Monday, 30 April 2018

Women and the Making of the Mongol Empire

 by Anne F. Broadbridge

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (31 July 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1108441009

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.

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

Sunday, 29 April 2018

How imperial Women Shaped the Mongol Conquests and the Mongol Empire by Anne Broadbridge

Published on Feb 6, 2017

The epic story of Genghis Khan and the Mongol conquests of Eurasia generates widespread interest, yet still today few know the truth of the matter. Still harder to find are the stories of Genghis Khan's womenfolk, even though no one doubts that there were many, many women in his life. In this lecture, Professor Broadbridge will present three key moments from Mongol history to illustrate the way that imperial women's contributions have dramatically changed Mongol history as we know it. Anne F. Broadbridge is an Associate Professor of medieval Islamic history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is currently finishing her second book, Imperial Women in the Mongol Empire. Her first book was Kingship and Ideology in the Islamic and Mongol Worlds (Cambridge, 2008). Her research focuses on two fields: first, the Mamluk Sultanate, with a particular interest in diplomacy and ideology; and second, the Mongol Empire, especially ideology, women and politics. She teaches on the Mongols, the Crusades, the Ottomans, early Islamic History, and Islamic Thought.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

"Margiana. A Bronze Age Kingdom in Turkmenistan" Exhibition in Berlin

Figurine aus Gonur Depe
Grab 2900 der Königsnekropole, 18.–15. Jh. v. Chr.
Stein, Leihgeber: Museum der Bildenden Künste Turkmenistans, Aschgabat
© Herlinde Koelbl

Exhibition in Neues Museum, Museumsinsel Berlin
From 25 April  7 October 2018

Bodestr., 10178 Berlin
Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri 10 am–6 pm, Thu 10 am–8 pm, Sat + Sun 10 am–6 pm

With photographs by Herlinde Koelbl

A special exhibition by the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in association with the Turkmenistan Ministry of Culture and in collaboration with the Archäologisches Museum in Hamburg and the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen in Mannheim, supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media, Deutsche Bank AG and Siemens AG

Gonur Depe
Zentraler befestigter Bereich
© Herlinde Koelbl

Margiana – around 4,000 years ago, this historic landscape in eastern Turkmenistan was the cradle of a fascinating and sophisticated Bronze Age culture. Contemporary with the civilisations of Mesopotamia and Egypt, it has nevertheless remained relatively unknown in the West. Now for the first time outside Turkmenistan, a major exhibition at Berlins Neues Museum will make the archaeological remains of this mysterious culture accessible to a wide public. The distinguished German photographer, Herlinde Koelbl, was asked to photograph the archaeological sites, landscapes, people and exhibits. The result is a fascinating symbiosis of unfamiliar archaeological remains and photo art from a largely unknown country.

Gonur Depe, Königsnekropole, Rekonstruktion des Grabes 3900 © Herlinde Koelbl

Turkmenistan is the southernmost state in Central Asia. The country borders on Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and, in the west, the Caspian Sea. Its landscape and natural environment are largely shaped by the Karakum Desert and, in the south, the Kopet Dag mountain range. In the 20th century, the country was seen as the poorest of the Soviet Union’s republics. Now, thanks to the discovery of rich oil and gas reserves, Turkmenistan is undergoing a transition which is most evident in the rapid transformation of its cities and its infrastructure – a little-known country caught between tradition and modernity.
In the past, the Turkmenistan region was a centre of sophisticated cultures, lying on the routes linking China, India, Iran and the Near East, later to become known as the Silk Road. Alexander the Great reached the region in the 4th century BC on his way to India. In the 2nd century AD, the Parthians established their capital city at Alt-Nisa, close to the present capital, Ashkhabad. Further north, another important centre developed at the oasis of Merv, which today, like Nisa, is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. But Turkmenistan’s first cultural flowering occurred over 4,000 years ago, during the magnificent heyday of the Kingdom of Margiana.

