Kipchaks, Qipchaq, Qifjaq, Xifjaq, Kimchag, Kimcha'ud, Kuchak, Kifchak, Kimaks, Kip(b)i(Hun tribe), Kukiji, Kujshe, Kuche, Kiueshe, Kushi, Kushu, Kuchuk, Cumans, Quman, Comani, Kumandi, Kun-ok, Kun, Kangli, Kengeres, Qangli, Seyanto, Sirs, Tele, Falven, Falones, Val(e)we(n,) Phalagi, Skythicon, Sakaliba, Khartesh, Ðlàvñi, Ðlàwñó, Ðlàuñi, Ðlàwci, Ðàlóñz(îk), Polovetsy, Polovtsy, and other variations


Hungarians, Czechs, Bulgarians, Serbs, Croats, Albanians, inhabitants of Northern Italy(Tuscany/Etruscans), Germany(Bavarians), Austrians, Northern Spain(Basque), Switzerland, Slavs, Celts and Gauls (in Western France, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Northern Europe…), America and Australia will recognize their Kipchak Turkish past… That's right, many of Europeans; Americans' and Australians' male ancestors some time were regarded as excellent riders, spoke Turkic language…

Some called them Sycthians/Sakas, some called them Huns. 

And they called themselves "the Kipchaks ".









Table of Contents

Mirfatih Z. Zakiev

Usmanova M. G.

Murat Adji

Sakaliba are Kipchaks      

Ethonyms Sak and Kipsak

Kipchaks in Europe

Kipchaks (historico-archeological summary for 8th-13th cc.)

The Codex Cumanicus



Mirfatih Zakiev

Bolgar patshsy echen Sekalibe patshasy din atalgan?
Miras. 1994 No 5-6 Pp. 102-109.

Mirfatih Zakiev
Kazan, 1995 Pp 68-81


§ 1. In the Arabian and Persian Middle Age sources we find rich information on many peoples of East Europe: about Burtases, Khazars, Bulgars, Sakaliba, Badjanaks, Madjars, Russes, Visus, Yuras and others. The Arabs and Persians adopted all ethnonyms, except Sakaliba, from the Eastern European peoples, only the ethnonym Sakaliba is in this respect not so clear. V.V. Bartold suggested that the ethnonym Sakaliba (in singular Saklab) is borrowed by the Arabs, probably, from Greek Sklaboi or Sklabenoi, which means the Slavs [Bartold V.V., 1963, 870], he also provides a probability of another etymology: from the Persian sek 'sacae' + leb 'lip', this etymology is also based that the Yaphet's son Saklab was reared by the dog milk [Ibis, 871].

Focusing on the Arabian sources, the Arabian word Saklab (singular) or Sakaliba (plural) designate blond or red haired people, there invariably is emphasized red (or reddish) color of hair or red (reddish) color of skin of the Sakaliba [Ibis, 870]. The dictionary of Ashraf Ibn Sharaf Al-Muzakkir Al-Farruga, composed in the 1404-1405 in India with a title 'Danish-nameyi Kadar-Khan' ("Book of knowledge of Kadar-Khan"), notes that ( SAKLAB) live in Turkestan area, they are white people [Baevskiy S.I., 1980, 87]. The above gave the Russian Arabists and Easternists a chance to identify Sakaliba with the Slavs. In Russian studies of the Eastern geographical sources of Middle Ages, the ethnonym Sakaliba is not mentioned at all, it is translated by the word "Slavs". In Russian studies nobody questions that Sakaliba are Slavs, though some note that in the Arabian and Persian sources Sakaliba quite often are identified with Türks, Bulgars etc.

§ 2. One fact is clear: Sakaliba is an Arabian name of white, red haired people. The people, who call themselves white-faced, should have also dark-faced relatives.

White-faced one can only be in comparison with non-white faced related peoples. The Slavs, apparently, were never divided into white faced and non-white faced. As all of them were white faced, red haired, they did not have the necessity to name themselves red haired, for there was no appreciable group of non-red haired. As to the name of the Belorussians (White Russians), it appeared during the feudal separation of the Old Russian principalities. Besides, the ancestors of the Belorussians could not be so widely scattered next to the various Türkic speaking people on the extensive territories of Eastern Europe, Near East and Central Asia, East Siberia and Kazakhstan. It is also necessary to keep in mind that in the Arabian and Persian sources the Eastern Slavs are described under the name Rus. By the time the Eastern Slavs have begun to be named Rus, the other part named Slavs did not exist any more. All Eastern Slavs were already Rus. Therefore, if the Arabs wrote about Rus, they meant Eastern Slavs, who at that time were referred to not as Slavs, but Rus or Urus (in the Türk-Tatar pronunciation).

§ 3. To adequately uncover the meaning of the Arabian ethnonym Sakaliba, which means white faced, red haired people, it is necessary to find populace, whose people at that time called themselves and introduced themselves to others as white faced or red haired and at the same time lived together with known Türkic speaking peoples in such a close contact, that the visiting Arabs and Persians considered Sakaliba and Türks as one people or considered ones in the community of others. Naturally, at that time these people were Kipchaks.

The word Kipchak etymologically ascends to Türkic ku-chak, which consists of two roots: ku (ku~kub~kuba) 'red', 'pale', 'white - red', 'light', and chak, meaning Sak~chak, the ancient name of Türks (instead of Iranian speaking tribes, as is wrongly asserted by some Indo-Europeists). Kuchak - 'White Sakas', -chak can be identified also with a respectful-diminutive affix -chyk. The word ku is applied also as 'Swan', also called ak kosh 'white bird'. Kuu 'white', 'white bird' makes another ethnonym with a word kiji~keshe 'man', Kuukiji 'white people', 'Swans' (Russ. 'Lebedinets'). The word ku ~kuu is applied with a word man as Kuman~Kumandy. Compare also men in a word Turkmen. In Western Europe the word Kuman is used instead of ethnonym Kipchak. Until now, the second part of this word -man is not yet unequivocally etymologized.

Thatku in the ethnonym Kuchak~Kipchak (Kuman) means 'white, red, fair haired', proves also to be true by the fact that among many Türkic peoples we observe white (yellow) and not white (not yellow) people. Thus, in 5-6 cc. on the territory of Central Asia, Afghanistan, Northwest India and part of Eastern Turkestan the White Huns, who are also referred to as Ephtalites, formed a state. In the history are known White Tatars and Black Tatars, White Khazars and Black Khazars, White Kirghiz and other Kirghiz, Sari Uigurs (Yellow Uigurs) and other Uigurs.

So, in the Türkic fold were peoples who called themselves Fair Haired, White. Further we shall see that these were Kipchaks. That ethnonym Kipchaks designates white, light (Türk.: sari chechle 'yellow haired'), the Türkological scientists noticed long ago. Thus, the Hungarian scientist Yu. Nemet came to this conclusion at the end of 30-es. He wrote, that "pale yellow" names of Kumans (Russ. Polovets) are a copy of their Türkic (self?) names Kuman and Kun, which ascend to Türkic adjective ku (from older kub) 'pale', 'yellow' [Dobrodomov I.G., 1978, 116; Nemet Yu., 1941, 99].

In Türkic languages the blond man also frequently is referred to as sary chechle 'yellow haired'. Therefore it is no wonder that Kipchaks had also another ethnonym from a word sari 'yellow'. The Western Kipchaks in the ancient Rus sources were called Sorochinets, reflecting in this word the name of the Sary people, used prior to the name for the Kun people. (Subsequently, this name approached and merged with the European name for Moslems - Saracenes) " [Dobrodomov I.G., 1978, 123].

Hence, a very large group of the Türks of the Eastern Europe, Western Siberia, Kazakhstan, Near East, Middle East and Central Asia, Afghanistan, Eastern Turkestan, Northeast India, in addition to their local ethnonyms, called themselves by a more general ethnonym with a meaning of 'white faced', 'light yellow'. For such ethnonyms the words Kukiji, Kuman, Kumandy, Kuchak~Kifchak~ Kipchak were used the most.

§ 4. The most important fact requiring attention is that these peoples knew perfectly the meaning of their common ethnonym and presented themselves to other peoples as white faced, red haired. In turn, the representatives of other peoples copied the ethnonym 'pale'. On this occasion Dobrodomov I.G. writes the following: 'It was noted for a long time already that Kipchaks in many languages are designated by words composed of the roots with a meaning "yellow", "pale": Russian Polovets (compare: polovyi, obsolete: polovoi); Polish. (from Czech.) Ðlàvñi (Ðlàwñó, Ðlàuñi, Ðlàwci); from here also Hungarian Ðàlóñz(îk), taken from East Slavs; German Val(e)we(n) (compare present Germ. fahl and falb 'pale', 'whitish', 'light', Latinized Slavic forms Falones, Phalagi. The Armenian author Matvei Edessian mentioned the same meaning under year 1050/51 in the 75th chapter of the "History", the name of the people Khartesh (Literary, 'Light', whitish', fair')" [Dobrodomov I.G., 1978, 108].

From this quotation it is clear that Kipchaks presented themselves to Russian, Poles, Germans, Hungarians, Italians and Armenians as blond people, and consequently these peoples named Kipchaks in their languages "fair". Kipchaks also presented themselves to Chinese and Persians as "fair" [Bartold V.V., 1968, 408].

