Secret History of the Mongols
Anonymous, Yuan Dynasty (1260-1368)
Partial imprint of 1368-1398 (Ming Dynasty)
18.2 x 24.5 cm


The original title of this Mongolian text translates as "Classified Record of the Mongols". An historical text documenting the reigns of Chinggis Khan and his son and successor Ogotai before the establishment of the Yuan dynasty, it is unofficial (and hence "secret", as commonly referred to in English). The earliest surviving edition is a Chinese translation of the Mongol phonetic text from the period of 1368 to 1398 (representing the first reign of the following native Ming dynasty).

The text was completed in 1240 and translated into Chinese in 1369, upon which it was reprinted and circulated. This is a partial imprint from that period. This text relating the conquests of Chinggis Khan and Ogotai is important on three accounts. First, it provides first-hand information about these two early Mongol rulers. Second, it provides important information written by a ruling ethnic group itself (rather than by Chinese historians), making it a more reliable source of information about them. Finally, its simple and unadorned manner of writing makes it an important literary work of the period. The section shown here describes the founding of the Mongolian Homeland state and the establishment of Chinggis as the leading Mongol khan.