From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In the 9th century, the Oguzes from the Aral steppes drove Bechens from the Emba and Ural River region toward the west. In the 10th century, they inhabited the steppe of the rivers Sari-su, Turgai, and Emba to the north of Lake Balkhash of modern-day Kazakhstan. A clan of this nation, the Seljuks, embraced Islam and in the 11th century entered Persia, where they founded the Great Seljuk Empire. Similarly in the 11th century, a Tengriist Oghuz clan—referred to as Uzes or Torks in the Russian chronicles—overthrew Pecheneg supremacy in the Russian steppe. Harried by another Turkic horde, the Kipchaks, these Oghuz penetrated as far as the lower Danube, crossed it and invaded the Balkans, where they were either crushed or struck down by an outbreak of plague, causing the survivors either to flee or to join the Byzantine imperial forces as mercenaries (1065).
Linguistically, the Oghuz are listed together with the old Kimaks of the middle Yenisei of the Ob, the old Kipchaks who later emigrated to southern Russia, and the modern Kirghiz in one particular Turkic group, distinguished from the rest by the mutation of the initial y sound to j (dj).
"The term 'Oghuz' was gradually supplanted among the Turks themselves by Türkmen, 'Turcoman', from the mid 900's on, a process which was completed by the beginning of the 1200s."
"The Ottoman dynasty, who gradually took over Anatolia after the fall of the Seljuks, toward the end of the 13th century, led an army that was also predominantly Oghuz."
Main article: Origin of the TurksIn 178-177 BC, the Xiongnu shan-yü Mao-tun subdued a people called Hu-chieh, west of Wu-sun located in the Tarim Basin, the Ili Valley and the Pamir Mountains. It is suggested that the early pronunciation of this transliteration might be related to the ancestors of Oghur/Oghuz. However, it is known that Oghuz people historically appeared with this name in a region extending from the east of Caspian Sea to the east of Lake Aral, neighbouring to Karakum Desert in the south.
According to many historians, the usage of the word "Oghuz" is dated back to the advent of the Huns (220 BC). The title of "Oghuz" (Oguz Kaan) was given to Mau-Tun, the founder of the Xiongnu Empire, which is often considered the first Turkic political entity in Central Asia.
Also in the 2nd century BC, a Turkic tribe called O-kut or Wuqi 呼揭, 呼得, 乌揭, 乌护 who were described as a western enemy of the Huns (referred to in Chinese sources, Shiji, 110 and Suishu, 84) were mentioned in the area of the Irtysh River, in present-day Lake Zaysan. The Greek sources used the name Oufi (or Ouvvi) to describe the Oghuz Turks, a name they had also used to describe the Huns centuries earlier.
A number of tribal groupings bearing the name Oghuz, often with a numeral representing the number of united tribes in the union, are noted.
Prior to the Göktürk state, there are references to the Sekiz-Oghuz ("eight-Oghuz") and the Dokuz-Oghuz ("nine-Oghuz") union. The Oghuz Turks under Sekiz-Oghuz and the Dokuz-Oghuz state formations ruled different areas in the vicinity of the Altay mountains. During the establishment of the Göktürk state, Oghuz tribes inhabited the Altay mountain region and also lived in northeastern areas of the Altay mountains along the Tula River. They were also present as a community near the Barlik River in present-day northern Mongolia.
Their main homeland and domain in the ensuing centuries was the area of Transoxiana, in western Turkestan.
This land became known as the "Oghuz steppe", which is an area between the Caspian and Aral Seas. Ibn al-Athir, an Arab historian, declared that the Oghuz Turks had come to Transoxiana in the period of the caliph Al-Mahdi in the years between 775 and 785. In the period of the Abbasid caliph Al-Ma'mun (813–833), the name Oghuz starts to appear in the works of Islamic writers. By 780, the eastern parts of the Syr Darya were ruled by the Karluk Turks and the western region (Oghuz steppe) was ruled by the Oghuz Turks.
In Oghuz traditions, "society was simply the result of the growth of individual families". But such a society also grew by alliances and the expansion of different groups, normally through marriages. The shelter of the Oghuz tribes was a tent-like dwelling, erected on wooden poles and covered with skin, felt, or hand-woven textiles, which is called a yurt.
Their cuisine included yahni (stew), kebabs, Toyga çorbası (lit. "wedding soup;" a soup made from wheat flour and yogurt), Kımız (a traditional drink of the Turks, made from fermented horse milk), Pekmez (a syrup made of boiled grape juice) and helva made with wheat starch or rice flour, tutmac (noodle soup), yufka (flattened bread), katmer (layered pastry), chorek (ring-shaped buns), bread, clotted cream, cheese, milk and ayran (diluted yogurt beverage), as well as wine.
Social order was maintained by emphasizing "correctness in conduct as well as ritual and ceremony". Ceremonies brought together the scattered members of the society to celebrate birth, puberty, marriage, and death. Such ceremonies had the effect of minimizing social dangers and also of adjusting persons to each other under controlled emotional conditions.
Patrilineally related men and their families were regarded as a group with rights over a particular territory and were distinguished from neighbours on a territorial basis. Marriages were often arranged among territorial groups so that neighbouring groups could become related, but this was the only organizing principle that extended territorial unity. Each community of the Oghuz Turks was thought of as part of a larger society composed of distant as well as close relatives. This signified "tribal allegiance". Wealth and materialistic objects were not commonly emphasized in Oghuz society and most remained herders, and when settled they would be active in agriculture.
Status within the family was based on age, gender, relationships by blood, or marriageability. Males as well as females were active in society, yet men were the backbones of leadership and organization. According to the Book of Dede Korkut, which demonstrates the culture of the Oghuz Turks, women were "expert horse riders, archers, and athletes". The elders were respected as repositories of both "secular and spiritual wisdom".
Homeland in Transoxiana
In his accredited work titled Diwan Lughat al-Turk, Mahmud of Kashgar, a Turkic scholar of the 11th century, described the Karachuk Mountains which are located just east of the Aral Sea as the original homeland of the Oghuz Turks. The Karachuk mountains are now known as the Tengri Tagh (Tian Shan in Chinese) Mountains, and they are adjacent to Syr Darya.
The extension from the Karachuk Mountains towards the Caspian Sea (Transoxiana) was called the "Oghuz Steppe Lands" from where the Oghuz Turks established trading, religious and cultural contacts with the Abbasid Arab caliphate who ruled to the south. This is around the same time that they first converted to Islam and renounced their Tengriism belief system. The Arab historians mentioned that the Oghuz Turks in their domain in Transoxiana were ruled by a number of kings and chieftains.
It was in this area that they later founded the Seljuk Empire, and it was from this area that they spread west into western Asia and eastern Europe during Turkic migrations from the 9th until the 12th century. The founders of the Ottoman Empire were also Oghuz Turks.
Oghuz and Yörüks
Main article: Yörüks
Oghuz Turk dynasties
- Aq Qoyunlu
- Kara Koyunlu
- Safavid dynasty
- Zengid dynasty
- Anatolian beyliks
Traditional tribal organization
- Kayı (founders of the Ottoman dynasty and Jandarids)
- Bayat (founders of the Qajar dynasty, Dulkadirids, Fuzûlî)
- Döger (founders of the Artuqid dynasty)
- Afshar (Afşar; founders of the Afsharid dynasty Nader Shah)
- Bayandur (founders of the Ak Koyunlu)
- Salur (Kadi Burhan al-Din and Salgurlular State in Iraq and Karamanid dynasty; also refer to Salar people)
- Yüreğir (founders of the Ramadanid dynasty)
- Yıva (Qara Qoyunlu , Oguzs Yabgus dynasty)
- Kınık (founders of the Seljuk Empire)
For example, many sources prior to the modern age claim that the largest component of the population of Azerbaijan is composed of "Turcoman tribes". The "Turkmen" reference in history books which is often used for Azerbaijanis and Turks of Turkey simply means "Muslim Turk" or "Muslim western Turk", which means Oghuz Turk. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, the name Turkmen is a synonym of Oghuz. Turkish historian Yılmaz Öztuna presents almost the same definition of the name "Turkmen". He labels the Turkmen Oghuz or western Turkish populations as Ottomans, Azerbaijan, and Turkmen (Turkmenistan). In Turkey the word "Turkmen" refers to nomadic Turkish tribes (all Muslims), some of whom still continue this lifestyle.
LiteratureOghuz Turkish literature includes the famous Book of Dede Korkut which was UNESCO's 2000 literary work of the year, as well as the Oguznama and Köroğlu epics which are part of the literary history of Azerbaijanis, Turks of Turkey and Turkmens. The modern and classical literature of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Central Asia are also considered Oghuz literature, since it was produced by their descendants.
The Book of Dede Korkut is an invaluable collection of epics and stories, bearing witness to the language, the way of life, religions, traditions and social norms of the Oghuz Turks in Azerbaijan, Turkey and Central Asia.
- Afshar dynasty
- Oghuz languages
- Gagauz people
- Salar people
- Oghuz Khan
- Mythology of the Turkic and Mongolian peoples
- Timeline of Turks (500-1300)
- Kafesoğlu, İbrahim. Türk Milli Kültürü. Türk Kültürünü Araştırma Enstitüsü, 1977. page 134
- Grousset, R., The Empire of the Steppes, 1991, Rutgers University Press
- Nicole, D., Attila and the Huns, 1990, Osprey Publishing
- Lewis, G., The Book of Dede Korkut, "Introduction", 1974, Penguin Books
- Minahan, James B. One Europe, Many Nations: A Historical Dictionary of European National Groups. Greenwood Press, 2000. page 692
- Aydın, Mehmet. Bayat-Bayat boyu ve Oğuzların tarihi. Hatiboğlu Yayınevi, 1984. web page
- The Book of Dede Korkut (pdf format) at the Uysal-Walker Archive of Turkish Oral Narrative
- Similarities between the epics of Dede Korkut and Alpamysh
- A page dedicated to Oguz Khan
- The Old Turkic Inscriptions.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Oghuz Turks.|
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the Turkic tribe. For the Russian weapon, see Pecheneg machine gun.
