The following joint article is a departure from standard studies, in that historical research is put side-by-side with numismatic evidence. It reflects the growing awareness of the underlying concepts of steppe society that significantly shaped the formation and endurance of the Mongol Empire. With new analysis, it is apparent that the society was clear about these concepts and expressed them in very public pronouncements. They are most evident in the early period of the empire; during the formation of the state by Chinggis Khan and his first two successors, Ögödei (r. 1229–41) and Güyük (r.1246-48). However, the cataclysmic civil war in the middle of the thirteenth century between the Ögödeyids and Toluids removed direct acknowledgment of such a social ethos. Indeed, after 1250 khans strongly focused on pragmatic issues and relied less on philosophical theories of legitimacy, at least Mongolian ones. By contrast, the first three rulers were keenly aware of the theory of the state and the way society functioned within it. They developed this ethos into a fairly cohesive form that provided moral strength to a nascent regime. The evidence for this development emerges from the study of two particular words, tengri, “Heaven”, and especially töre, “grand principle”. Töre in this usage was the equivalent of the ‘binding and unbinding’ and the sunna of the messenger, Muḥammad, in medieval Islamic societies and of democracy in modern times. Tengri and töre are culturally defined theories closely related to the Aristotelian sense of positive law. In all cases, reality required various approaches to them at a given period of time. As a result, the concept of töre had existed before the empire and continues to this day, always implying the correct order of good governance.