The Golden Horde

Marie Favereau’s research investigates the connections between Europe, the Middle East and Asia from the 13th to the 16th centuries. She specializes in the history of the ‘Golden Horde’ – the western part of the Mongol Empire which stretched from the Ural Mountains to the Black Sea, and which enjoyed a highly strategic location at the crossroads of Asia and Europe.

The Golden Horde was a sophisticated and administratively complex empire, which synthesized practices drawn from the Uyghurs, the Chinese, the Mongols and diverse Turkic Islamic groups settled in the Volga and Caspian regions. Dr Favereau’s work has established that, as the first sultanate of the Mongol Empire, the Golden Horde played an essential role in the expansion of Islam. Indeed, it was the major source of military slaves recruited for the armies of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt and Syria. Her recent research on the mechanism of this trade offers a better understanding of the mercantile and diplomatic connections in this area in the pre-modern period. Her new monograph aims to consider the Golden Horde as the centre of the new inter-regional world born after the Mongol conquests and looks in particular at  the study of the contracts and other forms of agreements between the khans and their subject populations, nomadic as well as sedentary.

Dr Favereau’s work especially focuses on the role of the Italian communities situated in diverse trading posts on the Black Sea and Azov Sea. The Mongol agency directly affected the extent and nature of commercial and political exchanges between Europe and Central Asia through management of the roads and the communication system. She intends to show that their politics also had a great impact on the legal framework of the trade. Deep changes occurred not only at the level of the ruling institutions but also in relations on the ground between the nomadic elites and the merchants.