Pecheneg Khanates and neighboring territories, c.1015
History of the Turkic peoples
|Turkic Khaganate 552–744|
|Avar Khaganate 564–804|
|Khazar Khaganate 618–1048|
|Great Bulgaria 632–668|
|Kangar union 659–750|
|Turgesh Khaganate 699–766|
|Uyghur Khaganate 744–840|
|Karluk Yabgu State 756–940|
|Kara-Khanid Khanate 840–1212|
|Gansu Uyghur Kingdom 848–1036|
|Kingdom of Qocho 856–1335|
|Oghuz Yabgu State
|Ghaznavid Empire 963–1186|
|Seljuk Empire 1037–1194|
|Seljuk Sultanate of Rum|
|Khwarazmian Empire 1077–1231|
|Delhi Sultanate 1206–1526|
|Golden Horde |  1240s–1502|
|Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo) 1250–1517|
|Ottoman Empire 1299-1923|
- 1 Ethnonym
- 2 Language
- 3 History
- 4 Origins and area
- 5 In Armenian sources
- 6 Alliance with Byzantium
- 7 Late history and decline
- 8 Leaders
- 9 See also
- 10 Footnotes
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
EthnonymThe Pechenegs' ethnonym derived from the Old Turkic word for "brother-in-law” (baja, baja-naq or bajinaq), implying that it initially referred to "in-law related clan or tribe". Sources written in different languages used similar denominations when referring to the confederation of the Pecheneg tribes. They were mentioned under the names Bjnak, Bjanak or Bajanak in Arabic and Persian texts, as Be-ča-nag in Classical Tibetan documents, as Pačanak-i in works written in Georgian, and as Pacinnak in Armenian. Anna Komnene and other Byzantine authors referred to the Pechenegs as Patzinakoi or Patzinakitai. In medieval Latin texts, the Pechenegs were referred to as Pizenaci, Bisseni or Bessi. East Slavic peoples use the terms Pečenegi or Pečenezi, while the Poles mentions them as Pieczyngowie or Piecinigi. The Hungarian word for Pecheneg is besenyő.
According to Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, three of the eight Pechenegs "provinces" or clans were known under the name Kangar. He added that they received this denomination because "they are more valiant and noble than the rest" of the people "and that is what the title Kangar signifies". However, no Turkic word with the meaning suggested by the emperor has been demonstrated. Ármin Vámbéry connected the Kangar denomination to the Kirghiz words kangir ("agile"), kangirmak ("to go out riding") and kani-kara ("black-blooded"), while Carlile Aylmer Macartney associated it with the Chagatai word gang ("chariot"). Omeljan Pritsak proposed that the name had initially been a composite term (Kängär As) deriving from the Tocharian word for stone (kank) and the Iranian ethnonym As. If the latter assumption is valid, the ethnonym of the three Kangar tribes suggest that Iranian elements contributed to the formation of the Pecheneg people.
Main article: Pecheneg languageMahmud al-Kashgari, an 11th-century man of letters specialized in Turkic dialects argued that the language spoken by the Pechenegs was a variant of the Cuman and Oghuz idioms. He suggested that foreign influences on the Pechenegs gave rise to phonetical differences between their tongue and the idiom spoken by other Turkic peoples. Anna Komnene likewise stated that the Pechenegs and the Cumans shared a common language. Although the Pecheneg language itself died out centuries ago, the names of the Pecheneg "provinces" recorded by Constantine Porphyrogenitus prove that the Pechenegs spoke a Turkic language.
Origins (till c. 800 or 850)Ibn Khordadbeh, Mahmud al-Kashgari, Muhammad al-Idrisi and many other Muslim scholars agreed that the Pechenegs belonged to the Turkic peoples. The Russian Primary Chronicle stated that the "Torkmens, Pechenegs, Torks, and Polovcians" descended from "the godless sons of Ishmael, who had been sent as a chastisement to the Christians".
Paul Pelliot was the first to propose that a 7th-century Chinese work, the Book of Sui preserved the earliest record on the Pechenegs. It writes of the Pei-ju, a people settled along the En-ch'u and A-lan peoples (identified as the Onogurs and Alans, respectively) east of Fu-lin (the Eastern Roman Empire). In contrast with this view, Victor Spinei argues that the first certain reference to the Pechenegs can be read in a Tibetan translation of an 8th-century Uyghur text. It narrates a war between two peoples, the Be-ča-nag (the Pechenegs) and the Hor (the Ouzes). The Pechenegs inhabited the region along the river Syr Darya at the time when the first records were made of them.
Westward migration (c. 800 or 850–c. 895)The Pechenegs were forced to leave their Central Asian homeland by a coalition of the Oghuz Turks, Karluks and Kimaks. The Pechenegs' westward migration started between the 790s and 850s, but its exact date cannot be determined. The Pechenegs settled in the steppe corridor between the rivers Ural and Volga.
According to Gardizi and other Muslim scholars who based their works on 9th-century sources, the Pechenegs' new territories were bordered by the Cumans, Khazars, Oghuz Turks and Slavs. The same sources also narrate that the Pechenegs regularly waged war against the Khazars and the latter's vassals, the Burtas. The Khazars and the Oghuz Turks made an alliance against the Pechenegs and attacked them. Outnumbered by the enemy, the Pechenegs started a new migration, invaded the dwelling places of the Hungarians and forced them to leave. There is no consensual date for this second migration of the Pechenegs: Pritsak argues that it took place around 830, but Kristó suggests that it could hardly occur before the 850s. The Pechenegs settled along the rivers Donets and Kuban.
It is plausible that the distinction between the "Turkic Pechenegs" and "Khazar Pechenegs" mentioned in the 10th-century Hudud al-'alam had its origin in this period. Spinei proposes that the latter denomination most probably refers to Pecheneg groups accepting Khazar suzerainty. In addition to these two branches, a third group of Pechenegs existed in this period: Constantine Porphyrogenitus and Ibn Fadlan mention that those who decided not to leave their homeland were incorporated into the Oghuz federation of Turkic tribes. However, it is uncertain whether this groups' formation is connected to the Pechenegs' first or second migration (as it is proposed by Pritsak and Golden, respectively). According to Mahmud al-Kashgari, one of the Üçok clans of the Oghuz Turks was still formed by Pechenegs in the 1060s.
Originally, the Pechenegs had their dwelling on the river Atil, and likewise on the river Geïch, having common frontiers with the Chazars and the so-called Uzes. But fifty years ago the so-called Uzes made common cause with the Chazars and joined battle with the Pechenegs and prevailed over them and expelled them from their country, which the so-called Uzes have occupied till this day. [...] At the time when the Pechenegs were expelled from their country, some of them of their own will and personal decision stayed behind there and united with the so-called Uzes, and even to this day they live among them, and wear such distinguishing marks as separate them off and betray their origin and how it came about that they were split off from their own folk: for their tunics are short, reaching to the knee, and their sleeves are cut off at the shoulder, whereby, you see, they indicate that they have been cut off from their own folk and those of their race.
Origins and areaIn Mahmud Kashgari's 11th-century work Dīwān lughāt al-turk (Arabic: ديوان لغات الترك), the name Beçenek is given two meanings. The first is "a Turkish nation living around the country of the Rum", where Rum was the Turkish word for the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire). Kashgari's second definition of Beçenek is "a branch of Oghuz Turks"; he subsequently described the Oghuz as being formed of 22 branches, of which the 19th branch was named Beçenek. Max Vasmer derives this name from the Turkic word for "brother-in-law, relative" (Turkmen: bacanak and Turkish: bacanak).
By the 9th and 10th centuries, they controlled much of the steppes of southwestern Eurasia and the Crimean Peninsula. Although an important factor in the region at the time, like most nomadic tribes their concept of statecraft failed to go beyond random attacks on neighbours and spells as mercenaries for other powers.
According to Constantine Porphyrogenitus, writing in c. 950, Patzinakia, the Pecheneg realm, stretched west as far as the Siret River (or even the Eastern Carpathian Mountains), and was four days distant from "Tourkias" (i.e. Hungary).
The whole of Patzinakia is divided into eight provinces with the same number of great princes. The provinces are these: the name of the first province is Irtim; of the second, Tzour; of the third, Gyla; of the fourth, Koulpeï; of the fifth, Charaboï; of the sixth, Talmat; of the seventh, Chopon; of the eighth, Tzopon. At the time at which the Pechenegs were expelled from their country, their princes were, in the province of Irtim, Baïtzas; in Tzour, Kouel; in Gyla, Kourkoutai; in Koulpeï, Ipaos; in Charaboï, Kaïdoum; in the province of Talmat, Kostas; in Chopon, Giazis; in the province of Tzopon, Batas.According to Omeljan Pritsak, the Pechenegs are descendants from the ancient Kangars who originate from Tashkent.
In Armenian sourcesIn the Armenian chronicles of Matthew of Edessa Pechenegs are mentioned a couple of times. The first mention is in chapter 75, where it says that in the year 499 (according to the old Armenian calendar — years 1050–51 according to the Gregorian calendar) the Badzinag nation caused great destruction in many provinces of "Rome", i.e. the Byzantine territories. The second is in chapter 103, which is about the Battle of Manzikert. In that chapter it is told that the allies of "Rome", Padzunak and Uz (some branches of the Oghuz Turks) tribes which changed their sides at the peak of the battle and began fighting against the Byzantine forces, side by side with the Seljuq Turks. In the 132nd chapter a war between "Rome" and the Padzinags is described and after the defeat of the Roman (Byzantine) Army, an unsuccessful siege of Constantinople by the Padzinags is mentioned. In that chapter, the Patzinags are described as an "all archer army". In chapter 299, the Armenian prince, Vasil, who was in the Roman Army, sent a platoon of Padzinags (they had settled in the city of Misis, around modern Adana, which is far away from the lands where Pechenegs were then mainly living) to the aid of the Christians.
Alliance with Byzantium
The Uzes, another Turkic steppe people, eventually expelled the Pechenegs from their homeland; in the process, they also seized most of their livestock and other goods. An alliance of Oghuz, Kimeks, and Karluks was also pressing the Pechenegs, but another group, the Samanids, defeated that alliance. Driven further west by the Khazars and Cumans by 889, the Pechenegs in turn drove the Magyars west of the Dnieper River by 892.
Bulgarian Tsar Simeon I employed the Pechenegs to help fend off the Magyars. The Pechenegs were so successful that they drove out the Magyars remaining in Etelköz and the Pontic steppes, forcing them westward towards the Pannonian plain, where they later founded the Hungarian state.
Late history and declineIn the 9th century the Pechenegs began a period of wars against Kievan Rus'. For more than two centuries they had launched raids into the lands of Rus', which sometimes escalated into full-scale wars (like the 920 war on the Pechenegs by Igor of Kiev, reported in the Primary Chronicle). The Pecheneg wars against Kievan Rus' caused the Slavs from Walachian territories to gradually migrate north of the Dniestr in the 10th and 11th centuries. Rus'/Pecheneg temporary military alliances also occurred however, as during the Byzantine campaign in 943 led by Igor. In 968 the Pechenegs attacked and besieged Kiev; some joined the Prince of Kiev, Sviatoslav I, in his Byzantine campaign of 970–971, though eventually they ambushed and killed the Kievan prince in 972. According to the Primary Chronicle, the Pecheneg Khan Kurya made a chalice from Sviatoslav's skull, in accordance with the custom of steppe nomads. The fortunes of the Rus'-Pecheneg confrontation swung during the reign of Vladimir I of Kiev (990–995), who founded the town of Pereyaslav upon the site of his victory over the Pechenegs, followed by the defeat of the Pechenegs during the reign of Yaroslav I the Wise in 1036. Shortly thereafter, other nomadic peoples replaced the weakened Pechenegs in the Pontic steppe: the Cumans and the Torks. According to Mykhailo Hrushevsky (History of Ukraine-Ruthenia), after its defeat near Kiev the Pecheneg Horde moved towards the Danube, crossed the river, and disappeared out of the Pontic steppes.
