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Searches for an Imaginary Kingdom

The trefoil of the Barrow

Lev Gumilev


sik02 2. Middle Asia in the Twelfth Century (169 KB)

7. The Courage and Ruin of King David (1143-1218)

Reflection In a Mirror

When a historian describes some period, event or even an episode, he involuntarily regards it from a single angle. This is not prejudice, tendentiousness, or injustice, but the inevitable law of selecting a point of view, a feature of human perception. Yet it introduces into research a certain onesidedness which often evokes unjust censure by the profane who are not versed in the secrets of the trade.

So it is in our case: the Mongols, united by Chinggiskhan, created a power which embraced half the world. Therefore, almost all historians who have devoted their labours and strength to studying the thirteenth century have written the history of the Mongols and their conquests. But our subject obliges us to do something else, and we shall try to write a history of the Naiman and their defeats. The facts will be the same, as will the sources. The research method will not be changed either, but, despite this, we shall be able to see events in a different light because we shall look at them from the other side.

First of all, our view on how nomadic feudalism was established will change. The Khitan in Manchuria had an organised feudal state with a bureaucracy of literate Chinese and with a tax-liable estate. [+1] The troops Ye-lu Dashi led to the west retained only an elementary military organisation: they no longer had property, or lands, or serfs; in a word, they had nothing but their weapons. After their victories they obtained a certain source of income in the form of tribute from the Muslim towns and the grazing grounds they took from the local population. It might seem that here they would turn the conquered Kangyui and Kipchak into serfs and squeeze from them the means to maintain a luxurious court and grandees. But Ye-lu Dashi {132} was not so stupid. He clearly understood that he had few people, but many enemies and the only way to salvation was by acquiring the sympathy of the local population. So he only made them close up a little so that there was room for his people, too, in the steppe and the foothills. He managed to do this the more easily because an intensive increase in moisture in the steppe zone of Eurasia took place in the twelfth century [+2] and the amount of pasture grew as a result of the change in natural conditions. [+3] Thus, peace was established in the steppe and the consolidation of the nomads became possible.

It is also characteristic that the gurkhan hindered the development of an aristocracy. No single officer dared command more than a hundred warriors. The terrible experience of the fall of the Liao Empire was too fresh; then, shaky discipline had made the Jurchen victory easier. Now, the gurkhan alone commanded an obedient force. Well, where is feudalism here? No feudal lords, no serfs, no hierarchy, only an army and families.

Inancha-qan, to all appearances, was in exactly the same position, a man so ambitious that the rank of commander of a hundred did not satisfy him. There are always those dissatisfied with those in authority, and beyond the mountain range of the Mongolian Altai they were beyond the sphere of action of the Kara-Khitan system. Fortunately for them, here there was a thin population of the once strong, but now degenerated, Tikin tribe. [+4] The Naiman (as their neighbours called them, using a nickname instead of an ethnonym) knew that in the new land they were surrounded by powerful and alien people, so, along with the territory, they accepted into their milieu the remnants of the Tikin. An army always needs additional men.

Inancha-qan died in 1201-2 and his army broke down into two hordes ruled by his two sons, Tayang-qan and Buyiruq-qan. The brothers did not get on with one another, but the cause of this, it seems, was not so much their characters as the wish of their troops. In a military democracy the khan depends more on the mood of his {133} warriors than the warriors on the khan's caprices. From of old the Khitan had loved the tribal structure and the decentralised system called a "union of tribes". Deprived of both as a result of Ye-lu Ambagan's decisiveness, they had to obey khans converted into emperors. But as soon as the empire fell and ordinary members of the tribe came to power, the Khitan fugitives returned to their customary forms of social life and divided into two khanates (there simply would not have been enough people for eight).

Thus, we can state that, among the Khitan who survived the rout, a simplification of life, culture and social relations took place. They returned to their natural condition, became brave hunters and herdsmen, forgot Chinese literacy and, in so far as they retained a demand for writing, they borrowed an alphabet from the Uighurs and one, incidentally, much more suited to their language than the characters. With the alphabet came an ideology - Nestorianism, which quickly displaced the survivals of concepts which had not taken root among the people. The first consequence of the split in the khanate was that the gurkhan Julqu and Inancha Bilge-qan began an independent policy at the same time, thus paralysing one another and freeing the hands of their numerous enemies.

The forces of the Kara-Khitan gurkhan were completely fettered by the need to retain Central Asia where Khwarizm had grown in strength at this time. This page of history had been described in sufficient detail [+5] and we shall not dwell on it.

Let us return to the Naiman. Their western boundary was reliably covered by the Altai. The Naiman established friendly relations with the Kipchak who lived west of the Altai and neither people disturbed the other. Relations in the east were much more complex. The Kerait, who had accepted Nestorianism in 1007-8, occupied the central part of Mongolia. Their history prior to the twelfth century is not mentioned at all by the sources. A legendary genealogy derives the first khan noted by history, Markuz (Mark), who bore the title Buyiruq-qan, [+6] from the first mother of the Mongols, Alan-goa. [+7] We shall not digress by checking how far the legend corresponds to the history; the only thing important to us is that the Kerait considered themselves close relations of the Mongols. After {134} the death of the Mongol Qabul-qan, great-grandfather of Chinggis-khan, [+8] Markuz headed the nomads in their struggle with the Jurchen, but fate dealt with him extremely severely. The Tatars captured him and handed him over to the Jurchen. Markuz perished, nailed to a "wooden ass". This event is dated in the early 1150s. [+9]

Markuz had two sons: Qurchaqus-Buyiruq-qan, it seems, headed the true Kerait, and the second, bearing the title gurkhan, [+10] a union of Kerait and Mongols, because from this time there appeared among the Mongols their own sovereign, Qutula-qahan. Qurchaqus died about 1171 [+11] and his heir, To`oril, marked his ascent to the throne by executing his uncles. This caused a disturbance among the people and the gurkhan dethroned his nephew who turned to the Mongols for help. Yisugei-ba`atur, Chinggis's father, then heading the united Mongol tribes, came to the help of the prince who had been driven out and restored him to the throne. The gurkhan fled to the southern borderlands of the Gobi, to the Tangut, [+12] and there received from them a place to settle his adherents.

Two lines influencing the course of historical events are reflected in this at first sight insignificant episode: a state one determined by a general Asiatic policy, and a personal one connected with the character of To`oril, the Kerait khan. As only a combination of both lines of analysis can throw light on the picture of historical reality, we have to distinguish them and deal with them in turn.

About 1170 it was clear to all steppe dwellers able to consider and evaluate the circumstances that a terrible threat hung over their homeland. The indomitable Jurchen, after founding the Jin, i.e. {135} "Golden", Empire, strove for what their descendants, the Manchu, achieved 500 years later - dominance over Asia. But what the Manchu realised without great difficulty in the seventeenth century, using the influence of the Lamaist church with which they cooperated, encountered powerful resistance from the Nestorian church which had experienced the horror of the Chinese persecutions (about a.d. 1000). Therefore, all the nomads apart from the Tatars were against the penetration of the Jurchen into the steppe. Even the Mongols, who were by no means Christians, actively supported the Nestorian bloc. These forces would have been sufficient to halt the aggressor, the more so since the main Jurchen forces were tied up in China, but obstacles arose in the steppe itself, thanks to which the idea of active defence remained unrealised.

Let us look at the situation. It would seem that the natural leader around whom the nomadic and sedentary Christians might cohere was the Kara-Khitan gurkhan; but Ye-lu Dashi had died and his heirs were engaged in a policy directed by Uighur merchant capital. [+13]

For the Uighurs conflict with China, whatever government raged there, was the kiss of death since they grew rich from the transit caravan trade and, in the event of a conflict, would not get the goods they needed. For this reason they directed the Kara-Khitan blow at their Muslim competitors, at Central Asia, and did not finance their attempts to turn their weapons to the east.

The situation in Tangut was still more complex. The long war with China had become a tradition of enmity, but the appearance of a mighty Jurchen army and the over-free behaviour of the Jurchen as regards their agreed obligations compelled the Tangut government to review the situation and to support the anti-Jurchen forces, both in the south, in China, and in the north, in the steppe. That was why they accepted the Kerait gurkhan, i.e. the claimant to the command of the united nomad forces. But there was no single point of view in the Tangut kingdom itself, and an advocate of an alliance with China was executed at the request of the Jurchen in 1168, although {136} his opponents did not achieve an alliance with the Kin (Jin) Empire against the Song Empire and the Mongols. [+14]

But more than anything, that very tribal system which they defended with all their strength hindered the unification of the nomads. And now is the time to pass to the personal sympathies and antipathies of the steppe leaders on whom the freedom of their peoples depended. For each one of them, whether he understood the general situation or not, had his own interests and only wanted them to coincide with those of society. In the contrary case, particularly when it was a matter of life, no one would sacrifice himself; more precisely, he would not allow his competitor to kill him only so that an abstract steppe freedom might not, in a decade or two, become a victim to Jurchen ambition. Such was To`oril.


Naiman and Kerait

To`oril's life story was a very difficult one. The Merkit captured him when he was seven years old and the khan's son pounded millet in a mortar, since prisoners were generally used as domestic servants. His father, however, was able to attack the Merkit and save his son. Six years later To`oril and his mother became prisoners of the Tatars and he pastured camels, but on this occasion, without waiting for help from home, he fled and returned there. These two facts themselves indicate that all was not well in the Kerait headquarters. His enemies could twice capture the khan's son, only with the connivance of the khan's relatives and grandees. This, in part, explains the enmity which To`oril began to show to his uncles, a rancour which led to their execution. Dethroned again in 1171, he acquired his rights only with the help of the Mongol leader Yisugei-ba'atur, but was then deprived of his sole friend who was poisoned by the Tatars in the same year. Even from this brief material one can see that, in the Kerait headquarters, tribal unity had long been lost, and authority rested on the spears of the retinue directed for good or evil by their leaders. Only their creed bound together a people who were falling apart, for the Kerait were surrounded on the north by pagan Mongols, and on the south by the Buddhist Tangut. When the Naiman khanate of the same faith arose in the west, the situation became still more tense.

