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Valentyn Stetsyuk (Lviv, Ukraine)

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Anglo-Saxons in Genghis Khan's Fate


When developing the theme of the development of Siberia and Far East by the Anglo-Saxons the question arose about their fate during the existence of the world empire of Genghis Khan. To some extent, they should have been affected by the process of its occurrence simply because of their presence not far from its original location. Moreover, the creation of the Mongol ulus in the 12-13th centuries was not prepared by the previous history of the nomadic Mongol tribes. In addition, the Mongols were significantly inferior in quantitative terms to the neighboring peoples. According to various sources at the beginning of the 13th cent. about 700 thousand people lived in Mongolia, 80 million in China, in the Khorezm sultanate – about 20 million, in Eastern Europe – about 28 million (GUMILYOV L.N. 1977: 74). The short-term existence, role and significance of Mobgolian empire for the subsequent history are also very intriguing to historians:


The problem of the creation of a world empire by Genghis Khan still remains unresolved. Undoubtedly, “the question of Genghis Khan and his legacy requires an objective consideration”, but is it possible at the present level of our knowledge? It would seem that the answer should be affirmative: sources on the topic have been published and translated into European languages, most of them have a reference commentary attached, there are bibliographic summaries of so many works that the most diligent scientist cannot read. However, a single critical summary is missing. It is easy to refer to any source, but there is no certainty that the truth is written there, especially since the descriptions of the same events in different sources are very different from each other. This is especially true of the most important topic, the formation of the Mongolian state before Kurultai 1206 (GUMILYOV L.N. 1970: 455).


Since the time these lines were written, little has changed. As L.N. Gumilyov noted, the only sources used to reconstruct the events of the early history of the Mongolian state are the official version, which passed strict government censorship, and the work of the unknown author "The Secret History of the Mongols". Attitude to both sources is critical and therefore the interpretation of the events described in them is not devoid of conjectures and assumptions. However, other information may be used to solve this problem. In particular, such information was obtained by an empirical synthesis of research results based on the grapho-analytical method. The ancestral homeland of the Anglo-Saxons in Eastern Europe was found with its help, and the further outline of their history was woven according to toponymy and indirect evidence. In particular, the Anglo-Saxons played their role in the formation of the Russian state, but after the conflict with the princely government they had to migrate after the Urals and further eastwards. On the movement of the Anglo-Saxons across the expanses of Siberia to the Far East, for example, such place names say:


Verkhby and Nizhny Òàãèë on th Tagil River in Sverdlovsk Region – OE. tægel "tail".

Chetkarino, a Village in Pyshma town district of Sverdlovsk Region – OE. ciete "cabin, closet", carr "rock".

Vagina, a village in rural settlement Yurminskoye in Tyumen Region – OE. wagian "to move, shake".

Atrachi, a village on the shore of the lake of the same name in the Tyukalinsky district of the Omsk region. – OE. ātor, ætrig "poison", cio "jackdaw".

Verkh-Irmen, a village in the Ordynsky district of the Novosibirsk region – OE. iermen "grait, strong".

Salair, a town in the urban district of the town of Guryevsk in Kemerovo Region – OE. sala "sale, selling", iere, ōra "ore". In the town there is a mining and processing plant extracting and producing gold, silver, zinc, lead.


At right: Picture of an owl . Drawing from the site Babyblog.


Barnaul, the administrative center of the Altai Krai – OE. byrne "breastplate", ūle "owl". Plumage of an owl resembles chain mail (see the picture on the right). Obviously, the city made armor like "owl".

Tuim, a village in the Shirinsky district of Khakassia – OE. twinn "double, twin".

Bolshaya Irba, an urban settlement in the Kuraginsky district of the Krasnoyarski Krai – OE. ierfa, Ger. Erbe "heritage".

Gagul', a village in Ermakovski district of the Krajanoyarski Krai – OE. gāgul "throat, maw".

Orlik, a village, the administrative center of Okinsky district of Buryatia – OE. orlege "fight, war".

Gida, a village in the Dzhidinsky district of Buryatia – OE. giedd "singing, poem".


Selenga, a village on the bank of the river of the same name in Tarbagatay district of Buryatia – OE syle(n) "morass", - "district".


At left: The delta of the Selenga River


Ust'-Bryan', a village in Zaigraevsky district of Buryatia – OE. bryne "fire".

Kizhinga, a village, the administrative center of the Kizhinginsky district of Buryatia – OE. *cieging "calling" from ciegan "to call".

