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B.TserendorjD. SükhbaatarByambyn Rinchen.jpg
Sodnomyn Damdinbazar.jpgZanabazarSharav dondogdulam.jpg
YanjmaaGenghis KhanP.Genden
B. TserendorjD. SükhbaatarB. Rinchen
S. DamdinbazarZanabazarS. Dondogdulam
S. YanjmaaGenghis KhanP. Genden
Total population
(~0.16% of the world population)
Regions with significant populations
 China ~5,800,000[1]
 Mongolia ~2,700,000
 Russia ~1,000,000

Predominantly Mongolic languages;
also Chinese, Russian.


Tibetan Buddhism and Shamanism.[1][2]
Small Christian and Muslim groups exist.

Related ethnic groups

Khalkha, Daur, Buryats, Tuvans, Hazara, Dörbed, Kalmyks, Oirats, Chahar, Tümed, Moghols, Aimak, Ordos, Bayad, Dariganga, Uriankhai, Üzemchin, Zakhchin

The name Mongol (Mongolian: Monggol.svg Mongγol; Cyrillic script: About this sound Монгол Mongol) specifies one or several ethnic groups, now mainly located in Mongolia, China, and Russia.



A narrow definition includes the Mongols proper, which can be roughly divided into eastern and western Mongols. In a wider sense, the Mongol people includes all people who speak a Mongolic language, such as the Kalmyks of eastern Europe.

The name "Mongol", appeared first in 8th century records of the Chinese Tang dynasty as a tribe of Shiwei, but then only resurfaced in the 11th century during the rule of the Khitan. After the fall of Liao Dynasty in 1125, the Mongols became a leading steppe tribe. However, their wars with the Jin Dynasty and Tatars weakened them severely. In the 13th century, it grew into an umbrella term for a large group of Mongolic and Turkic tribes united under the rule of Genghis Khan under a same identity (mostly cultural).[3]


Based on Chinese historical texts the ancestry of the Mongol peoples can be traced back to the Donghu, a nomadic confederation occupying eastern Mongolia and Manchuria, who were defeated by Modu Shanyu of the Xiongnu after he became Emperor in 209 B.C. The identity of the Xiongnu is still debated today. Although some scholars maintain that they were proto-Mongols, the fact that Chinese histories trace certain Turkic tribes from the Xiongnu complicates the issue.[4] The Donghu, however, can be much more easily labeled proto-Mongol since the Chinese histories exclusively trace all the subsequent Mongolic tribes and kingdoms (mainly Xianbei peoples) from them, although some historical texts claim a mixed Xiongnu-Donghu ancestry for some tribes (e.g. in the case of the proto-Mongolic Khitan).[5]

Location of the Xianbei and other steppe nations in 300 AD.

Three prominent proto-Mongol groups split from the Xianbei, as recorded by the Chinese histories: the Rouran (claimed by some to be the Avars), the Khitan and the Shiwei (a sub-tribe called the "Shiwei Menggu" is held to be the origin of the Genghisid Mongols).[6] Their culture was basically nomadic, their religion Shamanism or Buddhism and their military strength formidable. There is still no direct evidence that the Rouran spoke a Mongolic language, although most scholars agree that they were proto-Mongolic.[7] The Khitan, however, had two scripts of their own and many distinctly Mongolic words are found in their half-deciphered writings that are usually found with a parallel Chinese text (for example, nair=sun, sair=moon, tau=five, jau=hundred, m.r=horse, im.a=goat, n.q=dog,, u.ul=winter, tau.l.a=rabbit, t.q.a=hen and m.g.o=snake).[8] There is generally no doubt regarding the Khitan being proto-Mongol.[9]

Asia in 500 AD, showing the Rouran Empire and its neighbors.

