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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: October 2019

5 - Telling Stories and Selling Rulership

from Part II - The Chinggisid Narrative at Home


Chapter 5, “Telling Stories and Selling Rulership,” examines how Zhu Yuanzhang and his ministers created a story of the rise, glory, and irreversible fall of the Chinggisids for audiences at home. Primary audiences included not just educated Chinese men but also Mongols, Turks, Kitans, and Jurchens. Many felt a sense of loyalty to the Great Yuan. The early Ming court’s Chinggisid narrative highlighted such themes as the end of the Chinggisids’ allotted span of rule, Chinese renewal, the physical and political marginality of the post-1368 Yuan court, and the deficiencies of contemporary Chinggisid leadership. Emphasizing the superiority of Ming rulership, such a discursive strategy was intended to persuade contemporary audiences to forsake the Great Yuan and pledge loyalty to the Great Ming. Zhu Yuanzhang and his advisors worked hard to create a version of the past that served the needs of the present.