For our theme it is very important that to the Arabs Kipchaks also presented themselves as "fair", therefore Arabs named Kipchaks Sakaliba, i.e white faced, fair haired.

Thus, in the Arabian and Persian sources the ethnonym Sakaliba is the Arabian copy of the ethnonym Kuman or Kipchak (Kuchak). It means "Kipchaks", and not "Slavs".


A Kipchak warrior


§ 5. The leading Russian scientists-Arabists - V.V.Bartold, I.Yu.Krachkovsky, B.N.Zakhoder etc. note that the Arabian geographers frequently were mistaken, mixing Sakaliba (in Russian Arabists' opinion, Slavs) with Türks, Kirghizes, Bulgars, Khazars. If we accept that in Arabian Sakaliba means Kipchaks instead of the Slavs, it becomes clear that were mistaken not the Arabian and Persian geographers-eyewitnesses, but the Russian researchers of the Arabian and Persian sources, who translate the Arabian word Sakaliba as "Slavs". The translation "Kipchaks" removes all perceived contradictions.

1) "From Pechenegs to Sakaliba ten days of travel by forests and difficult roads. Sakaliba are numerous people, they live in forests on plains. Sakaliba have city V.b.nit" [Zakhoder B.N., 1967, 109]. This distinctive feature of Sakaliba habitation can be attributed both to Kipchaks and to Slavs. The name of city is spelled differently: VA.I , VABNIT , VANTIT , and it also becomes clear that the name of city is not deciphered from the standpoint of the Slavic languages. It is essential to make an attempt to read it as a Türkic word. The name of the second city Hurdab or Hudud is also not deciphered. As to the expression that some Sakaliba resemble Russes, it is possible to say the following: Kipchaks on appearance really quite often resembled Russes, and other Slavs already did not exist there any more.

For additional clarification of the question who were Sakaliba, - Slavs or Kipchaks, we shall cite the information about Sakaliba assembled by B.N.Zakhoder in the second volume of his book "Caspian collection of information on Eastern Europe". Here we have replaced the word "Slavs" with the original word "Sakaliba".

2)"Sakaliba use honey instead of grapes, they have developed beekeeping" [Ibis, 110]. This attribute is typical both to the Slavs and to Kipchaks. But the specific contents of the reports of the Eastern geographers allow identifying Sakaliba with Kipchaks. Because Sakaliba make a drink of honey, "which they name sudjuv" [Kovalevsky A.P., 1956, 132].

Even D.A.Khvolson, analyzing this word, transcribed as AS-SI, tried to explain it, using Croatian ulisce for 'beehive', A.P.Kovalevsky and B.N.Zakhoder identify it with a word "soty"(Russ. "beehive") [Zakhoder B.N.; 1967, 110-111]. In reality it is the Türkic word sudji (soje~toche), which is used till now in the Tatar and Bashkir languages in the meaning "sweet", "luscious" and was used in Old Türkic texts as "vine" or "sweet drink".

3)"Sakaliba have pigs as numerous as Moslems have sheep" [Zakhoder B.N., 1967, 112]. Here B.N.Zakhoder consciously amended the text, adding a word "Moslems". Actually it was said that Sakaliba have herds of pigs and herds of sheep, or herd of pigs similar to sheep herds. It is known that Kipchaks originally bred both pigs and sheep. The Kipchaks-Christians continued this tradition, and Kipchaks-Moslems, naturally, have abandoned pig breeding.

4) "When Sakaliba dies, his corpse is burned, together with the deceased his wife is thrown into fire, thus making funeral and having fun " [Ibis, 112]. It is known that Guzes and part of Burtases burned their dead, and nobody doubts their Türkic native tongue.

5) "Sakaliba worship fire (or bull) " [Ibis, 114]. Here B.N.Zakhoder for some reason has missed to note that Sakaliba also are idolaters. This connects Sakaliba with Kipchaks more than with the Slavs.

6) "Sakaliba sow millet; at approach of the harvest time they put grain in a sieve and, addressing the sky, make a pray" [Ibis, 115]. Both Slavs and Kipchaks could do this. But facing the sky (Tengre) connects Sakaliba with Kipchaks.

7) "Sakaliba have different musical instruments: lutes, tambours, flutes" [Ibis, 116]. With this attribute it is possible to link Sakaliba with both Kipchaks and Slavs.

8) "Sakaliba have few burden livestock, horses; they wear shirts and peltry boots on feet; their arms are: lance, shield, peaks, sword, mail chain armor;... Sakaliba leader eats milk of burden animals (kumis)... " [Ibis, 119]. Kipchaks, as all other Türks, used horses for riding, therefore there were few cargo horses. The peltry boots were known at Türkic Bulgars, who were collectively called Kipchaks, kimis was national Türkic drink. Sakaliba leader was called Subanich (SUBANJ ) and Suidj (SUIJ ), in Türkic Suchi, where su is an army, -chy is an affix of trade. It is possible that the word Subashi 'the head of the army' is distorted when written with Arabian letters.

Some Arabists-Russists the inscription SUIJ MLK would like to read as SUITPLK (Russian name "Siyatopolk"), and with that prove that the head of Sakaliba is the head of Slavs' Siyatopolk. But, as notes B.N. Zakhoder himself, is malik 'king', as a whole it is Suchi Malik 'king, head of the army'. The other words given here as Sakaliba toponyms require additional research from the standpoint of the Kipchak language.

9) "Sakaliba build underground structures, in which they hide in the winter from a strong cold (or from attacks by Magyars) " [Zakhoder B.N., 1967, 121]. This neutral expression given by B.N. Zakhoder does not allow determining the ethnic affiliation of Sakaliba. But further in the text the speech goes about the ancient bath-house (Eastern European sauna), which was characteristical of Kipchaks and modern western Türks.

10) "Sakaliba King takes tribute by dress" [Ibis, 124]. By this we cannot determine an ethnic affiliation of Sakaliba.

11) "Sakaliba subject the guilty of larceny and adultery to a severe punishment" [Ibis, 124]. This custom, described by Ibn Fadlan, is characteristical for Bulgar-Sakaliba, i.e. as a whole for Kipchaks, and in particular for Bulgars.

It should be noted that B.N. Zakhoder, apparently, picked the statements of the Eastern geographers with deliberation. He skipped the data that gives reasons to consider Sakaliba as Kipchaks. He, naturally, could not fail to note that per Ibn Fadlan, Bulgars are akin to Sakaliba people. But he has noted this fact in his own way: Ibn Fadlan would constantly confuses Bulgars with Sakaliba, i.e. with the Slavs [Ibis, 125].

As we have already noted, Ibn Fadlan names Almas Shilki-Khan as king of Sakaliba, he was, apparently, from the Bulgar people, and therefore is referred to as a Bulgarian king. It is understandable that in the Middle Volga the Sakaliba country was later referred to as a Bulgar state. It should be noted that the historian Ahmed Zeki Validi Togan stated back in 1939 the opinion that Sakaliba designates light skinned Türks [Zeki Validi, 1939, XXXIV]. But it received sharp criticism by A.P. Kovalevsky [Kovalevsky A.P., 1956, 80].

V.V.Bartold remarks that Sakaliba are noted by the red color of hair, but "despite of this distinctive physical attribute, Sakaliba as descendants of Yaphet (Arab. Yafas) are united with Türks" [Bartold V.V., 1963, 870]. Abu Khamid Al-Garnati, telling in 1150 about the travel from Bulgar to Hungary, wrote, that he arrived in the city of the Sakaliba country, which is called Gur kuman, where the people look as Türks, speak Türkic language and shoot arrows as Türks [Dobrodomov I.G., 1978, 128]. Here it is needless to explain, who were Sakaliba.

So, Sakaliba are Kipchaks, the word Sakaliba (Saklab in singular) is a loan translation of the Türkic ethnonym of Kipchaks.

§ 6. Some can object to this conclusion because in the official Türkology, the "arrival" of Kipchaks from Asia to Eastern Europe would occur in the 11 c., and the Arabian and Persian geographers already knew about Sakaliba in the 8 c. In fact, many Türkologists consider a misunderstanding that the first Türks came to Eastern Europe in the 4 c. under the name of Huns, that they "disappeared" approximately in one hundred years, that their place was taken by Avars who arrived from Asia; that then Avars "disappeared", that their place was taken by arrived from Asia Türks, that then in the 7 c. they were replaced by Khazars, that in the 8 c. appeared Pechenegs etc. Supposedly, Kipchaks (Kumans) came to the Eastern Europe in the 11 c. This is "a fairy tale for children", not for the serious scientists. The Türkic-speaking peoples lived in the Eastern Europe in the Cimmerian, Scythian, and Sarmatian times, and they continue to live there now. There was no change of the peoples, varied only the ethnonyms, for in the different periods of history the ruling group among a multitude of Türkic peoples was at times one, at times another group. From there came changes in the common ethnonym for the Türks.

The traces of Kipchaks (in Arabic: Sakaliba) are found in deep antiquity. So, ethnonym Komanchies we meet among American Indians. [Mine Read, 1955, 32; Languages..., 1982, 162]. Considering that the ancestors of the American Indians crossed from Asia to the American continent 15-20 thousand years ago, there is a reason to assert that this ethnonym has come to America from Asia at that time. Hence, ethnonym Koman~Komanche existed in Asia 30-20 thousand years ago.

