Home Region:  Mongolia (Central and Northern Eurasia)

Early Mongols

EQ 2020  mn_mongol_early / MnMongE

According to Chinese records from the Tang dynasty (618-906), one of the nomadic Shiwei tribe was known as the Mengwu. This might be the earliest known reference to the Mongols. few centuries later, another Chinese document, this time dating to 1084, describes the "Menggu" as a remote tribe that paid tribute to the Khitan; they lived on a mixture of hunting and pastoralism, they were believed to wear fish skins, and their technology was largely made out of wood and bone because of the Khitans’ (and, subsequently, the Jurchens’) ban on the exportation of iron. With time, more clans joined the Mongols, such as the Jajirad and the Qonggirad. In the twelfth century, under Jurchen rule, the Mongols became one of the leading steppe tribes, and indeed they rebelled against the Jurchen. At first, the Mongols managed to score a number of victories, and for some time the Jurchen had no choice but to appease them through gifts such as cattle, grains, and silks. However, the Jurchen eventually gained the upper hand, capturing Mongol slaves through regular military expeditions between the 1160s and the 1190s, and forcing the Mongol rulers to pay frequent tribute. Chinggis Khan stopped the tributes in 1210. [1]
Population and political organization
At this time, the Mongols were divided into clans, and each clan belonged to either the Niru’un or the Dürlükin moiety. The Niru’un clans ruled the Dürlükin ones, though, due to traditional rules of exogamy, the Niru’un had to marry among the Dürlükin and vice versa. [2]
The overall population of Mongolia was 600,000-1,000,000. [3] Between 80,000 and 120,000 seems like a reasonable estimate for just the Mongols, who inhabited the region alongside similarly sized peoples, such as the Naimans, Kereids, Tatars, and Merkids.

[1]: (Atwood 2004, 389-390)

[2]: (Atwood 2004, 390-391)

[3]: (Kradin 2002)

General Variables
Identity and Location
Original Name:
Early Mongols  
Capital:
NO_VALUE_ON_WIKI  
Alternative Name:
Borgigins  
Tatars  
Kereids  
Naimans  
Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
1,206 CE  
Duration:
[1,000 CE ➜ 1,206 CE]  
Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
none  
alliance with [---]  
Succeeding Entity:
Mongol Empire  
Preceding Entity:
Khitan Empire  
Degree of Centralization:
quasi-polity  
Language
Linguistic Family:
Mongolic  
Turkic  
Language:
Mongolian  
Kereid  
Tatar  
Naimans  
Religion
Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
500 people  
Polity Territory:
[70,000 to 90,000] km2  
Polity Population:
[80,000 to 120,000] people  
Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
1  
Religious Level:
1  
Military Level:
5  
Administrative Level:
2  
Professions
Professional Soldier:
present  
Professional Priesthood:
present  
Professional Military Officer:
inferred present 1000 CE 1185 CE
present 1185 CE 1206 CE
Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
absent  
Full Time Bureaucrat:
absent  
Examination System:
unknown  
Law
Professional Lawyer:
absent  
Judge:
absent  
Formal Legal Code:
present  
Court:
absent  
Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
absent  
Irrigation System:
absent  
Food Storage Site:
absent  
Drinking Water Supply System:
absent  
Transport Infrastructure
Road:
absent  
Port:
absent  
Canal:
absent  
Bridge:
absent  
Special-purpose Sites
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
unknown  
Script:
present  
Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
absent  
Nonwritten Record:
absent  
Mnemonic Device:
absent  
Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
present  
Sacred Text:
absent  
Religious Literature:
absent  
Practical Literature:
absent  
Philosophy:
absent  
Lists Tables and Classification:
absent  
History:
absent  
Fiction:
absent  
Calendar:
absent  
Information / Money
Token:
absent  
Precious Metal:
absent  
Paper Currency:
absent  
Indigenous Coin:
absent  
Foreign Coin:
absent  
Article:
present  
Information / Postal System
Postal Station:
absent  
General Postal Service:
absent  
Courier:
absent  
Information / Measurement System
Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
  Wooden Palisade:
absent  
  Stone Walls Non Mortared:
absent  
  Stone Walls Mortared:
absent  
  Settlements in a Defensive Position:
unknown  
  Modern Fortification:
absent  
  Moat:
unknown  
  Fortified Camp:
present  
  Earth Rampart:
absent  
  Ditch:
inferred present  
  Complex Fortification:
absent  
Military use of Metals
  Steel:
absent  
  Iron:
present  
  Copper:
inferred present  
  Bronze:
inferred present  
Projectiles
  Tension Siege Engine:
absent  
  Sling Siege Engine:
absent  
  Sling:
absent  
  Self Bow:
present  
  Javelin:
absent  
  Handheld Firearm:
absent  
  Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent  
  Crossbow:
absent  
  Composite Bow:
present  
  Atlatl:
absent  
Handheld weapons
  War Club:
present  
  Sword:
present  
  Spear:
present  
  Polearm:
absent  
  Dagger:
present  
  Battle Axe:
present  
Animals used in warfare
  Horse:
present  
  Elephant:
absent  
  Donkey:
absent  
  Dog:
absent  
  Camel:
present  
Armor
  Wood Bark Etc:
absent  
  Shield:
present  
  Scaled Armor:
present  
  Plate Armor:
absent  
  Limb Protection:
absent  
  Leather Cloth:
present  
  Laminar Armor:
absent  
  Helmet:
present  
  Chainmail:
present  
  Breastplate:
present  
Naval technology
  Specialized Military Vessel:
absent  
  Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
absent  
  Merchant Ships Pressed Into Service:
absent  
Religion Tolerance Nothing coded yet.
Human Sacrifice Nothing coded yet.
Crisis Consequences Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions Nothing coded yet.

