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The Mongol Emperors

 

 

 

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LINK TO MORE BOOKS ABOUT GHENGIS KHAN AND THE MONGOL EMPERORS

 

 

Ghengis Khan

1160 - 1227 (67)

Ogotai Khan

1186 - 1241 (55)

Kublai Khan

1216 - 1294 (78)

Hulagu Khan

c1217 - 1265 (48)

Prester John

A Fiction

Tamerlane

1336 - 1404 (68)

Babur

1483 - 1530 (47)

 

 

 

Elsewhere in the world

 

Crusades 1100s and 1200s

Saladin 1137 - 1193

Innocent III 1161 - 1198 - 1216

Saint Francis 1182 - 1226

Frederick II 1194 - 1250

Marco Polo 1254 - 1324

The Black Death 1348

Lorenzo de'Medici 1449 - 1492

Columbus discovers the Americas 1492

Granada Falls to the Catholic Monarchs of Spain - 1492

Suleiman the Magnificent 1494 - 1520 - 1566

 

 

 

 

Ghengis Khan

1160 - 1227 (67)

Conqueror of the World

 

 

It is ironic that in the end this greatest of all conquerors and inventor of cavalry / mounted bowmen war should die at the age of 67 as a result of injuries received from a horse fall.

 

Nobody knows where Ghengis Khan was buried.  The burial party were all executed to ensure that nothing leaked out.  Nonetheless, geneticists claim that there is a bit of Ghengis in a large proportion of  the world's population!

 

This famous image was painted some 30 years after Ghengis died, so whilst it is idealized, it probably bears some resemblance to the real man. 

 

If you were lucky enough to be in Munich (October 2005) there was a great exhibition of Ghengis stuff.  The portraits on this page are taken from the catalogue (below left).  They can normally be seen in the National Palace Museum in Taipei.

 

 

 

SOME MAPS FROM THE EXHIBITION

 

   

 

 

 

 

Source for map and family tree - "The Mongol Warlords"        Buy from Amazon USA      Buy from Amazon UK

 

 

Ogotai Khan

1186 - 1229 - 1241 (55)

 

Third and favourite son of Ghengis Khan, and his successor as Great Khan of the Mongol Empire

 

 

Just as effective as his dad, though not nearly as well known.  Kept up the all-round conquering and authorized the subjugation of Europe all the way to the "Great Sea" (Atlantic).

 

The Mongol armies were advancing on Vienna, having swept all before them, when the news of Ogotai's death in April 1241 brought the advance to the Atlantic Ocean, and in fact the Mongol Empire, to a shuddering halt.

 

Commanders hastened back to head office to do some succession planning, but future years were to bring fragmentation and intrigue, and the unified world empire was over. 

  

 

Kublai Khan (and Chabi - Mrs Kublai)

Grandson of Ghengis,   Emperor of China and Founder of the YŁan Dynasty (1259 - 1368)

1216 - 1259 - 1294 (78)

Grandson of Ghengis, Kublai completed the Mongol conquest of China, and on the death of brother and joint ruler Mongke, set himself up in Peking as the first Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, as well as remaining Great Khan and expanding and consolidating the borders of the Mongol Empire to east, south and west.  The Yuan Dynasty went on to rule China for a hundred years (1259 - 1368), developing a sophisticated economy which dwarfed that of Europe in both size and technology (and including paper money and silk). Kublai befriended Marco Polo (according to the latter, but not evidenced by Kublai's court records) and his Dad, supposedly giving them a one foot by three inch inscribed gold tablet as a "VIP Passport" to facilitate their travels.

 

Hulagu Khan

brother of Kublai and Mongke, Grandson of Ghengis

C1217 - 1265 (48)

Ilkhan Hulagu, was the first Khan of the Ilkhanate of Persia and brother of Kublai and Mongke.   He was dispatched by his brother Mongke in 1255 to accomplish the destruction of the remaining Muslim states in south western Asia (no thoughts now of overrunning Europe - a lot can happen in 14 years!). 

