Tamgha and the Struggle against It: On the History of Medieval Turkic-mongol Taxation System

Zolotoordynskoe Obozrenie. 2014;(4):77-95


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Journal Title: Zolotoordynskoe Obozrenie

ISSN: 2308-152X (Print); 2313-6197 (Online)

Publisher: State Institution «Sh.Marjani Institute of History of Tatarstan Academy of Sciences»

Society/Institution: Shigabutdin Marjani Institute of History of Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan

LCC Subject Category: Auxiliary sciences of history: History of Civilization

Country of publisher: Russian Federation

Language of fulltext: Russian, English

Full-text formats available: PDF



R.Yu. Pochekaev (National Research University Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg)


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Time From Submission to Publication: 20 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

The paper deals with the Turkic-Mongol taxation institute of tamgha widely used in the Mongol Empire since the first half of the 13th century. Author characterizes the etymology of this term, its meanings, legal regulation of levy and rates, evolution of the tax in different states – successors of the Mongol Empire (the Golden Horde, Ilkhanate, etc.) as well as in these states even after fall of Chinggisid dynasties (such as Iran under Safavids, Central Asia under Timurids). As the author supposes, the long-term use of tamgha allows us to talk about the vitality and effectiveness of Chinggisid legal tradition, which survived after the end of “Chinggisid age”. Even the rulers and dynasties, which positioned themselves as rivals of Chinggisids, used tamgha in their taxation system. This tax was also borrowed by the Russians and was used for a long time becoming a base for custom system in Russia. Other subjects of the research are the struggle of Islamic theologians and jurists against tamgha in different countries of Inner Asia and reasons for this struggle. The author attempts to clarify reasons of this struggle, strict position of clergy against tamgha and measures of rulers who did not want to be in trouble with clergy, but at the same time tried to save tamgha as effective and profitable tax.