Descent from Genghis Khan (Mongolian: Алтан ураг Altan urag, meaning "Golden lineage"; Kazakh : Tore) is traceable primarily in Central Asia. His four sons and other immediate descendants are famous by names and by deeds. Later Asian potentates attempted to claim descent from the House of Borjigin even on flimsy grounds. In the 14th century, valid sources (heavily dependent on Rashid al-Din and other Muslim historians) all but dried up. With the recent popularity of genealogical DNA testing, a wider circle of people started to claim descent from Genghis Khan.
Paternity of Jochi[edit | edit source]
Jochi, Genghis Khan's eldest son, had many more recorded progeny than his brothers Ögedei, Chagatai, and Tolui—but there is some doubt over his paternity. According to the The Secret History of the Mongols, the boy was sent to Genghis by Chilger, who had kidnapped his first wife Börte, keeping her in captivity for about a year. In one passage, Chagatai refers to Jochi as "bastard" (although the true meaning of the Mongol term is obscure). To this, Genghis Khan responds: "How dare you talk about Jochi like this? Is not he the eldest of my heirs? That I never heard such wicked words again!" (255). All in all, Genghis Khan pronounces the words "Jochi is my eldest son" thrice (210, 242, 254).
Modern historians speculate that Jochi's disputed paternity was the reason for his eventual estrangement from his father and for the fact that his descendants never succeeded to the imperial throne. On the other hand, Genghis always treated Jochi as his first son, while the failure of the Jochid succession may be explained by Jochi's premature death (which may have excluded his progeny from succession).
Another important consideration is that Genghis' descendants intermarried frequently. For instance, the Jochids took wives from the Ilkhan dynasty of Persia, whose progenitor was Hulagu Khan. As a consequence, it is likely that many Jochids had other sons of Genghis Khan among their maternal ancestors.
Asian dynasties[edit | edit source]
Among the Asian dynasties descended from Genghis Khan were the Yuan Dynasty of China, the Ilkhanids of Persia, the Jochids of the Golden Horde, the Shaybanids of Siberia, and the Astrakhanids of Central Asia. As a rule, the Genghisid descent was crucial in Tatar politics. For instance, Mamai had to exercise his authority through a succession of puppet khans but could not assume the title of khan himself because he was not of the Genghisid lineage.
Timur Lenk, the founder of the Timurid Dynasty, claimed to be a descendant from Genghis Khan; however, this conclusion is based on false ground. There is no clear evidence for his own descent; he associated himself with the family of Chagatai Khan through marriage. He also never assumed the title "Khan" for himself, but employed two members of the Chagatai clan as formal heads of state. The Mughal royal family of the Indian subcontinent descended from Timur through Babur and also from Genghis Khan (through his son Chagatai Khan).
The ruling Wang Clan of the Korean Goryeo Dynasty became descendants of the Genghisids through the marriage between King Chungnyeol and a daughter of Kublai Khan. All subsequent rulers of Korea for next 80 years, until King Gongmin, also married Borijit Princesses. But since all Mongol injects were females, no Y-haplotype entered Korean Royal and noble families during this period, only matrilinear mtDNA.
At a later period, Tatar potentates of Genghisid stock included the khans of Qazan and Qasim (notably a Russian tsar, Simeon Bekbulatovich) and the Giray dynasty, which ruled the Khanate of Crimea until 1783.
As the Russian Empire annexed Turkic polities, their Genghisid rulers frequently entered the Russian service. For instance, Kuchum's descendants became Russified as the Tsarevichs of Siberia. Descendants of Ablai Khan assumed in Russia the name of Princes Valikhanov, while the sons of one Kalmyk khan became known as Princes Dondukov. All these families asserted their Genghisid lineage. The only extant family of this group is the House of Giray, whose members left Soviet Russia for the United States and United Kingdom.
Eastern European gateways[edit | edit source]
After the Mongol invasion of Russia, the Rurikid rulers of Russian principalities were eager to obtain political advantages for themselves and their countries by marrying into the House of Genghis. Alexander Nevsky was adopted by Batu Khan as his son. Alexander's grandson Yury of Moscow married a sister of Uzbeg Khan; however, they had no progeny. On the other hand, petty Mongol princelings of Genghisid stock sometimes settled in Russia. For instance, Berke's nephew adopted the Christian name Peter and founded St. Peter's Monastery in Rostov, where his descendants were long prominent as boyars.
The issue of three Russian-Mongol marriages may be traced down to the present. The most famous was the marriage of St. Fyodor the Black, later proclaimed a patron saint of Yaroslavl, to a daughter of the Mongol khan Mengu-Timur . Fyodor's relations with the khan were idyllic: he spent more time in the Horde (where he was given extensive possessions) than in his capital. Male-line descendants of Fyodor's marriage to the Tatar princess include all the later rulers of Yaroslavl and two dozens princely families (such as the Shakhovskoy, Lvov, or Prozorovsky, among others), which passed Genghis genes to other aristocratic families of Russia.
Prince Gleb of Beloozero, a grandson of Konstantin of Russia, was another Rurikid prince influential at the Mongol court. Gleb married the only daughter of Khan Sartaq. From this marriage descends the House of Belozersk, whose scions include Princes Ukhtomsky and Beloselsky-Belozersky.
