The recent studies of Anne F. Broadbridge and Bruno De Nicola are indispensable additions to Mongol history, as they explore the range of women’s contributions to the empire as a whole. Their studies provide eye-opening rereadings of the extant sources, drawn from Arabic, Persian, Mongol, Chinese, Eastern Christian, and European traditions, to underscore women’s integral engagement in the Mongol Empire and its successor states.

Organized into six chapters, De Nicola’s overarching focus is on the non-static, transformative nature of women’s experiences across the Mongol Empire, with an emphasis on the Ilkhanate in Iran between 1256 and 1335 and the lives of the khātūns, the higher class of women married into the Chinggisid family. De Nicola points to the various precedents of women’s prominent roles in pre-Chinggisid Mongolia, which continued into the empire, leading to the rise of the...

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