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Thread: Being Genghis Khan's son-in-law might not have been so good for GJ

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    Default Being Genghis Khan's son-in-law might not have been so good for GJ

    From Jack Weatherford's The Secret History of the Mongol Queens:

    "The daughters of Genghis Khan bore the title beki, an honorific designation applied to either a prince or princess. The men who married them, however, did not receive the title khan or beki. They received the special title of guregen, generally meaning “son-in-law,” but in this case the meaning was more akin to “prince consort.” A man held the title only because of his marriage to the Great Khan’s daughter. If he lost her, he lost the title. Because the guregen could be so easily replaced, the chronicles often merely used the title rather than the name. For most practical purposes in daily Mongol life, it mattered little which man was actually filling the post at the moment. If one died, another quickly stepped into his place. Usually the replacement would be a son, brother, or nephew of the last husband.The guregen occupied a unique position within the Mongol imperial system. Despite the high prestige of his close kinship to Genghis Khan, he rarely held any influential military or civilian office. Genghis Khan kept the guregen literally close at hand; most of them received appointments within the keshig, the royal guard, and thus became intimate parts of Genghis Khan’s personal camp. Those with superior ability became the leaders of their own military units, composed of about one thousand warriors from their own tribe or related clans, but under close supervision and never too far away from Genghis Khan. In this way, the best warriors in the guregen’s tribe were always separated from the majority of their tribe. A guregen had no chance to rise up within the hierarchy and no chance to wield independent power or launch his own campaigns. He held a prestigious but hardly enviable position in Mongol society.The guregen served under their father-in-law, according to the tradition of bride service that Genghis Khan had revitalized and strengthened. Instead of herding the father-in-law’s goats, camels, and yaks, these sons-in-law became herders of men; they would serve in Genghis Khan’s army and fight in his wars. Genghis Khan often sent his guregen on the most dangerous missions, however, and they tended to be killed at a high rate. Most of them never had the chance to return home for very long. Being a son-in-law to Genghis Khan was not merely an apprenticeship phase, as it would be for a small herder; for these men it became a brief, but usually lethal, career.A tribe acquired prestige and material benefits if Genghis Khan chose to marry one of his daughters to its leader. For the son-in-law, however, the honor was almost certainly a death sentence as well. He served virtually as the sacrificial victim in exchange for his tribe’s prosperity. He would give his life in battle for Genghis Khan, and in return his tribe would benefit and his own offspring would be rewarded. A guregen entered into a harsh bargain."

    Perhaps GJ made the right choice by opting to become HYS' son-in-law instead.
    Last edited by sandy1; 05-11-12 at 01:46 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandy1 View Post
    Perhaps GJ made the right choice by opting to become HYS' son-in-law instead.
    Isn't this obvious?
    Who wouldn't want to live a carefree life in the island with someone he loves over a life full of responsibilities and at the same time have to obey orders from someone else that often put their life in dangerous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    Isn't this obvious?
    Who wouldn't want to live a carefree life in the island with someone he loves over a life full of responsibilities and at the same time have to obey orders from someone else that often put their life in dangerous.
    Gwok Jing, apparently.

    Despite having East Heretic Wong Yerk See as his father-in-law, Gwok Jing still committed most of his adult life to the defense of Seung Yeung Fortress. No matter which wife (and father-in-law) he chose, he wouldn't be able to escape the war.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    Gwok Jing, apparently.

    Despite having East Heretic Wong Yerk See as his father-in-law, Gwok Jing still committed most of his adult life to the defense of Seung Yeung Fortress. No matter which wife (and father-in-law) he chose, he wouldn't be able to escape the war.
    Yes. But at least he had a choice in how he involved himself in the war. He and Huang Rong were able to hold on to Xiangyang and kept their lives for 30 plus years, while if he had became GK's son-in-law, he'd most probably be sent on a suicide mission and died within a few short years post marriage. Being HYS' son-in-law is still the better option.

