Secret History

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Secret History


(full title, The Secret History of the Mongols), the earliest known Mongolian historical and literary work, written not earlier than 1240 by an unknown author. It includes a genealogy of the Bordzhigat clan; a biography of Genghis Khan, a descendant of this clan; and information on the reign of the khan Ogadai.

The Secret History contains fragments of ancient myths and epic poems, as well as folk legends. Approximately one-third of the work is in verse and consists of songs, admonitions and exhortations from fathers to sons, oaths or vows of allegiance made by vassals to their lords, speeches of ambassadors, and traditional expressions of goodwill and praise.

The Secret History was transcribed into ideograms in 1382 and was translated into Chinese; the original was lost. The Russian orientalist P. I. Kafarov published a Russian translation of the Secret History in 1866. Between 1935 and 1939, the German Mongolian scholar E. Haenisch reconstructed and published the original Mongolian text with a glossary. The Soviet scholar S. A. Kozin published the Secret History in 1941 with a glossary and Russian translation.


Kozin, S. A. Sokrovennoeskazanie. Moscow-Leningrad, 1941.
Mikhailov, G. I. Literaturnoe nasledstvo mongolov. Moscow, 1969.
Damdinsuren, Ts. Mongolyn nuuts tovchoo, 2nd ed. Ulan Bator, 1957.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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