Article (in Korean): Identifying Bias in Rashid al-Din’s Collected Histories -A Re-examination of Möngke Qa’an’s Succession-

TL;DR summary.

Rashid al-Din (or whoever was in charge of this part), screwed up really hard. Dead people suddenly are alive, the timeline makes little sense, general statements of qualification become “stats” of Möngke Qa’an and etc. Hey, but if you don’t pay too much attention, the screwed-up story makes Möngke look great…so… it works?

Official Summary.
This article re-examines the so-called Tolui Revolution, i. e. the transition of the Qa’an position from the descendants of Ögödei to Tolui, specifically around the events after the death of Güyuk (r. 1246~1248) to the succession of Möngke (r. 1251~1259). Previous studies have primarily focused on reconstructing the events around the succession of Möngke, mostly assuming that all of the relevant sources are mostly historically reliable sources and paying only limited attention to critically evaluating the reliability or bias of the various sources. Through this re-examination, the study identifies the bias within Rashid al-Din’s Collected Histories (Jāmi’ at-tavārīkh). This will be done through a close comparison of The History of the World Conqueror of Juvaynī and Rashid al-Din’s Collected Histories, and argue that the difference between the two sources has a significant underlying purpose, namely, the justification of the Möngke’s succession to the degree that it distorts important basic facts. Through this examination, I first identify how Rashid al-Din’s Collected Histories emphasized the justification of Möngke’s succession, while seemingly excluding any challenges from Batu Khan, and emphasizing how the descendants of Ögödei and Chaghatai opposed Möngke. Additionally, I identify multiple examples within the Collected Histories that are inconsistent and factually problematic or confusing. For example, a single person is recorded to have been executed, but later found to be alive; in another example, a descendant of Chaghatai is said to have been punished by Möngke, but later a general is dispatched to keep him in check; in another example, a person reported to be at the grand assembly is later recorded as arriving after the assembly was over. Coincidently (or not), these inconsistencies are only found in the Collected Histories but not in The History of the World Conqueror. Based on these examples, I argue the seemingly more readable account of Rashid al-Din is internally incoherent with multiple self-contradicting records, and how these inconsistencies serve to show the legitimacy of Möngke’s succession.


조원희. 「뭉케 카안 즉위 과정의 재검토를 통해서 보는 『集史』의 편향성」 『몽골학』, no. 67 (2021): 183–212. https://doi.org/10.17292/kams.2021..67.008.

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