Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Secret History of the Mongols, Igor De Rachewiltz (editor and translator)

Inner Asian Library. V. 7. (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2004) 2 vols.:cxxviii+644 and iv+708 pp.; 12 illus. €179/US$214. ISBN 90 04 13159 0

Between 1971 and 1985, Igor de Rachewiltz published his translation of The Secret History of the Mongols (henceforth SHM) in eleven volumes of Papers on Far Eastern History. In addition to being a much easier read than the King James English used in Francis W. Cleaves’ translation (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982), it was accompanied by extensive footnotes commenting not only on the translation but also various aspects of Mongolian culture. While several other translations of the Secret History have emerged, none equaled Rachewiltz’s translation in terms of annotation or in the quality of the translation, although some approached it.

Unfortunately, using Rachewiltz’s original translation was often unwieldy due to it being published in 11 installments over a span of 14 years. Even for those who copied it and kept it in one volume or a folder, there was still the problem of ensuring a correct citation of proper volume and year. Thus it is not only with great pleasure, but also great relief to announce the publication of Igor de Rachewiltz’s translation of The Secret History of the Mongolsin Brill’s Inner Asian Library series.

Rachewiltz’s new edition of The Secret History of the Mongols is a substantial addition to the scholarship of the Mongol Empire, not only in terms of finally being published in a book format, but also the improvements to the translation. Consisting of 1347 pages in addition to 127 pages of front matter, it is truly a monumental work.

This edition, begun in 1987, includes an even smoother translation than previous editions and made a few passages more lucid than previously had been the case. Thus, without question, this translation of The Secret History of the Mongols  remains the best, not only in terms of quality of translation, but also in terms of readability for the non-specialist. Yet, the improved translation is only the tip of the iceberg.

The introduction alone is a boon to the historiography of the Mongol Empire. In addition to discussing the origins and history behind SHM, Rachewiltz discusses the sizeable scholarship which has emerged on SHM, including not only other translations but studies on the work and its role in folklore, historical studies, as well as literature. Indeed, the introduction alone would have been a worthy monograph and a substantial contribution to scholarship.

This edition of The Secret History of the Mongols includes a series of photographs as well as two maps and a genealogical table of Chinggis Khan. One map is of modern Mongolia with its present day boundaries. However, as it is meant to depict Mongolia in 1200, the names of the various tribes of Mongolia and the neighboring realms have also been included. This is particularly useful for illustrating the localities of the tribes as well as many of the locations mentioned in SHMin a modern context. The second map is one of Eurasia in the thirteenth century. In addition to the names of the various regions, Rachewiltz has also included geographic names and those of various ethnicities used by the Mongols. Hence for Tibet, Rachewiltz has included Töböt, Sarta’ul for Khwârazm, and Bolar for the Volga Bulgars, etc.

As SHM has been rather arbitrarily divided into chapters, Rachewiltz has included a summary of the chapters. The summary is particularly useful; in addition to being a summation of the events of the chapter, Rachewiltz also succinctly summarizes the paragraphs (or verses if one may) comprising that chapter. Thus one now has a quick reference to guide one’s research. Finally, a chapter and paragraph concordance has been provided listing the paragraphs included in each chapter. It should be noted that the SHM was translated from Chinese texts. These were used to teach Chinese to translate Mongolian during the Ming period, with the Mongolian language represented phonetically through Chinese characters. In some manuscripts, SHM was divided into 12 chapters with others with 15 chapters. Prof. Rachewiltz has used the 12 chapter division of the 177 paragraphs for his organization of The Secret History of the Mongols.

The translation itself consists of 220 pages. The commentary on the translation is much more expansive, spanning 823 pages. While the text of the translation alters slightly from his previous translation, the commentary is, as one would suspect, much more comprehensive than Rachewiltz’s prior translation. Indeed, his discussion of the chapters, Rachewiltz cites the arguments and thoughts of other scholars. While competent and confident in his own translation, Rachewiltz is realistic in that he brings forth other possible interpretations of vague or problematic paragraphs. As such, the commentary is not so much a commentary on SHM but rather a compendium of research of the work.

Finally, there are seven appendices. One discusses Chinggis Qan’s campaigns in Siberia and Central Asia between 1204-1219, on which the SHM provides less detail and often conflicting dates. Then there are two appendices on Altan Tobci, a seventeenth century Mongolian chronicle in which several passages of the SHM also appear, many of them slightly different from the Chinese versions. Other appendices include a paragraph-page reference list to A. Mostaert’s commentary on SHM as well as additions and corrections to Cleaves’ translation of the SHMand to Rachewiltz’s own Index to the Secret History. The last appendix is useful conversion table for the Wade-Giles and Pinyin transliteration systems for Chinese. As one might suspect, the bibliography is exhaustive and again, in itself is a worthy contribution to study of the Mongol Empire.

For the readers of this journal, the value of SHM is clearly in the development of the Mongol military as well as the extension of power through conquest. While one must read the entire SHM to appropriate appreciate the later, the former is well-defined in several paragraphs. After obtaining the position of Chinggis Qan (a title; Temüjin was his real name), Temüjin organized the Mongols and those tribes he defeated along military lines. This first is discussed in paragraph 126 in which Temüjin constructs the basic military and civil administration of his empire prior to becoming the dominate power in the steppe. Here he appoints officers to their minggans or regiments of a thousand. In addition he organizes his bodyguard and assigns their duties. Then in 1206 as discussed in paragraphs 201 to 227, more commanders are appointed to their regiments. Some are instructed on how to recruit their regiments from the conquered tribes. In addition, Temüjin issues orders to some generals to pursue both fugitives and rivals or to invade neighboring realms, such as Xi-Xia to the south. Honors are also bestowed upon companions of Chinggis Qan. Finally, the bodyguard or keshik is increased and their duties and privileges are discussed in more detail.

De Rachewiltz’s commentary on this is particularly as it discusses not only the functions of the keshik but also many of the Mongolian terms used, thus rendering a lucid depiction of the institution. Furthermore, he provides background information on many of the commanders and their previous tribal ties.

In terms of scholarship, Igor de Rachewiltz’s work is a brilliant addition to the study of the Mongol Empire. However, I must say that while I appreciate the value of his appendix on the campaigns outside of Mongolia, I am reluctant to agree with his conclusions on the Mongols early encounters with the Khwârazmian forces. His timeline agrees with those proposed by V. V. Barthold, Paul Ratchnevsky, and Thomas Allsen whereas I agree with a shorter timeline as proposed by Paul Buell. However, he does note that it is a topic he plans to discuss in a forthcoming article. This however is a minor quibble that is unlikely to be resolved easily because of the conflicting information in the Mongolian, Chinese, and Persian sources as well as some actions by the participants of the events that occurred in 1204-1219.

The merits of Igor de Rachewiltz’s new translation of The Secret History of the Mongols are many. Indeed, it is hard to find fault with this work, so painstakingly undertaken. Unlike many editions recently published by Brill, I happy to say SHM is not replete with typographical errors that should have been caught by an editor. Hopefully this is a sign that Brill has corrected a rather annoying trend among their publications.

Timothy May

North Georgia College and State University <>


Mongolian Epic Identity: Formulaic Approach to Janggar Epic Singing


Mongolian oral epic singing has been a vast tradition. Being the most important genre of folk arts, the tradition can be traced back to long ago. Some scholars believe that the Mongolian epic emerged in about Chinghis Khan”s time. And the Mongol steppe aristocracy played a decisive role in supporting, inspiring and transmitting the stories of their heroic deeds and their social ideals.[1] It is fairly hard to tell the exact amount of epic stories, not to mention the epic texts, since it has been a living tradition; some stories die out, while new compositions emerge. Roughly speaking, today, except the huge epic cycles like Jangar and Gesar, more than 550 epics and variants of smail and medium epics have been recorded. They are mostly small-yolume epics that consist of several hundreds of lines in singing, each, however, telling a complete story. Medium-volume epics number in the dozens, each with thousands of lines, and some can have more than ten thousand, in the form of written text. In addition, the large-volume Jangar recorded among the Oirat people in China. Mongolia and Russia consists of 200 cantos, totaling as long as approximately 200,000 lines. Within China, a 12-volume Jangar Material Collection appeared in succession. A photocopy of Jangar manuscripts was published in 1996, and four versions of Chinese translation have been published during the second half of the 20th century. Singer Arimpil’s individual libretto was recorded by the young scholar Taya and printed in 1999. This 17-conto Jangar was another landmark of the tradition, since the Kalmuck singer Eelee Oflaa”s 10-canto Jangar had appeared in St. Petersburg in 1910.
Within China, there are three areas where Mongolian epics flourished, they are: Bargu, Horchin and Oirat[2], and we may say that they represent the three epic evolutional stages respectively. Bargu epics reveal the epic tradition”s infantile stage; they are normally short, with a simple story line. and they are filled with archaic motifs, like family or clan revenge, or bride-capture. The Oirat epics, centered on the famous Jangar, were the mature stage. Highly developed singing skills, large group of professional perforrners, and complicated story structures, all indicate their maturity. As for Horchin epics, they demonstrate the fall of this old singing tradition. The epics changed greatly, they gained features and narrative techniques from other folk genres, like folk tales and folk ode (“Bensen üliger” and “holboo” in Mongolian). The epic singers had to perform other genres to make a living, since the audience changed their interests to” “historic event”——the tradenlark and attraction of the Bensen üliger, rather than the exaggerated description of gigantic heroes. As for the epic distribution, we found the epic Jangar cycle sung only among the Oirat peoples both in tile Tian Shan Mountains in Xinjiang and in Kalmuck Republic on the bank of the Volga River in Russia.
A German traveler Benjamin Bergmann collected the first Jangar in the beginning of the 19th century among the Kalmucks in Russia.[3] There was a tradition to keep and treasure the epic text in written form in Mongolian families, especially in high-ranking families. Still, Mongolian epic singing has been primarily a living tradition. Singers play an extremely important role in its transmission. According to various resources, most of the singers in history were illiterates. They normally were born and grew up in the milieu of epic performing, and took advantage of the privilege to start learning in their childhood. They also were regarded as smart and possessing excellent memory by the society. The skill of performing epic could be their hobby and let them win respect among their community. Some of them, on the other hand, became professional singers and made a living through their singing. A few of those professional singers even won certain titles and were invited to stay in Mongol princes” palaces or yurts. However, the declining process was still underway. There were fewer and fewer singers, and they had fewer skills: so far most of them were not able to play musical instruments like the tobshur and the choor to accompany their singing. And majority of the singing was in prose, instead of the original verse form. During the past two decades, about 80% of the Jangar singers passed away. And the most of the survivals were poorly trained, have limited repertoire, and seldom have the opportunity to polish their singing.