Geographically the Tuoba Xianbei ruled Inner Mongolia and northern China, the Rouran (Yujiulu Shelun was the first to use the title Khagan in 402) ruled Outer Mongolia, the Khitan were concentrated in Southern Manchuria north of Korea and the Shiwei were located to the north of the Khitan. These tribes and kingdoms were soon overshadowed by the rise of the Gok-Turks in 555, the Uyghurs in 745 and the Yenisei Kirghizs in 840. The Tuoba were eventually absorbed into China. The Rouran fled west from the Gok-Turks and either disappeared into obscurity or, as some say, invaded Europe as the Avars. The Khitan, who were practically independent after their separation from the proto-Mongol Kumo Xi in 388 A.D, continued as a minor power in Manchuria until one of them, Abaoji (872-926), established the Khitan Liao Dynasty (907-1125 A.D). The Khitan fled west after their defeat by the Tungusic Jurchens (later known as Manchus) and founded the Kara-Khitan or Western Liao dynasty (1125-1218 A.D) in eastern Kazakhstan. In 1218 Genghis Khan destroyed the Kara-Khitan Kingdom after which the Khitan passed into obscurity. The modern-day minority of Mongolic-speaking Daurs in China are their direct descendants based on DNA evidence.[10][11]

The Shiwei included a tribe called the Shiwei Menggu.[12] Bodonchir Munkhag (c. 970 A.D) the founder of the House of Borjigin and the ancestor of Genghis Khan is held to be descended from the Shiwei Menggu. The first historically recorded involvement of the Shiwei Mongols in foreign affairs is from the 1130s when there were reciprocally hostile relations between the successive khans of the Khamag Mongol confederation (Qaidu I, Khabul Khan and Ambaghai) and the emperors of the Jin dynasty, the details of which are mainly recorded in the Secret History of the Mongols.[citation needed]

With the expansion of the Mongol Empire, the Mongols settled almost all over Eurasia and carried on military campaigns from the Adriatic Sea to Java and from Japan to Palestine. Mongols simultaneously became Tsars of Russia, Padishahs of Persia, Emperors of China, Great Khans of Mongolia and one Mongol even became Sultan of Egypt (Al-Adil Kitbugha). With the breakup of the Empire, the dispersed Mongols quickly adopted the mostly Turkish cultures surrounding them and got assimilated, forming parts of Tatars (not confused with a tribe in ancient Mongolia), Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Yugurs and Moghuls; linguistic and cultural Persianization also began to be prominent in these territories. However, most of the Mongols returned to Mongolia, retaining their language and culture. After the fall of the Yuan Dynasty in 1368 the Mongols established their independent regime as Northern Yuan. However, the Oirads or Western Mongols began to challenge the Eastern Mongols under the Borjigin monarchs in the late 14th century.

Present-day Khalkha Mongols and Inner Mongolians are the most prominent of the remaining Eastern Mongols while the Kalmyks (formerly Oirats) in Europe are the main descendants of the Western Mongols. The Khalkha emerged during the reign of Dayan Khan (1464-1543) as one of the six tumens of the Eastern Mongols. They quickly became the dominant Mongol clan in Outer Mongolia.[13][14]


A Mongolian yurt

The specific origin of the Mongolic languages and associated tribes is unclear. Some researchers have proposed a link to languages like Tungusic and Turkic, which are often included alongside Mongolic in a hypothetical group called Altaic languages, but this grouping is controversial.

Physical characteristics

In terms of physical characteristics Mongolians exhibit a variety of features, with the typical Asian features being most noticeable. Contrary to preconceptions, flat noses are rather rare among Khalkha or Outer Mongolians. Instead, modestly long noses are far more common because of the colder weather, with the occasional aquiline nose appearing frequently as well. Height and leg length vary from very short to very tall. Hair is typically Asian: straight and coarse, with body hair minimal. Skin color is very light brown, but long exposure to the sun can make it a very dark brown. A certain number of Mongolians mostly on the western parts of the country can exhibit lighter features such as light to dark blond/brown hair, fairer skin, blue or green eyes, hairiness to varying degrees. Some have reddish-light brown hair and pink face particularly due to the cold weather. Epicanthic folds of the eyes exist on almost all Mongolians along with medium height, broader face, dark hair, high and pronounced cheekbones.

