Tradition and Transformation of Legal Culture in the Mongol Empire

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Tradition and Transformation of Legal Culture in the Mongol Empire
Stream: History
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Paehwan Seol, Chonnam National University, South Korea (organizer, presenter)
Bettine Birge, University of Southern California, United States (chair, discussant)
N. Chogto, Inner Mongolia University, China (presenter)
Florence Hodous, Renmin University of China, Switzerland (presenter)
Marie Favereau, University of Paris Nanterre, France (presenter)


The Mongols brought the shock of transformation at the same time as destruction in Eurasia in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The huge integration and connection amid the diversities of races, languages and cultures was a new transition.
The unification of the empire did not necessarily mean a transparent society. The Mongols were perhaps almost “blind” to the Eurasian world, especially in the early period of the empire. Law (Mongolian čaɤaja) is an important window for expressing and reading social phenomena and their justice. The ways of governance and justice in the Mongol empire can be understood through its legal cultures.
Justice can be implemented through legislation and litigation. Legislation of the Mongols has been a hot topic for study in line with the debate over the reality and characters of the ǰasaq (yāsā or yasāq in Persian), the imperial legal code of Chinggis Qan (r. 1206-27). On the other hand, lawsuits and their procedural issues, where cases and disputes were settled and reconciled, have been relatively less attentive to researchers. The application and transformation of the ǰasaq or other imperial laws in the Mongol Khanates after Chinggis Qan has not been fully understood.
Our panel analyses the legal traditions of the Mongols and their changes under the dissimilar legal cultures of the different Khanates, and challenges some distortions of the Mongol laws.