In hearing and reading the Mongolian epic singing, we found that certain expressive units have high a density of recurrence. The epic motifs are organized in certain sequences, the plots have similar resolution, and a large quantity of fixed phrases with certain meaning and rhyming used in wide range of narrative situation. In fact, those fixed units, like the scheme of developing a story, like the common phrases, for instance, ornaments and epithets, were widely shared by signers of different times and different regions. Here we will deal with phrasal formula, so as to make a perspective on the Mongolian epic singer”s rhetorical technique in epic composition. Because of the limit of space here, we will make our analysis very briefly and localized in one canto of one singer”s Jangar. This canto is Hündü Gartai Sahar In Bülüg (Canto of Mighty Arm Sabar). sung by singer Arimpil (1923-1994). The recording was taken in July of 1991 in Xinjiang, China. We all agree with the observation that the more skillful the singer is, the larger amount of formulas he would use in singing. Arimpil was no doubt one of those distinguished performers. Having about 20 cantos of Jangar epic in his repertoire. Arimpil was the most prominent illiterate jangarchi (Jangar singer) in our time.[4]
The following factors should be mentioned before entering the analytical procedure, so as to make a sketch on the Mongolian epic versification: (1) head rhyme; (2) verse line is normally short, with an average of 4 to 5 words in each line, but not strict tetrameter; (3) formulas usually occupy a whole line, if not more lines; (4) if go with other words to form a line, formulas normally at the beginning; (5) enjambement is not used.
Our sample Hündü Gartai Sabar In Bülüg is a 652–line poem. We found that Arimpil used an incredible number of fixed phrases and epithets in depicting characters, steeds, weapons, palace or localities, numerals and directions, and etc and etc. Since we cannot analyze all the formulas, our job will center on epithet. We have three reasons to work on epithet: first, epithets cover 173 lines, which occupy 26.5% of the entire poem. Some of the epithets have the highest recurrence of any formula in the text; second, epithets here have remarkable features that distinguish them from some other epic traditions: third, as far as we know, scholarship on the Mongolian epic epithet still remains a grey area; last, epic epithet was deeply explored by the school of Oral Formulate Theory (or Parry-Lord Theoty) and its followers with different backgrounds, the models and procedures they used inspired us a great deal.
Someone may ask: is the epithet a proper sample for our purpose of demonstrating singers” traditional techniques? We understand that ONE performance is the intertext of the entire singing tradition. We have only two options to make our analysis reasonable, either the examples are infinite, or they are highly molded into typology. Since the singing tradition is enormous, through drawing examples to cover the tradition is in some sense not proper method; on the other hand, they are highly typological, via a sample to make analogy is not only reasonable, but also exercisable.


Arimpil’s epithets are close to the epithets we know in Homer and some epic traditions in Yugoslavia in their nature and function. They are combinations of adjectives and figure”s names. The adjective words or phrase are in connection with the figure’s nature or characteristics. In our text, we have the following epithets:

Epithet in Latin transcription: English translation:
Aldar noyan Janggar Great famed governor Janggar
Dogsin sira manggus hagan Atrocious yellow mangguskhan(monster king)
Asar ulagan Honggor Giant red Honggor
hiindii gartai Sabar Mighty–arm Sabar
Dogsin hara Sanal Atrocious black Sanal
Altan Chegeji Babai Abaga Alatan chegeji babai abaga
Agai Shabdala Gerel hatun Agai Shabdala Gerel noblewoman


underlined parts are figures” names. Manggus hagan (monster king) is not a name. In Jangar tradition, monsters do not usually possess names. Altan chegeji Babai Abaga and Agai Shabdala Gerel hatun are formed with name and honorific titles, abaga used for aged man and hatun for noblewoman. These two epithets are somewhat different from others, but they have highly fixed form. thus can be seen as special epithet.

In this 652–line poem tile epithet “Asar Ulagan Honggor” appeared 33 times! In quite some cases this epithet goes with noun–declension and other grammar appendants. Still, we can see it as whole-line-epithet. And we also found this epithet goes sometimes with another lille to form a “couplet”–

aguu yehe hüchütei very great slrenglh asar ulagalr Honggor giant red Honggor This is not the only case that the epithet takes the form of couplet; the following are other samples with exactly the same structure: Hümün nu nachin (eagle among mass) Hündü gartai Sabar (mighty–arm Sabar) Or: Bolinggar tin hübegün (Bolinggar”s offspring) Dogsin hara Sanal (atrocious black Sanal) We can see the ornamental part (normally the first line) as affiliation, and the line with characters name a core epithet. Thus we have tile following structure:      ornamental affiliation       core epitliet We also noticed that tire affiliation does not always goes with the core. In other words, in the couplet-epithet of Honggor, the core appeared 33 times, while the affiliation appeared 16 times. And in another Couplet-epithet Hümün nu nachin/Hüudü gartai Sathar, the recurrence is 16 versus 23. This feature is common in the tradition. It seems the singer is not satisfied with depicting his hero only in one or two lines, in some cases lie wanted to add a few more lines to stress his hero”s power or strength. Thus we have a group of lines to describe a hero. And the group is also highly fixed and only goes with the couplet epithet. Here are some examples: (A) Ama tai hümün (people who have mouth) Amalaju bolosi ügei (dare not to gossip [about him]) Hele tei yagurna (creatures that have tongues) Helejü bolosi ügei (dare not to talk about [him]) Hümün nu nachin (eagle among mass) Hündü gartai Sabar (mighty–arm Sabar) (B) Irehü yeren yisün jili ([things] of the future 99 years) Ailadchu mededeg (would know by surmise) ?nggeregsen yeren yisün jil i ([things] of the past 99 years) Tagaji mededeg (would know by guess) Altan Chegeji Babai abaga, (Altan Chegeji Babai abaga) (C) agchim tm jaguar du (the moment eyes blinking) arban gurba hubildag (make transfiguration for 13 times) amin beye düni ügei (anima is out of the body) aguu yehe hüchütei (very great strength) asar ulagan Honggor (Giant Red Honggor) In our text, the first four lines of example (A) appeared 4 times, and it goes with the couplet-epithet in each time. In example (B) the first four lines collie only once. But we know that it is a fixed formula, since it appears in Arimpil”s other cantos for many times without changing, and in other singers” texts also, As a matter of fact, this four line is a standard ornament for Janggar”s counselor and brainpower Altan Chegeji Bahai. It is very rare to see this ornament applies to other heroes. In our example (C), the same rule works again, the first three-line ornament conies once here, but it is no doubt a standard ornament for hero Honggor. Now we can conclude that the ornamental group of lines here does not go with the core epithet each time, and it can be applied to other characters in some cases, thus we may name it a semi-dependent ornament. Therefore, we now have the following schcnle: Semi-dependent multi-line ornament Ornamental affiliation Core epithet According to our observation, to bring out a hero, our singer has a few options: in most cases, he only uses the core epithet. Some times he would adopt the form of couplet. In a few cases, he uses a multi-line ornament to fulfill the description. On the other hand, our singer would never allow himself to mention a hero”s name without using any ornament. He would make adjustments, like adding or reducing certain parts of the epithet so as to match the meter. For example, aldar noyan Janggar (great famed governor Janggar) is the basic form of Janggar epithet. But we also have other forms. If we gather all the lines that start with “aldar”, we could then find out that the epithet is not a firmed word combination, but rather a flexible solution, for example: aldar bogda noyan Janggar Great famed Saint governor Janggar aldar noyan Janggar ni tologailagad Great famed governor to be the head aldar Janggar un haihirugsan [when] Great famed dagu ni Janggar”s yell In short, the singer” has privilege to change the epithet, so as to match the narration and melody.


Now we know in part how a traditional singer composes his poem. First, he will repeat ready-made formulas time and again; and those formulas may be used in a large area, and may have a long tradition. When there was a pre-existing formula, he would not trouble himself in creating a new expression instead. Second, when the verse meter needs a shorter or longer metrical arrangement, the singer would make adjustments to meet it. In our examples above, for instance, the singer added bogda (saint) to lengthen the line, or took out noyan (governor) to shorten it, so as to link verbs like tologailagad (to be head), or helegsen dü (when said), so as to fit in with the melody and narration. Third, we could not figure out an approximate epithet density of a specific singer, not to mention of a certain poem, the reason is that we could not tell at what time the singer chooses to introduce a whole set of epithet like “Semi-dependent multi-line ornament + Ornamental affiliation + Core epithet,” or at what time he only uses the core epithet. According to my fieldwork experience and knowledge of the epic singing in the Mongolian world, it depends on the singer”s mood and inspiration at the composing moment, and also depends on the audience”s reaction to his ornamental depicting. The more the audience show their appreciation, like giving him loud applause, the more he will demonstrate his stored formulas, and thus lengthen his performance. We have different “versions” of Arimpil”s certain story. Yes you can tell they are the same ONE story, but on the other hand, they have different beginnings, and some quite different plots, and different formulaic density as well. For this reason, we can hardly tell the normal length for a certain poem as well. The epic density is no doubt high, and also varies widely.
The same rule applies to not only epithet, but to other formulas as well. For instance, when introducing the hero Honggor”s steed, in our text, the singer may say: ochin h?he haljan hülüg (Mars grey steed with white spot on forehead), and he also may say: tonjir ud un üre (accipiter”s descendant) tonggag gegüü ni unagan (the marc”s first pregnancy) naiman minggan aranjai jegerde (eight thousand Aranjal chestnut horses) adugun dotora yabugsan (had been among the herd) agula biJgdi, ireme manggus (the manggus with strength to carry a mount) ugchi gi ergime hurdun (quick move around a hill) ochin hühe haljan hülüg ni (Mars grey steed with white spot on forehead)
It is obviously a whole set of describing Honggor”s steed. But it does not come out each time with the same format. In fact, like what we have seen in epithet, the core ochin hühe haljan hülüg appeared six times, while twice it goes with the neighboring two-line ornament, and one it goes with the whole set. Ornaments of weapon, saddle, flag, and lots of other things share exactly the same rule in the singing. The same rule governs also the narration of a king”s territory, his palace, his maiden, his herds, etc. Through our analysis on syntactic repetition, the formula”s two contrary natures are revealed: it is fixed, in some sense, certain meaning combines with certain rhyming; and it is also flexible, can be lengthened or shortened to meet the meter and melody, and also can be full-loaded or predigested, to meet singer”s own mood, skill and inspiration.


1 B. Ya Vladimistsov, The Oirat-Mongolian Heroic Epic, Mongolian Studies, Journal of the Mongolia Society, Vol. VIII, (1983-84). pp.5-59. Though the time of Mongolian epic”s emergence is still a disputable question, since lacking of direct evidence, his hypothesis, I believe, is still most close to the historical reality. 2 See Rinchindorji, The Development of Mongolian Epic Plot-Structure, Studies of National Literature, (1989:5), P. 11-19. And also Chao Gejin: “Mongolian Oral Epic Poetry: An Overview,” Oral Tradition, Slavica, 12/2, (1997): 322-36. 3 Riga. C. J. G Hartmann Benjamin Bergmann”s nomadische streifereien unter den Kalmuken in den jahren 1802 und 1803. vol 4. ,( 1804-1805). 4 Arimpil was born in 1923 in a family belonged to Torgud Tribe, now the Hobagsair Mongolian Autonomous County of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. He had learned epic Jangar singing from famous signers like Bayar and Aliya. With about 20 cantos Jangar in his repertoire, he was the most famous illiterate singer in our time. 5 Manggus: normally means monster, here means with ferocious nature, or with great strength.


Chao Gejin. Mongolian Oral Epic Poetry: An Overview. Oral Tradition, Slavica, 12/2, 1997. Hartmann, Riga. C. J. G. Benjamin Bergmann”s nomadische streifereien unter den Kahnuken in den jahren 1802 und 1803. 1804-1805, vol 4. Rinchindorji. The Development of Mongolian Epic Plot-Structure. Studies of National Literature, 1989:5 Vladimistsov, B. Ya. The Oirat-Mongolian Heroic Epic. Mongolian Studies, Journal of the Mongolia Society, Vol. VIII, 1983-84.