Figurine eines Raubvogels aus Gonur Depe, Grab 3200 der Königsnekropole, Ende 3.–Mitte 2. Jtd. v. Chr.Fayence, Gold, Gips (modern), Leihgeber: Staatliches Museum Turkmenistans, Aschgabat © Herlinde Koelbl

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Beyond the Silk Roads

New Discourses on China's Role in East Asian Maritime History 

by Robert J Antony and Angela Schottenhammer 

Hardcover – 14 Dec 2017

  • Hardcover: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Harrassowitz (14 Dec. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3447109440

The notion of "silk roads" conjures images of ancient trade routes, both across land and sea, connecting China with the outside world. Since in recent years there has been something of a paradigm shift in the study of Chinese maritime history, we have chosen the title Beyond the Silk Roads to better convey the most recent trends that take us beyond simple bilateral discussions of trade and economics. Not only scholars within China have taken an interest in this exciting, fast-growing field, but also scholars from across the globe. These include historians as well as archaeologists, anthropologists, geographers, sociologists, and political scientists. Based on new documentary, literary, archaeological, and ethnographic research, the authors explore the multi-dimensional and diverse range of topics that today are subsumed under the heading of maritime history and culture. Utilizing interdisciplinary and multi-linguistic methodologies, the chapters offer cutting-edge discourses on China's role in East Asian maritime history and culture. Chapters include topics on marine archaeology, port cities, sailing routes, trade and cultural networks, nautical technology, folklore, diasporas, law and maritime law, coastal defence, piracy and smuggling, religion and religious cults and many more. It is hoped that this volume will stimulate further research and discussions on maritime history in general and on Asian maritime history in particular.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Cultural Relics of the Mongols in the National Palace Museum Collection

國立故宮博物院藏 蒙古文物彙

  • Softcover: 
  • Publisher: The National Palace Museum (2015)
  • Language: Chinese/ Mongolian
  • ISBN-13: 978-957-562-734-8
The catalogue features four sections. The first of "Imperial Portraits" presents the Museum's two precious albums of bust portraits of Mongol Yuan emperors and empresses in their entirety, the former having eight leaves and the latter fifteen. The second one on "Life and Culture" includes a selection of twelve artifacts, including three paintings and two jades on hunting or falcons that mainly describe how the Mongols still preserved important aspects of their nomadic lifestyle after becoming the rulers of China. Two books from the Yuan dynasty on poetry and food record the literary and culinary side of Mongol Yuan life, while a Yuan illustrated ceramic presents the period interest in drama. The Mongols and their long heritage as followers of Tibetan Buddhism led to the selection here of a Buddhist tapestry and illustrated sutra, while a Taoist text presents another facet to the diversity of religious beliefs in the Yuan dynasty. When Kublai Khan ordered Preceptor of State Phagspa to create a new form of writing for the Mongolian language in 1260, the result was "Phagspa scipt," which became the national language in 1269. For this catalogue, five Yuan dynasty seals featuring this script have been chosen, providing valuable information on the Mongolian language. The third section on "History and Geography" includes six important treatises on these two subjects from the Yuan dynasty, while the fourth section on "The Imperial Collection" features five works of "national treasure" status once in the Yuan imperial collection, as evidenced by seals impressed on them by members of the imperial family and their institutions. It indicates that these works were also highly prized by the Mongol rulers for their cultural and artistic value. With the collection of the National Palace Museum as seen here, I firmly believe that a concrete understanding of Mongol Yuan culture can be achieved.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Lost Maps of the Caliphs

Drawing the World in 11th Century Cairo

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: The Bodleian Library (30 Jun. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 022654088X

About a millennium ago, in Cairo, an unknown author completed a large and richly illustrated book. In the course of thirty-five chapters, this book guided the reader on a journey from the outermost cosmos and planets to Earth and its lands, islands, features, and inhabitants. This treatise, known as The Book of Curiosities, was unknown to modern scholars until a remarkable manuscript copy surfaced in 2000.

Lost Maps of the Caliphs provides the first general overview of The Book of Curiosities and the unique insight it offers into medieval Islamic thought. Opening with an account of the remarkable discovery of the manuscript and its purchase by the Bodleian Library, the authors use The Book of Curiosities to re-evaluate the development of astrology, geography, and cartography in the first four centuries of Islam. Their account assesses the transmission of Late Antique geography to the Islamic world, unearths the logic behind abstract maritime diagrams, and considers the palaces and walls that dominate medieval Islamic plans of towns and ports. Early astronomical maps and drawings demonstrate the medieval understanding of the structure of the cosmos and illustrate the pervasive assumption that almost any visible celestial event had an effect upon life on Earth. Lost Maps of the Caliphs also reconsiders the history of global communication networks at the turn of the previous millennium. It shows the Fatimid Empire, and its capital Cairo, as a global maritime power, with tentacles spanning from the eastern Mediterranean to the Indus Valley and the East African coast.

