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

Kipchaks - Table of Contents

Mirfatih Z. Zakiev

Usmanova M. G.

Adji M.


Pletneva C.A.


Peter B. Golden


Sakaliba are Kipchaks      

Ethonyms Sak and Kipsak

Kipchaks in Europe


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

The Codex Cumanicus



Bulgarians, Serbs, Croats, Czechs, Hungarians, Austrians, Bavarians, Saxons, inhabitants of Northern Italy(Tuscany/Etruscans), Southern Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Celts, Western France, England, Scotland, 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 or Western Turks.  And they called themselves "Kipchaks ".






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., 1996
Slovar' 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


  Introduction 3
Chapter 1 Eastern European steppes at the boundary of two millennia 9
Chapter 2 Kimaks and Kipchaks 25
Chapter 3 "Obtaining a motherland" 36
Chapter 4 Horde Unions. "Great Khans" 44
Chapter 5 Black Kalpaks and "Wild Kipchaks" 70
Chapter 6 Hordes in the steppes 95
Chapter 7 Kipchaks at home 110
Chapter 8 New associations. Khan Konchak 146
Chapter 9 Invasion. Last steps 171
  Chronology 139
  Literature 192
  Sources 195
  Abbreviations 196
  Name Index 197
  Ethnogeographical Index 201




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

ISBN 5-02-009542-7 © Publishing house " Science ", 1990


The book is devoted to the history of one of the most known and powerful Türkic-speaking ethnoses of the Middle Ages epoch, the Kipchaks, called Polovetses by Rus chroniclers. In the Arabian and Persian compositions they were called Kipchaks, and in the Byzantian and Latin compositions they were called Kumans. The author examines written sources and archeological materials about this ethnic formation, raises and quite often solves in a new way many questions of the origin, economic and social relations, ideology and political history of this people.

Their Rus contemporaries in the 11th-13th centuries called them Kipchaks. Byzantines, and after them all Western Europe called this people Kumans. The eastern hordes of this ethnos were coaching east of Itil and Urals steppes, up to Irtish, were called Kipchaks. Under that name they entered the pages of the Arabian and Persian manuscripts. The Chinese transcribed the word "Kipchak" by two hieroglyphs: "Tsin-cha". The Chinese chroniclers knew the Tsin-cha in the 3rd-2nd centuries BC, but Byzantines and Rus met them 1300 years later. in the 11th-12th centuries. In that long time the Kipchaks went through periods of glory, military successes, economic rises, and the periods of bad falls, when the chroniclers and travelers of all countries and nations ceased mentioning them.

Nevertheless we can confidently tell that the general tendency of thr Kipchak society before the Mongolian invasion in the beginning of the 13th century was a tendency of development: from a small tribe, slightly mentioned in the Chinese chronicle, by the beginning of the second millennium they turned into a strong, powerful and numerous ethnic formation, with the political influence and military potential of which had to be reckoned by the aging Byzantium and incipient Rus.

The complex, multifaceted history of the Kipchaks, naturally, frequently drew the attention of scientists.

P.V.Golubovsky, second half of the 19th century, "Badjanks, Türks and Kipchaks before invasion of Tatars", printed in Kiev in 1883.

I.Markvart, ca. 1900, German Türkologist "Ober das Volkstum der Komanen", some Markvart's positions on the early history of Kipchaks and now have not lost their scientific value.

D.A.Rasovsky, the beginning of the 1930es, "Sermnariuni Kondakovianum", Prague, and brilliant articles devoted to the history of the nomads of the Eastern European steppes, synchronous and interacting with Kipchaks (Badjanks, Türks, Kara Kalpak union, etc.).

After these works it became clear, that rather new data, the new facts can be received only by developing one more source, which until then was not used at all by the scientists. This source were archeological materials.

Their accumulation began in the end of the 19th century. A mass excavation of nomadic kurgans was undertaken by the general-lieutenant N.E.Bravdenburg in Cherkass area (in the Ros area), and by one of the most active Russiann archeologists B. A.Gorodtsov on the banks of the Severski Donets and Don, started a collection of nomadic (including Kipchak's) antiquities of the Eastern Europe.

A.A.Spitsyn suggested that the burials excavated by Brandenburg should be connected with Badjanks, Türks and Berendeys, located by the Rus annals in the river Ros area. The remarkable archeological intuition peculiar to Spitsyn, and deep knowledge of the material allowed him to correctly date these burials by the 11th - the beginning of the 13th century.

Gorodtsov divided into the ethnic groups the kurgans excavated by him in the basin of Severski Donets. He was the first who allocated precisely the features of the Kipchak's funeral ceremony: kurgan kurgans with stone, tombs with timber roofs, eastern orientation of the diseased.

Fedorov-Davidov's monograph "Nomads of the Eastern Europe under the authority of the Altyn Ordu Khans" is a complete report of all nomadic antiquities, in which he divides them into four chronological groups: 1st belongs to the 9th-11th centuries and is linked with Badjanks and Türks; 2nd belongs to the end of the 11th-12th centuries, the first period of the Kipchak's domination in the steppes; 3rd belongs to the pre-Mongolian period of the Kipchak's domination; 4th belongs to the 13th - 14th centuries Kipchak Khanaate period.

Each group has a number of the burial types, and that gives Fedorov-Davidov a basis to stipulate that it is impossible to discern the ethnic definition of each type: their mixture in any chronological period is too commingled. However with the general propriety of that division of the material, each period has a typical prevalence of one type ceremony, or the funeral ceremony has new features traceable in other territories in the earlier, and sometimes also in the synchronous burials. Obviously, a connection of a ceremony with a certain ethnos undoubtedly existed. At present it only develops, and in the future with further accumulation of the material and its processing these connections will come to light more clearly.

In the last two decades (i.e. 1970-1990) the update of source base is conducted rather actively, as the excavations of the steppe archeological monuments, kurgans of different epochs including medieval, is annually done by tens of new construction expeditions. Now is starting a new stage of understanding the found up materials, which, in due course will end up with a monographic summary.

A much greater unity and clearness achieved the archeologists in the ethnic, and in particular the Kipchak's stone sculptures (balbals), today they are a most characteristic accessory in the museum collections of the southern steppe cities of in the Ukraine and Russia. At the time tens of thousand sculptures stood in groups or alone on all elevated, visible from afar points of the steppe. The Russian ploughmen in the 17th-18th centuries ploughed the virgin lands and a widespread construction led to a mass destruction of these works of art. By the 20th century almost none of them remained in the Dniepr-Don interfluvial, the main territory of their distribution. Countess P.S.Uvarova, an archeologist and philanthropist, started a fight for their preservation. She asked the governors of the southern provinces to organize a census of the statues. This great source for study of the statues and their distribution in the steppes is kept now in the GIM. At the same time at the end of the 19th - the first decades of the 20th century, started to be created extensive museum collections of the steppe statuary.

For a long time, during all of the 19th century, the stone statues were attributed to a variety of peoples who lived in the steppes: Scythians, Huns, to Goths, Bulgars, Finns, Slavs, Ugrs, Tatars, Nogays and even to Slavic migrants. The first researcher who resolutely stated that they are left by the Kipchaks, and tried to prove his hypothesis, was I.Veselovsky. After publications of his work in the 1915 the majority of scientists unconditionally recognized them as Kipchak's. The material was not specifically canvassed.

Only in 1974 was published my book "Kipchak's stone sculptures" where all largest museum collections of statues (1322 originals) were investigated whenever possible. In addition to the publication of statues (catalogue), the work attempted to make it a historical source for future historical studies.

A big attention is paid to Kipchaks in the works of the historians for the history of the pre-Mongolian Rus. Especially big place occupy the sections about them in B.A.Rybakov's books.

Essential role in the research of the Kipchak history and culture played the abundance of monographs and articles addressing the "Tale of Igor's Campain". There with especial thoroughness are examined the questions of mutual relations between the Kipchaks and Rus: language, cultural, political and so forth.

Thus, the Kipchak's subjects are traditional for the Russian historical science. Noteworthy is that in the beginning of the 70es, not without the influence of the "flashed" and spread in the previous decade interest to the Kipchaks and other so-called late nomads, in Romania were published two good books of Peter Diakonu about Badjanks and Kipchaks in the Danube basin.

Too bad that S.A.Pletneva even in 1990 did not mention the crucial 1975 work of O.Suleymenov that was speedily confiscated immediately after its release, was totally avoided by the "Russian historical science", and was for years a hit of the "Samizdat", a grass-root cottage industry manually copying the forbidden literature. O.Suleymenov shows the bi-lingual state of the Rus society, repudiating the state doctrine of a negligible role of the Türks in the period including Late Middle Age Rus, promulgated by Russian ethnic patriots including the editor of S.A.Pletneva book, Academician B.A.Rybakov, who were ignoring or discounting the facts and inventing artificial substitutes on an industrial scale. This omission, coupled with the overblown image of the petty Rus principalities, a consistent failure to mention that the "Rus regiments" were in fact mostly Türkic regiments in service of their predominantly Türkic masters, and the reduced image of the Kipchak state, shows that even the works of the most honest researchers working in the shade of the Russian Academy of Sciences need to be complemented with inquisitive between-the-lines reading.

