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The Mongol Conquest of Xi-Xia and Jin


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#16 tadamson

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 11:18 AM

would wanyan henyans battle before three peaked hill be considered a vicotry if the mongols had to retreat 30 miles.any idea of the total mongol casualties in invading jin .were did they get the manpower to attack kwarezerem empire if they were attacking jin at the same time.

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You have to read the timelines in the various sources.

After the defeat of the Naimen, the Mongol army was about 170,000 total. In the first invasion of Jin they sent about 130,000 Mongols plus 18,000 elite Quara Khitai and another 20,000 or so Uighir etc.

Almost immediately very large numbers of, nominally, Jin troops (mostly Khitan and other tribal origin) came across to fight alongside the Mongols.

After the first sucesses most Mongols were withdrawn to attack the Khwarizami (aided by 50,000 Khitan and 30,000 'Han' troops). only 30,000 Mongol trops were left in N China (plus some 100,000 Khitans). Though they continued the war.

After the First, devistating conquest of Khwarizam the whole army switched back to destroy the Hsi-Hsia. Then they all attacked the Jin....

Basically Mongol organisation was good enough to allow them to take out their enemies in turn. With each conquest significant numbers of defeated troops were sent off to aid the next campaign. Also the Mongols were greeted as liberators by large numbers in both CentralAsia and North China. Finaly the Jin attacks against the Song were not the brightest move whils Mongols were still attacking them.

rgds.
Tom..
rgds.

Tom..

#17 ale73p21

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Posted 10 August 2005 - 04:36 AM

Some reasons that have been suggested for the Jurchen weakness:

-
Three-peaked Hill, 1232:

Wanyan Heda learned of this plan and led 200,000 men to intercept Tolui. At Dengzhou 邓州, he set an ambush in a valley with several tens of thousands of cavalry hidden behind the crest of either mountain, but Tolui's spies alerted him and he kept his main force with the supply train, sending only a smaller force of light cavalry to skirt around the valley and attack the Jin troops from behind. Wanyan Heda saw that his plan had been foiled and prepared his troops for a Mongol assault. At Mount Yu 禹山, southwest of Dengzhou, the two armies met in a pitched battle. The Jin army had an advantage in numbers, and fought fiercely. The Mongols then withdrew from Mount Yu by about 30 li, and Tolui changed his strategy. Leaving a part of his force to keep Wanyan Heda occupied, he sent most of his men to strike northwards at Kaifeng in several dispersed contingents to avoid alerting Heda.

On the way from Dengzhou to Kaifeng, the Mongols easily took county after county, and burned all the supplies they captured so as to cut off Wanyan Heda's supply lines. Heda was forced to withdraw, and ran into the Mongols at Three-peaked Hill 三峰山 in Junzhou 均州. At this point, the Jin troops on the Yellow River were also diverted southwards to meet Tolui's attack, and the Mongol northern force under Khan Ogodei 窝阔台 seized this opportunity to cross the forzen river and join up with Tolui - even at this point, their combined strength was only about 50,000!

Wanyan Heda's Jin army still had more than 100,000 men after the battle at Mount Yu, and the Mongols adopted a strategy of exhausting the enemy. The Jin troops had had little rest all the way from Dengzhou, and had not eaten for three days because of the severing of their supply lines. Their morale was plummetting and their commanders were losing confidence. When they reached Three-peaked Hill, a snowstorm suddenly broke out, and it was so cold that the faces of the Jin troops went as white as corpses, and they could hardly march. Rather than attack them when they were desperate with their backs to the wall, the Mongols left them an escape route and then ambushed them when they let down their guard during the retreat. The Jin army collapsed without a fight, and the Mongols pursued the fleeing Jin troops relentlessly. Wanyan Heda was killed, and most of his commanders also lost their lives. After the Battle of Three-peaked Hill, Kaifeng was doomed and the Jin emperor soon abandoned the city and entered Hebei in a vain attempt to reestablish himself there. He was driven south again, and by this time Kaifeng had been taken by the Mongols so he established his new capital at Caizhou 蔡州 (Runan, in Henan). After half a year (in early 1234), the Song and Mongol allied forces besieged Caizhou, Wanyan Shouxu committed suicide, and the Jin dynasty was finally destroyed.