{137} To`oril`s enemies found a point of support. From the point of view of the morals and duty sell-evident in the twelfth century, no one could reproach the Kerait grandees with sympathy for the Christian khan, the enemy of the hated Jurchen. Opposition to To`oril emerged among the Kerait and Inancha used the situation for his political aims: he concluded an alliance with the powerful northern tribes: the Oirat living on the slopes of the Western Sayan, and the Merkit occupying the southern shores of Baikal. It seems he even succeeded in attracting the Tatars, who had quarrelled with the Jurchen, into the coalition and in establishing diplomatic relations with the Ongut or "White Tatars", descendants of the bold Shato, who engaged in nomadism along the Chinese Wall between the Ordos and the Xing'an range.

To`oril was isolated and compelled to seek support from the Mongols, but this people had experienced a "period of considerable division and was not yet a single whole. The greater part of the Mongols, led by the Tayichi`ut clan, were friendly with the Naiman and made no haste to help the unlucky Kerait khan. But another part concentrated around Yisugei-ba'atur's son, Temujin, who had taken the title of Chinggiskhan in 1182, supported To`oril. The causes of such an unexpected turn of events are so essential that we shall have to make a special analysis of the social changes which brought them about. For the time being we limit ourselves to stating that To`oril and Temujin even went so far as to conclude a temporary alliance with Altan-qan, as they called the Jurchen Emperor, translating the Chinese name of the Kin (Jin - the word means "gold') Empire into Mongolian.

In 1183 the allies made use of the plight of the Tatars, whom the regular forces of the Jurchen had attacked, to dissuade these plunderers from their constant forays. Temujin and To`oril struck at the retreating Tatars, killed their leader, shared the prisoners and, in addition, received Chinese titles used in the Jurchen Jin Empire as thanks for their help. [+15] From this time To`oril became Wang, but since the word wang (king) was incomprehensible to the nomads, they added to it the well known word khan. Thus was the title Wankhan [or Ong-qan in its Mongolian form - tr.] arrived at which the Europeans took as king John. [+16]

{138} How could the Naiman react to this? Only very negatively! Instead of a Christian alliance of nomads against the aggressive and invading Jurchen, a pro-Jurchen Mongol-Kerait bloc had been formed, and both rulers, Ong-qan and Chinggiskhan, acted despite the wishes of their peoples. Thus, immediately after the victory over the Tatars Chinggiskhan exterminated the powerful and numerous clan of Jurkin because they had not taken part in the campaign as they were late at the appointed meeting place.

This was, in fact, laxity, but the Mongols were not trained to strict discipline and considered the execution of a whole tribe for violating it as a punishment incommensurate with the crime. For a whole eighteen years, however, the frightened Mongol tribes left Chinggiskhan's horde alone.

It was peaceable in Ong-qan's headquarters for a certain time, but the Naiman intrigues did their work. In 1194 his younger brother, Erke-qara, fled and went over to the Naiman, explaining his conduct by terror for his life. Evidently he was the leader of the pro-Naiman party, because Inancha-qan immediately sent a force to the Kerait grazing grounds. No fighting occurred; no one raised his spear against the invader in defence of his khan. Ong-qan, evidently knowing the mood of the people, collected a band of faithful men and without awaiting any benefit from the Naiman fled with them to the Tangut in the autumn of 1196. [+17]

The Tangut king dealt with the Kerait khan sympathetically. He gave him food and sent him through Uighuria, i.e. by the only safe way, to the Kara-Khitan. Despite nothing but mildness from the gurkhan Julqu, a year later To`oril was obliged to flee; and it is difficult to imagine what he, being a guest, had done. In 1197 To`oril again appeared in Tangut, but as his companions, famished after crossing the desert, began to plunder the population, the Tangut sent their guest on his way back into the northern steppes. He {139} arrived there with only five milking goats and one camel from which he took blood to avoid dying of hunger.

Then fate again smiled on the turncoat. His old friend's son and his friend, Chinggiskhan, came to meet him, fed him and in the autumn of 1198 put him on the throne of his father and grandfather. In this way Chinggiskhan strengthened the alliance with the Kerait because gratitude was one of the nomad virtues, a moral categorical imperative.

Many of To`oril's associates, however, had a very negative attitude to him and did not fail to express this. Through denunciation the khan learnt of hostile speeches and ordered the conspirators to be arrested. They were brought to him, but the khan limited himself to reproaching them with unfaithfulness and spat in each one's face. Then he released them, but one of those dissatisfied, a younger brother of the khan, was able to flee to the Naiman and was welcomed there. So, two centres had been formed in the steppe: the Mongol-Kerait and the Naiman-Merkit-Mongol one, for part of the Mongols and Tatars were inclined to the Naiman.

Subsequent events are so intertwined with Mongol history that, before dealing with them, we must glance, even if only cursorily, at that people who seized the leadership both from the Kerait, and the Naiman and from all the peoples of Eurasia for a whole century. We shall not plunge into a deep sociological analysis. A very brief description of the system which had formed among the Mongols at the end of the twelfth century is enough for our purpose.


Twelfth-Century Mongols

The basic element of ancient Mongol society was the clan (oboq) which was at the stage of dissolution. An aristocracy, rich and influential, stood at the head of the numerous clans. Its representatives held honoured titles: ba'atur (hero), noyan (lord), sechen (wise) and taishi (prince, or member of an influential clan). The main concern of the ba'atur and noyan was to obtain pastures and the necessary number of workers to look after the livestock and yurts. The aristocracy ruled the lower strata of society: the retinue (nokor), the clan members of lowly origin (qarachu or commons) and the slaves (bo'ol). This last category included not so much real slaves, enslaved as prisoners of war, as whole clans which had once been conquered by stronger clans or had voluntarily joined them {140} (unagan-bo'ol) [+18]. The latter were not deprived of their personal freedom and legally were essentially little differentiated from their lords. The low level of productive forces and the extremely weak development of trade, even barter, afforded no means for using compulsory labour in nomadic herding. Slaves were used as domestic servants and this had little influence on the development of production relations so that the basis of clan structure was preserved Joint holding of appurtenances, sacrifices to the ancestors, blood vengeance and the inter-tribal wars associated with it, all this was not within the competence of the individual, but of the clan as a whole Hence, the rooted Mongol conceptions of the clan group as the basis of social life, of clan (group) responsibility for the fate of any member of the clan and of mutual assistance as the sole leitmotiv in social conduct. A clan member always felt the support of his group and was ever ready to fulfil the obligations the group placed on him.

But Mongol clans embraced the whole population of Mongolia only ideally In fact, separate individuals were constantly to be found, those oppressed by the discipline of the clan commune where actual power resided in the elders, and others who, despite their services, had to be satisfied with a second rank position. Those heroes or knights who failed to be satisfied with always playing minor parts separated from the clan communes, left their settlement and became "people of long will" or "free condition" (utu duru-yin gu'un), "white bodies" (baishen) in Chinese, i.e. "white bone". [+19]

The fate of these people was often tragic deprived of social support, they were obliged to provide for themselves by arduous hunting in the forests, by fishing and even by robbery, but in this case their ruin was inevitable because there was nowhere to hide in the steppe. In course of time they came to form separate detachments in order to resist their organised fellow-tribesmen and to seek talented leaders to struggle with the clans and the clan alliances. Their number continually grew and, finally, the son of a dead tribal leader and descendant of the all-Mongol khan appeared among them after losing his wealth and social position, a member of the famous Borjigin clan, Temujin, who subsequently became Chinggiskhan.



 Temujin was born at the settlement of Del`iun-boldoq, eight kilometres north of the present day Soviet-Mongolian frontier. His date of birth is different in different sources. Rashid ad-Din writes that Chinggiskhan was born in the "year of the pig", i.e. 1152-3, but that he was 72 when he died in August 1227, i.e. his birth would be in 1155. It seems the dating of the Yuan shi- the "year of the horse", 1162, is more correct, and Mongol legendary tradition agrees with this and the calculation of the time of Temujin's marriage and the age of his sons: Jochi, Chagatai, Ogedei and Tolui. [+20]

War with the Jurchen, whom the Tatars joined after 1147, became an urgent task for the Mongols. In 1161 the Tatars [+21] defeated the Mongols at Lake Buyur; as a result of this the ancient Mongol khanate fell apart, but the people continued the war. The grandson of Qabul-qan, Yisugei-ba'atur, headed one of the most active Mongol tribal combinations - the Tayichi`ut. He succeeded in stopping the Tatar offensive against the Mongols and captured their warrior, Temujin, by whose name Yisugei called his newborn son. Yisugei acquired an influential friend by helping the Kerait prince To`oril in his struggle for the throne which he was waging with his uncle the gurkhan who relied on the Naiman. However, Yisugei quarrelled with the Merkit by taking the bride of one of their leaders, Ho`elun-eke, who became the mother of Temujin and Qasar.

In accordance with clan custom, this romantic episode evoked enmity between the Merkit and the Mongols and this subsequently became a fierce war since, in the concept of the time, the tribe was obliged to stand up for their humiliated fellow-tribesmen In order {142} to have support in his struggle with the Tatars and Merkit, Yisugei betrothed his nine year old son Temujin to Boite, daughter of the leader of the powerful Mongol tribe of the Onggirat, but on the journey back he was poisoned by Tatars, who had invited him to share their meal, and died. Immediately after his death the tribal combination which he had headed fell apart and his former subjects from the Tayichi`ut tribe drove all the cattle off, leaving their leader's family in poverty. The widow and her children with difficulty managed to live by hunting and fishing; for the Mongols the latter indicates the lowest degree of poverty. That was how the "people of long will" lived.

