Басты бет » Материалдар » УДК 930.2:93(574):316.3 The concept of "nomadic empire" in modern history

Maydanali Zere, Associate Professor of al-Farabi Kazakh National University, candidate of historical sciences

УДК 930.2:93(574):316.3 The concept of "nomadic empire" in modern history

«edu.e-history.kz» электрондық ғылыми журналы № 2 (10)

Тегтер: the, nomads, the, scientific, Empire, paradigm, structure, power, management.
Main conceptual positions and methodological paradigms to problem "leading a nomadic life empire" are considered in the article. There are considered different approaches and methods of the study of the shaping and operating the political system "leading a nomadic life empire". The onward development to modern history thought in study social-political sphere of the nomadic formation is shown. Analysis of the modern historiography on the continuity and transformation of the political organization of nomadic societies has shown that special research in respect of the institutions of power and dominion, which form a special sphere of human activity and, accordingly, a particular area of culture and social structure as a whole. Debate and conflicting conclusions of modern historical science reflect the level of theoretical and methodological approaches and show lack of logical tools for understanding the essence and nature of social and political change in nomadic societies.The article deals with different conceptual positions and approaches to the problem concerning the formation of social-political institutes of the nomadic society and presents historiographical review of the modern historical science.

At the present stage of development of historical science and its theories as historical knowledge there is an urgent need for the formulation and analysis of the various conceptual problems. Conceptual conclusion of such political entity as "nomadic empire" is one of the difficult to understand and has different level of generalization and coverage of historical reality. Changing of paradigms identified different methodological approaches and principles in studying of the problem of the existence and functioning of the "nomadic empire". The modern history identifies the elements in early-state imperial structures of nomads. The progress in the study of nomadic nationhood is impossible without worldview knowledge of the past social reality and integrated approach to the social and historical knowledge.

There were identified two approaches to the assessment of nomadic empires in the debates of the last decade. The nomadic empires were supercomplex chiefdoms as it was stated in most history (N. Kradin, V. Trepavlov, T. Skrynnikova, D. Bondarenko, V. Korotayev).These formations were characterized as "tribal confederations" by such researchers as T. Skrynnikova, N. Kradin. However, a number of researchers as T. Barfield, S.Vasyutin, A. Khazanov prefer to talk about the relationship with the most ambitious political entities of nomads (as Hsiung-nu state, Turkic kaganates, Mongol Empire) as the previous forms of states [1,p.56.].Research paradigms in their comparative analysis determine the similarities in the description of the specific forms of power among the nomads, but emphasize it differently. Some of them are based on the assessment of governance structures by nomads directly, others emphasize the essence of the entire military-hierarchical organization empires in cowing dependent peoples and the removal of their surplus product.

  One of the modern parties to the conceptual provisions "nomadic empire" is the need to develop criteria that would clearly define its nature and content. Research paradigm of N.N. Kradin considers the essence of the object and determines the two essential characteristics of "nomadic empire": 1. large areas, 2. availability of dependent or colonial possessions. Describing the nomadic empire as a nomadic society, organized on military hierarchical principle, to a relatively large space and operate the surrounding areas through the external forms of exploitation (theft, war indemnity, extorting "gifts" are not equivalent trade, tributary etc.), the researcher identifies the following signs of nomadic empires: multistage hierarchical nature of social organization, the dual or triad principle of the administrative division of the empire, the military-hierarchical social organization, coachman service as a specific way of organizing administrative infrastructure and specific system of inheritance of power, etc. Subsequently N.N.Kradin models the structure of power in nomadic entities and outlines three levels: 1. ruler of the nomadic empire and its rate 2. imperial governors, appointed to manage the tribes formed part of the empire, 3. local tribal leaders [2,p.22.].