Dauria, the historical and geographical region within the modern Republic of Buryatia, the Trans-Baikal Krai and the Amur Region – OE. deor, Eng. deer.



Daursky Nature Reserve. Dzerans. Photo by E. Kokukhin .


Khilok, a town in the Trans-Baikal Krai – OE. *hillock from hill "hill", Eng. hillock.

Duldurga, a village in the Trans-Baikal Krai – OE. đylđ "suffer", wœrig "tiredness".

Chita, a city, the administrative center of the Trans-Baikal Krai – OE. ciete "cabin, closet".

Tynda, a town in the Amur Region. tind "top, point", tinde "tensioned".

Tygda, a village in the Magdagachi district of the Amur Region – OE. tigde "receiver, partner".


This strip of place names stretches along the border of the forest and steppe and, evidently, marks a convenient route for moving eastward. Russia's conquest of Siberia in the 17th cent occured surprisingly very quickly. After the campaign of Yermak Timofeyevich, only eleven years passed bur the city of Tomsk was laid almost two thousand kilometers from the Urals. Overcoming such a distance off-road would be absolutely impossible without the use of waterways, but the rivers flow here mainly in the meridional direction. The roads between Anglo-Saxon-based settlements have greatly simplified the moving and the settlements provided the possibility of rest and preparation of food. After 50 years the first jails of Transbaikalia were laid on the site of already existing settlements such as the cities Chita and Nerchinsk at present.




Anglo-Saxon pioneers had much more difficulties than Russian Cossacks had, and their advance to Baikal could last several centuries. In each newly created town, migrants left a small garrison, which eventually was dissolved among later Turkic population. Given the speed of movement, it can be assumed that the Anglo-Saxons could have appeared in Transbaikalia shortly before the wars of Genghis Khan, who had the name Temujin (Temuchin) at his birth. In this territory there is a clearly seen cluster of Anglo-Saxon place names, so the core of the Anglo-Saxon tribe was concentrated just here. It can be associated with local folk Merkit of Chinese sources. Of course, this was not the self-name of the new-comers. The Anglo-Saxons retained their European look, therefore they had appearance sharply differed from the local Mongoloids. An event described in "The Secret History of the Mongols" not only confirms this assumption, but also gives reason to speak about the Anglo-Saxon origin of Genghis Khan.

Genghis Khan's father, Yesügei Ba'atur, with the help of his brothers took away Hö'elün Üjin, the wife of a noble Merkit named Yeke Čiledü. The description of this episode was taken for analysis from a verbatim English translation of The History and it is spoken there that the abductors were "other [in countenance] than [all other] countenaces" (CLEAVES FRANCIS WOODMAN, 1982: 12). In free translations (retellingû), the word "other" is not taken into account and therefore they say about the facial expression of these persons, which allegedly betrayed their intention to kill Čiledü. If this expression is characterized as "other", then it should be indicated in comparison with whom exactly it is different, but there is no such indication. The facial expression can be different and does not always warn about the danger. On the contrary, a different countenance (appearance), as a constant feature, speaks of belonging to an alien, maybe hostile tribe and this is already dangerous. It is quite clear from the text that Hö'elün herself suggested that Čiledü save his life by flight, but first she asked if he had noticed another (unusual) countenance of the intruders. It was their appearance not facial expression that aroused her suspicion and was the reason for advice to her husband to flee. In addition, Yesügei with the first glance at Hö'elün also drew attention to her beauty other [than ordinary], that is unusual for the Mongols, and just this attracted him (ibid). Onon Urgunge even writes that "he saw a woman of unique colour and complexion" (ONON URGUNGE. 2001, 54). In this situation, Yesügei's facial expression could not be frightening. Just in this moment Hö'lün clearly discerned him, while Čiledü could not do this, for he was far away. All these circumstances of the episode indicate the difference between the Mongols and the Merkit in appearance.

The name of Yeke Čiledü can be modified OE. geoc "help, consolation" (compare English yoke from the paronym geoc "yoke") and cielde "well, spring" (similar cieldu is "cold"). Thus, the name Yeke Čiledü meant "source of solace". Until now, the name or, more often, Childe, Child is ordinary. Obviously, it was difficult for Mongols to pronounce the sound combination –ld – and therefore epenthesis –e- appeared in it. In the first part of the name of beautiful Hö'lün, one can see OE. heah, which had a meaning not only "tall, great" but also "beautiful, glorious". OE lean "present, gift" from the Gmc. *launa may be seen in the stem of the second part of her name. A small phonetic discrepancy can be explained by the influence of the Mongolian pronunciation. The second component of the name Üjin, present also in the name of Temüjin's Börte, was obviously used by the Mongols as a prefix to female names in the meaning of "lady" and can have both Mongolian and Chinese origin (ONON URGUNGE. 2001, 31). Hö'elün originated from the clan of Olqunu'ud which name may have OE. *eolhen from eolh "elk". At present this is a Mongolian tribe, therefore its original name could be distorted. A derivative from OE ōnettan "to anticipate" may be proposed as an option for the second component of the name. Then in general the name of the tribe can mean "originated from the elk".

