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First Year Course on Genghis Khan (Chinggis Khaan)

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blood

bone

brother

dog

drink

eat

falcon

fire

heaven

horse

light

mother

water

wind

wolf

woman

 

 

Light

Illustration of Word

 

Mongolian forms:
Cyrillic
         Гэрэл
Classical
                   
Latin
             gerel

 

Literary Analysis

Understanding the word light is a key element in also understanding the ancient Mongolian text The Secret History of the Mongols. It arises most notably in reference to the young Chinggis Qahan and his wife, Borte. The phrase "fire in his eyes and light in his face" is one of the most repeated in the book, reflecting the usage of light to foretell importance and greatness, and also to signify intelligence.

Cultural Significance

Light would be a vital component in any nomadic society, and the Mongols, as a culture deeply connected to its environment, show a great respect for the concept. Light is an important measure of time in Mongolian culture, a important value that allows a continuation of their way of life.

Historical Significance

Historically, light has been a important component of warfare. Fire, as often mentioned in The Secret History, is used repeatedly as a war tactic to make the enemy think that there are more people in Chinggis Qahan's army by lighting more fires at night. It is also important as an associated image with the Mongols, as in the name 'The Golden Horde'.

 

Cultural Artifact

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