  Modern historians focus on one more problem of the "nomadic empires" as the structure of government. T. Barfield considers that the nomadic empire is the tribal "imperial confederation". Analyzing the components of these nomadic formations, he defines them as autocratic and statelike in foreign and military policy, but adheres to the principles of consultation and federalism in domestic affairs. Using the methods of extrapolation and retrospection, he identified the administrative hierarchy of three levels: 1) the leader and his imperial court, 2) imperial deputies appointed to control the tribes belonging to the empire, and 3) local tribal chiefs. For these political groups the existence of stability was supported by means of extracting financial resources beyond the steppe. T.Barfield theorizes cycles of power, i.e. timing of changes in the dynamics of state-bureaucratic body in China, and the military-political structure of the nomads in the steppes [3, p.44.].

  The result of the combined techniques of critical analysis became the understanding of the transformation of the Mongol Empire in big empire that included different political, economic, ethnic, religious, and other subsystems (Ulus, "wings", the segments of the decimal system, tribal structure, oases, towns and agricultural areas confessional communities etc.). The modern scholars shows this historical precedent as "a symbiosis of tributary and aggressive types of nomadic imperial organizations" [4, p.271].

Investigating the cause-and-effect relationships in the political culture of the Mongolian Empire, it was revealed that the idea of rooting allegiance, and the impact of the Great Khan was based not so much on the personal authority as on the military government machine, which he represented. Sacred role of Khan, inherited from Genghis Khan, had a value far only among the nomads. With all the contradictions of the system of inheritance appeared a tradition of transferring power, the legitimation of which was performed by the Board of nobility - kuriltai.

  Definition of Mongolian and other nomadic empires as "supercomplex chiefdoms" reveals a number of contradictions in the logical constructions of supporters of this concept. The genesis of the hierarchical structures of nomads binds only to the war, plunder, conquering neighbors and especially farmers, a key role in the nomadic empires plays special nomadic forms of exploitation, classifications of these empires are being built on the basis of different forms of relationships with the settled agricultural peoples (typical, tributary, aggressive).With this type of management system describing the "nomadic empire" all of the above factors are relegated to the background, and the main criteria is the essence of power in the framework of the nomadic community [4, p.273].

According to research practice of N.N.Kradin mechanism that connects the rulers with their nomadic subjects was a "prestigious economics". Thus, the emphasis is on the redistributive functions of nomadic leader against migratory nomadic groups of population, which played a decisive role in the creation of the empire, all its organizational beginning, aimed at the outside world, to recognize "statelike". This approach, in general, will speak about the dual nature of power in the nomadic empires (potestarian and early state) [5, p.491].

Historical knowledge based on the comparative and retrospective analysis shows numerous historical examples of the Middle Ages, where the nomads related groups of various ranks were real elements of internal socio-economic, political and mental connections. Therefore, based on the present state of historical science and evidence, their presence can not be considered unambiguous argument of state nature of the social system of the nomads. The sequence of historical thinking and concrete historical analysis, modern methodological approaches indicates that family structure and genealogy conditioned a "dispersion" and centrifugal nomadic societies. However, in the nomadic empires military hierarchical bodies of political management closely intertwined with tribal segments, while being high above them, control them, and organized their effective use in accordance with the aims of the imperial leadership.

Well-known nomad scientist A.M.Khazanov implementing specific research problems found that the existence of the concept of the ruler of the Mongol Empire, whose authority was sanctioned by Heaven, obviously undergone some development. In previous states the Heaven nomads first sanctioned the power of kagans over their own people, in the Mongol Empire, it gave them power over the world. As suggested by the author, Turkic kagans and possibly their predecessors - the Hsiung-nu, promoted the idea of the divine origin of his power, his heaven-sanctioned right to rule the people and the kingdom, but their claims have never figured belief in heavenly mandate to rule the world [6, p.399].

