ACMS Speaker Series – Batu Khan: The Man in the Middle (Via Zoom)

The event is free and open to public. Interested participants are asked to join in on Nov 13, 9 pm (ULAT) through the following Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 834 6409 2672
Passcode: 647181


Batu Khan, the grandson of Chinggis Khan, leads a Campaign in Russia, Hungary and Poland in the 1240s.

Europe is divided between the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor and is no match for the Mongol Army. Only the death of the Supreme Khan Ogodei saves Europe.

Batu is now the senior prince of the successors of Chinggis Khan, and one of two of the most talented and able, unlike the weak men who have inherited the throne. It is the glaring weakness of Chinggis Khan that he failed to provide for an orderly succession.

Khan of the Golden Horde, fully aware of the disdain that his grandfather had for rulers who inherited their positions, Batu makes the momentous decision to back a change of the branch of the imperial family that will rule the Empire, thus changing the fate of Europe, for the new Supreme Khan decides to turn his attention to the East and focus on completing the conquest of China, the richest and most advanced civilization on earth.

About the Presenter: Diane Wolf

She is the award-winning author of three books about Chinese history and culture. This is the first book in her forthcoming Silk Road Series, about the successors of Chinggis Khan.



Recommended biographies (as promised during the Q&A session):


  • Hart, B. H. Liddell. 1996. Great Captains Unveiled. Da Capo Press.
  • Gabriel, Richard A. 2004. Subotai the Valiant: Chinggis Khan’s Greatest General. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. Kindle edition.
  • Rossabi, Morris. 1988. Khubilai Khan: His Life and Times. Berkeley: University of California Press.

I have quite a bit of material about General Subudei in the Batu Khan book.

I feature him as an important character in the story of empire. I talk about his strategy, his making war with Batu Khan, his relationship with Chinggis Khan, and his method and tactics in war. I also include material on Subudei’s methods of gathering intelligence.

I did not focus on him in my talk because the talk was focused on trade.

Subudei is also featured in one of the other books in The Silk Road Series, the book called Civilizing the Khan: The Man Who Saved China.

About Yeh-lu Chu-tsai, this book dramatizes the relationship between a man of letters in the military government and the greatest strategist in the Mongol army besides Chinggis Khan, Subudei.

Chinggis Khan needed his Chancellor in order to govern China. Subudei did not like it. Yeh-lu was fond of saying, “The empire may have been won on horseback, but it cannot be governed from horseback.”

There was a natural conflict between the two men.

Subudei illustrates the fact that the Mongol Army was a meritocracy. He was the son of a blacksmith and he rose to the highest status in the army because of his talent.

Yeh-lu was an aristocrat, a descendant of the royal house of the Liao, a Khitan dynasty that preceded the Jin Dynasty overthrown by Chinggis Khan. He was a classically educated, half Chinese bureaucrat, as well as a physician and an astrologer. He was Confucian in his public life and Buddhist in his private life.

Subudei was a shamanist and a man of action.


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