Zhao, Marriage as Political Strategy and Cultural Expression (PhD, 2001)

Marriage as Political Strategy and Cultural Expression: Mongolian Royal Marriages from World Empire to Yuan Dynasty

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Click book for PDF (11.7MB)

by George Qingzhi Zhao

Ph.D., East Asian Studies, University of Toronto, 2001


This dissertation is a study of the Mongolian royal marriages from the World Empire (1206-1 279) to the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), focusing on the various aspects of the marriage strategies of the Mongol royal family and the political implications of these marriages. It also attempts to solve, by exploring the marriage partners of the Mongol royal family, the enigma of how and why an imperial marriage was arranged and determined, and to further reveal the relationship between the Mongol royal family and its marriage partners.

This dissertation consists of eight chapters. Chapter One reviews the Mongolian marital tradition and probes the characteristics of the Mongolian royal marriages. Chapter Two discusses the Marriage Strategies and the political implication of the Mongolian royal marriages. Chapter Three analyzes the social position of Mongolian women and the political involvement of Mongolian empresses. Chapter Four to Chapter Eight describe the various marriage relationships between the Chinggisid clan and its marriage partners. The Onggirat tribe, the Ikires tribe, the Oirat tribe, the Korean royal family, the Ongiit tribe, and the Uighur Idug-qut’s Clan have been selected for examination.

Based on the exploration, description, and discussion in the proceeding chapters, the dissertation concludes that the Mongolian imperial marriages during the 13th and 14th centuries were politically and militarily significant. The great ambitions of the Chinggisid clan for a maximum geographical expansion of the Mongol empire necessitated marriage strategies for an effective control of the realm. The effect of the political marriages of the Mongol royal family was largely justified by its successive domination over the allied tribes and states during the early period of the Mongol empire. The halo once placed on the strategy of Mongol royal marriage faded along with the decline of the Mongol empire.

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