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Title: The Hülegüids, 1258-1335, and the challenge of extended lines of communication
Author: Bateman, Gillian Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 5453
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2015
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Communication and contact between the two ancient civilizations of Iran and China have a long, if sometimes sporadic, history. From the time of the Han Dynasty (206 BCE -220 CE) 'strategic' communication - communication networks that are essential to the survival of a state - have been a significant aspect of statecraft as rulers over a millennium ago endeavoured to defend their dominions and sustain their power. The interdiction of communication networks could lead to governance becoming paralysed as the ability of rulers to maintain contact with farflung officials and collect vital intelligence about challenges to their power would be jeopardized. The thesis that is presented here is that whilst there are features common to most pre-modern communication systems, that of the Chinggisids' displayed some unique characteristics. It will be further argued that the sheer extent of their conquests was the Achilles Heel of the imperial project since it resulted in the dangerous overstretch of the communication network. This was exacerbated not only by the limited technology available but also by internecine strife within the imperial family which further endangered already vulnerable communications. Such factors, it will be argued, were an aggravating issue for the successors of Hülegü, the third son of Chinggis Khan's youngest son Tolui and founder of the Hülegüid realm in Western Asia. It complicated their efforts to secure and sustain their domain, because the Qa'an, their theoretical overlord, fount of their legitimacy, ally, close relative and the supposed yeke gol or 'great pivot' of the Chinggisid imperium was thousands of miles distant across inhospitable and often hostile terrain. Though this study is firmly positioned in the pre-modern period, the central focus on the perennial problem of creating, maintaining and safeguarding efficient strategic communication networks, without which no government can function, continues to have resonance today.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral