Chris AtwoodSep 24, 2023
The Secret History of the Mongols
An interview with Chris Atwood
The Secret History of the Mongols is one of the literary wonders of the world. Writing in the thirteenth century, the Secret Historian - whose identity remains unknown - combines insider history and verse to chronicle the life of Chingghis Khan and the empire he founded. In an evocative new translation, Chris Atwood brings to life for contemporary readers the world of the Mongol steppe, the Mongol conquests, and life within the tent cities of the Mongol empire. In this episode, Prof. Atwood joins me to discuss what we know about the identity of the Secret Historian; the circumstances of the epic’s creation, reception, and transmission; how Mongol identity is constructed and portrayed in The Secret History; and his work as a historian and translator.
Maggie Freeman is a PhD candidate in the School of Architecture at MIT. She researches uses of architecture by nomadic peoples and historical interactions of nomads and empires, with a focus on the modern Middle East.