AGE OF MONGOLIAN EMPIRE: a Bibliographical Essay

Paul D. Buell

There is an enormous literature on the age of Mongolian Empire, that period     extending from approximately the late 13th century, as prequel, through much     of the 14th century, later in Russia, in which Mongols, their states, and     successor states dominated the stage in much of the Old World. Unfortunately     it is very uneven in quality, much of it in less common languages, and marred     by an excessive concern for philological detail. There is also a notable lack     of useful overviews, those available either being too popular, and inaccurate,     or just plain silly, or so ponderous in detail as to be virtually unreadable     by a general audience. Unfortunately, given the complexity of the field, with     sources in so many languages, some of them still unpublished, and the decline     that Mongolian studies has undergone in recent decades, in the United States     in particular, this situation is unlikely to change any time soon.

The bibliographical survey of the field that follows is not even remotely complete, nor could it be given the limited space available for this article. My purpose in providing it is rather to offer a useful guide to what is available, including some items in less common languages, either because these items are extremely important, or because they are the only literature available in major areas of interest. Nonetheless, the main emphasis is on those works that are the most easily read and understood by the non-specialist.

History of the Field

Despite the obvious interest of the topic, since the Mongols touched so many     cultures in creating their empire, and in many ways brought Europe, in particular,     out of its shell, serious scholarly study of the history of the age of Mongolian     Empire and of its successor states only dates back a little over 300 years.     The early works included a first biography of Cinggis-qan2, of which there     are now a large number. It was written by Petis de la Croix (Histoire du Grand     Genghizcan) and published in 1710 in Paris. Like most works from this first     age of study of the topic, based as they were upon only a most limited sampling     of primary source material, it is little read today. One early examination     of the rise of the Mongols that is read today are the relevant chapters of     Edward Gibbon’s monumental Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (various editions).     Gibbon was the first to advance a social interpretation of the rise of Cinggis-qan     that is still in vogue today.

Not long after Gibbon’s time, a more serious study of the age of Mongolian     Empire began, in Russia, where the great Russian orientalist school began     to study all things Mongolian as a cooperative effort. It had the advantage     of a ready access to documents in the original Mongolian as well as in other     Asian languages, including, as time went on, Chinese. The infl uence of this     school is still felt today, both within Russia, and without, thanks to many     émigré scholars such as the late Nicholas Poppe who lived and     taught in Seattle, Washington, for many years. The present author was among     his students.

Outside Russia, the first truly comprehensive history of the Mongols and     their age appeared in 1824, that of French-Armenian Constantin d’Ohsson (Histoire     des Mongols, 4 volumes, various editions, original published in Paris). It     is still useful today because of d’Ohsson’s masterful use of the Persian sources.     In the years after d’Ohsson, a concerted effort was made, it is still continuing,     to publish, translate and annotate these sources to make them available to     the non-specialists. Among the earliest efforts in this area was E. Quatremère’s     edition and translation of a portion of the text of Rashid al-Din’s history     (Histoire des Mongols de la Perse, Paris, 1836). Shortly thereafter, the Russians     also began to publish translations of Chinese sources, in most cases making     them available for the first time to a European audience. Of special note     in this regard, were the translations published by E. Bretschneider, in his     still useful Medieval Researches, From Eastern Asiatic Sources, first published     in 1888. Another major milestone was Henry Yule’s annotated edition of Marco     Polo, appearing in 1876, later updated by Cordier and republished in 1903.     Their combined effort is still the most usable translation of Marco Polo,     and the notes are a gold mine for scholars.

As more sources became available, specialized studies began appearing as     well. These included Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall’s histories of the Mongols     in Russia, and in Iran (1840 and 1841-1843)3, only fully superceded in recent     decades. Less successful was a general history in English, by Henry H. Howorth     (History of the Mongols from the 9th to the 19th Century, London: Longmans,     Green, and Company, 1876-1927), since Howorth was unable to read his primary     sources in the original languages.

In the 20th century, various national schools of Mongolian studies fl ourished.     The most important of these, as might be expected, was the Russian school,     which continued strong throughout the late Czarist and Soviet periods. Two     of its most important exponents were V. V. Barthold, whose worked straddled     the Czarist and Soviet periods, and B. Y. Vladimirtsov, who produced many     works including a biography of Cinggis-qan and an important examination of     early Mongolian society from a Marxist perspective, the first based upon the     most important Mongolian sources including the Secret History of the Mongols.     Also important within the Russian schools, not only for his own work, but     for the many scholars that he trained, was Nicholas Poppe. Among his many     works, his study of the Mongolian documents in the aPhags-pa Script is still     the standard work on the topic. More recently working in Russia was the Buriyat     Ts. Munkuyev, a leading interpreter of early Mongolian society and politics     from a Marxist perspective.

Prominent within the German school were B. Spuler, who wrote highly detailed     histories, several times updated, on Mongol Russia and Iran (replacing those     of Hammer-Purgstall), and Erich Haenisch. Haenisch, although not the first     to reconstruct the Mongolian text of the Secret History of the Mongols from     Chinese transcription (he was proceeded by Paul Pelliot in France), still     produced a valuable edition of the text and a dictionary of the Mongolian     words occurring in it4, among many works. Also important German scholars,     both still living at the time of writing, are Herbert Franke, although more     of a Sinologist than Mongolist, and the Turkologist and linguist G. Doerfer.     Doerfer’s voluminous dictionary of Mongolian and Turkish loan words found     in Modern Persian is a major resource for anyone working in the field since     key concepts are accompanied by detailed essays that put each into a cultural     and historical context.

Even more important than the German school, in terms of total output, was     the French school long dominated by Paul Pelliot (1878-1945). In addition     to major articles and collections of notes (he never wrote an actual book)     published during his life time, his posthumous works, some of major importance     for the field, continued to appear for several decades after his death. His     masterpiece, incomplete, he never got past the letter “C”, is his     massive Notes to Marco Polo, including full discussions of such topics as     “Cinggis-qan” and “cotton,” although much of it is philological,     making the text, poorly organized in any case, difficult to get through.     As noted, Pelliot was also the first to reconstruct the Mongolian text of     the Secret History of the Mongols5.

Pelliot had many students, including Louis Hambis, who was actively involved     in producing the series of posthumous works of Pelliot, as well as major translations     of primary sources on his own, and the German Paul Ratchnevky, whose contributions     to the field of Mongolian studies are many. They include a highly usable life     of Cinggisqan based primarily upon Mongolian and Chinese sources (but not     Persian, since Ratchnevsky does not read Persian). Also a student of Pelliot     was the American, F. W. Cleaves, who in turn had many important students himself.     Over several decades, nearly all published in the Harvard Journal of Asiatic     Studies, Cleaves produced a series of profusely documented (even with notes     on notes) examinations of source material, above all inscriptions. Cleaves     was also the author of a translation of the Secret History of the Mongols,     although it is in a particularly obscure language and is difficult to read     and lacks a promised volume of notes. Continuing the Cleaves, and thus Pelliot     tradition, although he is somewhat more interpretive, in the United States     was David Farquhar (who was also a student of Poppe). His magnum opus is a     detailed exegesis, produced posthumously, of the government of Mongol China     as it appears in the Yuanshi, “Official History of the Yuan” (various     editions), that is, of China’s Mongol dynasty.

Another extremely important national school is that of the Japanese which     has concentrated its efforts on the history of the Mongols in East Asia in     particular. Since the Japanese, before 1945, were in physical contact with     the Mongols, and closely allied with them (an advantage of the Russian school     as well), and have always had maximum access to East Asian sources, the work     of this school has often been far in advance of anything being produced in     the Western world. Leading scholars of the Japanese school include Yanai Wataru,     who more or less invented the field in Japan, Haneda Toru, Iwamura Shinobu,     who produced valuable work on Mongolian social and economic history, and Maeda     Naonori . Maeda’s life was cut short but his ideas on imperial Mongolian government     remain vital to this day.

Although the age of the Mongolian Empire is less directly studied in China,     except so far as it impinged on China, and then rarely in comparative terms,     Chinese scholarship in the field has continued to be important. Most useful     of Chinese publications in the general area are numerous high-quality editions     of source material. Recently such publications included two separate editions,     one with a dictionary of the text’s Arabic and Persian terminology, of the     surviving chapters of the Huihui yaofang, “Muslim Medicinal Recipes”6.     This was once part of a large encyclopedia of Islamic medicine prepared, apparently,     for the Mongol rulers of China. The text is unique not only in including Arabic     script entries for Arabic and Persian terms otherwise given in Chinese transcription,     but also as the only Chinese text to quote Galen and other Western authorities.

Also major contributions of Modern China to the field is a new version (by     Ke Shaomin) of the Yuanshi, called XinYuanshi, “New Yuan History”     (various editions), and the unexampled Mengwuer shiji, “Historical Record     of the Mongols,” of Tu Ji (various editions). Tu Ji’s history is, without     doubt, one of the finest works ever produced on the Mongols of the imperial     period (and somewhat after), but little known since it is written in Chinese.     Among Chinese specializing in the field was Wang Guowei, whose life was     also cut short before he could realize his full potential. He produced annotated     editions of early Chinese sources that remain highly useful. Foremost among     younger scholars devoting themselves to the study of the Mongol age is Hsiao     Ch’i-ch’ing. In addition to many other valuable works, Hsiao is the author     of the best available essay on late qanate China in the Cambridge History     of China.

Finally, there is the native Mongolian (people’s republic) school, perhaps     the most important of all since the Mongols are closest to their own traditions     and its output has been voluminous, although much Mongolian scholarship has     gone forward isolated from what is being done elsewhere. This has either been     for political reasons, during the period of Soviet infl uence, or simply because     of the physical isolation of Mongolia from the larger research libraries and     the limited foreign language skills of many Mongolian scholars (this is changing     rapidly). Mongolian contributions are particularly important in the area of     social history, since they know their own culture best, in material culture,     for the same reason, and in archaeology. Although the first to carry out fieldwork     specifically devoted to sites associated with the Mongol imperial period were     Russian archaeologists, including S. V. Kiselev, who carried out the first     excavations at the site of the imperial Mongol capital of Qaraqorum, the Mongols     are the ones doing most of the digging today, although Chinese archaeologists     are much involved too, in Inner Mongolia and adjacent areas, as well as at     many sites in China proper relating to the Mongol era, and efforts by Russians     continue. Unfortunately, while excavation reports published by Chinese, Russian,     and other scholars are relatively accessible and thus well known, those published     by Mongolian scholars in Mongolia are not. Few libraries located outside Mongolian-speaking     areas have any Mongolian books at all, not to mention excavation reports,     rarely collected outside of Mongolian libraries. In the United States, only     the Wilson Library of Western Washington University, in Bellingham, Washington,     has large holdings of such material, both from the Ulaanbaatar and Inner Mongolian     side.