In the 12th century, according to Byzantine historian John Kinnamos, the Pechenegs fought as mercenaries for the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos in southern Italy against the Norman king of Sicily, William the Bad. A group of Pechenegs was present at the battle of Andria in 1155.
The Pechenegs were last mentioned in 1168 as members of Turkic tribes known in the chronicles as the "Black Hats".
In 15th-century Hungary, some people adopted the surname Besenyö (Hungarian for "Pecheneg"); they were most numerous in the county of Tolna. One of the earliest introductions of Islam into Eastern Europe came about through the work of an early 11th-century Muslim prisoner who was captured by the Byzantines. The Muslim prisoner was brought into the Besenyö territory of the Pechenegs, where he taught and converted individuals to Islam. In the late 12th century, Abu Hamid al Garnathi referred to Hungarian Pechenegs - probably Muslims - living disguised as Christians. In the southeast of Serbia, there is a village called Pecenjevce founded by Pechenegs. After war with Byzantium, the broken remnants of the tribes found refuge in the area, where they established their settlement.
- Turkic peoples
- Timeline of Turks (500-1300)
- List of Turkic dynasties and countries
- Turkic peoples
- Oghuz (disambiguation)
- Petržalka (Slovakia)
- Chepni another "Üçok" tribe.
- Anna Comnena: The Alexiad (Translated by E. R. A. Sewter) (1969). Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-044958-7.
- Constantine Porphyrogenitus: De Administrando Imperio (Greek text edited by Gyula Moravcsik, English translation b Romillyi J. H. Jenkins) (1967). Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies. ISBN 0-88402-021-5.
- Atalay, Besim (2006). Divanü Lügati't - Türk. Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi. ISBN 975-16-0405-2.
- Curta, Florin (2006). Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500-1250. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-89452-4.
- Golden, Peter B. (2003). Nomads and their Neighbours in the Russian Steppe: Turks, Khazars and Quipchaqs. Ashgate. ISBN 0-86078-885-7.
- Macartney, C. A. (1968). The Magyars in the Ninth Century. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-08070-5.
- Pritsak, Omeljan (1975). "The Pechenegs: A Case of Social and Economic Transformation". Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi (The Peter de Ridder Press) 1: 211–235.
- Róna-Tas, András (1999). Hungarians and Europe in the Early Middle Ages: An Introduction to Early Hungarian History (Translated by Nicholas Bodoczky). CEU Press. ISBN 978-963-9116-48-1.
- Spinei, Victor (2003). The Great Migrations in the East and South East of Europe from the Ninth to the Thirteenth Century (Translated by Dana Badulescu). ISBN 973-85894-5-2.
- Spinei, Victor (2009). The Romanians and the Turkic Nomads North of the Danube Delta from the Tenth to the Mid-Thirteenth century. Koninklijke Brill NV. ISBN 978-90-04-17536-5.
- (Russian) Golubovsky Peter V. (1884) Pechenegs, Torks and Cumans before the invasion of the Tatars. History of the South Russian steppes 9th-13th centuries (Печенеги, Торки и Половцы до нашествия татар. История южно-русских степей IX—XIII вв.) at Runivers.ru in DjVu format
- Pálóczi-Horváth, A. (1989). Pechenegs, Cumans, Iasians: Steppe peoples in medieval Hungary. Hereditas. Budapest: Kultúra [distributor]. ISBN 963-13-2740-X
- Pritsak, O. (1976). The Pečenegs: a case of social and economic transformation. Lisse, Netherlands: The Peter de Ridder Press.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Bashkir (disambiguation).
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2012)|
|approx. 2 million|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Volga Tatars, Kazakhs|
Most Bashkirs speak the Bashkir language, which belongs to the Kypchak branch of the Turkic languages and share cultural affinities with the broader Turkic peoples. In religion the Bashkirs are mainly Sunni Muslims of the Hanafi madhhab.
EthnonymThere are several theories regarding the etymology of the endonym Bashqort.
- Ethnologist R. G. Kuzeev defines the ethnonym as emanating from "bash" — "main, head" and "qort" — " clan, tribe".
- According to the theory of 18th-century ethnographers V. N. Tatishchev, P. I. Richkov, and Johann Gottlieb Georgi, the word "Bashqort" means "wolf-leader of the pack" (bash — "main",qort — "wolf").
- In 1847, the historian V. S. Yumatov suggested the meaning as "beekeeper, beemaster".
- Russian historian and ethnologist A. E. Alektorov in 1885 suggested that "Bashqort" means "distinct nation".
- The Turkologist N. A. Baskakov believed that the word "Bashqort" consists of two parts: "badz(a)" – brother-in-law" and "(o)gur" and means "Ugrics' brother-in-law".
- The historian and archaeologist Mikhail Artamonov has identified the Scythian tribe Bušxk' (or Bwsxk) with the ethnonym of modern Bashkirs. Historian R.H. Hewsen, however, rejects Artamanov's identification and instead identifies the Scythian Bušxk with the Volga Bulgars who were the estern neighbors of the Bashkirs at that time.
- Ethnologist N. V. Bikbulatov's theory states that the term originates from the name of legendary Khazar warlord Bashgird, who was dwelling with two thousand of his warriors in the area of the Jayıq river.
- According to Douglas Morton Dunlop: the word "Bashqort" comes from beshgur (or bashgur) which means "five tribes" and, since -sh- in the modern Bashkir language parallels -l- in Bulgar, the names Bashgur and Bulgar are equivalent.
- Historian and linguist András Róna-Tas believes the ethonym "Bashkir" is a Bulgar Turkic reflex of the Hungarian self-denomination "Magyar" (Old Hungarian: "Majer").
- Recent ethnographic material collected from the Hormozgan province of Iran has led to the assumption of a possible phonetic relation btween the ethnonym Bashkardi with the selfname of the Bashkirs, giving reasons to suggest ancient Iranian stratum in the Bashkir culture [see for Bashkardi people#Ethnonym & ethnic connections].
Middle AgesEarly records on the Bashkirs are found in medieval works by Sallam Tardzheman (9th century) and Ibn-Fadlan (10th century). Al-Balkhi (10th century) described Bashkirs as a people divided into two groups, one inhabiting the Southern Urals, the second group living on the Danube plain near the boundaries of Byzantium——therefore – given the geography and date – referring to either Danube Bulgars or Magyars. Ibn Rustah, a contemporary of Al Balkhi, observed that Bashkirs were an independent people occupying territories on both sides of the Ural mountain ridge between Volga, Kama, and Tobol Rivers and upstream of the Yaik river.
Achmed ibn-Fadlan visited Volga Bulgaria as a staff member in the embassy of the Caliph of Baghdad in 922. He described them as a belligerent Turk nation. Ibn-Fadlan described the Bashkirs as nature worshipers, identifying their deities as various forces of nature, birds and animals. He also described the religion of acculturated Bashkirs as a variant of Tengrism, including 12 'gods' and naming Tengri – lord of the endless blue sky.
The first European sources to mention the Bashkirs are the works of Joannes de Plano Carpini and William of Rubruquis in the mid-13th century. These travelers, encountering Bashkir tribes in the upper parts of the Ural River, called them Pascatir or Bastarci, and asserted that they spoke the same language as the Hungarians.
During the 10th century, Islam spread among the Bashkirs. By the 14th century, Islam had become the dominant religious force in Bashkir society.
By 1236, Bashkortostan was incorporated into the empire of Genghis Khan.
During the 13th and 14th centuries, all of Bashkortostan was part of the Golden Horde. The brother of Batu-Khan, Sheibani, received the Bashkir lands to the east of the Ural Mountains – at that time inhabited by the ancestors of contemporary Kurgan Bashkirs.
During the period of Mongolian-Tatar dominion, some of the Bashkirs became subjects of the Kipchaks. Under the Golden Horde, they were subjected to different elements of the Mongols. After the breakup of the Mongol Empire, the Bashkirs were split between the Kazan Khanate, the Nogay Horde, and Siberian Khanate.
Early modern period
In the middle of the 16th century, Bashkirs joined the Russian state. Previously they formed parts of the Nogai, Kazan, Sibir, and partly, Astrakhan khanates. Charters of Ivan the Terrible to Bashkir tribes became the basis of their contractual relationship with the tsar’s government. Primary documents pertaining to the Bashkirs during this period have been lost, some are mentioned in the (shezhere) family trees of the Bashkir.
The Bashkirs rebelled in 1662–64 and 1675–83 and 1705–11. In 1676, the Bashkirs rebelled under a leader named Seyid Sadir or 'Seit Sadurov', and the Russian army had great difficulties in ending the rebellion. The Bashkirs rose again in 1707, under Aldar and Kûsyom, on account of ill-treatment by the Russian officials.
1735 Bashkir War
Kirillov's plan was approved on May 1, 1734 and he was placed in command. He was warned that this would provoke a Bashkir rebellion, but the warnings were ignored. He left Ufa with 2,500 men in 1735 and fighting started on the first of July. The war consisted of many small raids and complex troop movements, so it cannot be easily summarized. For example: In the spring of 1736 Kirillov burned 200 villages, killed 700 in battle and executed 158. An expedition of 773 men left Orenburg in November and lost 500 from cold and hunger. During, at Seiantusa the Bashkir planned to massacre sleeping Russian. The ambush failed. One thousand villagers, including women and children, were put to the sword and another 500 driven into a storehouse and burned to death. Raiding parties then went out and burned about 50 villages and killed another 2,000. Eight thousand Bashkirs attacked a Russian camp and killed 158, losing 40 killed and three prisoners who were promptly hanged. Rebellious Bashkirs raided loyal Bashkirs. Leaders who submitted were sometimes fined one horse per household and sometimes hanged.
Bashkirs fought on both sides (40% of 'Russian' troops in 1740). Numerous leaders rose and fell. The oddest was Karasakal or Blackbeard who pretended to have 82,000 men on the Aral Sea and had his followers proclaim him 'Khan of Bashkiria'. His nose had been partly cut off and he had only one ear. Such mutilations are standard Imperial punishments. The Kazakhs of the Little Horde intervened on the Russian side, then switched to the Bashkirs and then withdrew. Kirillov died of disease during the war and there were several changes of commander. All this was at the time of Empress Anna of Russia and the Russo-Turkish War (1735–1739).
Although the history of the 1735 Bashkir War cannot be easily summarized, its results can be.
- The Russian Imperial goal of expansion into Central Asia was delayed to deal with the Bashkir problem.
- Bashkiria was pacified in 1735–1740.
- Orenburg was established.
- The southern side of Bashkiria was fenced off by the Orenburg Line of forts. It ran from Samara on the Volga east up the Samara River to its headwaters, crossed to the middle Ural River and followed it east and then north on the east side of the Urals and went east down the Uy River to Ust-Uisk on the Tobol River where it connected to the ill-defined 'Siberian Line' along the forest-steppe boundary.