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I've found a dramatic tale of the last moments of Jin genrals in Jerehmiah Curtin "mongols".
Sorry for the names that are written according old translitteration criteria, the book is very old.
On seeing the enemy at the southern border of Kin Empire was terrified. At the council called by the Emperor to find means of defence the majority were in favour of placing the army in towns near the Nan king, where great stores must be gathered in quickly. The Mongols, worn out by ong marching, could not attack in the open and would be forced back by sure famine. This plan did not please the Kin emperor. He declared that his subjects had made every sacrifice for the army, he would not leave them then in that peril. He must defend Honan on the north and the south at its boundaries; that was his final decision.
In view of the Emperor wishes an army corps was formed north of the Hoang Ho, and another at Teng Chu on the southern border. This second army was composed of the forces of Wanien Khada (Wanyan Heda) and Yra buka who arrived at Teng Chu in 1232 during january, and were joined by Yang wu yan, Cheng ho Shang, and Wu shan, three Kin generals. While these generals were discussing wheter they were to fall on Tului at the crossing of the Han, or after he crossed it, they learned that he was on their side already. They marched immediately and discovered the enemy at the foot of Mount Yui in a chosen position. The Kin forces attacked and a sharp struggle followed. The Mongols were inferior in number and withdrew, but withdrew unmolested.
After some days Kin generals were informed that the enemy had reired to a forest. They resolved to return to Teng chu, subsist on theprovision of the city, and spare their own rations. They passed by mere chance near the forest; the Mongols sallied forth and attacked, but only feigned serious fighting. Meanwhile the Kin cavalry seized the Mongol baggage.
On reaching Teng Chu the Kin generals reported that they had won a great victory. Rejoicings at court were sincere, but very short in duration.

When Tului was advancing Ogodai was besieging Ho chung, or Pu Chiu, a strong city on the Hoang Ho, in Shan si near its southwestern corner. A pyramidal tower two hundred feet high, immense earth mounds , and tunnels were among the works used in attacking. Soon the towers and wooden works on the wall of the city were ruined. Besieged and besiegers had fought hand to hand fifteen days when the city was taken. 35 days had the place been invested. The governor Tsao Ho was captured arms in hand and put to death at direction of Ogodai. Bau Tse, the commandant, escaped by the river with three thousand men, and went to Nan king, where the Kin Emperor killed him.
Ogodai received now, throug a courier, an account from Tului of the Honan situation and crossed the Hoang Ho without waiting. he ordered Tului to meet him. On hearing of this movement by Ogodai, the kin Emperor gave orders to cut dikes near the capital, flood the country about it, and thus stop the enemy. 30000 men were sent to guard the great river, but when Kia Ku Shao, the commander, learned that Ogodai was already on the south side he retreated. In their march forward, the Mongols come on the men cutting dikes, attacked them, stopped their work and slew many thousands.
Tului divided his army into numerous detachments. With these he covered a great stretch of country, and watched the Kin army as it moved northward slowly. Harassed on their march, retarded by wind, rain, and snow, exhausted by marching and hunger, the Kin troops were met finally by a eunuch of the Emperor with an order to move to the capital speedily and succor it. They had hardly touched food for three days, and wer mortally weary. While preparing to encamp, they wer surrounded on a sudden by Ogodai and Tuli, who had just brought their forces toghether.
The kin generals charged on the Mongols and strove to cut through them. many chiefs fell while leading their warriors. Wanien Khada forced his way to Yiu Chiu. Tului laid siege to that city immediately; dug a moat round the walls, took the place and found Wanien Khada. When captured Wanien asked to be brought before Subotai. "Thou hast but a moment to live", remarked Subotai, " why wish to see me?". " Heaven, not chance gives us heroes. Now that i have seen thee (you), I close my eyes without sorrow", replied the Kin general.
When Subotai's fury had calmed somewhat Cheng ho Shang, who was also in the city, came out of his hiding and asked to be taken to the chief of the Mongols. " If i had perished in the rush of defeat" said he to Tului, " some men might declare me a traitor; now all will see how I die, and must know that I am honest". He would not submit, though the Mongols tried long to induce him to do so. To make the men kneel they chopped both his feet off, and split his mouth to the ears to force silence; but he ceased not to say in his keen ghastly torment that he would not befoul himself b treason. Struck by his fortitude and elated by kumis (their liquor distilled from mare's milk) the Mongols called out to him: "If thou (your) art ever recalled to this life, splendid warrior, be born in our company!".

