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Question Title is edited by J Asia, see OP's comments in my answer, below. Have left rest of OP's question as is (the body of question). This question, in my limited understanding of genetics, is really about phenotype of Arabs.


I've found lots about the tactics, battles, life (housing, cuisine, family structures, traditions) and such, but not much about slavery under Mongol rule.

I know that the Vikings, Romans, Ottomans, Saracens and others used to traffic in "exotics" (spices, unusual materials, unusual animals, things like perfumes, oils, plants or other ingredients) because they liked luxury, so they would bring female slaves from exotic peoples from far away places (for obvious reasons). Perhaps thousands each year over the span of at least a century or two (take it with a grain of salt, no sources for this, just "I think I read this once").

So it seems plausible to have happened "frequently enough" for Scandinavia, in the Mediterranean and such. There might have been a steady, small influx, enough to spread those genetics out into those places for us to be able to see it in genetic analysis today.

Now, being that the Mongols reached both Europe, the Middle East, and I don't recall if they crossed the Sinai into Africa too, and knowing how ravenous they were, wouldn't they also have wanted to take women back with them to Mongolia? They could have taken women from all kinds of places, but I don't know of any evidence for a corresponding genetic variation in modern Mongols. Did the warriors just settle down in the conquered lands and intermix with the locals there? Or what would explain this assumed lack of genetic diversity in Mongolia today despite their history?

I'm curious about historical sources that show how they (Mongols) themselves perceived the practice and how they treated them (the women), and whether the women gained influence in the courts. I only mentioned what I could see because I don't have anything else to go by to evaluate the situation without any literature.

  • Historical sources, yes. I'm curious about how they(Mongols) themselves perceived the practice and how they treated them(the women), and whether the women gained influence in the courts. I only mentioned what I could see because I don't have anything else to go by to evaluate the situation without any literature. – Jack Of Blades Feb 5 at 18:37
  • Just my three naive comments:1) people did not collect slaves only because they looked exotic - they collected less exotic ones, too, 2) running harems and having large numbers of slaves generally needs a more sedentary lifestyle. It is rather inconvenient to move around Europe, then the steppes, alter maybe back to Mongolia or somewhere else with a large number of slaves 3) I am not sure that the Mongols who invaded Europe all went back to Mongolia since not all of them were Mongols anyways and also someone had to stay in eastern European steppes, too. – Greg Feb 6 at 14:49
  • @Greg Even if everything's true what you wrote or you'd say "mongols never had any slaves": that is more part of an answer than an attempt to improve this question? –– I'd agree though that the 'exotic' angle seems superfluous for the question to me as well. Jack might be well advised to just cut that out and focus just on "I suspect they took many slaves"? – LangLangC Feb 6 at 14:53
  • I didn't ask about slaves in general nor women in general. Hurem Sultan neither looked like nor behaved like the average Ottoman Turk, how else would I put that fact? She's eccentric or foreign or what? Choose whatever word you want instead, they mean the same. Why did the Mongols not have anyone like that? They didn't take female slaves from Russia, Persia, the German states and such? I find that incredibly hard to believe. Now apparently I can't even point out what I'm asking for because I can't say "a non-Mongol slave woman" or however I should put it for people's OCD without being racist. – Jack Of Blades Feb 9 at 17:40
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This question seems too contrived to have any sincere intention, such as, " ... knowing how ravenous they were, wouldn't they also have wanted to take women back with them to Mongolia?" Did OP mean to assert they were more ravenous for women? Than whom? Actually, no, I don't know how ravenous.

All conflicts - from ancient to modern era - results in suffering of women, children, and the generally weaker groups (tribes). So, as Mark Wallace suggested, the phrasing is, in my opinion, reckless.

If OP is seeking a reasonable question I could probably answer it straight forwardly. As it stands, and as Mark suggested, it would be better to clean it up because it is not answerable.

So, presuming OP truly is doing some research, the answer to one of the questions by OP, "whether the women gained influence in the courts", I take it the question meant whether women slaves gained influence in the courts. The short answer is "No". And it isn't because they were women, but because they were non-Chinggisid.

