Great Undiscovered Treasures .
18 Feb 2008
The Tomb treasures of Genghis Khan and Gaiseric the Vandal have never been found
These were looters who looted other looters on a grand scale . Most of the loot was spent on their armies , but they took about 27% for themselves ( a prudent reserve)
Timujin , Chingis Khan (AKA Genghis Khan)
Son of Heaven ( by Tibetan dispensation .) He saw himself as primus-inter-pares with the Chinese Emperors , all deriving Sons of Heaven status by descent from Tibetan nobility .
Hence , the Chinese see the Mongol period as a civil war , not a foreign conquest .
It helps explain the puzzling reversal of Chingis’ decision to turn northern China into a grass plain for Mongolian riders after killing all northern Chinese .
(This was in his power and his interest at the time of the great Kuriltai near Beiing . Without being able to consolidate in the North , he was too weak to conquer the much stronger South China . So he was forced to strike East at the Kwarezm and other Middle Eastern Empires , who were individually weaker and divided . He could not afford to leave strong forces in his rear , so he simply killed everybody . The Mongol forces at this stage numbered about 20 tumen (200 000 horsemen) , far smaller than any of his opponents . Speed and ruthlessness were the key to his success .)
Even today , China regards Mongolia as part of China . The legitimacy dates back from this act of forebearance , creating a de-facto and de-jure tie between Mongolia , China and Tibet .
The title Chingis (Genghis in our terms) has no certain derivation . Timujin created it when he made himself Kha-Khan . It is delicious to speculate that it derives from Caesar . Chingis’ grandmother was a slave from the Byzantium areas (hence his red hair . Viking blood was in the area , and the slave’s red hair must have made her an exotic item to the Mongols . His grey eyes were and are common in the Altai region) .
He must have been brought up on stories of the splendours of the Roman Caesars (by this time pronounced “Seza” in Constantinople . (Soft “C” , elision or “r”)The morphing of the sounds follow standard rules . Gutterilization of the “z” followed. And voila! Chingis Khan = Caesar Khan .
If you asked Chinghis what his greatest treasure was , he would have answered that it was his Law (The Yasul) . It was a recipe of how to turn scattered bands of nomads into an unbeatable force . A Meme if you like . Lots of other people agreed . (Portions of it was used by Timurlane and Babur . ) Only fragments are known to us .
Don’t you find it strange that only a few lines have survived of the most successful meme in history ?
The answer is that the Chinese hunted down and destroyed all copies .
The great fleets of Admiral Hu
(circa 1421) . It was always strange that , after 40 years of ferocious war against the Mongolian dynasty , the Chinese spent enormous effort and treasure to send out fleets armed to the teeth .
And they were armed to the teeth , with more than a 100 000 vengeful , hardbitten veterans of 40 years of war . It is no wonder that the locals gave no trouble . The only recorded trouble was in Ceylon . It is not clear whether it was a Mongol base , or just the usual warring locals .But it did not last long .
The destruction of actual Mongol bases were written up as “suppression of bandits in aid of the local rulers” (The exact terms) . The subsequent prompt withdrawal of Hu’s forces earned the Chinese a reputation that lasts till this day (especially compared to the Japanese variety of “co-prosperity” .) Chinese traders and settlers did move into the areas visited by Hu , but they were welcomed and seen as non-threatening . A text-book example of non-aggressive colonization that benefited everybody .
Hu’s fleets then returned and were dismantled . Mission accomplished .
Their entire purpose was to root out and destroy any Mongol outposts , and especially any copies of the Yasul . Remember , the Mongols were all over the Malaysian and Indonesian Archipelagoes . This fact is not always appreciated . Some of the first instances of gunpowder usage was in these areas . Without supply bases these Mongol Expeditionary forces were handled by locals . But the Hu fleets destroyed the bases .
Special strike forces (call them Ninjas of Light) searched out copies of the Yasul and destroyed them . These were “fire-and–forget” forces . Descendants of these organizations are still found in all these areas .
The Japanese case is interesting , as the Mongols ( Kubilai Khan) used variants of Ninjas to infiltrate Japan via the criminal classes , and later “white” variants were sent in to ferret them out . A war that is probably still going on.)
The Chinese fear was that the Mongols would trade in their ponies for pirate ships , and that some enterprising chief would use the Yasul to weld them into a Sea Power .
Ho! Ho! Ho!
They were right to fear it , because this is exactly what happened . Only the pirate Sea Power came from Western Europe .
And they had their own equivalent of the Yasul .
Roman Law plus Roman Catholicism .
A Mongol and a Conquistador would have understood each other perfectly .
An interesting Alternate History .
Say Hu’s fleet was destroyed by a cyclone . The Mongols regroup under a Timurlane or Babur (as what happened in Middle Asia) and a Mongol Sea Power arises in the Malaysia , Indonesia , Australian region . It is doubtful whether they could have reconquered China , but the Western exploration efforts would have been blocked and channeled to North-America . The Sea-Mongols would have colonized the Americas’ from the West and the Europeans from the East .
The power-blocs would have been Europe-EasternAmericas , SeaMongol –MiddleEast-India-WesternAmericas , China-Japan . The usual free-for-all no-mans land down the middle of the America’s .
So where’s the treasure?
The Mongol tradition was that the corpse was buried without any regalia in the person’s favourite spot on the steppe , and a herd of horses chased over it to hide the spot forever . This was reputedly done with Chingis to the northeast of Karakorum .