Edited by ale73p21, 10 August 2005 - 04:39 AM.


#18 warlordgeneral

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Posted 01 September 2005 - 01:51 AM

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Edited by warlordgeneral, 31 March 2013 - 06:17 AM.


#19 tadamson

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Posted 01 September 2005 - 04:56 AM

Actual numbers are difficult to establish. The Mongol system wasn't strictly decimal. At the start of each campaign troops were devided into units of 10 and 100, each unit of 10 elected it's commander, the 10 commanders elected an overall commander of 100. Bove this specific individuals were assigned households (normaly 1,000 sometimes 2,000 3,000 5,000 or 10,000). From 1203 onwards there were permanent Turmen of 10,000 households set up (initially only 3 and only under trusted senior generals)

In the Secret History the description of Temuljin's "election" to Chingiss Khan details the division of households.

94 named indivduals get 1,000
1 gets 2,000
1 gets 3,000
1 gets 5,000
6 get 10,000
3 senior princes get undefined numbers.

Temuljin has 10,000 guards
Chagadai, Ugudai and Jochi get 4,000 guards each and specific tracts of land to raise troops from.

The Uighir dont technicaly submit until 1209 and the Quara Khitai (under strong Naiman influence) submit when Jebe moves in 1218 (though some 18,000 Khitans from the West are already with the main Mongol force in N China by this stage and the Mongols were seen as liberators by most Uighir and Khitans).

This gives a (very approximate count):

22,000 guards
about 170,000 households
18,000 Khitans
what troops could be raised in the new ulus (in 1219 the three sons provided and led a Turmen of troops each in the Khwarizami attack)
Troops raised by incorporation of Oriait and Kirghz (1206-1207)

I took 170,000 as a reasonable guess..
rgds.

Tom..

#20 Borjigin Ayurbarwada

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Posted 01 September 2005 - 03:50 PM

"22,000 guards
about 170,000 households
18,000 Khitans
what troops could be raised in the new ulus (in 1219 the three sons provided and led a Turmen of troops each in the Khwarizami attack)
Troops raised by incorporation of Oriait and Kirghz (1206-1207) "


If you add these number up, wouldn't it be 192,000 soldiers after the initial establishment? Where did you get 170,000 from?

Also we don't even know what is the the size of the senior princes' household, they could also have been 10,000. Then the number would be as large 194000. If they are 5000, then it would already be roughly 180,000 men in size.

That would have been 200,000 total. I also came across Judith's book, and if thats what these numbers amount to, she might be roughly correct(another one of my source of which I do not remember the title state 180,000 forces against the Jin). If we assume 20,000 guarding Monglia instead of just 2,000. The Uighur and Naiman allies would still make Genghis' invading force over 200,000 in size.

In fact this number seem much more compatible with earlier united Mongolian nomadic armies which roughly numbered between 300,000-500,000. Granted Mongols at this time still haven't controlled much of inner Mongolia, so their force might be somewhat smaller. But if the Turgis of the 8th century also have 200,000. I see no reason why Genghis' army would not have that much men.

Also don't forget the Xia participation in the war, they sent at least 50,000 against the western marches of the Jin continuously. (A political suicide I might add, since they got little success and their economy and man was severely damaged when they could use these against the Mongols)

#21 tadamson

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Posted 01 September 2005 - 06:09 PM

I forgot to add, In the Il-khanid armies, Turmen were classed as "half strength", "two thirds strength" or "full strength" according to how many troops they would go on campaign with. Averaging two thirds 170,000 households might supply 115,000, add guards and odds and ends....
150,000 to 200,000 is the range I'd assume.
rgds.

Tom..

#22 Samuka

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 11:29 PM

I forgot to add, In the Il-khanid armies, Turmen were classed as "half strength", "two thirds strength" or "full strength" according to how many troops they would go on campaign with. Averaging two thirds 170,000 households might supply 115,000, add guards and odds and ends....
150,000 to 200,000 is the range I'd assume.