Among the many Mongolian scholars concerned with the early history of their     country, before and the during the Mongol age, and immediately after, are     N. Ishjamts, Kh. Perlee, Sh. Bira, the latter still very active, Sh. Natsagdorj,     B. Sum’yabaatar, and Ch. Dalay. Particularly important is the work of Dalay     whose study of Mongolia in the Mongol age presents a thesis that strongly     counters that of John Dardess that the Mongols became Confucianized as Mongolia     became, in essence, a part of China. Also an important Mongolian scholar is     D. Gongor. His two-volume Khalkh Tovchoon, “Short History of the Khalkha,”     offers the fullest social history of the Mongols, including those of the period     of empire, ever written, in any language. Also an achievement of Mongolian     scholarship is the only full translation of the Yuanshi into Mongolian by     Dandaa (pen name of Ch. Demcigdorj).

In addition to the national schools, there are also a great many scholars     working in various countries more or less independently, only loosely associated     with anything that might be considered a school. Among them, still living,     but already having had a long career, is Igor de Rachewiltz. He was born in     Italy but is currently living in Australia. The contributions of Igor de Rachewiltz     to so many areas of the field are too numerous to list here, but perhaps his     greatest contribution of all will be his translation of the Secret History     of the Mongols, with full apparatus, to appear in 2003, the product of decades     of work. Igor de Rachewiltz has also worked extensively with Chinese biographical     materials connected with major figures of the Mongol Yuan dynasty. He and     his associates have not only produced a large biographical dictionary relating     to the first period of Mongol control in China, but also have published several     reference works aimed at making Chinese literary sources more accessible to     scholars.

Another scholar making a strong individual contribution was the great Turkish     historian Ismail Hakki Uzunçarsili. Although he was primarily interested     in the history of Turkey and its origins, institutionally, the relevant chapters     of his Osmanili Devleti Teskilâtina Medhal (“Overview of the Organization     of the Ottoman Government”) remains the best institutional history of     any of the successor qanates, in this case, Mongol Iran. Uzunçarsili’s     work is particularly valuable in that it provides substantial information     regarding the context in which Ilqanate institutions existed and developed.     Unfortunately, Turkish, outside of Turkish studies, is not a commonly read     language and Uzunçarsili’s work, including his many other contributions,     and those of Turkish scholars in general, remain largely unappreciated.

Most scholars in the United States also work in isolation and are not really     part of a national school since the field of Mongolian studies is largely     unrecognized there and most of those devoting all or part of their scholarly     energies to the Mongol age do so as part of other fields. On example is Thomas     Allsen. Allsen is one of those few scholars knowing both Chinese and Persian     well, although based in Iranian studies. Allsen has produced a number of important     institutional studies, including the standard work on the era of Möngke     qan (1251-1259), but has recently devoted himself to the issue of cultural     exchanges between the Islamic and Chinese worlds during the Mongol Age. Another     example is the present author, more a Mongolist but still based in Chinese     studies, but also knowing some Persian, a number of other important source     languages, including Western ones, and very strong on the Altaic side. Like     Allsen he has produced a number of institutionally-based studies and like     Allsen he has now turned to the cultural history of the Mongol age, focusing     on the history of food and comparative medical history.

Today, with centuries of scholarship to draw on, and nearly all of the important     sources published and readily available, we would anticipate the dawn of a     golden age of Mongolian studies, the study of the age of Mongolian Empire     in particular, since interest in that period in other fields is now at a high     level. Alas, it is not likely to be so for two very good reasons. One is an     acute shortage of true specialists in the field, that dying breed, very rare     to begin with, comprised of those with the necessary linguistic and other     skills to study the period broadly with a maximum use of primary sources in     all the many languages that have to be dealt with. Most scholars in the field     today, and some are very competent, are based in some other area to the exclusion     of Mongolian studies and tend to view the Mongol age through the rose-colored     glasses of their own particular regional hobby-horses. Most important, few     know any Mongolian at all and thus are unable to gain a feeling for the insider’s     view of events and people. A second reason for pessimism is the almost complete     past failure to support the field as a legitimate area of scholarly inquiry,     outside of a few, very rare institutions, some of those dying. This is particularly     true in the United States. Thus, even if the proper specialists emerge, who     will employ them The example of the present author who works entirely on     his own, enjoys no institutional support whatever, and, most important, has     no students thus making no contribution to the future, is not that atypical.     Can we really afford to have an important field of scholarly inquiry that     is, for all practical purposes, “out of the loop,” especially today     when the strategic importance of Central Asia grows by the day.

Bibliographical listings

The bibliographical listings provided below are highly selective and have     been chosen either because the present author finds them particularly useful     or because they provide virtually unique coverage. The listing is under the     following somewhat arbitrary categories:

  1. General Works, Collections
  2. Reference
  3. Historiography
  4. Translations of Primary Sources
  5. Cinggis-qan
  6. Mongolia to 1206
  7. Mongolian Empire
  8. Mongol China
  9. Golden Horde
  10. Ca’adai Ulus, Qaidu, and Turkistan
  11. Mongol Iran
  12. Military
  13. Food, Medicine
  14. Diplomatics, International Relations, Cultural Exchanges
  15. Trade, Economic History
  16. Art, Architecture, and Textiles
  17. Religion
  18. Archaeology
  19. Black Death

Following most sections is a short commentary on works listed that the present     author has found particularly useful. Works discussed in the introduction     are usually not discussed again.

1. General Works, Collections

  • Amitai-Preiss, Reuven, and David O. Morgan. The Mongol Empire and Its       Legacy. Leiden: Brill, 1999.
  • Boyle, J. A. The Mongol World Empire, 1206-1370. London: Variorum Reprints, 1977.
  • Buell, Paul D. Historical Dictionary of the Mongolian World Empire, Lanham, Md., and Oxford: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. (Historical Dictionaries of Ancient Civilizations and Historical Eras, No. 8), 2003.
  • Franke, Herbert, and Denis Twitchett, editors. The Cambridge History of China, Volume 6, Alien Regimes and Border States, 907-1368. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
  • Gongor, D. Khalkh Tovchoon. Two volumes. BNMAU Shinzhlekh Ukhaany Akademiyn Tkhiyn Kheelen. Ulaanbaatar, 1970-1978.
  • Grousset, Ren�. The Empire of the Steppes, a History of Central Asia. Translated by Naomi Walford. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1970.
  • Kessler, Adam T., editor. Empires beyond the Great Wall: The Heritage of Genghis Khan. Los Angeles: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 1993.
  • Lattimore, Owen. Inner Asian Frontiers of China. Boston: Beacon Press, 1962 (1951).
  • –. Studies in Frontier History: Collected Papers 1929-1958. London: Oxford University Press, 1962.
  • Morgan, David. The Mongols. New York: Basil Blackwell, Inc., 1986.
  • Phillips, E. D. The Mongols. London: Thames and Hudson (Ancient Peoples and Places, volume 64), 1986.
  • Saunders, J. J. The History of the Mongol Conquests. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1971.
  • Spuler, B. The Muslim World: A Historical Survey. Part II: The Mongol Period. Leiden: Brill, 1960.
  • Tikhvinskiy, S. L. Tataro-mongoly v Azii i Evrope: Sbornik statei. Moscow: Nauka, 1970.
  • Waldron, Arthur. The Great Wall of China, From History to Myth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
  • Weiers, Michael, editor. Die Mongolen, Beitr鋑e zu ihrer Geschichte und Kultur. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1986.
  • Yanai Wataru. Mokoshi kenkyu. T鬹y�: T鬶� shoin, 1930.

There is a real shortage of useful general works on the Mongols. The best of the general surveys are those by J. J. Saunders, David Morgan, and Michael Weiers, in German. My new Dictionary is intended to replace all three of these works. Also essential for any attempt to gain an overview of the topic are the works of Owen Lattimore. Franke and Twitchett, although concentrating on China, provide useful background information not only on the Mongols, but on their steppe predecessors including the infl uential Kitan.

2. Reference

  • Doerfer, G. Tkische und mongolische Elemente im Neupersischen. Four volumes. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, GMBH, 1963-1975.
  • Pelliot, Paul. Notes on Marco Polo. Three volumes. Paris: Imprimerie National, 1959-1973.

3. Historiography

  • Buell, Paul D. “Steppe Perspectives on the Medieval History of China: Modern Mongol Scholarship on the Liao, Chin and Y黙n Periods.” Zentralasiatische Studien, XV (1981), 129-149.
  • Gumilev, L. N. Gumilev, L. N. 搼Taynaya� i 慪avnaya� Istoriya Mongolov xii-xiii vv.” In S. L. Tikhvinskiy, editor, Tataro-Mongoly v Azii i Evrope. Moskva: Nauka, 1970, 455-474.
  • Poucha, Pavel. Die Geheime Geschichte der Mongolen als Geschichtsquelle und Literaturdenkmal. Prague: Ceskoslo-vensk� Akademie Ved (Archiv Orient醠n� Supplementa, 4), 1956.
  • Poucha’s work on the Secret History of the Mongols in German is highly recommended to anyone interested in the subject as is Gumilev’s compelling look at competing historiographic traditions in early Mongolian sources.

