Kurultai (Құрылтай, Qurıltay; Qorıltay; Qurultay; Kurultay) is a political and military council of ancient Mongol and Turkic chiefs and khans. The root of the word "Kural," or "Khural" means "meeting" in the Mongolian language as in State Great Khural. Kurultai is a little older variation of the word compared to the Mongolian language as of today.

In the Mongol Empire

All Great Khans of the Mongol Empire, for example Genghis Khan and Ogedei Khan, were formally elected in a Kurultai; khans of subordinate Mongol states, such as the Golden Horde, were elected by a similar regional Kurultai. After the new khan has been elected, an elaborate enthronement procedure followed. Johann Schiltberger, a 15th-century German traveler, described the installation of a new Golden Horde khan as follows( quoted in ):
When they choose a king, they take him and seat him on white felt, and raise him in it three times. Then they lift him up and carry him round the tent, and seat him on a throne, and put a golden sword in his hand. Then he must be sworn as is the custom.
The ritual of carrying the new khan on the felt was known in a Turkic language as khan kutermiak (cognate to Turkish verb götürmek).

Russian princes and boyars, who often had to wait in Sarai for the Kurultai to elect a new khan, who would then re-issue their yarlyks (patents), would no doubt often witness this khan kutermiak rituals, which became increasingly more frequent and futile during the mid-14th century time of troubles in the Horde, giving rise to the Russian word "кутерьма" (kuter'ma), meaning "running around pointlessly".

Kurultai were imperial and tribal assemblies convened to determine, strategize and analyze military campaigns and assign individuals to leadership positions and titles. One such example is Genghis Khan was declared Khan in the 1206 kurultai. Most of the major military campaigns were first planned out at assemblies such as this and there were minor and less significant Kurultais under the Mongol Empire under political subordinate leaders and generals.

The kurultai, however, required the presence of the senior members of the tribes participating, who were also in charge militarily. Thus, the deaths of Ögedei and Möngke in 1241 and 1259, respectively, necessitated the withdrawal of Mongol leaders (and troops) from the outskirts of Vienna and Venice (in 1241) and from Syria (in 1259), hamstringing military operations against the Austrians and Mamluks that might otherwise have continued.

Modern usage

Various modern Turkic peoples use it in political or administrative sense, as a synonym for parliament, congress, conference, council, assembly, convention, gathering. Examples are: "World Qoroltay of Bashkirs", "Fourth Qurultay of Crimean Tatars", "National Kurultai of Kyrgyzstan". "Mongolian State Great Khural", "Buryatian People's Khural". parliament

Also spelled as: kurultay, qurultay, kuriltai, qoriltay.

See also


External links

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