The numbers listed are too high for the Mongols:

The Secret History lists 88 commanders of a 1000 with 95000 men in 1206. Plus 10000 gaurd.
The larger gaurd unit created later was formed out of these units and not in addition.
Rashid al-Din lists 129000 including many Chinese and Khitan units c.1227.
These are all nominal totals were the effective total can be lower.
A sensus in 1241 showed 97575 Mongols of fighting age (Yuan Shih 98).

#23 jubilee

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 12:49 AM

Why didn't the Mongols conquer India?

#24 大学语文12345

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 11:19 AM

:arrogant^: Mongol warriors conquered India in 14th century. Tamerlane The Great sucked New Dehi in where his Mongol Warrior butchered hundered thousands Indian soldiers. After campaign, Temur annexed India as his satellite dominance. But it didn't marked the beginning of Mongol reign in India. It happened in the mid of 14th century, after Babur, the descendant of Temur, conquered the most part of India. He built a great Empire"Mogul Empire.
Taj Mahal is not only the mark of India but also the witness of romantic story between Mongol prince and a beautiful spicy gal!

Why didn't the Mongols conquer India?



#25 RollingWave

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 01:39 AM

So it seems that we still don't know a whole lot about the Xi-Xia forces make up :(

question though, Tangut seem to be a offshoot / decendents of the Qiang people, I seem to recall from Tang and age of fragmentation reference that Qiang were more hillmen like in nature, relying less on horses (due to very steep hills and mountains) but fought more on foot.

Of course even if the reference was true that still doesn't apply to their decendents a few hundred years later.

How about the Liao and Jin troops. by the time the Jin invaded teh Song they were sporting an interesting mix of heavy and light cavalry, with the most famous perhaps being 拐子馬 (though more so in the fictional accounts by Yue Fei's grandson) and 鐵浮圖 (Iron Buddas?).

The question though, is that this makeup seems pretty similar to accounts of the Liao forces. so were the heavy cavs mostly there after they absorbed the Liao forces?

Another question is on the firelance. supposedly it's a explosive at the tip of a spear, but wouldn't the explosion generally break the spear or at least weaken it? and it's hard to imagine it being good for more than one round, and how to activate the gunpowder effect seems interesting, surely they're not lighting a fuse just before they charge ;)
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#26 Yun

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 07:02 AM

question though, Tangut seem to be a offshoot / decendents of the Qiang people, I seem to recall from Tang and age of fragmentation reference that Qiang were more hillmen like in nature, relying less on horses (due to very steep hills and mountains) but fought more on foot.


The Tangut military was very different from the Qiang of 800-900 years before, whether or not the Tanguts were related to the Qiang culturally or genetically. For one thing, Western Xia had a very strong heavy cavalry arm. The Jurchen Iron Pagodas 铁浮图 are well known, but the Tanguts had an equivalent cataphract type known as the Iron Sparrowhawks 铁鹞子: http://www.china10k....z06/53z0607.htm
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#27 RollingWave

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 12:56 AM

exellent site Yun.
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#28 Boleslaw I

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 04:33 AM

exellent site Yun.


Yun, are there any survival pottery figurines or drawings of 铁浮图. Would the heavy Mongol Cavalry later mirror Jin's armour?

I think this number for Jin is exaggerated, it is in primary sources? the Jin couldn't have mustered that many troops in the north alone in one battle. Not even the Han and Tang had that much in one battle against the mongolians.

BA, I remember you have discussed with ahxiang about Chinese population in the North. Could we use this figure to speculate the number of Jin troops?

Yuan Shi even specifically mentioned that the population of the North(Jin) was 873,781+over 200,000 + over 300,000 = Over 1,373,781 households


Edited by Boleslaw I, 13 August 2008 - 04:46 AM.

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#29 kingswonder

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 04:23 AM

"It isn't as bad as you say - the Jurchen did put up quite a fierce fight against the Mongols for about 13 years (1211 to 1234):"

this was not my point, thirteen years is a short time with the standard of an empire that had nearly all of northern China under its control.