In the same 70s and in the beginning of the 80s activated the research of not only the western Kipchak's, but also the eastern Kipchak antiquities and monuments in the Irtish area and Itil-Ural interfluvial. In the 1972 was published extremely useful and informative book of B.E.Kumekov "Kimak State of the 9th-11th centuries in the Arabian sources", where the author sums up more than a century of studies of this people, and also examines anew many sources, and gives an expressive and full picture of the Kumaks' and Kipchaks' life up before and partially after their migration to the West to the N.Pontic steppes.

So, even a most cursory review of the literature about Kipchaks that mentioned only the most important monographic works testifies that this theme is not forgotten in neither Western, nor Russian, nor the Soviet scientists (in other words, "don't kill me for being a maverick, I am only threading the established paths", but fortunately this is not true at all).

This book is a first attempt of a popular rendition, and occasional first generalization of the accumulated in the last hundred years observations, materials and conclusions for various moments of the Kipchak history, geography, economy and culture. The book introduced some new materials and facts, it express new ideas and hypotheses for some topics. Apparently, they will be interesting but only for a general reader for whom this book is intended, but also to the history experts.


Chapter 1.
Eastern European steppes at the boundary of two millennia (i.e. in the 1000 AD)

Bosnians (Slav. "Pecheneges")



At the end of the 9th century the Khazarian Kaganate, torn apart by internal problems and religious upheaval, lost its recent absolute power, its glory of invincible power won by rivers of blood. The neighboring peoples begun to agitate, one after another began leaving the tribes and the tribal unions of the Khazarian confederation who used to pay a tribute to the Kagan.

In the Eastern European steppes at that time formed a new nomadic union, Badjanks (in the Latin and Byzantian literature they were called Patsinaks or Pachinaks, in the Arabian literature they were called Badjnak).

In fact, the Latin sources called them Becens/Besenyos, which was close to their self appellation that came to our days in its Middle Age form, Bosnia/Bosnians

It was headed by the descendents of the political union Kangüy. The new association received a new name.

S.A.Pletneva glosses over a monumental ethnos, documented, unlike any other in the history of the humankind, over five and a half millennia in the space from the lake Balkhash to the Persian Gulf. The name of the ethnos is Kangar, attested in the Sumerian records in the Near East interfluvial, and in the Chinese records west of the Altai foothills. Besenyos were related to the Kangar people, hence their exoethnonym, "in-laws", that came to be their adopted ethnonym "Bajanaks". In the Kangar confederation autonomous Besenyos had their own Khans, and we were fortunate to learn of their ruling clan and the names of some individual rulers from that clan.

The origin of a word "Badjank" ("Becheneg") has differing opinions. One of them is rather probable: from the Türkic name Beche, apparently a first leader of the Badjanak's tribal union. Like all nomadic associations, Badjanks were multi-ethnic and multi-lingual union: besides Türkic-speaking hordes, they could also have some Ugrian groups.

Since there is no data whatsoever about their actual composition, we can speculate all we want about multi-ethnicity of Kangars or Besenyos, including Marsians at the extreme, and the only morsel we have is that nomadic societies, as formulated by Fedorov-Davidov, may include clans of different ethnicity that recognized the predominance of a titular clan at the time of an attachment, and form a economic unity nowadays frequently looked upon as a political or ethnic confederation. After, say, five generations, a bi-linguality proliferate, and after another, say, five generations, the ethnoses blend completely. In other words, in two hundred years the linguistical distinctions within the newcomer clan fade enough to be inappreciable. The Khan who initiated the switch of allegiance in the first place, and who negotiated the terms of the association, remained an autonomous ruler of the newcomer clan, being a perennial hub in the interface between the central authority and the former newcomer group.

In the first decades of their existence the Badjanak's hordes pastured in the steppes on the eastern bank of Itil. There began the formation of both political structure, and the Badjanak's ethnos with a common material culture.

The 1,000,000 strong Badjanak's hordes did not start their existence only on the borders of the Khazar Kaganate. They had a formidable force, and when their pastures were forcibly taken by the Oguzes, they moved as a coherent force to the western pastures located between the Yaik and Itil rivers.

Squizzed in the steppes east of Itil between considerably stronger neighbors - Oguses (Uzes in the original), Kipchaks, Magyars and the Khazarian Kaganate, having felt the weakening of the last, they rushed to the western fringes of their pastures. The Khazars tried to stop the movement of the Badjanak's hordes

Unfortunately, this reconstruction of the events is primitive and dogmatic. Hundreds of thousands members of wild Besenyo hordes "rushing" their sheep to celebrate an absence of the Khazarian border guard regiments is not real. In reality, a defense army of a branch of Kangars, under a military pressure from Oguzes, secured a safe pasture land for the remaining 85% of the population, willing to face up or make arrangements with the owner for the use of their land. The following development of the events shows that an arrangement was found.


The (Khazarian) Kagan concluded a union with Oguses, hoping that the allied forces would crush the unexpected aggressors. However, the result of this agreement turned out completely the opposite. The Oguzes, according to the Byzantian historian emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus, "joined battle with the Pechenegs and prevailed over them and expelled them from their country...". "And the Pachjinaks, - he writes,- fled and wandered round, casting about for a place for their settlemen" (Constantine Porphyrogenitus, p. 155). The Badjanks' path in the seized lands at the end of the 9th - first decade of the 10th century was marked by big fires, destruction of the overwhelming majority of steppe and forest-steppe settlements, castles and even cities (on the Taman peninsula). This relatively short period of Badjanks' advancement to the west found, from our point of view, a reflection in the Persian geographical work "Borders of the world", by an unknown author, apparently in beginning of the 10th century. It tells about two branches of Badjanks: Türkic and Khazarian.

The geographical position of the Türkic Badjanks is described as follows: "The east of their country borders on Oguzes, south of them are Burtases and Baradases, west of them are Magyars and Rus, north of them is the river Ruta".

If the anchor point is taken in respect to Burtases instead of the Rus, then the Besenyos at that point were in the vicinity of the Samara bend, and the Burtases are south of them. The Magyars = Mishars are in their historical location west of Itil, and the Rus is further west. Then Ruta would be one of the Oka/Itil tributaries.

The description is, like all Arabian and Persian studies of the Eastern Europe, not clear. Nevertheless the pastures of the Türkic Badjanks can be determined, with larger or smaller probability, in the Dnieper-Don interfluvial. The name "Türkic" these Badjanks received from the most fearful and dangerous to them in those decades neighbor, the Oguz Türks (interestingly, the Ruses also later began to call Oguzes Türks (Torks)). West of them were the possessions of the Magyars - Hungarians and Rus. The Rus was to the north of the Badjanak's main direction aimed at capture of the steppe pastures. Therefore Badjanks faced the Rus later.

More likely, at the time of the report the Badjanks were politically divided under control of the two masters: the Oguz Türks and the Khazars, each part located in their respective sphere of dominance. The Badjanks' obligations to both of their suzerains were identical: a nominal tribute and a participation of their respective suzerains' campaigns. This participation left us with records of their allegiance, because the wars were documented by their contemporaries.

In the beginning they struck the Hungarians who were living then in Dniestr-Dnieper steppe interfluvial, called Atelkuzu (Ata+el+kuju = Father+land+people, i.e. akin to Fatherland, the Hunnish motherland well known into the 15-th c. O.Pritsak: "literature concerning Atelküzü (Gr. Atelkouzou) is given by Gy. Moravcsik, Byzantinoturcica, ii (Berlin, 1958), p. 77, and Gy. Moravcsik in De Administrando Imperio, ii (London, 1962), p. 148"). For that they first of all concluded an alliance with the Danube Bulgarian King Simeon (aka Shamgun, 893-927) who, naturally, wished to destroy such a dangerous neighbor as the Hungarians. Taking advantage when the main forces of the Hungarians set out to a campaign, Badjanks broke into their country and completely exterminated, as writes Constantine Porphyrogenitus, their families and purged the guards left to protect the land. The Hungarians returning from the campaign found their land "emptied and destroyed", and besides occupied by ferocious enemies. Ascertaining that they could not hold on to their land any more, the Hungarians turned to the west. However their first impulse was to capture the nearest to the Atelkuzu territories, the forest-steppe lands on Rus border. That happened in the 898 briefly recorded in the Rus annals mentioning tabor (mobile fortification of military carts encircling the camp) next to the Kyiv hill on the bank of the Dnieper. Apparently, they tried to settle there, but were met extremely unfriendly by the Rus border regiments and consequently, without stopping any more and not without entering any battles, proceeded over the Carpathian mountains into the Danube area. There, as testified by the (Rus) chronicler, they "started fighting" and, achieving a victory, settled in the rich Pannonian lands.

The "Rus border regiments" must be a figment of the author's imagination, there is not a thread of any documentary support, the falsehood is clearly written to fool the "general public" of Russia. Only 40 years after wrestling control of the Bashtu/Kyiv from the Khazars, Kyiv was a city-state and only had a ragtag Slavic-based militia and Dane Varangian mercenaries, and no "Rus border regiments" whatsoever. But Kyiv was located on a major shlyakh (road) of the area that would allow a train of ca. 50 thousand carts to cross to the other side of the Dnieper from the Lebedia just captured by the Badjank advance army. The logistics of the crossing must be tremendous, with two forts set up on the opposite sides of the river, and transportation of the heavy carts and remaining herds and household carts across the river. The crossing made the confederation of the four Ugrian tribes and three Bulgarian tribes especially vulnerable to assaults, and its success demonstrated the strength of the organization and the heavy experience in forging water barriers. The crossing was made under a leadership of an offspring of the Hunnish ruling clan Dulo, prince Arbat (Hung. Arpad) Madjar (Hung. Magyar) (896 - ca 900), a senior son of the Bulgarian Kaan Almysh (895-925), who took the command of the newly allied federation.