When Temujin grew up the Tayichi`ut leader, Tarqutai-kiriltuq, making a raid on the Borjigin grazing grounds, captured Temujin and put a cangue on him. But Temujin succeeded in escaping. After saving himself from the hands of his fellow-tribesmen, Temujin married his intended bride, Borte, thanks to which he gained the support of her tribe. He presented his wife's dowry, a sable coat, to the Kerait khan who immediately recalled his former friendship with Yisugei and promised Temujin his protection. Apart from that, Temujin swore brotherhood with Jamuqa-sechen, the influential leader of the Jajirat tribe. With powerful friends he no longer needed to fear the Tayichi`ut.

The ancient Mongols had the touching custom of sworn brotherhood. Boys or young men exchanged gifts and became anda, named brothers. Sworn brotherhood was considered superior to a blood relationship; anda were like a single soul, they would never desert one another and would always save one another from deadly danger. Aleksandr Nevskii made use of this custom. Swearing brotherhood with Batu's son, Sartak, he became as it were the khan's relative and, using this, he deflected many troubles from the Russian land.

When Temujin was eleven (the author of the Secret History uses the chronology of his life at the start of his story), [+22] i.e. in 1172-3, he was playing with Jamuqa on the frozen Onon and they then, for the first time, exchanged gifts; in the spring of the same year they swore to be faithful to one another as anda. [+23]

{143} After this, however, they did not meet for seven years. In these years Temujin managed to kill his step-brother, Bekter, to be taken prisoner and escape, to marry, to make friends with the Kerait Wankhan [Ong-qan], to acquire his own retainer and, it seems, not only one, because some Mongol clans recognised the descendant of Qabul-qan and Yisugei-ba`atur as their nominal head. The name of Jamuqa is not mentioned in these events.

Finally, in 1180 an event took place which started a chain reaction which resulted in the rise of the Mongol empire. In itself it was commonplace: the Merkit made a raid on the Borjigin grazing grounds and carried off Temujin's young wife, Borte. Temujin set off for Ong-qan to ask for help and he advised him to turn also to Jamuqa who responded to the appeal of his anda. The Kerait and Jajirat attacked the Merkit, killed many men, took the women prisoner and freed Borte. This Trojan War in the Mongol steppe gave Temujin enormous prestige and he quickly made use of it.

But then something strange takes place; for a year and a half Temujin and Jamuqa were inseparable, but at a certain moment Jamuqa uttered a phrase, externally signifying nothing, which put Temujin and especially Borte on guard, and the friendship, cemented in blood, evaporated in a few minutes. This phrase is usually called "Jamuqa's nomad riddle" and the causes of subsequent events are sought in it, [+24] but we shall pose the question another way {144} here. How do we know about a phrase said by one friend to another without witnesses? From the text of the Secret History. Right, but how could the author of that source know about this phrase? Only directly from Temujin or his wife; but that means he was someone in Temujin's camp and close to him. If that is so, why did he, inserting a clearly incomprehensible text in a strictly thought out story, not disclose its meaning? If this is a hint, what about? All is so veiled that even when the words were said they were incomprehensible to Temujin and his family who heard the phrase with its true intonation and in a context known to them.

But what if we have here merely a literary device often applied in ancient literature: inserting the author's thoughts in the hero's mouth? But then the text conceals a political cypher which has been deliberately served up as a riddle. We stress that the sense was unclear to those directly involved, so who are we to uncover it? Something else is important: the friends, without quarrelling, went their different ways and a day later many people gathered around Temujin and proclaimed him khan. Jamuqa reacted to this surprisingly phlegmatically, but when one of Temujin's retinue shot his younger brother who was stealing horses, Jamuqa raided Chinggiskhan, executed his prisoners, and returned home. Everything seemed to pass off in the manner usual in Mongolia, because after this for eighteen years there is no news of clashes between the anda. Yet during this time something did occur; because then a civil war flared up among the Mongols such as had never happened before. Therefore, before going further, let us comment on the events described.


A Historical Commentary

The essence of this period that occurred from 1180 to 1183 as regards relations between Jamuqa and Temujin consists of a transition from separation to a rapprochement, from rapprochement to friendship, from friendship to enmity and then to an armed clash - at least that is how it all looks externally. Let us note another feature of this period: the start of a purposive political struggle (not an intertribal or chance one) in Mongol history of this time is linked with the conflict between Jamuqa and Temujin. Just with the conflict, for all the clashes before it had an element of chance; even the campaign against the Merkit was undertaken only to recover Borte. When Borte had been recovered Temujin said it was enough to pursue the Merkit, he had "found what he was seeking"; [+25] they had taken matters to their conclusion - completed the campaign - by completely plundering the Merkit; To`oril particularly, as the sources testify, enriched himself and straightaway after the end of the campaign took himself off and went to the river Tolu, to his Dark Wood which had been his constant habitation.

Temujin and Jamuqa had been sworn brothers from childhood, but since that distant time they had long been apart, so after the campaign against the Merkit they felt it necessary to renew the ceremony of brotherhood. Temujin's appeal for help to Jamuqa -through To`oril - also tells us that prior to this time he had not maintained any relations with his anda. This mutual cooling-more truly, lack of knowledge, neglect of one another - is also felt in the sharp tone of reproach which Jamuqa used to Temujin and To`oril who were three days late at their meeting place; and in the fact that Jamuqa, meeting the request of his childhood friend, was most unwilling to dissipate his forces. Instead of setting out with two of his own hosts (as To`oril proposed to him), he recalled that "on the way", "upstream along the Onon there are people who belong to the ulus of my anda" and considered that "one host be formed from the ulus of my anda. Another host from here will be two hosts in all" [+26] - and he sets forth with these two hosts, of which only one is his. Such is the starting point for the second period in the relationship between Temujin and Jamuqa. We do not know what moves Jamuqa in his behaviour, we do not know his plans, his true views {146} on what took place There is no need to judge his relation to Temujin over the campaign against the Merkit, essentially they still did not know one another After the campaign something took place which was in all probability uncharacteristic of such combined campaigns instead of each leaving for his own ulus and there living his former life, as this had normally been done, for example, it seems To'onl, Jamuqa and Temujin again perform the ritual of sworn brotherhood, remain together and pass inseparably "in complete peace and agreement one year and half another" [+27].

What guided Temujin's and Jamuqa's conduct? Perhaps friendship? But Jamuqa's sincerity (and Temujin's, of course) is open to doubt, this friendship is very similar to strengthening that alliance they had formed on the campaign, a military and political alliance.

We do not know what prompted Temujin and Jamuqa to conclude an alliance so unusual for the time Perhaps it really was only a friendly affection which had suddenly burst forth. But even in this case, objectively, independently of the two of them, it was a fact of social significance. The enormous political repercussions which the break between Temujin and Jamuqa caused, bringing the entire country into motion, shows that.

The break between the sworn brothers was unexpected The attempt to explain its causes on the basis of the Concealed Tale has had no specific results Yet this moment is extremely important in understanding two key problems in the history of both Middle Asia and also of the whole world (1) how and why was the Mongol Empire formed, and (2) why did its nomad neighbours lose their war with it the Naiman and Kerait, Merkit and Tatars As we shall see below, Jamuqa's part here was no less than that of Temujin Yet twentieth-century historians do not pose the questions for what reason7 and why7 - although history becomes a science only if these questions are answered In his very detailed and conscientious work, [+28] R Grousset limited himself to repeating what the source says, but there is no answer to our question there We have to look for ourselves Let us turn to the facts.

In the same year, 1182, Jamuqa, after learning of Temujin being made Chinggiskhan, turned to the distinguished Mongols, Altan and Quchar, seeing them as the chief culprits of the break "Why {147} have you, Altan and Quchar, parted me and my anda, interfering in our affairs?" [+29] This question by Jamuqa and the challenge he made, not to Chinggis, but precisely to those two can be interpreted in different ways We can suppose that Jamuqa has not yet decided to challenge Chinggis openly himself, but one can also see in this simply an insult to those who by their intrigues had led to a break between the anda

Mention of Altan and Quchar chimes in with other information on the Concealed Tale which states that Temujm was joined by "Quchar-beki, son of Nekun-taishi, as one kuren, by Altan-otchigin, son of Qutula-qan as one kuren". [+30] That these people came "with one kuren" is their main feature, as it were opposed to a possible greater number of them If we turn our attention to the fact that they were the sons of khans, the sense of the description becomes clear, it amounts to stressing that they had separated from their tribes This circumstance would be of little import, were it not that a thread leads from it to an answer to the question why should Altan and Quchar "separate" Temujin and Jamuqa?

On the morning after the night when the incident between the sworn brothers occurred, according to the author of the Concealed Tale, many people approached Temujin In relating this, the author describes them as he does Altan and Quchar. This would be an astonishing coincidence, were there no deeper meaning concealed in it. This is what the author says "the following tribes came three Toqura`un brothers from the Jalair From the Barulas tribe From the Mangqut tribe" etc. That is, here, too, there were not tribes, but parts of them, and those coming from one tribe were connected by family ties - fathers and sons, brothers Tribal fragmentation does not have to be queried, it is obvious and literally demonstrated by the source, for example "Ogolen-cherbi, his younger brother, separated himself from the Arulat tribe and came to his brother Bo`orchu. From the Uriangqai tribe separated out and came" [+31] and so on They came to Temujin not in tribes, but in families or kuren - military units, as simple warriors and as aristocrats.

