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Siege of Urganch, Spring 1379

Siege of Urganch, Spring 1379

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Siege of Urganch, Spring 1379

The siege of Urganch of 1379 was the key victory during Tamerlane's fourth war in Khwarezm, and saw the city fall after a siege of three months.

Khwarezm (or Khorezm or any one of a dozen other spellings) was located downstream from Transoxiana, around the delta of the Amu Darya River. The area had once been the centre of a major empire, but that had been destroyed by Genghis Khan, and Khwarezm had become part of the territory of the Golden Horde. This ended at the start of the 1360s when Husayn Sufi seized power. He died soon after Tamerlane's first expedition into the area, at the start of the 1370s, and was succeeded by his brother Yusef Sufi. Yusef came to terms with Tamerlane and agreed to provide his brother's daughter as a bride for Tamerlane's son. A second expedition followed when the bride was not forthcoming, and the marriage quickly took place. A third expedition was very short-lived, but indicated that Yusef was not willing to act as Tamerlane's vassal.

During 1378, while Tamerlane was distracted by the affairs of the Golden Horde, Yusef raided Bokhara. When Tamerlane sent an ambassador to Yusef's court he was seized, as was a messenger sent to protest about the first seizure.

Early in 1379 Tamerlane gathered his army and invaded Khorezm, blockading the capital city of Urganch. At the same time parties were sent out to pillage the rest of the country.

Yusef Sufi was trapped inside Urganch, from where he sent a letter to Tamerlane offering to fight a duel to decide the outcome of the war, presumably not expecting the partly-crippled Tamerlane, who was by now in his mid-40s, to accept the challenge. Yusef had badly misjudged his opponent. Tamerlane donned his armour and rode up to the city walls (after overcoming the resistance of his own Amirs). Hardly unsurprisingly Yusef lost his nerve (if he had ever genuinely intended to come out to fight). After staying outside the walls for some time Tamerlane returned to his camp, having won a moral victory over his opponent.

Soon after this incident a large part of the garrison, under the command of a general called Hadgi, sallied out from the besieged city. They were intercepted by a force led by Tamerlane's second son Omar Shaykh, and a battle began that lasted until nightfall, only ending when the defenders returned behind the walls.

After this fight Tamerlane ordered his men to begin the siege-proper. Battering rams and catapults were set at work, and Yusef's palace was so badly damaged that he was forced to seek shelter elsewhere. This phase of the siege lasted for three months and fifteen days, and towards the end of this period Yusef sickened and died.

After the three-month bombardment Tamerlane's men had created a number of breaches in the walls of Urganch, and at last he ordered an assault on the city. Despite a vigorous defence the city soon fell to the attackers. The city was plundered, and all of the civil public buildings destroyed while the religious leaders and learned men were ordered to move to Kesh, Tamerlane's birthplace.

Urganch would soon suffer a worse fate. In the late 1380s the new ruler of Khwarezm allied himself with Tamerlane's most persistent enemy, Toktamish, and took part in raids into Transoxiana. This triggered Tamerlane's fifth expedition into Kkwarezm, at the end of which Urganch was razed to the ground and barley sown on the site.

APPENDIX AChronology of Temur&rsquos Life

9 April: The official date of Temur&rsquos birth near Shakhrisabz, south of Samarkand. Scholars outside Uzbekistan believe he was born in the late 1320s or early 1330s.

Amir Qazaghan deposes and kills Amir Qazan, the Chaghatay khan.

Temur&rsquos first-born, Jahangir, is born around this time. His second son Omar Shaykh follows soon afterwards.

Assassination of Amir Qazaghan.

Tughluk Temur, the Moghul khan, invades Mawarannahr. Temur pledges his loyalty to him, positioning himself to lead the Barlas tribe. After Tughluk Temur appoints his son Ilyas Khoja leader of Mawarannahr, Temur breaks from the Moghul leader and contracts an alliance with Amir Husayn, the aristocratic leader of Balkh. Their mission is to rid Mawarannahr of the Moghuls.

Temur seals the alliance by marrying Aljai Turkhan-agha, Husayn&rsquos sister. This is the nadir of his career. The would-be world conqueror and his wife are imprisoned for two months in a vermin-infested cowshed.

The &lsquobattle of the Mire&rsquo. Ilyas Khoja sends Temur and Husayn into flight.

Temur and Husayn seize control of Samarkand. Ilyas Khoja, by now the Moghul khan, is assassinated. Qamar ad-din is the new Moghul ruler. Birth of Miranshah around this time.

Temur&rsquos alliance with Husayn turns to rivalry.

The Mongol Yuan dynasty in China is overthrown by the new Ming dynasty.

Husayn is defeated at Balkh, captured and executed. Temur is crowned imperial ruler of Chaghatay, Lord of the Fortunate Conjunction. He marries Husayn&rsquos widow, Saray Mulk-khanum, daughter of the Chaghatay khan Qazan and a princess from the line of Genghis Khan. The marriage allows him to style himself Temur Gurgan, son-in-law of the Great Khan. He installs Suyurghatmish as Chaghatay khan. Temur launches his first campaign against the Moghuls. More follow throughout the 1370s.

Temur leads his army north against the Sufi dynasty of Khorezm, taking the city of Kat. As part of a peace treaty, the princess Khan-zada, also of the Genghisid line, is promised as a wife for Temur&rsquos son Jahangir.

Since no princess is forthcoming, Temur leads a second expedition. Khorezm comes to terms, Khan-zada arrives and the territory passes into Temur&rsquos fledgling empire.

Temur campaigns against Moghulistan.

Jahangir dies. Tokhtamish, a prince of the Genghisid line who is aiming for control of the White Horde, takes refuge with Temur, who arms and supports him. Tokhtamish&rsquos first attempt to seize the throne is unsuccessful.

Birth of Temur&rsquos son Shahrukh. Tokhtamish is defeated again.

On his third attempt, Tokhtamish, with Temur&rsquos assistance, is crowned khan of the White Horde.

Temur summons the Kart prince of Herat to pay homage to him. Expedition against rebellious Khorezm. Temur sacks the city of Urganch.

Tokhtamish becomes khan of the Golden Horde. Temur appoints Miranshah governor of Khorasan.

Expedition against Khorasan. Temur takes Herat without a fight, before wintering around Bukhara.

Campaigning in Mazandaran, Temur defeats the local ruler Amir Wali and seizes control of the Caspian territories. His army winters near Samarkand.

Herat rebels. Temur returns to Khorasan where he takes two thousand prisoners in the city of Isfizar. To punish the rebellion, he has them cemented alive into towers.

Temur takes Sistan and Kandahar. The capital of Zaranj is gutted. After the ignominious flight of its ruler, Sultan Ahmed Jalayir, the city of Sultaniya surrenders to Temur, who then returns to Samarkand. Tokhtamish sacks Tabriz.
The Three-Year Campaign against Persia begins. Tabriz is the first city to fall. First expedition against Georgia. Tiflis (Tbilisi), its capital, surrenders.

Tokhtamish pillaging in the Caucasus. Temur campaigns in Armenia before moving west into Asia Minor. Isfahan surrenders but immediately rises up in rebellion. Temur orders a massacre. Shiraz falls without a fight. News reaches Temur that Tokhtamish has attacked Mawarannahr and put Bukhara under siege. He is laying waste to Temur&rsquos homeland. Temur returns to Mawarannahr, forcing Tokhtamish north.

Urganch is razed to the ground as punishment for its support of Tokhtamish&rsquos raid.

Temur suppresses a revolt in Khorasan. Campaigns against Moghulistan. Khizr Khoja, the Moghul khan, is defeated. Qamar ad-din attempts to replace him. Temur and Khizr Khoja come to terms.

Temur winters in Tashkent, preparing for a major expedition against Tokhtamish. After a march of more than five months and almost two thousand miles, his horde encounters Tokhtamish&rsquos army and defeats it at the battle of Kunduzcha in June. The Tatars celebrate their famous victory on the banks of the Volga.

Temur winters in Tashkent before returning to Samarkand. He appoints his grandson Pir Mohammed, Jahangir&rsquos son, to the governorship of Kabul.

The Five-Year Campaign begins.

Another expedition against Georgia. Temur marches through Mazandaran, destroying the rival Muzaffarid dynasties of Persia. The Muzaffarid princes are executed. He appoints his son Omar Shaykh ruler of Fars. Temur retakes Shiraz. Baghdad submits to him after its ruler, Sultan Ahmed Jalayir, flees again. Omar Shaykh dies. The Egyptian Sultan Barquq extends his protection to Sultan Ahmed and executes Temur&rsquos ambassadors.

Sultan Barquq contracts an alliance with Tokhtamish, who is assembling his forces for another expedition against Temur. Barquq readies his army and marches north to Damascus, thence to Aleppo, after reinstating Sultan Ahmed in Baghdad. Temur campaigns in Armenia and Georgia. Tokhtamish mounts another raid on the Caucasus, encroaching on Temur&rsquos empire again.

Temur defeats Tokhtamish for the second and last time at the battle of Terek. His armies continue their push north, utterly ravaging the Golden Horde, destroying its principal cities Tana and Saray and its capital Astrakhan.

Returning south, Temur lays waste to the embattled kingdom of Georgia. He makes a triumphant homecoming to Samarkand and embarks on his most ambitious building programme. He remains in his imperial capital for two years, the longest stay of his career. The Ottoman Sultan Bayazid I routs his European adversaries at the battle of Nicopolis, the last Crusade. Shahrukh appointed governor of Khorasan.

Pir Mohammed, son of Jahangir, is sent south to the Punjabi city of Multan amid preparations for Temur&rsquos next expedition.

The Indian Campaign begins. Temur crosses the Hindu Kush mountains and takes Multan. He orders the execution of one hundred thousand prisoners prior to engaging the Indian army. Outdoing both Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan, he destroys Delhi, sacking the city so completely it takes it a century to recover.

Temur returns to Samarkand. Work begins on the Cathedral Mosque, his most monumental building project. Death of Sultan Barquq. He is replaced by ten-year-old Sultan Faraj. The Seven-Year Campaign begins. Temur&rsquos debauched son Miranshah is deposed as Temur marches west. Sultan Ahmed flees for the third time, taking refuge with Sultan Bayazid. Temur&rsquos forces winter in the Qarabagh.

After taking Sivas, Temur has three thousand prisoners buried alive. Aleppo is put to the sword. Twenty thousand Syrian skulls are piled into mounds around the city.

Camped outside Damascus, Temur grants audiences to the great Arab historian Ibn Khaldun. Damascus falls and is torched. The peerless Umayyad Mosque is ruined. After retaking Baghdad, Temur orders another massacre. This time, 120 towers of ninety thousand skulls mark his latest conquest. His army is rested during another winter in the pastures of the Qarabagh.

Temur marches west to seek out Bayazid. In July he defeats the Ottoman forces at the battle of Ankara, his greatest victory yet. This is the only time in Ottoman history that the sultan is captured in person. Temur sacks Smyrna, the last Christian outpost in Asia Minor.

Sultan Bayazid dies in captivity. Death of Mohammed Sultan, Jahangir&rsquos first-born and Temur&rsquos heir. Temur campaigns again in Georgia before wintering in the Qarabagh.

Temur returns to Samarkand and begins new building projects. In August, the Castilian envoy Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo arrives in the imperial capital for audiences with the Tatar emperor. Temur holds a qurultay in the Kani-gil meadows around Samarkand. The uproarious, wine-soaked festivities last two months. Temur rides east for his last campaign, against the Ming emperor of China.

In January Temur arrives at Otrar (Kazakhstan) and falls ill. 18 February: Death of Temur.

22 June: Soviet archaeologist Professor Mikhail Gerasimov exhumes Temur&rsquos body, confirming the injuries to both right limbs.

31 August: Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan declares independence under its leader Islam Karimov.

1 September: During independence celebrations, President Karimov unveils a statue of Temur in Tashkent. The Tatar conqueror, long vilified by the Soviets, is the new national symbol of the motherland.

As part of Uzbekistan&rsquos celebrations of the 660th anniversary of Temur&rsquos birth, a museum dedicated to the conqueror is opened in Tashkent. A new Order of Amir Temur is created to honour outstanding service to Uzbekistan.

