Khazars ne was a halvnomadisk Turkish people from Central Asia , which in its heyday was a major regional power. In the seventh century they formed an independent khaganat in Northern Caucasus along the Caspian Sea . At the height of his power controlled them and their subordinates people large parts of what is now southern Russia , western Kazakhstan , eastern Ukraine , large parts of the Caucasus (including Dagestan , Azerbaijan , Georgia ) and Crimea .

The name “Khazar” or “cosri”) is assumed to be related to a Turkish verb which means “to wander” (‘Gezer’ in modern Turkish ).

Khazars were a nomadic people, which was partially settled. They went from tent to urban settlements and was a regional power in several hundred years. Many converted to Judaism and the Jewish faith became the state religion. Khazars were important allies of the Byzantine Empire against Sasanide dynasty . They fought a series of successful wars against the Arab caliphates and blocked most likely for an Arab invasion of Eastern Europe . At the end of the tenth century , their power broken by the Kiev Russians , which Khazars more or less disappeared from history.

Origins and history
Khazarfæstning by Sarkel. [1] Aerial view of excavations led by Mikhail Artamonov in 1930.

Khazarernes origin is uncertain. After conversion to Judaism led Khazars even his ancestry back to Kozar , a son of Togarmah . Togarmah is mentioned in the Old Testament as the grandson of Japheth . However, there is little likelihood that he was considered as the ancestor before the introduction of biblical traditions in Khazarien.

Historians have searched for possible links between Khazars and the lost tribes of Israel , but modern scholars are generally of the opinion that the Khazars are Turks who came walking from the east. Researchers in the former Soviet Union considered the Khazars to be a people from the North Caucasus . Others, among them Douglas Morton Dunlop , felt that the Khazars were related to uighurene or tielene , a stammekonføderation which was called He’san in Chinese sources from the 7th century (Suishu, 84). khazarernes language appears to be related to oghurisk language similar to the language of protobulgarians . For this reason, there is also postulated one hunnersk origin. After that the Turkish people has never been an ethnically homogenous people do these theories are not mutually exclusive. It is likely that khazarernes nation consisted of strains with different ethnic backgrounds, as steppe peoples like assimilated gradually, as they were captured.

Armenian reports contain references to the Khazars as early as the end of the second century . This is generally viewed as anachronistic , and most researchers assume that in fact refer to Sarmatians or Scythians . Priscus reports that one of the people in the hunnerske confederation was called akatsiroiene . Their king was called Karadak or Karidakus. A part that points out the similarity between akatziroiene and “ak-Khazar” (see below), has raised the question whether akatziroiene were early proto-Khazars.

Dmitri Vasilyev of Astrakhan State University recently launched the hypothesis that the Khazars walked into the Pontic steppe region late in the 500-century and originally lived in Transoksiana . According to Vasiljev remained khazarfolkene in Transoksiana subordinates during petsjenegerne and oghuzernes sovereignty. And it is very possible that they kept in touch with the majority of its indigenous peoples.

Khazarernes stem structure is unclear. It was divided into ac-Khazars (the white Khazars) and kara-Khazars (the black Khazars). The Arab chronicler Istakhri claimed that the White Khazars were strikingly beautiful with reddish hair, white skin and blue eyes, while the black khazarers skin was dark, bordering on black, as if they were Indian. Most scientists doubt however this. Many Turkish people had a similar division between a “white” ruling class and a ‘black’ class of subjects. Most scientists do not believe that this division has no connection with racial traits. It is more reasonable to assume that Istakhri itself was confused by the name of the two groups. Peter Golden has raised the question of whether khazarene ethnically was a conglomerate of oghurer and usual, Turkish peoples, including sabirer , North Caucasian Huns and elements from biff-Turks .
The Growth
Khazar state formed
Map of the Western and Eastern Gokturk – khaganatet at the height of his power, approx. year 600 Lighter areas show direct control, darker areas show sphere of influence.