NGA Settlements:

Year Range Early Mongols (mn_mongol_early) was in:
 (1126 CE 1205 CE)   Orkhon Valley
Home NGA: Orkhon Valley

General Variables
Identity and Location

Capital:
NO_VALUE_ON_WIKI

None. Chiefs and their retinues constantly moved around, establishing temporary camps of a few dozen yurts (tents) (Kradin and Skrynnikova 2006).


Alternative Name:
Borgigins

Borgigins, Tatars, Kereids, Naimans, ...

Alternative Name:
Tatars

Borgigins, Tatars, Kereids, Naimans, ...

Alternative Name:
Kereids

Borgigins, Tatars, Kereids, Naimans, ...

Alternative Name:
Naimans

Borgigins, Tatars, Kereids, Naimans, ...


Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
1,206 CE

The date of Kurultai when Chinggiz created the Empire.


Duration:
[1,000 CE ➜ 1,206 CE]

By the starting date of 1000 CE we already have mentions of ethnic terms designating various tribal groups in Mongolia: Tatars, Naimans, Kereids, Mongols (Menggu in Chinese sources). These terms appeared at the very end of the first millennium CE. Citation: Taskin 1984, Rachewiltz 2004). The ending date is when Chinggiz formed the empire.


Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
none

During this period Mongolia was a quasi-polity inhabited by simple and complex chiefdoms that alternatively warred against each other and formed alliances (Togan 199?).

Suprapolity Relations:
alliance with [---]

During this period Mongolia was a quasi-polity inhabited by simple and complex chiefdoms that alternatively warred against each other and formed alliances (Togan 199?).




Degree of Centralization:
quasi-polity

A typical chief/paramount chief exerted strong control over the warband during the times of war, but between wars the chief’s authority became diffuse (reference needed).
PT: How do we code this? We need to bring our coding scheme in line with nomadic polities


Language

Language:
Mongolian

Mongolic family: Mongolian, Kereid, Tatar (these were probably dialects). Turkic family: Naimans

Language:
Kereid

Mongolic family: Mongolian, Kereid, Tatar (these were probably dialects). Turkic family: Naimans

Language:
Tatar

Mongolic family: Mongolian, Kereid, Tatar (these were probably dialects). Turkic family: Naimans

Language:
Naimans

Mongolic family: Mongolian, Kereid, Tatar (these were probably dialects). Turkic family: Naimans


Religion

Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
500 people

The mobile camp of the chief and his retinue could have more than 100 tents, which gives us a rough estimate of 500 (Kradin and Skrynnikova 2006).
Because this NGA during this period was a quasi-polity, the codes refer to a typical large polity, such as Naimans, Kereids, Tatars, Merkids, and Mongols.