 

Setting off with one of the largest Mongol armies assembled, Hulagu destroyed the Lurs of southern Iran, and so frightened the Assassins that they surrendered their impregnable fortress of Alamut to him in the far fetched (and unfulfilled) hope of obtaining mercy. 

 

On the left is a page from the Mughal Emperor Akbar's copy of the Chinghiz-nama (The History of Genghis), a portion of the Jami al-Tawarikh (History of the World) by the Islamic statesman and historian Rashid al-Din (1247-1318).

 

The illustration shows Hulagu standing on a rampart above the gates of Alamut after its surrender on 15 December 1256.

 

By February 1258 Hulagu was invading the city of Baghdad, city of Sultan Harun al-Rashid (736 - 809 (73), seat of the Abbasid Caliphate and glittering centre of trade and learning since its foundation by Caliph al-Mansur 500 years earlier.  Hulagu destroyed the city with a grizzly ferocity which resulted in between 250,000 and 800,000 deaths, including that of the Caliph himself who was reportedly sewn up in a rug and trampled to death by horses.  The Golden Age of Baghdad was over for good (and the seat of the now impotent Caliphate ended up being moved to Egypt, but not by Hulagu). 

 

Hulagu moved on to eliminate the Ayyubids in Syria, and was just licking his lips at the prospect of doing the same to the Egyptian Mamelukes, when news came of the death of brother Mongke and he had to go back to Mongolia to participate in succession politics, a "discussion" won hands down by Kublai.  Hulagu would have been better off sticking with the conquering whilst he had momentum.

 

Without their leader, the remaining Mongols advanced no further, to the disappointment of the Crusader Kingdoms, who had invented a character called Prester John, who was said to be a Christian King in ultimate control of the Mongols, who were thus seen to be potentially natural allies of Pope and Crusaders.

 

In the end the Mongols were decisively beaten by the Mamelukes at Ain Jalut in Galilee in 1260, and the river Tigris became the Mongol border.  Hulagu died aged 48 in 1265, and was buried in the Kaboudi Island in Lake Urmia in present day Iran.

 

Thereafter a period of relative stability (known as the Pax Mongolia) ensued in Asia Minor and Asia and its Khanates, and Popes, Kings and Entrepreneurs in the Euro-boomtimes  of the 12 hundreds started funding emissaries to the new lands to find out what was happening, make converts and set up hopefully lucrative trade arrangements. 

 

Link to Marco Polo and the age of Travel and Discovery

 

 

map source not known

 

Tamerlane

1336 - 1404 (68)

Tamerlane ("Timur the Lame") rose from an obscure Uzbekistan  family to overthrow a Khan, rewrite his pedigree as pure Mongol (and even claim a fictional relationship link to Ghengis), and devote his long life to redefining the meaning of ruthlessness in territorial conquest, in the process building up vast quantities of loot in his capital Samarkand. 

 

In the end he controlled tracts of Asia comparable to those ruled by Ghengis 150 years earlier.  But he was no Ghengis, displayed no lasting empire building skills, and it all fell apart pretty quickly after he died.

 

In June 1941 Tamerlane's body was exhumed from his monolithic black jade tomb in Gur Amir (below) by a team of Soviet archaeologists.  Mikhail Gerasimov, a pioneer in the reconstruction of portrait heads from skulls, produced this model of what our man would have looked like.

 

 

 

Gur Emir, Tamerlane's mausoleum in his capital, Samarkand.

 

The photo above is taken from this coffee table book  by Pierre Chuvin and Gerard Degeorge

 

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Babur 1483 - 1530 (47)

 

Babur, the first of the Great Mughal Emperors of India, was Tamerlane's great great great grandson

 

Link to the Great Mughal Emperors of India

 

 

MORE BOOKS ABOUT THE MONGOLS

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If you were lucky enough to be in Munich in October 2005, there was a great exhibition of Ghengis stuff illustrated and explained (in German) in this impressive catalogue. 

 

Link to some of the exhibition maps.

 

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