Fermented Mare's Milk and the Manly Arts

Illustration for TIME by Daryll Collins

In the 13th century, Mongolia was the center of the uncivilized world. United by Genghis Khan in 1206 with the aim of conquering all known lands, the delinquent barbarians of the Eastern Steppes pulverized living standards from the Pacific to the Mediterranean in two generations. Today, something of the legacy of Genghis endures. Frigid winters and parched summers have reduced the once proud nomads to medieval poverty, fighting for the survival of their traditional way of life. And although full-time herding may be dying out, riding the stocky ponies that were the panzers of Genghis' galloping blitzkrieg is still the best...

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