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Women in Mongol Iran

The Khatuns, 1206-1335

Bruno De Nicola

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Explores the political, economic and religious role of women in Mongol Iran

'Book of Excellence for the Year 2017 on the subject Iranian Culture and Civilization', awarded by the Embassy of Islamic Republic of Iran in the UK

Bruno De Nicola investigates the development of women’s status in the Mongol Empire from its original homeland in Mongolia up to the end of the Ilkhanate of Iran in 1335. Taking a thematic approach, the chapters show a coherent progression of this development and contextualise the evolution of the role of women in medieval Mongol society. The arrangement serves as a starting point from where to draw comparison with the status of Mongol women in the later period. Exploring patterns of continuity and transformation in the status of these women in different periods of the Mongol Empire as it expanded westwards into the Islamic world, the book offers a view on the transformation of a nomadic-shamanist society from its original homeland in Mongolia to its settlement in the mostly sedentary-Muslim Iran in the mid-13th century.

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List of Illustrations
A Note on Transliteration 
Introduction: The study of women in the Mongol Empire 
1.  Women and Politics from the Steppes to World Empire 
2.  Regents and Empresses: Women’s Rule in the Mongols’ World Empire 
3.  Political Involvement and Women’s Rule in the Ilkhanate 
4. Women and the Economy of the Mongol Empire 
5.  Mongol Women’s Encounters with Eurasian Religions 
6.  Concluding Remarks
List of Abbreviations 

About the Author

Bruno De Nicola (BA Barcelona, MA London, PhD. Cantab.) is Lecturer in the History of the Middle East at Goldsmiths College (University of London). He combines this position with an affiliation to the Institut für Iranistik (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften) in Vienna (Austria). Previously he has been part of the ERC funded project “The Islamisation of Anatolia, c. 1100-1500” (grant number 284076) based at the University of St. Andrews and Project Curator of Persian Manuscripts at the British Library (London). His main area of research is the history of the Mongol Empire, medieval Middle Eastern history and Islamic manuscripts.


'This is a book I will recommend to my students and will continue to use in my own work. I imagine it will quickly become a standard text for this subject as well as an indispensable companion for any student of the Ilkhanate and the Mongol Empire in general. It will occupy a space on our library shelves which has been empty for far too long.'

- George Lane, SOAS, University of London

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