Geographic distribution

This map shows the boundary of 13th century Mongol Empire and location of today's Mongols in Mongolia, Russia, Central Asian States and China.

Today, people of Mongol origin live in Mongolia, China (Inner Mongolia), Russia, and a few other central Asian countries.

The differentiation between tribes and peoples (nationalities) is handled differently depending on the country. The Tumed, Chahar, Ordos, Bargut (or Barga), Buryats, Dörböd (Dörvöd, Dörbed), Torguud, Dariganga, Üzemchin (or Üzümchin), Bayid, Khoton, Myangad (Mingad), Zakhchin (Zakchin), Darkhad, and Oirats (or Öölds or Ölöts) are all counted as tribes of the Mongols.



The population of Mongolia consists of 92.6% Mongols, numbering approximately 2.7 million. From the middle ages to early modern period the Khalkha, Uriankhai and Buryats were counted as eastern Mongols while the Oirats, living mainly in the Altay region, belonged to the western Mongols.


The Chinese census of 2000 counted 5.8 million Mongols, according to the narrow definition above. It should be noted that 1992 census of China counted only 3.6 million Mongols. Most of them live in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, followed by Liaoning province. Small numbers can also be found in provinces near those two.

Other peoples speaking Mongolic languages are the Daur, Monguor, Dongxiang, Bonan, and parts of the Yugur. Those do not officially count as part of the Mongol nationality, but are recognized as nationalities of their own.


In Russia, the Buriats belong to the eastern Mongols. The western Mongols include the Oirats in the Russian Altay and the Kalmyks at the northern side of the Caspian Sea, where they make up 53.3% of the population of Russia's autonomous province of Kalmykia.[15]. The Tuva and the Altay people are culturally close to Mongols, but speak Turkic languages. Together they amount to roughly a million people.


See also


  1. ^ a b The Mongolian Ethnic Group ( June 21, 2005)
  2. ^ China Mongolian, Mongol Ethnic Minority, Mongols History, Food
  3. ^ "Mongolia: Ethnography of Mongolia". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2007-07-22.. 
  4. ^ John Man-Attila: the barbarian king who challenged Rome, p.38
  5. ^ Frances Wood-The Silk Road: two thousand years in the heart of Asia, p.48
  6. ^ University of California, Berkeley. Project on Linguistic Analysis-Journal of Chinese linguistics, p.154
  7. ^ Thomas Hoppe-Die ethnischen Gruppen Xinjiangs: Kulturunterschiede und interethnische, p.66
  8. ^ Frederick W. Mote-Imperial China 900-1800‎ - p.405
  9. ^ Herbert Franke, John King Fairbank, Denis Crispin Twitchett, Roderick MacFarquhar, Denis Twitchett, Albert Feuerwerker. vol.3-The Cambridge History of China, p.364
  10. ^ Uradyn Erden Bulag-The Mongols at China's edge: history and the politics of national unity‎, p.167
  11. ^ Ruofu Du, Vincent F. Yip-Ethnic groups in China‎, p.27
  12. ^ Paul Ratchnevsky, Thomas Nivison Haining-Genghis Khan: his life and legacy, p.7
  13. ^ Juha Janhunen-The Mongolic languages‎, p.177
  14. ^ Elizabeth E. Bacon-Obok: A Study of Social Structure in Eurasia, p.82
  15. ^ "Kalmyks". World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples. 2005. Retrieved 2008-05-18. 

