENGHIS KHAN:
TREASURES OF INNER MONGOLIA ran from March 22 to July 6 1997:
“Genghis Khan was born in the early 1160’s (it has been argued between 1162 and 1167, but recently agreement has been
made for 1167), the son of the Kiyat-Borjigid chieftain Yisugei. He was named Temujen.”
The date of his death is universally accepted as 1227.
“The intellectuals’ chief cause of anguish are one another’s works.”
This is what I get for relying on just one source, and an outdated source at that. I got the birth year from “Genghis Khan: The Emperor of All Men” by Harold Lamb, published in 1927.
Since then, I’ve checked with my contacts from Mongolia. Traditionally, Genghis Khan is believed to have been born in the Year of the Horse. Every Mongolian knows this, because an account of his birth year is recorded in the ancient King’s Book kept in a government library in Ulan Bator.
The Year of the Horse would have been 1162 (assuming regular 12-year cycles). Oddly, Harold Lamb identifies 1162 as the Year of the Swine, which doesn’t work out mathematically. Working backwards, the Year of the Swine would have been (you guessed it) 1167. That would agree with the citation above. But how do you reconcile 1167 with the tradition that Genghis Khan was born in the Year of the Horse?
I don’t know the answer.
With regard to the spelling of “Temujin,” the Mongolian language is written in Mongolian script or (thanks to the Soviets) in the Cyrillic alphabet. When Mongolian words are transcribed into Roman characters, several correct spellings are possible. That’s why you find multiple spellings for “Genghis Khan,” “Ulan Bator” and “Temujin.”
One possibility (caveat emptor: I post here without data) that might explain the inconsistency - it’s certainly in line with ‘human nature’ - is that Temujin (the future Khan) WAS born in the year of the Pig, but that for political reasons it was more convenient to ‘regularize’ that to the year of the Horse.
So how about it, Temujin (the current non-Khan)? Would Mongolian culture possibly insist that its greatest leader ‘musta been’ a Horse? Is the year of the Horse considered to be “better?” (I believe that, traditionally, the Chinese felt the year of the Dragon was very good, first among equals(?), but they probably didn’t try to change history with regard to any person. On the other hand, once history got old enough, who knows?)
Interesting question. One Mongolian person explained to me that the Year of the Pig isn’t so bad. People born in the Pig year are considered lucky, she said, because they tend to be able to live happily on the odds and ends that are thrown their way, like a domestic pig does.
I think the Horse Year theory is based on the ancient King’s Book citation.