My hope is OP puts more care into drafting the question, and aim for clarity. I'm quite certain that many here can provide can very reasonable answers once that's done. I, too, will attempt with a more detailed answer if this is done.


Contingent Answer

This is contingent on the fact that OP wanted to ask this question, and my revision of the question is correct.

From above: I take it the question meant whether women slaves gained influence in the courts. The short answer is "No". And it isn't because they were women, but because they were non-Chinggisid.


First, womenfolk who were enslaved were still treated with some measure of respect (as part of the appanage). In other words, they were property of the Great Khan (Chinggis Khan) and cannot be disposed off improperly.

Second, slave women were eligible for marriage. To avoid incest and re-productive issues, the Mongols practised exogamy and the enslaved womenfolk played a role in this.

Finally, to be influential at the Mongol court, one normally had to be a Chinggisid and women had real influence, especially during power vacuums, between selection of Khans, whilst waiting for the kurultai's final decision. See Chapter 2 (Regents and Empresses: Women’s Rule in the Mongols’ World Empire) in "Women in Mongol Iran" (Edinburgh University Press, 2017). Open access book.


(Because LangLangC requested)

Contingent Quotes

Let's wait for OP to clarify the question.

Meanwhile, here's two short quotes. Both from The Cambridge History of Inner Asia - The Chinggisd Age (Cambridge UP, 2009), pages 28 and 94, respectively:

This was a world charcterized by endemic feuding and raids in which the livestock of neighbouring clans or tribes were looted and individuals or even whole clans were carried off as prisoners. Those enslaved included both womenfolk, who were a means of perpetuating well-established exogamous traditions, and males who were employed by their new masters in a menial capacity. Such 'long-standing serfs' might in time rise to positions of responsibility, though less often than free warriors who moved between tribes in order to attach themselves to a successful war-leader as his sworn retainers (nokod).

NOTE: The nokod (singular, nokor), or "companions," of major lineage chiefs or tribal khans were important estate in medieval Mongolian society. More info role and signficance of nokod here, "The Cambridge History of China, Volume 6: Alien Regimes and Border States, 907-1368" (1994).

Both the conquered and the military rank-and-file were the property or vassals of the Chinggisid dynasty and the Mongol aristocracy to whom they were allocated, but allocation was temporary and there were reallocations of troops from one appanage to another and permanent deportations of conquered subjects to the dominions of the paramount leader.

In other words, as a tribal society, all conquered subjects were property (which requires further explanation for greater understanding in another place) and therefore, and important resource to Mongol society.

(This 'contingent' approach is clearly silly but, hopefully, it illustrated the need for clarity in questions).

  • Perhaps: Not "reckless" but curious. That said: equally perhaps: Q lacks refs, A lacks refs. Without comparing boths: please ad yours–– – LangLangC Feb 7 at 1:40
  • @LangLangC - This 'contingent' approach is clearly silly but, hopefully, it illustrated the need for clarity in questions – J Asia Feb 7 at 3:36
  • I guess slaying a million people in Baghdad and Beijing isn't ravenous. No, I didn't ask about slaves in general nor women in general, I'm wondering why there are more people of red hair among Arabs than Mongols when both populations are naturally born with dark hair. I can't believe I'm being branded a racist and a bigot for this. Is it racist to point out that there is a genetic difference between a brown-haired person and a black-haired person? Or that Boers are descended from Dutch and English settlers? Or did blonde people always exist in South Africa, just so we don't sound racist? – Jack Of Blades Feb 9 at 17:31
  • A for effort, useless otherwise. I accepted just because I'm not going to play semantic games and argue about the blaringly obvious with everyone just to get a simple answer to a simple question, that's not happening. – Jack Of Blades Feb 9 at 17:34
  • @JackOfBlades - Thank you for explaining your point here. This is what I meant, when I wrote "reckless", as it pertains to perception of you based on your choice of words. I didn't think you were bigoted. I wouldn't have bothered to answer otherwise. Instead of ravenous, how about "cruel", "vengeful", "fearsome" ... all I'm saying is words matter. Not about semantics. As for hair colour, is it based entirely on women's genes? I'm not sure how this, if it was your intended question, fits with your question. By the way, points don't matter in history. It never did. – J Asia Feb 9 at 17:52

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