External links

Theatrical poster
Directed by Sergei Bodrov
Produced by Sergei Selyanov
Sergei Bodrov
Anton Melnik
Written by Arif Aliyev
Sergei Bodrov
Starring Tadanobu Asano
Sun Honglei
Khulan Chuluun
Odnyam Odsuren
Music by Tuomas Kantelinen
Cinematography Sergey Trofimov
Rogier Stoffers
Editing by Valdís Óskarsdóttir
Zach Staenberg
Distributed by Picturehouse
Sony Pictures Releasing International (Malaysia)
Release date(s) September 20, 2007 (Russia)
June 6, 2008 (USA)
June 13, 2008 (UK)
May 7, 2009 (Malaysia)
Running time 125 min
Country Germany
Language Mongolian
Budget $20,000,000 (estimated)
Gross revenue $26,047,862[1]
Followed by The Great Khan

Mongol (Russian: Монгол) is a 2007 semi-historical film co-written, produced and directed by Sergei Bodrov based on the life of Temüjin, the young Genghis Khan. It is the first in a trilogy about Genghis Khan.[2] The world premiere took place on July 31, 2007.[3]

The film was an international co-production between companies in Germany, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia. Shooting took place, for the most part, in the People's Republic of China, principally Inner Mongolia (the Mongol autonomous region), and in Kazakhstan. Shooting began in September 2005 and finished in November 2006. The film was nominated for the 2007 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film as a submission from Kazakhstan.[4]

The second installment of the trilogy, provisionally titled The Great Khan, entered pre-production in 2008 and is planned for release in 2010.[5][6]



The movie is an epic story of the young Temüjin (Genghis Khan) and how events in his early life led him to become a legendary conqueror.

The film opens with Temüjin as a prisoner in the Tangut kingdom, and tells his earlier life through flashbacks, beginning with the nine-year-old boy being taken on a trip by his father, Esugei, to select a girl as his future wife. He meets Börte, who says she would like to be chosen and asserts she would make an excellent wife. His father, however, wishes him to choose a wife from the Merkit tribe. Temüjin convinces his father to allow him to choose Börte. He promises to return after five years to marry her.

On their way home, Temüjin's father is poisoned by an enemy tribe. As he lies dying, he tells Temüjin he is now khan. However one of his father's warriors, Targutai, orders the other tribesmen to loot the dead khan's camp, taking the horses and livestock. Targutai spares Temüjin's life, declaring a Mongol does not kill children.

After falling through the ice on a frozen lake, Temüjin is found lying down in the snow by a young boy called Jamukha. The two quickly become friends and perform a traditional ceremony declaring themselves blood brothers. Targutai, however, catches up with Temüjin and he is captured and locked in a cangue. Temüjin escapes late one night and continues to roam the countryside.

We do not see Temüjin again until 1186 where he is a young man. He once again is caught by Targutai, who wishes to kill him now that he is grown. Temüjin escapes again, this time taking one of the tribe's horses. He goes to find Börte and brings her back to his family. Later that night they are attacked by the Merkit tribe led by Chiledu, because Temüjin's father had years before stolen his wife from one of their tribesmen. While being chased on horseback, Temüjin is shot with an arrow. Börte whips the horse which Temüjin is on, telling it to go home. Börte is captured and told by the Merkit leader that she is now his. Temüjin returns to his family weakened but determined to get his wife back.

Temüjin goes to his childhood friend, Jamukha. Jamukha, now a khan himself, agrees to help him get his wife back and attack the Merkit tribe, though only after a year passes. The attack on the Merkit tribe is a success, and Temüjin finds Börte alive and Chiledu dead with his throat slit; however, just as he feared, Bortë has already been raped and left pregnant with Chiledu's son, who Temüjin takes as his own. Temüjin and his men leave early the next morning, and two of Jamukha's soldiers choose to join Temüjin because he gives more plunder to his warriors than Jamukha. Jamukha chases down Temüjin, but Temüjin refuses to send back Jamukha's warriors because a Mongol warrior is free to choose his lord, and Jamukha's warriors chose Temüjin. Jamukha warns him that his actions will lead to war.