The described episode played a big role in Genghis Khan' fate. It is possible that Hö'elün, when she was abducted, was already pregnant, since Genghis Khan had a blonde hair and blue eyes, but Rashid ad-Din wrote that even all descendants of Yesügei were "mostly blue-eyed and red" (Rashid ad Din, 49). The explanation of this fact remains a mysterious, as well as the meaning of the name Temüjin. It can be deciphered taking into account OE team "tribe, family", cyne "royal" or cynn "rank, progeny". However, this name was worn by a Tatar military commander who was captured by Yesügei at the time of the birth of his son, therefore the father allegedly called him so (CLEAVES FRANCIS WOODMAN, 1982, 14). It is doubtful that the Tatar had such a name, because it can not be deciphered by means of Turkic languages. In addition, Yesügei had a son named Temüge and a daughter Temülün with the same constituent part of the name team. Thus the second part of the name Theolün lean is the same as that of the mother with the meaning of "gift". All these names have a suffix -ü, which corresponds to OE -u, used to form adjectives from nouns. One might think that the mother gave the names to the children, using the words of her native language.

When Temüjin was nine years old, his father took him to another family with the intention of leaving there for a better acquaintance with the girl Börte with who the son could eventually marry. However, on the way back he was a guest at the feast of the Tatars, who, remembering a long-standing feud, poured slow poison into his drink. Three days later Yesügei died, but before the death he asked to bring his son back to the mother and this request was fulfilled.

For various reasons, relatives and servants abandoned the orphaned family to the mercy of fate and drove all their cattle. Moreover, fearing revenge of the growing Temüjin, they made several attempts to deprive him of his life. Need and persecution doomed the unhappy family to constant wandering "along the wild steppes of Transbaikalia". However, Hö'elün was a smart and strong-willed woman, she knew and found new ways to maintain the viability of the family, including the use of plant foods, which is completely not peculiar to the Mongols. Simultaneously, she brought up the boys to be courageous and enduring. The difficult childhood of Temüjin and his brothers are illustrated by dramatic:


Temüjin – the youthful Cenghiz Khan had many duties. The boys of the family must fish the steams they passed in their trek from summer to winter pastures. The horse herds were in their charge, and they were to ride afield after lost animals, and to search for new pasture lands. They watched skyline for raiders, and spent many a night in the snow without a fire. Of necessity, they learned to keep the saddle for several days at a time, and to go without cooked food for three or four days – sometimes without any food at all (LAMB HAROLD. 1927, 20-21).


Reached manhood in such conditions, Temüjin, despite poverty, decided to marry rich Börte and the marriage, indeed, took place. However, soon Merkits avaging for the abducted once Hö'elün attacked Temüjin's camp, but he could escape with the whole family, except for Börte. The Merkits, not catching Temucin, were satisfied that they captured Börte and gave her to a younger brother of the same Čiledü. The names of the three Merkit who participated in the abduction of Börte are known. Theυ can be deciphered using the Old English language. Consider them in order:

Toqto'a of Uduyit-Merkit – OE. tohte «battle, campaign». The name of the kin of Uduyit can be understood as "skillful hunters" (OE wāđ "pursuit, hunting" witt "mind, awarenessá consciousness").

Dayir-usun of the Uwas-Merkits – good match with the Old English personal name Dēire (HOLTHAUSEN F. 1974, 71), which is most likely derived from OE diere "dear, valuable, noble". The second part of the name usun should be referred to the name of the Wusun people, which had European appearance. The name of the kin of Uwas can mean "wolves", if you correlate it with the plural number of OE Wuffa, recorded in a personal name, which Holthausen refers to OE wulf "wolf" (ibid, 410).

Qa’atai-darmala of the Qa’at-Merkits – both in the name of the Merkit and in the name of the kin Qa’at there can be OE. heah "high, great" and āđ "oath". The second part of the name considt of two words OE darr "daring" and mæle "bowl".

