Apr. 3rd, 2014

transemacabre: (Rose Red)
This is an interesting account of a two powerful historical women that deserves to be better known.

Padishah of Kerman's grandfather had been smart enough to pick the winning side when the Mongol khan Hulagu invaded and conquered the empire of the Selcuk Turks. Hulagu made Padishah's grandfather the ruler of Kerman, and in due time his daughter (Padishah's mother) Kutlugh Turkan inherited Kerman.

Padishah's father died when she was young, and her mother, Kutlugh Turkan, as we have said, was governing Kerman. Padishah had been raised as a boy, but she grew into a beautiful and talented young woman, noted for her skills at poetry and calligraphy. The Mongols, as was their custom, demanded that Padishah be handed over to be married to Abaka Khan, the son of Hulagu. As far as I'm aware, this royal marriage is unique in all the medieval world -- the bride was a Muslim and the groom was a Buddhist! Muslim women aren't supposed to marry outside the faith, but if the Il-Khan of Persia tells you to hand over your nubilest daughter for him to marry, you damn well hand her over. Anyway, Abaka had many wives but it seems that Padishah was his highest-ranked wife.

In 1282, Siyurghatmish, a son of Padishah's father by a concubine, was old enough to start causing trouble in Kerman. At this time, Abaka Khan drank himself to death and his brother and sons began fighting over control of Persia. Abaka's brother Tekuder supported Siyurghatmish, but Tekuder was soon deposed and executed by his nephew Arghun, Abaka's son. Arghun had Siyurghatmish arrested, but later relented and released him. Siyurghatmish married a Mongol princess named Kurdujin; Padishah meantime had remarried, in accordance with Mongol custom, to her stepson Ghaikhatu.

This is one of Padishah's poems:

From the apple I receive secretly from your hand,
I savor the aroma of eternal life,
Because it comes to me from your hand and from your palm,
To remind me of your friendship.
My heart opens like a pomegranate from the joy I feel.


Arghun died and was replaced by his brother Ghaikhatu. Padishah was pissed that her brother Siyurghatmish had usurped her place in Kerman, and complained to her husband. Ghaikhatu seized Kerman and Padishah retook her city in triumph. At first she allowed her brother to rule by her side, but these two just could not get along. Suspecting that Siyurghatmish meant to depose her, Padishah had him arrested. His faithful wife Kurdujin smuggled him a coil of rope in a water skin into his cell, which Siyurghatmish used to escape, but he was speedily captured and strangled on his sister's orders.

A year later, in 1295, Ghaikhatu was murdered and his cousin, Baidu, came to power. Baidu married Shah Alam, the only daughter of Siyurghatmish and his grieving widow, Kurdujin. Shah Alam and Kurdudjin prevailed upon Baidu, who obligingly gave them an army with which to march into Padishah's territory, seize her, and put her to death in revenge for the death of Siyurghatmish. The poet Hamidullah wrote these verses on this occasion:

If thy cross be thorns, verily thou hast sown them;
If it be China silk, verily thou thyself hast spun it.

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