Beijing - A Chinese historian says he has evidence that ruthless conqueror and master of the Mongol horde Genghis Khan was as masterful with the pen as he was with the sword.
Historians have long assumed the ancient Mongolian ruler was illiterate, primarily because the Mongolian written language was created in the early 13th century, when Genghis Khan would have been in his 40s and not have had time to learn, the official Xinhua news agency said.
However, Tengus Bayaryn, a professor at China's Inner Mongolia University, announced he had found an "autographic edict" written by Genghis Khan in 1219 inside a book sent to a Chinese Taoist priest, it said.
"The original message, in Mongolian, was written in a unique style and tone and could only have been been drafted by the great ruler himself," Bayaryn was quoted as saying.
A later note penned to the same Taoist scholar read: "I've ordered the ministers to compile a handbook of your lesson and will read it personally," Xinhua said.
"That 'I will read it personally' suggests clearly Genghis Khan could read the Mongolian version of the sermon," Bararyn said.
Genghis Khan, born around 1167, unified disparate Mongolian tribes to create a lethal, horseback fighting force that rode roughshod over China and Central Asia and forged a short-lived empire that reached as far west as Poland and Hungary.