It's 23 years! though it's not as long as more than 50 years defending of Song, it's more fierce.
I think the war of Jurchen against Mongol is one of the greatest and most stirring war in China history.
But this history was forgot or covered by most Chinese.
The beginning years of the war was a great humiliation to Jurchen, but when the last Emperor of Jin ascended to throne,
with his lead, the people of Jin,no matter Jurchen and Han, burst out with tremendous courage and vigor.
With the remaining territory of Henan and ShanXi, they fought another ten years.
Famous generals and heroes emgered, as Wanyan Yi, Wanyan Hada, Yang Woyan, Hou Xiaoshu, Guo Hama.
Wanyan Zhongde. (See their bios in History of Jin)

They kept on fighting, made Jin the hardest one to be conquered byMongols. Even after Mongols blast Central Asia and Eastern Europe, and Genhis Khan died, hadn't they been beaten down.
Genhis Khan began his conquest from Xixia, and end his conquest there. But his biggest goal of his life, conquest of Jin, had never been achieved when he was alive.

During the war, Jin suffered great toll
After the Jin was conqered, the population reduced to no more than 5 million from more than 50 million before.
Just at the seige of Nanking(then Kaifeng), about 800,000 corpses were buried in a single day who died of plague from Mongol.
The stones and woods of the gardens beginning from Northen Song, were all took off as materials of defence and weapons. This old capital vanished from then on.

When a reinforce from western finge hurried to the capital, they repoted they saw nothing on the whole long way, no living people at all.

At the tragic battle at Tri-peak Hill, most of the last gererals died in combat or comitted suicide.
In the last seige of County Cai, they still defended hopelessly for several months, at the last moment, the emperor of Jin committed suicide, and last 500 men followed him.

Edited by kingswonder, 04 January 2009 - 08:48 PM.


#30 Yun

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 04:48 AM

It's 23 years! though it's not as long as more than 50 years defending of Song, it's more fierce.


Sorry, it's my bad math as usual. ;)

BTW, I just found an interesting article about a Tangut song that subtly mentions Chinggis Khan, and which provides a clue that his name "Temujin" originally meant "Blacksmith Thunder":

Secrets of the Tangut Manuscripts

Dr Ksenia Kepping is one of a handful of Tangut scholars worldwide and, based in St. Petersburg, she has had the chance to work closely on the largest hoard of Tangut manuscripts, excavated in the early 20th century from a stupa outside the city walls of Kharakhoto and now held in the Institute of Oriental Studies, St. Petersburg branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (see IDP News 2). In March 2001 Dr Kepping came to London at the invitation of IDP and funded by the UK Heritage Lottery Fund to continue work on the smaller collection of manuscripts acquired from the same site by M. Aurel Stein and held in the British Library.

From her work on the documents Dr Kepping has found evidence to support several interesting and provocative theories— one involving the manner of Chinggis Khan's death. She gave a lecture on this at the Circle of Inner Asian Art and Archaeology in London in May and it will be published in a forthcoming CIAA book (see p. 7). Another document from the St. Petersburg collection contains, Dr Kepping argues, a reference to Chinghis Khan and her article about this is published below. Her work on the London collection has also been very productive and she plans to produce another piece shortly concerning a Buddhist poem.

Conservation work continues on the material at the British Library and IDP has started a programme of digitisation. Over 200 documents are now available (search database for 'Tangut' and 'digitised') and Dr Kepping's work on these along with transcriptions will be added next year. It is hoped that this will encourage a new generation of scholars to become interested in the Tanguts and their rich history and culture.

Chinggis Khan's Name Encrypted in a Tangut Song

Chinggis Khan's last campaign against the Tanguts (1226-7) proved to be fatal to both sides. Legend tells how the Great Khan met his death on Tangut territory in August 1227, and this same year is regarded as that of the total destruction of the Tangut state (982-1227) at the hands of the Mongols. The sources used to support this hypothesis, however, although written in several languages, do not include Tangut material. All Tangut historical records are believed to have been destroyed during the Mongolian invasion as there are no extant texts. This is why the mention of Chinggis Khan's name in one of the Tangut ritual songs (tentatively I date it to the beginning of the 14th century) at first seemed to me unbelievable.

The wood-block print (Tang.25, No 121) held in the Kozlov collection, St. Petersburg, contains five Tangut odes written partly in Tangut ritual language.1 On the verso are 30 or so Tangut ritual songs in cursive hand-writing, in parts almost illegible.

