Khazars

historical ethnical group

The Khazars (, ; Kuzarim; Turkish: Hazarlar; Azerbaijani: Xəzərlər; Bashkir: Хазарҙар; Tatar: Хәзәрләр, Xäzärlär; Xazar; Persian: خزر‎; Ukrainian: Хоза́ри, Khozáry; Russian: Хаза́ры, Khazáry; Hungarian: Kazárok; Greek: Χάζαροι, Házaroi; Latin: Gazari/Gasani) were a semi-nomadic Turkic people with a confederation of Turkic-speaking tribes that in the late 6th century CE established a major commercial empire covering the southwestern section of modern European Russia. The Khazars created what for its duration was the most powerful polity to emerge from the break-up of the Western Turkic Khaganate. Astride a major artery of commerce between Eastern Europe and Southwestern Asia, Khazaria became one of the foremost trading empires of the medieval world, commanding the western marches of the Silk Road and playing a key commercial role as a crossroad between China, the Middle East and Kievan Rus'. For some three centuries (c. 650–965) the Khazars dominated the vast area extending from the Volga-Don steppes to the eastern Crimea and the northern Caucasus.Khazaria long served as a buffer state between the Byzantine Empire and both the nomads of the northern steppes and the Umayyad Caliphate, 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. Determining 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 was polyglot and polyethnic. The native religion of the Khazars is thought to have been Tengrism, like that of the North Caucasian Huns and other Turkic peoples. The polyethnic populace of the Khazar Khaganate appears to have been a multiconfessional mosaic of pagan, Tengrist, Jewish, Christian and Muslim worshippers. The ruling elite of the Khazars was said by Judah Halevi and Abraham ibn Daud to have converted to Rabbinic Judaism in the 8th century, but the scope of the conversion within the Khazar Khanate remains uncertain.Proposals of Khazar origins have been made regarding 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, Subbotniks and others. The late 19th century saw the emergence of the theory that the core of today's Ashkenazi Jews are descended from a hypothetical Khazarian Jewish diaspora which migrated westward from modern-day Russia and Ukraine into modern-day France and Germany. Linguistic and genetic studies have not supported the theory of a Khazar connection to Ashkenazi Jewry. The theory still finds occasional support, but most scholars view it with considerable skepticism. The theory is sometimes associated with antisemitism and anti-Zionism.
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main subject: Khazars

2

The Thirteenth Tribe

1976 book by Arthur Koestler

author: Arthur Koestler

Dictionary of the Khazars

book by Milorad Pavić

author: Milorad Pavić

1984

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