Ögedei Khan

Ögedei was the third son of Genghis Khan and Börte Ujin. He participated in the turbulent events of his father's rise. When Ögedei was 17 years old, Genghis Khan experienced the disastrous defeat of Khalakhaljid Sands against the army of Jamukha. Ögedei was heavily wounded and lost on the battlefield. [7] His father's adopted brother and companion Borokhula rescued him. Although he was already married, in 1204 his father gave him Töregene, the wife of a defeated Merkit chief. The addition of such a wife was not uncommon in steppe culture.

After Genghis was proclaimed Emperor or Khagan in 1206, myangans (thousands) of the Jalayir, Besud, Suldus, and Khongqatan clans were given to him as his appanage. Ögedei's territory occupied the Emil and Hobok rivers. According to his father's wish, Ilugei, the commander of the Jalayir, became Ögedei's tutor.

Ögedei, along with his brothers, campaigned independently for the first time in November 1211 against the Jin dynasty . He was sent to ravage the land south through Hebei and then north through Shanxi in 1213. Ögedei's force drove the Jin garrison out of the Ordos, and he rode to the juncture of the Xi Xia, Jin, and Song domains. [8]

During the Mongol conquest of Khwarezmia, Ögedei and Chagatai massacred the residents of Otrar after a five-month siege in 1219–20 and joined Jochi who was outside the walls of Urganch. [9] Because Jochi and Chagatai were quarreling over the military strategy, Ögedei was appointed by Genghis Khan to oversee the siege of Urganch. [10] They captured the city in 1221. When the rebellion broke out in southeast Persia and Afghanistan, Ögedei also pacified Ghazni. [11]

The Empress Yisui insisted that Genghis Khan designate an heir before the invasion of the Khwarezmid Empire in 1219. After the terrible brawl between two elder sons Jochi and Chagatai, they agreed that Ögedei was to be chosen as heir. Genghis confirmed their decision.

Genghis Khan died in 1227, and Jochi had died a year or two earlier. Ögedei's younger brother Tolui held the regency until 1229. Ögedei was elected supreme khan in 1229, according to the kurultai held at Kodoe Aral on the Kherlen River after Genghis' death, although this was never really in doubt as it was Genghis' clear wish that he be succeeded by Ögedei. After ritually declining three times, Ögedei was proclaimed Khagan of the Mongols on 13 September 1229. [12] Chagatai continued to support his younger brother's claim.

Genghis Khan saw Ögedei as having a courteous and generous character. [13] His charisma is partially credited for his success in keeping the Empire on his father's path. Thanks mostly to the organization left behind by Genghis Khan, and to the personality of Ögedei, the affairs of the Mongol Empire remained for the most part stable during his reign. Ögedei was a pragmatic man, though he made some mistakes during his reign. Ögedei had no delusions that he was his father's equal as a military commander or organizer and used the abilities of those he found most capable.

Notwithstanding reports of his charisma, Ögedei was criticized by Mongol and Persian chroniclers for a crime he committed in 1237, which according to Persian chroniclers consisted of ordering the rape of four thousand Oirat girls above the age of seven. These girls were then confiscated for Ögedei's harem or given to caravan hostels throughout the Mongol Empire for use as prostitutes. [14] This move brought the Oirat and their lands under Ögedei's control following the death of Ögedei's sister Checheyigen, who previously controlled Oirat lands. [15]

Expansion in the Middle East Edit

After destroying the Khwarazmian empire, Genghis Khan was free to move against Western Xia. In 1226, however, Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu, the last of the Khwarizm monarchs, returned to Persia to revive the empire lost by his father, Muhammad ‘Ala al-Din II. The Mongol forces sent against him in 1227 were defeated at Dameghan. Another army that marched against Jalal al-Din scored a pyrrhic victory in the vicinity of Isfahan but was unable to follow up that success.

With Ögedei's consent to launch a campaign, Chormaqan left Bukhara at the head of 30,000 to 50,000 Mongol soldiers. He occupied Persia and Khorasan, two long-standing bases of Khwarazmian support. Crossing the Amu Darya River in 1230 and entering Khorasan without encountering any opposition, Chormaqan passed through quickly. He left a sizable contingent behind under the command of Dayir Noyan, who had further instructions to invade western Afghanistan. Chormaqan and the majority of his army then entered Tabaristan (modern-day Mazandaran), a region between the Caspian Sea and Alborz mountains, in the autumn of 1230, thus avoiding the mountainous area to the south, which was controlled by the Nizari Ismailis (the Assassins).

Upon reaching the city of Rey, Chormaqan made his winter camp there and dispatched his armies to pacify the rest of northern Persia. In 1231, he led his army southward and quickly captured the cities of Qum and Hamadan. From there, he sent armies into the regions of Fars and Kirman, whose rulers quickly submitted, preferring to pay tribute to Mongol overlords rather than having their states ravaged. Meanwhile, further east, Dayir steadily achieved his goals in capturing Kabul, Ghazni, and Zawulistan. With the Mongols already in control of Persia, Jalal al-Din was isolated in Transcaucasia where he was banished. Thus all of Persia was added to the Mongol Empire.

The fall of the Jin dynasty Edit

At the end of 1230, responding to the Jin's unexpected defeat of the Mongol general Doqulkhu, the Khagan went south to Shanxi province with Tolui, clearing the area of the Jin forces and taking the city of Fengxiang. After passing the summer in the north, they again campaigned against the Jin in Henan, cutting through territory of South China to assault the Jin's rear. By 1232 the Jin Emperor was besieged in his capital of Kaifeng. Ögedei soon departed, leaving the final conquest to his generals. After taking several cities, the Mongols, with the belated assistance of the Song dynasty, destroyed the Jin with the fall of Caizhou in February 1234. However, a viceroy of the Song murdered a Mongol ambassador, and the Song armies recaptured the former imperial capitals of Kaifeng, Luoyang, and Chang'an, which were now ruled by the Mongols.

In addition to the war with the Jin dynasty, Ögedei crushed the Eastern Xia founded by Puxian Wannu in 1233, pacifying southern Manchuria. Ögedei subdued the Water Tatars in the northern part of the region and suppressed their rebellion in 1237.

Conquest of Georgia and Armenia Edit

The Mongols under Chormaqan returned to the Caucasus in 1232. The walls of Ganjak were breached by catapult and battering ram in 1235. The Mongols eventually withdrew after the citizens of Irbil agreed to send a yearly tribute to the court of the khagan. Chormaqan waited until 1238, when the force of Möngke Khan was also active in the north Caucasus. [16] After subduing Armenia, Chormaqan took Tiflis. In 1238, the Mongols captured Lorhe whose ruler, Shahanshah, fled with his family before the Mongols arrived, leaving the rich city to its fate. After putting up a spirited defense at Hohanaberd, the city's ruler, Hasan Jalal, submitted to the Mongols. Another column then advanced against Gaian, ruled by Prince Avak. The Mongol commander Tokhta ruled out a direct assault and had his men construct a wall around the city, and Avak soon surrendered. By 1240, Chormaqan had completed the conquest of Transcaucasia, forcing the Georgian nobles to surrender.

Invasion of Korea Edit

In 1224, a Mongol envoy was killed in obscure circumstances and Korea stopped paying tribute. [17] Ögedei dispatched Saritai to subdue Korea and avenge the dead envoy in 1231. Thus, Mongol armies began to invade Korea in order to subdue the kingdom. The Goryeo King temporarily submitted and agreed to accept Mongol overseers. When they withdrew for the summer, however, Choe U moved the capital from Kaesong to Ganghwa Island. Saritai was hit with a stray arrow and died as he campaigned against them.

Ögedei announced plans for the conquest of the Koreans, the Southern Song, the Kipchaks and their European allies, all of whom killed Mongol envoys, at the kurultai in Mongolia in 1234. Ögedei appointed Danqu commander of the Mongol army and made Bog Wong, a defected Korean general, governor of 40 cities with their subjects. When the court of Goryeo sued for peace in 1238, Ögedei demanded that the king of Goryeo appear before him in person. The Goryeo king finally sent his relative Yeong Nong-gun Sung with ten noble boys to Mongolia as hostages, temporarily ending the war in 1241. [18]

Europe Edit

The Mongol Empire expanded westward under the command of Batu Khan to subdue the western steppes and drive into Europe. Their western conquests included Volga Bulgaria, almost all of Alania, Cumania, and Rus', along with a brief occupation of Hungary. They also invaded Poland, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, the Latin Empire, and Austria. During the siege of Kolomna, the Khagan's half brother Khulgen [19] was killed by an arrow.

Amid the conquest, Ögedei's son Güyük and Chagatai's grandson Büri ridiculed Batu, and the Mongol camp suffered dissension. The Khagan harshly criticized Güyük: "You broke the spirit of every man in your army. Do you think that the Russians surrendered because of how mean you were to your own men?". He then sent Güyük back to continue the conquest of Europe. Güyük and another of Ögedei's sons, Kadan, attacked Transylvania and Poland, respectively.

Although Ögedei Khan had granted permission to invade the remainder of Europe, all the way to the "Great Sea", the Atlantic Ocean, the Mongol advance stalled in East Europe early in 1242, the year after his death. Mongol propaganda would later attribute the drive's failure to his untimely demise necessitating Batu's withdrawal to personally participate in the election of Ögedei's successor. But Batu never in fact returned to Mongolia for such an election and a successor wouldn't be named until 1246. A likely reason the advance stalled and never regained momentum is that European fortifications posed a strategic problem that Mongol commanders were unable to surmount with the resources they had available. [20]

Conflict with Song China Edit

In a series of razzias from 1235 to 1245, the Mongols commanded by Ögedei's sons penetrated deep into the Song Dynasty and reached Chengdu, Xiangyang and Yangtze River. But they could not succeed in completing their conquest due to climate and the number of Song troops, and Ögedei's son Khochu died in the process. In 1240, Ögedei's other son Khuden dispatched a subsidiary expedition to Tibet. The situation between the two nations worsened when Song officers murdered Ögedei's envoys headed by Selmus. [21]

The Mongol expansion throughout the Asian continent under the leadership of Ögedei helped bring political stability and re-establish the Silk Road, the primary trading route between East and West.

India Edit

Ögedei appointed Dayir commander of Ghazni and Menggetu commander in Qonduz. In winter 1241 the Mongol force invaded the Indus valley and besieged Lahore, which was controlled by the Delhi Sultanate. However, Dayir died storming the town, on 30 December 1241, and the Mongols butchered the town before withdrawing from the Delhi Sultanate. [22]

Some time after 1235 another Mongol force invaded Kashmir, stationing a darughachi there for several years. Soon Kashmir became a Mongolian dependency. [23] Around the same time, a Kashmiri Buddhist master, Otochi, and his brother Namo arrived at the court of Ögedei.

Ögedei began the bureaucratization of Mongol administration. Three divisions constituted his administration:

  • the Christian eastern Turks, represented by Chinqai, the Uyghurscribe, and the Keraites.
  • the Islamic cycle, represented by two Khorazmians, Mahumud Yalavach, and Masud Beg.
  • the North ChineseConfucian circle, represented by Yelu Chucai, a Khitan, and Nianhe Zhong-shan, a Jurchen.

Mahamud Yalavach promoted a system in which the government would delegate tax collection to tax farmers who collect payments in silver. Yelu Chucai encouraged Ögedei to institute a traditional Chinese system of government, with taxation in the hands of government agents and payment in a government issued currency. The Muslim merchants, working with capital supplied by the Mongol aristocrats, loaned at higher interest the silver needed for tax payments. [24] In particular, Ögedei actively invested in these ortoq enterprises. [24] At the same time the Mongols began circulating paper currency backed by silver reserves.

Ögedei abolished the branch departments of state affairs and divided the areas of Mongol-ruled China into ten routes according to the suggestion of Yelü Chucai. He also divided the empire into Beshbalik and Yanjing administration, while the headquarters in Karakorum directly dealt with Manchuria, Mongolia and Siberia. Late in his reign, Amu Darya administration was established. Turkestan was administered by Mahamud Yalavach, while Yelu Chucai administered North China from 1229 to 1240. Ögedei appointed Shigi Khutugh chief judge in China. In Iran, Ögedei appointed first Chin-temur, a Kara-kitai, and then Korguz, an Uyghur who proved to be honest administrator. Later, some of Yelu Chucai's duties were transferred to Mahamud Yalavach and taxes were handed over to Abd-ur-Rahman, who promised to double the annual payments of silver. [25] The Ortoq or partner merchants lent Ögedei's money at exorbitant rates of interest to the peasants, though Ögedei banned considerably higher rates. Despite it proving profitable, many people fled their homes to avoid the tax collectors and their strong-arm gangs.

