I am back after an unintended hiatus, during which time I lost internet access in my flat rather earlier than planned and then moved out of said flat. The good news is that I should have a bit more time in the coming months to dedicate to the podcast (and to get used to the acoustics in my new home).
This update is more of a ‘roadmap’ of where I see the podcast going for the next few months.
Starting with this month (November) we are back to the usual episode release schedule. 4.1 is the start of a new mini-series called ‘Consolidation’, which will cover the years 1206 to 1211 when the Mongols declared war on the Jin. Barring the conquest of the Naiman, Ratchnevsky describes this period as the only time in Chinggis Khan’s career when he is not on campaign; instead he delegates responsibility to the men he rewarded at the 1206 quriltai.
And military operations were taking place; campaigns were led against the forest people, the Naiman and we see the first ‘overseas’ campaign undertaken against the Tangut empire of Xi Xia.
But the history of the Mongol Empire is more than just a list of military campaigns, and episodes 4.1 and 4.2 will look at the quriltai held in 1206 after the defeat of Tayang and death of Jamugha. 4.1 provides the theory and background to the event; looking at the meaning of Chinggis, how the title possibly ties into Temujin’s motivations and how holding a quriltai was essential for legitimising Temujin’s position as it. 4.2 will provide the narrative and will come to you in December.
One difference between ‘Consolidation’ and ‘The Rise of Temujin’ is that I hope to produce a few more supplementary episodes. I currently have three in mind. The first is an episode on the Imperial family as it was in 1206. This will approach the subject from a more family history-based view, and could be quite a long episode as the family is already quite intricate at this stage. It will also broach the controversial subject of Chinggis Khan’s year of birth in a bit more depth than I had previously looked at.
The second episode will be on Xi Xia, an episode I’ve mentioned on a couple of occasions. I feel that it is important to give some context to the nations encountered by the Mongol Empire and for the larger, more developed empires five minutes within an episode is just not enough. The history of Xi Xia comes primarily from Chinese records as the Mongols did a pretty thorough job of obliterating the country in 1227. As a result, it is poorly understood and the history is very patchy, but that only serves to make Xi Xia a more intriguing subject, especially as they were another nation which included both nomadic and sedentary populations.
The third episode will cover the history of the Jin from the 1160s through to 1211, essentially filling in the gaps we’ve missed in the main narrative.
These three episodes (plus others – maybe some more biographies) will be coming in the course of the next few months. Expect the family episode to be with you either in December or early January as it ties in nicely with the quriltai; the other two will be released at the relevant point in the narrative. All episodes will come with the usual transcripts and source lists.
One final thing I need to do is to expand the family tree. Rashid al-Din’s Jami al-Tawarikh does a very good job (deliberately!?) showing how interlinked the different steppe tribes actually were, so I feel it would be useful to show this in a more visual form.
On an unrelated note, one other thing I want to do in the next few months is to improve the production values of the show. I have been looking for a piece of music for the intro/outro of each episode. I have a vague idea of what I am after (horses running/legitimate throat singing of some kind/instrumental) and what I don’t want (techno/entirely synthesised ‘voices’) but have been relatively uninspired by what I have found so far (too cliché etc). There will no doubt be some compromise piece found at some point.
Until next time, take care and thanks for listening.
New Sources for 4.1
Hodous, F. 2012/2013. The Quriltai as a Legal Institution in the Mongol Empire. Central Asiatic Journal 56: 87-102
Munkh-Erdene, L. 2018. The Rise of the Chinggisid Dynasty: Pre-modern Eurasian political order and culture at a glance. International Journal of Asian Studies, 15: pp39-84