The Chinese sources of the 3-rd c. BC contain information about Kyueshe who spoke Türkic language. M.I.Artamonov thinks that this is the first mentioning of Kipchaks [Artamonov M.I., 1962, 420]. In our opinion, Kyueshe is a typical Chinese reduction of the ethnonym Kukiji.

Before our era, per Chinese data, the Huns lived south of the Altai Mountains, north of it lived So people. They then separated into 4 parts: Kuman or Kuban, Kirgiz, Chu‑kshi and Türk [Aristov N.A., 1896, 279-280; Zakiev M.Z., 1977, 155-162].

In the opinion of some scientists, the ethnonym Kipchaks ~ (Kibchak~Kifchak) appears in the second half of the 8 c. as a designation of people who were called before by an ethnonym Sir, which represents, it seems, another Chinese rendering of a word Sarir (Sari Ir 'yellow people'). In the monument of Tonyukuk (726 AD), the dominating peoples are called Türks and Sirs, and in the monument of Eletmish Bilge Kagan in the Shine Usu (760 AD) the dominating peoples are called by the ethnonyms Türks and Kib-chak [Klyashtorny S.G., 1986, 160]. It is important to note that the first Arabian list of the Türkic peoples, made in the 8-th c., gives the ethnonym Kifchak- Kibchak [Ibis, 160]. But later in the compositions of Arabian and Persian geographers instead of the ethnonym Kibchak (Kuchak) begins to be applied its Arabian copy Saklab, and only from the XI c. again appears the ethnonym Kipchak, and instead of the name "steppe of Guzes", used by the geographers of Õ c., appears the term "Kipchak steppe" (in Persian: Deshti Kipchak) [Bartold V.V., 1968, 395].

It should be said, also, that in the (Russian - Translator's note) official historical science, and hence, both in the Russian, and in the West-European Türkology, the question about the appearance and origin of Kipchaks (under self-names: Kukiji, Kuman, Kuchak) is studied in connection with image of the alleged movement of Türks from the area of Far East to the Western Asia and Eastern Europe [Ibis, 393]. Such a standpoint is deeply erroneous, there was no such movement. Since the prehistoric times Türks lived alongside the ancestors of other peoples in Western and Eastern Europe, in Near East, Middle East and Central Asia, in Western Asia and in the Far East, i.e. in those regions, where they were recognized in the historically known times and where, basically, they continue to live now. That Kuman (Kums, Kuns) lived in the Western Europe before our era is proved by the presence before our era of cities Kum at Etrusks (and later of city Kuman in Hungary), and the city Kumanovo in Macedonia.

Thus, Kipchaks (Kukiji, Kuman, Sary, Sir) from the most ancient times pictured their ethnonym as blond, fair haired people, therefore they presented themselves to the neighbors as blonds, and these neighbors in their languages called them blonds: the Slavs Polovets, Arabs and Persians - Sakaliba , the Armenians - Khartesh etc.

The word Kipchak (Kuman, Kukiji) was a more general ethnonym. In the Kipchak group were notable smaller peoples or tribes, as noted by Eastern geographers, the Kirghiz, Huns, Bulgar, Khazars etc. Per Ibn Fadlan, in the Middle Volga in the Sakaliba (Kipchak) group are listed Bulgars, Barandjars, Suars, Suases, Skils (Scyths ~Scyfs), Khazars. Undoubtedly, it is possible to add, that in this group were also Bigers (Biars-Bilyars), Ases-Alans (Bulgars in another way were called Ases), Nukhrats (Silver Bulgars), Temtuzes, Chelmats, Sobeculyans, Burtases, Bashkirs, Mishars etc.


§ 1. So, Bulgars are one of the Kipchak peoples. The objective analysis of the "Book of Akhmed Ibn Fadlan" witnesses an eloquent testimony of it.

As it is known, in 921 AD the king of Sakaliba of Bulgarian descent, Almas son of Shilka (the name, written in Arab letters as ALMS, the Russian Orientalists translate as Almush, apparently, so that this name was not identical to the widespread Türkic name Almas), asked the Baghdad Khalif to send an embassy to the country of Sakaliba for an official adoption of Islam, with an objective to be liberated from the submission to Khazars, who adopted Judaism.

The Arabian embassy under a leadership of Susan ar-Rasi arrived in 922 AD in the country of Sakaliba, Bulgaria. The secretary of the embassy was Akhmed Ibn Fadlan, who run detailed travel records with the description of the country and Sakaliba people - Bulgars. In these records, which were published with a title of "The Book of Akhmed Ibn Fadlan", the country and the people are referred to in a basic term Sakaliba, and also the king Almas son of Shilka is presented mainly as a Sakaliba king. After the arrival of the embassy, after a personal acquaintance with Almas son of Shilka, and after he has learned that even before his arrival on Almas minbar a khutba was already proclaimed from his name: "Oh, Allah! Save king Yiltuar, King of Bulgars!", and after Almas son of Shilka has accepted the Arabian name Djafar, after he has given his father a name Abdulla, Ibn Fadlan, at last, himself made a khutba: "Oh, Allah! Save [in prosperity] your slave the king Djafar Ibn Abdulla, emir of Bulgars, the vassal of the emir of faithful" [Kovalevsky A.P., 1956, 132-133]. And later, describing the country, Ibn Fadlan again used the expression "Sakaliban King".

So, for Ibn Fadlan there are two identical names of the same country, same king: Sakaliba and Bulgar. It is understandable, since Bulgars are one of Sakaliba -Kipchak peoples. Therefore we doubtlessly can state that Bulgars (and Proto Bulgars) spoke an ordinary Kipchak language.

§ 2. As the question of lingo-ethnic affiliation of Bulgars in the (Russian - Translator's note) official historical science and in the (Russian - Translator's note) Türkology is properly tangled, it should be set right.

In all medieval sources the Bulgars and Khazars are shown as Türks, speaking a common Türkic language of Kipchak type.

Only in the middle of the 19 c., when the scientific research of the problems of a lingo-ethnic affiliation of Volga and Danube Bulgars and the Proto Bulgars of Kubrat Khan Great Bulgaria began, other diverse positions have appeared.

The first researchers considered Volga Bulgars to be Türks speaking Kipchak, i.e. Huns, and later Bulgaro-Tatars. Some researchers classified them as Finno-Ugrians. Those who mostly engaged in the problems of history of Danube Bulgars, presented a theory of a Slavic origin of both Proto Bulgars, and Danube and Volga Bulgars [Zakiev M.Z., Kuzmin-Yumanadi Ya. F., 1993, 3-13; Kakhovsky V.F., 1993, 31-33].

In 1863 Kh.Feyzkhanov found some Chuvash words in the Bulgar epigraphs, and came to a conclusion about influence of the Chuvash language on the language of epitaphs of the Volga Bulgars [Feyzkhanov Kh., 1863, 404]. A notorious missionary N.I.Ilminsky, not troubling himself by a detailed study of epitaphical language and the history of the local area, made from this "discovery" of Feyzkhanov a conclusion that Volga Bulgars spoke not a Türkic language of Kipchak type, but a Chuvash language [Ilminsky N.I., 1865, 80-84]. Then this idea was picked up by a (Russian - Translator's note) imperial censor N.I.Ashmarin and the subsequent Chuvashelogists, by the Russian and West-European lingo-historians and ethno-historians [Zakiev M.Z., Kuzmin-Yumanadi Ya. F. 1993, 4-7].

Later not only in the Bulgar epigraphy, but also in the composition of Ibn Fadlan, in the Slavic-Bolgarian name list, in the ancient Balkarian writings of Caucasus, in the Türkic borrowings of the Hungarian language, in the language of Volga Finno-Ugrians, the scientists tried to locate, and "found" Chuvash words, and, thus, "was proved" the Chuvash-linguality of Huns, Khazars, ancestors of Volga and Danube Bulgars and Proto-Bulgars. For the Chuvash historians and philologists there are no other researches, except the works identifying Bulgar, Khazars, Huns with Chuvashes. In the later years they do not distinguish Bulgars and Chuvashes at all, for them Bulgars are Chuvashes, and Chuvashes are Bulgars.

I critically reviewed the main works in which the identity of Bulgars and Chuvashes "is proved" in the book published in Tatar language in 1977 [Zakiev M.Z., 1977, 116-151].

Later in my articles I tried to illuminate this problem in more detail and brought fresh findings of other scientists about ordinarity of the Türkic language of Huns, and Khazars, and Proto Bulgars. In 1993 together with the expert in the Chuvash history and language Ya. F. Kuzmin-Yumanadi we issued a special book, in which we subjected to an analysis all basic works written to prove the Chuvash-linguality of Bulgars [Zakiev M.Z., Kuzmin-Yumanadi Ya. F. 1993].

Above, in the first part of this article, on the basis of new, more objective analysis of the known to history facts about Sakaliba I endeavored to prove that Bulgar people are cognate with Kipchaks. Now I need to acquaint the readers with the objective data, based on which the Chuvashes both by the language, and by all other parameters could not belong to Bulgars [Zakiev M.Z., 1982, 93-99; Zakiev M.Z., Kuzmin-Yumanadi Ya. F., 1993, 9-12].

