Ögedei Khan

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Ögedei Khan (portrait from the 14th century)

Ögedei Khan ( Mongolian ᠥᠭᠡᠳᠡᠢ , today mostly Өгөөдэй Ögöödei ; * 1186 or 1189 ; † December 11, 1241 ), also ᠥᠭᠦᠳᠡᠢ Ögödei Chan , ᠣᠭᠡᠳᠡᠢ Ugedei Chan or Ügedai Chan , was the third son of Genghis Khan . After the death of his father, he was the second khagan to rule the Mongol Empire from 1229 to 1241.


As a khagan

During his lifetime (around 1218), after a quarrel between the princes, Genghis Khan had chosen not his eldest son Jötschi , but the middle-born Ögedei as his successor.

Ögedei was elected Khagan in 1229 and was then considered a relatively humane ruler who nevertheless demonstrated his skills as a general with the fall of the Jin Dynasty in northern China . He led the army that moved along the Huang He in 1231 , while his brother Tolui and the general Subotai bypassed the Jurchen forces in the south. The fall of the Jin Dynasty in 1234 secured Mongol rule in northern China.

Under Ögedeis government from 1235 Karakorum the empire expanded as its capital. With the help of civil servants and experts from the subjugated countries ( Yelü Chucai , Machmud Jalatwatsch, etc.), a civil administration was established, which, however, still acted very arbitrarily in part. In particular, the general tax was introduced in the Mongol Empire, but the wandering nomads were taxed less than the settled people.

Conquests in Europe

In 1235, Ögedei Khan called an imperial assembly, the so-called Kuriltai , which decided on a great campaign in the west led by Batu Khan . Batu was a son of Djotschi , a grandson of Genghis Khan and Khagan of the Golden Horde . The campaign of conquest would later be called the Mongol storm in Europe . In its course the Mongols took Vladimir in 1238 and Kiev in 1240 . Shortly afterwards, they also defeated the Polish army and then destroyed Breslau . On April 9, 1241 some of their troops defeated a German-Polish army of knights in the battle of Liegnitz in Silesia . Three days later another contingent destroyed the Hungarian army in the battle of Muhi .

The postal system

The postal system ( Örtöö ) was an important power base of the Mongol Empire . Ögedei ordered the establishment of post stations with administrators and herds of horses throughout the country , so that his couriers, with their orders and messages to be delivered, could always be given preferential supplies and fresh horses. This supply was possible regardless of the regional population density and supply situation due to the fact that the stations were set up at relatively short intervals. With this infrastructure , messages from the Khan's court could reach even the most distant corners of the vast Mongolian Empire within 7 to 11 days. The above-mentioned couriers of the Khan had a special seal, the so-called Païza , for identification .


The Khagan was the descriptions in u. a. According to Raschid ed Din , he was extremely generous, often gave away gold bars and softened the severity of his older brother Tschagatei . He also severely reprimanded his own son Güyük in his argument with Batu. (Quote from the Secret History : "They say you are very angry. Do you think the Orusut people [ie the Russians] allowed themselves to be subjected to fear of your anger and rage?") However, Ögedei was a drinker, which his alcohol addiction probably eventually killed too. According to the Secret History of the Mongols , he said: "I let the grape wine defeat me."

Death and succession

Ögedei Khan convened a diet two years before his death to give an account of his reign. His death on December 11, 1241 also led to the sudden termination of the conquests of Batu Khan in Europe .

His successor was his eldest son Güyük after a five-year interim reign of his wife Töregene Khatun . Güyük Khan died in 1248, ten days' march before an armed confrontation with his rival Batu. After another interim reign, the Ögedeis clan was ousted by Möngke Khan and Batu in 1251 .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Genghis Khan and his heirs: The Mongol Empire. (PDF; 180 kB) (No longer available online.) Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, June 14, 2005, p. 7 , archived from the original on November 30, 2011 ; accessed on April 4, 2018 .
  2. a b Werner Pluta: The superpower in the east . In: Die Zeit , No. 2/2002
  3. A receipt is required for this time.
predecessor Office successor
Genghis Khan 2. Khagan of the Mongols
Töregene (interim reign 1241-1246), Güyük Khan