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Women and the Making of the Mongol Empire


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Part of Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization

  • Date Published: July 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108441001

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About the Authors
  • How did women contribute to the rise of the Mongol Empire while Mongol men were conquering Eurasia? This book positions women in their rightful place in the otherwise well-known story of Chinggis Khan (commonly known as Genghis Khan) and his conquests and empire. Examining the best known women of Mongol society, such as Chinggis Khan's mother, Hö'elün, and senior wife, Börte, as well as those who were less famous but equally influential, including his daughters and his conquered wives, we see the systematic and essential participation of women in empire, politics and war. Anne F. Broadbridge also proposes a new vision of Chinggis Khan's well-known atomized army by situating his daughters and their husbands at the heart of his army reforms, looks at women's key roles in Mongol politics and succession, and charts the ways the descendants of Chinggis Khan's daughters dominated the Khanates that emerged after the breakup of the Empire in the 1260s.

    • Recasts politics in the united Empire and the successor Khanates in light of women's individual and systematic contributions
    • Integrates women fully into Mongol history
    • Investigates the influence of different social categories of women
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    • Short-listed, 2019 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Women and the Making of the Mongol Empire shall become one of the main reference books not only for the history of Mongol women, but of Mongol empire as a whole. Its analysis of the role of women, especially during the formation and the decades of the united Mongol Empire, is of special relevance for anyone interested in this period. Anne F. Broadbridge has managed to succeed in the always difficult task of combining a solid research with an accessible language that will certainly make this read appealing to scholars and students alike.' Bruno De Nicola, Goldsmiths College, University of London

    'A brilliant addition and timely corrective to the study of the Mongol Empire. Professor Broadbridge has produced an exciting and unique contribution to the scholarship of the Mongol Empire which will forever change our understanding of the Mongol elite.' Timothy May, University of North Georgia

    'This book is far more than a gendered history of the Mongol Empire. By exploring the highly complex place of women and marriage in imperial politics, it helps to make sense of the alignments within the imperial dynasty and the actions and policies of Mongol khans and princes.' Peter Jackson, Keele University

    'In this intelligent and original book, Anne F. Broadbridge has carried the study of women in the Mongol Empire to a new level, and has made an important contribution to our understanding of the Mongol Empire as a whole. The analysis goes well beyond the lives and activities of the most prominent Mongol women to show how dynastic marriages shaped central military institutions and brought manpower into the Mongol enterprise. In examining the family strategies of both privileged and secondary wives, Broadbridge sheds much new light on the difficult and disputed question of tribes within Mongol society, and will be a valuable resource for all future work. Finally, in her fascinating chapters on conquered women, she investigates the emotional and social lives of a group of women who have until now been largely overlooked, but nonetheless played an important part in Mongol history. This work thus offers important new insights on the formation of the Mongol Empire and its successor states.' Beatrice Manz, Tufts University, Massachusetts

    'Broadbridge's richly detailed book makes a valuable contribution to this debate by clarifying the roles played by Chinggisid women, both before the Mongol conquest of China and after the establishment of the Yuan dynasty.' Bret Hinsch, NAN NÜ

    '… Broadbridge's book is impeccably researched. It is a welcome addition to the field of Mongol Empire history. For many decades to come, students will be turning to Women and the Making of the Mongol Empire for a comprehensive and thoughtful account of why and how women mattered to the Mongols and their empire.' Jinping Wang, American Historical Review

    'Broadbridge's book will be a bonanza of information for future anthropologists, women's studies scholars, and sociologists. Scholars in Mongolia, China, the Middle East, and Russia will find her work engaging and invaluable. Hers is and will remain the best pioneering work on the subject. Broadbridge, more than any other scholar, has laid the groundwork for what will follow.' David Curtis Wright, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108441001
    • length: 362 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 153 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • contains: 47 b/w illus. 3 maps 5 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    Notes on transliteration
    1. Women in steppe society
    2. Hö'elün and Börte
    3. Conquered women
    4. Women and the guard, the army and succession
    5. Sons-in-law, daughters and conquests
    6. Töregene
    7. Oghul-Qaimish and Sorqoqtani
    8. Consort houses in the successor Khanates
    9. Consort houses in the Ilkhanate

  • Author

    Anne F. Broadbridge, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
    Anne F. Broadbridge is Associate Professor of the Department of History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is a member of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) and Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS). At the University of Massachusetts, she won the Outstanding Teacher Award, has been nominated three times for Distinguished Teaching Award, and has taught approximately 2,500 so far. Her previous book is entitled Kingship and Ideology in the Islamic and Mongol Worlds (Cambridge, 2008).


    • Short-listed, 2019 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize

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