The Secret History of the Mongols
(re-transcribed from . The 卜 is not included in the Chinese-transcribed titles of the copies known today, but this may be the result of a corruption. William Hung, The Transmission of the Book Known as "The Secret History of the Mongols", Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies
, Vol. 14, No. 3/4 (Dec 1951), p.440) is the oldest surviving Mongolian-language
literary work. It was written for the Mongol
royal family some time after Genghis Khan
's death in AD 1227, by an anonymous
author and probably originally in the Uyghur script
, though the surviving texts all derive from transcription
into Chinese characters
dating from the end of the 14th century.
The Secret History
is regarded as the single significant native Mongolian
account of Genghis Khan. Linguistically, it provides the richest source of pre-classical Mongolian and Middle Mongolian
.Igor de Rachewiltz, The Secret History of the Mongols: A Mongolian Epic Chronicle of the Thirteenth Century
(Brill: Leiden, The Netherlands) at xxvi. The Secret History
is regarded as a piece of classic literature in both Mongolia
and the rest of the world.
Like many texts during the period, it contains elements of folklore and poetry and is not as factual as some historians
would have wanted. It is also at times inconsistent. However, it is also nearly devoid of magic or supernatural influence, unlike similar texts from other cultures.
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