1) If Chuvashes were formed mostly of Volga Bulgars, if the Bulgar language historically was transformed into Chuvash language, such continuity, certainly, would be visible, first of all, in the anthropological type of Bulgars and Chuvashes. However specific craniological studies provide completely opposite results. "Even a superficial morphological description makes it is visible, - wrote V.P.Alekseev, - that craniologically Chuvashes are similar to their Finnish speaking neighbors and that, hence, their anthropological type was formed with intensive participation of combination of characteristics typical for Finnish speaking peoples of the Volga basin, which has received the name of Sub Uralian" [Alekseev V.P., 1971, 248].

As to the complex of attributes characteristical for Bulgars, in the Chuvash type it is not found [Ibis, 249]. This Bulgarian complex of attributes was a basis of the formation of the Volga Tatars anthropological type. A low forehead Central Asiatic component representing one of the variants of the Sub Ural type, and a high foreheaded Central Asiatic type connected, probably, with Kipchaks, are layered on it [Ibis, 241-246]. Hence, on the craniological data, the historical continuity between Bulgars and Tatars is more obvious, than between Bulgars and Chuvashes.

2) The Bulgar-Chuvash theory does not also prove to be true in the ethnographical correlation. The known ethnographers N.I.Vorobev and K.I.Kozlova note that the ethnographic features of Bulgars were basically preserved first of all among the Kazan Tatars [Vorobev N.I., 1948, 80; Kozlova K.I., 1964, 20-21]. So, for example, among Bulgars were spread a maturely developed tanning manufacture and the commerce, which then were passed on to the Kazan Tatars, but in the Chuvash society the development of these crafts and occupations is not noted.

3) The culture of literacy was conveyed from Bulgars to Kazan Tatars, but Chuvashes up to 19 c had not have such culture. The same we can say about Muslim religion. The traces of Bulgars are not preserved in the Chuvash mythology and folklore, but in the mythology and folklore of Kazan Tatars the Bulgarian contents are usual subjects [Boryngy..., 1963, 17-51].

4) Chuvashes never called themselves Bulgars, but Kazan Tatars believed that their villages were founded by the descendants from Bulgaria, that their grandfathers, great-grandfathers were Bulgars, and often, down to the 20 c., called themselves Bulgars, counter to the name "Tatars". The name "Tatars" was externally imposed from three sides: by Mishar-Tatars who joined the population of the Kazan Khanate, by the Russians, who called almost all their Eastern neighbors Tatars, and by those who called themselves "Tatars" to show their greatness. Kazan Tatars persistently called themselves Bulgars almost up to the XX c. without any political connotations. Nobody taught this to the people, there were no history textbooks, no instruction manuals. The native language or the history of the people were not studied in then in medrese, the studies were limited to the Arabian, Persian or Türkish languages and the common Muslim history. The (Russian - Translator's note) official propaganda was deeply interested in the spreading of the ethnonym "Tatars". Consequently, the recollections of the fact that Kazan Tatars are, basically, former Bulgars, were preserved only in the memory of the people. Unfortunately, this fact and other evidence that in the base of the ethnic composition and language of the Kazan Tatars lay the Bulgarian substrate and Bulgarian language, the supporters of the Bulgarî-Chuvash theory previously did not consider at all, and also now they silently avoid it.

5) The Bulgar-Chuvash theory territorially also does not prove to be true. The archeological excavations in the territory of Chuvash settlement show that the Bulgarian archeological monuments of both Pre-Mongolian and Kipchak Khaganate time are absent, except for the Eastern and Southeastern part of Chuvashiya in the basin of Sviyaga river [Fakhrutdinov R.G., 1975, 86]. It would be possible to suggest that the ancestors of Chuvashes at first lived in the territory of the Bulgarian state, and then someone displaced them, for example, Mongolo-Tatars, as it is implied sometimes. However history knows no such facts.

6) Consider one more fact. If the ancestors of modern Chuvashes had a close affiliation with Bulgars, they necessarily would inherit a statehood. There are no reasons to think that the ancestors of the modern Chuvash people in the social development at one time were on a level of creating a state, and then rejected such form of political organization. The history, it seems, does not have a case that an ethnic group had its state, formed as a nation, and with the time lost all of it. Consequently, it is clear, that the ancestors of Chuvash people did not have a statehood, and they had no close affiliation to Bulgars. The Bulgarian state developed into the Kazan Khanate, and the Kazan Tatars inherited a statehood from Bulgars.

7) As it is known, the Bulgaro-Chuvash theory has arisen and was developed as a solely linguistic concept. However, even in this respect it is quite inconsistent. For instance, Makhmud Kashgarli in the 11-th c. noted the affinity of the Bulgarian, Suvarian and Oghuz languages [Kashgarli Makhmud, 1960, 66-68; Kononov A.N., 1972, 14]. As it is known, the Oghuz language was not characterized by the Chuvash features, and was the language of Oghuzo-Kipchak type. M. Kashgarli, marking the affinity of the Bulgarian, Suvarian and Kipchak languages, writes, that "the sound ð, present in the language of Chigils and other Türkic peoples, in the language of Kipchaks, Yamaks, Suvars, Bulgars and others peoples, who are spread to Romans and Russians, is replaced with a sound z". Besides that here the languages of Kipchaks, Yamaks, Suvars, and Bulgars are listed as identical by a given feature, another side of this message deserves an attention: here the so-called rotation of the initial ð or z, characteristic for the Chuvash language, is not noted. The comment is only about the interchangeability of ð-z which is observed until now in Türkic languages of the ordinary Oguzo-Kipchak type. Consequently, it should be concluded, that the Bulgarian language was not characterized by this rotation. If it is found in the language of Bulgarian epitaphs, it is possible to explain it by the influence of the language of Chuvash ancestors on the language of the Bulgarian epitaphs.

8) We shall bring one more witness' account of the Bulgar's contemporary. In the 1183 the Prince Vsevolod of Vladimir, before a raid on Bulgars, apprised the Prince Svyatoslav of Kiev: "I do not want to call Polovets (Russian for Kipchaks), for they are with Bolgars one language and lineage" [Tatischev V.N., 1964, 128]. Thus, history has two authentic evidences on the affinity of Bulgarian language with Oghuz and Kipchak languages. Besides, it should be noted that these two accounts coincide without a territorial connection with each other,.

9) It is also impossible not to notice the following. How to explain that modern Tatars and Bashkirs, on the one hand, and Balkars on another, have almost the same language, at any case, they understand each other well. In fact after the split in the 7 c., i.e. the separation of common ancestors into three groups, Balkars and Kazan Tatars had no territorial or economic connections. From the standpoint of the Bulgar-Chuvash theory it would be possible to explain it like this: their common ancestors Proto Bulgars were "Chuvash speaking", and Kazan Tatars' and Balkars' languages would became alike under the influence of arriving later Kipchaks. It is clear now that Kipchaks were not newcomers. That Kazan Tatars' and Balkars' languages so are close to each other is obviously because of the common historical roots ascending to the Oguzo Kipchak language of Proto Bulgars.

10) Further, if the Bulgarian and Khazarian languages were Chuvash-Türkic, the appreciable traces would remain in all of the huge territory occupied at one time by the Huns, Bulgars and Khazars. Moreover, even if to presume that in the deepest antiquity they spoke a Chuvash-Türkic language, during a centenary domination of them by the Türks of the Türkic Kaganate (6-7 cc.) their language would undergo the influence of Oguzo-Kipchak type language.

11) At last, if Bulgars spoke a Chuvash type language, they would have a self-name Palkhar, which would be also preserved in historical sources. But in the history there is no such a phenomenon. In fact, propagated an ethnonym Bulgar (Bolgar), typical for the common Türkic type languages.

Thus, the Bulgar-Chuvash theory is fraught with deep contradictions, and therefore for the solution of glotto- and ethno genetic problems of the Bulgars, Khazars, Huns, Turks, Chuvashes, Tatars, and Bashkirs it is not acceptable.


Consequently, Bulgars were not Chuvash-lingual, and spoke a Türkic language of Kipchak type. Moreover, Bulgar people belonged to the Kipchak's fold. It is proved by the Arabian and Persian sources of the 9-11 cc., which associate Bulgars with the larger Türkic alliance of Kipchaks (in Russian: Polovets, in Arabic: Sakaliba).


Alekseev V.P. A sketch of an origin of Türkic peoples of Eastern Europe in light of the craniological data // Questions of ethnogenesis of Türkic lingual peoples of the Middle Volga. Kazan, 1971. (In Russian).

Aristov N.A. Notes about ethnic structure of Türkic peoples and nations and information of their number // Live antiquity. Periodical edition of ethnography branch of. Russian Imperial geographic society. Issue III and IV, -SPb., 1896. (In Russian).

Artamonov M.I. A history of Khazars. M.-L., 1962. (In Russian).

Baevskiy S.I. The geographical names in early Persian lexicographical dictionaries // Countries and peoples of East. Issue XXII. M., 1980. (In Russian).

Bartold V.V. The Slavs // Works, Vol. II. 4.1. M., 1963. Pp. 870-872. (In Russian).

Bartold V.V. New work about Kipchaks // Works, Vol. V. M., 1968. Pp. 392-408. (In Russian).

Boryngy... - Ancient Tatar Literature. Kazan, 1963. (In Tatar).