- In 1740 a report was made of Bashkir losses which gave: Killed: 16,893, Sent to Baltic regiments and fleet: 3,236, Women and children distributed (presumably as serfs): 8,382, Grand Total: 28,511. Fines: Horses: 12,283, Cattle and Sheep: 6,076, Money: 9,828 rubles. Villages destroyed: 696. As this was compiled from army reports it excludes losses from irregular raiding, hunger, disease and cold. All this was from an estimated Bashkir population of 100,000.
The Bashkirs lived between the Kama, Volga, Samara and Tobol Rivers. The Samara River extends from the hairpin curve of the Volga east to the base of the Urals. The Tobol is east of the Upper Ural River. Orsk is where the Ural turns westward. The Belaya River with the town of Ufa cuts through the center.
The 2010 Russian census recorded 1,172,287 ethnic Bashkirs in Bashkortostan (29.5% of total population).
About 50% of Bashkirs are Muslim, 25% are unaffiliated, 11% are atheist, and 2% are pagan. There are also about less than 1% Protestant and Catholic Bashkirs.
CultureThe Bashkirs traditionally practiced agriculture, cattle-rearing and bee-keeping. The half-nomadic Bashkirs wandered either the mountains or the steppes, herding cattle.
Bashkir national dishes include a kind of gruel called öyrä and a cheese named qorot. Wild-hive beekeeping can be named as a separate component of the most ancient culture which is practiced in the same Burzyansky District near to the Shulgan-Tash cave.
«Ural-batyr» and «Akbuzat» are Bashkir national epics. Their plot concerns struggle of heroes against demonic forces. The peculiarity of them is that events and ceremonies described there can be addressed to a specific geographical and historical object –the Shulgan-Tash cave and its vicinities.
Bashkirs began to convert to Islam from in the 9th century. Arab traveler Ibn Fadlan in 921 met some of the Bashkirs, who were Muslims. The final assertion of Islam among the Bashkirs occurred in the 1320s and 1330s (Golden Horde times). On the territory of Bashkortostan preserved the burial place of the first Imam of Historical Bashkortostan — The mausoleum of Hussein-Bek, 14th-century building. In 1788 Catherine the Great established the "Orenburg Mohammedan Spiritual Assembly" in Ufa, which was the first Muslim administrative center in Russia.
In yearly 1990s began the religious revival among the Bashkirs. According to Talgat Tadzhuddin there are more than 1,000 mosques in Bashkortostan in 2010.
The Bashkirs are predominantly Sunni Muslims of the Hanafi madhhab.
GeneticsRegarding Y-DNA haplogroups, genetic studies have revealed that most Bashkir males belong to haplogroup R1b (R-M269 and R-M73) which is, on average, found at the frequency of 47,6 %. Following are the haplogroup R1a at the average frequency of 26.5%, and haplogroup N1c at 17%. In lower frequencies were also found haplogroups J2, C, O, E1b, G2a, L, N1b, I, T.
Most mtDNA haplogroups found in Bashkirs (65%) consist of the haplogroups G, D, С, Z and F; which are lineages characteristic of East Eurasian populations. On the other hand, mtDNA haplogroups characteristic of European and Middle Eastern populations were also found in significant amounts (35%).
Theories of origin
- the "Kurgan hypothesis", i.e. that the original homeland of the Proto-Indo-Europeans lay immediately west of the Ural Mountains, in or near present-day Bashkortostan, and;
- Alsou, singer (Bashkir father)
- Lyasan Utiasheva, gymnast and TV personality (Bashkir mother)
- Ildar Abdrazakov, opera singer
- Murtaza Rakhimov, first president of Bashkortostan
- Rustem Khamitov, president of Bashkortostan
- Zeki Velidi Togan, historian, Turkologist, and leader of the Bashkir revolutionary and liberation movement
- Salawat Yulayev, Bashkir national hero
- Irek Zaripov, biathlete and cross-country skier
- Tagir Kusimov, was a Soviet military leader.
- Zaynulla Rasulev, was a Bashkir religious leader in the 19th and early 20th centuries
- Kadir Timergazin, was also a Soviet petroleum geologist, the first doctor and professor of geological-mineralogical sciences from the Bashkirs, an honored scientist of the RSFSR.
- Mustai Karim, was a Bashkir Soviet poet, writer and playwright. He was named People's poet of the Bashkir Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (1963), Hero of Socialist Labour (1979), and winner of the Lenin Prize (1984) and the State Prize of the USSR (1972).
- Shaikhzada Babich, was a Bashkir poet, writer and playwright. Member of the Bashkir national liberation movement, one of the members of the Bashkir government (1917–1919).
- Kharrasov Mukhamet – was a rector of the Bashkir State University (2000–2010), Ph.D in physics, Honorary worker of Higher professional Education of Russia (2002).
- Yaroslava Shvedova - Kazakhstani tennis player (Bashkir mother)
- See, for example: Will Chang, Chundra Cathcart, David Hall, & Andrew Garrett, 'Ancestry-constrained phylogenetic analysis supports the Indo-European steppe hypothesis', Language, vol. 91, no. 1 (March) 2015, p. 196.
- Frhn, "De Baskiris", in Mrn. de l'Acad. de St-Pitersbourg, 1822.
- J. P. Carpini, "Liber Tartarorum", edited under the title "Relations des Mongols ou Tartares", by d'Avezac (Paris, 1838).
- Semenoff, "Geographical-statistic Dictionary of Russian Empire", 1863.
- Florinsky, in "Vestnik Evropy" magazine, 1874.
- Katarinskij, "Dictionnaire Bashkir-Russe", 1900.
- Gulielmus de Rubruquis, "The Journey of William of Rubruck to the Eastern Parts of the World", translated by V.W. Rockhill (London, 1900).
- William of Rubruck's "Account of the Mongols", 1900.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bashkirs". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Alton S. Donnelly, "The Russian Conquest of Bashkiria 1552–1740": Yale Univ. Press, 1968.
- Summerfield, Stephen Cossack Hurrah: Russian Irregular Cavalry Organisation and Uniforms during the Napoleonic Wars, Partizan Press, 2005 ISBN 1-85818-513-0
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bashkirs.|
- on YouTube
- on YouTube
- Culture of Bashkirs
- Bashkir folk-tales and legends
- The Bashkir nation: history pages (Russian)
- Photos of Bashkirs and their life in funds of the Library of Congress
- Photos of Bashkirs and their life in funds of the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (the Kunstkamera)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Khazar)
"Khazar" and "Kazar" redirect here. For other uses, see Khazar (disambiguation).
||It has been suggested that this article be split into a new article titled Khazar Khaganate. (Discuss.) (September 2015)|
|Kingdom of Khazaria
Khazar Khaganate, 650–850
|Capital||Balanjar (650-720 ca.)
|Political structure||Khazar Khaganate|
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
|•||7th century est.||1,400,000|
History of the Turkic peoples
|Turkic Khaganate 552–744|
|Avar Khaganate 564–804|
|Khazar Khaganate 618–1048|
|Great Bulgaria 632–668|
|Kangar union 659–750|
|Turgesh Khaganate 699–766|
|Uyghur Khaganate 744–840|
|Karluk Yabgu State 756–940|
|Kara-Khanid Khanate 840–1212|
|Gansu Uyghur Kingdom 848–1036|
|Kingdom of Qocho 856–1335|
|Oghuz Yabgu State
|Ghaznavid Empire 963–1186|
|Seljuk Empire 1037–1194|
|Seljuk Sultanate of Rum|
|Khwarazmian Empire 1077–1231|
|Delhi Sultanate 1206–1526|
|Golden Horde |  1240s–1502|
|Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo) 1250–1517|
|Ottoman Empire 1299-1923|
|History of Tatarstan|
|History of Russia|
|History of Ukraine|
Khazaria long served as a buffer state between the Byzantine empire and both the nomads of the northern steppes and the Umayyad empire, after serving as Byzantium's proxy against the Sasanian Persian empire. The alliance was dropped around 900. Byzantium began to encourage the Alans to attack Khazaria and weaken its hold on Crimea and the Caucasus, while seeking to obtain an entente with the rising Rus' power to the north, which it aspired to convert to Christianity. Between 965 and 969, the Kievan Rus ruler Sviatoslav I of Kiev conquered the capital Atil and destroyed the Khazar state.
Originally, the Khazars were pagan Tengrist worshippers. The populace of the Khazar Khaganate appears to have been multi-confessional—a mosaic of pagan, Tengrist, Jewish, Christian and Muslim worshippers. Beginning in the 8th century, Khazar royalty and notable segments of the aristocracy might have converted to Judaism. Khazar origins for, or suggestions Khazars were absorbed by many peoples, have been made regarding the Slavic Judaising Subbotniks, the Bukharan Jews, the Muslim Kumyks, Kazakhs, the Cossacks of the Don region, the Turkic-speaking Krymchaks and their Crimean neighbours the Karaites to the Moldavian Csángós, the Mountain Jews and others. A modern theory, that the core of Ashkenazi Jewry emerged from a hypothetical Khazarian Jewish diaspora, is now viewed with scepticism by most scholars, but occasionally supported by others. The theory is sometimes associated with antisemitism and anti-Zionism.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Linguistics
- 3 History
- 3.1 Tribal origins and early history
- 3.2 Rise of the Khazar state
- 3.3 Khazar state: culture and institutions
- 3.4 Khazars and Byzantium
- 3.5 Arab–Khazar wars
- 3.6 Rise of the Rus' and the collapse of the Khazarian state
- 3.7 Aftermath: impact, decline and dispersion
- 4 Religion
- 5 Claims of Khazar ancestry
- 6 In literature
- 7 Cities associated with the Khazars
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 External links
EtymologyGyula Németh, following Zoltán Gombocz, derived Xazar from a hypothetical *Qasar reflecting a Turkic root qaz- ("to ramble, to roam") being an hypothetical velar variant of Common Turkic kez-. With the publication of the fragmentary Tes and Terkhin inscriptions of the Uyğur empire (744-840) where the form 'Qasar' is attested, though uncertainty remains whether this represents a personal or tribal name, gradually other hypotheses emerged. Louis Bazin derived it from Turkic qas- ("tyrannize, oppress, terrorize") on the basis of its phonetic similarity to the Uyğur tribal name, Qasar. András Róna-Tas connects it with Kesar, the Pahlavi transcription of the Roman title Caesar.
D.M.Dunlop tried to link the Chinese term for "Khazars" to one of the tribal names of the Uyğur Toquz Oğuz, namely the Gésà. The objections are that Uyğur Gesa/Qasar was not a tribal name but rather the surname of the chief of the Sikari tribe of the Toquz Oğuz, and that in Middle Chinese the ethnonym "Khazars", always prefaced with the word Tūjué signifying 'Türk' (Tūjué Kěsà bù:突厥可薩部; Tūjué Hésà:突厥曷薩), is transcribed with characters different from those used to render the Qa- in the Uyğur word 'Qasar'.