Exploring the nature of power in the Mongolian society author notes that the only goal that they proclaimed, was subordinate to the world the power of gold generation of Genghis Khan. Nomads have always occupied a dominant position in the Mongol Empire of Genghis, and then in all states. Many of them migrated to the conquered country, and even there, they continued to lead a nomadic life. Mongolian ruling elite also did not want their .... transition to sedentism in all states of Genghis, and even in many of their successors, such as Tamerlane, the military elite consisted of nomads in ethnic and tribal relations have always been closely associated with the rulers"- sums up A.M. Khazanov [6, p.397]

E.I. Kychanov drawing historical parallels management systems and modeling of nomadic societies determined that all known large nomadic Central Asian states have had this attribute of statehood, as a sovereign, which was expressed in domination of the ruler (shanyu, kagan khan) inside and outside of its independence. On the report of the researcher this sign is expressed in the manifestation of the supreme sovereignty of the government and its agencies to resolve criminal and civil cases in due course. The law as a set of authorized or established rules of supreme authority had its origin as a rule of customary law recognized by the sovereign supreme authority and the state, and the new set of the state standards of supreme power. [7, p.301].Continuing the research traditions of previous generations, and using a set of techniques of critical analysis, S.A. Vasyutin points out: "The peculiarity of the nomadic empires, including Mongolian, is that the ratio of early-autocracy and components of power is transient and mobile. In such formations there were sporadic "kickbacks" to archaic institutions of governance that could end with the decline of organizational structures of early-state" [1, p.57].The researcher emphasizes the role of supreme ruler of the Mongol Empire, which united in himself the functions of a traditional clan leader and supratribal nomadic confederation (complex or supercomplex chiefdoms) and the head of multicultural (with the nomadic and sedentary populations) political formation. Common to all types of nomadic empires was a definite entropy behavior of supreme rulers (the transition from charismatic to traditional domination). Identifying the essence and the nature of power in the nomadic empires, like those who stood for (nomadic leaders), S.A. Vasyutin comes to the conclusion that they represented complex and internally structured political phenomenon [1, p.68].

The progressive development of historical thought has led to the definition of the main stages of the dialectical development of the political system in nomadic societies [8, p.30]:

1. community of nomadic tribes of Central Asia VIII-V centuries B.C. enough for determining the characteristics of their contemporary written sources had no political organization beyond tribal, military and democratic institutions.

2. fundamental changes in their environment took place in IV-III centuries B.C., when there was found in the sources new supratribal political organization - the early state-controlled hierarchically structured military and tribal aristocracy.

3. imperial structure of sovereignty predetermined profound social change, not only within the dominant tribal groups, but also dependent upon the communities in which sharply became intensive the processes of politogenesis. These processes are reflected in a unified political terminology sources for the entire Central world.

4. New socio-political structure has reached its classic incarnation in VI-VIII centuries., when the runic texts of orkhon Turks and yenissey Kyrgyz there were emerged own terms, which designated as a state political organization (al), continuing ethno-tribal community (bodun).

  Variability and discussion of conceptual position "nomadic empire" showed a lack of elaboration of the problems of typology of socio-political structures and the formation of state institutions in nomadic societies. This leaves researchers in need of diversified approach to the study migratory habits of political entities to systematize and reconstruction as a complex set of different types and models of power, connected to a single imperial structure. The study of specific historical events and processes associated with the nomadic structures creates the basis for the formulation and analysis of conceptual and methodological problems. 


1.  Васютин С.А. Лики власти (к вопросу о природе власти в кочевых империях) //  Монгольская империя и кочевой мир. Улан-Удэ, БНЦ СО РАН, 2005. Т.2. – 296 с.

2.  Крадин  Н.Н. Кочевые империи: генезис, расцвет, упадок// Восток, 2001. №5. С. 22.

3.  Барфилд Т.Опасная граница: кочевые империи и Китай (221 г. до н.э.-1757 г. н.э.) СПб.: Факультет филологии и искусств СПбГУ; 2009. – 488  б.

4.  Васютин С.А. Монгольская империя как особая форма ранней государственности?// Монгольская империя и кочевой мир. Улан-Удэ: БНЦ СО РАН, 2004.– 546 б.

