Historical sources on the net claim that Genghis Khan was the most powerful emperor of all time, but looking at figures, King Ashoka had an army thrice as big as him. Is Ashoka the greater emperor? Let try to understand at my point of view.
Greatness and power are not synonymous:
First of all, greatness is not directly proportional to destructive power. Ashoka the Great did a lot of things for the welfare of the masses and to promote morality among his subjects.
On the other hand, without a doubt, Genghis Khan was a Messiah for the Mongols. From a state of utter poverty and chaos, he united them and made them the masters of the world. But in a general perspective, the actions of Genghis Khan were a lot more destructive.
A general comparison :
Now, coming directly to the point of power, Ashoka was no doubt a great warrior and military strategist. He successfully crushed rebellions and won a war of great magnitude in Kalinga. But Genghis Khan is at a whole different level. He was destruction incarnate.
The psychological factor :
The two very important factors for a conqueror are ambition and vengeance.
Genghis Khan dreamed of becoming a great conqueror since childhood. He was born with a crystallized blood clot in his hand. The shamans had already given prophecies and all this had it’s effect. On the other side, Ashoka’s dream was to make Akhand Bharat i.e. united India which he achieved by conquering Kalinga. So, there was no reason for him to try any further military ventures. He instead focused on the welfare of his subjects.
Second important factor is vengeance. The Chins and Tartars had brought the Mongols to their complete destruction. The condition of Mongols was so bad that a son could kill his father for a lump of meat. And all this was due to the dirty games played by Chins and Tartars.
On top of that, Tartars even poisoned Genghis Khan’s father. So, their destruction was necessary for Genghis Khan. Just by destroying Chin empire, Genghis Khan had a big part of Asia in his hands.
On the other hand, Ashoka was an emperor of the Maurya dynasty and the vengeance of Mauryas against the Nandas was achieved long ago.
So, Ashoka didn’t had anyone to show his wrath against. Thus, he didn’t want anymore unnecessary bloodshed.
Greatness of Ashoka lies in the fact that he was able to influence a far greater region without spending much on army. In terms of military conquests, it’s whole another picture.
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