The fragments of the Great Yassa of Jenghiz Khan which have come
down to us through Makrizi:
1. An adulterer is to be put to death without any regard as
to whether he is married or not.
2. Whoever is guilty of sodomy is also to be put to death.
3. Whoever intentionally lies, or practices sorcery, or spies
upon the behaviour of others, or intervenes between the two parties
in a quarrel to help the one against the other is also to be put to
4. Whoever urinates into water or ashes is also to be put to
5. Whoever takes goods (on credit) and becomes bankrupt, then
again takes goods and again becomes bankrupt, then takes goods
again and yet again becomes bankrupt is to be put to death after
the third time.
6. Whoever gives food or clothing to a captive without the
permission of his captor is to be put to death.
7. Whoever finds a runaway slave or captive and does not
return him to the person to whom he belongs is to be put to death.
8. When an animal is to be eaten, its feet must be tied, its
belly ripped open and its heart squeezed in the hand until the
animal dies; then its meat may be eaten; but if anyone slaughter an
animal after the Mohammedan fashion, he is to be himself
9. If in battle, during an attack or a retreat,
anyone let fall his pack, or bow, or any luggage, the man behind
him must alight and return the thing fallen to its owner; if he
does not so alight and return the thing fallen, he is to be put to
10. Jenghiz Khan decided that no taxes or duties should be
imposed ... upon fakirs, readers of the Al-Koran, lawyers,
physicians, scholars, people who devote themselves to prayer and
asceticism, muezzins and those who wash the bodies of the dead.
11. He ordered that all religions were to be respected and
that no preference was to be shown to any of them. All this he
commanded in order that it might be agreeable to God.
12. He forbade his people to eat food offered by another
until the one offering the food tasted of it himself, even though
one be a prince and the other a captive; he forbade them to eat
anything in the presence of another without having invited him to
partake of the food; he forbade any man to eat more than his
comrades, and to step over a fire on which food was being cooked or
a dish from which people were eating.
13. When a wayfarer passes by people eating, he must alight
and eat with them without asking for permission, and they must not
forbid him this.
14. He forbade them to dip their hands into water and ordered
them to use some vessel for the drawing of water.
15. He forbade them to wash their clothes until they were
completely worn out.
16. He forbade them to say of anything that it was unclean,
and insisted that all things were clean and made no distinction
between the clean and unclean.
17. He forbade them to show preference for any sect, to
pronounce words with emphasis, to use honorary titles; when
speaking to the Sultan or anyone else simply his name was to be
18. He ordered his successors to personally examine the
troops and their armament before going to battle, to supply the
troops with everything they needed for the campaign and to survey
everything even to needle and thread, and if any of the soldiers
lacked a necessary thing that soldier was to be punished.
19. He ordered women accompanying the troops to do the work
and perform the duties of the men, while the latter were absent
20. He ordered the warriors, on their return from the
campaign (battle) to carry out certain duties in the service of the
21. He ordered them to present all their daughters to the
Sultan at the beginning of each year that he might choose some of
them for himself and his children.
22. He put Emirs (princes/generals or noyans) at the head of
the troops and appointed commanders of thousands, hundreds, and
23. He ordered that the oldest of the Emirs, if he had committed
some offence, was to give himself up to the messenger sent by the
sovereign to punish him, even if he was the lowest of his servants;
and prostrate himself before him until he had carried out the
punishment prescribed by the sovereign, even if it be to put him to
24. He forbade Emirs to address themselves to anyone except
the sovereign. Whoever addressed himself to asnyone but the
sovereign was to be put to death, and anyone changing his post
without permission was also to be put to death.
25. He ordered the Sultan to establish permanent postal
communications in order that he might be informed in good time of
all the events of the country.
26. He ordered his son, Jagatai-baen-Jenghiz Khan to see
that the Yassa was observed.
From Mirhond (or Mirhovend):
27. He ordered that soldiers be punished for negligence; and
hunters who let an animal escape during a community hunt he ordered
to be beaten with sticks and in some cases to be put to death.
28. In cases of murder (punishment for murder) one could
ransom himself by paying fines which were: for a Mohammedan - 40
golden coins (Balysh); and for a Chinese - one donkey.
29. The man in whose possession a stolen horse is found must
return it to its owner and add nine horses of the same kind: if he
is unable to pay this fine, his children must be taken instead of
the horses, and if he have no children, he himself shall be
slaughtered like a sheep.
30. The Yassa of Jenghiz Khan forbids lies, theft and
adultery and prescribes love of one's neighbor as ones's self; it
orders men not to hurt each other and to forget offences
completely, to sparae countries and cities which submit
voluntarily, to free from taxes temples consecrated to God, and to
respect old people and beggars. Whoever violates these commands is
to be put to death.
31. (The Yassa prescribes these rules:) to love one another,
not to commit adultery, not to steal, not to give false witness,
not to be a traitor, and to respect old people and beggars.
Whoever violates these commands is put to death.
From various sources:
32. (The Yassa of J. K. prescribes that) a man who chokes on
food must be driven out of the camp and immediately killed; and
whosoever puts his foot on the threshold of the tent of the
commander of an army shall also be put to death.
33. If unable to abstain from drinking, a man may get drunk
three times a month; if he does it more than three times he is
culpable; if he gets drunk twice a month it is better; if once a
month, this is still more laudable; and if one does not drink at
all what can be better? But where can such a man be found? If
such a man were found he would be worthy of the highest
esteem.(Riasanovsky considers this fragment to belong to the Maxims
of J.K., maxim 20)
34. Children born of a concubine are to be considered as
legitimate, and receive their share of the heritage according to
the disposition of it made by the father. (Beats the law of
primogenture in Europe where only oldest inherited) Much more
civilized. The distribution of property is to be carried out on
the basis of the senior son receiving more than the junior, the
younger son inheriting the household of the father. The seniority
of children depends upon the rank of their mother; one of the wives
must always be the senior, this being determined chiefly by the
time of her marriage.
35. After the death of his father, a son may dispose of the
father's wives, all except his mother; he may marry them or give
them in marriage to others.
36. All except the legal heirs are strictly forbidden to make
use of any of the property of the deceased.