Battles, battles, battles. The Mongols really do go into Russia, and then Europe–Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany, Poland.
But then they stop—-they need to fight where there is vast pastureland. Each soldier has FIVE horses–and those horses need to be fed. So the raids into Europe kind of peter out when the Mongols hit the dense forests and riverlands of Europe.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, while the men are out battling, the
stay-at-home moms are managing the empire! Chapter 7 is named “Warring Queens”. And you can figure out for yourself that with all the
main families having four sons each, that there would be four (or more!)
wives each. And they really did rise to power. For over ten years, women
were the ruling influence of the Mongol Empire.
Most of them strove to set up shop for their own favorite sons–
One of the important “moms” was Ogodei’s “main” wife, Toregene. Since he was seldom sober, she had gradually been given power by him to take care of his “khan”dom. She had HER favorite son, though he was not Ogodei’s favorite. His name was Guyuk. He rose to power thanks to his mother’s help. He was one miserable sonofabitch, pardon my language, but he was. Toregene had a good friend and advisor named Fatima. You don’t want to know what happened to Fatima on Guyuk’s orders.
And then there was Sokhokhtoni—excuse, me Sorkhokhtoni. (You can bet I won’t be writing too much about her!) You remember the youngest son of GK? Tolui? Remember, he died and left four sons? Well “S” was his wife. She was one of the main women who became very powerful.
But to her credit, her four sons all seemed sober and reasonable for the most part, and they all became khans of one region or another.
In fact, it’s the Tolui lineage that wins the day and has all the power for a long, long time. ( It helps when you obliterate all the other relatives in the other lineages . . . )
Only a few pages to go to Part III. Good for you!! Hang in there!