The Badjanks' victory made them the masters of the Dnieper, Donetsk and Don steppes reaching the Itil.

The second section of the Badjanks, named by the Persian Anonym "Khazarian", was coaching in the lands to the east of which were the "Khazarian mountains, south of them were Alans, to the west was the Gurz Sea, in the north of them were Mirvats" (Hudud-al-Alam, p. 160). We see, that the information about this branch is even more uncertain than about the Türkic segment. The only clear reference is the Alans, who lived, as it is known, in the Caucasus foothills. The Sea, mentioned in the citation fragment, apparently is the Azov Sea (and a part of the Black Sea), and the mountains are the hills running along the Kuma - Manych depression. Who was named by the Anonym Mirvats, remains obscure. Nevertheless the provisional site of the Khazarian Badjanks' land all the same can be established as a steppe interfluvial of the Lower Don and Kuban rivers. The archeological research of some seaside settlements testify that many of them, particularly such a big city as Bandja (Phanagoria, named Fanagoriya by the author), were destructed at the end of the 9th - beginning of the 10th century.

Contrary to the S.A.Pletneva' assertion, the Hudud-al-Alam information is perfectly clear: the Gurz Sea is the Gurgan Sea, i.e. Caspian Sea; Mirvats are Burtases living north of the Don-Itil confluence, as stated by Constantine Porphyrogenitus. Khazarian Mountains are Caucasus Mountains, from the depth of which they came from, i.e. from Bersilia. What is jumbled in this quotation are the words east/west: Caspian Sea in the east and Caucasus in the west. Badjanks took over the plain of the Kuban river, displacing the pastoral eastern Bulgars, or Ak Bulgars. The destruction of Bandja is an archeological confirmation to the accuracy of Hudud-al-Alam.


The sources tell us about one more group of Badjanks who lived in the area east of Itil. Passing through the steppes east of Itil in the beginning of the 10th century (i.e. in 922), Ahmed Ibn Fadlan met there Badjanks coaching near the water, that "looked like a sea". Seemingly, he meant the salty lake Chelkar located in the center of the east of Itil lands. Talking about them, Ibn Fadlan writes: "they are dark brunettes with completely shaved beards, and are poor comparing to Oguzes...". Apparently, these were those Badjanks that did not follow to the West together with the main nucleus of the Badjanak's tribal union, and remained in the former pastures, submitting to Oguzes. About these Badjanks also wrote in detail Constantine Porphyrogenitus: "At the time when the Pachinakits were expelled from their country, some of them of their own will and personal decision stayed behind there and united with the so-called Uzes, and even to this day they live among them, and wear such distinguishing marks as separate them off and betray their origin and how clan about that they were split off from their own folk: for their tunics are short, reaching to the knee, and their sleeves are cut off at the shoulder, whereby, you see, they indicate that they have been cut off from their own folk and those of their race". It was most passive and poor part of the Badjanks. Remaining in their former pastures, they, naturally, have submitted to the Oguzes, joined their union and had no independent value any more, and were not mentioned in the other sources.

By the middle of the 10c. Badjanks took over enormous steppe territories from Itil to the Danube. About the political geography of the Badjanak's land, about location there of separate Badjanak's hordes, or femas, narrates in detail the same Constantine Porphyrogenitus. The matter is that the Badjanks at that time played in the history of the eastern and central European peoples and countries, and in the history of the Byzantium, extremely visible role. By that, they constantly attracted attention of the Byzantian politicians, who were counting upon them in their plans of the struggle against the states surrounding them of the Bolgars, Hungarians, Khazars, Ruses. Significantly, Constantine begins his composition, an instruction to his son titled "De Administrando Imperio", with the chapters describing the relations of all their neighboring peoples with the Badjanks, with their significant dependence on the Badjanks who are plundering their peaceful settlements, with them interfering in trade, with them extorting repayments and payoffs. Especially suffered from them the Hungarians and Bulgars, who were "repeatedly defeated and plundered by them and learned from experience that it is better and favourable to always be in peace with Pachinakits".

After a general characteristic of the "international situation" complicated by the Badjanks, Constantine moves to the description of the "Pachinakia" itself, thanks to which we now have a clear picture of the Badjank location during the high time of their greatest power. He wrote that the country of Badjanks is divided into eight femas. The fema Tsur (or Kuartsitsur), Kulpei (Sirukalpeis), Talmat (Borotalmat), Tsopon (Vulatsopon) are located east from the Dnieper and down to Itil. One of the Jewish authors, namely Joseph bei-Gorion, who also wrote his composition in the 10th century, tells that the tribe Tilmats coached along Itil. Apparently, we can quite compare this name to the fema Talmat named by Constantine. Specifying further the location of the eastern group of the Badjanks, Constantine wrote that their neighbors of were Uzia and Khazaria, the distance from which was five days of travel (about 200 kms), Alania which lands were six days of travel from the pastures of Badjanks, and Mordia (Mordva), at a distance of 10 days travel.

The other four femas are: Chopon (Giazichopon) is "neighboring" with Danube Bulgaria, half-day of travel from its borders (15-20 kms); Gila is close to Hungary at a distance of four days travel: Charavon are coaching one day travel from the southern border of Rus, and Irtim (Iavdiertim) is "neighboring" the Rus tributor districts, the Oultines and Dervlenines and Lenzenines and the rest of the Slavs". Now we know well where lived one of the Slavic tribes named by Constantine, the Dervlenines-Drevlyans: in the interfluvial of the Dnieper and Bug, on the southern bank of the Pripyat and its tributaries down to the border with the steppe. Apparently, to the south of this border in the steppes coached Irtim horde. Constantine also repeatedly emphasized that Badjanks are very close to Kherson, "and even closer to the Bospor", which, apparently, means that their pastures were somewhere in the east coast of the Azov Sea and on the Taman peninsula.

P.Golden explanation of Besenyo tribal names: Names of 8 tribes consist of two parts, a name proper, usually a horse color, and with some possible exceptions, titles of their rulers, e.g. Xaboujin-gula  => Qabuqàin-Yula => “Yula tribe with bark-colored horses”, Suroukoulpey => Suru Kül Bey => “Kül Bey tribe with grayish horses”. A tribal color is identified with a color of its herds.

Later in Chapter 3 S.A.Pletneva asserts (or, rather, retranslates) the etymology of the Sari Kipchaks, about complexion of the Sari people. But it is likelier that the name Sari Kipchaks relates to the color of their herds, as in Besenyo example. This is even more plausible because in S.A.Pletneva's own observation, Türks traditionally had a freedom of association, selecting for themselves a union to join in, and this caused a demographic fluidity that would debunk the very concept of monoethnicity implied by her.

The depiction by Constantine Porphirogenesus is the fullest and most detailed description of the location of Badjanks in the Eastern European steppes in middle of the 10th century. It is interesting, that the Khazarian Kagan Yusuf Hakan who wrote a letter to Hasdai ibn Shafrut, at the same time tried to gloss over the Badjanks, without mentioning that they actually captured all the territory of the Kaganate, and settled there, densely surrounding with a hostile half circle the domain of the Kagan himself. Joseph allocated to them only the former Atelkuzu, placing their pastures between the Dnieper and Danube. And the Kagan also contrived, telling that all Badjanks pay him a tribute. However, the boastful refrain about a tribute paid to him by all neighboring peoples, sounds from him after each mentioning of these peoples and countries.

And it is natural, as only the grandfather of Yusuf Hakan ruled a really powerful state with many subordinated peoples. To reconcile with the loss of this power was difficult for Yusuf Hakan, especially to admit it in the information letter about his state. However to hold back story about Badjanks who dealt to Khazaria a first crushing blow he could not, as the news about their invasion already reached Spain where lived Hasdaj ibn Shafrut, a Spanish Jew and ranking noble of the Arabian (Cordovian) Caliph. This is evidenced by the "Song about Roland" that mentioned the "hordes of wild Badjanks". Clearly, they were known in Spain, and in France, and in the German princedoms. Nevertheless, Joseph minimized as much as he could the tragical role of this people in the history of his country.

And meanwhile the Badjanks had actually destroyed the Kaganate. They destroyed its economy; most of the rich agricultural settlements in the forest-steppe zones of the Don area was wiped out from the face of the earth. The population has been partly destroyed, partly joined the nomadic divisions of the Badjanks. Only a small number of them fled to Danube (to the Danube Bulgaria), to the Middle Itil and to the boondock corners of the upper courses of Oskol and Don rivers, reliably protected by forest massifs from the nomadic attacks. A part of the Bulgaro-Alaian population of the Don area also retreated to the southern areas of the Kaganate, into the domain of the Kagan. The small border town Sarkel on the Don had grown appreciably, which is archeologically clearly traced: the cultural layers of the beginning of the 10th century in the fortress stand out by especially rich and diverse finds. Precisely then appeared in the ity the first Slavic immigrants, the inhabitants of the bordering Kaganate Slavic lands, who fled together with the population of the Kaganate from the Badjanak's invasion. A terrible loss endured the trade of the Kaganate, and its diplomatic communications were broken. Badjanks, who captured the steppes between Kuban and Don, cut off the Khazaria from the Byzantian empire. Besides, the Badjanks destroyed some coastal cities and settlements in the Eastern Crimea. Thus, all the vital arteries that connected Kaganate with its allies, trading partners and tributors, were seveared. The state inevitably was moving to a destruction, by the middle of the 10th century it was practically reduced to the size of the personal domain of the Kagan, located approximately in the territory of the modern Kalmykia.