Then, two mutually exclusive programmes were put forward The clan elders wanted to create a confederation of tribes with an {148} elected khan. For this post Jamuqa was the most suitable candidate, an experienced warrior and a shrewd politician. With the victory of this programme the "people of long will" would have no place left in the scheme of things. Therefore, they grouped themselves around Temujin who was, essentially, one of them. As soon as Temujin, who had prepared for the turnabout, moved away from Jamuqa a retinue of 13,000 warriors formed around him. In 1182 they chose Temujin as khan under the name Chinggis, taking an oath to him with a very characteristic text: "When Temujin becomes khan, we, the leading detachment pursuing the enemy, will deliver to him beautiful maidens and wives, yurts, slaves and the best horses. In the battue we will allot you half the prey. If in days of war we violate your rule, scatter our black heads over the earth; if in peace time we violate your tranquillity, separate us from our wives, children and slaves, cast us into the lordless land." [+32] Here are agreed the division of the spoils and the punishment for the violation of discipline: in time of war, execution, in peacetime, exile. The conditions are typical for an emergent military organisation.

The choice of Temujin as khan was recognised by the Kerait, but met opposition among the Mongols themselves, the majority of whom did not join Temujin but united around Jamuqa. The gathering conflict took place as a result of the killing of Jamuqa's brother who was intending to drive off a herd from Chinggis's people. Jamuqa brought 30,000 horsemen who had voluntarily joined him, but Chinggiskhan had only 13,000 men from various clans and tribes. [+33] At a battle at Dalan-baljut Jamuqa overcame Chinggis's force and bottled him up in a defile near the Onon. [+34] But, true to the traditions of inter-tribal wars, he restricted himself to executing the prisoners and led off his forces, thanks to which Chinggiskhan was saved, had a breathing space of 18 years and grew so strong that war became unavoidable.

Here a question arises: for whom? It seems, for all! For the Mongols opposed to Chinggiskhan, for his horde had filled out with {149} people of long will" who had personal scores to settle with relatives who had insulted them, so these rich relatives had every ground for disquiet. For the surrounding tribes: the Tatars who had poisoned Chinggiskhan's father, and the Merkit who had dishonoured his wife. For Ong-qan the Kerait, trying to increase his prestige by victories. For the Naiman khan who somewhat later formulated his evaluation of the political situation as follows: "There are not two suns in heaven; can a people have two rulers?" [+35] This notable phrase shows that even at the start of the thirteenth century the traditions of steppe unity that had been founded by the Hun, developed by the Turks and continued by that combination of Mongol-speaking Tatar tribes which are notionally called the Zubu, had not disappeared. Now the time had come to crown the edifice of nomad culture and only one thing was unclear: would the Naiman or the Mongols do this.


An Attempt at an Analysis

Jamuqa appears on the pages of the Concealed Tale again with the choice of Temujin as Chinggiskhan and the battle at Dalan-bahut, in the account of which there is the following phrase "The Jadaran, headed by Jamuqa, united around themselves thirteen tribes and formed a force of three hosts with Chinggiskhan there were also thirteen kuren and he also formed a force of three hosts and went to meet Jamuqa" [+36] From this we conclude that each of the opponents had a force of three hosts, but that Jamuqa had 13 tribes, while Chinggis had 13 kuren. The difference is enormous a kuren is not a synonym for a tribe in this context - it is a military unit (although it might happen that a tribe might field one kuren). [+37] The description in the Concealed Tale of the election of Jamuqa as a gurkhan, which was separated from the moment dealt with (1182) by a period of eighteen years (1200), allows us to reach a definitive conclusion It is the "tribes" who elect Jamuqa, i.e. the tribal aristocracy which guides this alliance against Chinggiskhan ("they agreed to undertake a campaign against Chinggiskhan and Ong-qan"). [+38]

All that has been adduced above leads to the following conclusions in this period the Mongol tribe experienced a period of decline, the features of this process are an extreme exacerbation of relations between the tribal aristocracy and those who were not submissive and were striving to escape from the orbit of the tribe. The process proceeded so far that it posed the renegades who had separated from the tribe - the "people of long will" - the task of uniting based, naturally, on a principle other than the tribal one, in circumstances where relations between the "people of long will" and the tribal top men were exacerbated, this principle could only be the military one. All this found practical expression in the unification of kurens around Temujin and the "tribes" around Jamuqa.

Let us return once more to one of the circumstances in the break between Temujin and Jamuqa the "people of long will", all those "from the tribe" of so-and-so, approached Temujin simultaneously and immediately after his departure from Jamuqa. This fact alone, that they came to Temujin at one and the same time, that means {151} together, makes us think that they had been together before this and were not far from Temujin, as is shown by their instantaneous reaction to the news of the friends" quarrel. Their being at the ready, their expectation of a break is perhaps explained only by their link with Temujin. Here especially the part played by Altan and Quchar in all this story becomes understandable, the part of intermediaries between Temujin and the "people of long will", to whom they themselves were related, since they too were "from the tribe..." Jamuqa's reproach was well founded.

The battle at Dalan-baljut crowns this period; an account of it is found in the Concealed Tale and in Rashid ad-Din, but the latter's account is completely opposed to that of the former. The Concealed Tale asserts that Jamuqa was victorious, he bottled up "Chinggis in the defile, executed the princelings of the Chinos clan and left". Rashid ad-Din has it all the other way round: Chinggiskhan was victorious and he executed his enemies in the same way. Whom are we to believe? Him who was not concerned to distort the events, the author of the Concealed Tale, because the humiliation of Chinggiskhan before his enemies was not part of his task. Moreover, he is not particularly sympathetic to Jamuqa: he is depicted in both positive and negative actions. On the contrary, Rashid ad-Din was directly concerned to distort reality. His task of extolling Chinggiskhan prevented him from showing his hero in the humiliated position of the vanquished. Therefore, in Rashid ad-Din details of the battle are lacking, but there are many general phases, such as: "Chinggiskhan's enemies were scattered by the sun of his good fortune, like motes in airy space". [+39]

In the description of the battle at Dalan-baljut we encounter for the first time a link in the chain of paradoxes in Jamuqa's conduct: at the threshold of victory over Chinggiskhan he suddenly rejects it and leaves the site of the battle, merely saying: "Well, we have firmly bottled him up in the Jerene gorge of the Onon!" [+40] Why did he do this?

Now that we know what antagonistic social forces were represented by Jamuqa and Temujin we can try to approach the problem of to what degree each of their personal interests coincided with those of the side they headed. This can be done by deducting what {152} is motivated by social interests, the interests of the two warring camps into which society had split; the remainder describes the person.

The Concealed Tale describes the first clash between Jamuqa and Chinggiskhan as follows: learning of the killing of his younger brother by one of Chinggiskhan's followers, Jamuqa sets out with a force against his sworn brother from whom Altan and Quchar had "separated" him. Learning of Jamuqa's advance, Chinggiskhan also collects a force and goes to meet him; a battle takes place at Dalan-baljut; then Jamuqa drives Chinggiskhan and his force into the defile. If Jamuqa, forgetting his former friendship with Temujin, goes against him with a force, and that means he wants to defeat him, it is completely incomprehensible why, on the eve of victory, when he has to take a single step to destroy his enemy, he fails to take this step, but turns back. The impression is given that it is not a single man, but two different ones who are acting here - one gives the order for the start of military operations, the other the order to leave the battlefield. The thought involuntarily arises that two wills were involved in this battle and in everything to do with it, but so contradictory that the action of one destroys the commitment of the other. But in the light of our twofold understanding of the chain of events we are looking at - on the personal and the social planes - it becomes clear what two wills could operate here.

The coming together of the "people of long will", their choice of Temujin as khan - and as a reaction, evidently, a similar unification of thirteen tribes around Jamuqa - raised the temperature to white heat, so that the killing of Jamuqa's brother caused the start of military action. It is not precisely known what aims Jamuqa himself had when he set out, but what the coalition of "tribes" in this campaign wanted is not open to doubt. In circumstances where the warring sides had only just become organised on a country-wide scale, when the enemy forces were still unknown, the party most aggressive and spoiling for a fight should be the one whose traditional dominance is being encroached on by the mere existence of the other. So, those around Jamuqa were greatly concerned with the campaign, but they were concerned with it only as a means. The aim was to destroy the coalition of Chinggis's followers, which, as we have seen, did not take place, and that is why the order to retreat describes Jamuqa and him alone.

If we look at Jamuqa's conduct in all this history of the campaign {153} starting from the fact that, setting out with the tribal aristocracy against Chinggiskhan, he was also with them in his concerns, i.e. pursued the aim of completely routing and destroying Chinggis, then we inevitably find ourselves in a dead end in trying to explain Jamuqa's order to leave Dalan-baljut. On the other hand, however, we cannot say that he was not interested in the campaign. Just as no one stopped him breaking off the campaign a single step from victory, so no one could have compelled him to take part in it had he not wanted to. Therefore, it is difficult to say what moved Jamuqa, but it is clear that his concerns were not those of those around him, they coincided only in their general direction - Chinggis, but no more. Apart from that, the tribal aristocracy's aims should have been achieved by a victorious completion of the campaign, while Jamuqa's aims were achieved by the campaign itself, so Jamuqa did not consider it necessary to carry it to its conclusion.

The departure of the Uru'ut and Mangqut from Jamuqa to Chinggis after the battle is a fact closely connected with what has been said; it was their reaction to Jamuqa's decision to leave Dalan-baljut. Had their going over to Chinggis been dictated by no other factor than sympathy for him, they should have transferred to him before the battle and this could only have benefited him; no one would have been able to hinder them from doing this before the battle, any more than afterwards, i.e. the cause of their departure resides in the battle itself, not elsewhere. Since they took part in the campaign, pursuing the same aims as all the tribal aristocracy, the cause of their departure, naturally, lay not in the fact of the battle itself, but in the unexpected factor that showed itself in it - in the lack of coincidence, more than that, in the contradiction between Jamuqa's concerns and those of his allies and Jamuqa's flouting of the tribal aristocracy's concerns.