Early in its history, the Khazars are closely linked to the biff-Turkish Empire, which was founded when the Ashina clan controlled Juan Juan in 552 . Since the biff-Turkish Empire, as a result of international conflicts in 7th century in the western part of the Turkish Empire, were divided into several stammekonføderationer where among Bulgarians, led by Duloklanen , and the Khazars, led by Ashina clan, the traditional rulers of the biff-Turkish Empire. Around 670 had Khazars broken out of the Bulgarian Confederation and caused the various tribal groups migrated and left the two remaining Bulgarian dominions – The Volgabulgarske rich and the Bulgarian khanat by the Danube .

Khazarernes first significant appearance in history is their contribution to the Eastern Roman Emperor Heraclius ‘campaign against the Persian sassanider . Khazarherskeren Ziebel (Molinia identified as Tong Yabghu Khagan , the ruler of west-Turks), assisted the Byzantines in the storm none of Georgia. Up to and including a marriage between Ziebels son and Heraclius’ daughter came to speak, but was never implemented.

In the course of the 7 and the eighth century fought the Khazars a series of wars against the umajadiske Caliphate , which was trying to extend its influence into Transoksiana and the Caucasus . The first war was fought early in 650 and ended with the defeat of an Arab force led by Abd ar-Rahman ibn Rabiah outside khazarbyen Balanjar after a war in which both sides used siege engines against enemy troops.
The Pontic steppe , c. 650, showing the early territory of the Khazars and their neighbors


A number of Russian sources from this period mention the name of khazarernes Khagan (= khan ) as Irbis and describes him as an addition to the family for the biff-Turkish royal family Ashina . About Irbis ever existed is the subject of discussion, even if he can be identified as one of the many biff-Turkish rulers of the same name.

Further conflicts erupted in the decades that followed, with Arab attacks and Khazar attacks in Kurdistan and Iran . There is evidence from the reports of al-Tabari that the Khazars formed a united front with the remnants of biff-Turks in Transoksiana .
Khazars and Byzantium

Khazarernes hegemony over most of the Crimea dates from late in the 600-number . In the middle of the 700-century , the rebellious Crimean -Goths killed, and their city, Doros (today Mangup) occupied. A Khazar Tudun resided in Cherson around 690, despite the fact that this city name was governed by the The Eastern Roman Empire .

It is also known that the Khazars were allies of the Eastern Roman Empire in the latter part of the 700-year . In 704 / 705 escaped Justinian II , who lived in exile in Cherson , the Khazar region, where he married the sister of the Khagan Busir . With the help of his wife ran away from him Busir who intrigued against him with tronprætendenten Tiberius III and murdered two of khazarenes officials in the process. He fled to Bulgaria , where their Khan Tervel helped him to win the throne back. Khazars supported the recent rebel General Bardanes who usurped the throne as Emperor Philippicus in 711 .

The Eastern Roman Emperor Leo III married his son Constantine (later Constantine V Kopronymous) to the Khazar princess Tzitzak , (daughter of Khagan Bihar ) as part of an alliance between the two kingdoms. Tzitzak, who was baptized as Irene , became famous for her wedding gown, which ushered in a fashion hysteria in Constantinople for a type of man suits, which were called tzitzakion. Their son Leo ( Leo IV ) was better known as “Leo Khazaren”.
The second Khazar-Arab war
Caliphate expansion until the 750th
From The Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd, 1923; courtesy of The General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

The outbreak of hostilities with the caliphate in 710′erne with attacks that surged back and forth across the Caucasus, but with a few key strokes. Khazars, led by a prince named Barjik , invaded northwestern Iran and beat Umayyadstyrkerne at Ardebil in 730 , killing the Arab commander al-Djarrah al-Hakami and occupied the city for a short period. They were defeated the following year at Mosul , where Barjik led khazarstyrkerne from a throne attached al-Djarrahs severed head, but he was himself killed in the battle. The Arab armies, first led by Prince Maslamah ibn Abd al-Malik and after of Marwan ibn Muhammad (later Caliph Marwan II ) poured through the Caucasus and, in its turn (in 737 ) a khazarhær led by Hazer Tarkhan and occupied himself a to [1] a short while and forced probably their Khagan to convert to Islam. The lack of stability in the regime of Umayyad made impossible a permanent occupation. The Arab armies withdrew and khazarenes independence was restored.