Khazar Kagan royal domain


Badjanks no more saw the Khazars as dangerous enemies in any respect. Apparently, the Kaganate even did not try to expel them from their former lands. And there was no necessity any more, for the lands all the same would remain empty, there was nobody to occupy them.

So, neither the Oguzes, nor the Kaganate disturbed the Badjanks. Byzantium was a far and still inaccessible country: it was impossible to reach it, because Badjanks had to cross for that purpose the Danube Bulgaria, leaving in the rear not only the Bolgars, but also a mighty, gaining strength every year opponent, the Rus. It was the only real force, capable to resist the nomadic hordes.

For the first time the Ruses have met Badjanks in the 915, when Badjanks made a peace accord with Igor (Ugyr Lachini, 912-945, aka Igor I the Old, Ingvar). Apparently, while resettling in the steppes, capturing ever new and new open steppes, Badjanks tried to also "to master" the forest-steppe areas belonging to Rus. Having encountered resistance of the Rus regiments, Badjanks concluded a peace with Rus to ensure a quiet rear, and proceeded coaching to the borders of the weaker opponents: Bulgaria and Hungary.

A few morsels that complete the rosy picture:
1. Badjanks were not able to march in force to fight in the forest zone. Slavs did not travel. Vikings used waterways exclusively, for there were no roads at all. There was nothing that Badjanks could extract from the country of subsistence forest dwellers. In 912 the young Ugyr Lachini (Igor) inherited a realm created by his enterprising uncle Salahbi Yolyg (Oleg), consisting of tributary tribes of Slavic Polyans, Drevlyans, Krivicheys, Ilmen Slavs, Radimiches, Dulebs, Croats, Tiverians, the Türkic Bulgars, who constituted his domain, and Suvars, Finno-Ugric Meryas, Vepses, Ests, and Danish Viking mercenaries.

2. The whole Viking army of Ugyr Lachini was worth 300 grivnas of silver per year, or ~28-29 kg. It was not "Rus regiments", but no more than a couple of hundred-strong ragtag mercenary band with an annual enlistment.

3. After the death of Lachyn (aka Rürik, 855-882), his brother-in-law or maternal grandfather Salahbi Yolyg (aka Oleg, Oleg the Seer, Olaf, 882-912) was the Ilchibek (regent) for Igor (Ugyr Lachini, 912-945, aka Igor I the Old, Ingvar) with a seat in Ladoga, 862-864, then Novgorod, 864-882, then Kyiv 882-on. The Besenyo-Rus treaty was made with just enthroned heir, not a powerful ruler.

4. Lachyn (aka Rürik) was hiding in Ladoga for two years. In 864 he moved to Novgorod. These were Finno-Slavic, pre-Rus bases. In the 882 Lachyn treacherously captured Kyiv from Vikings in service of Khazars. The just baked state, and its army, just did not exist in 915 yet, whatever the patriotic propaganda is saying. Undoubtedly, the Badjanks were aware that they are dealing with a splinter "state" just stolen from the Khazars, and could play Rus vs Khazars game, concluding a typical nomadic-sedentary treaty with Rus.

5. Ugyr (Igor) also must have been aware that the Badjanks just demolished plenty of his Ak- and Kara-Bulgarian relatives, and was not about to be next in line.

6. Most likely, Badjanks were satisfied with an annual tribute of produce, grains and honey, and both sides were happy with the arrangement. For some reasons the Rus Annals do not dwell on any Rus setbacks, but belch with pride on any Rus success.

Nevertheless Badjanks continued to maintain diversified and brisk relations with the Rus. Byzantium was concerned with it, and also with the rise of Rus, and constantly pitted Badjanks against the Rus, because the Ruses, according to Constantine Porphirogenesus, could not neither be at war, nor trade, if they were not in peace with Badjanks, therefore they constantly were "occupied to have peace with Pachinakits". Besides the peace treaty of 915, the Rus chronicler notes one more, this time already a military alliance made by Prince Igor with Badjanks in the 944 for a joint raid to Byzantium: "collecting warriors of many Vikings, and Rus, and Polyans, and Slovens, and Kriviches, and Badjanks... set out against Greeks in boats and on horses". Emperor Roman, hearing about it, sent towards them "the best Boyars" (Boyars, Türk. "Nobles") paid off Igor and Badjanks, sending them "cloth and gold". Igor desided to stop the campaign, however it did not relieve him of obligation to settle with Badjanks, who joined this campaign for the opportunity to rob the captured lands. Instead of the Byzantian possessions Igor had to direct Badjanks to "fight the Danube Bulgarian land".
Igor tried neutralizing Badjanks not only by the conclusion of the peace, but also by force of the weapons. In the 920 he attacked them. Who won that campaign and where Rus attack was directed is not known. No other messages about Rus attacks were preserved in the annals. And organization of them was hardly possible then. The Badjanks, herding in the huge spaces of the N.Pontic steppes, were practically uncatchable, coaching the year around, spending all time in the carts and on horses.

The Badjanks were an that so-called "tabor" stage of nomadism that is characterized by quite advanced social relations: military democracy. The eight "femas", which is possible to view as associations such as hordes, were headed by the Khans, "archonts" as called them Constantine Porphyrogenitus. The hordes were divided onto 40 divisions, i.e. each horde had five clans. This structure of the Badjanak's society was traced by the ethnographers to some presently existing peoples, in particular to the Karakalpaks. Clans were headed by "arhonts" of a lower rank, the smaller Khans. The role of tribal and clan Khans in conditions of military democracy was fell to a role of a military leader. Constantine Porphyrogenitus wrote down the names of the first Khans who led Badjanks in capturing the Eastern European steppes: Baitzas (horde Irtim), Kourkoutai (Gila), Kaidoum (Charaboi), Giazis (Chopon), Konel (Tzour), Ipaos (Koulpei), Batas (Tzopon), Kostas (Talmat).

Apparently, basically each horde acted independently. During plundering and occupation campaigns and wars some of them grew especially rich and separated to be on their own.

The Byzantian emperor relays: "Pachinakits also are called Kangar, but not all of them, but the people of three femas: Iavdiirti, Kuartsitsur and Chavuksingila, as more courageous and noble, than the others: for it is the meaning of the nickname Kangar". Femas Kangar, apparently, originate from "Kangüy" and from the very beginning, from the formation of the Badjanak federation, they were at the head of the union. Apparently, the heads of the three "selected" hordes, the Khans Kurkute, Vaitsu and Kuel were the most glorious and powerful in the Badjanak's land. For me seem also very significant the semantics of the Khans' names. Accordingly they are: "Wolf", "Storm" or "Typhoon Wind " (?), "Strong El" - "Strong Ruler" (?)

They even could not hand down the power to their sons. The power was inherited by cousins or children of cousins, "for the honor not to remain constantly in one branch of a clan, but that honor be inherited and received as well by the relatives on the lateral line. Nobody from outside clans interferes and does not become archont" ends emperor Constantine his knowledge about the social order of the Badjanks. Somewhat unusual order of inheritance described by him suggests, it seems, matrilinear relationship, or, at least, the remnants of the matriarchal law. It should be noted, that the vestiges of the matriarchy were, apparently, generally characteristic for the nomads, some of its features, as we shall see below, are well traced also in the Kipchak society.

S.A. Pletneva displays an excessive modesty, she must be well aware of the typical for all Türkic societies of all times lateral system of succession, widely documented starting from the Chinese annals of the first millennium BC through the Middle Ages in Europe. The vestiges of this tradition are also clearly traced in the Rus history: election to the Grand Knyaz was lateral, and the disputes about the succession lead to chronic internecine wars so well known from the early history of Rus and other surrounding Türkic states, including the Kipchak Khanaate from which emerged the Russian state. The succession order is intended to have a most able person to lead a country, and has nothing to do with the matriarchate. What S.A. Pletneva terms as matriarchate is a normal human respect to and recognition of women, so foreign to the antique European, Indo-Iranian and Semitic traditions. That Türkic trait was first documented in the Etruscan society, when the Greeks and Latins were stunned by the respect and position held by the women in the Etruscan traditions. See works of M.Adji about the cultural impact of the late antique Türkic traditions on the European Middle Age psyche (in Russian and English).


For the following paragraphs: S.A. Pletneva uses F.Engels' template to narrate her social observations. F.Engels, a "classic" of Marxism-Leninism, is the first entry in her work's Literature List, even though the Russian alphabet still starts with "A", and not with "E". Evidently, her work was composed much earlier, when these schemes and citations were mandatory in the "scientific" works, and we can enjoy the full splendor of these orthodox discourses. F.Engels was heavy on both terms "matriarchate" and "military democracy", he created a simplistic scheme, and all Soviet writers had to fit real life phenomena into the shoes of the Marxistic scheme.