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    The difference is he is a respected hero for defending Seung Yeung whereas if he fight for the Mongolians he would be the traitor that curse by millions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    The difference is he is a respected hero for defending Seung Yeung whereas if he fight for the Mongolians he would be the traitor that curse by millions.
    Well, that was why GJ was created: to be a patriotic hero for China. My point is that historically, being a GK son-in-law was not necessarily a good thing for the person concerned. It surely sounds much more iffier than how it is portrayed in LOCH.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    The difference is he is a respected hero for defending Seung Yeung whereas if he fight for the Mongolians he would be the traitor that curse by millions.
    Well, he would be a patriotic hero to the Mongols, and a traitor cursed by only those few who actually knew he was Guo Shaotian's son. He was virtually born and raised in Mongolia after all. The temptation to join Genghis Khan was so beautifully compared to Yang Kang's devotion to the Jin by Guo Jing's mother and yes, it was a betrayal of their Han heritage, but in the grand scheme of things, apart from Qiu Chuji, the Seven Freaks and the two mothers, nobody on the China side would have known that the Jin prince and the Mongolian Golden Knife Fuma were both Han Chinese.

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    There's also a historical example of a Chinese commander who held his city until it was obviously indefensible, then he surrendered rather than subject it to unnecessary depredations. The city was left largely untouched, and the Chinese commander was left in his post in recognition of his ability.

    Also, there's a certain Russian who famously collaborated with the Mongols, but is now regarded as the quintessential Russian patriot. Not to mention the ultimate American patriot who, of course, served under the British against the French, and indeed initiated the war that cemented British control over the North American territories at the expense of the French.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Liew View Post
    Well, he would be a patriotic hero to the Mongols, and a traitor cursed by only those few who actually knew he was Guo Shaotian's son. He was virtually born and raised in Mongolia after all. The temptation to join Genghis Khan was so beautifully compared to Yang Kang's devotion to the Jin by Guo Jing's mother and yes, it was a betrayal of their Han heritage, but in the grand scheme of things, apart from Qiu Chuji, the Seven Freaks and the two mothers, nobody on the China side would have known that the Jin prince and the Mongolian Golden Knife Fuma were both Han Chinese.
    You know what else is surprising is that Temujin's descendants (Kublai, etc.) retained great respect for Gwok Jing even though he was their enemy. Strictly speaking, Gwok Jing was a traitor to the Mongol Empire, but his Mongol adversaries in ROCH continued to hold him in high esteem even as they tried to kill him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandy1 View Post
    From Jack Weatherford's The Secret History of the Mongol Queens:

    A man held the title only because of his marriage to the Great Khan’s daughter. If he lost her, he lost the title. Because the guregen could be so easily replaced, the chronicles often merely used the title rather than the name. For most practical purposes in daily Mongol life, it mattered little which man was actually filling the post at the moment. If one died, another quickly stepped into his place. Usually the replacement would be a son, brother, or nephew of the last husband.
    I thought back in the ancient days, women only can get married once. Once the husband passed away, she has to stay on her own as a widow. If she is married again, society would curse and look down on her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    I thought back in the ancient days, women only can get married once. Once the husband passed away, she has to stay on her own as a widow. If she is married again, society would curse and look down on her.
    This is true in ancient Chinese society, where chaste widows were prized, but apparently the Mongols, and other societies, had different customs. Making alliances through son-in-laws were important for the Genghis dynasty, and as the son-in-laws' mortality rate were high due to the constant wars they had to fight, they often needed to be replaced.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandy1 View Post
    This is true in ancient Chinese society, where chaste widows were prized, but apparently the Mongols, and other societies, had different customs.
    Not just ancient Chinese society but also lot of other countries as well like VietNam, Korea, Japan and many other countries where their culture were greatly influence by Confucian values. I guess the Mongolian culture was not influenced by Confucian values. No wonder Mongolian culture were considered inferior. Kublai Khan realized it and that is why he adopted Chinese political and cultural models when he was on power.

