Gurkhan (simplified Chinese: 菊儿汗; traditional Chinese: 菊兒汗; pinyin: Jú'erhán) was a Mongol title meaning "Universal Ruler" and roughly equivalent to the older term khagan. It was held by the rulers of the Western Liao dynasty in the 13th century. The title was first adopted by Yelü Dashi (Emperor Dezong of Western Liao) in 1132.[1] It comes from the Middle Mongol word "Gür" or "Kür", meaning "wide" or "general". Christopher I. Beckwith claims that the title has the meaning "the ruler of the earth" in his book Empires of Silk Road.


  1. ^ Biran, p. 38


  • Biran, Michal, The Empire of the Qara Khitai in Eurasian history, Cambridge University Press, 2005.

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