In other words, we see one of those rare cases in history when the concerns of the head of a social grouping are not identical with its aspirations and if they do come into contact, it is only temporarily. Then an illusion of unanimity arises which is destroyed as soon as a moment comes when the matter requires true unanimity, and the actions of such a social grouping are foredoomed to failure. The Uru'ut and Mangqut understood this, this and this alone could be the cause of their seemingly inexplicable departure to Chinggis. In fact, their transfer from Jamuqa to Chinggis was not simply from one leader to another. This was a transfer from one warring camp to {154} another. Social contradictions between the tribal aristocracy, in whose camp the Uru'ut and Mangqut were, and the "people of long will" lay at the base of this enmity.

How can the transfer of "tribes" to the side of Chinggis be explained? Only in one way, by the content of the developing political struggle. But here we have to take account of the following. While the camp of the "people of long will" was homogeneous in its composition and its aspirations, the aristocratic camp was divided into two strata: the tribal aristocracy who were in conflict with the "people of long will", and the ordinary members of the tribes who were potentially those same "people of long will" and were only distinguished from them by their obedience to the tribal aristocracy. Such a situation created instability in the camp of the tribal aristocracy and the possible transfer of tribes to Chinggiskhan's camp if their leaders were interested in such a transfer.

What political calculation is concealed in the action of the Uru'ut and the Mangqut? Why did the leaders of these tribes, despite the fact that the "people of long will" belonged to their social opponents, nevertheless join their future fate to theirs? Probably, simply because the social marker had ceased to function as it had when people were being divided into two warring camps. The promotion of a military aristocracy in the camp of the "people of long will" transformed the struggle of the latter from one for freedom and independence into one for domination. Therefore, the victory of the "people of long will" in fact signified the establishment of dominance by a military aristocracy headed by Chinggis. It was possible to serve this upper group, so the Uru'ut and Mangqut in fact did not go over to the side of the "people of long will", but went to serve Chinggis and his associates. But all the same, what drove them to such a transfer? The fact that, being the most warlike (which Jamuqa himself later noted), they, of course, strove to conquer. Jamuqa did not justify their expectations, it became clear to them that it was impossible to conquer with him and they went over to Chinggis, thanks to which he was transformed from a leader of a band to a sovereign.

Temujin and Jamuqa

Constant internal wars, raids, mutual cattle stealing and other "delights" afflicted the Mongols themselves. When to this was added an external threat, the demand for unification began to be felt by the {155} whole people. The Tatars, egged on by the Jurchen, pressed them from the south. The Merkit threatened them from the north, trying to pay back their recent defeat. In the west the Naiman became active and had again succeeded in finding a claimant to the throne of the Kerait khanate, in driving out Ong-qan temporarily and thus weakening the only Mongol ally. The Mongols were surrounded. But it was impossible to effect their unification without a programme acceptable to the overwhelming majority of the people. This did not exist.

To Chinggiskhan's good fortune, the intelligent and farsighted Inancha-qan played no part in the last five years of his life. Either he was ill, or his age told on him, or perhaps his children kept him back, being less talented and shrewd than he was. When Inancha-qan died in 1201 and his khanate was divided into two khanates which, although not openly warring, dealt with one another more than coldly, a fierce tribal war developed.

In 1201 sixteen tribal leaders [+41] assembled for a kuriltai and chose Jamuqa as gurkhan, setting war against Chinggiskhan and Ong-qan as their aim. The younger brother of Buyiruq-qan was the Naiman representative. In a battle at Koyiten Chinggiskhan and Ong-qan routed this assemblage thanks to the fact that a hurricane suddenly arose and the various tribes of Jamuqa's force lost contact with one {156} another. "And Jamuqa, after plundering the people who had made him into a khan" [+42] retreated and left his allies. Building on his success, Chinggiskhan routed the Tayichi`ut on the banks of the Onon and in the following year (1202) inflicted a decisive defeat on the Tatars. At this time Ong-qan undertook a campaign against the Merkit and drove them west from Baikal, gaining a fair amount of booty, moreover. Then the allies again united and attacked the Naiman Buyiruq-qan. He fled, without giving battle, but was caught on the lower reaches of the Urunggu and killed. [+43]

Then the main forces of the Naiman entered the war. At the site of Bayidaraq-belchir the commander Kokse`u-sabraq barred the way to the Kerait and Mongols who were leaving after their raid. In the night Ong-qan separated himself from Chinggis, for some reason joined with Jamuqa and left; Chinggis, seeing that he was alone, also retreated, but to the other side. The Naiman set off in pursuit of Ong-qan and took many prisoners. Then Chinggis sent a force to rescue Ong-qan and helped him recover the prisoners. Ong-qan adopted Chinggis for this. [+44]

It would seem that the alliance should have been strengthened, but instead the Kerait grandees and the prince Nilqa-Senggum conspired against Chinggis. They wanted to entice him to them and kill him. For some reason, in Ong-qan's headquarters the first adviser was Jamuqa who had caused the conflict, but refused to take part in the war. [+45] The Kerait prepared a raid on the Mongols, wanting to take them by surprise, but some simple herdsmen [+46] who changed {157} sides, hoping for a reward for timely information, warned Chinggis-khan and the Mongol women and children were able to get away, while the force prepared for battle. In the battle at Qala`un-a`ula the Mongols managed to avoid complete defeat thanks to the insane bravery of the Uru'ut leader, Quyuldar, who flung his troop at the centre of the Kerait army and thus wrecked their attack. Under cover of night Chinggiskhan led the remnants of his force away, 2,600 horsemen in all. The Mongols, skilfully manoeuvring, avoided a repeat battle, lulled Kerait vigilance by negotiations and in a surprise attack by Jeje`er mountain (between the sources of the Tola and the Kerulen) routed them in a night battle in the autumn of 1203. Ong-qan fled to the Naiman and was killed in an encounter with a Naiman frontier guard, because the officer of the guard did not know his face and did not believe that he could be such an important person. [+47] The remnants of the Kerait, under the protection of his son, Senggum, fled and reached Khotan where the leader of the Kalach tribe seized and killed Senggum. [+48]

Thus ended the most powerful and ancient Christian khanate of Central Asia, falling as a sacrifice to the pagans; but it is curious that this side of the matter is not reflected in all the sources. Rashid ad-Din notes merely in his introductory description: "The call of Jesus - peace be to him! - had reached them and they entered into his faith", [+49] without drawing any conclusion from it. In the Concealed Tale only the Kerait prayer "Abai-Babai", i.e. "Our Father" is mentioned, and that incidentally. [+50] The only deduction is that the Mongols themselves did not attach importance to the difference in faith. [+51]

And from this point of view it is very important that the Kerait themselves held the same opinion. An extremely distorted version of the fall of their kingdom is preserved in Siberian chronicles. It is so distorted that no researcher has taken it into his head to relate this entry to the events of the thirteenth century. Here is the text. [+52] {158} "There was a king of Mahomet's law by name On" (thus in the Esipov chronicle), Ivan (in the Stroganov) or On-Som-khan (in the Remizov chronicle). Against him "there rose up one from his power from the simple people by name Chingi and he went against him like a brigand... and killed On, and Chingi himself [entered into] the kingship."

Here much is confused. Islam is put in place of the forgotten Nestorianism; Chinggiskhan is called a simple brigand, but what is important for us is that information passing through dozens of hands has kept its sense - a social one. The leader of the "people of long will" would appear to his opponents as a brigand leader of a band. The source has not lost this basic content. But, in order to find the pearl of truth in the accumulated layers of its shell, we should learn the factual history properly, for only in this way can the researcher's system of association be expanded to the limits needed.

Yet if the Kerait and Mongols had common traditions formed when they both were part of a general nomadic unity, notionally called Zubu, the Naiman were quite another people, and war between them and the Mongols should be regarded as an external, intertribal one. Our sources unanimously assert that the initiative for the war belonged to the Naiman Tayang-qan who attempted to attract the Ongut into an alliance, but they refused point-blank and warned Chinggiskhan. On the other side, all those who survived the victories of Chinggis and the carnage that followed them: Tatars, Merkit, Mongols, adherents of Jamuqa and others, gathered round the Naiman khan in order to continue the struggle. In 1204 both forces clashed near the Hangai mountains, at a decisive moment Jamuqa led his detachment away and the Naiman suffered defeat. Tayang-qan perished, his mother was captured and his son, Kuchlug, fled to the Merkit who had succeeded in retreating along the Irtysh valley beyond the Altai. The steppe had again been united as under the Turkish and Uighur khans.

Chinggiskhan's last remaining unconquered opponent was his sworn brother and first competitor, Jamuqa-sechen. In 1205 he was seized by his own warriors, handed over to Chinggis and executed.


The Great Kuriltai

All the forces defending the "nine-footed white banner" in battles with their fellow tribesmen gathered on the banks of the Onon in {159} 1206. This assembly, the kuriltai, was the highest organ of power and it alone had the right to entrust rule to a particular person who was thereafter called khan. They would raise him on a felt above the heads of the surrounding crowd who expressed their willingness to obey him by their cries. Of course, Temujin was for the second time chosen as khan and the kuriltai confirmed his title of Chinggiskhan. They were also called on to determine the name of the people whose core were the faithful adherents of Chinggiskhan along with their families and domestic slaves. Then they were called Mongols and this name was officially attached to the newly formed people and military force.

The most noteworthy circumstance here was that the Mongol force had grown from 13,000 volunteers to a regular army of 110,000. It is clear that the increase took place by including conquered Kerait and Naiman in the forces. But people are not chessmen. Being included in the conqueror's army they never once displayed disloyalty to the new khan, and this means that acceptable conditions had been created for them. To every Mongol veteran there were now ten new war prisoners accustomed to rebel even against their own tribal khans. In this army strength was on the side of the conquered, but they rapidly became faithful subjects. It seems that here a decisive part was played by the steppe tradition of a strong central power able to withstand sedentary neighbours: Jurchen, Tangut and Muslim. Changing the nickname Zubu for the proud name of Mongol, they lost nothing; and those who did not want to live in the united state went to the west and continued the war. These were the untamed Merkit and part of the Naiman. The rest transferred their sympathies to Chinggiskhan.