4. Translations of Primary Sources

  • Boyle, John A., translator. The Successors of Genghiz Khan; Translated from the Persian of Rashid al-Din. New York: Columbia University Press, 1971.
  • Bretschneider, E. Medieval Researches, From Eastern Asiatic Sources. Two volumes. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, Ltd., 1967 (1888).
  • Budge, E. A. W., editor and translator. The Chronography of Gregory Abul Faraq, the Son of Aaron, the Hebrew Physician, Commonly known as Bar Hebraeus, Being the First Part of his Political History of the World. Two volumes. London: Oxford University Press, 1932.
  • Buell, Paul D., Eugene N. Anderson, and Charles Perry. A Soup for the Qan: Chinese Dietary Medicine of the Mongol Era as Seen in Hu Szuhui’s Yin-shan Cheng-yao. London: Kegan Paul International (Sir Henry Wellcome Asian Series), 2000.
  • Cleaves, F. W. “The Biography of Bayan of the B鈘in in the Y黙n Shih.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 19 (1956), 185-303.
  • –. The Secret History of the Mongols. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982.
  • Damdinsen, Ts., Translator. Mongolyn Nuuts Tovchoo. Ulaanbaatar: Ulsyn Khevleliyn Gazar, 1975.
  • Dawson, Christopher, editor. Mission to Asia: Narratives and Letters of the Franciscan Missionaries in Mongolia and China in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries. Translated by a Nun of Stanbrook Abbey. New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1966.
  • Franke, H. Beitr鋑e zur Kulturgeshichte Chinas unter der Mongolenherrschaft, Das Shan-k� sin-hua des Yang Y�. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner (Abhandlungen f黵 die Kunde des Morgenlandes, XXXII, 2), 1956.
  • Gibb, H. A. R., translator. The Travels of Ibn Battuta, A.D. 1325-1354. Five volumes. Cambridge: Hakluyt Society (new series, 110, 117, 141, 178, 190), 1958-2000.
  • Haenisch, Erich, and Peter Olbricht. Zum Untergang zweier Reiche, Berichte von Augenzeugen aus den Jahren 1232-33 und 1368-70. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner (Deutsche Morgenl鋘dische Gesellschaft, volume XXXVIII, 4), 1969.
  • Haenisch, Erich, Yao Ts’ung-wu, Peter Olbricht, and Elisabeth Pinks. Meng-ta pei-lu und Hei-ta shih-l黣h: chinesische Gesandten-berichte 黚er die fr黨en Mongolen 1221 and 1237 (Asiatische Forschungen 56). Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1980.
  • Hambis, Louis, translator. Le Chapitre CVII du Yuan Che : Les G閚閍logies Imp閞iales Mongoles dans l’Histoire Chinoise Officielle de la Dynastie Mongole. Avec des Notes Suppl閙entaires par Paul Pelliot. Leiden: Brill (T’oung Pao suppl. 38), 1945.
  • –, translator. Le Chapitre CVIII du Yuan Che, les Fiefs attribu閟 aux Membres de la Famille Imp閞iale et aux Ministres de la Cour Mongole d’apr鑣 l’Historie Chinoise Officielle de la Dynastie Mongole. Volume 1. Leiden: Brill, 1954.
  • Jackson, Peter, and David Morgan, editors. The Mission of Friar William of Rubruck. London: Hakluyt Society (Hakluyt Society, second series, volume 173), 1990.
  • Juvaini, ‘Ala-ad-din ‘Ata-Malik. The History of the World-Conqueror. Translated by J. A. Boyle. Two volumes. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1958.
  • Komroff, Manuel. Contemporaries of Marco Polo. London: Jonathan Cape, 1928.
  • Lech, Klaus, translator Das Mongolische Weltreich, Al-‘Umari’s Darstellung der mongolischen Reiche in seinem Werk Masalik al-absar fima malik alamsar. Wiesbaden: Otto Har rassowitz (Asiatische Forschungen 22), 1968.
  • Munkuyev, N. Ts. Kitayskiy Istochnik o Pervykh Mongol’skikh Khanakh. Moscow: Nauka, 1965.
  • Pelliot, P., and L. Hambis. Histoire des Campagnes de Gengis Khan. Volume 1. Leiden : Brill, 1951.
  • Rachewiltz, Igor de. “The Hsi-yu lu  by Yeh-l� Ch抲-ts抋i .” Monumenta Serica, 21 (1962), 1-128.
  • –. translator. The Secret History of the Mongols. A Mongolian Epic Chronicle of the Thirteenth Century. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2003.
  • Ratchnevsky, Paul. Un Code des Yuan. Volumes 1 and 4. Paris: Coll鑗e de France, Institut des Hautes 閠udes France, Institut des Hautes 閠udes Chinoises, 1985 (1937, 1985).
  • –. Un Code des Yuan. Volume 2. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1972.
  • Ratchnevsky, Paul, and Fran鏾ise Aubin. Un Code des Yuan. Volume 3. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1977.
  • Sagaster, Klaus. Die weisse Geschichte. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz (Asiatische Forschungen, 41), 1976.
  • Schulte-Uffelage. Das Keng-shen wai-shi. Eine Quelle zur sp鋞en Mongolenzeit. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag (Ostasiatische Forschungen, Sonderreihe Monographien no. 2), 1963.
  • Schurmann, Herbert Franz. translator. Economic Structure of the Y黙n Dynasty, Translation of Chapters 93 and 94 of the Y黙n Dynasty. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press (Harvard-Yenching Institute Series, XVI), 1967.
  • Yule, Henry, translator, and Henri Cordier, editor. Cathay and the Way Thither, Being a Collection of Medieval Notes of China. New, Revised Edition. Four Volumes. London: Hakluyt Society (second series, volumes 33, 37-38, 41), 1913-1916.
  • –. The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the Vene tian. Two volumes. Amsterdam: Philo Press, 1975 (1903-1920).
  • –. The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the Vene tian. Two volumes. Amsterdam: Philo Press, 1975 (1903-1920).
  • Waley, Arthur. translator. The Travels of an Alchemist, The Journey of the Taoist Ch’ang-ch’un from China to the Hindukush at the Summons of Cinghiz Khan, Recorded by His Disciple, Li Chih-ch’ang. Taipei: Southern Materials Center, Inc., 1978 (1931).
  • Wang, Teresa, and Eugene N. Anderson. “Ni Tsan and His ‘Cloud Forest Hall Collection of Rules for Drinking and Eating’.” Petits Propos Culinaire, 60 (1998), 24-41.

There is now a wide range of translated sources available for those interested in the age of Mongolian Empire. Essential are the late John Boyle’s translations of Persian sources, particularly his masterful translation of the history of Juvaini, and the forthcoming translation of the Secret History of the Mongols by Igor de Rachewiltz. Also particularly recommended are the new Gibb translation, now complete, of The Travels of Ibn Battuta, Lech’s partial translation of Al-‘Umari, and Peter Jackson and David Morgan’s new rendering of the travels of William of Rubruck. The available Chinese material is mostly fairly technical but Waley’s The Travels of an Alchemist is is particularly readable, and the translation of some early Chinese eyewitness accounts by Haenisch, Yao, Olbricht, Pinks is highly useful. Pelliot and Hambis provide a good translation of part of another early Chinese source, the Shengwu qinzheng lu, “Record of the Personal Campaigns of the Sagely Militant,” which may be based upon a now-lost Mongolian chronicle. Containing mostly notices from the European side, Yule’s Cathay and the Way Thither is still is still worth examining. For those interested in cultural history, food and medicine in particular, I recommend our A Soup for the Qan. This is supplemented by the recipes translated by Teresa Wang and Eugene N. Anderson.

5. Cinggis-Qan

  • Ratchnevsky, Paul. Genghis Khan, His Life and Legacy. Translated by Thomas Nivison Haining. Oxford, and Cambridge, USA: Blackwell, 1991.
  • Vladimirtsov, B. I. Gengis-Khan. Translated by Michel Carsow. Paris: Librairie d’Am閞ique et d’Orient Adrien-Maisonneuve, 1948.

Ratchnvesky’s Life still remains the best. A new biography utilizing the Persian sources too is urgently needed.

6. Mongolia to 1206

  • Buell, Paul D. “The Role of the Sino-Mongolian Frontier Zone in the Rise of Cinggis-qan.” In Henry G. Schwarz, editor, Studies on Mongolia, Proceedings of the First North American Conference on Mongolian Studies. Bellingham, Wash.: Center for East Asian Studies, 1979, 63-76
  • Cleaves, F. W. “The Historicity of the Baljuna Covenant.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 18 (1955), 357-421.
  • Munkuyev, N. Ts. “Zametki o Drevnikh Mongolakh.” In Tikhvinsky, S. L., editor, Tataro-Mongoly v Azii i Evrope, Moskva: Nauka, 1970, 352-382.
  • Ratchnevsky, Paul. “Zum Ausdruk t’ouhsia in der Mongolen-zeit.” In Collectanea Mongolica: Festschrift f Rintchen zum 60. Geburtstag. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1966, 173-191.
  • Vladimirtsov, B. Le R間ime Social des Mongols, le F閛dalisme Nomade. Translated by M. Carsow. Paris: Librairie d’Am閞ique et d’Orient Adrien-Maisonneuve, 1948.
  • Mongol’s pre-imperial history is very poorly covered. My own work is summarized and expanded in my Dictionary. Vladimirtsov remains indespensible.

7. Mongolian Empire

  • Allsen, Thomas A. T. “Prelude to the Western Campaigns: Mongol Military Operations in the Volga-Ural Region, 1217-1237.” Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi, 3 (1983), 5-24.
  • ____ “Guard and Government in the Reign of Grand Qan M鰊gke, 1251-1259.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 46 (December, 1986), 495-521.
  • –. Mongol Imperialism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987.
  • –. “Mongolian Princes and Their Merchant Partners.” Asia Major, 2 (1989), 83-126.
  • Ayalon, D. “The Great Ysa of Chingiz Khn: A Re-examination.” Studia Islamica, 33 (1971), 97-140.
  • Buell, Paul D. “Sino-Khitan Administration in Mongol Bukhara.” Journal of Asian History XIII (1979): XIII (1979): 2, 121-151.
  • –. “Kalmyk Tanggaci People: Thoughts on the Mechanics and Impact of Mongol Expansion.” Mongolian Studies VI (1980), 41-59.
  • –. “Early Mongol Expansion in Western Siberia and Turkestan (1207-1219): A Reconstruction.” Central Asiatic Journal, XXXVI (1992), 1-2, 1-32.
  • –. “S鰐ei-ba’atur.” In Igor de Rachewiltz, Chan Hok-lam, Hsiao Ch’i-ch’ing and Peter W. Geier, editors. In the Service of the Khan, Eminent Personalities of the Early Mongol-Yuan Period (1200-1300). Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1993, 13-26.
  • –. “Chinqai (1169-1252): Architect of Mongolian Empire.” In Edward H. Kaplan and Donald W. Whisenhunt, editors. Opuscula Altaica, Essays Presented in Honor of Henry Schwarz. Bellingham, Wash.: Center for East Asian Studies (Studies on East Asia, 19), 1994, 168-186.
  • Cleaves, F. W. “Darugha and Gerege.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 16 (1953), 237-259.
  • Henthorn, William. Korea: The Mongol Invasions. Leiden: Brill, 1963.
  • Olschki, Leonardo. Guillaume Boucher, a French Artist at the Court of the Khans. New York: Greenwood, 1969.
  • Rachewiltz, Igor de. Papal Envoys to the Great Khans. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1971.
  • Schurmann, H. F. “Mongolian Tributary Practices of the Thirteenth Century.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 14 (1956), 304-89.
  • Smith, J. M. “Mongol and Nomadic Taxation.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 30 (1970), 46-85.

There is a rich literature, only sampled here, on Mongolian Empire, much of it highly technical. Particularly important are the works of Thomas Allsen. His Mongol Imperialism remains the best monograph on the era of M鰊gke (r. 1251-1259) and one of the best monographs in the entire field. Unfortunately out-of-print, but highly readable, is Igor de Rachewiltz’s Papal Envoys to the Great Khans. See also the relevant biographies, including my own work, in Igor de Rachewiltz, Chan Hok-lam, Hsiao Ch’ich’ing and Peter W. Geier’s In the Service of the Khan. My own “Chinqai (1169-1252): Architect of Mongolian Empire,” is a corrected expansion of the biographical article found there with substantially more context provided. The works of Smith are always recommended, whatever the topic since they are very well thought out and extremely well documented.