The colophon on the recto states that the woodblock was cut in 1185-6, to wit, in the reign of Renzong, Weiming Renxiao (r.1139-93), the golden age of the Tangut Empire. I would argue that the ritual songs on the verso are obviously written later and certainly not before the beginning of the 14th century since the song under discussion here mentions 'Phags-pa's death: this only took place in 1280.

The content of the printed odes shows that they have nothing to do with Buddhism (there is not a single word specifically from Buddhist vocabulary). In my opinion, the odes convey ancient Tangut ideas about their origins and shamanistic beliefs and were compiled long before the founding of the Tangut state (although they were only transcribed later).

In contrast, the ritual songs on the verso are permeated with Buddhist ideas. I believe they represent secret Tantric knowledge usually transmitted orally from teacher to pupil. Seemingly they were transcribed in an attempt to save this knowledge in the face of inevitable catastrophe (note the period that they were transcribed).

The wood-block print measures 25 x 16.5 cm and was originally bound in a butterfly format. The butterfly binding has been unstitched in modern times and each page inserted into a separate plastic envelope to aid conservation and access. Because of the 1960s restoration it is impossible to ascertain the original condition of the paper.2

The songs on the verso include one— 'The Sacred Might Overcomes All Neighbouring Peoples'— which mentions four historical figures: a person I failed to identify;3 Chinggis Khan; the Tangut heir (the son of the last but one Tangut emperor De-wang, r.1223-7); and 'Phags-pa.

The term 'sacred might' in the song's title certainly refers to the Tangut state. The term 'u I translate as 'all neighbouring peoples'. The dictionary The Sea of Characters (Kepping et.al. 1969, 1, p.296, no.1764) defines 'u as 'nine brothers 'u - the Khitans, Uighurs and others.' Obviously, the Tanguts considered the Mongols as one of the brothers 'u.4

The content of the song is fascinating. It is permeated with strong anti-Mongolian feelings and is clearly a call to arms. Though many decades had passed since the fall of their Empire, the Tanguts had not abandoned the idea of resistance. I believe that even today's reader will be deeply impressed by the despair expressed in the following lines by this anonymous Tangut poet - indubitably a Buddhist monk:

[I] am looking upward — there is only the blue Heaven, [I] complain to the Heaven — [but] the Heaven does not respond. [I] am looking downward — there is only the yellowish-brown5 Earth. [I] rely on the Earth — [but] the Earth does not protect me.

This song (altogether 438 characters) consists of 33 lines, 30 of them being full and three shortened. A full line has 14 characters (seven and seven) with a caesura after the fourth character in each seven-syllable phrase: _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ The demon-strangler from the underworld / Blacksmith Thunder appeared in a way one could not avoid him (lit. one could not avoid [him] / appeared).

Chinggis Khan's designation occupies half of the line and can be easily divided into two parts at the caesura — 'the demon-strangler from the underworld' (first four characters) and 'Blacksmith Thunder' (the following three characters).

Let us start with the three characters which I translate as 'Blacksmith Thunder'. The 'blacksmith' etymology of Temujin, the name given to Chinggis Khan at birth, is well known (Pelliot 1959 p.290) and there is little doubt that 'Blacksmith Thunder' stands in the song for Temujin. The first two syllables mean 'blacksmith' and the third seems to be his name (rather his nickname). The two syllables comprising the word for 'blacksmith' —The two syllables comprising the word for 'blacksmith'— belong, in my observation, to the ritual language vocabulary, the first character standing for 'gold'/'metal' (Kepping et.al. 1969, 2, p.87, no. 3980) and the second for 'master' (Li 1986, p. 330, no 27AI7). The corresponding common language word is'iron master' (literally 'iron master'), and is found, for example, in the Tangut Code (Kychanov 1989, p. 650).

It is noteworthy that mbin 'is homophonous with the word meaning 'membrum virile' (Kepping et. al. 1969, 2, p. 87, no. 3981). Thus, readers may understand this collocation as 'membrum virile + master'. Another homophone is 'high', 'lofty' (Kepping et. al. 1969, 2, p. 87, no. 3982), which is included into the Tangut indigenous name for their Empire 'The Great State of the White and Lofty' 'The Great State of the White and Lofty'(= The Great State of yab-yum, for details see Kepping 1994).

