- Mongolian forms:
Fire was used in Mongolian histories in many important ways.
In the Secret History, fire was often used as a point of reference
in the ger. Instead of saying that someone or something was in "the
middle of the ger", the "hearth-fire" was used to denote
this position. Also, instead of using the door of the ger, the "door-fire"
was often used instead to denote position. This showed that fire was always
present in ancient Mongolian society, and still holds importance in Mongolia
The most common description of young Temujin in the Secret
History, "He has light in his face, and fire in his eyes."
Fire thus held a deep cultural significance since the most prominent figure
in Mongolian history was described by fire. This meant that you could see
the power and destiny of Temujin far before he was the great leader he
became. Also, the "hearth-fire" was metaphorically
with family ties. To "extinguish ones hearth-fire" was to kill
either them or their family, and sometimes both. Fire was also used in
many ceremonies and held a spiritual meaning to ancient Mongolian society.
The historic significance of fire to ancient Mongolian society
can be seen from the humble steppe to the battlefields of the Mongolian
army. Genghis Khan used fire to his advantage in siege weapons, giving
him a distinct edge in warfare. He was able to attack his enemies even
when they stood behind fortified city walls, taking the Mongolian campaign
to a higher level. Fire was also a ever present facet of Mongolian society
whether you were a soldier or a herder, so fire held a great historical