Kurultai is a noun that refers to a historical assembly or council among the nomadic tribes of the Mongol Empire. It is derived from the Mongolian word "khural," which means "meeting" or "assembly."
In the context of Mongol history, a kurultai was a gathering of influential leaders, tribal chieftains, or representatives from different clans and tribes. It served as a platform for decision-making, discussions, and the election of a new Khan (leader) or ruler. Kurultais generally took place on the open steppes, where participants would set up ornate tents and engage in deliberations.
During a kurultai, important matters such as political alliances, military campaigns, succession to the throne, and the distribution of power and resources were discussed. The attendees would debate and share their opinions before reaching a consensus or making a collective decision. The kurultai played a crucial role in shaping the policies, governance, and the fate of the Mongol Empire, which at its height encompassed vast territories from China to Eastern Europe.
Moreover, the term "kurultai" is occasionally used today to refer to similar gatherings or assemblies among Central Asian or Mongolian communities, where important issues or decisions are discussed and agreed upon. These modern-day kurultais aim to honor and maintain the historical traditions and cultural heritage of the Mongol Empire.
The word "kurultai" is derived from the Mongolian and Turkic languages. It comes from the Mongolian word "kurul", meaning "meeting" or "assembly", combined with the Turkic suffix "-tai", which denotes a gathering or session. In essence, "kurultai" refers to a political or social assembly in the Mongolian and Turkic traditions. The term is commonly associated with historical gatherings of nomadic tribes, such as the Mongols and the Turks, where leaders met to make important decisions and discuss various matters of significance. Today, "kurultai" is often used to refer to similar assemblies or congresses in Central Asian and Mongolian contexts.