This module examines ideals of masculinity and femininity among the Mongols, the Central Asian nomadic pastoralists who in the thirteenth century under their leader Chinggis Khan created the largest land-based empire the world has ever seen.
Sorghaghtani Beki, the wife and then widow of Chinggis Khan’s youngest son Tolui, appears in many contemporary written sources about the Mongol Empire, and is always viewed positively.
Chinggis Khan had four sons by his principal wife Börte, though there is some question as to his eldest son Jochi’s true father.
The Secret History of the Mongols, the story of the rise and rule of Chinggis Khan and his son and successor Ogodei produced by an anonymous court scribe in about 1240, is full of close mother-son relationships.
These two illustrations come from El Primer Nueva Coránica y Buen Gobierno [The First New Chronicle and Good Government] (1615), a history of the Inca Empire and the Spanish conquest of the Andes written and illustrated by Filipe Guaman Poma y Ayala, an indigenous Peruvian Christian noble.