The Mongols Enjoyed Their Food Best When Feasting Atop the Bodies of Their Defeated Foes
Good food is the centerpiece of celebratory feasts. The Mongols put a twist on by enjoying their food while feasting atop the live bodies of their defeated foes. In 1223, after he crushed the Khwarezmian Empire, Genghis Khan sent a Mongol expedition to raid into the Caucuses and southern Russia. Led by generals Subutai and Jebe, the force defeated all in its path, including the Cumans, allies of the Kievan Rus. The Rus came to the Cumans’ aid, and a vast army set out after the raiders. The Mongols retreated, and their foes pursued.
For nine days, Subutai and Jebe led their pursuers on a merry chase across the Steppe. Then the Mongols suddenly turned on their by-then strung out enemies at the banks of the Kalka River. In a battle fought on May 31st, 1223, the Mongols annihilated their pursuers. The Mongols’ reputation for cruelty and bloodthirstiness was well deserved. Those who surrendered immediately often found the Mongols to be decent rulers, but woe betide those who resisted. After the Battle of the Kalka River, the Mongols decided to celebrate their victory by dining over their captives.