Temüjin managed to free his wife with the help of the patron khan and a temporary twin brother named Jamuqa, but the firstborn of Juči, born by her, probably was not conceived by him. Nevertheless, Temüjin recognized his son, although the relationship between them was complicated until the earliest death of Joči. Obviously, Temujin still harbored evil on Merkit and further relations with them confirm this assumption.

Then a long period of wars followed, including with Merkits, and Jamuqa, after successes in which Temüjin was proclaimed a great khan, ruler of all the Mongols, and took the name Genghis Khan. The origin of the name is unclear. The most common version is based on Old Türk. teŋiz "sea", but the motivation for assigning such a name to a great khan in a country, where people have a vague idea of the sea, is in doubt. Taking into account the circumstances of Genghis Khan's birth, the more convincing is the origin of his name from the OE cyning "king" from which originates also Slavic kniaz' of the same meaning. The combination in one name of semantically close words meaning the supreme ruler makes it more significant like a "royal khan", therefore it is very possible. This assumption is all the more convincing, even though the name Temujin and Genghis Khan have the same constituent cyn.

Genghis Khan's success was due not only to his talent as a commander, but to organizational reforms in the army, which led to the complete abandonment of waging wars in traditional ways. Among the innovations of Genghis Khan was the iron discipline of his soldiers, thorough reconaissanse, organization of communications. His unchanged adviser and confidant all her life remained his mother in many ways determined his fate. From childhood she taught him that he "was obliged to return the family its former shine" (HARA-DAVAN ERENGEN. 1991: 25). As far the manner of Chenghis Khan's activity was related to his origin, it remains to be seen by scientists. First of all, it is necessary to study the history, language, customs of the Merkits.

The role of Merkits (Merkids), which we assume to be the Anglo-Saxons, is obvious in the fate of Genghis Khan and this ethnonym can be understood as well as the name of the country populated by them. Using the Old English language, it can be translated as "desert country" (OE mearc "border, boundary, border district", ieđ "deserted, uncultivated"). Apparently at the time when the Anglo-Saxons appeared in Transbaikalia, there was no sedentary population, and the terrain was suitable for farming. With the help of the Old English language, one can also decipher the ethnonym "Tatars", which originally sounded like "Tartars". The combination of OE teart "severe, strict, strong" and ar "honor, dignity, glory" is well suited to the name of the tribe. It is no accident that the taken in captivity by Yesyugey Tatar was named Temuchin.

Many European historians were confounded with the creation of a great empire from the divided and antagonized Mongolian tribes by Genghis Khan, and even by his personality. Here is one statement that characterizes the overall valuation of this problem, expressed in a rather artistic form:


This empire conjured of nothing by a barbarian, has mystified historians. The most recent history of his era compiled by learned persons in England admits that it is an inexplicable fact. A worthy savant pause to wonder as “the fateful personality of Genghiz Khan, which, at bottom we can no more account for the genius of Shakespeare (LAMB HAROLD. 1928: 14).


Genghis Khan was not only a genial commander, but also a great reformer and a talented administrator. The power that he built was not at all in the traditions of Eastern despotism, but " was governed on the strict basis of the law, obligatory for everyone, from the head of state and ending with the last citizen" (HARA-DAVAN ERENGEN. 1991: 63). It seems unbelievable that the creation of the empire took place by intuition and without the participation of evolutionary psychology, the carrier of which was the mother of Genghis Khan. This assumption is well confirmed by the fact that after the death of his closest descendants, all the results of his activities, which gave rise to several political and cultural processes in Asia and Europe, did not find continuation in Mongolia itself, and he himself turned into a legendary personality, the memories of which were transmitted mainly in an oral way:


Actually, only the "Secret History of the Mongols", written by an unknown author in 1240, has reached us from the Mongolian sources. Such valuable books in the Mongolian language as "Altan Debter" i.e. The golden book of the reign of Genghis Khan, "Yasa" – the code of Genghis Khan, ie. a collection of resolutions that represent the codification of Mongolian customary law, folk customs and views (it was preserved in the form of scraps from other writers) Bilik – sayings of Genghis Khan (ibid.,15)


Thus, an analysis of certain facts of Genghis Khan's life and activity convinces us that he was a completely foreign body in Mongolian society. At present, ancestors of Genghis Khan are searched by the study of the population genetics of the peoples of Asia and the analysis of remains of his possible immediate descendants. The results of these studies suggest that some Europeans were among the ancestors of Genghis Khan. There is no doubt that with time, interdisciplinary research will help to establish the ultimate truth.




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