It is worth noting that in 739 indicates Arab sources name of khazarenes ruler as “Parsbit” or “Barsbek”, a woman who seems to have led military operations against them. This suggests that women may have had high positions in khazarernes governance, well possible also to replace their Khagan.

Although the Khazars stopped the Arab expansion into Eastern Europe for a time after these wars were Khazars forced to retreat to the other side of the Caucasus. In the ensuing decades they extended their territories from the Caspian Sea to the east (many cultures even call the Caspian Sea for “Khazarhavet”, for example “Xəzər dənizi” in Azeri , “Hazar Denizi” in Turkish, “Bahr ul-Khazar” on Arabic, “Darya-ye Khazar” in Persian) to the steppe regions north of the Black Sea , to the west as far as the Dnieper .

In 758 gave abbasidenes Caliph Abdullah al-Mansur ordered Yazid ibn Usayd al-Sulami , one of his noble men who was military governor of Armenia , to take to marry a khazarbrud and make peace. Yazid brought home a daughter of Khagan Baghatur , khazarenes leader. Unfortunately, the girl died inexplicably, possibly in childbirth. Her follow returned home convinced that the Arabs had poisoned her, and her father was wild with rage. A khazargeneral called Ras Tarkhan invaded what is now northwestern Iran and carried out raids in several months. Then the relations between the Khazars and Abbasidenes Caliphate (whose foreign policy in general were less expansionist than its predecessors, umayyadene), increasingly friendly.
Khazarenes religion
Turkish sjamanisme

Khazars practiced originally Turkish sjamanisme , with attention turned towards heaven god Tengri , but were heavily influenced by Confucian thoughts from China . They had also embraced the ancient Chinese concept of the heavenly mandate . Ashinaklanen was considered to be selected by Tengri, and Kaghan was the incarnation of the favor, sky god had entrusted the Turkish people. A Kaghan who failed had clearly lost the god’s favor and was common usage, ritually killed . Historians have sometimes wondered, perhaps half-jokingly, about khazarernes tendency from time to time to assassinate its leaders on religious grounds led those rulers to move to other religions.

Khazars cultivated a number of deities subordinate to Tengri, including the fertility goddess Umay , god of thunder Kuara , hell god Erlik .
Conversion to Judaism and relations with other Jews

Jewish communities had existed in the Greek cities on the coast of the Black Sea since classical times. Cherson , Sudak , Kertsj and other cities had Jewish communities. Gorgippa and Samkarsh / Tmutarakan had perhaps a Jewish majority as early as around 670 . The original Jewish settlers were followed by new waves of immigrants who fled persecution in Others place , from Sassaniderne in Persia (particularly during Mazdakoprørene ), [2] and later from the Islamic world. Jewish merchants who Radhanitene drive regular trade in khazarernes areas and may have exerted a significant economic and political influence. Because of its obscure origins and history can fjeldjøderne in or near khazarområderne be allied with or have been subject to a supremacy from khazarernes page. It is conceivable that these also had a role in the conversion.
World Map approx. 820, which shows in a greater khazarriget geopolitical context.

At any given time in the 700-century or early in the 800-century , converted khazarernes royal family and nobility to Judaism. Parts of the general population followed. There is disagreement about how widespread this conversion was. Ibn al-Faqih reported in the 900-century that “all khazarfolket are Jews”. Despite this statement believe most scientists that only the upper classes converted to Judaism. To find support for this in contemporary Muslim texts. Later archaeological sites has uncovered a vast change in burial customs. Approximately in the middle of the 800-century burials began in Khazar being influenced by Jewish customs. The use of grave goods disappeared almost completely. Evidence from burials suggests that about 950 Jewish faith found in all layers of the population of Khazar society.

