King, Uralic, Russia, Slavic, Byzantium, Turkish, Jews, Eurasia
The Khazars were semi-nomadic Turkic people who established one of the largest polities of medieval Eurasia, with the capital of Atil and territory comprising much of modern-day European Russia, western Kazakhstan, eastern Ukraine, Azerbaijan, large portions of the northern Caucasus (Circassia, Dagestan), parts of Georgia, the Crimea, and northeastern Turkey.
Khazar inscriptions are mainly in an Eastern Turkish runic script.
A successor state of the Western Turks, Khazaria was a polyethnic-multifaith state with a population of Turkic, Uralic, Slavic, and Paleo-Caucasian peoples. Khazaria was the first feudal state to be established in Eastern Europe. Khazaria was one of the major arteries of commerce between northern Europe and southwestern Asia, as well as a connection to the Silk Road. The name "Khazar" is found in numerous languages and seems to be tied to a Turkic verb form meaning "wandering" (Modern Turkish: Gezer). Pax Khazarica is a term used by historians to refer to the period during which the Khazaria dominated the Pontic steppe and the Caucasus Mountains.
The period when the Khazars had their most power corresponded with the European Dark Ages, and took place at a very important time for the creation of capitalism. Its strategic importance between China on one side and the Middle East and Europe on the other, temporarily gave all of Eurasia incredible riches. Khazaria was referred to as Eastern Tourkia, meanwhile Hungary was referred to as Western Tourkia (Greek: ??????a) in medieval (10th and 11th centuries) Byzantine sources.
Khazaria had an ongoing entente with Byzantium. Serving their partner in wars against the Abbasid Caliphate, Khazars aided the Byzantine emperor Heraclius (reigned 610–641) by sending an army of 40,000 soldiers in their campaign against the Persians in the Byzantine–Sassanid War of 602–628. In 775, Leo (son of Tzitzak) was crowned as the sole emperor of the Byzantine Empire. Sarkel (a Turkish word meaning White Fortress) was built in 830s by a joint team of Greek and Khazar architects to protect the north-western border of the Khazar state. The chief engineer during the construction of Sarkel was Petronas Kamateros (?et???? ?aµat????) who later became the governor of Cherson.
Empire, Caucasus, Bulgars, Arab, Muslims, Khazars, Islamic
Khazars played a role in the balance of powers and destiny of world civilization. After Kubrat's Great Bulgaria was destroyed by the Khazars, some of the Bulgars fled to the west and founded a new Bulgar state (present day Bulgaria) near the Danubian Plain, under the command of Khan Asparukh.
The most of the rest of the Bulgars fled to the north of the Volga River region and founded another state there called Volga Bulgaria (present day Chuvashia). The eldest son of Kubrat, Bat-Bayan Bezmer allied his Kara-Bulgars (Black Bulgars) with the Khazars, and became the forefather of the Hungarian Royal House of Árpád via Almysh. Kara-Bulgars were descendent of the tribes from Attila's right wing state called Kutrigurs.
By serving as a buffer state between Christians and Muslims, the Khazars helped to block the western spread of Islam in Europe. Some scholars go to the extreme extent to posit that, in the unlikely scenario Arabs had occupied what is now Ukraine and Russia, the Rus might never have been able to push south and east from the Baltic to establish Russia. The Khazars had, for years, been venturing forth southward, in their marauding raids on the Muslim countries south of the Caucasus. Islamic armies conquered part of Persia, Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Armenia, and what is now the modern-day post-Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan and surrounded the Byzantine heartland (present-day Turkey) in a pincer movement which extended from the Mediterranean to the Caucasus and the southern shores of the Caspian. This was the time when the long series of wars called the Khazar-Arab Wars began. These wars largely ended with Arab defeats, with a fairly well-known commander, Abd ar-Rahman ibn Rabiah, perishing in one instance.
The Arab armies' inability to traverse the Caucasus played a role in preventing them from succeeding in their siege of the Byzantine capital, Constantinople. Coupled with the military barrier presented by the Khazars themselves, this protected Europe from more direct and intensive assaults by the forces of Islam.
After fighting the Arabs to a standstill in the North Caucasus, Khazars became increasingly interested in replacing their Tengriism with a state religion that would give them equal religious standing with their Abrahamic neighbors. During the 8th century, the Khazars converted to a form of Judaism. Yitzhak ha-Sangari is said to be the name of the rabbi who converted the Khazars to Judaism according to Khazar Jewish sources.
By welcoming educated and worldly Jews from both Christian Europe and the Islamic Middle East, Khazars rapidly absorbed many of the arts and technologies of civilization. As a direct result of this cultural infusion, they became one of the very few Asian steppe tribal societies that successfully made the transition from nomad to urbanite. Settling in their newly created towns and cities between the Caspian Sea and the Crimean Peninsula on the Black Sea, they became literate and multi-lingual agriculturalists, manufacturers and international traders.
Between 965 and 969, Khazar sovereignty was broken by Kievan Rus. Sviatoslav I of Kiev defeated them in 965 by conquering the Khazar fortress of Sarkel. Two years later, Sviatoslav conquered Atil, after which he campaigned in the Balkans. Medieval Ruthenian epic poems mention Ruthenian warriors fighting the Jewish Giant (???????? ???????).
The Rus and the Hungarians both adopted the dual-kingship system of the Khazars (The kingship is divided between the khagan and the Bek. The Khagan was purely a spiritual ruler or figurehead with limited powers, while the Bek was responsible for administration and military affairs). The Rus princes even borrowed Turkic words like Khagan and Bogatyr. Many artifacts from the Khazars, exhibiting their artistic and industrial talents, have survived to the present day.
With the destruction of Khazaria, Khazar Jews dispersed throughout the world. So that by 1933, approximately 9.5 million Jews lived in Europe. This number represented more than 60 percent of the world's Jewish population at that time, estimated at 15.3 million. The majority of Jews in prewar Europe resided in Eastern Europe.
The largest Jewish communities in this area were in Poland, with about 3,000,000 Jews; the European part of the Soviet Union, with 2,525,000; Romania, with 756,000. The Jewish population in the three Baltic States totaled 255,000: 95,600 in Latvia, 155,000 in Lithuania, and 4,560 in Estonia. In prewar central Europe, the largest Jewish community was in Germany, with about 500,000 members. This was followed by Hungary with 445,000, Czechoslovakia with 357,000 and Austria with 191,000, most of who resided in the capital city of Vienna.