The Khans were military leaders and possessed, apparently, executive authority. In extraordinary cases Badjanaks, as is known from the later (11th century) sources, called a "meeting" that was, in essence, a national assembly, a most typical body of the military democracy. Bishop Bruno and the Byzantian Princess Anna Comnenus mention it. Constant wars, participation in plundering campaigns are the most typical features of that social order. For that reason Badjanaks could be so easily raised for any campaign against any country whose robbery would bring benefit them. We already know that the Byzantines used them most often. However and they themselves were constantly mindful about their Crimean possessions, in particular for the Chersonesus, to which walls Badjanaks apparently frequently coached to closely.

In the 965 during the reign of the Prince Svyatoslav, Badjanaks participated in the Rus campaign against Khazaria. There is no direct data, but not without a reason the Byzantian emperor emphasized an impossibility for the Ruses to engage in international wars without a prior agreement with the Badjanaks.
In that campaign Svyatoslav inevitably had to cross the Badjanak's steppes to reach the Khazarian cities: the Sarkel, which was taken the first and was ravaged by his army, and then the Itil somewhere on the Lower Itil. The peace of Svyatoslav with the steppe-dwellers was short-lived. Three years later (i.e. in the 968) Badjanaks organized a big campaign against Rus. Svyatoslav at that time waged an aggressive war against Danube Bulgaria, and it is quite probable that the Byzantines, frightened by the close neighborhood of Rus cohort, incited this campaign against the country weakened by the absence of its prince and the best part of his cohort (Svyatoslav bought by the Greeks for 15 kentinariuses, of which fact S.A. Pletneva could not possibly have not known, and possibly taking advantage of interregnum between Peter I, 927-969, and Boris II, 969-971). The Rus chronicler reports that Badjanaks laid a siege to Kyiv. The city and princess with princesses were saved by a commander Pretich, who came to Kyiv, notified about the calamity of the city by an adolescent Kyivan, who made his way through the Badjanak's encirclement and swam across Dnieper to get to the Chernigov (at that time still called Karajar in Türkic) soldiers, who encamped on the left bank of Dnieper and did not know about a distressed capital city.

The interesting part of this story was that the juvenile pretended to look for his horse, holding a bridle in his hands, he crossed the Badjanaks' lines, and in this Kyivan the Badjanaks did not recognized a foreigner. Provided that there was some dialectal difference between the Bulgaro-Khazarian populace of Kyiv, and the newcomer Badjanaks, even the Slavic-Bulgarian bi-linguism would not help in that situation. The boy was speaking in his own language, and his language must have been darn close to the Badjanak language.

The Badjanaks, seeing the arriving Rus cohorts of Pretich, decided that it was Svyatoslav creeping to them from the rear, his glory of invincibility was so strong that the steppe-dwellers, not engaging in fight, retreated, and the Badjanak's prince asked Pretich for peace and friendship, and exchanged with him the weapons: a horse, a saber, and arrows for armor, a shield and a sword. During exchange of these courtesies, Svyatoslav really returned together with cohorts to the Rus, gathered warriors, and expelled Badjanaks into the fields, i.e. far to the steppe, and confirmed again his peace with them. But not for a long time. In the 969 Olga died, and there was nobody left to keep the irrepressible prince in the house.

Svyatoslav appearance, cited by Soloviev as Svyatoslav's description left by Leo the Deacon: "Svyatoslav sailed in a boat to the meeting place across Danube, rowing with an oar together with others rowers. He was of average height, with a flat nose, blue eyes, dense eyebrows, few hair in the beard and long, shaggy moustache. All hair on his head was shaved, except for one lock, that was hanging on both sides, which signified his noble origin. His neck  was thick, the breast wide, and all other members very gracious. All his exterior presented something gloomy and furious. In one ear hung an earring, decorated with a ruby (karbunkul) and two pearls. His white robe differed from the clothes of other Ruses only by its cleanness".

Anybody who grew up un a Slavic country would immediately recognize the patently non-Slavic and nowhere close to a Scandinavian appearance and culture. And anybody familiar with the ancient Türkic customs would immediately recognize a Türkic noble. As the Bulgarian Royal Nominalia said: (Before Asparukh...) with shaven heads we ruled for 515 years on the other side of the river (Danube)... .

Nobody in their sane mind would confuse the description of the first ruler of the incipient Rus with a Viking. The tale of the Vikings called upon to preside over a disunited countryside was invented centuries later. Composed by political aspirants who set out to recreate the history of Rus, they started the Orvellian period of Rus that was to last for 700 years. In their own domain, they could rewrite it all. Fortunately for us, they could not rewrite them all. The fictitiousness of the initial story of the Rus was discovered soon after the start of the study of the annals, and now it is a recognized fact which, for some strange Russian logic, does not preclude Russian scientists and everybody else from widely citing them as a gospel.

 In any case, Svyatoslav (his Türkic name was Baris, and we know that his son's tamga was a trident, the old Sarmatian and Bulgarian tamga of the royal clan) ruled in 945-972, and he was nothing like his fake Greek-like image depicted in the Granovitaya Hall of the Armory in Moscow Kremlin. Someone was grossly lying, either the Moscow portraitist, or Leo the Deacon...

Svyatoslav son's Vladimir zolotnik 980-1016 AD
With trident tamga

Barys Lachini (Svyatoslav )
clan tamga
Onogur traibal areas
surrounding Onoguria (Gr. Phanagoria)
Hun state Crimean Onogur clans
Fig. 5-50 Fig. 5-49          

On-Ogur = Ten Tribes (Türk)


After dividing the Rus between his already matured sons, Svyatoslav set out in the 971 on a conquest of Danibe Bulgaria (actually, in 967-969, during the . interregnum). The beginning was favorable for the Rus prince, then started failures, and then he recolled, that leaving Kyiv he did not conclude a new peace with the Badjanaks. Svyatoslav had to return across the hostile steppes across along the Dnieper to the home, to Kyiv.

Bulgars and Byzantines hastened to inform Badjanaks that Svyatoslav is moving from Dorostol with "uncounted" captured and with "a small cohort". Badjanaks set an ambush at the Dnieper cataracts, waiting for Svyatoslav. Svyatoslav, discovering it,  decided to winter in Beloberejie. The wintering was hungry and cold. In the spring the weakened soldiers could not break through the Badjanak's encirclement, and when Svyatoslav came to the cataracts, the Badjanak's chieftain Kurya assaulted them and killed Svyatoslav. Kurya ordered then to cut off Svyatoslav's head and to make a goblet framed in gold from his skull. Making goblets  from the skulls of the killed enemies is a custom, widespread in the Türkic world (Iakinf Bichurin, II, p.117). The nomads believed that in this way to them would pass the power and courage of the slain enemy. It is interesting, that Khan Kurya and his wife drank from that ritual goblet to have a son like Svyatoslav. About this mighty and brave knight were composed legends not only in the Rus, but also in the steppes.

This drinking cup from the skull of an enemy is present in all records about Türkic traditions for 2 millennia, starting from Herodotus and his Scythians, and stretching well into the Late Middle Ages. A few of them have preserved, due to the artful golden framing, taken as booty after a conquest and stored in royal treasures, and now are displayed in the museums. Some of them may even came with a pedigree, because the owner of the skull was widely known, and the looters could capture the custodians of the Khan's treasury or his servants, and record the legendary story while inventorying the plunder.


After the death of Svyatoslav increased the offensive activity of the Badjanaks. In response to it the new Kyiv prince Vladimir (his Türkic name was Budimir, 980-1015. S.A. Pletneva skips the reign of Yaropolk, his elder brother dethroned in a coup, and the Badjanak-Rus relations during his 972-980 reign), son of Svyatoslav, started an atypical fortification of the state's southern borders:  fortification along Desna, and Ustrya, to the Trubeshev, and along Sula, and along Stugna. He settled guards from all ends of the Rus in these fortifications. At that time were built a part of the well-known Snake Bulwarks and those already existing were renewed and upgraded. About these fortifications-bulwarks located south of Stugna, mentions traveling in the Eastern Europe bishop Bruno in the letter in the beginning of the 11th century: "The Rus sovereign saw me off for two days to the last limits of his state, which for safety from the enemy over very big space in all directions are surrounded by the bulwarks". This message is also interesting because, judging by it, the distance between Rus and Badjanak's pastures doubled (to 60 km) compared with that of the Constantine Porphirogenesus' time, at which it was equal one day travel (30 km).

Despite of the successful as a whole Vladimir's policy in respect to the Badjanaks, despite the fortification of the borders and gradual expansion of the territory, the Badjanaks hung as a heavy cloud over the Rus. In  the 993 they crossed Sula and stopped on the left bank of the Trubej. On the other side opposite them lined his cohort Vladimir. Because both sides hesitated to begin a battle, the Badjanak's Khan (who?) offered to Vladimir a single combat of bogatyrs ("mighty men". S.A. Pletneva is not braving the fate by using a Türkic word, she could not avoid it, Russian has only this word). In case of the Badjanaks' victory his tribesmen by agreement  could be free to plunder Rus for three years, a victory by a Rusian would bring them three quiet years, the Badjanaks for these years promised not to raid the Rus' borderlands. The Rus bogatir won and saved Rus from ruin. The Badjanaks fled, the Ruses went in pursuit and killed many with swords and sabers. Vladimir in the place of the victory built city and has named it Pereyaslavl.

For three years the Badjanaks really did not raid Rus, until in the 996 again began a wearisome struggle of the Rus with the steppe. The chronicler wrote about these last years of the first millennium: "unending wars". Judging from the annalistic records, the Badjanaks would come to a town, apparently  selected beforehand, take it, plunder its vicinities and retreat with the captured to the steppe.