Vorobyev N.I. The origin of Kazan Tatars on the data of ethnography // Origin of Kazan Tatars, Kazan, 1948. (In Russian).

Dobrodomov I.G. About Polovets ethnonyms in ancient Russian literature // Türkological collection. 1975. M., 1978. Pp. 102-129. (In Russian).

Zakiev M.Z. The contradictions of the Bulgar-Chuvash theory // Theoretical problems of Eastern linguistics. Part 5. M., 1982. (In Russian).

Zakiev M.Z., Kuzmin-Yumanadi Ya. F. Volga Bulgars and their descendents. Kazan, 1993. (In Russian).

Zakhoder B.N. Caspian collection of information on East Europe. Vol. II. M., 1967. (In Russian).

Zeki Validi Togan A.. Ibn-Fadlans Reisebericht // Deutsche Morgen-landische Gesellschaft. Leipzig, 1939. (In German).

Zekiev M.Z. Genesis of the language of Tatar people. Kazan, 1977. (In Tatar).

Ilminsky N.I. About the phonetic relations between Chuvash and Türkic languages // News of Imperial archeological society. Vol. V.-SPb. 1865. (In Russian).

Kakhovsky V.F. The review of the theories of an origin of ancient Bulgars // Bulletin of Chuvash National Academy 1993. No 1 Pp. 31-43. (In Russian).

Klyashtorny S.G.. Kipchaks in Runic records // Türcologica. 1986. To eighty years of Acad. A.N. Kononov L., 1986. (In Russian).

Kovalevsky A.P. Book of Akhmed Ibn Fadlan about his travel to Volga in 921-922 AD. Kharkov, 1956. (In Russian).

Kozlova K.I. Ethnography of the peoples of Volga. M., 1964. (In Russian).

Kononov A.N. Makhmud Kashgari and his "Divanu lugat it-turok" // Soviet Türkology. 1972.- No 1. (In Russian).

Kashgari Makhmud. Türkiy suzlar devoni. Vol. I. Tashkent, 1960. (In Uzbek).

Nemeth J. Die Volksnamen quman und qun // Korosi Croma Archivum. Budapest, 1941-1943. Pp. 95-109. (In German).

Read M. Rider without a head. M., 1955. (In Russian).

Tatischev V.N. Russian History. Vol. III, M.-L., 1964. (In Russian).

Fakhrutdinov R. Archeological monuments of Volga-Kama Bulgaria and her territories. Kazan, 1975. (In Russian).

Feyzkhanov Kh. Three Bulgar gravestone inscriptions // News of archeological society. Vol. IV.-SPb., 1863. (In Russian).

Languages... Languages and dialects of the world: the prospectus and dictionary. M., 1982. (In Russian).

Translated by N Kisamov 

KIPCHAK - Banner - (Gök-Börü)

Kipchak Flag

Sak "Sak". In the opinion of scientists, under the word "Scythians" were meant various groups of nomadic tribes that in the 7th-2nd centuries BC lived in the extensive territory. Antique and ancient sources (Pliny,6,50; the Herodotus, 7, 64) are informing that Persians call all Scythians "Sacae".

In the scientific literature are contentious opinions about the origin of Scythian - Sarmatian tribes and their language affiliation. On the one hand, the majority of scientists consider Scythians and Sakas of antique sources to be Iranian-lingual and place them in a huge space, from China to Hungary. R.G.Kuzeev also states that during an Iron Epoch the steppe and forest-steppe areas of Southern Bashkortostan were occupied by Indo-European-lingual Sarmatian tribes.

In the literature the ethnic names of Sakas are given by their locations: Overseas Sakas,  Middle Asian Sakas, "Sakas beyond Sogd", etc. Thus, a part of researchers place Saka tribes also where lived only the Türkic-speaking tribes: Southern Tian-Shan, Fergana, Pamir, Syr-Darya, Middle Asian interfluvial, Chorasm, Murghab, etc.

On the other hand, a number of scientists had proved the hollowness of the opinion about exclusive Iranian-linguality of the Scythian tribes. Their research demonstrated that not all Scythians - Sarmatians were Indo-European-lingual, most of them also were Turkic speaking Scythians.

In particular, with a various degree of the argumentation in the literature is analyzed a question about the presence in Southern Ural in the 5th - 8th cc. BC of the Indo-European-lingual and Türkic-lingual Sarmatians - Alans. S.L.Volin holds that Indo-European-lingual were only the eastern group of Sakas. In the opinion of P.L.Aristov, D.Aitmuratov, M. Z. Zakiev, G.Geibullaev, A.Lyzlov, V.V.Latyshev, E.P.Eihvald, F.Brutskus, P.I.Karalkin, I.M.Miziev, F.G.Garipova and other scientists, most of the Scythian tribes was also Türkic-speaking. In the works of these authors are given convincing proofs about their Türkic-lingualityity. In particular, the ethymology of the ethnonym "Sak" and language of its carriers is well covered by D.Aitmuratov. Basing on the historical records, he holds that most of the Sakas were Türkic-speaking. The territory of settlement of Scythian tribes are Altai, Kazakhstan, Southern Ural, Mongolia, Black Sea Coast, Caucasus, Danube. This gave D.Aitmuratov complete justification to assert that the history of Sakas is connected with the territories of the southeast Aral area, Jeti-Su, with foothills of Tian-Shan and even with Altai. Therefore it is difficult to imagine that Sakas were Indo-European-lingual people, and that the territory where lived ancient Scythians, fundamentally, completely coincides with the territory occupied by ancient Türks.

S.I.Rudenko held the nomad tribes of Southern Ural of the Sauromat-Sarmatian time to be Türkic-speaking. Arrian (2nd century AD), who described the campaigns of Alexander the Great, relying on the available official written reports, also mentions Sakas among the peoples of Middle Asia.

Research of the Bashkir Türkologist scientist, professor  Dj.G.Kiekbaev about formation, at the time still before our era, in the Southern Ural of the zonal Türkic language, a linguistic base, deserves a special attention. S.P.Malov, taking into account the presence of the relict phenomena in the Bashkir language, not preserved in the other Türkic languages, believed that the Bashkir language early (not later then 5th century BC) separated from the main body of the language, and branched as an independent Bashkiro-Mishar group. Territorially, this group was located in Eastern Europe.

The continuity of the Scythian tribes is also supported by archeological and anthropological finds. In particular, from the available male paleoantropological materials, the formation in the Southern Ural of the anthropological type of the Türkic-speaking Bashkirs, as holds R.Üsupov, can be to preliminary dated to the 1st millennium AD. From the research of Tot T.A. and Firshtein B.V., the Sarmatians of the Lower Volga and Ural region anthropologically are closer to the synchronous population of the Altai foothills. Is also undeniable is also the similarity of Sarmatians with the Usuns of Jeti-Su and Tian-shan... The tribes of Bronze Epoch in the Volga region, Kazakhstan, Altai participated in the formation of Sarmats.

As to the Mountain Altai, per G.A.Gejbullaev's just remark, without any doubt, the Mountain Altai was a cradle of the Ancient Türkic tribes, and the recorded unity in the elements of the burias and in the object complex in the Black Sea area, Urals, Kazakhstan, Altai and Southern Siberia testifies pecisely to the Türkic-linguality of the Scythians and Sakas. Were found close analogues (in the positioning of bodies in the tombs, identical form in the ornamentation objects, etc.) and in Late Sarmatian time (2nd-4th centuries AD) in the wide territory: in Crimea, Kazakhstan, Kama, Bashkortostan, in the Northern Caucasus.

An invaluable source proving the Türkic-linguality of the Saka tribes is onomastic material with analogues in those territories with Türkic-speaking population where in antiquity lived Scythians. One of such materials is the ethnonym "Sak". The ethymology of the ethnonym "Sak" is well illuminated by D.Aitmuratov in his book "Türkic ethnonyms: Karakalpak, Black Klobuks, Circassian, Bashkurt, Kirgiz, Uighur, Türk, Badjank, Saka, Massaget, Scythian". The ethnonym "Sak" with a variation "Shak", is widely distributed between the Türkic-speaking peoples: "Shaga" between Kazakhs, Sake, Saka between Kirghizes, Shaklar between Turkmen, Shakai between Uzbeks. This ethnonym in the form Saha is a self-name of one of the Türkic peoples, Yakuts. As tells N.A. Aristov, the ancient Türkic tribe, the main mass of which once occupied the Western Tianshan, under a name of the Saka or Sa, Se, finished its existence in India, leaving traces in the Western Tian-Shan as Kara - Kirgiz generation of Sayak, and in the Yenisei as Sagay.

Chaga is a name of a clan subgroup in the tribe of Solty Kyrgyzes. In the E.Kojchubaev's opinion, Shaga acsends to a name of aTürkic clan.


In the Chinese sources the Sakas were called Sai. H. A.Aristov in his research records the spelling of the ancient Türkic ethnonym "Sak" as Sa and Se (Soviet Encyclopedia). From there can be asserted that the ethnonym Saka was formed from Sa and etnonim-forming component, an indicator of plurality , k.

