Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mongol Queens ~ a teaser

Today's teaser is from The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire ~ by Jack Weatherford, 2010 (pages 30-31):
As part of the wedding ceremony, a Mongol bride stood in front of her new ger [tent] and put on the boqta, the tall headgear of a queen. She also put on all her jewelry. Before entering the ger, she walked between two large fires that sanctified her so that she might enter her marriage in the purest possible state. The marriage happened without much ceremony, but for eight days afterward, people brought presents to the couple.  On the eighth day, the family would host a grand feast. ...

The husband had to have a place prepared for his new wife. In one episode in which a khan brought in a new queen for whom he had not yet prepared a home, he sought to bring her to the ger of his senior wife. Out of hospitality for the younger woman, the elder queen did not at first object and she went to sleep, apparently without suspecting that the couple might try to consummate the marriage at that time.

However, during the night the khan became amorous with his bride. The older queen, sleeping nearby, awoke. "How shall I watch you two enjoying each other in bed?" she angrily asked them.

Although it was night, the senior queen ordered them out. "Leave my ger!" Since there was no other ger in the vicinity, the khan and his younger wife had to spend the night outside in the open. The next day, the khan was able to make arrangements to move the young queen in with some of his relatives until he could prepare her a place of her own. In the ger, the wife ruled even if her husband happened to be a khan [king].

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