They had no special tools for breaching walls, and therefore as a rule they were starving out (as when they wanted to capture Kyiv in the Olga's and Svyatoslav's  time) the besieged. The annals preserved an interesting legend story about the siege of the Belograd by the  Badjanaks. When a bad famine began in the city, the Belogradians came up with a ruse: from the last stocks collected from the whole city, they cooked a barrel of gelled punch and a barrel of porridge, and fit them into specially made wells, and then invited 10 of the best Badjanak's nobles into the city and treated with the meal from the wells. The amazed Badjanaks ascertained that the townspeople were not deceiving telling that they have the "food from the earth", and that siege was not threatening them: stay there for ten years and keep ruining yourselves, said the Belogradians. The Badjanak's Khans, having tasting the gelled punch and porridge, ordered to retreat from the city. However such "happy endings" happened seldom, usually the small towns were burned, people were taken to slavery, the cultivated lands were trodden. Therefore the Prince Vladimir tried in every possible way to keep peace. In the first years of the 11th century the bishop Bruno, traveling through the Rus to the the land of Badjanaks, on behalf of the Rus prince concluded a peace with Badjanaks. The Rus prince pledged to observe a number of conditions of the steppe-dwellers, and turned over his son as a security hostage for the peace. What those requirements consisted of can be only guessed.

Before we proceed to the habitual patriotism-distorted guesses, here are standard terms of vassalage between the nomads and others:
1. Direct military participation in the suzerain's campaigns with a right for booty for the participant, or a monetary compensation for non-participation;
2. Nominal tribute, depending on the wealth or occupation of the population, like a pelt and two-pence from a household based on approved census for forest-dwelling Rus' subjects;
3. A marriage of a vassal's son to a daughter of the suzerain, which gave him a status of father-in-law of the vassal, a very special position in Türkic societies, which also included a right of the father-in-law to raise his male grandkids.

Apparently, Badjanaks, as usual, demanded payoffs, and the hostage was apparently the unloved son of Vladimir, Svyatopolk. Not accidentally Svyatopolk used Badjanaks' help in his struggle for his father's throne after the death of the Prince Vladimir. For four years the Badjanaks were participating in the revolt, plundering and ruining the Rus. In the 1019 Svyatopolk for the last time came with powerful Badjanak force. (His older brother) Yaroslav the Wise (Mudriy), who already settled on the Kyiv throne, gathered cohorts and defeated his brother. The defeat of the Badjanaks in that fight was so bad that in the beginning of the Yaroslav's reign the pressure of Badjanaks weakened considerably. The Ruses were not slow to take advantage of a respite, and in the 1032 Yaroslav started building fortifications in the "neutral territory". Thus, the Rus was grabbing the territory that previously for a long time (what is this S.A. Pletneva "long time"? 20 years? 50? 1019-1032?) remained a neutral zone separating it from the (millenniums old) nomadic steppe.

Trying to retain the reputation of invincible and terrible opponents, Badjanaks made a desperate attempt to crush or at least to temporarily weaken the Rus. For this purpose they went on a campaign to Kyiv in the 1036. Yaroslav came from Novgorod with a strong Viking-Slavic cohort. Understanding apparently the consequences of the forthcoming battle, Yaroslav carefully prepared for it. Three regiments from the city fought Badjanaks in the place where at the time of whiting the annals already stood the Sofia cathedral. Yaroslav won the battle, actually destroying the Badjanak's control.

However, the name of Badjanaks did not disappear from the pages of various (multi-lingial) medieval manuscripts. We also not once shall return to them in our book.

Chapter 1. (continued)
Eastern European steppes at the boundary of two millennia (i.e. in the 1000 AD)

Oguzes (Slav. "Uzes, Torks (Türks)")



In the beginning of the 11th century new nomadic hordes, called in the Rus annals Torks, in the Byzantian chronicles Uzes, and in the eastern compositions Oguzes flooded the Eastern European steppes. Oguzes displaced Badjanaks from their former stans and pastures, and forced them to search for new lands in the west.

The Oguzes, right after the capture the steppes east of Itil, began showing an active interest to their main western neighbor, the Khazarian Kaganate. Documents have preserved that already in the middle of the 10th century they plundered the Kaganate, crossing Itil on ice in the winter. In the bad for the Khazars year of Svyatoslav campaign (965) the Oguzes joined Ruses to rob the weakened state.

On the border of the Khazarian Kagan domain in the trading small town-fortresses Sarkel at the end of the 9th century settled Badjanak mercenaries who formed a nomadic garrison of the fortress. The natives of the Oguz hordes constantly poured in, asking for peace and protection in the Sarkel (Türk. Sari Kale = Yellow Fort). This Badjanak-Oguz garrison also continued to function after the capture of the Sarkel by Svyatoslav and his conversion of it into a Rus steppe advanced post White Fort. Gradually near Sarkel - White Fort grew a new political formation: Badjanak-Oguz horde. Near the city appeared a nomadic Badjanak-Oguz cemetary. The members of the horde were connected not by blood relations, but by administrative authority which initially was a Khazarian governor of the Sarkel, and later a head of the Rus cohorts left by Svyatoslav in the fortress.

This example well illustrates the fact of gradual penetration of Oguzes in N.Pontic steppes. Apparently, their separate groups and pastoral clans could move about freely enough in the Badjanak's possessions.

This version of events tries to reconcile the irreconcilable: PVL claims that Svyatoslav captured Sarkel, which it calls by its Slavic translation, White Fort, and the Russian historians insist that Rus retained control of it, making it a Slavic island in the Türkic sea (or, in another Russian version, all the land around it already belonged to Rus and was already populated by Slavs). Per S.A.Pletneva, it was surrounded by the Badjanak territory everywhere, and access roads and supplies had to cross the Badjanak lands against which it was supposedly peopled by the Slavic guards (Artamonov etc.). That unrealistic scenario is contradicted by the archeological investigations of S.A.Pletneva, who found Türkic kurgans there with Badjanak and Oguz type burials. To explain it away within the framework of the accepted doctrines, S.A.Pletneva turns a blind eye to reason, and builds an improbable scenario about poor poor Oguz refugees asking for peace and protection in the Sarkel. These are the same Oguzes who at that time are aggressively tackling Khazars and Ruses. The reason for this concoction is simple: Russian historiography declared that Khazaria was dismantled by the raid of 965, the Khazars had dispersed, and left a vacuum that was filled by transitory Badjanaks and Oguzes. Bulgaria evaporated from the N.Pontic with its submission to Khazaria. And all these vacated lands naturally fell into the Russian lap, where they belonged to begin with. But S.A.Pletneva's works (not her reports) indicate that Badjanak and Oguz tribes were in the Khazar federation ruled by the Ashina clan, or in the Bulgarian federation led by the Dulo clan, and well after they were officially proclaimed dead and nowhere to be found they were obligated to man the Khazarian or Bulgarian fortifications. And the "sudden" appearance of the Oguzes at the end of the 9th century is not too true either, for the Oguzes were the Khazarian allies and subjects already for 350 years, because they were a main component of the allied force that dislodged the Bulgarian ruling dynasty Dulo to which belonged the children of the Bulgarian Kurbat Khan. So far for the "gradual penetration of Oguzes in N.Pontic steppes" and Rus' Sarkel.

In 985 Oguzes concluded an alliance with Vladimir, a son of Svyatoslav, and went with him and his uncle Dobrynya to a campaign against Bulgars. Some believe that Budimir went traditionally against the Danube Bulgars (like his father and grandfather), others believe that these Bulgars were the "black" Bulgars living, in the opinion of the majority of researchers, in the Crimean steppes, a third identify these Bulgars with the Itil Bulgaria. The last hypothesis seems to me the most likely. At that time the Itil Bulgaria became a state strong and rich enough. Being in the rear of the Rus, and besides blocking the Itil trading road connecting the countries of the north and the east, it started seriously obstruct the young, gaining force Rus state. Clever and active prince Vladimir in the beginning of his reign had to think of the opponent that really was giving him problems. There is information that in the 90es he twice campaigned against the Itil Bulgaria (Vladimir, along with Oguzes, joined the intercine war on the side of Ibrahim's revolt against Vladimir's cousin Timar, 981-1004, exactly like the Bulgars, Oguzes and Badjanaks were always called for help by the Rus' pretenders, and participated in the Rus intercine wars). The Rus annals tell about this campaign that after Bulgaria Vladimir attacked Khazars and imposed tribute (quite the opposite, Vladimir lost most of his army, and had to pledge to keep paying the tribute). Thus, Vladimir with Dobrynya in the 985 attacked the Itil Bulgaria. Budimir's allies in that campaign were the Oguzes (Türks). The Oguz Türks rode up the river to the Itil Bulgaria approximately 300 km north of their pastures, and Vladimir sailed down Oka to the Itil (i.e. Vladimir brought Viking mercenaries and Slav militia from Smolensk/Shamlyn. See Jagfar Tarihi Chapter 15 Reign of Timar for fascinating political background).

Anyway, it is clear that to join Rus cohort the Oguz Türks had to cross the lands of one of the Badjanak's possessions, apparently Talmat.

The Bulgars were defeated by the joint efforts of the Rus and Oguz units. Later they together were clobbering down the Khazars and, apparently, greatly enriched in that campaign (See Chapter 15 Reign of Timar for the peace terms).