8. Mongol China

  • Allsen, Thomas A. “The Rise of the Mongolian Empire and Mongolian Rule in North China.” In Herbert Franke and Denis Twitchett, editors, The Cambridge History of China, Volume 6, Alien Regimes and Border States, 907-1368. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994, 321-413.
  • Buell, Paul D. “The Sung Resistance Movement, 1276-1279: The End of an Era.” Annals of the Chinese Historical Society of the Pacific Northwest, III (1985-1986), 138-186
  • –. “Saiyid Ajall.” In Igor de Rachewiltz, Chan Hok-lam, Hsiao Ch’i-ch’ing and Peter W. Geier, editors, In the Service of the Khan, Eminent Personalities of the Early Mongol-Yuan Period (1200-1300). Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1993, 466-479
  • Chan, Hok-lam. “Liu Ping-chung: a Buddhist-Taoist Statesman at the Court of Khubilai Khan.” T’oung-pao, 53 (1967), 98-146.
  • Ch’en, Paul Heng-chao. Chinese Legal Tradition under the Mongols, the Code of 1291 as Reconstructed. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1979.
  • Ch’en Y黙n. Western and Central Asians in China under the Mon gols (Monumenta Serica Monograph XV). Translated from the Chi nese by Ch’ien Hsing-hai  and L. Carrington Goodrich. Los Ange les: Monumenta Serica, 1966.
  • Dalay, Ch. Yuan g黵niy 鼀eiyn Mongol, Ulaanbaatar: Ulsyn Khevlelyn Gazar, 1973.
  • Dardess, John W. Conquerors and Confucians: Aspects of Political Change in Late Y黙n China. New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1973.
  • –. “Changing Forms of Imperial Rule in Mongolia and Central Asia.” Monumenta Serica, XXX (1972-1975), 117-165.
  • –. “Shun-ti and the End of Y黙n Rule in China.” In Herbert Franke and Denis Twitchett, editors. The Cambridge History of China, Volume 6, Alien Regimes and Border States, 907-1368. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994, 561-586.
  • Farquhar, D. M. “Structure and Function in the Y黙n Imperial Govern ment.” In John D. Langlois, Jr., editor, China under Mongol Rule. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1981, 25-55.
  • –. The Government of China under Mongolian Rule, A Reference Guide (M黱chener Ostasiatische Studien 53). Stuttgart: Franz Ste iner Verlag, 1990.
  • Franke, Herbert. Geld und Wirtschaft in China unter der Mongolen-Herrscahft: Beitr鋑e zur Wirtschaftsgeschichte der Y黙n-Zeit. Leipzig: Otto Harrassowitz, 1949.
  • Franke, Herbert H. “Tibetans in Y黙n China.” In John D. Langlois, Jr., editor, China under Mongol Rule. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981, 296-328
  • Haneda T魊u. “M鬹o ekiden k�.” T鬹y�: T魕� ky鬹ai ch魋a gakujutsu h鬹oku, 1, 1909.
  • Hsiao Ch’i-ch’ing. Hsi-y�-jen y� y黙n-ch’u cheng-chih. T’aipei : Kuo-li t’ai-wan ta-hs黣h wen-shih ts’ung-kan, 1966.
  • –. The Military Establishment of the Yuan Dynasty. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1978.
  • –. “Mid-Y黙n Politics.” In Herbert Franke and Denis Twitchett, editors, The Cambridge History of China, Volume 6, Alien Regimes and Border States, 907-1368. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994, 490-560.
  • Iwamura Shinobu. Mongoru shakai keizai shi no kenkyu. Kyoto: Kyodai Jinbun Kagaku Kenkyujo, 1968.
  • Jay, Jennifer W. A Change in Dynasties. Bellingham, Wash.: Center for East Asian Studies (Studies on East Asia, Volume 18), 1991.
  • Kuwabara Jitsuzo. “On P’u Shou-keng.” Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko, II (1928), 1-79, VII (1935), 1-104.
  • Langlois, John D., Jr., editor China under Mongol Rule. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1981.
  • Lee, Sherman E., and Wai-kam Ho. Chinese Art under the Mongols: The Y黙n Dynasty (1279-1368). Cleveland: Press of Case Western Reserve University, 1968.
  • Lo, Jung-Pang. “The Controversy over Grain Conveyance during the Reign of Khubilai Khan (+1260 to +1294).” Far Eastern Quarterly, 13 (1953), 262-285.
  • –. “The Emergence of China as a Sea Power during the Late Sung and Early Yuan Periods.” Far Eastern Quarterly, 14 (1954-1955), 489-503.
  • Maeda Naonori. Gencho shi no kenkyu. Tokyo: Tokyo daigaku shuppankai, 1973.
  • Mangold, Gunther. Das Milit鋜wesen in China unter der Mongolenherrschaft. Inaugural-Dissertation, Bamberg: Aku Fotodruck, 1971.
  • Martin. H. Desmond. The Rise of Chingis Khan and His Conquest of North China. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1950.
  • Meng Szu-ming. Y黙n-tai she-hui chieh-chi chih-tu. Hong Kong: Lung-men shu-tien, 1967.
  • Mote, Frederick W. “Chinese Society under Mongol Rule, 1215-1368.” In Herbert Franke and Denis Twitchett, editors, The Cambridge History of China, Volume 6, Alien Regimes and Border States, 907-1368. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994, 616-664.
  • Olbricht, Peter. Das Postwesen in China, unter der Mongolenherrscahft im 13. und 14. Jahrhundert. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz (G鰐tinger asiatische Forschungen, 1), 1954.
  • Rachewiltz, Igor de. “Yeh-l� Ch’u-ts’ai (1189-1243): Buddhist Idealist and Confucian Statesman.” In A. F. Wright and D. Twitchett, editors. Confucian Personalities. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1962, 189-216.
  • –. “Personnel and Personalities in North China in the Early Mongol Period.” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 9 (1966), 88-144. –.
  • “Turks in China under the Mongols: A Preliminary Investigation of Turco-Mongol Relations in the 13th. and 14th. Centuries.” In Morris Rossabi, editor, China among Equals. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1983, 281-310.
  • Rachewiltz, Igor de, Chan Hok-lam, Hsiao Ch’i-ch’ing, and Peter W. Geier, editors, In the Service of the Khan, Eminent Personalities of the Early Mongol-Yuan Period (1200-1300). Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, 1993.
  • Rossabi, Morris. “The Muslims in the Early Y黙n Dynasty.” In John D. Langlois, Jr., editor, China under Mongol Rule. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1981, 257-295.
  • –. Khubilai Khan: His Life and Times. Berkeley: Univer sity of California Press, 1988.
  • –. “The Reign of Khubilai Khan.” In Herbert Franke and Denis Twitchett, editors, The Cambridge History of China, Volume 6, Alien Regimes and Border States, 907-1368. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994, 414-489.
  • Serruys, Henry. “Remnants of Mongol Customs during the Early Ming.” Monumenta Serica, 16 (1957), 137-190.
  • –. The Mongols in China during the Hung-wu Period. Bruxelles (M閘anges Chinois et Bouddhiques, Vol. XI), 1980.
  • –. The Mongols and Ming China: Customs and History. London: Variorum Reprints, 1987.
  • Steinhardt, Nancy R. S. “The Plan of Khubilai Khan’s Imperial City.” Artibus Asiae, 44 (1983), 137-158.
  • Thiel, J. “Der Streit der Buddhisten und Taoisten zur Mongolen-zeit.” Monumenta Serica, 20 (1961), 1-81.

The literature on Mongol China is vast, although not always readable. The best overview can be found in the relevant chapters of the Cambridge History of China by Allsen, Hsiao, Rossabi, Dardess, and Mote, although the last two see Mongol China as more of a Chinese entity than this writer. Still essential for the earliest period of Mongol rule in China is Igor de Rachewitlz’s “Personnel and Personalities in North China in the Early Mongol Period” and the biographies in de Rachewiltz, Chan, Hsiao and Geier are equally essential for the early Yuan period, although they too see Mongol China as too Chinese, and Confucian. Also highly recommended for early Yuan is Morris Rossabi’s Khubilai Khan. For those that read Asian languages, Iwamura and Meng provide excellent social history. Jay provides a readable look at the issue of Song loyalism, the supposed refusal of many members of the Song elite to serve or even acknowledge the existence of their Mongol conquerors. Although somewhat after the period, the many works of Henry Serruys make for highly interesting reading. Martin, although containing many errors, and now out-of-date, can still be useful for a basic orientation regarding the first Mongol conquests.

9. Golden Horde

  • Allsen, Thomas A. “Mongol Census Taking in Rus’, 1245-1275.” Harvard Ukrainian Studies, 5/1 (1981), 32-53.
  • –. “The Princes of the Left Hand: An Introduction to the History of the Ulus of Orda in the Thirteenth and Early Fourteenth Centuries.” Archivum Eurasia Medii Aevi, 5 (1985-87), 5-40.
  • Fedorov-Davydov, G. A. Obshchestvennyi stroy Zolotoy Ordy. Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Moskovskogo Universiteta, 1973.
  • Halperin, Charles J. Russia and the Mongol Impact on Medieval Russian History: Golden Horde. Bloomington, Indiana: University Press, 1985.
  • Spuler, B. Die goldene Horde: Die Mongolen in Russland, 1223-1502. Second edition. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1965.
  • Yegorov, B. L. Istoricheskaya Geographiya Zolotoy Ordy v XIII-XIV vv. Moskva: Nauka, 1985.
  • There is no fully adequate survey of the Golden Horde currently available. The best remains Spuler, which is difficult to read. For those reading Russian, Federov-Davydov is highly recommended as is the new survey of historical geography by Yegorov.
  • 10. Ca’adai Ulus, Qaidu, and Turkistan
  • Allsen, Thomas T. “The Y黙n Dynasty and the Uighurs of Turfan in the 13th. Century.” In Morris Rossabi, editor, China among Equals. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1983, 243-280.
  • Aubin, J. “L’ethnog閚鑣e des Qaraunas.” Turicica, 1 (1969), 65-94.
  • Barthold, W. Turkestan down to the Mongol Invasion. Translated from the Russian by Mrs. T. Minorsky. Fourth edition. London: Luzac and Company Ltd., 1977.
  • Biran, Michal. Qaidu and the Rise of the Independent Mongol State in Central Asia. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, 1997.
  • Kutlukov, M. “Mongol’skoye Gospodstovo v Vostochnom Turkestane.” In S. L. Tikhvinskiy, editor, Tataro-Mongoly v Azii i Evrope. Moskva: Nauka, 1970, 85-99.
  • The standard work is now Biran and thanks to her the field is now well covered. Barthold’s Turkestan is still recommended for the earlier period, not directly covered by Biran.

11. Mongol Iran

  • Amitai-Preiss, Reuven. Mongols and Mamluks : The Mamluk-Ilkhanid War, 1260-1281. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization), 1995.
  • Boyle, J. A. “Dynastic and Political History of the Il-Khans.” In J. A. Boyle, Editor. The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 5: The Saljuq and Mongol Periods. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Cam bridge, 1968, 303-421.
  • –, Editor. The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 5: The Saljuq and Mongol Periods. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968.
  • Smith, J. M. “Mongol Manpower and Persian Population.” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 18/3 (1975), 271-299.
  • –. “‘Jalut: Mamluk Success or Mongol Failure” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 44/2 (1984), 307-345.
  • Spuler, Berthold. Die Mongolen in Iran. Third edition. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1968.
  • Uzun鏰rsili, Ismail Hakki Osmanili Devleti Teskil鈚ina Medhal, Ankara: T黵k tarhi Kurumu Basimevi, 1970.

The relevant chapters of the Cambridge History of Iran, particularly the chapter by J. A. Boyle, provide the best coverage, but the articles by J. M. Smith are extremely important, particularly his “Mongol Manpower and Persian Population,” which argues that there really were hordes of Mongols and not just a few, as is generally argued. On Uzun鏰rsili see above.

12. Military

  • Nicolle, David. The Mongol Warlords, Genghis Khan, Khublai Khan, H黮eg�, Tamerlane. Poole, Dorset: Firebird Books, 1990.

This is a popular book but is extremely well done although the narrative does contain errors. The illustrations are excellent. On Mongol China, see also Hsiao’s The Military Establishment of the Yuan Dynasty  above.