Taichar, Jamukha's brother, is later killed while attempting to steal Temüjin's horses; Jamukha and Temüjin go to war. When their armies face off, Temüjin sends some of his men to protect the families, while those remaining continue to fight. Being outnumbered, the army is quickly over-run. Jamukha decides to make Temüjin a slave rather than kill him.

Temüjin is sold to a rich man from the Tangut kingdom despite the dire warning given to the man by a Buddhist monk acting as his advisor. While imprisoned the monk pleads Temüjin to save his monastery when he is free, and in exchange for delivering a bone to Borte indicating he is still alive, Temujin agrees. To get to Tangut, Börte becomes a merchant's concubine, bearing a daughter along the way. Once Börte arrives in Tangut, she abandons the merchant and pays the guard for the key to Temüjin's cage. Once freed, he gathers an army to unite all Mongols and follow some basic rules to live by.

Temüjin takes on and defeats Jamukha to unite the tribes. He then lets Jamukha leave alive. After his victory, Temüjin is named the khan of all Mongols: Genghis Khan.


In an interview with Zoom In Online in June 2008, co-writer/director Sergei Bodrov admits that it was difficult making the film because of the lack of written Mongol history. Mongolians kept and retold history orally. His inspiration for the film came from The Secret History of the Mongols, which tells of Temüjin's childhood and marriage to his wife. He admits there were some artistic liberties taken with filling in holes of the story, but he claims that as a writer, he knew the character of Genghis Khan so well that it was easy to imagine what he would have done.

Another particular challenge on the film was shooting such a low-budget epic (estimated at only around $20 million, as compared to other historical epics such as Braveheart, the budget of which was $53 million in 1995 dollars) in such desolate areas with a crew that comprised people from over 40 nationalities.[7]


Actor Role
Tadanobu Asano Temüjin
Sun Honglei Jamukha
Khulan Chuluun Börte, Temüjin's wife
Sun Ben Hou Monk
Ba Sen Esugei, Temüjin's father
Aliya Oelun, Temüjin's mother
Sai Xing Ga Chiledu, Oelun's first husband
Amadu Mamadakov Targutai
Ba Ren Taichar, Jamukha's brother
He Qi Dai-Sechen
Bao Di Todoen
Odnyam Odsuren Young Temüjin
Bayertsetseg Erdenebat Young Borte
Amarbold Tuvshinbayar Young Jamukha
You Er Sorgan-Shira
Zhang Jiong Tangut Garrison Chief


Mongol was released in the West in June 2008, and received very positive reviews from most film critics. The film review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes gave Mongol an 87 percent "Certified Fresh" approval rating.[8] At Metacritic, the film received a 74 out of 100 rating.[9] Roger Ebert gave the film a rating of three and a half out of four possible stars, observing in his review that Mongol "is all but overwhelming, putting to shame some of the recent historical epics from Hollywood".[10] His dictum was echoed by A.O. Scott of The New York Times who hailed Mongol as "a big, ponderous epic, its beautifully composed landscape shots punctuated by thundering hooves and bloody, slow-motion battle sequences".[11]

The Guardian's film critic, Peter Bradshaw, was disappointed by this "huge epic, weighed down with its own ostentatious importance" and its "digitalized Mongol hordes sweeping across plains on horseback".[12] USA Today said "While the historical accuracy may be dodgy, Mongol is a sweeping and quasi-mythical epic..."[13]

Chinese actor Sun Honglei's performance has been especially singled out for praise by many reviewers, such as the New York Daily News which describes: "Honglei Sun, who, as Jamukha, gives so many neck-cracks, guttural howls and conspiratorial smiles he's like a Chinese Marlon Brando."[14] The Globe and Mail states: "As an epic action movie, Mongol is satisfying enough. Think Braveheart. Think 300. Just don't think too much."[15]

The film appeared on several critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2008. Mike Russell of The Oregonian named it the 5th best film of 2008,[16] Lawrence Toppman of The Charlotte Observer named it the 8th best film of 2008,[16] and V.A. Musetto of the New York Post also named it the 8th best film of 2008.[16]