The clan principle was quickly and consciously broken. Commanders were rewarded according to their services and not by birthright. Warriors were allocated to the units of ten, a hundred or a thousand and were obliged to serve from the age of fourteen to seventy. To maintain order, apart from the army of 100,000, a guard of 10,000 was formed which had the duty of guarding the khan's yurt. The military statute of Chinggis's army was taken as the basis for the laws. Two punishments were established: the death penalty and banishment to Siberia. A distinguishing feature of this enactment was the introduction of a penalty for failing to help a fellow soldier in trouble. This law was called the Yasa and Chinggis's second son, Chagatai, was appointed guardian of the {160} Yasa (supreme procurator). The new born empire arose as a result of wars and only for wars, for which there still remained not a few grounds.

In such a warlike assemblage of people from various tribes it was essential to maintain strict order and real force was always needed for this. Chinggiskhan foresaw this and created two watches, a day and a night one, from his most trusted warriors. They were on duty in the horde throughout the twenty-four hours, were inseparable from the khan and obeyed him alone. This was the Mongol apparatus of compulsion, set above the army officers: an ordinary guardsman counted as superior to an officer of a thousand. [+53] Ninety-five noyans were appointed by the officers of a thousand and these "laboured ... in creating the state". [+54] Thus, from the "people of long will" a military elite was created which cannot be called either an aristocracy, or an oligarchy, or a democracy, for this was the horde of the ancient Turkish kaganate, [+55] but grown to embrace the whole Great Steppe and swallowing up the tribes.

The horde is the people and the troops. To count the officers of military units as aristocrats is wrong, if only because they receive posts as a reward for services, and can be demoted for faults. The clan of all Mongols was equally ancient, from Alan-goa. You cannot call this system democracy either, since the masses were bound by an iron military discipline. And what sort of an oligarchy is it, when the superior power belongs to the khan? But it is extremely doubtful whether this is a monarchy, because the khan is only a president for life, chosen by all the troops -whose mood he has to consider. This system cannot be called a tyranny, because legal power - the Yasa - was separated from the khan's executive power. According to the accepted system, the khan had the right to demand observance of the law, but not its violation. Later, when Ozbeg in 1312 proposed to his subjects that they should accept Islam, they replied: "You expect from us submissiveness and obedience, but as for our faith and creed, what affair is it of yours, and how shall we desert the law and Yasa of Chinggiskhan and go over to the faith of the Arabs?" [+56]

As we see, the power of the khan was much more restricted than that of the kings of feudal Europe. There was no gentry, but all were serfs.

{161} Of course, the Mongol veterans received the best positions and posts for their services. It might seem this was enough to see in them the start of a future feudal estate. That was not it! As we shall see below, they did not manage to savour the fruits of their victories and bequeath their position and wealth to their children. Each war, even a victorious one, reduced their number and increased the number of the subjugated who were incorporated into the forces and thus became members of the horde with full rights. The percentage relationship changed to the disadvantage of the victors.

The economy of the unified Mongolia also posed a very complex problem. A six-year civil war could not but be reflected in the sole form of the people's wealth, the number of livestock. During campaigns livestock were eaten, rather than pastured. Consequently, in order to feed the army, which could not be dismissed because there were enemies on all the frontiers, they had to continue the war. Then the troops, passing the frontier, found themselves food, while at home the children and dogs protected the lambs against the wolves. Yet such a solution meant that the people must be under constant tension, without the slightest hope of rest. And the government, if it wanted to survive, was obliged to ensure the loyalty of the majority of the population bearing bows and sabres.

No single government can survive without money, and, as we have seen, nothing could be collected from the people and troops; on the contrary, payments had to be made to them, if only for food and equipment. The Mongol khan received these means in taxes on the caravans; this drew Mongolia into a complex international policy which demanded a strong, individual authority.

But how did Chinggiskhan manage to reconcile his new subjects, accustomed to a free life, to his unlimited power? And are we not contradicting our own earlier conclusions on the part played by confession of faith in replacing confessional by political primacy? That's the point; we are not! Chinggis married his sons to Christian women: Ogedei to the Merkit Toregena, Tolui to the Kerait princess Sorqoqtani-Beki. Nestorian churches were erected in the khan's headquarters and Chinggis's grandchildren were brought up to respect the Christian faith.

The Mongol "black faith" [+57] whose adherents and officials had {162} been Chinggis's support in the difficult years was, though not abolished, exceedingly restricted in its opportunities. The head of the Mongol church, the soothsayer Kokochii, was in the habit of trying to influence state affairs and to gather people, attracting them even from among the princes. Well, he was invited to the khan's headquarters and there they broke his back, after which his adherents "became quiet". [+58]

Limitation of the "black faith", of course, did not mean that Nestorianism became or even had the chance to become the state religion. On the other hand, the Nestorians had access to state posts and, consequently, the possibility of directing the policy of the newly born empire. That is why the Naiman prince Kuchlug and the Merkit prince Toqto`a-beki found themselves isolated and went off beyond the Altai where the Kipchak accepted and supported them. These brave men did not give up their sabres.

Fame and Ruin

War was renewed in 1207. Chinggis's eldest son, Jochi, in a single campaign conquered the "forest peoples" of Southern Siberia without meeting serious opposition and this ensured the rear of the Mongol ulus. In the following year, 1208, the Mongol commander Sube-'etei reached the Naiman and Merkit and compelled them to give battle in the Irtysh valley by the confluence of the Bukhtarma. Tokto'a, the Merkit leader, fell in the battle, his children fled to the Kipchak (to present day Kazakhstan), while the Naiman prince Kuchlug and his fellow tribesmen left for the Seven Streams area and were there kindly received by the gurkhan Julqu who needed warriors for his war with the Khwarizmshah Muhammed. Subsequently, Kuchlug became a close friend and favourite of the gurkhan who was not distinguished by his foresight and ability to judge character. The gurkhan even gave him his daughter

1209 brought the gurkhan great grief. We have noted that the small Kara-Khitai state was financed by Uighur merchants who had asked the khan to deal with their Muslim competitors. As the gurkhan did not cope with his allotted task the Uighurs killed the Khitan official and offered their allegiance to Chinggiskhan. This was a deal advantageous to both sides. The Mongol khan was faced {163} with war with the Jurchen. The whole of steppe opinion demanded this of him. But money is needed for any war. The Uighurs gave the money.

The Uighur merchants needed goods for trade. They were able to buy up from the Mongol warriors any amount of booty, on the cheap, of course, since they were the monopolists; moreover, the Mongols needed literate officials. It had reached the point where vacancies were offered to Naiman prisoners. The literate Uighur soon offered their services and received posts which were no less profitable than even their trade deals. There were no further reasons to delay war with the Jin Empire and in 1211 it started.

The Mongols directed the first blow at the Tangut kingdom. This was, rather, a military and political move. In 1209 the Mongols routed the Tangut field forces, collected an enormous number of cattle and camels, but were compelled to abandon the siege of the capital since the Tangut broke the dams and flooded the surroundings of the town with the waters of the Huang He. The Mongols withdrew after concluding a peace and a treaty of mutual military aid which freed their troops for the main campaign.

The moment for the start of the inevitable war had been selected extremely carefully. The Jin Empire was already engaged in war on three fronts: with the Song empire, the Tangut and the popular movement of the "Red Robes" who were struggling against foreign authority. Despite the numerical preponderance of their opponents, the Jurchen were victorious everywhere. In the spring of 1211 the Mongols took the frontier fortress of Wu-sha. Soon, several fortresses fell which the Jurchen had relied on as an insurmountable bulwark against the nomads and the whole country to the gates of Beijing had been devastated. The Khitan troops rose and went over to the Mongols, justifying this by claiming they were blood brothers. In 1215 Beijing fell and Chinggiskhan concluded an armistice since he was summoned by urgent matters in the west.

The Merkit who in 1208 had withdrawn beyond the mountain passes of the Altai and the Tarbagatai had had help from the Kipchak or eastern Polovtsy. Thanks to this, by 1216 they had gathered their strength and attempted to strike the Mongols in their rear. Only two tumen [10,000 men form a tumen - trans.] of select Mongol troops hurriedly flung forward from Central Mongolia under the command of the eldest royal prince, Jochi, halted and repulsed the enemy. The Merkit, deserted by Kuchlug, were {164} compelled to accept a battle and lost it The remains of the routed Merkit troops fled to the west, but the Mongols caught up with them by the Irgiz and they were cut down to the last man There, too, by the Irgiz, the Mongols were subjected to an attack by the Khwarizmshah Muhammed who liked to fight the infidel Surprised by a sudden attack for no reason, the Mongols pressed the Khwarizm forces hard and returned home

In the Kara-Khitan kingdom matters went from bad to worse The gurkhan's advances to the Khwarizmshah Muhammed merely led to the strengthening of Khwarizm By 1208 Muhammed refused to pay tribute, attracted the ruler of Khotan to his side and occupied Bukhara and Samarkand The Muslim population, tormented by the wilfulness of the Kara-Khitan grandees and tax collectors, welcomed the Khwarizm men as liberators That was where the troops collected by Kuchlug among Chinggiskhan's former enemies were needed, but Kuchlug embarked on an adventurist course instead of helping his father-in-law, he seized the gurkhan's treasury in Uzgend and, learning that the greater part of the Kara-Khitan troops were fighting the Muslim, tried to seize the person of the gurkhan himself This boldness failed the gurkhan was able to collect a force and defeat Kuchlug At this time another Kara-Khitan army took Samarkand, but the war did not end here The Muslim again went onto the attack and were only halted near Balasagun, and even that success was dubious

But then the mass of people intervened in politics and confused all their rulers" cards The Muslim population of Mavarannahr found the yoke of their co-religionists from Khwarizm worse than the yoke of the infidel After several upheavals, all the Khwarizmians in Samarkand were slaughtered, and their disjointed limbs were hung in the bazaars [+59] On the other hand, the gurkhan's troops rioted, after recovering the treasury from Kuchlug they did not return it to the ruler, but divided it amongst themselves Then Kuchlug renewed his adventurist policy, put himself at the head of the rioters and in 1211 arrested the gurkhan who was trying to hide in Kashgar The gurkhan was left his title and all the marks of his dignity, but Kuchlug stood on a level with the throne and matters were decided at the wave of his hand The Kara-Khitan grandees, seeing the gurkhan's incapacity, transferred their sympathy to {165} Kuchlug, seeing him as a possible saviour of the sinking state. Gurkhan Julqu died in 1213 and Kuchlug was unanimously recognised as the Kara-Khitan gurkhan.

