Törü: Ancient Turkic Law ‘Privatised’ by Chinggis Khan and His Descendants

in Inner Asia
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This article is devoted to törü—law of the ancient Turks, which later became one of the sources of medieval Mongol law and, eventually, integral to the legal system of the Mongol Empire ruled by Chinggis Khan and his descendants. The post-imperial Chinggisids used törü as a means to reinforce their legitimacy among their Turkic subjects as a ‘privatised’ right to interpret and even create törü regulations. At the same time their Mongolian neighbours used törü mostly as a political (rather than legal) category and did not obtain a monopoly for it, as törü in Mongolia was interpreted as an attribute of supreme power, even when it spread beyond the descendants of Chinggis Khan.

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