- First off: yes, George Lucas ripped off Mongolian fashion for Princess Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. ↩
- The missing section has to do with inheritance, and started with “let us reward our female offspring.” It’s unclear as to whether it was just left out by someone who was copying the original text – if it was an accident, or what – but it sure is frustrating. For more on that, I highly recommend Jack Weatherford’s The Secret History of the Mongol Queens, which opened with that exact same point as well. We don’t even know how many in-wedlock daughters Genghis had, or their names. ↩
- “Alakhai” probably means either Siberian Marmot or “Palm of the Hand” — which would be a likely reference to a story about Genghis’s birth, where he came out holding a blood clot. This apparently was held up as a symbol of his importance. The whole story, though, is almost certainly a latter-day invention for PR purposes. “Beki” means princess. ↩
- The sources I read couldn’t really agree on who she was engaged to. Most seemed to indicate she was betrothed to Alaqush, leader of the Ongud, but some say she was betrothed to his son, Bai Sibu/Buyan-Shuiban. In any event, she’d end up married to Alaqush, then Bai Sibu, and eventually both of Alaqush’s other sons at one point or another. ↩
- The Ongud were located well to help stage additional raids. The Gobi Desert made for a harsh journey of several days – any Mongol army sent across it would be easy pickings for a defending force by the time they came out the other side. ↩
- Other dadly advice from Genghis: “Life is short, but fame is everlasting! No friend is better tha nyour own wise heart. No ferocious enemy is worse than a resentful and wicked heart… Although many people can be your helper, no one should be closer to you than your own consciousness.” ↩
- Genghis did this sort of thing for all his (known) daughters – they were an advance force to give him a beachhead abroad when he went a-conquerin’. ↩
- The Mongols referred to the Ongud as the People of the Wall, for their fortified cities (not, it would seem, for the Great Wall. They were a part of what is now northern China, and were a very old people indeed, far older than the Mongols. They’d weathered the rise and fall of many empires by making friends with the right people. ↩
- This happened in 1211 – Genghis went to war against the Jurchen, and the Ongud overthrew Alaqush, killed Bai Sibu, and turned on Alakhai. This was a dangerous position to be in – he was overextended and now potentially had an enemy at his rear as well as his front. ↩
- The two kids are Zhenguo and Boyaoha, her stepsons – both of whom she’d marry in successiosn after this (Zhenguo died young). She was queen regent while they came of age. ↩
- Most of that stuff, it seems likely Genghis did – but the “burning down a city with alley cats” bit is suspect. It’s supposedly a tactic he employed while sacking Volohai, using cats, swallows, and/or pigs. Suspiciously, this is almost verbatim the same tactic ostensibly employed by Olga of Kiev around a century earlier. Olga’s story is almost certain apocryphal, and on that basis, I must suspect Genghis’s tactics at Volohai are too. ↩
- The Ongud survived as their own nation after rebelling – something no other tribe was ever able to do under Genghis. ↩
- Pictured here: Genghis’s sons Ogedei (green), Tolui (red), and his grandson Kublai (background),who used Alakhai’s work as a template for their own work. ↩
- Alakhai didn’t just run the Ongud. Then Genghis conquered the Jurchen, their leaders unexpectedly just picked up and moved further south – so he gave the duty of administration to Alakhai. ↩
- It’s unknown how long she ruled – probably twenty years or so? – or when/how she died. Around 1253, her lands were taken by her nephew Mongke, who later gave it to his younger brother Kublai. ↩
Fun fact: I originally had a very specific idea of how I wanted to draw Genghis Khan. After drawing it out, though, I realized I had drawn Nappa from Dragon Ball Z. I proceeded to hear all his dialog in Nappa’s voice from then on.
Otherwise, it’s pretty simple color coding: blue is the settled society of the Ongud, red is the rage of the Mongols, and green/earth tones are a callback to their pastoral lands.
The reason for Alakhai’s costume change early on is because the hairstyle she has for most of it is that of a married woman. Prior to her getting married, she has the tall hat.
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Next Time on Rejected Princesses
Keeping with Mongols for a little bit, around the same time period. Here’s the hint:
For five years, she was the most powerful woman in the world, and possibly in all of human history.