Polity Territory:
[70,000 to 90,000] km2

uncoded Within the territory of Mongolia with norwestern part of Inner Mongolia and east Trans-Baikal region there were roughly 20 polities (chiefdoms and complex chiefdoms), according to Rashid al-Din (1952). The largest were Naimans, Kereids, Tatars, Merkids, and Mongols whose territories ranged from ?? - ?? km sq. The code reflects the territory size of an ’average’ large polity in this region (referring to those named above).
Inner Mongolia is shaped South West to North East. The territory’s description would make more sense if it included the North Eastern part of Inner Mongolia and East of Lake Baikal. Such an estimate would produce a territory of 1,000,000 km2 which is an average of 50,000 km2 each.
AD: Nikolay Kradin confirmed that the map produced by Edward was correct, so this means that his assessment of the territory including the North Eastern part of Inner Mongolia was right.
Under another variable Kradin says: "The rough scale of these chiefdoms was ?? km. A mounted messenger could cover this distance in 5-7 days." Orbis database says Roman horse could cover 56 km day [1] 50*6 is 300 km. Square-shaped polity would be 90,000 km2.
Because this NGA during this period was a quasi-polity, the codes refer to a typical large polity, such as Naimans, Kereids, Tatars, Merkids, and Mongols.

[1]: http://orbis.stanford.edu/


Polity Population:
[80,000 to 120,000] people

Typical number of inhabitants of a polity.
The overall population of Mongolia during this period was 600,000-1,000,000 (Kradin 2002). Chinggiz Khan had 8 (check) thousand warriors in the decisive battle against Jamucha, who had roughly the same size of his force. 16,000 x 5 (est. average Mongol ’tent’) = 80,000. Rounding this gives us an estimate of the population size of the larger polities in Mongolia (Rachewiltz 2004).
Because this NGA during this period was a quasi-polity, the codes refer to a typical large polity, such as Naimans, Kereids, Tatars, Merkids, and Mongols.
"Around 1260 the total nomadic population of Central and Inner Asia, all of which was included in the Mongol empire at that time, would have been about 4,250,000. Two fifths of this, or 1.7 million people, would have been found in Outer or Inner Mongolia; one fifth, or 850,000 people, in the Chaghatay realm of Transoxania, Semirechye and parts of Jungaria and the Tarim Basin; one-fifth in the Juchids’ domains in northern Central Asia and the North Caucasian and South Russian steppe; and the remaining fifth in the Middle East with Hulegu." [1]

[1]: (Wink 2002, 168) Wink, Andre. 2002. Al-Hind: The Slavic Kings and the Islamic conquest, 11th-13th centuries. BRILL.


Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
1

levels.
There were no permanent settlements. There are some indications that the Naiman territory possibly included permanent settlements. This is uncertain. Avarga site near Kerulen River consists of several tens of houses protected on one side by an earthen rampart has been proposed by some to be a permanent settlement, but it is not universally accepted (Shiraishi 2006).


Religious Level:
1

levels.(1) Shamans


Military Level:
5

levels. According to our current understanding, there was no decimal system.(1) Khan (leader of the ulus = in thhis case, the complex chiefdom)
(2) Chief of ulus (subordinate chiefdom; ’ulus’ can refer to both a simple and complex chiefdoms)(3) Leader of irgen (’tribe’)(4) Leader of the obok (clan)(5) Ordinary nomad warrior. (Rachewiltz 2004, Kradin and Skrynnikova 2006)


Administrative Level:
2

levels.
(1) Ayl (group of tents)
(2) clan


Professions
Professional Soldier:
present

Nukers (members of the chief’s military retinue) were full-time military specialists.


Professional Priesthood:
present

Samans (shamans) were full-time religious specialists.
R 2004, K+S 2006


Professional Military Officer:
present
1000 CE 1185 CE

After 1185 Chinggiz established specialized military units, including heavy cavalry, scouts, etc. Officers of these specialized units (around two dozens of them) were probably full-time specialists.
"Chingggis did not have professional military officers before 1185, but other khans (heads of chiefdoms) had professional military officers. This was bodyguards - nukers (in Mongolian)." [1]
however, forces in nomadic armies usually unpaid other than in loot.

[1]: (Kradin 2016, personal communication)

Professional Military Officer:
present
1185 CE 1206 CE

After 1185 Chinggiz established specialized military units, including heavy cavalry, scouts, etc. Officers of these specialized units (around two dozens of them) were probably full-time specialists.
"Chingggis did not have professional military officers before 1185, but other khans (heads of chiefdoms) had professional military officers. This was bodyguards - nukers (in Mongolian)." [1]
however, forces in nomadic armies usually unpaid other than in loot.

[1]: (Kradin 2016, personal communication)


Bureaucracy Characteristics

Full Time Bureaucrat:
absent

R 2004, K+S 2006



Law

Chiefs were the judges.


Formal Legal Code:
present

Töro was unwritten traditional legal code. R 2004, K+S 2006.



Special-purpose Sites
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
unknown

There could be diplomatic letters perhaps with the Uyghurs. There could be individuals who knew Chinese writing.




