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Jarlig (Mongolian: зарлиг, zarlig; Russian: iarlyk, also transliterated yarlyk and the Tartar: yarligh) is a term used in the Russian historiography for khan decrees of the Mongol Empire (particularly the khans of Golden Horde). It was one of three types of non-fundamental law pronouncements that had the effect of a regulation or ordinance, the other two being debter (a record of precedence cases for administration and judicial decisions) and billing (maxims or sayings attributed to Chinghis Khan). The jarliq provide important information about the running of the Mongol Empire.
From the mid-thirteenth to mid-fifteenth centuries, all princes of Northeastern Rus received jarliq authorizing their rule. The issuing of jarlyk on governing of Rus finalized the establishment of the title of Grand Prince of Vladimir and transfer of power from Kiev to Vladimir. Initially, those jarliq came from the qaghan in Karakorum, but after Batu established his khanate, they came from Sarai. None of these jarliq, however, is extant. In the mid-fifteenth century, Basil II began forbidding other Rus princes from receiving the jarliq from Mongol khans, thus establishing the right of the Moscow grand prince to authorize local princely rule.
Kublai Khan began the practice of having the four great aristocrats in his kheshig sign all jarliqs (decree), a practice that spread to all other Mongol khanates in 1280.
Ghazan reformed the issuance of jarliqs (edicts), creating set forms and graded seals, ordering that all jarliqs be kept on file at court in Persia. Jarliqs older than 30 years were to be cancelled, along with old paizas (Mongol seals of authority).
Even after 1260, the Yuan Dynasty still considered jarlig must be issued by only Qa'an/Khagan (Emperor) but linkji by khans (princes) of three western khanates.1 However, some high-ranking officials continued to issue jarligs under the name of a khan or Emperor in Central Asia.2
In the Rus metropolitan archive are preserved six jarliq (constituting the so-called Short Collection) considered to be translations into Russian of authentic patents issued from the Qipchaq Khanate: (1) from Khan Tiuliak (Tulunbek) of Mamai's Horde to Metropolitan Mikhail (Mitia) (1379);(2) from Khatun Taydula to the Rus' princes (1347); (3) from Khan Mengu-Temir to Metropolitan Peter (1308); (4) from Khatun Taydula to Metropolitan Feognost (1343); (5) from Khan Berdibek to Metropolitan Alexei (1357); and (6) from Khatun Taydula to Metropolitan Alexei (1354). A seventh jarliq, which purports to be from Khan Özbeg to Metropolitan Peter (found in the so-called full collection) has been determined to be a sixteenth-century forgery. The jarliq to the metropolitans affirm the freedom of the Church from taxes and tributes, and declare that the Church's property should be protected from expropriation or damage as long as Rus churchmen pray for the well-being of the khan and his family.
- Reuven Amitai, Michal Biran Mongols, Turks, and others: Eurasian nomads and the sedentary world, p. 342
- Dai Mastui "A Mongolian Decree from the Chaghataid Khanate Discovered at Dunhuang", in: P. Zieme (ed.), Aspects of Research into Central Asian Buddhism: In Memoriam Kōgi Kudara, Turnhout (Belgium), Brepols, 2008, pp. 160