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Baghatur is a historical Turkic and Mongol honorific title,[1] in origin a term for "hero" or "valiant warrior". The Papal envoy Plano Carpini (c. 1185–1252) compared the title with the equivalent of European Knighthood.[2]

The word was common among the Mongols and became especially widespread, as an honorific title, in the Mongol Empire in the 13th century; the title persisted in its successor-states, and later came to be adopted also as a regnal title in the Ilkhanate and the Timurid dynasty, among others.[citation needed]

The concept of the Baghatur is present in Turco-Mongol folklore. Like the bogatyrs of Russian traditional tales, Baghaturs were heroes of extraordinary courage, fearlessness, and decisiveness, often portrayed as being descended from heaven and capable of performing extraordinary deeds. Baghatur was the heroic ideal Turco-Mongol warriors strove to live up to, hence its use as a military honorific of glory.[citation needed]

Etymology and distribution[edit]

The term was first used by the steppe peoples to the north and west of China proper as early as the 7th century as evidenced in Sui dynasty records.[3][4] It is attested for the Second Turkic Khaganate in the 6th century, and among the Bulgars of the First Bulgarian Empire in the 6th century. Some authors claim Iranian origin of the word, the first syllable is very likely the Iranian title word *bag "god, lord".[5] According to Gerard Clauson, bağatur by origin almost certainly a Xiongnu (which Clauson proposes to be Hunnic) name, and specifically of the second Xiongnu Chanyu, whose name was transliterated by the Han Chinese as 冒頓 (with -n for foreign -r), now pronounced Mòdùn ~ Màodùn in standard Chinese.[6][7]

The word was introduced in many cultures as a result of the Turco-Mongol conquests, and now exists in different forms in various languages: Old Turkic: 𐰉𐰍𐰀, romanized: Baga; Mongolian: ᠪᠠᠭᠠᠲᠦᠷ Baγatur, Khalkha Mongolian: Баатар Bātar; Chinese: 巴特爾; Turkish: Bağatur, Batur, Bahadır; Russian: Богатырь Bogatyr; Bulgarian: Багатур Bagatur; Persian: بهادر; Punjabi: ਬਹਾਦੁਰ (Gurmukhi), بہادر (Shahmukhi), Urdu: بہادر, Bulgarian and Russian: Багатур (Bagatur), Persian Bahador, Georgian Bagatur, and Hindi Bahadur.

It is also preserved in the modern Turkic and Mongol languages as Altai Баатыр (Baatïr), Turkish Batur/Bahadır, Tatar and Kazakh Батыр (Batyr), Uzbek Batyr and Mongolian Baatar (as in Ulaanbaatar).

It is the origin of a number of terms and names, such as Bahadur (in Persian, South Asian Muslim, Sikh and other cultures), Bahadır, Baturu, Bey, Mete, Metehan, Russian: Богатырь (Bogatyr), Polish Bohater (lit.'hero'), Hungarian: Bátor (meaning "brave"), among others.

Titles Incorporating Bahadur[edit]

Bahadur was often included in titles in Mughal Empire and later during the British Raj to signify a higher level of honor above the title without the word. For example:

List of individuals with this title[edit]

The term Baghatur and its variants – Bahadur, Bagatur, or Baghadur, was adopted by the following historical individuals:


  1. ^ Ed. Herbert Franke and others – The Cambridge History of China: Volume 6, Alien Regimes and Border States, 710–1368, p. 567.
  2. ^ James Chambers The Devil's horsemen: the Mongol invasion of Europe, p. 107.
  3. ^ C. Fleischer, "Bahādor", in Encyclopædia Iranica
  4. ^ Grousset 194.
  5. ^ Beckwith 2009, p. 387
  6. ^ Sir Gerard Clauson (1972). An Etymological Dictionary of Pre-Thirteenth-Century Turkish. pp. 301–400.
  7. ^ Pulleyblank, E.G. (1999). "The Peoples of the Steppe Frontier in Early Chinese Sources" Migracijske teme 15 1–2. footnote 3 on p. 45 of pp. 35–61
  8. ^ "TÜRK – TDV İslâm Ansiklopedisi".
  9. ^ "Welcome to Encyclopaedia Iranica".
  10. ^ Ed. Herbert Franke and others – The Cambridge History of China: Volume 6, Alien Regimes and Border States, 710-1368, p.568