As Lost Maps of the Caliphs makes clear, not only is The Book of Curiosities one of the greatest achievements of medieval mapmaking, it is also a remarkable contribution to the story of Islamic civilization that opens an unexpected window to the medieval Islamic view of the world.

Yossef Rapoport is a reader in Islamic history at Queen Mary University of London. 
Emilie Savage-Smith is a fellow of the British Academy and recently retired as professor of the history of Islamic science at the Oriental Institute, University of Oxford. She continues as Fellow Archivist of St Cross College. They are coeditors of An Eleventh-Century Egyptian Guide to the Universe: The Book of Curiosities, Edited with an Annotated Translation.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Mapping the Middle East

Hardcover – 1 Apr 2018

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Conference on "Materialising empire in Ancient Rome and Han China", Peking University

2018.4.8-4.12 “帝国重现:古罗马与汉代中国文明”研讨会



  4月8日          来宾报到
  4月9-10日     研讨会
  4月11日         参观
  4月12日         离会

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Babur: Timurid Prince and Mughal Emperor, 1483–1530

Paperback – 30 Apr 2018

by Stephen F. Dale

  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (30 April 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1107107261

This book is a concise biography of Babur, who founded the Timurid-Mughal Empire of South Asia. Based primarily on his autobiography and existential verse, it chronicles the life and career of a Central Asian, Turco-Mongol Muslim who, driven from his homeland by Uzbeks in 1504, ruled Kabul for two decades before invading “Hindustan” in 1526. It offers a revealing portrait of Babur's Perso-Islamic culture, Timurid imperial ambition and turbulent emotional life. It is, above all, a humanistic portrait of an individual, who even as he triumphed in South Asia, suffered the regretful anguish of an exile who felt himself to be a stranger in a strange land.

Monday, 9 April 2018

From the Huns to the Turks. Mounted Warriors in Europe and Central Asia

International Conference

25- 26 April 2108

RGZM | Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum
im Kurfürstlichen Schloss
Ernst-Ludwig-Platz 2
55116 Mainz


Jessica Schmidt M.A.
T: +49 (0) 6131 / 9124-162

The European self-perception is mainly based on the «old world», the Greek and Roman cultures of the Mediterranean, which interacted with the ones in the North. In fact, however, Europe has always been in close contact with the Eurasian steppe region, and thus received critical stimuli, technologies and goods of all kinds. Time and again, powerful confederations of equestrian warriors also came to the West, settling here and establishing contacts with European polities. While the «empires» of the Bulgarians, Hungarians and Turks slowly became medieval and early modern states, the Sarmatians, Huns, Avars or Mongols disappeared from the map. 
The conference will focus on the horse-powered polities that came from the East to the environs of Europe between the 4th and 15th century, including the Eurasian peoples who directly or indirectly initiated migrations and military expeditions to Europe. The conference aims to identify typical constellations and processes, but also significant differences among the various tribal federations. Some presentations are dedicated to a specific people, others are devoted to overarching topics. The conference is organised by the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz in cooperation with the Institute for Medieval Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna.

Wednesday, 25th April

9.30–9.40 h

Welcome and Introduction Falko Daim
Chair: Walter Pohl

9.40–10.20 h

Jan Bemmann (Bonn) 
Climate Change, Natural Disasters and their Impact on Nomadic Polities


10.20–11.00 h

Khodadat Rezakhani (Princeton) 
On the Fringes of the Eurasian Steppe: Horses and Warriors in the World of the ‘Iranische Hunnen’

11.00–11.30 h

11.30–12.10 h

Timo Stickler (Jena) 
The Impact of the Huns on the Politics of the Late Roman Empire and vice versa


12.10–12.50 h

Richard Foltz (Montreal) 
The Caucasian Alans between Byzantine Christianity and traditional Paganism

