"The greatest pleasure is to vanquish your enemies and chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth and see those dear to them bathed in tears, to ride their horses and clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters," he announced.Despite his appetite for women, the findings of the geneticists sound impossible.But what Lamb did not say - because there was no proof of it until this day - is that Genghis Khan could also lay claim to being the most prolific lover the world has ever seen.After analysing tissue samples in populations bordering Mongolia, scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences believe the brutal ruler has 16 million male descendants living today, meaning that he must have fathered hundreds, if not thousands, of children.Where possible, Genghis Khan used local prisoners so that defenders would hold back, unwilling to slaughter people they recognised.In the Persian city of Merv, an ancient seat of learning regarded as the pearl of Asia, Genghis Khan committed one of the greatest unmechanised mass killings in history, second only to the massacres of Armenians by Turks in 1915."In the course of his life he was given many names - Mighty Manslayer, Scourge of God, Perfect Warrior.He is better known to us as Genghis Khan." So begins Harold Lamb's 1927 book Genghis Khan: Emperor Of All Men, which - 80 years after its publication - remains the best-selling history on the Mongolian warlord.
His nomadic tribesmen travelled with battering rams, scaling ladders, four-wheeled mobile shields and bombhurlers in a juggernaut that was something new in history: a growing army which gathered prisoners as it went along and used them as soldiers or in its slave-labour force.
They suggest that Genghis fathered more offspring than anyone in history.
How could 16 million men, living in an area stretching from China to the Middle East, share the identical genetic footprint of one man?
He and his pony-mounted archers then set out on a whirlwind of foreign conquest and destruction.
His armies ravished northern China, Samarkand and the other fabled Central Asian cities of the Silk Road, and much of far-off Russia.