  • Golden Eagle Award for Best Costume Design: Karin Lohr, SFK
  • Golden Eagle Award for Best Sound Design: Stephan Konken
  • Nika Award for Best Film
  • Nika Award for Best Director: Sergei Bodrov
  • Nika Award for Best Cinematographer: Sergey Trofimov, R.G.C., Rogier Stoffers, NSC
  • Nika Award for Best Production Designer: Dashi Namdakov
  • Nika Award for Best Costume Designer - Karin Lohr, SFK
  • Nika Award for Best Sound - Stephan Konken
  • Asian Film Awards for Best Supporting Actor: Sun Hong-Lei


See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Mongols protest Khan project
  3. ^ (Russian)""Монгол"". Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  4. ^ Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (2008-01-22). "80th Academy Awards Nominations Announced". Press release. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  5. ^ Birchenough, Tom (14 May 2008). "Bodrov kicks off production unit". Variety Asia (Reed Business Information). Archived from the original on May 15, 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2010. 
  6. ^ Huggins, Caitlin (October 5, 2009). "Foreign cinema comes stateside". The Daily Gamecock. Retrieved 25 January 2010. 
  7. ^ On the Circuit: Mongol | Zoom In - News, Events, Training and Community for Creatives
  8. ^ Mongol Movie Reviews. Rottentomatoes
  9. ^ "Mongol (2008): Reviews.". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  10. ^ "Mongol (R)". Roger Ebert. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  11. ^ Scott, A.O. (June 6, 2008). "Forge a Unity of Purpose, Then Conquer the World". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  12. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (June 6, 2008). "Mongol (2008)". London: The Guardian.,,2283952,00.html. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  13. ^ Claudia Puig (2008-06-12). "'Mongol': A sweeping historical tale". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  14. ^ "Short takes: More movies out this week.". New York Daily News. 2008-06-05. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  15. ^ "Genghis Khan as a cuddly family man?" The Globe and Mail
  16. ^ a b c "Metacritic: 2008 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Retrieved January 11, 2009. [dead link]

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Mongol (film) article)

From Wikiquote

Mongol (Russian: Монгол) is a 2007 semi-historical film, directed by Sergei Bodrov, about the young Genghis Khan. It is planned to be the first in a trilogy about Temüjin's (Genghis Khan's) life. The world premiere took place on July 31, 2007 and the film was released in the United States in June 2008.


Do not scorn a weak cub; he may become a brutal tiger.

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also mongol




Romanisation of монгол.


Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:





  1. A person from Mongolia; a Mongolian.
  2. A member of any of the various Mongol ethnic groups living in The Mongolian People's Republic, the (former) USSR, Tibet and Nepal.
  3. (usually mongol) A person with Down's syndrome.
  4. A member of the nomadic people from the steppes of central Asia who invaded Europe in the 13th Century. The mongol Empire stretched from the Eastern seas of China to the gates of Vienna.
    • Mathew Paris Chron. Maj. iv.76ff, Translated from The journey of William Rubruck (Hakluyt Society, 2nd series, no.4; 1900) pp. xv-xvi.
      They are inhuman and beastly, rather monsters than men, thirsting for and drinking blood, tearing and devouring the flesh of dogs and men, dressed in ox-hides, armed with plates of iron short, stout, thickset, strong, invincible, indefatigable, their backs unprotected, their breasts covered with armour...They have one-edged swords and daggers and spare neither age, nor sex nor condition.

Related terms



  • 1992 Webster's New World Encyclopedia. Prentice Hall
  • 1970 R C H Davis A History of Medieval Europe. Longman SBN 582 48208 9. P404 et. seq.




Mongol m.

  1. Mongolian, Mongol


Related terms


Proper noun

Mongol m. (plural Mongols; feminine Mongole, plural Mongoles)

  1. Mongolian (person)


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