Stories in Kuzari , written by Yehuda Halevi , detailed and moral reasons for conversion. Some researchers have suggested that the reason for the conversion was partly dictated by political expediency to achieve a degree of neutrality: Khazarriget were between increasing population as Muslims in the east and Christians in the west. Both religions recognized Judaism as a precursor which deserved some respect. What is the exact date of conversion is highly disputed. It may have occurred as early as about the year 740 or as late as the middle of the 800-number. Newly Discovered numismatic findings suggest that the Jewish faith was established as the state religion around 830 , and Cyril (who visited Khazar in 861 ) perceived not Khazars as Jews. Khagan in this period, Zachariah, had a biblical Hebrew name. Some sources from the Middle Ages give the name of the rabbi who oversaw khazarernes conversion to Isaac Sangari or Yitzhak ha-Sangari .

The first Jewish khazarkongen named Bulan which means ” elk “, though some sources give his name as the Hebrew Sabriel. A later king, Obadiah which strengthened Judaism, inviting rabbis to the land and built synagogues . Jewish figures such as Saadia Gaon said Khazars in positive terms while flogged in simultaneous karaitiske writings as “bastards”. It is therefore not credible that they assumed karaismen as Avraham Firkovich proposed.

Khazars enjoyed good relations with the Jews in the Levant and Persia . The Persian Jews hoped for example, that khazarene should succeed in conquering the Caliphate. [3] The high reputation which khazarene distress among the Jews of the Orient, according to a search for them in Arabic. In Arabic comments on Isaiah in Arabic as the individual attributed to Saadia Gaon , and by others to Benjamin Nahawandi , about Jes. 48.14: “Thus the Lord loved him.”

“This,” argues commentator, “refers to the Khazars, who will go and destroy Babel “(in other words, Babylon ), a name that was used on Arab land. [4] From Khazar correspondence it is clear that the two Spanish Jews, Judah ben Meir ben Nathan and Joseph Gagris, successfully settled in Khazar. Saadia, who was familiar with khazarernes country, mentions a certain Isaac ben Abraham, who had moved from Surat to Khazar. [5]

Similarly, as khazarherskerne of themselves as protectors of international Jewry (correspondence with foreign Jewish leaders between khazarernes ruler Joseph and the Spanish rabbi Hasdai ibn Shaprut is preserved). They were known for taking back against Muslim or Christian interests in the Khazar jew persecution abroad. Ibn Fadlan relates that around 920 khazarherskeren received information that Muslims had destroyed a synagogue in the area Babung in Iran . He ordered that the minaret of the mosque in his capital should be destroyed and muezzinen executed. He further stated that he would have put all mosques in the country deserted, though he had not feared that the Muslims in turn would destroy all the synagogues in their own countries.
Other religions

Besides Judaism was faithfully also other religions practiced in areas where the Khazars ruled, among other things, Greek Orthodox , Nestorian and the monofysitiske Christianity, zoroastrismen as well as Scandinavian , Finnish and Slavic cults. Religious tolerance in khazarriket was maintained for more than three hundred years. “Slaves Apostle”, the holy Cyril , is said to have tried to convert the Khazars but without results. Yet it is said that many Khazars must have gone over to Christianity or Islam.
Khazarernes kingdom

Khazarernes kingdoms were divided between Khagan and bek or Khagan bek . Simultaneous Arab historians says that the Khagan was purely spiritual leader or a figurehead with limited powers, while bek had responsibility for administration and military power.

Both the Khagan and the Khagan bek lived in I to. Khaganpaladset was, according to Arab sources, on an island in the Volga . It was told that he had 25 wives, all of whom were daughters of a sub-given ruler. It is possible, however, that this is exaggeration.

In a letter from the Khazars manufactures King Joseph as ruler of the Khazars and makes no mention of any colleague. It has hosted the subject of discussion whether Joseph was a Khagan or a Statutory Order His description of his campaigns it likely the last. A third possibility is that, at the time when the correspondence took place (about 950-960), was melted Khazars these two positions of power into a single ruler position or to bekene in one way or another had repressed Khagan or opposite.
Khazarkriger with catch, based on the reconstruction of Norman Finkelshteyn after a picture from an eighth century on a vandmugge found in Romania [6]

Khazarhærene was led by Khagan bek and command led by subordinate officers known as tarkhaner . A famous tarkhan, as referred to in Arab sources as Ras or As Tarkhan , led an invasion of Armenia in 758 . Army comprised of among other regiments Muslim auxiliary forces known as arsiyah , selected from Khwarezmianere or Alanere . The Muslim regiments got to participate in the campaign against other Muslims. Early Russian sources are sometimes referred to khazarernes city (on the opposite side of the Volga from a to ) [7] as Khvalisy and the Caspian Sea to Khvaliskoye.

