The Earliest States of Eastern Europe
DG-2021, 510-523

Reflection of Mongolian Primary Sources of the 13th century in the Dynastic History "Yuan Shi" Based on the Material of Mongol Campaigns against Rus and Eastern Europe

R. P. Khrapachevsky

This study reports the results of a comparative analysis of the statements of the Chinese dynastic history “Yuan shi” (1370) and the Yuan texts of the 13th – beginning of the 14th centuries on the campaigns of the Mongols in Rus and in Eastern Europe during the first half of the 13th century. It provides evidence of the presence (along with specific examples) such Mongolian primary sources of the middle of the 13th century, the information of which was used by the authors of Yuan Shi for the biographies of a number of figures of the Mongol Empire who participated in these campaigns. To demonstrate this conclusion, various components of the “Yuan shi” source base were examined. One of its most important sources was the Yuan compendiums of official documents, such as “Jing-shi dadian” (1331) and other so-called “codes of regulations”. The significance of the enormous set of “Jing-shi dadian” for the authors of “Yuan shi” was that for this code the original texts of decrees, rescripts, and edicts of the kaans of the Mongol Empire, as well as the Yuan emperors, were translated from the Mongolian language into Chinese during 1310–1320s. Thus, the authors of “Yuan shi” reached the content of many original documents drawn up in the office of the Mongol Empire until the 1260s. In addition, the author used the texts of the Yuan historiographers and writers Wang Yun (1227–1304), Yao Sui (1238–1313) and Yan Fu (1236–1312), which have been preserved to this day. Based on those texts the author demonstrates the ways of transfer of the information from the track record forms ranks in Yuan time and the formulations of Mongolian acts and Yuan letters of honor of the titled dignitaries drawn up to the texts of Yuan authors and then into “Yuan shi”. Quotations are given from the texts of the above-mentioned Yuan authors, as well as from extant narratives and documents of the Mongol Empire and the Yuan Dynasty, which provide various details of the military campaigns of the Mongols in Rus and Eastern Europe. Many of them are first introduced into scientific circulation. Those quotations provide information on the activities of such historical persons as the Genghisides Batu, Ugedei, Guyuk and Mengu-kaan, chieftains Subedei, Tutuk and Shiri-gambu. They also contain important reports about Rus, Alans and Kipchaks, whom the Mongols encountered during these campaigns. This information covers the following issues: geography of the Mongol campaigns with the toponyms that the Mongols retained in their documents; the course of hostilities; details of the sieges of the cities by the Mongols and the means used for this; exact chronology of events of these campaigns etc. All these new data Yuan sources allow us to more accurately assess the reliability of the messages of this dynastic history regarding the campaigns of the Mongols in Rus and in Eastern Europe in the first half of the 13th century.

“Yuan-shi”, Batu, Ugedei, Mengu-kaan, Subedei, historians Yuan, Rus, Alans, Kipchaks

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