Ögedei had imperial princes tutored by the Christian scribe Qadaq and the Taoist priest Li Zhichang and built schools and an academy. Ögedei Khan also decreed to issue paper currency backed by silk reserves and founded a Department responsible for destroying old notes. Yelu Chucai protested to Ögedei that his large-scale distribution of appanages in Iran, Western and North China, and Khorazm could lead to a disintegration of the Empire. [26] Ögedei thus decreed that the Mongol nobles could appoint overseers in the appanages, but the court would appoint other officials and collect taxes.

The Khagan proclaimed the Great Yassa as an integral body of precedents, confirming the continuing validity of his father's commands and ordinances, while adding his own. Ögedei codified rules of dress and conduct during the kurultais. Throughout the Empire, in 1234, he created postroad stations (Yam) with a permanent staff who would supply post riders' needs. [27] Relay stations were set up every 25 miles and the yam staff supplied remounts to the envoys and served specified rations. The attached households were exempt from other taxes, but they had to pay a qubchuri tax to supply the goods. Ögedei ordered Chagatai and Batu to control their yams separately. The Khagan prohibited the nobility from issuing paizas (tablets that gave the bearer authority to demand goods and services from civilian populations) and jarliqs. Ögedei decreed that within decimal units one out of every 100 sheep of the well-off should be levied for the poor of the unit, and that one sheep and one mare from every herd should be forwarded to form a herd for the imperial table. [28]

From 1235–38 Ögedei constructed a series of palaces and pavilions at stopping places in his annual nomadic route through central Mongolia. The first palace Wanangong was constructed by North Chinese artisans. The Emperor urged his relatives build residences nearby and settled the deported craftsmen from China near the site. The construction of the city, Karakorum (Хархорум), was finished in 1235, assigning different quarters to Islamic and North Chinese craftsmen, who competed to win Ögedei's favor. Earthen walls with 4 gates surrounded the city. Attached were private apartments, while in front of stood a giant stone tortoise bearing an engraved pillar, like those that were commonly used in East Asia. There was a castle with doors like the gates of the garden and a series of lakes where many water fowl gathered. Ögedei erected several houses of worship for his Buddhist, Muslim, Taoist, and Christian followers. In the Chinese ward, there was a Confucian temple where Yelu Chucai used to create or regulate a calendar on the Chinese model.

Like his father Genghis Khan, Ögedei had many wives and sixty concubines: [29] Ögedei married first Boraqchin and then Töregene. Other wives included Möge Khatun (former concubine of Genghis Khan) and Jachin.

    — the 3rd Great Khan of the Mongols — the first Buddhist Mongol prince
  1. Köchü (died 1237) — during the campaign in Song China
    1. Shiremün — appointed heir by Ögedei
    2. Boladchi
    3. Söse
    1. Totaq
      (1235 - 1301)
  2. Ögedei was considered to be his father's favorite son, ever since his childhood. As an adult, he was known for his ability to sway doubters in any debate in which he was involved, simply by the force of his personality. He was a physically big, jovial, and charismatic man, who seemed mostly to be interested in enjoying good times. He was intelligent and steady in character. His charisma was partially credited for his success in keeping the Mongol Empire on the path that his father had set. [ citation needed ]

    The sudden death of Tolui in 1232 seems to have affected Ögedei deeply. According to some sources, Tolui sacrificed his own life, accepting a poisoned drink in shamanist ritual in order to save Ögedei who was suffering from illness. [30] Other sources say Ögedei orchestrated Tolui's death with the help of shamans who drugged the alcoholic Tolui. [31]

    Ögedei was well known for his alcoholism. Chagatai entrusted an official to watch his habit, but Ögedei managed to drink anyway. It is commonly told that Ögedei did so by vowing to reduce the number of cups he drank a day then having cups twice the size created for his personal use. When he died at dawn on 11 December 1241, after a late-night drinking bout with Abd-ur-Rahman, the people blamed the sister of Tolui's widow and Abd-ur-Rahman. The Mongol aristocrats recognized, however, that the Khagan's own lack of self-control had killed him.

    Ögedei was also known to be a humble man, who did not believe himself to be a genius, and who was willing to listen to and use the great generals that his father left him, as well as those he himself found to be most capable. He was the Emperor (Khagan) but not a dictator. [32] Like all Mongols at his time, he was raised and educated as a warrior from childhood, and as the son of Genghis Khan, he was a part of his father's plan to establish a world empire. His military experience was notable for his willingness to listen to his generals and adapt to circumstances. He was a pragmatic person, much like his father, and looked at the end rather than the means. His steadiness of character and dependability were the traits that his father most valued, and that gained him the role of successor to his father, despite his two older brothers.

    However, Mongol and Persian chroniclers criticize Ögedei for a crime he committed in 1237 which violated the laws of his father, Genghis Khan, which forbade seizure, rape, kidnapping, bartering, or selling young girls, who were allowed to be married at a young age but could not engage in sexual activity until the age of sixteen. [14] Mongol chronicles were vague about the nature of the crime, but Persian chroniclers indicated that after the Oirat did not send girls for Ögedei's harem, Ögedei had four thousand Oirat girls above the age of seven stripped naked and raped by his soldiers repeatedly in full sight of the girls' relatives. Two of these girls died from the ordeal, and the remaining non-raped were divided up by soldiers, with some being sent to the royal harem, and others assigned to caravan hostels for sexual servitude, and others not deemed suitable for this were left present for anyone to carry them away or use them for any purposes deemed fit. Ögedei seems not to have done this out of sexual depravity as such, but more to consolidate power over the Oirat. [33]

    The above account, including the assumption that Mongol sources criticized the crime (still questionable), was described in Jack Weatherford's 2011 book The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire. Weatherford calls it "the most horrendous crime of his twelve-year reign and one of the worst Mongol atrocities recorded". A more recent book in Mongol historiography "Women and the Making of the Mongol Empire" (2018) by Anne F. Broadbridge links the "infamous alleged mass rape of Oirat girls" to Ögedei's requisitioning of girls from his uncle Temüge Otchigin's territories without Temüge's approval. Broadbridge notes however that "with all the evidence suppressed, this can only be a surmise". [34] The History of the Yuan or Yuanshi (YS 2, 35) and Secret History of the Mongols (SHM 281) speak of a forceful requisitioning of women by Ögedei from the "left wing" and "uncle Otchigin's domain" respectively but do not mention a rape (De Rachewiltz 2004). [35] In the Secret History Ögedei expresses remorse for his act stating "as to my second fault, to listen to the word of a woman without principle, and to have the girls of my uncle Otchigin's domain brought to me was surely a mistake" but De Rachewiltz notes that the entire paragraph listing four good deeds and four mistakes may be a posthumous assessment (De Rachewiltz 2004). [35]

    The only account alleging a rape is in Chapter 32 of the Tarikh-i Jahangushay (History of the World Conqueror) written in 1252 by Juvayni (1226-1283). [36] This entire chapter was later copied verbatim by Rashid Al-Din into his early 14th century Jami' Al-Tawarikh (Compendium of Chronicles) albeit in a slightly abridged version. In Chapter 32 Juvayni starts by praising Ögedei Khan then proceeds to give 50 highly detailed anecdotes to illustrate Ögedei's "clemency, forgiveness, justice and generosity" followed by one anecdote to illustrate his "violence, severity, fury and awesomeness" which was the rape incident. This anecdote closes the chapter. The name of the tribe is unclear in two manuscripts of Juvayni but Manuscript D and Rashid-Al-Din give it as Oirat. Broadbridge and De Rachewiltz questioned the factual accuracy of this identification with the Oirats. [34] [35] The anecdotes are written in the style of a Persian tale. Juvaini notes the source of Anecdote 46 by saying "one of my friends of pleasing speech told me the following story". [37] The anecdotes praising Ögedei take a pronounced pro-Muslim, anti-Chinese stance. A number of anecdotes evince a tone of ridicule for Ögedei's lack of self-control. While the anecdotes may contain a kernel of truth some seem to be apocryphal legends originating from the community of Muslim merchants and should be approached with a degree of caution. Another Persian account was the mass sodomy against soldiers of the Jin Dynasty because "they jeered at the Mongols" and expressed "evil thoughts". This was quoted in Rashid-Al-Din and noted by Weatherford. Although this account could be exaggerated, it depicts the usage of rape as a weapon. [33]

    According to Weatherford, Ögedei violated every single law regarding the sexual intercourse, rape, kidnap, and selling of girls and women that Genghis Khan had created. [33] [ failed verification ]

    In the Tarikh-i Jahangushay Juvayni claims Ögedei died shortly after his lion-like hounds chased and tore to pieces a wolf he saved and released despite his having hoped God Almighty would spare his ill bowels if he released a living creature. This anecdote (Anecdote 47) contradicts the standard account of Ögedei's death from a late-night drinking bout with Abd-ur-Rahman.

    Ögedei had nominated his grandson Shiremun as his heir, but Güyük eventually succeeded him after the five-year regency of his widow Töregene Khatun. However, Batu, the Khan of the Golden Horde (also known as the Kipchak Khanate or the Ulus of Jochi) only nominally accepted Güyük, who died on the way to confront Batu. It was not until 1255, well into the reign of Möngke Khan, that Batu felt secure enough to again prepare to invade Europe. He died before his plans could be implemented.

    When Kublai Khan established the Yuan dynasty in 1271, he had Ögedei Khan placed on the official record as Taizong (Chinese: 太宗 ).


    Located on the south side of the Amu-Darya River, Old Ürgenç was situated on one of the most important medieval paths: the Silk Road, the crossroad of western and eastern civilisations. It is one of the most important archaeological sites in Turkmenistan, lying within a vast zone of protected landscape and containing a large number of well-preserved monuments, dating from the 11th to the 16th centuries. They comprise mosques, the gates of a caravanserai, fortresses, mausoleums and a minaret, and the influence of their architectural style and craftsmanship reached Iran, Afghanistan and the later architecture of the Mogul Empire of 16th-century India.

    Atanyyazow explains, "In the works of Chinese historians, the name Yue-Gyan, which occurs in Georgian forms in the works of Arab scholars of the 10th century. was used in the form of Gurganj, a native of Khorezm. and -j, according to Yakut, mean[s] just like the word. abat, i.e., "village" and "city". Given the ancient name of the word Gurgen. then the toponym of Gurganj. has the meaning of "Gurgen city", "Gurgen city of the people". Later, the name Gurganj began to be used in the form of Urgench." [2] To what Gurgen or Gurgan refer, however, remains unexplained.

    The exact dates when Kunya-Urgench was founded remain uncertain, but archaeological finds at the Kyrkmolla Hill (one of the main fortresses at the site) reveal that the town already had a strong structure in the 5th and 4th centuries BC. Some of the earliest records show that Khwarezm was conquered by the Arabs in 712, and Kunya-Urgench was given the Arabic name "Gurgandj". The city rose to prominence between the 10th and 14th centuries as the Khwarezmian capital, and as an important trading centre, competing in fame and population with many other Central Asian cities, such as Bukhara. [1] It had become highly prosperous due to its strategic location on the main trade routes from the south to the north, and the west to the east, vastly contributing to the development of science and culture in Central Asia.

    According to an 1893 writer [3] Djordjania or Jorjania was the "second capital" of the country. It was on the Wadak canal which seems to be the east end of the Kunya-Darya which seems to be the river bed that now leads to the Sarykamysh Lake. Just east of the town was a dam that irrigated the area and blocked the flow of the Oxus into the Caspian Sea. In 1220 both town and dam were destroyed by the Mongols and the surrounding area became a marsh. Konya-Urgench was soon built on or near the site of Jorjania.