After their conversion it is reported that they adopted the Hebrew script, and it is likely that, though speaking a Türkic language, the Khazar chancellery under Judaism probably corresponded in Hebrew. In Expositio in Matthaeum Evangelistam, Gazari, presumably Khazars, are referred to as the Hunnic people living in the lands of Gog and Magog and said to be circumcised and omnem Judaismum observat observing all the laws of Judaism.
Main article: Khazar languageDetermining the origins and nature of the Khazars is closely bound with theories of their languages, but it is a matter of intricate difficulty since no indigenous records in the Khazar language survive, and the state itself was polyglot and polyethnic. Whereas the royal or ruling elite probably spoke an eastern variety of Shaz Turkic, the subject tribes appear to have spoken varieties of Lir Turkic, such as Oğuric, a language variously identified with Bulğaric, Chuvash, and Hungarian (the latter based upon the assertion of the Persian historian al-Iṣṭakhrī that the Khazar language was different from any other known tongue). One method for tracing their origins consists in analysis of the possible etymologies behind the ethnonym Khazar itself.
Tribal origins and early historyThe tribes that were to comprise the Khazar empire were not an ethnic union, but a congeries of steppe nomads and peoples who came to be subordinated, and subscribed to a core Tűrkic leadership. Many Tűrkic groups, such as the Oğuric peoples, including Šarağurs, Oğurs, Onoğurs, and Bulğars who earlier formed part of the Tiĕlè (鐵勒) confederation, are attested quite early, having been driven West by the Sabirs, who in turn fled the Asian Avars, and began to flow into the Volga-Caspian-Pontic zone from as early as the 4th century CE and are recorded by Priscus to reside in the Western Eurasian steppelands as early as 463. They appear to stem from Mongolia and South Siberia in the aftermath of the fall of the Hunnic/Xiōngnú nomadic polities. A variegated tribal federation led by these Tűrks, probably comprising a complex assortment of Iranian, proto-Mongolic, Uralic, and Palaeo-Siberian clans, vanquished the Rouran Khaganate of the hegemonic central Asian Avars in 552 and swept westwards, taking in their train other steppe nomads and peoples from Sogdiana.
The ruling family of this confederation may have hailed from the Āshǐnà (阿史那) clan of the West Türkic tribes, though Constantine Zuckerman regards Āshǐnà and their pivotal role in the formation of the Khazars with scepticism. Golden notes that Chinese and Arabic reports are almost identical, making the connection a strong one, and conjectures that their leader may have been Yǐpíshèkuì (Chinese:乙毗射匱), who lost power or was killed around 651. Moving west, the confederation reached the land of the Akatziroi, who had been important allies of Byzantium in fighting off Attila's army.
Rise of the Khazar stateAn embryonic state of Khazaria began to form sometime after 630, when it emerged from the breakdown of the larger Göktürk Qağanate. Göktürk armies had penetrated the Volga by 549, ejecting the Avars, who were then forced to flee to the sanctuary of the Hungarian plain. The Āshǐnà clan whose tribal name was 'Türk' (the strong one) appear on the scene by 552, when they overthrew the Rourans and established the Göktürk Qağanate. By 568, these Göktürks were probing for an alliance with Byzantium to attack Persia. An internecine war broke out between the senior eastern Göktürks and the junior West Turkic Qağanate some decades later, when on the death of Taspar Qağan, a succession dispute led to a dynastic crisis between Taspar's chosen heir, the Apa Qağan, and the ruler appointed by the tribal high council, Āshǐnà Shètú (阿史那摄图), the Ishbara Qağan.
By the first decades of the 7th century, the Āshǐnà yabgu Tong managed to stabilize the Western division, but upon his death, after providing crucial military assistance to Byzantium in routing the Sasanian army in the Persian heartland, the Western Turkic Qağanate dissolved under pressure from the encroaching Tang dynasty armies and split into two competing federations, each consisting of five tribes, collectively known as the "Ten Arrows" (On Oq). Both briefly challenged Tang hegemony in eastern Turkestan. To the West, two new nomadic states arose in the meantime, Old Great Bulgaria under Kubrat, the Duōlù clan leader, and the Nǔshībì subconfederation, also consisting of five tribes. The Duōlù challenged the Avars in the Kuban River-Sea of Azov area while the Khazar Qağanate consolidated further westwards, led apparently by an Āshǐnà dynasty. With a resounding victory over the tribes in 657, engineered by General Sū Dìngfāng (蘇定方), Chinese overlordship was imposed to their East after a final mop-up operation in 659, but the two confederations of Bulğars and Khazars fought for supremacy on the western steppeland, and with the ascendency of the latter, the former either succumbed to Khazar rule or, as under Asparukh, Kubrat's son, shifted even further west across the Danube to lay the foundations of the Bulğar state in the Balkans (c. 679).
The Qağanate of the Khazars thus took shape out of the ruins of this nomadic empire as it broke up under pressure from the Tang dynasty armies to the east sometime between 630-650. After their conquest of the lower Volga region to the East and an area westwards between the Danube and the Dniepr, and their subjugation of the Onoğur-Bulğar union, sometime around 670, a properly constituted Khazar Qağanate emerges, becoming the westernmost successor state of the formidable Göktürk Qağanate after its disintegration. According to Omeljan Pritsak, the language of the Onoğur-Bulğar federation was to become the lingua franca of Khazaria as it developed into what Lev Gumilev called a 'steppe Atlantis' (stepnaja Atlantida/ Степная Атлантида). The high status soon to be accorded this empire to the north is attested by Ibn al-Balḫî's Fârsnâma (c. 1100), which relates that the Sasanian Shah, Ḫusraw 1, Anûsîrvân, placed three thrones by his own, one for the King of China, a second for the King of Byzantium, and a third for the king of the Khazars. Though anachronistic in retrodating the Khazars to this period, the legend, in placing the Khazar qağan on a throne with equal status to kings of the other two superpowers, bears witness to the reputation won by the Khazars from early times.
Khazar state: culture and institutions
Royal Diarchy with sacral QağanateKhazaria developed  a Dual kingship governance structure, typical among Turkic nomads, consisting of a shad/bäk and a qağan,. The emergence of this system may be deeply entwined with the conversion to Judaism. According to Arabic sources, the lesser king was called îšâ and the greater king Khazar xâqân; the former managed commanded the military, while the greater king's role was primarily sacral, less concerned with daily affairs. The greater king was recruited from the Khazar house of notables (ahl bait ma'rûfīn) and, in an initiation ritual, was nearly strangled until he declared the number of years he wished to reign, on the expiration of which he would be killed by the nobles. The deputy ruler would enter the presence of the reclusive greater king only with great ceremony, approaching him barefoot to prostrate himself in the dust and then light a piece of wood as a purifying fire, while waiting humbly and calmly to be summoned. Particularly elaborate rituals accompanied a royal burial. At one period, travellers had to dismount, bow before the ruler's tomb, and then walk away on foot. Subsequently, the charismatic sovereign's burial place was hidden from view, with a palatial structure ('Paradise') constructed and then hidden under rerouted river water to avoid disturbance by evil spirits and later generations. Such a royal burial ground (qoruq) is typical of inner Asian peoples. Both the îšâ and the xâqân converted to Judaism sometime in the 8th century, while the rest, according to the Persian traveller Ahmad ibn Rustah, probably followed the old Tūrkic religion.
Settlements were governed by administrative officials known as tuduns. In some cases, such as the Byzantine settlements in southern Crimea, a tudun would be appointed for a town nominally within another polity's sphere of influence. Other officials in the Khazar government included dignitaries referred to by ibn Fadlan as Jawyshyghr and Kündür, but their responsibilities are unknown.
DemographicsIt has been estimated that from 25 to 28 distinct ethnic groups made up the population of the Khazar Qağanate, aside from the ethnic elite. The ruling elite seems to have been constituted out of nine tribes/clans, themselves ethnically heterogeneous, spread over perhaps nine provinces or principalities, each of which would have been allocated to a clan. In terms of caste or class, some evidence suggests that there was a distinction, whether racial or social is unclear, between "White Khazars" (ak-Khazars) and "Black Khazars" (qara-Khazars). The 10th-century Muslim geographer al-Iṣṭakhrī claimed that the White Khazars were strikingly handsome with reddish hair, white skin, and blue eyes, while the Black Khazars were swarthy, verging on deep black, as if they were "some kind of Indian". Many Turkic nations had a similar (political, not racial) division between a "white" ruling warrior caste and a "black" class of commoners; the consensus among mainstream scholars is that Istakhri was confused by the names given to the two groups. However, Khazars are generally described by early Arab sources as having a white complexion, blue eyes, and reddish hair. The name of the presumed founding Āshǐnà clan itself may reflect an etymology suggestive of a darkish colour. The distinction appears to have survived the collapse of the Khazarian empire. Later Russian chronicles, commenting on the role of the Khazars in the magyarization of Hungary, refer to them as "White Oghurs" and Magyars as "Black Ogurs". Studies of the physical remains, such as skulls at Sarkel, have revealed a mixture of Slavic, other European, and a few Mongolian types.
EconomyThe import and export of foreign wares, and the revenues derived from taxing their transit, was a key hallmark of the Khazar economy, though it is said also to have produced isinglass. Distinctively among the nomadic steppe polities, the Khazar Qağanate developed a self-sufficient domestic Saltovo economy, a combination of traditional pastoralism - allowing sheep and cattle to be exported - extensive agriculture, abundant use of the Volga's rich fishing stocks, together with craft manufacture, with a diversification in lucrative returns from taxing international trade given its pivotal control of major trade routes. The Khazars constituted one of the two great furnishers of slaves to the Muslim market (the other being the Iranian Sâmânid amîrs), supplying it with captured Slavs and tribesmen from the Eurasian northlands. It was profits from the latter which enabled it to maintain a standard army of Khwarezm Muslim troops. The capital Atil reflected the division: Kharazān on the western bank where the king and his Khazar elite, with a retinue of some 4,000 attendants, dwelt, and Itil proper to the East, inhabited by Jews, Christians, Muslims and slaves and by craftsmen and foreign merchants. The ruling elite wintered in the city and spent from spring to late autumns in their fields. A large irrigated greenbelt, drawing on channels from the Volga river, lay outside the capital, where meadows and vineyards extended for some 20 farsakhs (ca. 60 miles?). While customs duties were imposed on traders, and tribute and tithes were exacted from 25-30 tribes, with a levy of one sable skin, squirrel pelt, sword, dirham per hearth or ploughshare, or hides, wax, honey and livestock, depending on the zone. Trade disputes were handled by a commercial tribunal in Atil consisting of 7 judges, two for each of the monotheistic inhabitants (Jews, Muslims, Christians) and one for the pagans.