5.  Крадин  Н.Н. Кочевники, мир - империи и социальная эволюция// Раннее государство, его альтернативы и аналоги: Сборник статей/под. ред. Л.Е. Гринина, Д.М. Бондаренко, Н.Н. Крадина, А.В. Коротаева. –Волгоград: Учитель,, 2006. – 559 с.

6.  ХазановА.М. Мухаммед и Чингис хан в сравнении: роль религиозного фактора в создании мировых империй // Монгольская империя и кочевой мир. Улан-Удэ: БНЦ СО РАН, 2004.– 546 б.

7.  Кычанов Е.И. Кочевые государства от гуннов до маньчжуров. М.: Издательская фирма «Восточная литература» РАН, 1997. – 319 с.

8.  Кляшторный С.Г. Основные этапы политогенеза у древних кочевников Центральной Азии// Монгольская империя и кочевой мир. Улан-Удэ: БНЦ СО РАН, 2005. Т.2. – 296 с.

Майданали Зере

доцент Казахского национального университета имени аль-Фараби,

кандидат исторических наук

Концепт «кочевая империя» в современной истории


В статье рассматриваются концептуальные заключения о таком политическом образовании как "кочевая империя" и методологические парадигмы. Выявлены разные подходы и принципы исследования проблемы существования и функционирования "кочевой империи". Показан прогресс исторического знанию в изучении проблем социально-политических структур кочевого общества. Анализ современной историографии по проблемам преемственности и трансформации политической организации кочевых обществ показал, что необходимы специальные научные изыскания в отношении институтов власти и властвования, которые образуют особую сферу человеческой деятельности и соответственно особую область культуры и деятельности социальной структуры в целом. Дискуссии и противоречивые заключения современной науки отражают уровень теоретико-методологических подходов и показывают недостаточность логических инструментов для понимания сущности и природы социально-политических изменений в кочевых обществах. В статье освещаются различные концептуальные положения и подходы к проблеме формирования социально-политических институтов кочевого общества, представлен историографический обзор исследовательских парадигм современной исторической науки.

Ключевые слова: империя, кочевники, научные парадигмы, структура, власть, управление.

Майданали Зере

әл-Фараби атындағы Қазақ ұлттық университетінің доценті, тарих ғылымының кандидаты

Заманауи тарих ғылымындағы «көшпелі империя» тұжырымдамасы


Мақалада "көшпелі империя" мәселесі бойынша негізгі концептуалдық тұжырымдар және әдістемелік парадигмалар қарастырылған. Бірқатар әдіс-тәсілдер арқылы "көшпелі империя" саяси жүйенің құрылуы мен қалыптасу ерекшеліктері айқындалады. Көшпелі құрылымдардың саяси-әлеуметтік жағдайын зерттеуде тарихи ойдың  дамуы көрсетіледі. Жалпы әлеуметтік құрылымның жағдайы мен адам қызметіндегі ерекше сферасы мен ерекше мәдениеттің өлкесі ретінде билік және билік орнату мәселесі арнаулы ғылыми ізденістерді қажет ететінін, қазіргі тарихнамалық сараптау көшпелі саяси құрылымның сабақтастығы мен трансформациясы мәселелері арқылы көрсетеді. Көшпелі қоғамдығы саяси - әлеуметтік ізденістердің негізі мен табиғаты қазіргі ғылымның теориялық - әдістемелік көзқарастардың деңгейін және логикалық инструменттердің әлсіздігі мен қарама - қайшы тұжырымдардың айтыстарын қарастырады. Тарихнамалық сараптау қазіргі тарих ғылымының көшпелі қоғамның саяси – әлеуметтік институтарының қалыптасу мәселелерін көрсетеді, ізденіс парадигмалары мен концептуалдық тұжырымдар мен көзқарастарын айқындайды.

 Түйінсөз: империя, көшпелілер, ғылыми тұжырымдар, құрылым, билік, басқару.

Пікір жоқ

Пікір қалдыру үшін кіріңіз немесе тіркеліңіз