The Golden Horde in World History. A Multi-Authored Monograph
This monograph presents research into the history of the Golden Horde that represents its role in world history, and contains key contemporary studies by leading scholars from the Russian and foreign academic centres. The cover design features the image of ‘Mounted Batyr’, which belongs to the brand ‘Cultural and historical heritage of Tatarstan’.
The political history of Khwarezm at the turn of the 13th century is associated with two outstanding representatives of the Anushteginid dynasty, Khwarezm Shahs Ala ad-Din Tekish and Ala al-Din, who brought the state to become one of the largest and most powerful countries in the Islamic East. The expansion and strengthening of the state entity begins already in 1157, following the death of Seljuq Sultan Sanjar (1118–1157) [11, pp. 153; 10, pp. 32–33], when Khwarezmian rulers become actually independent. The reign of Khwarezm Shah Abu-lFath Il Arslan (1156–1172) was marked by their joining the struggle over the Seljuqid legacy. It is beyond doubt that Khwarezm had numerous rivals, who did their best to take advantage of the power vacuum, trying to expand their territories as far as possible and thus succeed the Seljuq rulers. In spite of Khwarezm's military success in Khorasan, Gorgan, Dihistan, and the Persian Iraq, the Kara Khitan people and regional rulers of Transoxiana dependent on them became the most important opponents of Il Arslan [10, pp. 35; 9, p. 398]. It should be noted that Khwarezm Shah Il Arslan allied with Karluk tribes [34, p. 131] or, according to later sources, the Kipchaks [83, vol. 1, p. 239] in order to enhance his military power and confront the enemy. The former variant appears more plausible. It is more important, however, that Turkic nomads were crucial to the Khwarezmian military apparatus already during Il Arslan's rule. Please mind that Khwarezm's military alliance with Turkic tribes was to become very typical during the reign of his descendants, which practice is described in detail below.
When the Mongol-Khwarezmian (1219–1221) war broke out, the state of Anushteginid Khwarezm Shahs in addition to the Khwarezm Region included the following territories: Transoxiana, Khorasan, and the territories of today's Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. To delineate its territory, the northern border ran along the right bank of the Syr Darya, where Otrar was considered the main frontier city, up to the Aral Sea. The northern shores of the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman formed its natural southern border, while the Indus presented the south-eastern frontier of the Khwarezmian domain. Ala ad-Din Muhammad's state reached the Pamir and the Sulaiman Mountains in the east and the Zagros Mountains in the east, in particular covering Persian Iraq. The ruler was so powerful that, according to a number of medieval historians, the states of Shirvan Shahs and Azerbaijani atabegs were regarded as dependents on it