Khazars and ByzantiumPechenegs provided great assistance to the Byzantines in the 9th century in exchange for regular payments. Byzantium also sought alliances with the Göktürks against common enemies: in the early 7th century, one such alliance was brokered with the Western Tűrks against the Persian Sasanians in the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628. The Byzantines called Khazaria Tourkía, and by the 9th. century refers to the Khazars as 'Turks'. During the period leading up to and after the siege of Constantinople in 626, Heraclius sought help via emissaries, and eventually personally, from a Göktürk chieftain of the Western Tűrkic Qağanate, Tong Yabghu Qağan, in Tiflis, plying him with gifts and the promise of marriage to his daughter, Epiphania. Tong Yabghu responded by sending a large force to ravage the Persian empire, marking the start of the Third Perso-Turkic War. A joint Byzantine-Tűrk operation breached the Caspian gates and sacked Derbent in 627. Together they then besieged Tiflis, where the Byzantines used traction trebuchets (ἑλέπόλεις) to breach the walls, one of their first known uses by the Byzantines. After the campaign, Tong Yabghu is reported, perhaps with some exaggeration, to have left some 40,000 troops behind with Heraclius. Though occasionally identified with Khazars, the Göktürk identification is more probable since the Khazars only emerged from that group after the fragmentation of the former sometime after 630. Sasanian Persia never recovered from the devastating defeat wrought by this invasion.
Decades later, Leo III (ruled 717-741) made a similar alliance to coordinate strategy against a common enemy, the Muslim Arabs. He sent an embassy to the Khazar qağan Bihar and married his son, the future Constantine V (ruled 741-775), to Bihar's daughter, a princess referred to as Tzitzak, in 732. On converting to Christianity, she took the name Irene. Constantine and Irene had a son, the future Leo IV (775-780), who thereafter bore the sobriquet, "the Khazar". Leo died in mysterious circumstances after his Athenian wife bore him a son, Constantine VI, who on his majority co-ruled with his mother, the dowager. He proved unpopular, and his death ended the dynastic link of the Khazars to the Byzantine throne. By the 8th century, Khazars dominated the Crimea (650-c.950), and even extended their influence into the Byzantine peninsula of Cherson until it was wrested back in the 10th century. Khazar and Farghânian (Φάργανοι) mercenaries constituted part of the imperial Byzantine Hetaireia bodyguard after its formation in 840, a position that could openly be purchased by a payment of 7 pounds of gold.
Main article: Arab–Khazar WarsDuring the 7th and 8th centuries, the Khazars fought a series of wars against the Umayyad Caliphate and its Abbasid successor. The First Arab-Khazar War began during the first phase of Muslim expansion. By 640, Muslim forces had reached Armenia; in 642 they launched their first raid across the Caucasus under Abd ar-Rahman ibn Rabiah. In 652 Arab forces advanced on the Khazar capital, Balanjar, but were defeated, suffering heavy losses; according to Persian historians such as al-Tabari, both sides in the battle used catapults against the opposing troops. A number of Russian sources give the name of a Khazar khagan from this period as Irbis and describe him as a scion of the Göktürk royal house, the Ashina. Whether Irbis ever existed is open to debate, as is whether he can be identified with one of the many Göktürk rulers of the same name.
Due to the outbreak of the First Muslim Civil War and other priorities, the Arabs refrained from repeating an attack on the Khazars until the early 8th century. The Khazars launched a few raids into Transcaucasian principalities under Muslim dominion, including a large-scale raid in 683–685 during the Second Muslim Civil War that rendered much booty and many prisoners. There is evidence from the account of al-Tabari that the Khazars formed a united front with the remnants of the Göktürks in Transoxiana.
In 724, Arab general al-Jarrah ibn Abdallah al-Hakami inflicted a crushing defeat on the Khazars in a long battle between the rivers Cyrus and Araxes, then moved on to capture Tiflis, bringing Caucasian Iberia under Muslim suzerainty. The Khazars struck back in 726, led by a prince named Barjik, launching a major invasion of Albania and Azerbaijan; by 729, the Arabs had lost control of northeastern Transcaucasia and were thrust again into the defensive. In 730, Barjik invaded Iranian Azerbaijan and defeated Arab forces at Ardabil, killing the general al-Djarrah al-Hakami and briefly occupying the town. Barjik was defeated and killed the next year at Mosul, where he directed Khazar forces from a throne mounted with al-Djarrah's severed head. Arab armies led first by the prince Maslamah ibn Abd al-Malik and then by Marwan ibn Muhammad (later Caliph Marwan II) poured across the Caucasus and in 737 defeated a Khazar army led by Hazer Tarkhan, briefly occupying Atil itself. The Qağan was forced to accept terms involving conversion to Islam, and to subject himself to the Caliphate, but the accommodation was short-lived as a combination of internal instability among the Umayyads and Byzantine support undid the agreement within three years, and the Khazars re-asserted their independence. The adoption of Judaism by the Khazars, which in this theory would have taken place around 740, may have been part of this re-assertion of independence.
Whatever the impact of Marwan's campaigns, warfare between the Khazars and the Arabs ceased for more than two decades after 737. Arab raids continued until 741, but their control in the region was limited as maintaining a large garrison at Derbent further depleted the already overstretched army. A third Muslim civil war soon broke out, leading to the Abbasid Revolution and the fall of the Umayyad dynasty in 750.
In 758, the Abbasid Caliph al-Mansur attempted to strengthen diplomatic ties with the Khazars, ordering Yazid ibn Usayd al-Sulami, one of his nobles and the military governor of Armenia, to take a royal Khazar bride. Yazid married a daughter of Khazar Khagan Baghatur, but she died inexplicably, possibly in childbirth. Her attendants returned home, convinced that some Arab faction had poisoned her, and her father was enraged. Khazar general Ras Tarkhan invaded south of the Caucasus in 762–764, devastating Albania, Armenia, and Iberia, and capturing Tiflis. Thereafter relations became increasingly cordial between the Khazars and the Abbasids, whose foreign policies were generally less expansionist than the Umayyads, broken only by a series of raids in 799 over another failed marriage alliance.
Rise of the Rus' and the collapse of the Khazarian state
By the 880s, Khazar control of the Middle Dnieper from Kiev, where they collected tribute from Eastern Slavic tribes, began to wane as Oleg of Novgorod wrested control of the city from the Varangian warlords Askold and Dir, and embarked on what was to prove to be the foundation of a Rus' empire. The Khazars had initially allowed the Rus' to use the trade route along the Volga River, and raid southwards. According to al-Masudi, the qağan is said to have given his assent on the condition that the Rus' give him half of the booty. In 913, however, two years after Byzantium concluded a peace treaty with the Rus' (911). A Varangian foray, with Khazar connivance, through Arab lands led to a request to the Khazar throne by the Khwârazmian Islamic guard for permission to retaliate against the large Rus' contingent on its return. The purpose was to revenge the violence the Rus' razzia had inflicted on their fellow Muslim believers. The Rus' force was thoroughly routed and massacred. The Khazar rulers closed the passage down the Volga to the Rus', sparking a war. In the early 960s, Khazar ruler Joseph wrote to Hasdai ibn Shaprut about the deterioration of Khazar relations with the Rus': 'I protect the mouth of the river (Itil-Volga) and prevent the Rus arriving in their ships from setting off by sea against the Ishmaelites and (equally) all (their) enemies from setting off by land to Bab. '
In the Russian chronicle the vanquishing of the Khazar traditions is associated with Vladimir's conversion in 986. According to the Primary Chronicle, in 986 Khazar Jews were present at Vladimir's disputation to decide on the prospective religion of the Kievian Rus'. Whether these were Jews who had settled in Kiev or emissaries from some Jewish Khazar remnant state is unclear. Conversion to one of the faiths of the people of Scripture was a precondition to any peace treaty with the Arabs, whose Bulgar envoys had arrived in Kiev after 985.
A visitor to Atil wrote soon after the sacking of the city that its vineyards and garden had been razed, that not a grape or raisin remained in the land, and not even alms for the poor were available. An attempt to rebuild may have been undertaken, since Ibn Hawqal and al-Muqaddasi refer to it after that date, but by Al-Biruni's time (1048) it was in ruins.
Aftermath: impact, decline and dispersionThough Poliak argued that the Khazar kingdom did not wholly succumb to Sviatoslav's campaign, but lingered on until 1224, when the Mongols invaded Rus', by most accounts, the Rus'-Oghuz campaigns left Khazaria devastated, with perhaps many Khazarian Jews in flight, and leaving behind at best a minor rump state. It left little trace, except for some placenames, and much of its population was undoubtedly absorbed in successor hordes. Al-Muqaddasi, writing ca.985, mentions Khazar beyond the Caspian sea as a district of 'woe and squalor', with honey, many sheep and Jews. Kedrenos mentions a joint Rus'-Byzantine attack on Khazaria in 1016, which defeated its ruler Georgius Tzul. The name suggests Christian affiliations. The account concludes by saying, that after Tzul's defeat, the Khazar ruler of "upper Media", Senaccherib, had to sue for peace and submission. In 1024 Mstislav of Chernigov (one of Vladimir's sons) marched against his brother Yaroslav with an army that included "Khazars and Kassogians" in a repulsed attempt to restore a kind of 'Khazarian'-type dominion over Kiev.Ibn al-Athir's mention of a 'raid of Faḍlūn the Kurd against the Khazars' in 1030 CE, in which 10,000 of his men were vanquished by the latter, has been taken (by ) as a reference to such a Khazar remnant, but Barthold identified this Faḍlūn as Faḍl ibn Muḥammad and the 'Khazars' as either Georgians or Abkhazians. A Kievian prince named Oleg, grandson of Jaroslav was reportedly kidnapped by "Khazars" in 1079 and shipped off to Constantinople, although most scholars believe that this is a reference to the Cumans-Kipchaks or other steppe peoples then dominant in the Pontic region. Upon his conquest of Tmutarakan in the 1080s Oleg Sviatoslavich, son of a prince of Chernigov, gave himself the title "Archon of Khazaria". In 1083 Oleg is said to have exacted revenge on the Khazars after his brother Roman was killed by their allies, the Polovtsi/Cumans. After one more conflict with these Polovtsi in 1106, the Khazars fade from history.
By the end of the 12th century, Petachiah of Ratisbon reported traveling through what he called "Khazaria", and had little to remark on other than describing its minim (sectaries) living amidst desolation in perpetual mourning. The reference seems to be to Karaites. The Franciscan missionary William of Rubruck likewise found only impoverished pastures in the lower Volga area where Ital once lay. Giovanni da Pian del Carpine, the papal legate to the court of the Mongol Khan Guyuk at that time, mentioned an otherwise unattested Jewish tribe, the Brutakhi, perhaps in the Volga region. Though connections are made to the Khazars, the link is based merely on a common attribution of Judaism.
Khazaria nonetheless left its mark on the rising states and some of their traditions and institutions. Much earlier, Tzitzak, the Khazar wife of Leo III introduced into the Byzantine court the distinctive kaftan or riding habit of the nomadic Khazars, the tzitzakion (τζιτζάκιον), and this was adopted as a solemn element of imperial dress. The orderly hierarchical system of succession by 'scales' (lestvichnaia sistema:лествичная система) to the Grand Principate of Kiev was arguably modeled on Khazar institutions, via the example of the Rus' Khaganate.