The third syllable is the character 'marsh''marsh', 'swamp' (Li 1986, p.471, no. 53B41), but I believe that this character stands here for its homophone meaning 'thunder' (Li 1986, p.471, no. 53B38 - mind that Li Fanwen writes lei sheng 'sound of thunder', to wit, thunder-clap). Thus both parts of Chinggis Khan's name in the song are conveyed in a cryptic way.

There is nothing strange in this. First, even after his death Chinggis Khan inspired fear and at the time of the compilation of the song the Mongols still ruled China. Secondly, this cyptology was in keeping with Tangut tradition. According to the definition given in one ritual song, the Tangut state was 'the state of ten thousand secrets' and the use of homophones was quite common (see Kepping 1994).

My colleague, Professor S.G.Kljashtornyj, has called my attention to the writings of the Franciscan friars who visited the Mongol court in the mid 13th century, since the 'blacksmith thunder' etymology of Chinggis Khan's name is confirmed in these writings. Rubruck (Willielmi de Rubruquis) who was at the Mongol court in the 1250's refers first (chapter 19) to Chinggis Khan as 'a certain workman Chinggis who used to steal animals...' (Malein 1911, p.94) and later (chapter 48) he states that Chinggis Khan was a blacksmith (Malein 1911, p.162). It is also noteworthy that the fifth chapter of Joannes de Plano di Carpini's account of his journey in the 1240s to the Mongols (Menestò 1989, p.357; Malein 1911, p.22) states that Chinggis Khan was killed by a thunder-clap.

Professor H. Franke (personal letter dated Oct. 28, 2000) kindly informed me about another European source which repeats this story: 'There exists another History of the Tartars, edited by Alf önnerfors, Hystoria Tartarorum C. de Bridia Monachi (Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1967), where we read in paragraph 21 (p.16): ... In English: "When they returned in their own country they found Cingis can slain by a thunder-clap."'

The idea of turning to the accounts of the Franciscan friars who visited the Mongol Empire proved to be rather fruitful. In his 48th chapter Rubruck relates the content of a letter to Louis IX, king of France, written by the Great Khan Mongke in June 1254 (Malein 1911, p.162). The letter should clearly be regarded as an official document and hence the name of Chinggis Khan — Demugin Hingei — mentioned in the first lines was seemingly his officially adopted name. It is interpreted by Rubruck as sonitus ferri, i.e. 'sound of iron'. According to Pelliot (1959, p.289), Rubruck adds the explanation: 'Ipsi vocant Chingis sonitum ferri, quia faber fuit' — 'They themselves call Chinggis "sound of iron" since he was a workman.'6 It is known that Rubruck constantly complained of his interpreter's inadequate translation (Malein 1911, pp. 83, 86, 92, 103, 115, 120, 122, 149, 155).7 I suppose that the idea which the Mongols wished to convey to the friar was that the noise which a blacksmith makes while working resembles the sound of thunder. Thus, the translation sonitus ferri is a corrupted 'thunder'/'thunder clap' resulting from misunderstanding between the Mongols and Rubruck. As to the song's statement that Chinggis Khan appeared in a way so that one could not avoid him, no doubt it is a hint at the rituals which the Tanguts used to perform to avoid disasters (Nevskij 1960, 1, p.52). Because of his wanton cruelty Chinggis Khan struck fear not only into his enemies but also into his compatriots and allies and this made him akin to thunderstorms — the most indiscrimate natural killer of the steppes.

Thus, the study of the sources written shortly after Chinggis Khan's death, such as the Tangut song and the accounts of the Franciscan friars, has shown that Chinggis Khan's name Temujin originally meant 'Blacksmith Thunder'. Later in the process of compiling Yuanshi (History of the Yuan dynasty: mid.14th c.), it was seemingly assumed that the 'blacksmith' etymology of Great Khan's name did not correspond to the elevated image required by the founder of the Yuan dynasty, the original cakravartin.8 The wish to ennoble Chinggis Khan's descent gave rise to a story of a more respectable provenance which was then introduced into circulation.

Notes

1 There are two separate layers in the Tangut vocabulary, namely common language and ritual (secret) language. The latter is used mainly in Tangut odes. Each word in the common language has its pair in the ritual language and, as a rule, the words with the same meaning in the common language and in the ritual language are completely different both in their appearance and phonetic value, e.g. common language mbe 'sun' corresponds to tie læe, 'sun' in the ritual language (for details see Kepping 1996).

