The Mongol Scourge and the Fat-Bottomed Sheep

Self is on p. 68 of Marco Polo:  From Venice to Xanadu.  What a fascinating read this is turning out to be.

Here is a passage about the marauding Mongol armies of Genghis Khan:

No other invaders did as much damage to Afghanistan’s delicate infrastructure as the Mongols.  Their numbers were immense; an army of sixty or seventy thousand Mongol warriors on horseback would suddenly appear and overwhelm the region of their choice.  The warriors could fire as many as six arrows a minute on horseback, facing forward or backward, at a full gallop . . .  resistance would be met with annihilation.

(Gulp)

Self read somewhere that the Mongols slept on horseback, and used their enemies’ skulls as drinking goblets. (On the other hand, it’s all very well for a Mongol warrior to sleep while riding on his horse, but wouldn’t the horses themselves need sleep, eventually?  They couldn’t, presumably, keep galloping for days and days without surcease?  There you go again, self, with the digressions!)

An army of sixty to seventy thousand soldiers!  That’s almost as much as the entire population of Redwood City, California.  Self can imagine why the Mongol armies, appearing so suddenly, could imbue the plains dwellers with such fear.  They must have looked like a cloud of locusts —  and been  every bit as unstoppable.

As a welcome distraction from the ever-present threat of annihilation by rampaging Mongol hordes, Marco Polo turned his attention to the “fat-bottomed sheep climbing the mountains.”  These may have “inspired women in the area to exaggerate their physiques.  They do this to show that they have large hips to become beautiful, because in that region their men delight in fat women, and she who appears more stout below the waist seems to them more beautiful”  and “not only that, but more glorious among other women.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Ohm Sweet Ohm

Adventures in life from the Sunshine State to the Golden Gate

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Asian Cultural Experience

Preserving the history and legacy of Salinas Chinatown

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

litadoolan

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

the contemporary small press

A site for small presses, writers, poets & readers

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

Random Storyteller

A crazy quilt of poems, stories, and humor