After that successfully completed joint campain the Oguz Türks, apparently, continued relations with the Rus. To the Rus cities were coming to serve the people from the Türkic ranges like they were coming earlier to the Sarkel and other Khazarian cities (in a less Hurray-patriotic scenario, more likely the cantonized structure of the Türkic heritage in the budding Rus has remained, similar to that described in the Itil and other Khazarian cities. Slavs were controlled by a Slavic shieftains, Jews by a Jewish leader, etc, with different degrees of suzerainity over different groups).

As a rule, they served for a good pay: they were hired by the masters who paid more, or were at present in favourable political position. In an opposite situation, like any mercenaries, they switched over to the strongest side. So, a known fact is that an Oguz Türk was a cook for young Murom's prince Gleb Vladimirovich, but switched over to Svyatopolk who captured the Kyiv throne, and on an order of Svyatopolk slaugtered his former patron. The annals' message about that event is also interesting because the Oguz Türk joined the retinue of the prince in one of the extreme easternmost Rus princedoms. It can be an additional testimony that even in the beginning of the 11th century (the murder took place in the 1015) the Oguz Türks were still coaching in the eastern regions of the Eastern European steppes.

Approximately at that time within the Oguz hordes, who coached in the Aral area steppes, began the so-called Seljuk movement. The Oguzes, passing through the deserts and oases of the Middle Asia, took over the Asia Minor and formed the Türkish empire of Seljuks (aka Selcuks). The northern Oguzes intended to cross the N.Pontic steppes and join in the Byzantium with the main forces of the Seljuks that were pressing the Byzantian empire from the south. The Badjanaks inevitably were drawn in that powerful movement, some joined it, the others were destroyed (the S.A.Pletneva's news of Badjanaks' destruction in 1055 grossly conflicts with S.A.Pletneva's archeological findings). The Oguz Türks tried to not conflict with the Rus cohorts: first, because the Rus lands laid far from their path (they matched in the steppes); and second, the Türks benefited from good neighbors, as they were saving their force for the war with the Byzantian empire.

Nevertheless the Rus Princes Izyaslav, Svyatoslav and Vsevolod (Yaroslav's sons, a so-called triumvirate), apparently, were mindful of the danger that could threaten Kyiv in case the Oguz Türkic troops join the Seljuks and destruct the Byzantium. In addition, apparently, the Byzantian politicos used all methods to involve the Rus into a struggle against Oguz Türks. It is telling that the first Rus prince who started a war with the Oguz Türks was Vsevolod Yaroslavich, married to the "Greek Princess".

That year (1055) the Oguz Türks, or rather one of their hordes came too close to the Rus border, to the mouth of the river Sudy, where Ruses already staked a small town Voin. The horde stopped there for the winter which, naturally, could not be pleasing for the inhabitants of the small town, because usually the Türks tried to fill the winter shortage of forage with robbery of Rus settlements. Prince Vsevolod fell on these Oguz Türks. The Oguz Türks were "defeated" and driven away into the steppe. And five years after that small raid, in the 1060, all three princes of the triumvirate, with the Polotsk prince Vseslav collected "uncounted" forces and on horses and in boats attacked the Oguz Türk. Having heard about approaching pa steppe Rus regiments, The Oguz Türkic military leaders did not engage in fight, and retreated far into the steppe. The nomads suffered high casualties from the winter colds, hunger and deseases.

And in fact, after that the Oguz Türks were not mentioned any more in the Rus annals as an independent political force. However, like Badjanaks, the Oguz Türks were not completely destroyed. The overwhelming majority of the Oguz Türks who survived in the steppes, together with the Badjanaks coached to the Rus borders and enlisted in the service to the Rus Princes, for which they were assigned lands for pasturing in the ajoining with the steppe lands.

A searches for strong patrons was necessary for both peoples, because from the east to the Eastern European steppes was already coming a new nomadic wave, surpassing in power the two previous. This new force were Kipchaks, who for the first time came to the southeastern border of Rus in the summer of the 1055. The Rus chronicler wrote about the first meeting quite favorably: "Came Blush with Kipchaks, signed peace with Vsevolod, and returned back". Thus opened a new page in the joint history of the nomadic steppe and Rus.

Chapter 2.
Kimaks and Kipchaks


The Arabian and Persian geographers, travelers  and historians of the 9th-10th centuries in the sections of their compositions devoted to peoples who lived in the far from the Chaliphate Eastern European and Asian steppes were continuously mentioning the people and the country of Kimaks. The first to name Kimaks and their branch Kipchaks in the list of the Türkic tribes was a well-known Arabian geographer Ibn Khordadbeh  (second half of the 9th century), who used in his work the earlier compositions (possibly, even of the 8th century). A little later Ibn Khordadbeh al-Istahri and Ibn Haukal, drawing maps, tried to define the location of the lands occupied by these peoples. Al-Masudi, who was the most educated historian of his time (10th century), gave more specific information about their location, and his contemporary Abu - Dulaf informs in his composition about their economy and religious beliefs. So gradually accumulated knowledge about these periphery for the Arabo-Muslim world Türkic-speaking peoples.

In end of the 10th century the Chaliphate's capital writers and scientists were well informed about them, and they were known  especially well in the Central Asian states, where not only books inaccessible for the people were written about them, but  the travel to the Kimak country was also talked about in the markets and chaihanas (chai houses).

The increased amount of information showed up first of all in the well-known Persian geographical treatise "Hudud-al-Alam" ("Borders of the World") which dedicated whole chapters to Kimaks and Kipchaks, and the great Middle Asian writer al-Biruni mentioned them in several compositions.

In the 11th century Gardizi wrote about Kimaks in composition "Ornamentation of news" where is told a legend about resettlement of this people, and in the 12th century a main source of study the Kimak-Kipchak country, its occupations and customs became a large Arabian geographical composition by al-Idrisi.

A legend about early history of Kimaks and Kipchaks is in the composition of Gardizi. The legend goes back to considerably earlier time, the end of the 7th-8th century.

In 7th century Kimaks pastured in the lands north of Altai, in the Irtish area and were a part of the Western Türkic and partly Uighur Kaganates. With the destruction of the last crystallized the nucleus of the Kimak tribal union headed by a Shad (Prince). Here is how it is told in a legend: "A Chief of Tatars died and left two sons; the senior son seized an empire, the younger began envying his brother; the name of the younger was Shad. he made an attempt on the life of the senior brother, but unsuccessful; afraid for himself, he fled with a slave-mistress from his brother and came to a place where was a big river, a lot of trees,and an abundance of game; there he put up his yurt and settled down.

 Every day this man and his slave went on hunting, ate meat and made clothes of sable fur, squirrels and ermines. After that seven men, relatives of Tatars, came  to them: the first Imi, the second Imak, the third Tatar, the fourth Bayandur, the fifth Kipchak, the sixth Lanikaz, the seventh Adjlad. These people grazed the herds of their misters; in places where before they grased the herds, no pastures remained; looking for grass, they came to the side where was Shad. Seening them, the slave said: "Irtish", i.e. "stop"; from that the river received its name Irtish. Upon recognizing the slave, they all stopped and set up the yurts. The Shad, upon return, brought a lot of game from the hunt, and fed them; they remained there till the winter. When the snow fell, they could not come back; there was a lot of grass, and they spend there all the winter. When the land cleared also snow melted, they sent a person to the Tatar camp to bring them a news about thir tribe. When he come there, he saw that all territory was devastated and deserted of the population: an enemy came, plundered and annihilated all people. The remains of the tribe came down from the mountains to the that man, he told his friends about Shad; all of them went to Irtysh. Upon arriving there, everybody greeted Shad as a leader and began honouring him. The other people, hearing about it, began coming there too; 700 men gathered. For a long time they remained in service of the Shad; and then, when they multiplied, they settled the mountains and formed seven tribes named after the seven men".

The fragment cited in its entirety is interesting by telling in simplified form and schematically, but apparently as a whole close to the truth the history of the formation of the Kimak tribal union. Abundantly clear is that the Kimak union formed after a destruction of another political formation (in this case the Western Türkic and later the Uigur Kaganate) of seven tribes who earlier were members of the Kaganates. In similar way, as a rule, went the formation of all steppe nomadic and semi-nomadic empires during the epoch of the Middle Ages.

The tribe Imak (Yemak, Kimak) became the head of the union, and later of the Kimak Kaganate. In another transcription the tribal name sounds as "Kai", which in Mongolian means "snake".

It is possible that during consolidation of this steppe federation of seven tribes appeared the expression: "A snake has seven heads", cited by Mahmud Kashgarli in his fundamental work "The Genealogy of Türks".

The dominating Kimak tribe was settled mostly on the banks of Irtish. The Kipchaks, described by Hudud al-Alam, occupied a separate territory located to the west, approximately in the southeast part of the Southern Ural. It is interesting that about mountainousness of the Kipchak land also wrote Chinese chroniclers, in the chronicle Üan-shi these mountains are named Üyli-Boli, and the Kipchaks are called "Tsin-cha" (etymology?). North of Kipchaks and Kimaks lay everlasting forest. They were ascribed to the legendary tribes Iadjudj and Madjudj (or Gogh and Magog).

Ibn Haukal work of the 10th century enclosed a map showing that Kipchak-Kimak tribes pastured together with Oguzes in the steppes north of the Aral Sea, and al-Masudi at approximately the same time wrote that all of them were coaching along Emba and Yaik: "The distance between their estuaries is 10 days of travel; along them are winter stans and summer pastures of Kimaks and Oguzes".