    In 1221, Genghis Khan destroyed the city in the Mongol invasion of Central Asia, in what is considered to be one of the bloodiest massacres in human history. Despite the devastating effects of the invasion, the city was revived and it regained its previous status. It was described by the 14th-century Berber traveller Ibn Battuta as "the largest, greatest, most beautiful and most important city of the Turks. It has fine bazaars and broad streets, a great number of buildings and abundance of commodities". [4]

    In 1373, Timur attacked Khwarezm, and its ruler Yusef Sufi of the Sufi Dynasty surrendered to Timur. In 1379, Yusef Sufi rebelled against Timur, who sacked Urgench, and Yusef Sufi was killed. In 1388, the Sufi dynasty of Urgench again revolted against Timur this time Timur razed Urgench to the ground and massacred its population, destroyed the city's irrigation system, and had barley planted over the ground where the city had once stood, leaving only one mosque standing. This, coupled with the sudden change of the Amu-Darya River's course, constituted the beginning of Kunya-Urgench's decline until the 16th century, when it was replaced as a regional capital by Khiva and was ultimately abandoned.

    The area was later inhabited by the Turkmen people from the early 19th century, but they mostly developed outside the old town, utilising the latter as a graveyard. However, this use has now stopped, and efforts have been made to remove the decaying grave stones that can be encountered at the site.

    The new town of Urgench was developed to the southeast, in present-day Uzbekistan. Some of the first archeological research on the old city site was conducted by Alexander Yakubovsky in 1929. [5]

    The urban layout of Kunya Urgench has been lost and only certain monuments remain standing to this day. These are authentic and rich examples of fine architecture and building traditions existing for centuries. The level of conservation varies amongst the buildings, and the most substantial restoration work has been carried out in the past thirty years, during the soviet era, using traditional methods and materials.

    Kutlug-Timur Minaret Edit

    The Kutlug Timur minaret is perhaps the most striking structure here. It dates to the 11th and 12th centuries, and measures 60 meters in height, making it the highest monument in the park. Its diameter is 12 meters at its base, and 2 at the top.

    On the basis of its decorative brickwork, including Kufic inscriptions, the minaret is thought to be an earlier construction, only restored by Kutlug-Timur around 1330. [6]

    Turabek-Khanum Mausoleum Edit

    Named after Turabek-Khanum, the wife of Kutlug-Timur (ruled between 1321 and 1336), this structure is located at the northern part of ancient Gurgench. It is remarkable for its elegant design and stunning tile decoration, and it is a highly sophisticated work of architecture, both in its conceptualisation of spaces and in its engineering. Both are fully utilised in a conscious way to achieve a visual, aesthetic and spiritual effect.

    The original building was composed of two chambers: a large domed hall and a smaller one behind it. The large chamber is twelve-sided on the exterior and hexagonal on the interior, being preceded by an entrance portal and a vestibule.

    One of the most impressive architectural features of the mausoleum is the circular dome covering the main hall, whose surface is covered in colourful mosaic which forms intricate ornamental patterns consisting of flowers and stars, creating a visual metaphor for the heavens. No comparable contemporary parallels can be found at Urgench, as some of the architectural features, such as the decorations mentioned above, do not appear in other monuments built during the lifetime of Turabek-Khanum, around 1330. Thus, it is difficult to date the building so early. These features do, however, appear in Central Asia later, during the reign of Timur, a warlord of Turco-Mongol descent. New technologies, such as mosaic faience, show up in Timur's earliest buildings, such as the Aq Saray palace in Shahrisabz, in Uzbekistan, which was begun in 1379 but was still unfinished in 1404. [6]

    Tekesh Mausoleum Edit

    This structure is the presumed Tomb of Sultan Ala ad-Din Tekish, the founder of the Khwarezm Empire and its ruler between 1172-1200. It has been identified as a mausoleum due to the tradition that each ancient Central Asian building is dedicated to a historical or mythical personage.

    The building is made of bricks and consists of a square hall with walls which are 11,45 meters high, a massive round drum and a conical roof with an inner dome hidden under it. The dome is connected to the square walls it rests upon by an octagonal belt. The structure between the dome and the octagon is decorated with 16 shallow niches. Their form is not lancet-like as those commonly found in the Islamic architecture of Central Asia, but rather semicircular. This is a motif that can be found in the marble 8th-century mihrab at the Baghdad Museum, and has seldom been used in Central Asia: another comparable case that can be found in Turkmenistan is that of the mihrab of Muhammad Ibn Zayd's 11th-century mosque, from Merv. However, the two are located too far away to be considered prototypes.

    The external conical roof is built of horizontal layers using the technique of a false vault. From the inside, it is strengthened with 12 buttresses standing upon the internal dome. Although this might seem like a risky construction technique, the roof is not in bad condition: only the top is destroyed, and the blue majolica decoration slightly damaged.

    One of the special features of the building's architecture is its façade. It presents a high portal niche with the main archway, which has now lost its original form. The lancet arch of the portal is filled by a complicated system of stalactite -like forms, which is a decorative motif made of terracotta and fixed on wooden sticks within the brickwork.

    Research concerning this structure has given rise to speculations that the Mausoleum of Tekesh might have stood at the centre of some large construction that consisted of a multitude of buildings. Thus, certain scholars would argue that the building served a different purpose from that of a mausoleum, such as, for example, a House of Government or a Palace of the Great Khwarzm-shahs. [7]

    Kyrkmolla Edit

    Kyrkmolla is a 12-meter-high (39 ft) mound which used to constitute a fortress. It is located in the north-eastern outskirts of Gurgench. It is particularly significant as the earliest ceramics discovered at the site, dating back to the 5th century BC, were located here. It is protected by a thick mud-brick wall which dates back to the 10th to 14th centuries, and has been partially rebuilt after archaeological excavations.

    BETTESTHORNE, John (c.1329-1399), of Bisterne, Hants and Chaddenwick in Mere, Wilts.

    b.c.1329, s. and h. of Roger Bettesthorne of Ashley, Hants, by his w. Margaret. m. by 1366, Gouda, da. and coh. of John Cormailles, 1da.

    Offices Held

    Commr. of inquiry, Som., Dorset June 1374 (forfeited goods), Hants July 1376 (extortions of Richard Lyons†), Oct. 1379 (trespasses of soldiers going to Brittany), Wilts. Aug. 1381 (removal of materials from Mere castle), Hants, Wilts. Oct. 1388 (Sir Simon Burley’s forfeited lands), Hants Sept. 1389 (wastes, Ellingham priory) array May 1375, Feb. 1379, Mar. 1380, Apr. 1385, Mar. 1392 to put down rebellions, Hants, Wilts. July 1381, Wilts. Dec. 1381, Mar., Dec. 1382 of arrest, Hants Aug. 1382.

    Tax collector, Hants Nov. 1377.

    Sheriff, Hants 25 Nov. 1378-5 Nov. 1379.

    J.p. Wilts. 8 Mar. 1386-Oct. 1389.


    Bettesthorne’s father held the manor of Ashley and the reversion of that of Chaddenwick, both of which properties later passed to him. His mother (possibly the heir of John Mere, whose lands Bettesthorne also later possessed) died in July 1349 when he was 20, and it was not until the following spring that he obtained seisin of her dower lands in Bisterne and Ashley (Hampshire) and in Shaftesbury (Dorset). He was active in local affairs, for example as a witness to deeds, from 1354.1

    In April 1360 Edward III ordered the officials at the Exchequer to allow Bettesthorne, who had been accused there of refusing to take up knighthood, a respite until the following Michaelmas, on the grounds that he was abroad with the army and was about to be knighted by the King. However, three months later he was pardoned for not receiving the honour after all, ‘in consideration of manifold services done by him in the company of Henry, duke of Lancaster, in the King’s wars and in the siege of Rennes in Brittany, as well as in the King’s last progress in France’ and that October he was exempted for life from ever having to assume the higher rank or from serving in any official capacity against his will. This last patent was confirmed by Richard II, 20 years later.2

    In the meantime Bettesthorne increased his landed holdings. In 1361 Richard Bettesthorne (possibly his uncle or elder half-brother) died leaving substantial estates in Hampshire to his daughters (Joan and Margaret) and his grandson John (the son of a third daughter), the latter being a minor. Bettesthorne obtained custody at the Exchequer of the young John’s third of the inheritance, and secured from Joan and Margaret a grant of the reversion of their shares, part of which came into his possession before 1379. Bettesthorne’s marriage was also profitable. His wife, Gouda, was a kinswoman of Edward III’s chancellor, Bishop Edington of Winchester, who in his will in 1366 not only exonerated the couple from a debt of £50 but also left to Gouda his best furred robe. Another of her kinsmen, John Edington, settled on them in reversion the manor of Pomeroy in Wingfield (Wiltshire) and other considerable holdings in the same area. Bettesthorne encountered some difficulty in obtaining possession of the manors of West Grimstead (Wiltshire) and Exbury (Hampshire) of which John Grimstead had granted him the reversion in 1361. And although Grimstead also placed other properties in Hampshire and Wiltshire in the hands of trustees with the intention that Bettesthorne should enter into them in due course, the vagaries of the settlement involved Bettesthorne in extensive litigation (including a petition to the Parliament of 1376). Some of the Grimstead properties were still in dispute within a few years of Bettesthorne’s death. Even so, Bettesthorne died a wealthy man with estates in Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Hampshire.3

    There is little other information about this prosperous country gentleman who was so reluctant to become a knight. In 1380 he joined with Sir Ralph Norton† in alienating in mortmain part of the manor of Dulton to the Augustinian monastery of Bonhommes at Edington, founded by his wife’s kinsman, Bishop Edington. In September 1397 he made a loan of 100 marks to Richard II, perhaps unwillingly, for his exclusion from royal offices and commissions over the previous five years hardly suggests that he was regarded as a committed supporter of the court party. Indeed, he took out a royal pardon a few months later. In 1398 Bettesthorne applied for a royal licence to augment a chantry of one chaplain in the parish church at Mere with two more chaplains, who were to pray for him and for the souls of his ancestors, and to found another chantry at Gillingham (Dorset). This involved grants of property at Clopton (Somerset) as well as at Mere and Gillingham, and the foundations were not completed before Bettesthorne’s death it fell to his daughter and heir, Elizabeth, and her husband Sir John Berkeley I* of Beverstone (a younger son of Thomas, Lord Berkeley) to bring his plans to fruition. Bettesthorne died on 6 Feb. 1399 and was buried at Mere. A monumental brass depicts him in full armour, and the inscription includes the verse

    Tu qui transieris vidias sta perlege plora, Es quod eram et eris quod sum, pro me precor ora.4

    BROCAS, Sir Bernard (c.1330-1395), of Beaurepaire in Sherborne St. John and Roche Court, Hants.

    b.c.1330, 3rd s. and event. h. of Sir John Brocas of Clewer and Windsor, Berks. by his 1st w. Margaret. m. (1) by 1349, Agnes, da. and h. of Mauger Vavasour of Denton, Yorks., 1s. div. bef. May 1360 (2) between Nov. 1358 and Feb. 1361, Mary (b.c.1331), da. and h. of John Roches†, wid. of Sir John Boarhunt of Boarhunt, Hants, 1s. 1da. (3) between Dec. 1380 and May 1382, Katherine (6 Jan. 1341-19 Oct. 1398), er. da. and coh. of William de la Plaunk of Haversham, Bucks. by Elizabeth, da. of Sir Roger Hillary, c.j.c.p., of Bescot, Staffs., wid. of William Birmingham and Sir Hugh Tyrell. Kntd. by 1355.

    Offices Held

    Master of the King’s buckhounds 1361-d.

    Commr. of array, Hants Feb. 1367, Nov. 1370, May 1375, Apr., July 1377, Mar. 1380, Hants, Wilts. July 1381, Hants Apr. 1385, Mar. 1392 arrest, Surr., Suss., Hants, Wilts., Berks., Som., Dorset June 1370 (criminals in his retinue), Nov. 1382 (mutineers), June 1387 to collect a parochial subsidy, Hants June 1371 of oyer and terminer Nov. 1375, Surr. Sept. 1383, Wilts. Apr. 1387 inquiry, Hants Nov. 1375 (possessions of John Sandys*), July 1376 (extortions of Richard Lyons†), Sept. 1377 (confederations of bondmen), Oct. 1379 (trespasses of soldiers going overseas), Oct. 1380, Feb. 1381 (disseisin), Wilts. Mar. 1387 (threats to a royal clerk) weirs, river Thames May 1377 to take musters, Calais May 1378, May 13881 survey the fortification of Southampton Mar. 1380 put down rebellions, Hants, Wilts. July 1381, Hants Dec. 1381, Mar., Dec. 1382 take possession of escheated lands, Suss. Aug. 1384 of gaol delivery, Winchester Mar. 1386 to supervise repairs to Odiham castle Sept. 1386 determine appeals from the constable’s ct. Nov. 1387 administer the oath in support of the Appellants, Hants Mar. 1388.