13. Food, Medicine

  • Anderson. E. N. “Food and Health at the Mongol Court.” In Edward H. Kaplan and Donald W. Whisenhunt, editors. Opuscula Altaica, Essays Presented in Honor of Henry Schwarz. Bellingham, Wash.: Center for East Asian Studies (Studies on East Asia, 19), 1994, 17-43
  • Buell, Paul D. “The Yin-shan Cheng-yao, A Sino-Uighur Dietary: Synopsis: Problems, Prospects.” In Paul Unschuld, editor, Approaches to Traditional Chinese Medical Literature, Proceedings of an International Symposium on Translation Methodologies and Terminologies. Dordrecht, Boston, London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1989, 109-127.
  • –. “Pleasing the Palate of the Qan: Changing Foodways of the Imperial Mongols.” Mongolian Studies, XIII (1990), 57-81.
  • –. “Mongolian Empire and Turkicization: The Evidence of Food and Foodways.” In Reuven Amitai-Preiss, editor, The Mongol Empire and Its Legacy, Amsterdam: E.J. Brill, 1999, 200-223.
  • Franke, Herbert H. “Additional Notes on Non-Chinese Terms in the Y黙n Imperial Dietary Compendium Yinshan Cheng-yao.” Zentralasi atische Studien IV (1970), 7-16.
  • Lao Yan-shuan, “Notes on Non-Chinese Terms in the Y黙n Imperial Dietary Compendium Yin-shan Cheng-yao.” The Bulletin of the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica XXXIX (October 1969), 399-416.
  • Perry, Charles: “A Mongolian Dish.” Petits Propos Culinaires 19 (March, 1985), 53-55
  • Rall, Jutta. “Zur persischen 躡ersetzung eines Mo-ch黣h, eines chine sischen medizinischen Textes.” Oriens Extremus 7 (1960), 2, 152-157.
  • –. Die vier grossen Medizinschulen der Mongolenzeit (M黱chener Ostasiatische Studien 7). Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1970.
  • Sabban, Fran鏾ise. “Cuisine � la cour de l’empereur de Chine: les aspects culinaires du Yinshan Zhengyao de Hu Sihui.” Medi鑦ales 5 (Novembre, 1983), 32-56.
  • –. “Court Cuisine in Fourteenth-Century Imperial China: Some Culinary Aspects of Hu Sihui’s Yinshan Zhengyao.” Food and Foodways I (1986), 161-196.
  • –. “Ravioli cristallins et tagliatelle rouges: les p鈚es chinoises entre xiie et xive si鑓le.” M閐i関ales 16-17 (1989), 29-50.
  • Smith, John Masson, Jr. “Mongol Campaign Rations: Milk, Marmots and Blood” In Pierre Oberling, editor, Turks, Hungarians and Kipchaks, A Festschrift in Honor of Tibor Halasi-Kun. Washington, D.C.: Institute of Turkish Studies, 1984, 223-228.
  • –. “Dietary Decadence and Dynastic Decline in the Mongol Empire.” Journal of Asian History, 34 (2000), 1, 35-52.

Works by Sabban are highly recommended for those interested in the history of food as it relates to the Mongol era. She sees the food of the time as more Chinese than I myself do, for example, but see my examination of early Mongol foodways in “Pleasing the Palate of the Qan: Changing Foodways of the Imperial Mongols.” The same material is reviewed in more detail in A Soup for the Qan cited above, but see also my “Mongolian Empire and Turkicization,” published after A Soup for the Qan and incorporating later research. Smith’s “Mongol Campaign Rations: Milk, Marmots and Blood” represents first class detective work.

14. Diplomatics, International Relations, Cultural Exchanges

  • Allsen, Thomas T. Culture and Conquest in Mongol Eurasia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization), 2001.
  • Cleaves, F. W. “An Early Mongol Version of the Alexander Romance.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 22 (1959), 1-99.
  • Franke, Herbert. “Sino-Western Contacts under the Mongol Empire.” Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 6 (1966), 49-72.
  • Golden, Peter B. The King’s Dictionary: The Rasulid Hexaglot, Fourteenth Century Vocabularies in Arabic, Persian, Turkic, Greek, Armenian and Mongol. Leiden: Brill, 2000.
  • Kotwicz, Wladyslaw. “Les Mongols, promoteurs de l’id閑 de paix univer selle au d閎ut du XIIIe si鑓le.” Rocznik Orientalistyczny 16 (1950), 428-434. 16 (1950), 428-434.
  • Mostaert, A., and F. W. Cleaves. Les Lettres de 1289 et 1305 des Ilkhans Arun et 謑jeit� � Philippe le Bel. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1962.
  • Olschki, L. Marco Polo’s Asia. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1960.
  • Skelton, R. A., Thomas E. Marston, and George D. Painter. The Vinland Map and the Tartar Relations. New Edition. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995.
  • Vogelin, E., “The Mongol Orders of Submission to European Powers, 1245-1255.” Byzantion, 15 (1940-1), 378-413.

The best work in this category is unquestionably that by Thomas Allsen, but see also the relevant sections of a Soup for the Qan which looks at some of the same traditions from the perspective of food and medicine. John Carswell below also provides an excellent survey although focusing on art, namely blue and white porcelain. Kotwicz and Franke remain classics and Skelton, Marston, and Painter offer a highly useful survey of early Western relations with the Mongols. See also de Rachewiltz Papal Envoys to the Great Khans cited above.

15. Trade, Economic History

  • Allsen, Thomas T. Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire, A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization), 1997.
  • Phillips, J. R. S. The Medieval Expansion of Europe. Oxford: Oxford Uni versity Press, 1988.

Both Allsen and Phillips are highly recommended. Phillips is particularly readable. It is one of the few books related to the period in question that is broadly interpretive.

16. Art, Architecture, Textiles

  • Carswell, John. Blue and White: Chinese Porcelain around the World. London: British Museum Press, 2000.
  • Ipsilroglu, M. S. Painting and Culture of the Mongols. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1966.

Carswell’s beautiful book is now a classic. It is highly recommended.

17. Religion

  • Banzarov, Dorji. The Black Faith, or Shamanism among the Mongols. Translated by Jan Nattier and John R. Krueger. Mongolian Studies, VII (1981-1982), 53-92 (1846).
  • Budge, E. A. Wallis. The Monks of Kublai Khan Emperor of China. Lon don: The Religious Tract Society, 1928.
  • Deweese, Devin. Islamization and Native Religion in the Golden Horde: Baba Tukles and Conversion to Islam in Historical and Epic Tradition. University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press (Hermeneutics: Studies I), 1994.
  • Egami, N. “Olon-Sume et le D閏ouverte de L’Eglise Catholique Romaine de Jean de Montecorvina.” Journal Asiatique, CCXL (1952), 155-167.
  • Pallisen, N. “Die alte Religion der Mongolen und der Kultus Tschingis Chans.” Numen, III (1956), 3, 178-229.
  • –. Die alte Religion des mongolischer Volkes w鋒rend der Herrschaft der Tschingisiden. Micro Bibliotheca Anthropos, 7, 1958.
  • Pelliot, Paul. Recherches sur les chr閠iens de l’Asie centrale et d’extr阭e-orient. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1973.
  • Rossabi, Morris. Voyager from Xanadu: Rabban Sauma and the First Journey from China to the West. Tokyo, New York, London: Kodansha International, 1992.
  • Roux, Jean-Paul. Faune et Flore Sacr閑s dans les Soci閠閟 Alta飍ues. Paris: Librairie d’Am閞ique et d’Orient Adrien-Maisonneuve, 1966.
  • –. La religion des Turcs et des Mongols. Paris: Payot, 1984.

Pallisen’s profusely documented dissertation (Mico Bibliotheca Anthropos) on native Mongolian religion in the era of Mongolian Empire is still most useful but it should now be read with the relevant sections of work by Roux in mind. Pelliot’s posthumous Recherches is dense but excellent. Touching on the same Christian culture of East Asia is Rossabi’s highly readable study of Rabban Sauma.

18. Archaeology

  • Kiselev, S. V., editor. Drevniye Mongol’skiye Goroda. Moscow: Nauka, 1965.
  • Maydar, D. Mongolyn Khot Tosgony Gurvan Zurag (Ert, Dundad Ye, XX Zuuny Ekh). Ulaanbaatar: Shinzhlekh Ukaany Akademiyn Khevlel, 1970.
  • Perlee, Kh. Khyatan Nar, Tedniy Mongolchuudtay Khobogdson n’. Ulaanbaatar: Ulsyn Khevlel (Studia Historica Institute Historia Comiteti Scientiarum Republica Populi Mongoli, Tomus 1, Fasc. 1), 1959.

Pending a full publication of new Mongolian excavations, Kiselev, for those reading Russian, remains essential.

19. Black Death

  • Ell, Stephen R. “Immunity as a Factor in the Epidemiology of Medieval Plague.” Reviews of Infectious Diseases 6, 6 (November-December 1984), 866-879.
  • –. “Plague and Leprosy in the Middle Ages: A Paradoxical Cross-Immunity” International Journal of Leprosy and Other Mycobac terial Diseases 55, 2 (June 1987), 345-350.
  • Gottfried, Robert S. The Black Death, Natural and Human Disaster in Medieval Europe. New York: The Free Press, 1983.
  • McEvedy, Colin. “The Bubonic Plague.” Scientific American 258, 2 (February, 1988), 118-123.
  • Scott, Susan, and Christopher J. Duncan. Biology of Plagues: Evidence from Historical Populations. Cambridge: Cambrdige University Press, 2001.

There is a huge literature on the Black Death and the works listed above are only a very limited selection of it. Gottfried is a useful introduction but see also new work by Scott and Duncan.


  1. This bibliographical essay is a much expanded and updated version of that appearing in my forthcoming Historical Dictionary of the Mongolian World Empire.
  2. This is the correct, Mongolian spelling of his name.
  3. Hammer-Purgstall, Joseph von, Geschichte der Goldenen horde in Kiptschak : das ist: der Mongolen in Russland, etwa 1200-1500: mit ausfhrlichen Nachweisen, einem beschreibenden 躡ersicht der vierhundert Quellen, neun Beilagen, enthaltend Dokumente und Ausz黦e, und einem Namen-und Sachregister, Amsterdam, APA Philo, 1979 (1840), and Hammer-Purgstall, Joseph von, Geschichte der Ilchane, das ist der Mongolen in Persia. Mit neun Beilagen und neun Stammtafeln, Darmstadt: C. W. Lesk, 1842-43.
  4. Erich Haenisch, Mang無l un Niuca Tobca’an, Die geheime Geschichte der Mongolen, Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1962, and Erich Haenisch, W鰎terbuch zu Mang無l un Niuca Toba’an, (Y黙n-Ch’ao Pi-shi) Die geheime Geschichte der Mongolen, Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1962.
  5. Paul Pelliot, Histoire secr鑤e des Mongols. Restitution du texte mongol et traduction fran鏰is des chaptires i vi, Oeuvres posthumes I, Paris, 1949.
  6. Kong, S.Y., et al. Huihui yaofang. Hong Kong: Hong Kong zhong bianyi yinwu youxian gongsi, 1996, and Song Xian. Huihui yaofang kaoshi. Two volumes. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju (Zhongwai jiaotong shiji congkan), 1999.