2 Seemingly, while being restored the paper was pressed, stretched and steeped in glue made of flour or gelatine. The edges were strengthed with layers of modern paper. The paper now is dark grey in the middle and about 0.25 mm thick and 1.35 mm thick and dark yellow at the edges. (N.M. Brovenko, artist-restorer of the St. Petersburg Branch, Institute of Oriental Studies, personal communication).

3 Obviously, this unidentified person preceded Chinggis Khan chronologically. Since I am interested only in Chinggis Khan, the regrettable lack of information on the unidentified person does not affect the results of this study.

4 In Professor S.E.Yakhontov's (St. Petersburg University; personal communication) opinion, 'u is a general designation for non-Tangut peoples (perhaps with the exception of the Chinese and Tibetans) which corresponds to the Chinese term hu.

5 'Yellowish-brown' is my translation of the adjective phe which, I suppose, conveys the idea that the earth has withered and no longer bears fruit. This adjective is used mainly in Tangut proverbs and it seems to be a poetical epithet meaning fading and wilting. It is often contrasted with ngwe 'green', 'blue' (Chinese qing).

6 I would like to thank my colleague Dr.A.L.Khosroyev (St. Petersburg Branch, Institute of Oriental Studies) for the translation of this sentence from Latin.

7 See chapters 12, 15, 18, 24, 31, 33, 44, 46.

8 Professor H.Franke's expression (1981, p.309).

Bibliography

Franke 1981: Herbert Franke, 'Tibetans in Yuan China' in John Langlois Jr. (ed.), China under Mongol Rule, Princeton University Press.
Kepping 1994:Ksenia Kepping, 'The Name of the Tangut Empire', T'oung Pao, vol. LXXX, fasc.4-5, pp.357-76.
— 1996: 'Tangut Ritual Language', paper presented at the XXIX International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics, October 10-13, Leiden, the Netherlands.
Kepping et.al. 1969: Ksenia Kepping, Vsevolod Kolokolov, Evgenij Kychanov, Anatolij Terent'ev-Katanskij, More Pis'men. Faksimile tangutskih ksilografov. (The Sea of Characters. Facsimile of the Tangut wood-block prints), vol. 1—2, Nauka, Moscow.
Kychanov 1989: Evgenij Kychanov, Izmenennyj i zanovo utverzdennyj kodeks deviza carstvovanija Nebesnoe Procvetanie (1149—1169). Izdanie teksta, perevod s tangutskogo, issledovanie i primechanija, v 4h knigah, IV: Faksimile, perevod i primechanija (glavy 13-20) (The Revised and Newly Endorsed Code for the Designation of the Reign 'Celestial Prosperity' (1149-1169). The text, translation from the Tangut, the study with commentary in 4 volumes, IV: Facsimile, translation, commentary, chapters 13-20), Nauka, Moscow.
Li 1986: Li Fanwen, Tongyin yanjiu (A Study of Homophones), Ningxia renmin chubanshe, Yinchuan.
Malein 1911: Aleksandr Malein (tr.), Ioann de Plano di Karpini. Istoria Mongalov. Vil'gel'm de Rubruk. Puteshestvie v vostochnye strany. Vvedenie, perevod i primechania. (Ioann of Plano Carpini. The History of Mongols. William of Rubruck. A Journey to the Eastern Countries), Izdanie A. S. Suvorova, St. Petersburg.
Menestò 1989: Enrico Menestò (ed.), Giovanni di Plan di Carpini, Storia dei Mongoli. Edizione critica del testo Latino; Maria Cristiana Lungarotti (tr.), Paolo DaffinÀ (commentary), Centro Italiano di Studi Sull'allto Medioevo, Spoleto.
Nevskij 1960: Nikolaj Nevskij, Tangutskaja Filologija, 1—2 [Tangut Philology], Nauka, Moscow.
Pelliot 1959: Paul Pelliot, Notes on Marco Polo, I (Ouvrage posthume publié sous les auspices de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres et avec le concours du CNRS), Imprimerie Nationale, Librairie Adrien-Maisonneuve, Paris.

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