In tribal times the names for the geographical objects were usually given by their belonging to certain ethnic groups, tribal confrderations, individual clans or tribes. Therefore, we believe that the river Sakmar (the right inflow of r. Ural) consist of ethnonym Sak and topo-formant "mar" -  "river", and had a meaning of "River of Sakas". Compare, Kazan is the "River of a tribe Kaz". A fact of naming the territory occupied by a specific ethnos following its name is also recorded in historical documents. In particular, the Saka territory is defined from Strabo (Strabo 11.8.4) composition: "... In Transcaucasia have appeared the Sakas (in the 1st century BC and in the 1st century AD), they "took hold in Armenia of the best land, for which they left from their own name the name Sakasena".

In our opinion, the hydronyms Samara in the basin of r. Itil and r. Dniepr, estate Samara in the basin of r. Sakmar, r. Samarga in the Primorie Province, settlements Samarkands, Samara (Stalinist "Kuibyshev"), r. Samur in Dagestan are also formed from the most ancient form of the ethnonym Sak, Sa. Our stipulation that hydronyms Samara, Sakmar arose from the ethnonym Sa, Saka becomes even more convincing taking into account that the historical documents record river Samara (Sahmara). In the opinion of F.Garipova's, hydronym Sakmar originally could have sounded in the form Sagimar.

In basin of the r. Sakmar is known one more hydronym with the ethnonym Sak: Kirsak-elga, a former tributary of the r. Small Ik (formed from the Komi kurya = "old riverbed" + -Sak (ethnonym), compare Finnish kurki "eastuary, throat, mouth" and ononym "Sakaman" = "Saka mountain".

In the basin of the r. Dem in Bashkortostan also is hydronym Kursak: r. Kursak is a tributary of  the r. Dem. In addition to that, the place names with the ethnonym Sak are recorded in Bashkortostan near a city of Sterlitamak: a mountain (variation the Shakh-tau), in the Ishimbai district (equivalent of county in US) of Bashkortostan, in Tatarstan: Shaki, in Azerbaijan: Sheki, Sakasen, in the Crimea: district Saki, in the Perm area: Shakva, in Armenia: Shaki, in the northwest of Jeti-Su: Shaga, in the west of the Chimkent Province (Uzbekistan): valley and aul Shaga, and also in the geographical place names Saga, mentioned by Marcellan, and Sag-Dare in the place of the later Chirik-Rabat. To the same line also belong the names of the settlements: village Sakmar in the Baimak district of the Bashkortostan Republic, a settlement Sakmar in the Hungarian Republic, village Sakmary in the Kupgur district of the Perm Province. We also believe that the ancient Türkic ethnonym Sak is also recorded in the compound ethnonym "Kipsak"-"Kipchak", known still from the 3rd-2nd century BC, and the Bashkir surnames Sakaev, Sakin, Shakibaev, Shageev, and the female name Sékiné ("Sakina") are formed from that ethnonym.

On the "oldest Türkic map of the world", not far from the Caspian Sea are shown cities Bulgar and Suvar, where Mahmud Kashgarli identified Suvar with the city of Sakhsin. Vestberg is arguing that Itil and Saksin are one and the same (S.A.Pletneva suggestion) In Eastern Transcaucasia is recorded a toponym Sakish, and this placename is also found in the ancient Türkic inscriptions. We should also recite the following. Significantly, S.Ü.Baichorov holds the presence in Digoria and Balkaria of the place names on -shki //-shkhi, and the concurrence of their forms with the proto-Bbulgarian epigraphical monument from Preslava to be considered an evidence that before the arrival of the Iranian-lingual tribes in Digoria, there lived Türkic-speaking. Research also mentions that the tribes, which lived in the East Europe before the1st century BC, were repeatedly braking through the Caucasus into the countries of the Near East, the consequences of their being there are the ancient Türkic elements in the Caucasian Albania of the place names (Sakish, r. Iori - its Türkic name is Gavirli, the territory the Kara Yazi - in ancient Türkic yazi is a "plain"). Also, the Azov Sea was called by the Romans lake or a bog Meotida, and also "Scythian or Sarmatian ponds", and Scythians called it "Kargaluk" (Turk. Karga="old",luk = suffix, to see who this word belongs to, google it).

Thus, the data of onomastics and related disciplines allow to assert that the Türkic ethnos is aboriginal in the Eastern Europe including the Southern Urals, which is located on the border of Europe with Asia, and the Sakas are Türkic tribes of the Scythian period, and are ancestors of the ancient Bashkirs, are one of the components composing Bashkirs in the process of their ethnogenesis.

This group of the placenames of ethnonyms, known since the early Middle Ages period, also belong the toponyms that descend from the names of ancient Bashkir tribes, as Borjan "Burzyan", Kipsak "Kipsak", Usergan "Isergan" (in quotation marks the author renders the Russian pronunciation of the Turkic names).

Kipsak "Kipsak". An important role in the Bashkir ethnogenesis and in the creation of the ethnotoponymic picture of historical Bashkortostan played Kipsaks "Kipchaks".

The ethnonym Kipsak and the Kipchak society were known for a long time. They occupied a huge territory and pastured in from Itil and Ural steppes to Irtish. The Rus contemporaries in the 11th-13th centuries called them Polovetses. The Byzantines, and after them also all of the Western Europe called these people Komans. The Chinese transcribed the word Kipchak with hieroglyphs: "Tsin-cha" and "Küe-she". They knew the Tsin-cha in the 3rd-2nd centuries BC, and Byzantines and Ruses faced them 1300 years later, in the 11th - 12th centuries.

The author of the book "Kipchaks" S.L.Pletneva notes that a general tendency of the Kipchak society before the Mongol invasion in the beginning of the 13th century was a tendency of development (rise): from a small tribe, casually mentioned in the Chinese chronicle, Kipchaks by the beginning of the second millennium have turned into a strong, capable and numerous ethnical formation, which political influence and military potential had to be respected not only by the ageing Byzantium, but also by the powerful Rus ("powerful Rus" is a Russian peculiar national idiom, like the "scythe and hammer" or "dear leader"). As political force they gained prominence in the12th century, and in the first decades of the 13th century in the extensive steppe space from Altai to Crimea and Danube. The Bashkir scientist R.G.Kuzeev writes that a main role in the formation of the Bashkir ethnos was played by two stages of Türkic migration: ancient Bashkirian in the 8th-9th centuries, and Kipchak in the 13th-14th centuries. However it is known that they (or a part of them) were among the Huns (1st-4th centuries AD - M.U.) and in Western Türkic Kaganate (6th - 7th centuries).

Arabian and Persian geographers, travelers and historians of the 9th - 10 c., in the sections of their compositions devoted to peoples inhabiting remote from the Caliphate Eastern European and Asian steppes, constantly mention Kumak people and country.

Famous Arabian geographer Ibn Hordadbeh (second half of the 9th century) named Kumaks, and Kipchaks who separated from them, first in the list of the Türkic tribes, using earlier compositions (possibly, even of the 8th century) for his work. N.A.Baskakov wrote "Further into the depth of the centuries, the Kipchaks, together with Kumaks, constituted probably the greatest mass of the Western Türkic and partly of the Eastern Türkic Kaganate, which in turn were a result of disintegration of the Hunnu empire that included different tribes and tribal confederations".

Thus, it is possible to pose, with a solid foundation, that Kipchaks penetrated territory of the historical Bashkortostan in the early Middle Ages, together with other Türkic tribal societies, and in particular, with the Huns. This status is also supported by the facts from other regions. The Kipchak tribe Terter of the N.Pontic steppes is known in Azerbaijan in the 7th century. Z. M.Buniyatov cites the data, according to which Kipchaks invaded Albania still in the 7th century, and the Georgian records tell about Kipchaks in S. Caucasia in connection with the events of 456-510.

The dominat tribe of Kumaks was settled mostly on the banks of Irtish. Kipchaks, per data of Hudud Al-Alam, occupied a separate territory located to the west, approximately in the southeast part of Southern Ural. About the mountain terrain of the Kipchak lands also wrote Chinese chroniclers: in the chronicle Yuan-Shi these mountains were named Üyli-boli, and the Kipchaks were named "Tsin-cha" …

Ibn Haukal noted (10th century), that Kipchako-Kimak tribes were coaching, together with Oguzes, in the steppes to the north of Aral Sea, and Al-Masudi approximately at the same time wrote that all of them coached across rr. Emba and Ural. "Between their eastuaries 10 days of travel; there are located the winter stans and summer pastures of Kumaks and Oghuzes. Some hordes of Kimak tribes quite often were coaching on the coast of the Caspian Sea: in the "Shakh-name" this Sea even is called Kimak Sea.

"Lugat it-turk" ("Dictionary of Türkic languages") by Mahmud Kashgarli contains not only rich linguistical and ethnographical material, but also the oldest Türkic map of the world. On this map, made in 1077 AD, is shown the "Area of Kifdjaks (Kipchaks)".

An eastern writer, Tadjik Nasiri Husrau (this is a misnomer, in the 11th century Tadjiks still were an Arabian tribe, and the name Tadjik did not yet cover the Farsi-speaking tribes of Middle Asia) in the middle of the 11th century already calls the Aral area steppes not the Oghuzian, as was done by his predecessors, but Kipchakian.