The proto-Hungarian Pontic tribe, while perhaps threatening Khazaria as early as 839 (Sarkel), developed its institutional models, such as the dual rule of a ceremonial kende-kündü and a gyula administering practical and military administration, under Khazar tutelage. A dissident group of Khazars, the Qabars, joined the Hungarians in their flight from the Pechenegs as they moved into Pannonia. Elements within the Hungarian population can be viewed as perpetuating Khazar traditions as a successor state. Byzantine sources refer to Hungary as Western Tourkia in contrast to Khazaria, Eastern Tourkia. The gyula line produced the kings of medieval Hungary through descent from Árpád, while the Qabars retained their traditions longer, and were known as "black Hungarians" (fekete magyarság). Some archeological evidence from Čelarevo suggests the Qabars practiced Judaism since warrior graves with Jewish symbols were found there, including menorahs, shofars, etrogs, lulavs, candlesnuffers, ash collectors, inscriptions in Hebrew, and a six-pointed star identical to the Star of David.
The word Khazar, as an ethnonym, was last used in the 13th century by a people in the North Caucasus believed to practice Judaism. The nature of a hypothetical Khazar diaspora, Jewish or otherwise, is disputed. Avraham ibn Daud mentions encountering rabbinical students descended from Khazars as far away as Toledo, Spain in the 1160s. Khazar communities persisted here and there. Many Khazar mercenaries served in the armies of the Islamic Caliphates and other states. Documents from medieval Constantinople attest to a Khazar community mingled with the Jews of the suburb of Pera. Khazar merchants were active in both Constantinople and Alexandria in the 12th. century.
Main article: TengriismDirect sources for Khazar religion are not many, but in all likelihood they originally practiced a traditional Turkic form of cultic practices known as Tengriism, which focused on the sky god Tengri. Something of its nature may be deduced from what we know of the rites and beliefs of contiguous tribes, such as the North Caucasian Huns. Horse sacrifices were made to this supreme deity. Rites involved offerings to fire, water, and the moon, to remarkable creatures, and to "gods of the road" (cf. Old Türk yol tengri, perhaps a god of fortune). Sun amulets were widespread as cultic ornaments. A tree cult was also maintained. Whatever was struck by lightning, man or object, was considered a sacrifice to the high god of heaven. The afterlife, to judge from excavations of aristocratic tumuli, was much a continuation of life on earth, warriors being interred with their weapons, horses, and sometimes with human sacrifices: the funeral of one tudrun in 711-12 saw 300 soldiers killed to accompany him to the otherworld. Ancestor worship was observed. The key religious figure appears to have been a shamanizing qam, and it was these (qozmím) that were, according to the Khazar Hebrew conversion stories, driven out.
Many sources suggest, and a notable number of scholars have argued, that the charismatic Āshǐnà clan played a germinal role in the early Khazar state, though Zuckerman dismisses the widespread notion of their pivotal role as a 'phantom'. The Āshǐnà were closely associated with the Tengri cult, whose practices involved rites performed to assure a tribe of heaven's protective providence. The qağan was deemed to rule by virtue of qut, "the heavenly mandate/good fortune to rule."
ChristianityKhazaria long served as a buffer state between the Byzantine empire and both the nomads of the northern steppes and the Umayyad empire, after serving as Byzantium's proxy against the Sasanian Persian empire. The alliance was dropped around 900. Byzantium began to encourage the Alans to attack Khazaria and weaken its hold on Crimea and the Caucasus, while seeking to obtain an entente with the rising Rus' power to the north, which it aspired to convert to Christianity.
On Khazaria's southern flank, both Islam and Byzantine Christianity were proselytising great powers. Byzantine success in the north was sporadic, though Armenian and Albanian missions from Derbend built churches extensively in maritime Daghestan, then a Khazar district, Buddhism also had exercised an attraction on leaders of both the Eastern (552-742) and Western Qağanates (552-659), the latter being the progenitor of the Khazar state. In 682, according to the Armenian chronicle of Movsês Dasxuranc'i, the king of Caucasian Albania, Varaz Trdat, dispatched a bishop Israyêl to convert Caucasian "Huns" who were subject to the Khazars, and managed to bring Alp Ilut'uêr, a son-in-law of the Khazar qağan, and his army, to abandon their shamanizing cults and join the Christian fold.
The Arab Georgian martyr St Abo, who converted to Christianity within the Khazar kingdom around 779-80, describes local Khazars as irreligious. Some reports register a Christian majority at Samandar, or Muslim majorities
Jews from both the Islamic world and Byzantium are known to have migrated to Khazaria during periods of persecution under Heraclius, Justinian II, Leo III, and Romanus Lakapēnos. For Simon Schama, Jewish communities from the Balkans and the Bosphoran Crimea, especially from Panticapaeum began migrating to the more hospitable climate of pagan Khazaria in the wake of these persecutions, and were joined there by Jewish refugees from Armenia. The Geniza fragments, he argues, make it clear the Judaising reforms sent roots down into the whole of the population. The pattern is one of an elite conversion preceding large-scale adoption of the new religion by the general population, which often resisted the imposition. One important condition for mass conversion was a settled urban state, where churches, synagogues or mosques provided a focus for religion, as opposed to the free nomadic lifestyle of life on the open steppes. A tradition of the Iranian Judeo-Tats claims that their ancestors were responsible for the Khazar conversion.
Both the date of the conversion, and the extent of its influence beyond the elite, often minimized in some scholarship, are a matter of dispute, but at some point between 740 CE and 920 CE, the Khazar royalty and nobility appear to have converted to Judaism, in part, it is argued, perhaps to deflect competing pressures from Arabs and Byzantines to accept either Islam or Orthodoxy. Christian of Stavelot in his Expositio in Matthaeum Evangelistam (ca.860-870s) refers to Gazari, presumably Khazars, as living in the lands of Gog and Magog, who were circumcised and omnem Judaismum observat observing all the laws of Judaism. New numismatic evidence of coins dated 837/8 bearing the inscriptions arḍ al-ḫazar (Land of the Khazars), or Mûsâ rasûl Allâh (Moses is the messenger of God, in imitation of the Islamic coin phrase: Muḥammad rasûl Allâh) suggest to many the conversion took place in that decade. Olsson argues that the 837/8 evidence marks only the beginning of a long and difficult official Judaization that concluded some decades later. Another view holds that by the 10th century, while the royal clan officially claimed Judaism, a non-normative variety of Islamisation took place among the majority of Khazars.
By the 10th century, the letter of King Joseph asserts that, after the royal conversion, "Israel returned (yashuvu yisra'el) with the people of Qazaria (to Judaism) in complete repentance (bi-teshuvah shelemah). Persian historian Ibn al-Faqîh wrote that 'all the Khazars are Jews, but they have been Judaized recently'. Ibn Fadlân, based on his Caliphal mission (921-922) to the Volga Bulğars, also reported that 'the core element of the state, the Khazars, were Judaized', something underwritten by the Qaraite scholar Ya'kub Qirqisânî around 937. The conversion appears to have occurred against a background of frictions arising from both an intensification of Byzantine missionary activity in from the Crimea to the Caucasus, and Arab attempts to wrest control over the latter in the 8th century CE, and a revolt, put down, by the Khavars around the mid-9th century is often invoked as in part influenced by their refusal to accept Judaism. Modern scholars generally see the conversion as a slow process through three stages, which accords with Richard Eaton's model of syncretic inclusion, gradual identification and, finally, displacement of the older tradition.
Some time between 954 and 961, Ḥasdai ibn Shaprūṭ wrote a letter of inquiry addressed to the ruler of Khazaria, and received a reply from Joseph of Khazaria. The exchanges of this Khazar Correspondence, together with the Schechter Letter discovered in the Cairo Geniza and the famous platonizing dialogue by Judah Halevi, Sefer ha-Kuzari ('The Khazar'), which plausibly drew on such sources, provide us with the only direct evidence of the indigenous traditions concerning the conversion. King Bulan is said to have driven out the sorcerers, and to have received angelic visitations exhorting him to find the true religion, upon which, accompanied by his vizier, he travelled to desert mountains of Warsān on a seashore, where he came across a cave rising from the plain of Tiyul in which Jews used to celebrate the Sabbath. Here he was circumcised. Bulan is then said to have convened a royal debate between exponents of the three Abrahamic religions. He decided to convert when he was convinced of Judaism's superiority. Many scholars situate this c. 740CE, a date supported by Halevi's own account. The details are both Judaic  and Türkic: a Türkic ethnogonic myth speaks of an ancestral cave in which the Āshǐnà were conceived from the mating of their human ancestor and a wolf ancestress. These accounts suggest that there was a rationalizing syncretism of native pagan traditions with Jewish law, by melding through the motif of the cave, a site of ancestral ritual and repository of forgotten sacred texts, Türkic myths of origin and Jewish notions of redemption of Israel's fallen people. It is generally agreed they adopted Rabbinical rather than Qaraite Judaism.
Ibn Fadlan reports that the settlement of disputes in Khazaria was adjudicated by judges hailing each from his community, be it Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or Pagan. Some evidence suggests that the Khazar king saw himself as a defender of Jews even beyond the kingdom's frontiers, retaliating against Muslim or Christian interests in Khazaria in the wake of Islamic and Byzantine persecutions of Jews abroad. Ibn Fadlan recounts specifically an incident in which the king of Khazaria destroyed the minaret of a mosque in Atil as revenge for the destruction of a synagogue in Dâr al-Bâbûnaj, and allegedly said he would have done worse were it not for a fear that the Muslims might retaliate in turn against Jews. Ḥasdai ibn Shaprūṭ sought information on Khazaria in the hope he might discover 'a place on this earth where harassed Israel can rule itself' and wrote that, were it to prove true that Khazaria had such a king, he would not hesitate to forsake his high office and his family in order to emigrate there.
Abraham Harkavy  noted in 1877 that an Arabic commentary on Isaiah 48:14, ascribed to Saadia Gaon or to the Karaite scholar Benjamin Nahâwandî, interpreted "The Lord hath loved him" as a reference "This refers to the Khazars, who will go and destroy Babel" (i.e., Babylonia), a name used to designate the country of the Arabs. This has been taken as an indication of hopes by Persian Jews that the Khazars might succeed in destroying the Caliphate.
IslamIn 965, as the Qağanate was struggling against the victorious campaign of the Rus' prince Sviatoslav, the Islamic historian Ibn al-Athîr mentions that Khazaria, attacked by the Oğuz, sought help from Khwarezm, but their appeal was rejected because they were regarded as 'infidels' (al-kuffâr:pagans). Save for the king, the Khazarians are said to have converted to Islam in order to secure an alliance, and the Turks were, with Khwarezm's military assistance repelled. It was this that, according to Ibn al-Athîr, led the Jewish king of Khazar to convert to Islam.