    Keeper of Corfe castle 9 Sept. 1376-14 May 1377, Odiham castle May 1377-d.

    Capt. of Calais 12 July 1377-c. Feb. 1379 controller 17 Feb.-c. May 1379 capt. of Sangatte, Pas de Calais 11 Jan. 1384-c.1385.2

    Chief parker of the estates of Bp. Wykeham of Winchester 5 Dec. 1377-d.3

    Ambassador to Flanders Jan. 1379, to treat with the count of St. Pol July 1379.4

    J.p. Hants 26 May 1380-d, Wilts. 4 July 1391-4.

    Tax surveyor, Hants Dec. 1380.

    Sheriff, Wilts. 24 Nov. 1382-12 Oct. 1383.

    Chamberlain to Queen Anne c.1387-1394.


    Brocas came from a Gascon family whose fortunes were made through service to the Kings of England, both in their native land and their new home, where they settled early in the 14th century. Bernard’s father, Sir John Brocas, who was a member of the households of Edward II and Edward III, held office under the latter as constable of Guildford castle and, in fact if not in name, as master of the King’s horse, and made Windsor castle the centre of his domestic and official life. His uncle, Master Bernard Brocas, an administrator of note, excelled as controller of Gascony and constable of Aquitaine.5 Bernard was a younger son, and of necessity set about making his own fortunes through military service. In 1346, aged about 16, he was ‘first armed on the seashore at Hogges’ (La Hogue) at the start of the invasion of France which led to the battle of Crécy (in which his father and older brother, Oliver, also took part, both of them being ‘King’s knights’ ), and in the course of the next 40 years he also served in the wars of Brittany, Spain and Scotland. By late in 1354 he had been knighted and had won a place as a favoured member of the entourage of Henry of Grosmont, duke of Lancaster, an experienced and able military commander. In that year he travelled with Lancaster to Avignon (where the duke conducted negotiations with Innocent VI for peace beween England and France), and in January 1355 he successfully petitioned the Pope for indulgences for visitors to a chapel in Windsor forest, and for an indult to choose his own confessor. At the same time the duke requested a canonry for Brocas’s uncle, Master Bernard, who subsequently, in July, named Lancaster as a trustee of the estates at Beaurepaire and elsewhere, which he was proposing to settle on his nephew and namesake. It was in July, too, that Brocas took out royal letters of protection to go on Lancaster’s proposed expedition in aid of Charles of Navarre, and, although the plans were changed, in the following spring he was in Brittany with the duke, the recently appointed lieutenant of the duchy, and he may have taken part in the battle of Poitiers later that year. Before February 1358 Duke Henry granted him an annuity of £20 for life, from the issues of the honour of Pontefract. Brocas was still in Lancaster’s employment the following year, when he sailed to Normandy to arrest a man accused of embezzling the revenues intended by the duke for fortifications, though he seems to have left his service before Lancaster’s death in March 1361. Certainly, before that date Brocas had commended himself to Edward III, who on 2 Aug. 1360 granted him an annuity of £40 at the Exchequer, and made him a knight of the royal chamber. Brocas again travelled to Normandy in 1361, but whether for Lancaster or the King (or, indeed, to supervise his own affairs, which by this time involved dealings in large sums of foreign currency) is unclear.6

    In 1363 Brocas received an additional annuity of £10 from the Crown in recompense for his loss of the manor of Benham (Berkshire), which the King had by his gift and in the same year, by Edward’s ‘special grace’, he obtained a charter of free warren in his demesne lands in Hampshire. As a ‘bachelor’ of Edward III Brocas was issued livery at the Household until the end of the reign, and continued to serve his royal master both at home and overseas. He may have fought at the battle of Najera in 1367 three years later he recovered £60 due to him for wages for himself and his men ‘in the war’, and he was again overseas in 1372. He received many other marks of patronage from the ageing monarch, notably a licence to impark Beaurepaire, which entailed the enclosure of lands belonging to the royal forest of Pamber, and, in 1373, the opportunity to exchange his annuities for the wardenship for life of the manor of Compton Basset (Wiltshire). His proximity to the King is also suggested by his appearance as a witness to a conveyance of property to Edward’s mistress, Alice Perrers. In 1376 Brocas was granted the keeping of Corfe castle and the warren of Purbeck, but, although he went to the trouble of securing this post for life, he surrendered it in May 1377 in favour of John, Lord Arundel, receiving, presumably in exchange, the castle, town and manor of Odiham at a farm of £55 a year.7

    Brocas remained in favour at court under Richard II, and, indeed, was referred to as a ‘King’s knight’ for the rest of his life. Ten days after the beginning of the reign he was appointed captain of Calais, and seems to have been often abroad until the spring of 1379. While at Calais he was instructed to treat for the continuation of the alliance made between Edward III and Louis, count of Flanders. He also took a prominent part in the arrangements for the release of Waleran de Luxembourg, count of St. Pol, a prisoner of war, which involved him not only in handling securities for the count’s ransom of 100,000 francs but also in negotiations for his marriage to the King’s half-sister, Maud Holand, Lady Courtenay. In 1384 Brocas was appointed keeper of Sangatte castle, the western outpost of Calais, though in the following year he joined the army with which Richard II attempted to invade Scotland. It is uncertain precisely when he was appointed chamberlain to Richard’s queen, Anne of Bohemia, for the only evidence that he ever held this post is the inscription on his tomb but it seems likely that he succeeded Sir Richard Adderbury I* in this office in about 1387. The political conflicts of the reign appear not to have troubled Brocas at all: he was commissioned to administer the oath of allegiance to the Appellants in March 1388, and employed on a committee to muster the troops of the earl of Arundel two months later yet he remained close to Richard II: in 1391 as Richard’s attorney he took formal possession of property in Westminster, probably in connexion with the rebuilding of Westminster hall, and on 17 Aug. 1394 he was rewarded with an annuity of £40 for his good service to the late queen.8 Brocas was well placed to obtain grants of lands in the temporary possession of the Crown. Among those he received in the 1380s were the wardship of Robert Inkpen’s† lands in Hampshire, the joint keepership of the estates of the alien priory of Hayling (which he subsequently surrendered to John, Lord Montagu, the steward of the Household, in exchange for custody of the lordship of Cranborne Chase during the minority of the earl of March), the joint keepership of the estates of Hamble priory, rent-free, and the farm of the manor of Barford St. Martin, Wiltshire. Finally, in June 1395, he secured for 200 marks a grant to himself and to Juliana, widow of his nephew Sir Edmund Missenden*, of custody of the Missenden estates (of which he was already a feoffee) during the minority of the heir, his great-nephew, Bernard.9

    Brocas’s circle of acquaintance gathered around the Court and his close associates included Sir Ivo Fitzwaryn*, the veteran campaigner Sir Matthew Gournay, and one of the royal clerks, Master John Chitterne. Undoubtedly his most important connexion, and one which lasted for nearly all his life, was that formed with William of Wykeham, who served Edward III successively as secretary, keeper of the privy seal, and chancellor. Probably his first meetings with Wykeham had taken place at Windsor castle, for his father, like Wykeham, had been closely involved in the extensive building works there. Over the years Brocas witnessed a large number of deeds on his friend’s behalf he was present when Wykeham was installed at Winchester in 1368 in 1377 Wykeham appointed him as chief surveyor and keeper of the parks on the episcopal estates, and on another occasion he excommunicated men who had poached in Brocas’s fish pond at Beaurepaire. Clearly, their friendship was close, yet there is no evidence that it ever led to Brocas’s participation in the bishop’s political quarrels, of which the most serious was that of 1376 with John of Gaunt. Indeed, Brocas himself seems to have been on amicable terms with Gaunt at least, in 1380 and again in 1382 the duke instructed the keeper of his warren at Methwold (Norfolk) to allow him to hunt there when on pilgrimage to Walsingham.10

    During his years of service to Edward III and Richard II Brocas was building up substantial landed estates. His uncle, Master Bernard Brocas, had purchased Beaurepaire in 1353 and not long afterwards settled it on his nephew along with lands near Guildford in Surrey, including the manors of Peper Harrow and ‘Picard’s’ . Sir Bernard made Beaurepaire his seat and spent large sums on the house and park, obtaining royal licences to enclose the latter in 1369 and to enlarge it in 1370 and 1388.11 Through his first marriage, to Agnes Vavasour, heiress of the junior branch of the Vavasour family, he acquired Denton and five other manors in Yorkshire, along with Weekley in Northamptonshire, but although they had issue, a son named after his father, they were divorced before May 1360. A peculiarity of the case was that the Church allowed both parties to marry again, and Agnes then married Sir Henry Langfield. However, she lost possession of most of her estates, which were settled on the younger Bernard, her son, and his wife.12 Sir Bernard’s own second marriage was even more advantageous than the first, for Mary Roches was collaterally descended from Peter des Roches, bishop of Winchester. In 1361, on her mother’s death, she came into full possession of her patrimony, which included eight manors in Hampshire and that of Bromley in Dorset. In addition, she brought Brocas a sizeable dower from her former husband, Sir John Boarhunt: five manors and other substantial properties in Hampshire. These last did not remain in Brocas’s keeping for long, however, for in 1365 he and his wife endowed Southwick priory with nearly all of the former Boarhunt lands, and in 1384, after her death, Brocas added the rest to the endowment. A more permanent acquisition arising from this marriage was the post of master of the King’s buckhounds, an hereditary office attached in grand serjeanty to ‘Hunter’s Manor’ in Little Weldon (Northamptonshire), which Mary Brocas held as part of her jointure as Boarhunt’s wife. In 1366 Brocas came to an agreement with the heir to the manor and office, Maud Lovell, by which he paid £100 in order to retain them for life and pass them on to his own descendants.13 When Sir Bernard’s father, Sir John, died in 1365, his heir was Sir Bernard’s nephew, John, who himself died childless in 1377, leaving his uncle with an undisputed title to the manor of Broksham and lands at Hever (Kent). Brocas was now also heir to his late father’s holdings in Berkshire and Calais, but several years elapsed before he was able to obtain possession. Shortly before his death Sir John had given or sold his manors of Clewer-Brocas and Didworth, along with property at New and Old Windsor and Bray, to Edward III, from whom he was to hold them, rent-free, for the rest of his life. Subsequently, the King had granted these properties to one of the masons working at Windsor castle, and it was not until 1384 that Sir Bernard, with the assistance of Bishop Wykeham, finally recovered them. He used part of this inheritance for the endowment of a chantry in Clewer church in his father’s memory. He was less successful in the matter of his father’s property in Calais, which, allegedly for default of keeping a watch, had escheated to the Crown and been commandeered by the King’s carpenters. Brocas brought a suit in Chancery to assert his rights, but it would appear that the issue was still unresolved at his death, for the claims were renewed by his son. Sir Bernard’s father had purchased the manor of Pollingfold in Ewhurst (Surrey), and although this was initially settled on his stepmother, Isabel (who later married Sir Nicholas Lilling*), she relinquished her interest to Sir Bernard in 1366. Thus, the extent of Brocas’s landed holdings fluctuated over the course of his career, perhaps being at their most extensive in 1378, when he placed them in the hands of a group of feoffees, headed by Wykeham. He was then in possession of at least 13 manorial estates in six different counties.14 To these he added the manors of Compton Chamberlain (Wiltshire) and Claybrook (Leicestershire), the inheritance of his third wife, Katherine, sister of Elizabeth, Lady Clinton, and after the death of Sir Edward St. John† in 1385, he also held for life the bailiwick of the forestership of Woolmer and Alice Holt (Hampshire).15

    Brocas’s pilgrimages and religious foundations reveal him to have been a man of conventional piety, wealthy enough to express his devoutness in style. In 1375 he obtained a royal licence to grant lands worth £40 a year to Titchfield abbey, for prayers for Edward III as well as for himself and his wife Mary. This endowment was never completed. Instead, Brocas founded a chantry at Southwick priory, his choice no doubt being influenced by his sister, Isabel Golafre, who had become a nun there after the death of her second husband, and by Bishop Wykeham, himself a prominent benefactor of the priory. Indeed, Wykeham presided in person at the celebration of Brocas’s foundation. On a less impressive scale, Brocas also made a gift of property to Ivychurch priory (Wiltshire).16

    Brocas died on 20 Sept. 1395. A mark of the esteem in which he had been held by Richard II was his burial, with great pomp and expense, in the chapel of St. Edmund in Westminster abbey, close to the royal tombs. Brocas’s widow took a vow of chastity before Bishop Stafford of Exeter, and died three years later. His heir was another Sir Bernard Brocas, the offspring of his first marriage, who was to be executed in 1400 for plotting to restore Richard II.17

    Mongol invasion of Central Asia

    The Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia lasted from 1219 to 1221. It marked the beginning of the Mongol Conquest of the Islamic States, and it also expanded the Mongol invasions, which would ultimately culminate in conquest of virtually the entire known world save western Europe, Scandinavia, Arabia, north Africa, part of southeast Asia, and Japan.