The events described throw light on the Naiman problem. As we have seen, the Naiman fled to the Kara-Khitan to save themselves from the Mongols; they regarded them as their fellow-tribesmen and were accepted there as such. Kuchlug seized power relying on the support of the leaders of the Kara-Khitan troops, which would have been impossible had he been a stranger. Evidently, the difference between the Kara-Khitan and the Naiman lay in political, not the ethnic plane and this confirms our preliminary interpretation of the events.

The religious problem is much more complex. According to all the data, Kuchlug was at first a Nestorian, but after seizing power he deserted his wife, a Christian, and fell in love with a Kara-Khitan who seduced him into "worshipping strange gods" [+6]0 (perhaps Buddhas?). [+61]

Thanks to the Mongol forces being tied down in China, Kuchlug gained a breathing space and made use of it to restore the frontiers of the Kara-Khitan power. He managed to force back the Khwarizmians in the south and to subordinate the defecting principalities of Eastern Turkestan, except for Almalik which had accepted the protection of the Mongols. But, although a good general, Kuchlug was a bad politician and allowed the Nestorians and Buddhists to start a {166} religious persecution of the Muslims who made up the majority of the Kara-Khitai power. This separated him from the masses who transferred their sympathy to the Mongol khan, at this time very well disposed towards the Muslims.

In 1218 Kuchlug, catching the ruler of Almalik unawares, besieged the town where the ruler's wife, a Mongolian, niece of Chinggiskhan, led the defence. The Mongols immediately came to her aid and Kuchlug was obliged to withdraw. At the first news of the appearance of the Mongol troops the Muslim population started to slaughter the adherents of Kuchlug who, not being able to consolidate his position, fled to the extreme south of the country, to Sarykol where he was caught by the Mongols and killed. The Kara-Khitai (Khitan) submitted to the Mongols without resistance and were included in the composition of the people and troops as a separate corps equal in rights to the truly Mongol sections.

After 1218 the only remaining enemies of the Mongols in the steppes were the Kipchak, i.e. the eastern Polovtsy who had helped the Merkit. War with them dragged on until 1229 when the Mongols took the town of Saksin on the lower reaches of the Volga or Yaik. The Polovtsy population of the Caspian and Aral steppes in part fled to the west, in part submitted to the Mongols and increased the numbers of their troops.

A Renewed Illusion

Kuchlug lost his life, but acquired a fame of which he never dreamt and which he did not deserve. His persecution of the Muslims, as senseless as the dragonnade of Louis XIV, had unlooked for consequences on the western marches of Asia. First, the Caliph of Baghdad, who was not on good terms with the Khwarizmshah, decided to make use of him in the matter. In 1217, at the request of the Caliph, the Nestorian Patriarch living in Baghdad sent emissaries to "king David" with a request to mount a diversion against Khwarizm. [+62] But by this time Kuchlug had abandoned his Christian faith and all his concerns were focussed on Dzungaria, not on Central Asia. Nevertheless, the rumour crept further and reached the Crusaders who in 1218 were besieging Damietta in Northern Egypt. Part of them, namely Hungarians led by their king, {167} Andrew II, reached Acre, made merry in the rich trading town and returned home; but the others: Germans, Frisians, Danes, Norwegians, prompted by the papal legate Pelagius who was in contact with the cunning Italian merchants, set off for Egypt in May 1218. To start with the Crusaders won a few battles and even took Damietta, but, lacking any prospect of further advances, they left Egypt in 1221.

It was at this time that the rumour of the eastern ally took root and this time in the following form: "Throughout the Christian world there were rumours that the Indian king David, called priest John, is approaching with a large force, he has conquered Persia, Media [in this case, Central Asia] and many other Saracen lands and informed the Caliph of Baghdad, Baldakh, the supreme pope of the Saracens, that he wishes to wage war against him and against all heathen, if he does not accept the Christian faith. And he has promised to come to the help of the Christian troops at Damietta and in the land of Jerusalem". [+63]

Jacques de Vitry, Bishop of Acre, in a letter to Pope Honorius III writes still more extensively and pathetically about "king David", who "is called by the people priest John" and "like unto David, the holy king of Israel... crowned by the will of Providence". The date of the letter is 18 April 1221. At that time Kuchlug's bones had rotted, but hope of his help continued to obscure the minds of Europeans. De Vitry, among other stupidities, asserts that king David's troops "are already no more than 15 days journey from Antioch and are hurrying to reach the Promised Land to see Our Lord's sepulchre and restore the Holy Land", i.e. the Kingdom of Jerusalem conquered by Sala ad-Din in 1187. The information underlying the letter had been obtained by the Bishop of Acre from soldiers who had fallen into the hands of the Muslims and been sent to the east, to Baghdad where the Caliph handed them over to "king David" and he, learning they were Christians, freed them and sent them to Antioch. [+64]

This last detail still awaits explanation, although its reliability, or, rather, probability, seems very small. It is not impossible that {168} Christian prisoners were in the area where the Mongols were operating, smashing the Khwarizm sultanate in these years. It is possible that they encountered the Mongols, or simply fled to them and found co-religionists there among the Kerait or Naiman serving in the Mongol army. There is nothing improbable in the Mongol soldiers helping the enemies of their enemies and giving them the chance to make their way back to their own people. But these are only the details of an unwritten historical novel, and all that relates to history itself is distorted beyond recognition. In any case, the text quoted is the last chronologically of the legends and deceptive hopes. In the thirteenth century the bitter, sobering reality was disclosed to the Europeans.



[+1] L.I. Duman, "K istorii gosudarstva Toba Vei i Lyao i ikh svyazei s Kitaem", Uchenye zapiski lnstituta vostokovedeniya, 1955, 20-36.

[+2] L.N. Gumilev, "Geterokhronnost` uvlazhneniya", 82.

[+3] L.N. Gumilev, "Istoki ritma", 92.

[+4] Rashid ad-Din, Sbornik letopisei, I, 1, 139. Berezin's translation gives Bikin, but Tikin is preferable, since this is evidently the remnant of the Altai branch of the Turkut See L.N. Gumilev, "Altaiskii vetv` tyurok-tukyu", Sovetskaya arkheologiya, 1959, No 1, 105f.

[+5] V.V. Bartol'd, Turkestan, II, 182-344.

[+6] Rashid ad-Din, Sbornik letopisei, I, 1,130.

[+7] Sokrovennoe skazanie, 83-4.

[+8] G.E. Grumm-Grzhimailo, "Kogda proizoshlo", 169.

[+9] V. Bartol'd supposes that Markuz was possibly a contemporary of Ye-lu Dashi (see O khristianstve v Turkestane, 25), but he died after Qabul-khan who lived till 1147.

[+10] See Rashid ad-Din, Sbornik letopisei, 1,1,130, the title Gurkhan indicates that he was the leader of an association of tribes, the only one at that time was the Mongol-Kerait alliance.

[+11] The date has been established by Palladii Kafarov who refers to the "historical notes on Xi-xia (a work which has recently appeared) "and points out that the dates in this work "require confirmation" (Palladii, "Starinnoe mongol'skoe skazanie o Chingiskhane (primechaniya)", Trudy chlenov Rossiiskoi dukhovnoi missii v Pekine, IV, 199).

[+12] The text has Khashin, a name made by the Mongols from the Chinese word He-xi, to the west of the river This was how they called the foothills of the Alashan and the Nanshan lying to the west of the Huang He's northward turn This region, with a very mixed population, was the core of the Tangut (Chinese Xi-xia) state.

[+13] The merchant capital of Genoa, Venice and Florence is contemporary with and analogous to the same phenomenon in Kucha and Turfan. Thus, this term is not a modernisation.

[+14] [Bichurin] Iakinf, Istoriya Tibeta i Khukhunora, II, 108-10.

[+15] R. Grousset gives a mistaken date for this event (The Empire of the Steppes, 203).

[+16] See R. Khennig, Nevedomye zemli, II, 446f.

[+17] The chronology of these events is unclear According to R Grousset (The Empire of the Steppes, 204), Ong-qan's flight and return took place in 1194-6 Wittfogel (History, 648) analyses this variant and proposes another Ong-qan fled in 1196 and returned in 1198 The second variant is more convincing, since Inancha-qan needed time to gather an army sufficiently powerful for Ong-qan to flee without a battle If a year and a half are allowed for this, everything fits Then, the basic events occurred in the year of the cock, 1201, in the second variant three years after Ong-qan's return, not after six years, a period too long to connect the events.

[+18] Unagan bo`ol is B.Ya. Vladimirtsov's reading which has become established in the literature, N.Ts. Munkuev corrects the reading to otegubo ol.

[+19] S.A. Kozin, Sokrovennoe skazanie 54.

[+20] See below, pp 226-8 Since the dates of events prior to 1200 are calculated from the "live chronology" of Chinggis's birth and marriage, the difference of our datings from those generally accepted is dealt with in a special digression.