While Timujin couldn’t care a Mongolian marmoset’s poxy tail about gold , he knew his grandchildren did . And Mongolians loved the hunt above all else . His succession was firmly fixed . But the Mongolian court was a snake pit . The Yasul forbid the spilling of royal blood , so poisoning was the national sport . The Chinese courtiers joined into the merry sport . Everybody watched everybody else . An ideal sport for emperors . For the last 20 years of his life he gleefully sequestered about 18% of the best riches in Asia , leaking careful hints .A really , really , large treasure .
False little treasure spots were planted in all the likely places .
Something only he could have gotten away with as absolute ruler with a wicked sense of humour .
Do not forget that he was the best strategic and tactical mind the human race has produced (from a purely performance level) .
Is there a central treasure ?
Yes . He would have thought it beneath him to hold a hunt with no prey .
Has it been found ?
No . The ripple effects all indicate that everybody was looking .
The frantic rush to Karakorum after the death of a kha-khan (like the one that saved Western Europe) was a typical treasure-hunt . Each regional khan did not need the central authority . What they did need was the money . They suffered from Imperial Overstretch . Without money or plunder , their armies were disintegrating . The Western Castles and Knights defense meant that their net gain was negative . They were winning the battles , but losing the wars .
So where did he hide it ?
The highest probability ?
With his brother , of course . Who had already hidden his own treasure successfully , passively and actively , for more than a 1 000 years . And it is still hidden today .
Where else to hide a treasure than where another treasure is successfully hidden and guarded ?
The Tomb of the first Chinese Emperor , the First Son of Heaven .
The peasants in the area , who must have known , protected the secret then and now . Of course , Chingis funded them . The pockets of funding alone must be worth trillions . But they could only keep it if they kept it secret . I can hear Chingis laughing in his cough-cough way , while twirling his beard . They had to acknowledge him a Son of Heaven to keep their Son of Heaven inviolate (and the money , of course.)
It worked . Even the Communists did not violate the tomb .
Even knowing where it is , will make no difference . Anybody trying to do some grave-robbing will have to take on about one billion Chinese and the Chinese Red Army . Never mind the local Ninjas.
Now that is what I call hiding a tomb . Note that his grave is exactly where it is supposed to be : near Karakorum , near the mountains and the springs , where the new grass peeps out first after the winter snows . Where nobody knows .
His Money ?
Everybody knows where his tomb is . You can see photos of it in books . But nobody dares touch it .
And even if they dig it up . It still will be national treasure in a museum where nobody dare touch it .
Now you see why he conquered half the world with a raggedy bunch of tribesmen .
Why allow the Yasul to be vulnerable ?
Chingis could have replicated the Yasul beyond all possibility of suppression , yet he did not . He thought that he might have been a bit too successful . His descendants were not creating wealth . A strategic reserve in the future might be useful . Hence his little treasure hunt . The Mongols never found it . One wonders if it would have made any difference . Doubtful .It is an incredible amount of money (trillions in todays terms) .Focussed on one thing it can achieve miracles (and has in terms of hiding) , but spread all over ? Hardly .
That is why he sided with the First Son of Heaven . When he decided not to exterminate the North-Chinese , he sealed the fate of the Mongols . And he knew it too . Any amount of plunder cannot compete with annual generation of wealth .
Gaiseric the Vandal
He plundered the Italian Peninsula and sacked Rome . He looted at least 400 years of accumulated loot . Hence the term vandal . They were so surfeit with loot that they destroyed anything they could not carry with them . And this was after four passes . They had this tiny little problem of fitting everything onto ships , since they were based on Carthage . So they could only carry gold and silver .
Gaiseric hated Romans (an unfortunate experience with a Roman on the East Coast of Iberia in his youth rendered him lame .) He kept at least 38% of the really good loot for himself .
When he shuffled off the mortal coil , a river was supposedly diverted , he was buried with his treasure in the middle , and then the river was diverted back over the spot and all the workers killed .
The translation is that a few terrified slaves dammed a little stream , they buried him and a few bits of treasure . By this time the guards were drunk and the slaves had run away . The guards kicked the little dam to pieces . The same night all and sundry descended on the site and plundered it . The next day the bards sang a big spiel about it . All standard , as Gaiseric knew very well .
To move serious treasure quickly requires serious and noticeable manpower and animal power . Hide the heavy items slowly over time in the catacombs of old Carthage . Shift light dummies out .
From an eyewitness account:
“Gaiseric was a mean , avaricious little SOB who was always whining about his foot . He delighted in being carried around the forum (during the sack of Rome) , carrying a knobby stick , delighting in knocking off the noses off senators’ statues . Why I don’t know , since he had a huge snozzle himself .Lucky for him there were no girls about , otherwise his carriers would have dumped him in a heartbeat .Not even slaves were left . Everybody else with any sense had left long ago . But there was so much stuff . Everybody was draped in silk . The big gold and silver pieces were taken by Gaiseric and his chums , but we peeled away yards and yards of gold foil from the statues and buildings . Later on we sold them for some grain to some Irish traders . “
In any case the upshot is that a large portion of the Roman plunder is hidden under old Carthage , a fitting rest . But a really , really large treasure ?
Look at the ripple effects . If this treasure had been found or fed into the North-African economic system , ripple effects would have been seen . Either then or later during the Byzantium reconquest (which was fuelled by the expectation of getting hold of this treasure) .
There is a suspicious high-density cluster of monasteries on the Carthage peninsula .
Well , either the monks stole it all , or it is still lying waiting in the catacombs of old Carthage .