    Ironically, it was not originally the intention of the Mongol Khanate to invade the Khwarezmid Empire. Indeed, Genghis Khan had originally sent the ruler of the Khwarezmid Empire, Ala ad-Din Muhammad , a message greeting him as his equal: "you rule the rising sun and I the setting sun." The Mongols original unification of all "people in felt tents" unifying the nomadic tribes in Mongolia, and then Turcomens and other nomadic peoples, had come with relatively little bloodshed, and almost no material loss. Even his invasions of China, to that point, had involved no more bloodshed that nomadic invasions such as the Huns had previously mounted, had caused.

    It would be the invasion and utter destruction and complete devastation of the Khwarezmid Empire which would earn - and rightly so - the Mongols the name for bloodthirsty ferocity that would mark all the remainder of their campaigns. In this brief less than two year war, not only was a huge empire destroyed utterly, but Genghis Khan introduced the world to tactics that would not be seen again until the Germans used them so well in World War II - indirect attack, and complete and utter terror and slaughter of populations wholesale as weapons of war.

    Origins of the Conflict

    After the defeat of the Kara-Khitais, Genghis Khan's Mongol Empire had a border with the Khwarezmid Empire, governed by Shah Ala ad-Din Muhammad. The Shah had only recently taken some of the territory under his control, and he was also busy with a dispute with the caliph in Baghdad. The Shah had refused to make the obligatory homage to the Caliph as Titular Leader of Islam, and demanded recognition as Sultan of his Empire, without any of the usual bribes, or pretend homage. This alone had created him problems along his southern border. It was at this junction the Mongol Empire, expanding incredibly, made contact. It is possible that Genghis Khan's long term goal was to take advantage of the internal instability of the Shah's empire. However, in the short term, it is clear that Genghis Khan saw the potential advantage in Khwarezmia as a commercial partner and started a correspondence with the shah in 1218 in order to establish trade between their empires. Mongol history is adamant that the Great Khan at that time had no intention of invading the Khwarezmid Empire, and was only interested in trade and even a potential alliance. (It must be noted that Genghis Khan eventually abrogated every allegiance he ever made, but in the short term, he probably did not intend to invade the Khwarezmid Empire when he did)

    The shah was very suspicious of Genghis' want for a trade agreement and messages from the shah's ambassador at Zhongdu in China describing the exaggerated savagery of the Mongols when they assaulted the city during their war with the Jin Dynasty . Of further interest is that the caliph of Baghdad, An-Nasir, had attempted to instigate a war between the Mongols and the Shah some years before the Mongol invasion actually occurred. This attempt at an alliance with Genghis was done because of a dispute between Nasir in the Shah. But the Khan had no interest in alliance with any ruler who claimed ultimate authority, titular or not, and which marked the Caliphate for an extincation which would come by Genghis's Grandson, Hulegu Khan. At the time, this attempt by the Caliph involved the Shah's ongoing dispute with wanting to be named sultan of Khwarezm, something that Nasir had no wish to do, as the Shah refused to acknowledge his authority, however illusory such authority was. However, it is known that Genghis rejected the notion of war as he was engaged in war with the Jin Dynasty and was gaining much wealth from trading with the Khwarezmid Empire.

    Genghis then sent a 500-man caravan, comprised of Muslims to officially establish trade ties with Khwarezmia. However Inalchuq, the governor of the Khwarezmian city of Otrar, had the members of the caravan that came from Mongolia arrested, claiming that the caravan was a conspiracy against Khwarezmia. It seems unlikely, however, that any members of the trade delegation were spies. Nor does it seem likely that Genghis was trying to provoke a conflict with the Khwarezmid Empire, considering he was still dealing with the Jin in northeastern China.

    Genghis Khan then sent a second group of three ambassadors (one Muslim and two Mongols) to meet the shah himself and demand the caravan at Otrar be set free and the governor be handed over for punishment. The shah had both of the Mongols shaved and had the Muslim beheaded before sending them back to Genghis Khan. Muhammad also ordered the caravan to be executed. This was seen as a grave affront to Khan himself, who considered ambassadors "as sacred and inviolable." This led Genghis Khan to attack the Khwarezmian Dynasty. The Mongols crossed the Tien Shan mountains, coming into the Shah's empire in 1219.

    Initial Invasion of Khwarezmia

    After compiling information from many intelligence sources, primarily from spies along the Silk Road, Genghis Khan carefully prepared his army, which was organized differently from Genghis' earlier campaigns. (see " Mongol military tactics and organization" for overall coverage). The changes had come in adding supporting units to his dreaded cavalry, both heavy and light. While still relying on the traditional advantages of his mobile nomadic cavalry, Genghis incorporated many aspects of warfare from China, particularly in siege warfare. His baggage train included such siege equipment as battering rams, gunpowder, trebuchets, and enormous siege bows capable of throwing 20-feet arrows into siege works. Also, the Mongol intelligence network was formidable. The Mongols never invaded an opponent whose military, and economic will and ability to resist had not been thoroughly and completely scouted. (for instance, Subutai and Batu Khan spent a year scouting central Europe, before destroying the armies of Hungary and Poland in two separate battles, two days apart) .

    The size of Genghis' army is often in dispute, ranging from a small army of 90,000 soldiers to a larger estimate of 250,000 soldiers, and Genghis brought along his most able generals to aide him, the dreaded " dogs of war". Genghis also brought a large body of foreigners with him, primarily of Chinese origin. These foreigners were siege experts, bridge-building experts, doctors and a variety of speciality soldiers.

    But it is vital to note at this juncture that it was in this invasion that the Khan first demonstrated the concept of indirect attack, that would so mark his career, and even that of his sons and grandsons. The Khan divided his armies, and literally sent one force solely to find and execute the Shah - so that a ruler of an Empire as large as the Mongols, with an army which was larger, was literally forced to run for his life in his own country, as various Mongol armies decimated his forces piecemeal, and began the utter devastation of the country which would so terribly mark their other conquests in history.

    The Shah's army, numbered roughly 400,000, was split among the various major cities. This was done because of two reasons. Firstly, the Shah was fearful of his army being in one large unit. He did not want the army to be under a single command structure, one that could possible be turned against him. Secondly, the Shah's reports from China seemed to indicate that the Mongol's were not experts in siege warfare and experienced problems attempting to take fortified positions. This proved to be a disastrous decision on the Shah's part as the campaign unfolded.

    Tired and exhausted from the journey, the Mongols still won their first victories against the Khwarezmia army. A Mongol army, under Jochi, with 25,000 to 30,000 men, attacked the Shah's army in southern Kwarezmia and prevented the much larger Shah army from forcing them into the mountains. The primary Mongol army, headed personally by Khan, quickly sieged the town of Otrar, reaching the city in the fall of 1219. For five months Genghis sieged the city before he managed to storm the main part of the city, by entering a sally port gate that was not secured.

    Another month went by before the citadel at Otrar was taken. Inalchuq held out until the end, even climbing to the top of the citadel in the last moments of the siege, throwing down tiles at the oncoming Mongols. Genghis killed many of the inhabitants, enslaving the rest, and executed Inalchuq by pouring molten silver into his ears and eyes, as retribution for the death of Genghis' caravan.

    Sieges of Bukhara, Samarkand, and Urgench

    Genghis had sent one of his generals, Jebe, far to the south, at the head of a small army, intending to cut off any retreat by the Shah to the southern half of his kingdom. Further, Genghis and Tolui, at the head of an army of roughly 50,000 men, skirted past Samarkand and went westwards, intending to siege the western city of Bukhara first. Bukhara was not heavily fortified, with a moat and a single wall, plus the typical citadel that every Khwarezmi town had. The garrison at Bukhara was made up of Turkish soldiers and led by Turkish generals. They attempted to break out on the third day of the siege, but the break out force, comprised of as many as 20,000 men, were annihilated in open battle. The city leaders opened the gates to Bukhara, though a unit of Turkish defenders held the city's citadel for another twelve days. Survivors from the citadel were executed, artisans and craftsmen were sent back to Mongolia, young men who had not fought were drafted into the Mongolian army and the rest of the population was sent into slavery. This was to be Genghis' typical treatment of captured cities throughout the rest of the campaign. As the Mongol soldiers looted the city, a fire broke out, razing the majority of the city to the ground.

    After the fall of Bukhara, Genghis headed west, towards the Khwarezmi capital of Samarkand and arrived at the city in March 1220. Samarkand was significantly more fortified and there were as many as 100,000 men defending the city. As Genghis began seiging the city, his sons Chaghatai and Ogodei joined him after finishing off the reduction of Otrar and the joint Mongol forces launched an assault on the city. Using prisoners as body shields, the Mongols attacked. On the third day of fighting, the Samarkand garrison launched a counterattack. Feigning retreat, Genghis reportedly drew out a garrison force of 50,000 outside the fortifications of Samarkand and slaughtered them in open combat. Muhammad attempted to relieve the city twice, but was driven back. On the fifth day, all but an approximate 2,000 soldiers surrendered. The remaining soldiers, diehard supporters of the Shah, held out in the citadel. After the fortress fell, Genghis reneged on his surrender terms and executed every soldier that had taken arms against him at Samarkand.

    Around the fall of Samarkand, Genghis Khan charged Subutai and Jebe, two of the Khan's top generals, with hunting down the Shah, who had fled westwards to escape the Mongols. The Shah fled with some of his diehard soldiers and his son, Jalal Al-Din, towards the shores of the Caspian Sea, where he was taken to a small island out in the sea. It was there that the Shah died. Most scholars attribute his death to pneumonia, but others cite the sudden shock of the loss of his empire and his power. This was in December 1220. Meanwhile, the wealthy trading city of Urgench was still in the hands of Khwarezima forces. Previously, the Shah's mother had ruled there, but she fled and was captured when she learned her son had fled to the Caspian Sea. She was imprisoned and sent back to Mongolia. One of Muhammad's generals, a man by the name of Khumar Tegin, had declared himself Sultan of Urgench. Jochi, who had been on campaign in the north since the invasion, approached the city from that direction, whereas Genghish, Ogodei, and Chaghatai attacked Urgench from the south.