13.00-14.30 h

Chair: Neslihan Asutay-Effenberger


14.30–15.10 h

Walter Pohl (Wien) 
The Avars in a Central Eurasian Perspective

15.10–15.50 h

Tivadar Vida (Budapest) 
The Settling of the Carpathian Basin by Mounted Warriors in the Avar Period and the Structure of their Power

16.00–16.30 h

16.30–17.10 h

Gergely Csiky (Budapest) 
The Transformation of Horse Riding in the Steppes during the 1st Millennium AD – Considerations on the Spread of Stirrups in Eurasia

17.10–17.50 h

Falko Daim (Mainz - Wien) 
When Cultures meet: Moving Things, changing Motifs


17.50–18.30 h

Panos Sophoulis (Sofia) 
The Bulgar Paradox: A Horse powered (?) Elite in the Balkans

19.00 h
Reception for Speakers and Guests

Thursday, 26th April 

Chair: Falko Daim

9.30–10.10 h

Johannes Preiser-Kapeller (Wien) 
Capitals and imperial Landscapes of Steppe Empires in medieval Eurasia


10.10–10.50 h

Nick Evans (Cambridge) 
The Womb of Iron and Silver: Slavery in the Khazar Economy

11.00–11.30 h


11.30–12.10 h

Stefan Albrecht (Mainz) 
The Hungarian Invasions as an common European Trauma

12.10–12.50 h

Adam Bollók (Budapest) 
From "Steppe State" to Christian Kingdom, from Árpád's People to national Ancestors

13.00–14.30 h

Turks in Central Asia and in Anatolia

Chair: Johannes Preiser-Kapeller

14.30–15.10 h

Neslihan Asutay-Effenberger (Berlin – Bochum) 
The „Turkish Triangle“. From the static Element of the Seljuks to the Ornament in Byzantine Art

15.10–15.50 h

Sören Stark (New York) 
Inner Asian Nomadic Elites of the 5th-6th Centuries CE. An old archaeological Puzzle in the Light of recent Discoveries

15.50–16.30 h

Rustam Shukurov (Moskau) 
Becoming a Roman: Barbarians as a Source of Manpower in Byzantium in the 11th–14th Centuries

16.30–17.00 h

17.00–17.40 h

Matteo Compareti (Beijing) 
Huns and Turks in "Sino-Sogdian" Funerary Monuments and Sogdian Paintings


17.40–18.20 h

Marie Favereau (Oxford) 
The Mediterranean and the Steppe: The Integration of the Italian Traders into the Golden Horde

Closing Remarks: Walter Pohl 

18. 30 h

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

A History of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia

Volume II: Inner Eurasia from the Mongol Empire to Today, 1260 - 2000

by David Christian

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell (2 Mar. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631210393

Beginning with the breakup of the Mongol Empire in the mid–thirteenth century, Volume II of this comprehensive work covers the remarkable history of Inner Eurasia, from 1260 up to modern times, completing the story begun in Volume I. Volume II describes how agriculture spread through Inner Eurasia, providing the foundations for new agricultural states, including the Russian Empire. It focuses on the idea of mobilization the distinctive ways in which elite groups mobilized resources from their populations, and how those methods were shaped by the region's distinctive ecology, which differed greatly from that of Outer Eurasia, the southern half of Eurasia and the part of Eurasia most studied by historians. This work also examines how fossil fuels created a bonanza of energy that helped shape the history of the Communist world during much of the twentieth century.
Filled with figures, maps, and tables to help give readers a fuller understanding of what has transpired over 750 years in this distinctive world region, A History of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia: Volume II: Inner Eurasia from the Mongol Empire to Today, 1260–2000 is a magisterial but accessible account of this area s past, that will offer readers new insights into the history of an often misunderstood part of the world.
  • Situates the histories of Russia, Central Asia, and Mongolia within the larger narrative of world history
  • Concentrates on the idea of Inner Eurasia as a coherent ecological and geographical zone
  • Focuses on the powerful ways in which the region's geography shaped its history
  • Places great emphasis on how mobilization played a major part in the development of the regions
  • Offers a distinctive interpretation of modernity that highlights the importance of fossil fuels
  • Offers new ways of understanding the Soviet era
A History of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia: Volume II is an ideal book for general audiences and for use in undergraduate and graduate courses in world history. 

Historical Dictionary of the Mongol World Empire

2nd Edition, Kindle Edition