About the Author

Paul D. Buell holds a PhD in History, an MA in Chinese, and a Certificate in C Programming, and is an independent scholar, translator, and editor living in Seattle, Washington, where he runs his own consulting and translation service. He also works concurrently for Independent Learning, Western Washington University, located in Bellingham, where is he also an adjunct professor of Western’s Center for East Asian Studies. He is the author of more than 80 books and articles, including the forthcoming Historical Dictionary of The Mongol World Empire, to be published by Scarecrow Press in 2003. He specializes in the institutional and cultural history of the Mongolian Empire, the comparative history of human and veterinary medicine, modern Central Asia, and lexicography. He has been a translator of Mongolian since 1968, of Modern Icelandic since 1976, and of Kazakh and Uzbek since 1981. During the years 1968-1970 he researched and wrote the National Intelligence Survey Social Characteristics Volume for Mongolia while an employee of the US Bureau of the Census in Washington, D.C. and between 1981 and 1994 was a consultant for the Foreign Broadcast Information Service of the US Central Intelligence Agency and prepared bi-weekly summaries and interpretations of the Kazakh press. He is a current author-contributor for Jane’s Sentinel China and Northeast Asia, and Jane’s Sentinel Russia and the CIS, and recently served as an associated editor of the World Military Encyclopedia, edited By S. L. Sandler (ABC-CLIO, 2002)

Jacques Legrand (Mongolist)

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Jacques Legrand

Jacques Legrand (born 29 June 1946) is a French linguist and anthropologist. He specializes in Mongolian literature and history and the Mongolian language.




Legrand was born on 29 June 1946 in Rennes, Ille-et-Vilaine in western France.[1] From 1967 to 1968, he worked as a translator at the French embassies in Mongolia and China.[1] His return to France was followed closely by the establishment of the Mongolian language department at the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (then Centre Universitaire des Langues Orientales Vivantes) in 1970.[1] He has been Professor of Mongolian Language and Literature there since 1989.[1] He was an independent contractor and lecturer from 1971 to 1977, and a lecturer and senior lecturer from 1977 to 1989.

Jacques Legrand has been president of INALCO since March 2005 for a term of 4 years. This mandate was renewed in March 2009 until March 2013.[1]

From 1981 to 1989, he taught French as a Foreign Language at the University in Rouen.[1] From 1986 to 1989, in the same context, he taught the civilization of East Asia at the university, focusing primarily on the cultures and history of Mongolia, China and Japan.[1]

Aside from his contributions to understanding Mongol language and literature, Legrand has conducted important research into the history of the Mongols, and anthropology of Mongolian pastoralism.[2] Legrand has studied Mongol life from the dawn of man, noting that the Neolithic saw the practice of agriculture, fishing and breeding, whilst the Bronze Age initiated an evolution in the direction of a more and more exclusive pastoralism in the Mongolian plains, creating some marked paradoxes as it evolved. He noted that the nomadic empires of the Asian steppes are “based on an essential contradiction”, because although deriving from nomadic peoples’ need for organization, these peoples did not have the resources to support an actual state.[2]

He has published numerous publications under the auspices of UNESCO,[3] and the Institute of International Studies and Nomadic Civilizations in Ulaanbaatar, which he chairs.[1] In total he has made at least 70 publications as of 2009.[1]

He also collaborated on numerous books, both research and popular, and on the film Urga , by Nikita Mikhalkov (1991).

On December 20, 2006, he visited Tamkang University (TKU) to discuss the possibility of academic exchange with French Department of Tamkang University and later visited the Carrie Chang Fine Arts Center and Chueh-sheng Memorial Library.[4]


  • Jacques Legrand, Le choix mongol : de la féodalité au socialisme. Éditions sociales (1975), out of print
  • Jacques Legrand, L’administration dans la domination sino-mandchoue en Mongolie Qalq-a (Mongolian version of Lifan-yuan zeli 理藩院), Mémoires de l’Institut des hautes études chinoises, vol. II, Collège de France, (1976)
  • Jacques Legrand, La Mongolie (1976, coll. Que sais-je ?, out of print
  • Jacques Legrand, Tsegmidijn Sükhbaatar, Dictionnaire mongol-français, L’Asiathèque, (1992)
  • Jacques Legrand, Vents d’herbe et de feutre, Écrits et dits de Mongolie, Findakly, (1993)
  • Jacques Legrand, Parlons mongol, L’Harmattan (1997)
  • Jadwiga Karkucinska-Legrand, Jacques Legrand, Dictionnaire français-mongol, Monsudar, Ulaanbaatar, (2007)


Ferdinand Diedrich Lessing, Oriental Languages: Berkeley

Agassiz Professor of Oriental Languages and Literature, Emeritus

Ferdinand Diedrich Lessing was born on February 26, 1882, in Essen, Germany. Even as a young boy, he was animated by an insatiable curiosity about the varieties of human linguistic experience and manifested his remarkable talent as a polyglot. When barely  twenty, he directed his interests to the then exotic world of China and Inner Asia and was fortunate to come under the guidance of F. W. K. Müller, the most rigorous and erudite of the scholars grouped around the Berlin Ethnographical Museum and engaged in the multilingual research on the newly discovered monuments of Central Asia. In 1907 he went to China where he remained for some seventeen years vigorously pursuing linguistic and ethnographic studies while supporting himself and his now growing  family by teaching modern and ancient languages in various Chinese and Japanese colleges.

Ferdinand Lessing returned to Germany in 1925 to complete his doctorate and become Professor of Chinese at the Seminar für Orientalische Sprachen. Two years later he succeeded his esteemed teacher F. W. K. Müller as curator at the Museum. In the early thirties he participated in the Sino-Swedish Expedition under the leadership of the great Swedish explorer Sven Hedin in North China and Mongolia and  continued his independent or museum-sponsored researches through various trips as far as Tonkin. In 1935 he  was called to Berkeley to head the reorganized Department of Oriental Languages and to become the fourth scholar to occupy  the first-established of the endowed chairs at the University, the Agassiz Professorship of Oriental Languages and Literature. With the exception of several brief research trips abroad, he lived in Berkeley the rest of his life and was naturalized as  a United States citizen in 1946. The program of the department was greatly broadened under his chairmanship notably through  the inauguration of courses in Mongolian and Tibetan, the first offerings of systematic instruction in these languages in the United States. An indefatigable teacher, he guided the first steps of beginners or encouraged the probing researches of  graduate students, all with equal patience and diligence, in at least seven Oriental languages (Chinese, Japanese, Sanskrit,  Tibetan, Pali, Mongolian, and Manchu) for seventeen years, having been recalled to active duty three years beyond the normal date of retirement.

Early in his career, Professor Lessing became deeply interested in Buddhism and particularly in the Lamaistic form of that   faith, which was so instrumental in shaping the life of the inner borderlands of China, Mongolia, and Tibet. His researches  in that difficult field were especially stimulated by the opportunity that presented itself to him, while a member of the Hedin expedition, to study closely the Yung-hokung Cathedral in Peking, an outstanding monument of Lamaist history and Manchu  ecclesiastic policy. Lessing’s exploration of the cathedral’s wealth of iconographic material led to a chain of studies in the interrelation of Lamaist mythology, iconography, and ritual inaugurated by a solid tome Yung-ho-kung, Vol. 1, Stockholm 1942 (Publication 18 of the Sino-Swedish Expedition), and continued through a series of articles in several learned journals. Much of the meticulously documented research on this subject remained, however, in manuscript at the time   of his death.

In 1942, in conjunction with some World War II instruction undertaken at the University, he embarked upon a vast project which occupied him intermittently for eighteen years, the first scholarly Mongolian-English Dictionary. Professor Lessing was uniquely qualified to undertake this task not only by his thorough knowledge of the four pertinent  idioms involved in the compilation of the extensive lexicon, namely Mongolian, Tibetan, Sanskrit, and Chinese, but also by  his mastery of the Russian language, the chief vehicle of Western Mongolistics. The successful completion of this arduous work was cited as the most spectacular achievement of his long and distinguished career as an Orientalist at the time the University conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws at the 1960 Charter Day exercises. Though modest and self-effacing, he particularly prized that last honor among the several he received during the last part of his life.

He was the founder and longtime energetic executive secretary of the Colloquium Orientologicum. This active group of University and Bay Area scholars chiefly concerned with humanistic studies of Asia have held uninterruptedly regular meetings throughout the past twenty-five years for the discussion of research papers, scores of them subsequently published. Ferdinand Lessing’s  participation in the meetings was represented not only by ever faithful and lively attendance but also by numerous reports  on his current research.

A lifelong devotee and serious student of the music of J. S. Bach, he found relaxation from his philological studies in playing the organ, attending Bach recitals, and in the companionship of scholars and reminiscences of his travels and of the golden   era of European Orientalistics.

He died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Berkeley on December 31, 1961, fifty-seven days before his eightieth birthday, unaware of the plans made by his many students in America and in Europe to celebrate the occasion by a  Festschrift or Festnummer in his honor. He is survived by Margaret Jahn Lessing, whom he married in 1934, and in Germany, by his three daughters by   a previous marriage, and six grandchildren.


                           P. A. Boodberg                           Y. R. Chao                           M. C. Rogers

Joseph Fletcher, American historian of China and Central Asia

Joseph Fletcher (1934-1984) exerted a tremendous influence on the development of the fields of Chinese and Central Asian history, the scale of which is all the more noteworthy for the brevity of his academic career. Endowed with a remarkable aptitude for foreign languages, wide-ranging interests, and a passion for teaching, Fletcher spent nearly the entirety of his academic career at Harvard. He earned his A.B. from Harvard in 1957, was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows from 1962 to 1966, and received his Ph.D. from the Department of Far Eastern Languages in 1965. He then joined the faculty of Far Eastern Languages as an assistant professor in 1966 and was promoted to Professor of Chinese and Central Asian History in 1972. He remained in this position until his untimely death, from cancer, on June 14, 1984.

Fletcher’s studies of Central Asia and the Inner Asian frontiers of China were enabled and augmented by his linguistic talents. In addition to the languages of Western Europe, he also read Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Mongolian, and Manchu. He brought all of these languages to bear on his scholarship, which covered a wide range of subjects stretching from the forested coastlines of Manchuria to the mosques of the Middle East. His dissertation, completed under the tutelage of his mentor Francis Cleaves, was a close textual study of the seventeenth century Mongolian chronicle known as the Erdeniyin Erike. He worked extensively on problems related to the history of the Qing Empire, and was among the first to argue forcefully for the integration of Manchu sources into the historiography of China’s final dynasty. His contributions to the Cambridge History of China were widely acclaimed for demonstrating the importance of the Inner Asian frontier to the governing consciousness of the Qing rulers, and thereby balancing the earlier tendency to focus on coastal interactions with the West as the primary window through which to understand Qing foreign relations. In his later years he turned to the subject of Islam in China, working particularly on the connections between eighteenth century Chinese Islam and widely Islamic currents in Central Asia. Although he never finished a book, he published dozens of articles and prepared many more manuscripts that remained unpublished at the time of his death. Some of these were subsequently edited and released by his former colleagues and students.

A dedicated teacher, Fletcher taught Manchu and Mongolian, graduate seminars in Inner Asian history, and a popular general education course for undergraduates on the history of Mongol Empire. Despite being diagnosed with terminal cancer, he continued to teach through the final year of his life, and passed away less than a month after submitting grades for the spring semester. In 1983, he was awarded the Levinson Teaching Prize, an annual award given to the best teacher of undergraduates at Harvard University.