Nonwritten Record:
absent

There could be diplomatic letters perhaps with the Uyghurs. There could be individuals who knew Chinese writing.


Mnemonic Device:
absent

Mongols did not have writing. However, the Naimans used Uyghur script. (Note: we need a category for syllabaries)


Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
present

In China, Li Ye published Ceyuan haijing, a guide to solving geometry problems with algebra in 1248 CE. [1]

[1]: (Martzloff 1997, 143) Jean-Claude Martzloff. 1997. A History of Chinese Mathematics. Translated by Stephen S. Wilson. Berlin: Springer.



Religious Literature:
absent

This religious literature is in addition to the sacred texts. For example, providing commentary on the sacred texts. Include prophecies here.


Practical Literature:
absent

For example manuals on agriculture, military, cooking, etc







Information / Money

(example: cowries)


Precious Metal:
absent

non-coined silver, gold, platinum





Article:
present

livestock, silk and probably other prestige goods


Information / Postal System
Postal Station:
absent

Specialized buildings exclusively devoted to the postal service.


General Postal Service:
absent

This refers to a postal service that not only serves the ruler’s needs, but carries mail for private citizens.


Courier:
absent

Full-time professional couriers.


Information / Measurement System

Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications






Fortified Camp:
present

Kuren: Carts arranged in a circle defending the camp. [1]

[1]: (Timothy May 2007)



Ditch:
present

Qarshi, built by Kebek of the Chagatai Khaganate is an example "typical of Mongolian and south Siberian cities from the Xiongnu period onwards."; it was "bounded by a strong wall, 4.5 m thick, surrounded by a deep defensive ditch, 8-10 m wide and 3.5-4 m deep, and had four gates. The original layout of the city (before Timurid additions) included one central fortress/palace surrounded by an open spaced designed for the erection of tents." [1]

[1]: (Biran 2013, 271-272) Michal Biran. Rulers and City Life in Mongal Central Asia (1220-1370) David Durand-Guedy. Turko-Mongol Rulers, Cities and City Life. BRILL. Leiden.


Complex Fortification:
absent

When there are more than one concentric ring of walls.


Military use of Metals

[1]

[1]: (Timothy May 2007)


Copper:
present

long been in use in the region. Majemir culture from 900 BCE is an example of one of the first iron-using cultures in the Altai region. [1] and by 300 BCE in the Ordos region of Mongolia iron was becoming much more frequently used for weapons and horse fittings. [2]

[1]: (Baumer 2012) Baumer, Christoph. 2012. The History of Central Asia: The Age of the Steppe Warriors. I.B.Tauris. London.

[2]: (Di Cosmo 2002, 84) Nicola Di Cosmo. 2002. Ancient China and Its Enemies: The Rise of Nomadic Power in East Asian History. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.


Bronze:
present

long been in use in the region. Majemir culture from 900 BCE is an example of one of the first iron-using cultures in the Altai region. [1] and by 300 BCE in the Ordos region of Mongolia iron was becoming much more frequently used for weapons and horse fittings. [2]

[1]: (Baumer 2012) Baumer, Christoph. 2012. The History of Central Asia: The Age of the Steppe Warriors. I.B.Tauris. London.

[2]: (Di Cosmo 2002, 84) Nicola Di Cosmo. 2002. Ancient China and Its Enemies: The Rise of Nomadic Power in East Asian History. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.


Projectiles



Self Bow:
present

[1]

[1]: (Timothy May 2007)



Handheld Firearm:
absent

"Firearms appeared in Siberia and Mongolia in the 17th century in the form of flintlock rifles. Flintlocks were the only firearms used in most areas until the turn of the 20th century." [1]

[1]: (Atwood 2004, 229)


Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent

first mentioned later for Genghis Khan



Composite Bow:
present

[1]

[1]: (Timothy May 2007)



Handheld weapons
War Club:
present

[1]

[1]: (Timothy May 2007)


[1]

[1]: (Timothy May 2007)


[1]

[1]: (Timothy May 2007)



Dagger:
present

[1]

[1]: (Timothy May 2007)


Battle Axe:
present

[1]

[1]: (Timothy May 2007)


Animals used in warfare

[1]

[1]: (Timothy May 2007)





Bactrian camels could be used for transport [1]

[1]: (Timothy May 2007)


Naval technology
Specialized Military Vessel:
absent

(such as galleys and sailing ships)





Human Sacrifice Data
Human Sacrifice is the deliberate and ritualized killing of a person to please or placate supernatural entities (including gods, spirits, and ancestors) or gain other supernatural benefits.
- Nothing coded yet.
- Nothing coded yet.