Podcast: A Memory of Blood; Livestreaming and the Fall of the Mongolian Empire by Donald Carrick

On the 29th October 2015, Donald Carrick gave the third of three talks on the life and legacies of Ghengis Khan.  Donald tells us: Stories are everything. Many stories are influenced by history, but could it be that history itself is shaped by stories, even fictional ones? Can we honestly say only fact matters in any historical narrative? Is the past set in stone or is it a fluid entity like the future?

Ghengis Khan

As we enter a new so called “information age” what problems do our own minds present that must be addressed when dealing with any issue of substance? We are not dealing with a bug, we are dealing with a feature. It may very well not be possible to end this aspect of ourselves but if it is addressed and understood can it be a tool for modern and future humanity?

A few years ago I decided to learn about history otherwise unknown to me. The book I picked up on was Ghengis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford. It’s an excellent if not flawless book and I highly recommend it. I was surprised by how much my expectations of what its story would be were subverted, and this led me to two things.
Firstly; I was amazed that such a complex and interesting life was not better known and I was very interested by the many part of the story that seemed universal, telling of something inherent to the human condition. Secondly; it began a long process of thinking on the way stories and narrative play a role in our conception of history. I loved the book because it was such a wonderful story, or rather series of stories, with the central figure changing from hero to anti-hero to villain to hero and back again, not just because of my interest in the facts of history.


The talk covers the following points:

  • The death of a monkey
  • The war comes to Europe
  • The deaths of emissaries
  • Slaughter
  • Dancing on princes
  • A wolf pack rides west
  • Demons, dragons and the end of days
  • The desperation of kings
  • The emissary
  • The reign of women and the price of defeat
  • The Pope and the Khan
  • A wrestling match of words
  • The war renewed
  • The fall of an empire
  • The failing feature of narrative
  • A memory of blood