Claims of Khazar ancestryKhazar origins for, or suggestions Khazars were absorbed by many peoples, have been made regarding the Slavic Judaising Subbotniks, the Bukharan Jews, the Muslim Kumyks, Kazakhs, Nogais, the Cossacks of the Don region, the Turkic-speaking Krymchaks and their Crimean neighbours the Karaites to the Moldavian Csángós, the Mountain Jews and others. Turkic-speaking Crimean Karaites (known in the Crimean Tatar language as Qaraylar), some of whom migrated in 19th century from Crimea to Poland and Lithuania have claimed Khazar origins. Specialists in Khazar history question the connection. Scholarship is likewise sceptical of claims that the Tatar-speaking Krymchak Jews of the Crimea descend from Khazars. Even certain European peoples, such as, Hungarians, and Bulgarians are also believed to have Khazar ancestors.
Main article: Khazar theory of Ashkenazi ancestrySeveral scholars have suggested that the Khazars did not disappear after the dissolution of their Empire, but migrated West to eventually form part of the core of the later Ashkenazi Jewish population of Europe. This hypothesis is greeted with scepticism or caution by most scholars.
Abraham Eliyahu Harkavi then suggested as early as 1869 that there might be a link between the Khazars and European Jews, but the theory that Khazar converts formed a major proportion of Ashkenazi was first proposed to a Western public in a lecture by Ernest Renan in 1883. Occasional suggestions emerged that there was a small Khazar component in East European Jews in works by Joseph Jacobs (1886), Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu, a critic of anti-Semitism, (1893) Maksymilian Ernest Gumplowicz, and by the Russian-Jewish anthropologist Samuel Weissenberg. In 1909 Hugo von Kutschera developed the notion into a book-length study, arguing Khazars formed the foundational core of the modern Ashkenazi. Maurice Fishberg introduced the notion to American audiences in 1911. The idea was also taken up by the Polish-Jewish economic historian and General Zionist Yitzhak Schipper in 1918. Scholarly anthropologists, such as Roland B. Dixon (1923), and writers like H. G. Wells (1921) used it to argue that "The main part of Jewry never was in Judea", a thesis that was to have a political echo in later opinion. In 1932, Samuel Krauss ventured the theory that the biblical Ashkenaz referred to northern Asia Minor, and identified it with the Khazars, a position immediately disputed by Jacob Mann. Ten years later, in 1942, Abraham N. Poliak, later professor for the history of the Middle Ages at Tel Aviv University, published a Hebrew monograph in which he concluded that the East European Jews came from Khazaria. D.M. Dunlop, writing in 1954, thought very little evidence backed what he regarded as a mere assumption, and argued that the Ashkenazi-Khazar descent theory went far beyond what "our imperfect records" permit. Léon Poliakov, while assuming the Jews of Western Europe resulted from a "panmixia" in the Ist millennium, asserted in 1955 that it was widely assumed that Europe's Eastern Jews descended from a mixture of Khazarian and German Jews. Poliak's work found some support in Salo Wittmayer Baron and Ben-Zion Dinur, but was dismissed by Bernard Weinryb as a fiction (1962).
The Khazar-Ashkenazi hypothesis came to the attention of a much wider public with the publication of Arthur Koestler's The Thirteenth Tribe in 1976. which was both positively reviewed and dismissed as a fantasy, and a somewhat dangerous one. Israel's ambassador to Britain branded it "an anti-Semitic action financed by the Palestinians", while Bernard Lewis claimed that the idea was not supported by any evidence whatsoever, and had been abandoned by all serious scholars. Raphael Patai, however, registered some support for the idea that Khazar remnants had played a role in the growth of Eastern European Jewish communities, and several amateur researchers, such as Boris Altschüler (1994) and Kevin Alan Brook, kept the thesis in the public eye. The theory has been occasionally manipulated to deny Jewish nationhood. Recently, a variety of approaches, from linguistics (Paul Wexler) to historiography (Shlomo Sand) and population genetics (Eran Elhaik, a geneticist from the University of Sheffield) have emerged to keep the theory alive. In broad academic perspective, both the idea that the Khazars converted en masse to Judaism, and the suggestion they emigrated to form the core population of Ashkenazi Jewry, remain highly polemical issues.
One thesis, held that the Khazar Jewish population went into a northern diaspora and had a significant impact on the rise of Ashkenazi Jews. Connected to this thesis is the theory, expounded by Paul Wexler, that the grammar of Yiddish contains a Khazar substrate.
Use in anti-Semitic polemicsMaurice Fishberg and Roland B Dixon's works were later exploited in racist and religious polemical literature in both Britain, in British Israelism, and the United States. Particularly after the publication of Burton J. Hendrick's The Jews in America (1923) it began to enjoy a vogue among advocates of immigration restriction in the 1920s; racial theorists like Lothrop Stoddard; anti-Semitic conspiracy-theorists like the Ku Klux Klan's Hiram Wesley Evans; anti-communist polemicists like John O. Beaty and Wilmot Robertson, whose views influenced David Duke. According to Yehoshafat Harkabi (1968) and others, it played a role in Arab anti-Zionist polemics, and took on an anti-semitic edge. Bernard Lewis, noting in 1987 that Arab scholars had dropped it, remarked that it only occasionally emerged in Arab political discourse. It has also played some role in Soviet anti-Semitic chauvinism and Slavic Eurasian historiography, particularly in the works of scholars like Lev Gumilev. Although the Khazar hypothesis never played any major role in anti-semitism, and though the existence of a Jewish kingdom north of the Caucasus had formerly long been denied by Christian religious commentators, it came to be exploited by the White supremacist Christian movement  and even by terrorist esoteric cults like Aum Shinrikyō.
See also: Ashkenazi Jews § Genetic origins, Genetic studies on Jews and Khazar theory of Ashkenazi ancestry § GeneticsThe hypothesis of Khazarian ancestry in Ashkenazi has also been a subject of discussion in the new field of population genetics, wherein claims have been made concerning evidence both for and against it. Eran Elhaik argued in 2012 for a significant Khazar component in the paternal line based on the study of Y-DNA of Ashkenazi Jews, using Caucasian populations, Georgians, Armenians and Azerbaijani Jews as proxies. The general response to such a position is dismissive, arguing that, if traces of descent from Khazars exist in the Ashkenazi gene pool, the contribution would be quite minor, or insignificant.
According to Nadia Abu El-Haj, the issues of origins are generally complicated by the difficulties of writing history via genome studies and the biases of emotional investments in different narratives, depending on whether the emphasis lies on direct descent or on conversion within Jewish history. The lack of Khazar DNA samples that might allow verification also presents difficulties.
Crimean Karaite claims
Main article: Crimean KaraitesIn 1846, the Russian orientalist Vasilii Vasil'evich Grigor'ev (1816–1881) theorized that the Crimean Karaites were of Khazar stock, an allegation quickly taken up outsiders though unfamiliar to the Karaites themselves at the time.
Today many Karaims deny Israelite origins and consider themselves to be descendants of the Khazars. Specialists in Khazar history question the connection.
GeneticsLeon Kull and Kevin Alan Brook led the first scientific study of Crimean Karaites using genetic testing of both Y chromosomal DNA and mitochondrial DNA and the results showed that Crimean Karaites are indeed partially of Middle Eastern origin and related to other Jews.
Main article: Khazars in fictionThe Kuzari is an influential work written by the medieval Spanish Jewish philosopher and poet Rabbi Yehuda Halevi (c. 1075–1141). Divided into five essays (ma'amarim), it takes the form of a fictional dialogue between the pagan king of the Khazars and a Jew who was invited to instruct him in the tenets of the Jewish religion. The intent of the work, although based on Ḥasdai ibn Shaprūṭ's correspondence with the Khazar king, was not historical, but rather to defend Judaism as a revealed religion, written in the context, firstly of Karaite challenges to the Spanish rabbinical intelligentsia, and then against temptations to adapt Aristotelianism and Islamic philosophy to the Jewish faith. Originally written in Arabic, it was translated into Hebrew by Judah ibn Tibbon. Benjamin Disraeli's early novel Alroy (1833) draws on Menachem ben Solomon's story. The question of mass religious conversion and the indeterminability of the truth of stories about identity and conversion are central themes of Milorad Pavić's bestselling mystery story Dictionary of the Khazars. H.N. Turteltaub's Justinian, Marek Halter's Book of Abraham and Wind of the Khazars, and Michael Chabon's Gentlemen of the Road allude to or feature elements of Khazar history or create fictional Khazar characters.
Cities associated with the KhazarsAtil, Khazaran, Samandar; in the Caucasus, Balanjar, Kazarki, Sambalut, and Samiran; in Crimea and the Taman region, Kerch, Theodosia, Yevpatoria (Güzliev), Samkarsh (also called Tmutarakan, Tamatarkha), and Sudak. In the Don valley Sarkel. A number of Khazar settlements have been discovered in the Mayaki-Saltovo region. Some scholars suppose that the Khazar settlement of Sambat on the Dnieper refers to the later Kiev.
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- Wells, H. G. (1973) . The Outline of History: The Roman Empire to the Great War 2. Barnes & Noble. ISBN 978-0-7607-5867-0.
- Wexler, Paul. (1987). Explorations in Judeo-Slavic Linguistics. Contributions to the sociology of Jewish languages 2. Brill Archive. ISBN 978-90-04-07656-3. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- Wexler, Paul (1996). The non-Jewish origins of the Sephardic Jews. SUNY. ISBN 978-1-4384-2393-7.
- Wexler, Paul. (2002). Two-Tiered Relexification in Yiddish:Jews, Sorbs, Khazars and the Kiev-Polessian Dialect. Trends in linguistics / Studies and monographs: Studies and monographs 136. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-017258-4. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- Wexler, Paul (2007). "Yiddish Evidence for the Khazar Component in the Ashkenazic ethnogenesis". In Golden, Peter B.; Ben-Shammai,, Haggai; Róna-Tas, András. The World of the Khazars:New Perspectives. Handbuch der Orientalistik: Handbook of Uralic studies 17. BRILL. pp. 387–398. ISBN 978-90-04-16042-2. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
- Whittow, David (1996). The Making of Byzantium, 600-1025. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-20496-6.
- Zhivkov, Boris (2015). Khazaria in the Ninth and Tenth Centuries. BRILL. ISBN 978-9-004-29448-6.
- Zuckerman, Constantine (1995). "On the date of the Khazars' Conversion to Judaism and the Chronology of the Kings of the Rus' Oleg and Igor". Revue des Études Byzantines 53. pp. 237–270.
- Lecture on the Jews of Khazaria by Dr. Henry Ambramson
- The Kievan Letter scan in the Cambridge University Library collection.
- Resources - Medieval Jewish History - The Khazars The Jewish History Resource Center, Project of the Dinur Center for Research in Jewish History, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Khazar Historic Maps at the Wayback Machine (archived October 26, 2009)
- The Kitab al-Khazari of Judah Hallevi, full English translation at sacred-texts.com
- Ancient lost capital of the Khazar kingdom found
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