Bar Hebraeus’ Chronography Concerning the Laws which Chingiz Khan Made

Posted by on Sep 6, 2012 in Articles, Library | Comments Off on Bar Hebraeus’ Chronography Concerning the Laws which Chingiz Khan Made


Since the MONGOLS had neither literature nor writing, CHINGIZ KHAN commanded the scribes of the IGHURAYE (UIGURS), and they taught the children of the TATARS their books, and they wrote the Mongol language with Uigur letters, just as the EGYPTIANS [write their language] with Greek letters, and the PERSIANS [write their language] with Arabic letters. And he commanded also and they wrote down the following laws which he made.

I. When [the MONGOLS] have need to write any letter to rebels, and they must send an envoy, let them not threaten them with the great size of their army and their numbers, but let them say only, If ye will submit yourselves obediently ye shall find good treatment and rest, but if ye resist–as for us what do we know? [But] the everlasting God knoweth what will happen to you. And in such behaviour as this the MONGOLS’ confidence in the Lord showeth itself. And by that they have conquered and will conquer.

II. Let [the MONGOLS] magnify and pay honour to the modest, and the pure, and the righteous, and to the scribes, and wise men, to whatsoever people they may belong, and let them hate the wicked and the men of iniquity. And having seen very much modesty (or, chastity) and other habits of this kind among the Christian people, certainly the MONGOLS loved them greatly at the beginning of their kingdom, a time ago somewhat short. [But] their love hath turned to such intense hatred that they cannot even see them with their eyes approvingly, because they have all alike become Muslims, myriads of people and peoples.

III. [The MONGOLS] shall not give to their kings and nobles many laudatory names (or, titles) like the other nations, especially the followers of ISLAM. And to [the name of] him that sitteth upon the throne of the kingdom they sha11 only add one name, viz. ‘Khan’ or ‘Kan’. And his brothers and his kinsfolk shall call him by the first name given to him at his birth.

IV. When [the MONGOLS] are unoccupied after a war with enemies, they shall devote themselves to the chase. And they shall teach their sons how to hunt wild animals, so that they may be trained in fightings with them, and may acquire strength, and the power to endure fatigue, and be able to meet their enemies as they meet the wild and savage beasts in combat, and may not spare [themselves].

V. The fighting men are to be [chosen] from men who are twenty years old and upwards. There shall be a captain to every ten, and a captain to every hundred, and a captain to every thousand, and a captain to every ten thousand.

VI. The whole nation of the MONGOLS [412] shall help their kings every year with [gifts from] their flocks and herds, and their treasures, and their horses, and their sheep and their milk, and even woollen apparel.

VII. No man of any thousand, or hundred, or ten in which he hath been counted shall depart to another place; if he doth he shall be killed and also the head who received him.

VIII. From every two ten thousands, horses shall be stationed at the road-side as mounts for ambassadors.

IX. From the man who is dead and hath no heir, nothing shall be taken for the king, but his possessions shall be given to the man who ministered unto him. They have many other laws, but in order not to make overlong [our discourse], we have only mentioned a few of the whole collection.