Among the ethnonyms belonging to the Medieval period, are Kai and Shary. In another way Kumaks were also called Kais, and the Sharis (Bashk. Hary, Haryrlar - M.U.) (this is a demonstration of the the dialectal conversion s/sh/h, which caused su "water" to be pronounced "hu", and created a duplicate of Su-ar = "Water People" as Khu-ar = "Water People", and toponym Khuarasm = Chorasm = Kwaresm), in the opinion of all scientists studying nomadic associations in the Middle Age epoch, are Kipchaks or Polovetses, because the Slavic word "Polovetses" - ("pale yellow") means light yellow (polova is straw, chaff, husk).

Many researchers also believe that Kipchaks were blond/blondish and gray/blue-eyed, some scientists even connect their origin with "Dinlins", who lived in the Southern Siberia steppes in the end of the first millennium BC - beginning of the first millennium AD, and who were blondes according to the Chinese chroniclers.

S.A.Pletneva thinks that quite probably among the Kipchaks also were blond individuals, but also some of the Türkic-speaking Kimako-Kipchaks people with Mongolian admixture,  was dark-haired and brown-eyed.

Very interesting is the research of P.A.Aristov. In particular, he writes that called Oguzes or Kipchaks or Komans, the Kumans probably were, like Badjanks, a union of Kangli and Kipchak clans, where also participated parts of Alchin tribe.

Then continues: "there are sufficient information to know that, generally, The eastern half of the ulus called Deshti-Kipchak, i.e. Kipchak steppe, was filled, with the exception of a small nuimber of Naymans and Argins, by numerous Kipchak clans, and also by the clans of Alchin tribe, while the steppes of the western half of ulus, from the Urals to Danube, was a coaching territory for the remains of the Kipchaks and predating them Türkic tribes, who united with a part of the Kipchaks under the common name Nogais" (in the Bajmak district of Bashkortostan are surnames Arginbayev, Alsinbayev, names Arginbai, Alsinbai, formed from the ethnonyms Alsin and Argin - M.U.).

The territory occupied by ancient Bashkirian tribes in the territory of historical Bashkortostan was investigated by R.G.Kuzeev. He writes that in the 17th - 19th centuries, Kipchaks lived compactly and in small groups in huge territory from a upper course of the river White in the north to the lower course of Sakmara in the south. In the west and a southwest the Kipchak auls were scattered in a valleys of the rivers Dema, the Big and Small Uran, Irgiz, Kamelik. According to the informant from the Baimak district Safiulla Isyanov, the territory occupied by Kipchaks had a form of a half moon.

One of indicators of the Kipchak tribe residence are the placenames containing the ethnonym Kipsak "Kipchak". Plenty of settlements with members of this tribe are located in the territory of historical Bashkortostan.

The Kipchaks In Europe
Murad Adji's books are about Kipchaks, their culture and history. Murad Adji opens the pages lost in the annals, marred by falsifications, and simply ignored at point blank. I mirror the excerpts from his works, the full version of the "Europe..." in Russian is available on the Web. Murad Adji penned the book "Kipchaks", a translated chapter of which about Tengrianism is in this site.

Links (in Russian)
Murad Adji
Europe, Türks and the Great Steppe

Author's Introduction
Section 5
The European Kipchaks
Geographical map is a serious historical document bearing information not less than a heavy book. But we should be able to read it: The Great Movement of Peoples left the trace on the map. Then, in the 2nd-5th centuries AD, appeared a huge steppe country, the Desht-i-Kipchak, with the settlements, cities, villages, and road stations.The Türkic culture dominated from the Baikal to the Alps. In all of the steppe zone. The Europe then "began" in Siberia! Centuries passed, seems that it all  disappeared. But... Nothing was forgotten. The map remembers what people forgot. 

Nikolay Rerih noted it: We do not know. But they know.
Stones know. Even know
The trees. They remember.
Remember, who named the mountains
And the rivers.
Who built previous cities.
Who named the immemorial countries.
The words are unknown to us.
But all of them have meanings. 

For example, the borders of the Desht-i-Kipchak. They are intact! In Russian, the word "kurgan", as writes the most prominent toponymician E.M.Murzaev, previously meant "border", "boundary". Why? Because first of all kurgans distinguished the Türkic lands. Beyond the kurgans began the other's land.The border of the Desht-i-Kipchak in the north passed by the Moscow River, the northern bank belonged to the Finns and Ugrs, and the southern to the Türks. Only within the limits of Moscow are known quite a few kurgan groups, the majority of them are on the southern (right) bank. They are also in the former " Türkic" Moscow suburbs where were settlements of Türks,  the toponyms witness to it. For example, Kolomenskoe, its old name is Kolloma, in Türkic "Guardian", "Providence". Kopotnya is from "Tall Settlement" (or "Tall Grass"), Kuntsevo from "Shelter" or "Inn"... These words are obviously not of the Slavic origin... And to the north of the Moscow River, there are no kurgans, there lived other people, with other culture, and the toponymy there have other root and also not Slavic.

Authors Note. Seems, we need to clarify. Say, in the 12th century the border was not a line, as nowadays. It was a wide zone in which neighbors were interested in equal measure (a zone of a dialogue, of exchange and the peace). The Moscow R river, Oka and adjoining lands were such territories before the arrival here of the Slavs, therefore the Türkic monuments are alongside the Finno-Ugric monuments. It is natural. For example, the Nizhni Novgorod initially was called in Türkic, Bulgar, and since the old  times was famous for its fairs. To the Bulgar fair were coming merchants from the Europe, from Persia.

In the south the country of Türks reached Iran, the kurgans bear witness to that. The border remains almost without changes, Türks still live there, and they are called the Iranian Azerbaijanis. Between the northern and the southern border of the Desht-i-Kipchak also nowadays remain thousands of Türkic place names, it is presently a real treasure for the toponymy! For example, opposite the Moscow Kremlin, on the right bank, is Balchug. In Russian there is no such word, and in Türkic it is "bog", "mud". Clearly its a Türkic toponym.There is a multitude of similar examples. As a rule, the names of the many old cities of steppe Russia are from the Türkic root: Orel is  "Road Upward", Tula is "Full", Bryansk (Birinchi, Bryanechsk) is "First", "Main", Saratov (Sarytau) is "Yellow Mountain", Simbirsk (Simbir) is "Lonely Tomb"... Kashira, Kolomna, Kaluga, Voronezh, Penza, Chelyabinsk, Kurgan... There are a lot of names, and everyone tells the forgetful Kipchaks about their native land.The geographical maps captured the traces of the aggressive wars of Ivan the Terrible and Peter I. They show, how Rus grew at the expence of the neighbors. The map keeps the very dark history which is being tried to wash off the re-written chronicles. And it becomes understandable, why the ancient Türkic city of Kipenzaj, shown on the European maps, became the Russian Penza, Shapashkar became Cheboksary, Buruninej became Vironej, Saritau became Saratov, Chelyaba became Chelyabinsk, Birinchi became Bryansk...In Atilla's time the lands farthest from the Altai were called "Aleman", in Türkic "Distant". From here comes the nowadays toponym Alemania, present day Germany. Many of the "Germanic tribes" were blue-eyed, with wide chick bones, with the obvious Kipchak appearance, and they spoke in Türkic, which shows in their runic writing, ancient customs and folk memory. They are comers from the far-away Altai!  The part of the population of the France and Italy, England and Austria, Yugoslavia and Czechia have a similar early history. Judging by the archives, almost to the end of the 16th century there was in use the Türkic language. In fact, later, during the time of the inquisition, the roman catholic church carried a " great purge" of the archives, but, fortunately, some documents survived. It is these documents that allow to assert the unconventional, that the Türks lived in the Central Europe ... A detailed discussion about it follows later. Certainly, the Türkic place names remained on the maps of the Europe. In them the history of some countries and peoples is clearly read. Here is the path of the Burgund clan.. The Ulus Burgund came to the Europe from the spurs of the Baikal Ridge, the eastern-most toponym "Burgund" is known there. Then they lived in the Caspian steppes, then a part of them settled in the foothills of the Caucasus in Karachai, where is a settlement Burgund. And in the 435 AD their ulus, led by the Attila's father, reached the present France, creating the Burgundy, the Burgund-yurt... The French - Burgundians preserved the dishes of the Türkic national cuisine, a elements from the dress and utensils, and have not forgotten the traditions and the customs. They lost the native language. It is possible to trace the Ulus Savoi. This toponym also stretches by a thin chain on the geographical map from the Altai... It also coincides in time with the Great Movement of the Peoples. And the word "Tering" may also serve as a compass in a similar historical travel. "Tering" in Türkic is "Plentiful". So was called, for example, an extensive, fertile valley. From Balkhash (also Balkash - Translator's Note) (this lake was previously called Tering-Kül - Author) to the Central Europe this toponym is clearly marked. Coincidence? Certainly not. Attila's cohorts,  judging from the West-European literature, were Terings (Türings, Tyurings), Burgunds and others "Germanic tribes". All of them were fine horsemen, they fought under the banners with a cross... Not surprising is a line of the historian Jordanes about Terings, about their skill in the horse breeding... The native Europeans did not breed horses then! And did not drink koumiss. That was a favorite Türkish occupation. Looking at he map of Danube gives a plethora of the Kipchak names. By the way, "Balkan" in Türkic is "Wooded Mountain". So is called one of the areas Azerbaijan, with surprisingly beautiful wooded mountains The Chernogorets (Black Mountaineers - Translator's Note) in the Balkans are teased "Karaties", why is that? Without knowing the Türkic language, there is no answer. But the answer is simple. "Kara" is black, "Tau" is mountain. So, "Karaties" and "Chernogorets" is the same. There are as many Türkic toponyms on the map of Eurasia as there are stars in the sky. However to learn about them is impossible (for peoples in Russia - Translator's Note). The books on this thematic were published, but only beyond the Russian borders. Only a narrow circle of scientists knows about them. One of them is a prominent geographer Edward Makarovich Murzaev. He wrote his own book, maybe the main in his life, "Türkic geographical names"... The book, mockingly, was published with a measly print (only five hundred copies). The borders of the Great Steppe can also be clearly discerned in England. There they are a  memory of Anglo-Saxon campaigns which in the 5th-6th centuries AD were lead by the Türks (Saks or Saxes?). Defeating the natives, Kipchaks established their "island" state, starting the city of Kent,  which gave the name to the Yurt, later to the kingdom. "Kent" in Türkic is a "Stone Fortress" (Compare Tashkent - "Stone Fortress" - Translator's Note). That was a foothold for the advance deeper into the island. Accross the galf, on the continent was built the city of Calais, from here, we know, began the Anglo-Saxon campaigns, here was prepared the fording of the gulf... The map confirms this story. Authors Note.  "Kala" is also Türkic,  "Fortress", with not a stone, but with an earthen rampart.And, maybe, the most fascinating, what the toponymy shows, is right on the surface. "Ing" in the Old Türkic expression means "Booty". Is this the source for "Ingland", the "Captured Land"? Before the arrival of the Türks the island was called Albion. One more fact, at first for reflection, and then and for the disputes: the Church in Ingland did not recognized the Pope, only the Pope St. Gregory I the Great (590-604 - Translator's Note). managed to win the trust. At first the Englishmen followed the traditions of the eastern rites. Why? Where it came to the island from? They were called Arians, why? The very first abbot had the Türkic name Aidan (it means "Light" in Türkic), he taught the natives to believe in the Heavenly God . The missionary went along with a translator. Again, why was that? By the way, who come that in the far England there are kurgans, which became the long-standing attractions? Precisely the same kurgans are also in the other lands of the Great Steppe. There are none in Scotland... And do the Englishmen know, what their favorite polo game (on horses and with sticks) was popular in Altai before the Great Movement of Peoples? They drove not a wooden ball, but a head of the enemy bound in a leather bag. Türks have not forgotten this game, as well as many other ancient games. The Kipchak Blood did not freeze in the veins of some Englishmen. Their appearance and behavior give out their roots... The English Kipchaks, seemingly, have forgotten the proverb of their ancestors long before Anglo-Saxon campaigns: "do not get in another's trousers". They will not hide you. Having conquuered  half of the world, the Kipchaks seems to have left the history. After each large intercene conflict an ulus after another ulus left- the Desht-i-Kipchak, becoming either a "new" people, or merging with another peoples. The Türks melted away, as snow under the sun.