According to some researchers, such Omeljan Pritsak, these names østslaviske versions of “khwarezmens” (a language?), And referred to these as mercenaries.

In addition to bekens standing army could Khazars in times of distress call conscripts tribes. These were sometimes followed by auxiliary troops from subordinates nations.
Other authorities

Settlements were governed by administrative authorities known as tuduner . In some cases (as the Byzantine settlements in southern Crimea), a Tudun like named for a city in a different control sets sphere of influence.

Other authorities in the Khazar government, including celebrities such as ibn Fadlan , referred to as jawyshygher and kundur , but their authority areas is not known.
Law and justice

Muslim sources report that khazarernes supreme court consisted of two Jews, two Christians, two Muslims and a “heathen” (whether it is a Turkish sjaman or a priest of Slavic or Nordic religion is unclear). A citizen had the right to be judged according to the laws of his religion.

Some have argued that this composition is unlikely, after the Beit Din, or rabbinical court, requires three members. It is therefore possible that the members of the state religion, the Jews had three judges in the Supreme Court rather than two, and that the Muslim sources tried to dampen the impression of their influence. A Muslim or Christian right, however, can operate with just one or two judges.
Economic Conditions
Map of Eurasia showing the trade routes to Radhanittene about. year 870 reproduced in reports to ibn Khordadbeh in the book Roads and Kingdoms

Khazars controlled the main trade routes. Goods from western Europe were led eastward to Central Asia and China and in the opposite direction. The Muslim world could just trade with Europe Khazars as an intermediary. Radhanittene, a middelaldersk feast of Jewish merchants, had a trade route that went through Khazar and may have hosted an exposure to khazarernes conversion to Judaism.

No Khazars paid taxes to the central government. Revenues came from the 10% tax on goods in transit through the region and the tributes from subordinates nations. Khazars exported honey , furs , wool , millet and other grains , as well as fish and slaves . In the 1900-century discovery was made ​​workshops that produced pottery and glass.
Khazarernes coinage

Khazars are known to have turned silver coins called yarmaqer . Many of these were copies of Arab dirham . Kalifates coins were in widespread use because of their reliability silver content. Merchants from as far away as China , the British Isles and Scandinavia accepted them, even if you could not read the Arabic text. To send copies of dirhams was a way to ensure the value of khazarmønter in foreign countries.

Some preserved specimens bears the inscription “Ard al-Khazar” (Arabic for “khazarernes country”). In 1999 , there was an amount of silver coins on the property for Spilling farm on the Swedish island of Gotland . Among the coins are many dated 837/838 and bear in Arabic script inscription “Moses is the prophet of God”, something which is a variant of the Muslim inscription “Muhammad is the prophet of God”). In Creating Khazar Identity through Coins, claiming Roman Kovavlev that these dirhams could be special grand memorial coins minted by khazarherskeren Bulan on the occasion of the celebration of khazarernes conversion to the Jewish faith.
Influence Sphere

Since Khazar khaganatet was at the height of his power, the kingdom very powerful. Khazarernes core area was lower Volga and the shores of the Caspian Sea and as far south as Derbent . From late in the 600-number controlled Khazars in addition most of the Crimea and the northeastern coast of the Black Sea . Around 800 included khazarernes possessions majority of the Pontic steppe region all the way to the Dnieper and as far east as the Aral Sea . (Some Turkish history atlas shows khazarske sphere of influence that extended well east of the Aral). During the Khazar-Arab war early in the 700-century withdrew part of Khazars back to the foot of the mountain chains in the Urals , and some of the settlers may have been there.

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