The most problematic is the marriage of Narimantas, the second son of Gediminas of Lithuania, to Toqta Khan's daughter. The earliest source for this marriage is the "Jagiellonian genealogy", compiled in the 18th-century from Ruthenian chronicles by one Joannes Werner. While the marriage is not utterly impossible (Narimantas spent several years in the Horde), there are no extant chronicles which mention Narimantas's wife. This highly uncertain gateway derives particular interest from the fact that the Galitzine, Khovansky and Kurakin princely families are Narimantas's agnatic descendants.
Basaraba[edit | edit source]
The Genghisid descent of the Russian tsars or kings of Georgia cannot be reconstructed from extant documentary evidence. The possibility of such a descent for Western European royalty is even less realistic.
The most popular route is based on the Basarab dynasty of Wallachia, which today forms southern Romania. The first attested ancestor of the Basarab princes was a boyar, Thocomerius of Wallachia. There are several theories as to his origin. The most popular theory is that he was of Cuman extraction, as noted by the researcher Istvan Vassary (Toq-Tomir: Tihomir). There were a significant number of Cumans in the region in his time. Also, a major fact such as being descended from Genghis Khan, would have unlikely been hidden, and would have rather been exploited. Some genealogists identify Thocomerius with a Bulgarian boyar named Tikhomir (from the Slavic roots for "calm" and "peace").
DNA evidence[edit | edit source]
Family Tree DNA has suggested, with caveats, that Genghis Khan may have belonged to Haplogroup C-M217. But there is no reliable study regarding Genghis Khan's or his descendants' DNA. The suggested 25 Marker "Genghis Khan" Y-DNA Profile released by Family Tree DNA is:
Zerjal et al. (2003) identified a Y-chromosomal lineage present in about 8% of the men in a large region of Asia (about 0.5% of the world total). The paper suggests that the pattern of variation within the lineage is consistent with a hypothesis that it originated in Mongolia about 1,000 years ago, and thus several generations prior to the birth of Genghis. Such a spread would be too rapid to have occurred by genetic drift, and must therefore be the result of selection. The authors propose that the lineage is carried by likely male-line descendants of Genghis Khan and his close male relatives, and that it has spread through social selection due to the power that Genghis Khan and his direct descendants held and a society which allowed one man to have many children through having multiple wives and widespread rape in conquered cities. 
Later descendants[edit | edit source]
Actor Batdorj-in Baasanjab (also known as Ba Sen) is Genghis Khan's descendant through the Chagatai lineage. He is well known for his portrayals of his ancestors and distant relatives in films and television series (including Genghis Khan himself, his father Yesugei, his son Ögedei Khan, and his grandsons Möngke Khan and Kublai Khan).
Popular culture[edit | edit source]
- In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the motorway contractor Mr. Prosser is (unknown to himself) a direct patrilineal descendant of Genghis Khan. This manifests itself in a predilection for fur hats, a desire to have axes hanging above his front door, being slightly overweight and occasional visions of screaming Mongol hordes.
- Fictional character Shiwan Khan, who is described as the last living descendant of Genghis appears in The Shadow, a collection of serialized dramas, originally on 1930s radio. He also appeared in the 1994 film adaptation, The Shadow.
- Marvel Comics supervillains the Mandarin and his son Temugin, both primarily opponents of Iron Man, are descendants of Genghis Khan.
- Many characters in the Brazilian soap opera Cor do Pecado claim to be directly descended from Genghis Khan and are very passionate about martial arts.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Descent from antiquity
- Hazara people
- Famous haplogroup members
- Aisin Gioro
- Giray dynasty
- Chagatay Khanate
References[edit | edit source]
- ^ According to some scholars, the Girays were regarded as the second family of the Ottoman Empire after the House of Ottoman: "If Rome and Byzantium represented two of the three international traditions of imperial legitimacy, the blood of Genghis Khan was the third... If ever the Ottomans became extinct, it was understood that the Genghizid Girays would succeed them" (Sebag Montefiore. Prince of Princes: The Life of Potemkin. London, 2000).
- ^ See the medieval life of St. Peter of the Horde and records of the Petrovsky Monastery.
- ^ Later sources indicate that Fyodor's father-in-law was Nogai and his mother-in-law was one of Nogai's wives, whose father was Emperor Michael VIII.
- ^ Another family descending from Narimantas were Princes Korecki, whose male line failed in the 17th century. Their cognatic descendants comprise a large part of the Polish aristocracy.
- ^ István Vásáry (2005) "Cumans and Tatars", Cambridge University Press
- ^ Zerjal et al., The Genetic Legacy of the Mongols, American Journal of Human Genetics, 2003.
- ^ http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/02/0214_030214_genghis.html
- ^ (Chinese) 巴森：再现成吉思汗风采
Further reading[edit | edit source]
- Chapin, David (2012). Long Lines: Ten of the World's Longest Continuous Family Lineages. College Station, Texas: VirtualBookWorm.com. ISBN 978-1-60264-933-0.
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