Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Monarch Profile: Yesun Temur Khan of Mongolia
No doubt they felt highly pleased with themselves but that didn’t last long. Once Yesun Temur Khan was told what these men had done and that by appointing them to high office he would appear to have been complicit in their crimes, Yesun Temur immediately had them dismissed and executed for treason. With that action, those loyal to Shidebala recognized Yesun Temur as a fair leader they could trust and called on him, likewise, to take the throne and to punish those who had murdered his predecessor. This, Yesun Temur did, sending troops to Dadu and Shangdu where the rebellious officers were executed and the princes who had supported the coup were all sent into exile. Regardless of the justice of this, Yesun Temur equally had in mind that if he left these men alive they would see him as their own creature and attempt to control him and would likely murder him as well if he failed to please them. Traitors can never be trusted. The Chinese tried to persuade him to go even farther and massacre anyone connected with those who had brought down the last Great Khan but Yesun Temur refused to do this, regarding the guilty as sufficiently punished, granting an amnesty to the rest and even returning the property of the guilty men to their families.
In his rule of the Mongol Empire, he favored those who he knew best, the other princes and nobles of the Mongolian steppes though, unlike some others, he preferred to live more simply and objected to the wasteful spending he witnessed at the imperial court. Peking (as it would later be known) was still a cosmopolitan place, despite the change in leadership styles and it is believed that Yesun Temur was the Great Khan met by the Catholic friar Blessed Odoric of Pordenone during his extensive travels in the Far East. During his reign, one of the important acts of Yesun Temur was the division of the Mongol Empire into eighteen departments whose oversight was placed in the hands of an advisory council called the “Lords of the Provinces”. However, Yesun Temur did not have a great interest in day-to-day administration and like most Mongol princes, tended to dislike bureaucrats. The “Exalted and Decisive Emperor” lived only to the age of 34. He died quite suddenly and unexpectedly on August 15, 1328 in Shangdu (Xanadu). He was succeeded by his son Tugh Temur but as he was overthrown barely a month later he is seldom listed amongst the Mongol emperors.