Neither the sky, nor the ground did not open, plague
And starvation did not beat us: so why also who,
My Türk people!, tell me, why and who
Thy law and rule brought to the end?  You, yourself, my people, to the land,
To the Kagan that wanted to serve you ,
To you yourself have sinned:
You chose for yourself, as fateful lot, an evil. Did not descend an armed force,
To overcome you, scatter, take in bondage!
None came with sharper swords than yours,
To capture you, to bend, erase you from the earth!
Oh my Türk people... 

So the poet Anatoly Prelovsky translated the posthumous call of the Türk Kagan Kül-Tegin. The text is as it was etched on the stone in the ancient script only yesterday, even it is more than thousand years old. Really the evil come to us?.. No! Evil  is not eternal. The word from lips of the enemy became a poison for Kipchaks, but now the Word will be a medicine.  
Türkic geographical names, 
By Murzaev, E.M.
M., 1996Slovar' narodnykh geograficheskikh terminov. V 2-kh tomakh. Tom 1: A-K.
By Murzaev, E.M.
Moskva: Kartgeotsentr; Geodezizdat, 1999. 340 pp.Slovar' narodnykh geograficheskikh terminov. V 2-kh tomakh. Tom 2: L-Ia.
By Murzaev, E.M.
Moskva: Kartgeotsentr; Geodezizdat, 1999. 354 pp.

 Ulus - a district, an area, a unit of territory or population for taxing purposes. Ulus can be as small as few villages or pastoral clans, or as large as as an empire, such as Juchi Ulus, which in turn encompassed the Western Siberian Ulus,  Bulgarian Ulus, Rus Ulus, and quite a few of other uluses. The head of the ulus administration was appointed or confirmed by the central Great Khan or Kagan.Yurt - home, native land, center. Akin to the word yurta - house, in pastoral societies a mobile house on a carriage or in a village. The Chechen war made the term "Yurt" in the sense of the home, native land, center well known, since the most of Russian-Chechen war atrocities were reported as taking place in the "yurt" locations, like Katyr-Yurt town, Nozhai-Yurt district, etc.







Subdivisions and ethnic affiliates

XXX, and other variations
Chapter 1
Eastern European steppes at the boundary of two millennia
Chapter 2
Kimaks and Kipchaks
Chapter 3
"Obtaining a motherland"
Chapter 4
Horde Unions. "Great Khans"
Chapter 5
Black Kalpaks and "Wild Kipchaks"
Chapter 6
Hordes in the steppes
Chapter 7
Kipchaks at home
Chapter 8
New associations. Khan Konchak
Chapter 9
Invasion. Last steps
Name Index
Ethnogeographical Index
Foreword to the Selected Quotations
Page numbers of the original are shown in blue. The translation replaces Russian-specific terminology with generally accepted English terms used in the literature, thus avoiding repetition of various distortions found in the Middle Age Rus annals and notoriously carried over into the present Russian publications, like using "Torks" for "Oguz Türks", "Pecheneg" for "Bajanak", and "Polovetses" indiscriminately for "Kumans" and "Kipchaks". This rendition also helps to eliminate terminological puzzles.

Like the term "Polovetses" used indiscriminately in the Rus annals for "Kumans" and for "Kipchaks", the author does not discriminate between the Rus and the Russian periods of the history, calling "Russian" most of the subjects from the time when Russia did not exist yet, and because in the literature it is conventionally termed "Rus", this term "Rus" is used in the present translation where appropriate. The author uses indiscriminately the Türkic word "ordu", army (Engl. "Horde") for the whole population of a tribe, a group of clans, or for one clan, and also as a synonym for "they" vs "us", as a faceless crowd; this term is rendered by its English synonym "horde" when it is not semantically grossly misleading. The author's mindset, like the Russian historiography as a whole, equates the terms "Slavs", "Rus-Ruses", and "Russian", thus projecting the traits of the native populations into the Russian-Rus-Ruses-Slavs canvas, and confusing the political control of the Rus princes with the ethnic composition, and with the religious composition of the populace. Another misleading notion of the Russian historiography is to aggrandize the territories inhabited by just subjugated tributors into "Rus Land", pretending that there are "borders" between the subjugated tribes and the other native population, when in fact the tribute-demanding area was mostly limited by the river boundaries and extended only as far as the pretender's ability to collect. The author, against factual situation, follows the Russian imperial position bundling together the Tengrian, Christian, Manichean, Buddhist and Judaic religions of the ingenuous population as paganism, while the Rus i.e. Slavs are pure Christians, contrasting the two worlds as was projected backwards in the 17th c.  When helpful, the author's initial Russian term is shown in parenthesis. The author's notes are given in normal font, and the Translator's Notes are in (blue italics and parenthesis), or are in blue boxes.

The English rendition of the extensive citation of the work is much simplified, with many details omitted and much reduced references, but with an eye to preserving the facts and evidence of the original work. The author, S.A.Pletneva, is a venerable, outstanding scientist doing an honest work, a feat not too frequently met in the Russian politicized humanities field, she frequently uses language appropriate for the subject, not lowering herself to the version of the present Russian scientific language cleansed from its inherent Türkisms, and having addressed Alans twenty five times in her book, not once did S.A.Pletneva used the title "Iranian-Speaking" mandatory applied to Alans, like in the Soviet epoch was the title "President" applied to "Brezhnev", or neither did she invoke the also mandatory Scytho-Ossetian faux. Nowadays the name of S.A.Pletneva is so firmly associated with the archeological studies of the N.Pontic that no author writing about the E. European history can do without citing and deferring to her works.

Without even stipulating her position, in contrast with the revelations usually heralded by the Indo-Iranists, S.A.Pletneva does not get at all into the Indo-Iranian type of quasi-scientific fishing, but instead in an inconspicuous footnote quietly etymologizes the Türkic names of the Bajanak Khans, and on the maps she supplies the unheard of in the Russian academic works Türkic toponyms that were cited by Herodotus and lasted, at least some of them, into the present. Though the historiography of the book is highly questionable, the archeological content is invaluable, and the tell-tale attributes revealed by S.A.Pletneva present an outstanding achievement toward completing the task for which a generation of Soviet archeologists paid with theirs and their family's lives.  This ability to be factual is the best and lasting honor that the author can endow herself.
Mini Glossary
ail  = village, extended family