    Making alliances through son-in-laws were important for the Genghis dynasty, and as the son-in-laws' mortality rate were high due to the constant wars they had to fight, they often needed to be replaced.
    Why would anyone want to be Genghis Khan son-in-law? I wonder whether they want to marry his daughter at free will or being force to. My guess is they didn't have a choice as any man in his right mind would refuse. If they refuse, I guess Genghis Khan would kill his entire family and loved ones.
    Last edited by Trien Chieu; 12-24-13 at 11:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post


    Not just ancient Chinese society but also lot of other countries as well like VietNam, Korea, Japan and many other countries where their culture were greatly influence by Confucian values. I guess the Mongolian culture was not influenced by Confucian values. No wonder Mongolian culture were considered inferior. Kublai Khan realized it and that is why he adopted Chinese political and cultural models when he was on power.


    To legitimize his rule over China, Kublai, like other foreign rulers, adopted Confucian values. But that chaste widow business and other male chauvinist aspects of the Confucian tradition cannot be considered to be superior!

    Why would anyone want to be Genghis Khan son-in-law? I wonder whether they want to marry his daughter at free will or being force to. My guess is they didn't have a choice as any man in his right mind would refuse. If they refuse, I guess Genghis Khan would kill his entire family and loved ones.
    From what I read, these men will bring enormous honor and material benefit to their clans or tribes by being a Genghis son-in-law. Even if they are killed in the Khan's service, their clans still benefits from the alliance, that's why the replacement son-in-law often came from the same clans. Weatherford's book explains how the system works in some detail. I wonder if Jin Yong had researched it when he decided to make GJ a Genghis son-in-law.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandy1 View Post
    From what I read, these men will bring enormous honor and material benefit to their clans or tribes by being a Genghis son-in-law. Even if they are killed in the Khan's service, their clans still benefits from the alliance, that's why the replacement son-in-law often came from the same clans. Weatherford's book explains how the system works in some detail. I wonder if Jin Yong had researched it when he decided to make GJ a Genghis son-in-law.
    I just wondering whether these men can refuse the marriage. It's better to find a stable job and work for a living, find true love and live an average life than being a son in law of Genghis Khan where you have to put your life on the line regularly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    I just wondering whether these men can refuse the marriage. It's better to find a stable job and work for a living, find true love and live an average life than being a son in law of Genghis Khan where you have to put your life on the line regularly.
    What's to lose by putting one's life on the line with the potential of huge rewards if it comes off? It's not as though life expectancy was particularly high anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pannonian View Post
    What's to lose by putting one's life on the line with the potential of huge rewards if it comes off? It's not as though life expectancy was particularly high anyway.
    Money comes, money goes. For me, it's better to work and live an average life than put the life on the line for huge rewards. In addition, I would not want the wealth that came from robbing/looting from others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    Money comes, money goes. For me, it's better to work and live an average life than put the life on the line for huge rewards. In addition, I would not want the wealth that came from robbing/looting from others.
    Have you read any history books yet? Can you tell me how the Zhou dynasty came about, and what was Confucius's position on their ill-gotten gains? Do you even know who Confucius is, and what his relation is to Chinese thinking?

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    It's not really about the money I don't think...it's more about some people preferring to be in a position to live an extraordinary life. Some people prefer a more average life as you say it, while some would feel they lived their life as a drone if they didn't take a shot at making history if they ever got a chance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tape View Post
    It's not really about the money I don't think...it's more about some people preferring to be in a position to live an extraordinary life. Some people prefer a more average life as you say it, while some would feel they lived their life as a drone if they didn't take a shot at making history if they ever got a chance.
    TC probably thinks any decent 13th century Mongol should hop on a plane and travel to Canada to set up a nice civilised business. To repeatedly apply such anachronistic expectations to historical times, without even understanding Chinese history (we're not even talking about ancient history here, as mainland China was completely unlike TC's expectations as recently as 40 years ago), and despite repeated pointers to the fact that his expectations are wildly anachronistic. If TC really does think that conquest is fundamentally indecent and that all conquerors should go back to where they came from, then Confucius's beloved Zhou dynasty would have to leave the central plains, which they'd conquered, and go back to the north from whence they came. If we go by TC's philosophy as the only way of civilisation, then Confucian thinking is fundamentally wrong, as it's based on propping up a regime brought about by conquest.

    TC's expectations and ideas of civilisation came about because of the bloody Franco-European wars on the one hand, and Anglo-Saxon security on the other. If China is too far away for him to learn about, maybe he can at least learn something about Canada.

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