Tumen (unit)

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Tumen or Tümen ("unit of ten thousand";[1] Mongolian: Түмэн, Tümen;[2] Turkish: Tümen) was a part of the decimal system used by the Mongol peoples and Turkic peoples to organize their armies. Tumen is an army unit of 10,000 soldiers. Tum means ten thousand in Mongolian language. It is also used in the Mongolian language as another word for "very many". This decimal system later used by the Turkic peoples.

Genghis Khan's organization

In Genghis Khan's military system, a Tumen was recursively built from units of 10 (Aravt), 100 (Zuut), and 1,000 (Mingghan), each with a leader reporting to the next higher level. Tumens were considered a practical size, neither too small for an effective campaign nor too big for efficient transport and supply. The military strategy was based on the use of tumens as a useful building block causing reasonable shock and attack.[3]

Magyar military organization of the Conquest Era

This same kind of military organization was used by the Magyars during the Conquest of Hungary. According to Ahmad ibn Rustah (c. 930), a Persian explorer and geographer, the "Magyars are a race of Turks and their king rides out with horsemen to the number of 10,000 and this king is called Kanda".[4]

In modern armies

Tümen is a military unit which is still used in the Turkish Army, consisting of 6,000 to 10,000 soldiers.[5] Its commander is a tümgeneral in the Army and Air Forces and a tümamiral in the Naval Forces. It is the equivalent of a modern Division.

See also


  1. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language - toman
  2. Vietze, Wörterbuch Mongolisch - Deutsch, VEB 1988
  3. Corvisier, André. A Dictionary of Military History and the Art of War. Blackwell Publishing, 1994. page 529
  4. Laszlo Gyula, The Magyars: Their Life and Civilization, (1996), pp. 41–42.
  5. Sabah Newspaper Online - Turkish Armed Forces