At first glance, a web page on Kazakh names might seem overspecialized for most people, but it has links to quite a few useful-looking name sites, some specialized (Russian, medieval Russian, medieval Mongol) and others general. (Thanks to frequent commenter zizka for inspiring the search that led to the site.)


  1. A peculiarity of medieval Mongol names is a number of Christian names which are not always recognizable. “Marqus” is easy enough, but “Qurjaqus” is not obviously Cyriacus, nor “Chaurjus” George. There are quite a number, but I can’t remember any others at the moment. (Transcriptions probabably wrong too). Chinggis Q. had a son-in-law or grandson (I forget) named “George”.
    Christianity came to the Mongols through Syriac, one or several Iranian languages, and probably Turkish. The Mongol word for “dharma” is “still nom” (also “book”), originally from Biblical Greek.
    Pelliot speculated that the name “Qasar” might trace back to “Caesar”, though I think that he rejected the idea. The Alexander legend did circulate among early Mongols. The Alexander story was extremely powerful and widely dispersed (Spanish, Malay, Mongol, and in between), and amounted to a global non-canonical pulp literature.
    And last and least, Chinggis Qan’s given name, Temujin, means “Smith”. Nothing less, nothing more. Temu(r) means iron, -jin means something like “-er” forming trades like carpenter etc.
    Stalin and Lenin both had a steel obsession — you wonder whether it goes back to Temur and Tamerlane. It was definitely the steel of swords.

  2. Funny, by some coincidence I’ve been gathering citations of Mongol names in Latin texts for a future Vicipaedia entry. I had already found the site (linked from your link) on the Mongol Relation.
    The research itself is starting to feel futile: the names that turn up vary immensly from author to author, and generally feel neither Latin nor Mongolian. They are almost never declinable either, which somewhat takes the fun out of it.

  3. Going through the lists, I was surprised how few I recognized as contemporary Buryat names – Arslan (Aslan in Buryat), Checheg (Seseg [modern Mongolian Tsetseg]), Temur (Timur), Bayan (Baran?), Cheren (Tsyren? – though the ts makes me think it’s a Tibetan name – it’s not a Buryat consonant). Batu sounds familiar, but I can’t think of anyone I knew with that name, so maybe I just read it. My sample might have been wrong – there certainly were names in Buryatia and Ust-Orda I didn’t recognize from Aginsk, but I wasn’t in either place long enough for any of them to stick in my head.
    Come to think of it, I don’t recognize most of the medieval Russian names either. But then it sometimes seems that Russians only have five names for each gender.

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