    The siege and assault on Urgench proved to be the hardest battle in the entire course of the invasion. The city was built along the river Amu Darya in a marshy delta area. The soft ground did not lend itself to siege warfare, and there was a lack of large stones for the catapults. The Mongols assaulted regardless, and after the defenders put up a stout defense, fighting block for block, the city fell. Mongolian casualties were higher than normal, due to the difficult city fighting that did not lend well to Mongolian tactics. The taking of Urgench was further complicated by Genghis' eldest son, Jochi, who had been promised the city as his prize. It must be noted that there had always been tension between Jochi and his father. It was this battle, that brought that tension to a point it would mean permanent estrangement between the two. Jochi's mother was the same as his three brothers, Genghis's "official" sons. Genghis Khan's teen bride, and apparent lifelong love, was Borte - only her sons would command as sons of the Khan, not the bastards conceived by the Khan's 500 or so other "wives and consorts." But Jochi had been conceived in controversy. Borte was captured in the early days of the Khan's rise, and held prisoner while she was raped. Jochi was born nine months later, and while Genghis Khan chose to acknowledge him as his oldest son, (primarily due to his love for Borte, whom he would have had to reject if he rejected her child) tension always existed over Jochi's true parentage. Ultimately, the single quarrel would destroy the unity of the Mongol Empire. But the tension was present as Jochi engaged in negotiations with the defenders, trying to get them to surrender so that as little of the city as possible was undamaged. This angered Chaghatai, and Genghis headed off this sibling fight by appointing Ogodei the commander of the seiging forces and Urgench fell. But the removal of Jochi from command, and the sack of a city he considered promised his, enraged him, estranged him from his brothers, and is credited with being essentially the final straw for a man who saw his younger brothers being promoted over him, despite his own considerable military skills. As usual, the artisans were sent back to Mongolia, the young women and children were given to the Mongol soldiers as slaves, and the rest of the population was massacred. The Persian scholar Juvayni states that 50,000 Mongol soldiers were given the task of executing twenty-four Urgench citizens each, which would mean that 1.2 million people were killed. While this is almost certainly exaggeration, Juvayni's numbers highlight the fear effects that the Mongol tactics created.

    The Khurasan Campaign

    As the Mongols battered their way into Urgench, Genghis dispatched his youngest son Tolui, at the head of an army, into the western Khwarezmid province of Khurasan. Khurasan had already felt the strength of Mongol arms. Earlier in the war, the generals Jebe and Subatai had travelled through the province while hunting down the fleeing Shah. However, the region was far from subjugated, many major cities remained free of Mongol rule, and the region was rife with rebellion against the few Mongol forces present in the region after the rumors of Jalal Al-Din gathering an army to fight against the Mongols. Tolui's army consisted of somewhere around 50,000 men, which was comprised of a core of Mongol soldiers (some estimates place it at 7,000), supplemented by a large body of foreign soldiers, such as Turks and previously conquered peoples in China and Mongolia. The army also included "3,000 machines flinging heavy incendiary arrows, 300 catapults, 700 mongonels to discharge pots filled with naphtha, 4,000 storming-ladders, and 2,500 sacks of earth for filling up moats." The major city to fall to Tolui's army was the city of Merv. Juvayni wrote of Merv: "In extent of territory it excelled among the lands of Khurasan, and the bird of peace and security flew over its confines. The number of its chief men rivaled the drops of April rain, and its earth contended with the heavens."

    The garrison at Merv was only about 12,000 men, and the city was inundated with refugees from eastern Khwarezmid. For six days, Tolui sieged the city, and on the seventh day, he assaulted the city. However, the garrison beat back the assault and launched their own counter-attack against the Mongols. The garrison force was similarly forced back into the city. The next day, the city's governor surrendered the city on Tolui's promise that the lives of the citizens would be spared. As soon as the city was handed over, however, Tolui reneged on his promise and slaughtered almost every person who surrendered. After finishing off Merv, Tolui headed westwards, attacking the cities of Nishapur and Herat. Nishapur fell after only three days and Tolui put every living thing in city, including the cats and dogs, to the sword. After Nishapur's fall, Herat surrendered without a fight. By spring 1221, the province of Khurasan was under complete Mongol rule. Leaving garrison forces behind him, Tolui headed back east to rejoin his father.

    The Final Campaign and Aftermath

    After the Mongol campaign in Khurasan, the majority of the Shah's army was broken. Jalal Al-Din, who took power after his father's death, began assembling the remnants of the Khwarezmid army in the south, in the area of Afghanistan. Genghis had dispatched forces to hunt down the gathering army under Jalal Al-Din, and the two sides met in the spring of 1221 at the town of Parwan. The engagement was a humiliating defeat for the Mongol forces. Enraged, Genghis headed south himself, and defeated Jalal Al-Din on the Indus River. Jalal Al-Din, defeated, fled to India. Genghis spent some time on the southern shore of the Indus searching for the new Shah, but failed to find him. Khan returned northwards, content to leave the Shah in India.

    After the remaining centers of resistance were destroyed, Genghis returned to Mongolia, leaving Mongolian garrison troops behind. The destruction and absorption of the Khwarezmid Empire would prove to be a sign of things to come for the Islamic world, as well as Eastern Europe. The new territory proved to be an important stepping stone for Mongol armies under the reign of Genghis' son Ögedei to invade Russia and Poland, and future campaigns brought Mongol arms to Austria, the Baltic Sea and Germany. For the Islamic world, the destruction of Khwarezmid left Iraq, Turkey and Syria wide open. All three were eventually subjugated by future Khans.

    The war with Khwarezmid also brought up the important question of succession. Genghis was not young when the war began, and he had four sons, all of whom were fierce warriors and each with their own loyal followers. Such sibling rivalry almost came to a head during the siege of Urgench, and Genghis was forced to rely on his third son, Ögedei, to finish the battle. Following the destruction of Urgench, Genghis officially selected Ögedei to be successor, as well as establishing that future Khans would come from direct descendants of previous rulers. Despite this establishment, the four sons would eventually come to blows, and those blows showed the instability of the Khanate that Genghis had created.

    Jochi never forgave his father, and essentially withdrew from further Mongol wars, into the north, where he refused to come to his father . - indeed, at the time of his death, the Khan was contemplating a march on his rebellious son. While Jochi acknowledged officially the rule of Ögedei, he never accepted it literally, and that bitterness, transmitted to his sons, and especially grandsons, Batu and Berke Khan, (of the Golden Horde) who would conquer Kiev Rus, and the Russian States, brought open warfare to the empire, and it's fall. When the Mamluks of Egypt managed to inflict one of history's more significant defeats on the Mongols at Ain Jalut in 1260, Hulegu Khan, one of Genghis Khan's grandsons by his son Tolui, who had sacked Bagdad in 1258, was unable to avenge that defeat when Berke Khan, his cousin, (who had converted to Islam) attacked him in the Transcaucus to aid the cause of Islam, and Mongol battled Mongol for the first time. The seeds of that battle began in the war with Khwarezmid when their fathers struggled for supremacy.

    There seems to be a Kurdish Spring

    NATO authorities leave the PKK alone for better or worse. And to an extent the arms from said groups end up in the PKK’s hands. The PKK grew as a response to Turkey’s oppressive policies and blatant disregard for Kurdish rights in Turkish areas.

    This threat still remains real and it does not matter as Kurds if we take to the mountains or to our ballot boxes the Turks are pulling strings and turning blood against blood and have been since the 80’s. It’s the same and always is the same.

    Selahattin Demirtas led the Peoples’ Democratic Party, and is now rotting behind bars despite the European Court of Human Rights making efforts to have him free. The PKK has never threatened nor actually posed a threat to the integrity of Kurdistan, and instead protects it.

    But their name is plastered, the very group that is the start of our fundamental ideals of Jineology. In fact the pkk isn’t as much of a threat then the TAK is. The TAK in fact banished PKK members for being too soft with ideology and their views. Then why is it such a problem when we are all fighting for the same purpose essentially. The methods are just a bit different. Still all Kurdish.

    Turkish army has penetrated into Iraq by at least twenty five miles, doing the same excavating technique you see them do to us in the mountain ranges to build roads for their operations. Make our land that we bled for more accessible.

    A United Kurdistan is a strong one and as a people we should focus more on the bigger picture like expanding influence and interest areas like Kirkuk.

    HALES, Sir Stephen (bef.1331-1394/5), of Testerton, Norf.

    b. bef. 1331, s. and h. of William Hales of Testerton by Katherine, da. of William Jordan of Letheringsett, Norf. m. bef. Jan. 1376, Joan ?da. of John Novers of Swanton Novers, Norf., s.p. Kntd. bef. Nov. 1372.

    Offices Held

    Commr. of oyer and terminer, Cambs. Mar. 1371, Norf. Feb. 1376, Feb. 1384, Nov. 1385, Jan. 1386 inquiry July 1376 (maintenance), Oct., Nov. 1377 (goods of Scottish merchants), Apr. 1380 (assaults on royal serjeants-at-arms), Norf., Suff. Sept. 1381 (damage done by rebels on estates of the countess of Norfolk), Feb., Mar. 1384 (acts prejudicial to the interests of the earl of March), July 1384 (murder), July 1384 (contributions to the fortification of Bishop’s Lynn), May 1387 (murder), Jan. 1388 (breach of truce with Scotland) array Apr., July 1377, Feb. 1379, Mar. 1380, Apr. 1385, Mar. 1392 to examine goods forfeited by rebels, Norf., Suff. Aug. 1381 put down rebellion, Norf. Dec. 1381, Mar., Dec. 1382 fortify Great Yarmouth May, Sept. 1386 make proclamation against unlawful assemblies, Norf., Suff. Sept. 1387 administer oaths acknowledging loyal support for the Lords Appellant, Norf. Mar. 1388.

    Sheriff, Norf. and Suff. 25 Nov. 1378-5 Nov. 1379.

    Tax surveyor, Norf. Dec. 1380, Mar. 1381 collector Dec. 1384.


    Stephen Hales inherited from his parents a moiety of the lordship of Testerton, manors in Wicklewood, Warham and Holt, and lands at Kelling, his holdings being therefore for the most part concentrated in north Norfolk. His wife Joan would appear to have been the heiress of manors in Swanton Novers and Wiveton.1

    In his early life Hales saw much active service in the wars with France. He was ‘first armed’ in a sea-fight with Spaniards off Winchelsea in 1350, campaigned in the army of the Black Prince in Gascony from 1355 to 1357, was present when Edward III’s forces menaced Paris in the spring of 1360, and, once more under the prince’s command, fought at the battle of Najera in 1367. He attained a prominent position either in Prince Edward’s household or as one of his military commanders, being rewarded on 13 Nov. 1372 with the large annuity of 100 marks for life, charged on the revenues of the stannaries of Cornwall. During the session of the Parliament of January 1377, in which Hales represented his home county on the first of nine occasions, he obtained from young Richard of Bordeaux confirmation of this grant.2 In the early years of his reign, Richard relied heavily on his late father’s retainers, and although Hales was not among those who became members of the Household, he was constantly employed in local administration in East Anglia. Towards the end of his term as sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk (1378-9), he was instructed to go to Bury St. Edmunds ‘for urgent reasons’—no doubt to quell the disturbances arising from the disputed election to the abbacy. As sheriff, he was responsible for making the return recording his own election to the Parliament of 1380 (Jan.), although he had relinquished office before the Commons actually assembled. In the meantime, in December 1379, he had obtained formal confirmation of his annuity from Richard as King.