[+21] R. Grousset (The Empire of the Steppes, 198, L'Empire Mongol, 47), Boyle (Article "Cingiz-khan" in the new edition of The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Leiden-London, 1960), P. Kafarov ('Stannnoe mongol'skoe skazanie", 173), V.V. Bartol'd (Sochineniya, i, 447) and other authors speak of the defeat of the Mongols by the Jurchen But Wang Guo-wei (Meng-gu kao, i.e., Research on the Mongols, 8 a-b) writes that the Jurchen ruler, Haihn-wang (1149-61) only issued a proclamation about his intention to punish the Mongols, but that no campaign was undertaken Evidently, the Tatars allied with the Jurchen were enough to defeat the Mongols Wang Guo-wei's view was communicated to me by N.Ts. Munkuev whom I sincerely thank.

[+22] L.N. Gumilev, "Etnos i kategoriya vremeni", Doklfldy otdelenii i komissii Geograficheskogo obshchestva SSSR, fasc. 15.

[+23] Sokrovennoe skazanie, 116.

[+24] We should not forget that the text was written down 58 years after it had been spoken, if it was In the light of this fact alone, there could be no literal precision. Researchers (linguists, literature specialists and historians) consider this phrase the cause of the start of military activities, but they translate it in very different ways. Thus, Palladii Kafarov, who translated the Secret History from a Chinese version, gives this version of the problem phrase "Jamuqa said 'Now, if we stop by the mountain, those pasturing the horses will get the yurts, if along the current, those pasturing the sheep and lambs will get food for their throats'" (Palladii, "Starinnoemongol'skoeskazame",59). S.A. Kozin, who made a translation from the original, offers another version "Let us move our nomad pastures around the mountains, the hut is ready for our herdsmen Let us move our nomad pastures along the rivers, [the food] is ready for the throats of our shepherds" (Sokrovennoe skazanie, 118). But L. Ligeti, translating the same text, makes a different sense of it "Let our diligent herdsmen find pasture [variant let the mountain be their pasture] at the very foothills of the mountains. Let us settle there, at the very bank of the river, let our shepherds there find fodder" (L. Ligeti, A. Mongolok titkos tortenete, 239). There are also other variants, but those adduced are enough, because it is impossible to make a faithful translation without understanding the sense of the phrase, and it is the sense which is unclear. With this not unimportant fact established, we may, and even should, refrain from attempts to find in "Jamuqa`s riddle" both the answer to the causes of the creation of the Mongol ulus (cp. V. Bartol'd, "Obrazovanie imperil Chingiskhana", Zapiski Vostochnogo otdeleniya Rossuskogo arkheologicheskogo obshchestva, X, 1896), and the "accentuated equanimity of a lord full of yearning" (S.A. Kozin, "Yuan-chao bi-shi kak pamyatnik literatury", Sokrovennoe skazanie, p 40) Here is a literary device which we are unable to fathom, since our aesthetic norms and systems of association differ from those of the thirteenth-century Mongols to whom the Secret History was addressed The word lives only at the moment it is spoken with a particular intonation and in specific circumstances Transmitted through the centuries it dies and "like bees in a deserted hive, dead words stink" The sense, though, is immortal, but we have to catch it by other means [The quotation is from the final two lines of a poem "Slovo" (The Word) written by L.N. Gumilev's father, Nikolai Gumilev, and published in 1921 - trans.].

[+25] Sokrovennoe skazanie, 110.

[+26] Ibid., 106, p. 101.

[+27] Ibid., 118.

[+28] R. Grousset, The Empire of the Steppes, 212-16.

[+29] Sokrovennoe skazanie, 127.

[+30] Ibid., 122.

[+31] Ibid , 120.

[+32] Ibid , 123 (abbreviated).

[+33] Rashid ad-Din, Sbornik letopisei, I, 2, 87-8, according to Sokrovennoe skazanie, the forces were equal, see 129.

[+34] The sources contradict one another on this. The Concealed Tale depicts events as they have been given here (Sokrovennoe skazanie, 129). Rashid ad-Din (Sbornik letopisei, I, 2, 88) and the Yuan-shi ([Bichurin] Iakinf, Istoriya pervykh chetyrekh khanov, 9) asserts that Chinggiskhan was victorious See below on the causes for the disagreement.

[+35] Iakinf [Bichurin], Istoriya pervykh chetyrekh khanov, 31.

[+36] Sokrovennoe skazanie, 129.

[+37] Literally, kuren is a circular defensive encampment against enemy attack.

[+38] Sokrovennoe skazanie, 141 p. 116.

[+39] Rashid ad-Din, Sbornik letopisei, I, 2, 88.

[+40] Sokrovennoe skazanie, 129.

[+41] As distinct from the composition of the ba`aturs who chose Temujin, here it is stressed that the representatives of tribes, of which there were only ten, chose the khan The Tayichi`ut and Tatars each had three representatives, the Naiman two and Jamuqa himself, whose Jajirat tribe was not in the list, held a special place Six tribes were Mongol in the full sense of the word the Onggirat, Ikires, Qorolas (Kuralas), Qadagin, Salji`ut and Tayichi`ut, while the last three were from the Nirun section, l e were related to Chinggiskhan. The Naiman, Oirat, Merkit and Tatars had evidently been invited as allies and this indicates the nature of the war it had arisen as a civil, social one, not as an inter-tnbal one. This was why a split within the tribes continued a Qorolas warrior informed Chinggiskhan of the conspiracy against him, but the source did not consider this as treachery this warrior simply chose the side on which he wanted to fight (Sokrovennoe skazanie, 141) This feature of the war is stressed below in the episode of the imprisonment of the Tayichi`ut leader, Targutai, by his troops. They took him to Chinggis, but released him so as not to lay hands "on their natural lord" For this, Chinggiskhan praised them and accepted them on service (ibid , 149). So warriors themselves, according to the ethical norms of the day, had the right to select the banner they would serve, but not to engage in personal disrespect. The ethical system of the Mongols so differed from the concepts of the China and Europe of their day that conflicts frequently arose merely from mutual misunderstanding what seemed to the Mongols a crime was normal for Europeans, and vice versa.

[+42] Sokrovennoe skazanie, 144.

[+43] A contradiction in the sources again The Concealed Tale version (Sokrovennoe skazame, 158) is adduced here, but Rashid ad-Dm informs us that Buyiruq-qan was caught on a hunt in 1206 and killed (Sbornik letopisei, I, 2,135) The Yuan-shi ([Bichurin] Iakinf, Istoriya pervykh chetyrekh khanov, 36) gives the same version, but this only tells us that the Chinese and Persian variants derive from a single, evidently Mongol, source.

[+44] Sokrovennoe skazanie, 164.

[+45] Jamuqa's conduct in this and other campaigns is so strange that it deserves particular study. The authors of the sources seem not to notice the illogical conduct of one of the main heroes of the developing tragedy, while twentieth-century historians propose clearly lame explanations. We shall deal with this question separately, see Chapter 11 below.

[+46] There were deserters on both sides, but while shepherds and arat fled to Chinggiskhan, noble noyans, for example, Altan, Quchar and even Chinggiskhan's brother Qasar grouped around Ong-qan Thus it can be seen that the war between Mongols and Kerait was not an inter-tribal one, but rather a social one, a resolution of the argument between the "people of long will", who became noyans after their victory, and the tribal nobility Only thus can one interpret the thesis of "Mongol nomadic feudalism" without contradicting the facts.

[+47] Sokrovennoe skazanie, 188.

[+48] Rashid ad-Din, Sbornik letopisei, I, 2, 134.

[+49] Ibid., I,1,127.

[+50] Sokrovennoe skazanie, 174.

[+51] Kniga Marko Polo, M., 1955, 85-7.

[+52] Sibirskie letopisi, 36, G.F. Miller, Istoriya Sibiri, I, 190-1. For a summary of opinions and interpretations, see M.G. Safargaliev, Raspad Zolotoi ordy, 220.

[+53] Sokrovennoe skazanie, 228.

[+54] Ibid., 202.

[+55] L.N. Gumilev, Drevnie tyurki, 60.

[+56] V.G. Tizengauzen, Sbornik matenalov,100,141.

[+57] The complex question of ancient Mongol religious dogma as a competitor to Nestorianism will be dealt with in Chapter 12 below.

[+58] Sokrovennoe skazanie, 246.

[+59] V.V. Bartol`d Turkestan 382f.


[+60] The chronicle of the famous twelfth-century Syrian doctor and chronographer, Bar Hebraeus, The Chronography of Gregory Abu'l Faraj, the Son of Aaron, the Hebrew physician commonly known as Hebraeus (trans from Synacby E.A.T. Wallis Budge, London, 1932), but, as noted, all is confused. Here is the text "N D" Unk [Pelliot `Ung] Khan, John, King of the Christians, ruler of a Hunnish barbarian tribe, called Krith (Kerait), took "a wife from a tribe of one of the Chinese peoples which was called "Karaketa" [L.N. G adds (Kara-Kitai)]. He forsook the Fear of his fathers and worshipped strange gods" (quoted in K. Wittfogel and Feng Chia-Sheng, History, 653) Bar Hebraeus fused Kuchlug and Ong-qan into a single person and confused Naiman and Kerait. Thus was the image of "king John", and then of "king David", created. No, perhaps we know history better than the authors of authentic sources and it is more sensible not to rely on the interpretations of ancient authors, but on undoubted facts extracted from their compositions by means of historical criticism.

[+61] K. Wittfogel and Feng Chia-Sheng, History, 653, n. 31. This is doubtful, for Rashid ad-Din tells us that, in the opinion of the Naiman, "Kuchlug possessed such authority over the div and peri that he used to milk them and make kumis from the milk" (Sbornik letopisei, I, 2, 112). Here we have some unknown esoteric demon worship rather than Buddhism

[+62] V.V. Bartol'd, Turkestan, 403.

[+63] Radulphi de Coggeshall, Chronicon Anglicanum, ed. J. Stevenson, 190.

[+64] Spicilegium sive Collectio veterum aliquot scriptorum, qui in Galliae bibliothecis delituerant, Paris, 1723, III, 591f., quoted in R. Khennig, Nevedomye zemli, III, 26-7.



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