    A man of Hales’s military background might expect to be kept busy in the early 1380s, a time of considerable unrest in East Anglia. Indeed, he had already proved useful in restoring order at Bury. When, in the spring of 1380, a band of men resisted serjeants-at-arms in their attempts to requisition vessels and conscript mariners for royal service and had besieged them in a barn at Wells (Norfolk), it was Hales who rode to their rescue, putting the assailants to flight. But his task was not always so easy. As he was among those appointed as commissioners in March 1381 to put an end to evasion of the poll tax, the insurgents of June had a particular grievance against him. On this occasion he and other ‘honourable knights’ (including the Lords Scales and Morley) were ignominiously overwhelmed by the rebels led by Geoffrey Lister, a dyer from Norwich, who compelled them to join their company and murdered Sir Robert Salle † when he resisted. Hales complied when Lister, acting out the role of ‘Rex Communium’, made him carve his meat and taste the food before he ate, though, understandably, following this humiliation he took a prominent part in the suppression of the revolt in East Anglia. Then named on a number of royal commissions, he zealously seized goods stolen by the rebels, assessed the damage done by them, and in the course of the next 18 months served on military bodies appointed for the maintenance of order. Hales almost certainly offered staunch opposition to any appeals for leniency put forward in the next Parliament to meet after the uprising, although there is no evidence that he exacted any personal revenge. Perhaps as a reward for his efforts in the King’s service, in December 1382 it was ordered that from then on his annuity was to be paid out of the revenues of Norfolk, a more convenient arrangement from his own point of view.3

    In February 1385 Hales was discharged from a commission to collect subsidies in Norfolk, the reason being that ‘he is kept in the city of London by weakness of his eye and, under care of physicians, is busied with the healing thereof’. After emerging from this spell of treatment, he took part in Richard II’s expedition to Scotland that summer, with a small personal following consisting of an esquire and three archers. Hales’s activity in local administration was to continue unaffected by the political upheavals of the years between 1386 and 1389 and, even though he was the person selected by the Lords Appellant in March 1388 to administer in Norfolk oaths of loyalty to their regime, he was nevertheless retained as a j.p. after the King re-asserted control over the government a year or so later. Indeed, he served throughout this period as a member of the Norfolk bench.4

    In his youth, Hales had established a friendship with Sir Thomas Felton KG, the Black Prince’s seneschal of Aquitaine, whose manors of Great and Little Ryburgh bordered on his own at Testerton. It was on Felton’s behalf that in 1379 he had acted as patron of the rectory of Litcham, and following his friend’s death two years later he had offered his widow, Joan, assistance in many of the transactions necessary for the settlement of her property. Thus, he was party to the arrangements made to provide an income for Joan and her daughters Mary (afterwards wife of Sir John Curson*) and Sibyl (who apparently married Sir Thomas Morley, before retiring to Barking abbey as a nun) and in 1385 he and his fellow trustees of the Felton estates obtained a royal licence to make a substantial grant to Walsingham priory, where a chantry was to be built in memory of Felton and his former lord the Black Prince. This business brought Hales into close contact with Thomas, Lord Morley, and five years later when the latter married Anne Hastings, he was asked to serve as their feoffee in the making of an entail of the manor of Great Hallingbury (Essex).5 Hales also established links with other members of the lesser nobility who held estates in East Anglia. He acted as a feoffee-to-uses for John, Lord Plaiz (who in his will in 1385 left him sufficient silver to make a new cup with a cover), and it was on this lord’s behalf that he arranged grants in mortmain to Bromehill priory. And on occasion he witnessed deeds for John, Lord Clifton and Walter, Lord Fitzwalter. Yet it would seem to have been on his own account that in 1392 he applied for licences both from the King and from Richard, earl of Arundel, to convey certain properties in Quarles and elsewhere to North Creake abbey, then in the process of restoration.6

    GREYNDORE, Sir John (c.1356-1416), of Abenhall, Glos.

    b.c.1356, s. and h. of Laurence Greyndore of Hadnock, Mon. by Margaret, da. and h. of Sir Ralph Abenhall of Abenhall. m. (1) Marion Hathewey, 1s. Robert* (2) bef. Apr. 1392, Isabel, 1da. Kntd. by Apr. 1398.1

    Offices Held

    Tax collector, Glos. May 1379, Nov. 1382, Nov. 1383, Mar. 1388, Herefs. Mar. 1404.

    Constable of St. Briavels and keeper of the Forest of Dean, Glos. 13 Nov. 1384-d.

    Commr. of inquiry, Glos. Apr. 1398 (forfeited goods and chattels of Thomas, duke of Gloucester), Herefs. June 1406 (concealments) to resist Welsh rebels and relieve Abergavenny May 1401 make proclamation of Henry IV’s intention to govern well, Herefs. May 1402 of oyer and terminer, Herefs., Glos. Nov. 1405, S. Wales June 1413 to raise royal loans, Glos., Herefs. June 1406 send victuals to Bristol for Parliament Nov. 1409 relieve Coity castle Oct. 1412 safeguard the march against Welsh rebels June 1415.

    Sheriff, Glam. 25 Jan. 1400-c. Nov. 1414, Glos. 22 Nov. 1405-5 Nov. 1406, 10 Dec. 1411-3 Nov. 1412.

    Constable of Usk castle c.1402-3, Radnor castle 24 Sept. 1402-28 Jan. 1405, dep. constable of Monmouth and Skenfrith castles 20 Feb. 1405-25 Dec. 1406, constable of Chepstow castle 11 June 1405-c.1409, of Whitecastle 22 May 1406-d. , of Aberystwyth castle Mich. 1408-c.1410, of Monmouth and the Three Castles 5 Apr. 1413-d.2

    J.p. Herefs. 27 Apr. 1404-Nov. 1413.

    Steward of Usk and Caerleon 29 Mar. 1406-aft. 1413, of Monmouth 11 Jan. 1412-d. , of Bodley and Minsterworth, Glos. Dec. 1413-June 1416.3

    Justice itinerant, S. Wales 1415.4


    Sir John Greyndore was a notable soldier and an important figure in the government of the southern Welsh marches. His lands were all on the Gloucestershire-Monmouthshire border, in or near the Forest of Dean. From his father he inherited the manor of Clearwell, Gloucestershire, and lands at English Bicknor, Newland and St. Briavels, in the same county, and at Hadnock, near Monmouth. From his mother (after her death in 1375 and that of her second husband in the following year) he received the manor of Abenhall and land at nearby Little Dean, and in the course of his career he also acquired half the manor of Micheldean. His first wife, Marion Hathewey, likewise came of a local family, with land at Ruardean.5

    John is first mentioned in September 1376 when (aged about 20) he entered into a joint recognizance with his relation, Raulyn Greyndore of Micheldean. Three years later he served for the first time as a royal tax collector. In 1394 he accompanied Richard II to Ireland, and by April 1398 he had been knighted. During Richard II’s reign he also served several local magnates: in 1384 Guy, Lord Bryan, had made him constable of his castle of St. Briavels and keeper of the Forest of Dean during Guy’s lifetime, and a year later this appointment was confirmed by the King for Greyndore’s own life. He was also retained by Gilbert, Lord Talbot, who before his death in 1387 granted him a life annuity of £10 from the lordships of Archenfield and Goodrich in Herefordshire. In addition, he had links with William Beauchamp, Lord Abergavenny, for whose Kentish lands he was to act as a feoffee in 1400. Several members of the Greyndore family (including Sir John’s father) had been retainers of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, and Sir John himself may also have served the duke, to whom he conveyed land in Hadnock in 1392.6

    Such a connexion would explain Greyndore’s rise to prominence after the accession of Henry IV. As early in the reign as 12 Oct. 1399, by which time he was already described as a King’s knight, he was granted custody of the Gloucestershire lands (worth 20 marks a year) of the late William Blount, with the marriage of his heir, Isabel. Furthermore, three months later he was appointed sheriff of Glamorgan, which formerly hereditary office had been confiscated following the treason of Thomas, Lord Despenser. Between September and December 1400, he took part in Henry IV’s Scottish campaign, serving with Lord Grey of Codnor at Roxburgh and with the prince of Wales at Leith. In January 1401 he was first returned to Parliament, and in August following he was summoned to a great council at Westminster.7 By then Owen Glendower’s rebellion had broken out, and for the next nine years Sir John was to be more or less continuously employed in its containment and suppression. In May 1401 he had been one of those commissioned to relieve Abergavenny, and by July 1402 he had taken command of New Radnor castle, which he garrisoned for the next two-and-a-half years with up to ten men-at-arms and 60 archers. At about the same time he appears to have commanded Usk castle, which had a garrison some 80 strong. On 1 Aug. 1402 his services were rewarded by royal grant of 40 marks and a tun of wine annually, and a month later he was officially appointed constable of Radnor and custodian of the lordships of Presteigne, Kingsland, Norton and Pembridge in Radnorshire and Herefordshire which were then in the King’s hands during the minority of Edmund Mortimer, earl of March. Thus, when the earl’s uncle, Sir Edmund Mortimer, went over to Glendower in December 1402, one of his first actions was to write to Greyndore, informing him of his change of front and urging him to forbear making raids on Mortimer lands occupied by Glendower. It is doubtful whether such a plea took effect.8

    By now Sir John was attached to the household of Prince Henry, the King’s lieutenant in Wales, and on 21 July 1403 (with a company of five men-at-arms and 40 archers) he fought in the prince’s retinue at the battle of Shrewsbury. At other times during the period from April 1403 until July 1404 he was paid the wages of his own large retinue of 20 lances and 100 archers, operating near Montgomery and elsewhere in Wales. Then, in October following, he found time to attend the ‘Unlearned’ Parliament at Coventry, the other representative for Herefordshire being his neighbour, Thomas Walwyn II of Much Marcle, to whom he was to be later connected by marriage when his daughter, Joan, married Walwyn’s son, William † . By February 1405 Greyndore had exchanged his command at Radnor for the posts of deputy constable of the castle and town of Monmouth and of Skenfrith castle. During the following spring he played a major part in two signal defeats inflicted on the Welsh in that area. The first was on 11 Mar., when 8,000 rebels from Gwent and Glamorgan attacked and burnt the town of Grosmont. Prince Henry counter-attacked with ‘mon petit meigne de mon hostel’ under Gilbert, Lord Talbot, who was joined by the retinues of Sir William Newport* and Greyndore. Although these forces ‘ne feurent q’un tres petit povoir en tous’, they routed the Welsh, and killed, it was said, nearly a thousand of them. Not long afterwards Greyndore and Lord Grey of Codnor were in command of the garrison of Usk castle when (perhaps on 5 May) it was attacked by a Welsh force under Griffith, eldest son of Owen Glendower. The English sallied out and defeated the rebels on the hill of Pwll Melyn, capturing Griffith and killing his uncle, Tudor. After the battle, 300 Welsh captives were executed.9

    Sir John’s military services continued to be much in demand. In June 1405 he was appointed constable of Chepstow, with responsibility for the surrounding area, and in the following September he was negotiating for the submission of the defeated rebels of Gwent. In March 1406 he was granted (probably as a reward) the stewardship of the Mortimer lordships of Usk and Caerleon, and in May following (when he had an episcopal licence to appoint his own confessor) he became constable of Whitecastle, an appointment for life. Nor did his services go unrecognized by Parliament, for on 19 June Sir John Tiptoft, then Speaker, made specific reference to him as one of those whom the Commons were petitioning the King to reward for their ‘grandes labours et disseases pur resister les rebealx de Gales’. Exactly what rewards came his way as a result is unknown, but on 22 May 1408 he had a life grant of lands in the lordship of Newport, worth 40 marks a year, confiscated from various Welsh rebels.10

    Meanwhile, during the summer of 1407, Sir John had been with Prince Henry at the siege of Aberystwyth castle, and he witnessed the articles of surrender drawn up there on 8 Sept. Glendower repudiated the agreement, however, and the castle held out for another year. Prince Henry’s trust in Greyndore is amply demonstrated by the fact that he was immediately appointed constable of this key fortress, and he apparently retained command until 1410, by which time the long rebellion had been effectively crushed. Not long before, a barge of his (operating from Bristol) had been involved in capturing and plundering a Genoese carrack at Milford Haven. Greyndore’s men carried off 60 butts of wine ‘for safe-keeping’ at Chepstow, but in March 1410 Sir John was ordered to return them.11

    Shortly after Henry of Monmouth’s succession to the throne, Greyndore was appointed steward and constable of Monmouth and the Three Castles (Grosmont, Skenfrith and Whitecastle) and granted a life annuity of £64 over and above his wages. He thus became the principal officer of the duchy of Lancaster in south-east Wales, as well as a member of the duchy council and it was as such that he served ex officio on royal commissions and as a justice itinerant.12 His private interests at this time seem to have connected him with Joan, widow of William, Lord Abergavenny. In 1413 he was a party to a recognizance involving her acquisition of the former Despenser lands in South Wales, and in 1415 he was her fellow trustee when Thomas, Lord Berkeley, acquired the castle of Bridgwater, Somerset, from the earl of March.13

    On 16 June 1415 Sir John was granted wide powers of government in the southern Welsh march, it being his duty to keep the peace there during Henry V’s absence in France. This commission seems to have been a dead letter, however, for four days earlier he had been granted royal letters of protection as a member of the King’s army himself and, though aged about 60, he served at the siege of Harfleur with ten men-at-arms, 30 archers and 120 miners, the latter presumably from the pits in the Forest of Dean.14 Whether he accompanied the King from Harfleur to Agincourt is not known, but he did form part of the garrison at Harfleur (under Thomas, earl of Dorset) between December 1415 and April 1416. He may well have died there, and he was certainly dead by September 1416, when a new steward of Monmouth was appointed. He was succeeded in his estates by his son Robert.15

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  1. Misida

    just what do you have to do in this case?

  2. Kulbert

    As a specialist, I can help.

  3. Aglaval

    Five odds

  4. Tenoch

    Do you consider insignificant?

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