About this close neighborhood also knew other Arabian and Persian authors. So, al-Marvazi wrote that "when between them (Kimaks and Oguzes) is peace, in the winter Kimaks coach down to Oguzes", and Biruni, on the contrary, noted that Oguzes quite often pasture in the country of Kimaks. Some hordes of Kimak tribes quite often coached along the coast of the Caspian Sea: "Shakh-name" even calls that sea as Kimak's.

The main western neighbors of Kimak-Kipchaks in the 10th c. were Bashkirs, with whom at that time the westernmost  Kipchak hordes established very close contacts.

In the 10th c. the Kimak union was a strong state known in the sources under a general name "Kimak Kaganate". All tribes named in the Gardizi work belonged to it. The economic development of the Kimak association tribes and hordes that stretched their settlements and pastures in the thousands kilometers of the steppe from Irtish to the Caspian Sea, from taiga to the Kazakhstan semideserts, was uneven. First of all it is because of the different climatic and enviromental conditions: the eastern areas differed from the western as much as the northern forest-steppe from the southern foothills of the Tian-Shan mountains. The Persian Anonym specially emphasized that Kipchaks living in the extreme western areas of the Kaganate lead a more primitive way of life than the Kimaks who live near Irtish, where was the center of the Kimak union and the summer stan of the Kimak Kagan, the city Imakiya.

The archeological research in the Irtish area now allows to assert that Kimaks were semi-settled, and consequently were familiar with agriculture. Al-Idrisi in the 12th century wrote as a well-known fact about the cultivated lands in the country of Kimaks, about weat crops, barley and even rice, the agriculture was quite advanced. The medieval authors alsotestify about Kimak cities and  way of life. Al-Idrisi describes these cities in detail, emphasizing that all of them are well fortified, and in the Kagan city where all Kimak aristocracy concentrated, were markets and temples. Apparently, in the central areas of the Kimak Kaganate was going a usual for nomadic peoples process of settling on the land, a transition of a significant part of the population to the agriculture and craft manufacture.

The diluted statements of S.A.Pletneva are in fact breakthrough events, cracking the molds of the decreed science and censoring barriers, both external and induced self-censorship. In the Russian historiography the nomads are traditionally depicted as only nomads and barbarians, and the settled people as superior to nomads, the superior settled people are naturally Slavics, and inferior nomadic are Türkic and other inferiors. That is why in the original the "cities" are in the quotation marks, implying their inferiority, and that is why the apologetic understatement qualifications like "relatively settled", not unlike the "partially pregnant". A more honest picture would mention a culture of widespread irrigation, tumuluses of ancient settlements,  timber grave structures reflecting houses that were 1500 years old in the 10th c., and other traits of a complex pastoral and settled society in existence for millennia. The settling of the people, axiomatically taken as superior in the Russian nationalistic propaganda, was in fact a pauperization, when the people whose wealth ("tovar") was destroyed by wars and robberies, lost their herds and had to join their hapless Slavic counterparts with their subsistence farming.

The first data about Kimaks' settled life in the sources at are recorded in the 9th-10th centuries, the blossom of their settled culture belongs to considerably later time of 11th-13th centuries. The Kazakh archeologists investigating Kimak cities note that all of them passed in the development from the temporary settlements, shelters of nomadic aristocrats, to the permanent settlements that became centers of craft and agriculture. Sedentary life has led the population to the necessity to build more fundamental dwellings: in the cities and in the settlements alongside with felt yurts began to be widely used clay-walled semi-dugouts. Typically, both had the hearth in the center, like in yurts: the ancient custom of reverence of the hearth, as a rule, lasted for a long time even for completely settled "nomads".

Despite the transition to a settled way of life by a part of the Kimak Kaganate population, many its ethnoses in the 10th c. continued the habitual form of existence,
the pastoral cattle breeding with some elements of sedentary life. Especially nomadic and pastoral cattle breeding were Kipchak hordes. This is testified by both the written sources, and by the archeological findings, namely by a full absence of any traces of a settled or semi-settled settlements in the lands occupied at the end of the 1st millennium  by the Kipchaks.

A less myopic view would see that any nomadic society consist of predominantly nomadic cattle-breeding sector, a local shepherd sector, and settled sector with subsistence cattle-breeding. The local pastoral economy and the settled cattle-breeding do not need new pastures, and any expansion or migration involves only a part of the nomadic cattle-breeding sector, which in time stabilizes in the new territory and grows with natural increase in population plus the immigration from the nuclear regions. The umbilical cord connecting the settled and semi-sedentary parts of the population with the advance nomadic portion remains as strong as it was before the onset of the migration. Thus, most of the provisions needed to support the nomadic fraction continue to be obtained from the traditional suppliers, and that includes the metal tools and equipment, home (yurt) construction, carriages, weaponry, textile, specific grains, and so on. With time, the local, possible non-Türkic suppliers, may start providing a part of the nomadic necessities. As long as the economy of cattle-breeding is more productive (and beneficial) than the economy of the subsistence farming, the increase in the settled populace results from the settlers' immigration, and not from the pauperization of the nomadic cattle breeders.

The technology of settled life existed long before the emergence of the nomadic economy, and it continued its development in parallel with the development of the nomadic technology, they always were complementing each other, and accentuate one while ignoring the other is a deliberately myopic view.

The Kipchak steppes were favored the advanced and well organized nomadic cattle breeding to prosper. The steppe was subdivided into locations with certain pasture routes, (yaylak, yailag, or jailik, djailik) summer settlements and (aul, atar, kishlak) winter settlements. Near permanent yaylak and kishlak settlements appeared kurgan cemeteries. In the settlements and along the steppe shlyakhs (roads) and coaching routes Kipchaks erected ancestor sanctuaries with stone statues representing the diseased.

The most typical and bright feature of the Kipchak culture are the statues, erected at kurgan sanctuaries with square fencing of rough stone and gravel.

The statues a simple rough stelae, frequently with figures without details. The faces  are indicated by deeply carved lines, frequently in a shape of "hearts". The female statues differed from the men's by round "breasts". Construction of small fenced sanctuaries devoted to ancestors, with a statue (or statues) inside became a distinctive feature of the Kipchaks from the end of the 9th century. Before, in the 6th- 9th centuries, similar sanctuaries with statues of the diseased soldiers and numerous stretching from the fence "balbals" (a line of stone stelae symbolizing enemies killed by the diseased ancestor) were installed by the Türks. Later with the destruction of Kaganates they forgotten this custom, and the Kipchaks were the only Türkic-speaking peoples who kept it. As we shall see below, they continued it until the loss of them of the political independence, i.e. just like in the Türkic Kaganates.

The above statement is typical for the Russian "Türkology" busy with creative writing to substitute nonsense for the facts. The Kipchak people, being a dominant member of the Türkic, and a major member of the Uighur Kaganates, were the very Türks that continued their notable burial customs for over 2 millennia, spreading it from the steppes of the Eastern Europe to the Gansu steppes, with the pendulum oscillating around the center in the Middle Asia. To be so blind to these facts is self-deprecating for the operators of that odious science.

The sanctuaries were naturally only built for the rich and noble nomads. Ibn Fadlan in the 922 passed through the steppes east of the Itil, and he wrote that among Oguzes were owners who had herds of 10 thousand heads of sheep (not including the other cattle). Among the Kimak-Kipchak aristocracy were likewise rich men. Their ails (large families) owned huge steppe dominions with their own ranges (routes and settlements). Possibly, private hereditary landownership already existed in the Kaganate. About it tells the author of "Hudud-al-Adam": "... The Hakan of Kimaks has 11 sub-rulers, and their allotments are handed down to the children of these managers". These so-called managers were, apparently, the largest representatives of the clan and tribal aristocracy that gradually was becoming feudal in those centuries.

Trying to conjure facts to fit a standard Marxism scheme to show your  faithfulness to a censor does disservice to Marxism, facts, and senility. The news of "Hudud-al-Adam" is simple and clear: the Kimak federation consisted of 11 lands, each one with its own semi-autonomous Khan, elected from a ruling clan of that land, thus keeping the throne within the ruling family, no different from Hohenzollerns, Stewarts, or Romanovs. Each clan, and each Khan had ownership of the use of certain pastoral range, otherwise the society would not be functional for centuries on. It was the same type of confederation that was the Hunnish Türkic Kaganates.

In the head of the Kimak state in the 10th c. was Kagan, and the Kipchaks in the Kaganate, per "Hudud-al-Alam", were headed by a "malik", which corresponds to the Türkic title "Khan". It indirectly id proved by the message of al-Horezmi, who comments about the Türkic titulature: "A Hakan is a Khan of Khans, i.e. a leader of the leaders, just as Persians say "shah-in-shah".

Apparently, the "sub-ruler" Khans were vassals of the Kagan, and they in turn had vassals receiving allotments from them, from among rich clannish aristocracy. Gardizi tells about property inequality of the Kimaks, and al-Idrisi emphasized that "only the noble wear red and yellow silk clothes". Also interesting is his message about the presence in the Kimak army of the foot soldiers who, undoubtedly, were drafted from the poor folk who did not have their own horses.

Applying concepts developed for agricultural societies to the cattle-breeding societies brings erroneous conclusions, hence the utter misunderstanding of social realities and the faulty vassalage scheme. The Russian history is the best example of the difference between the two: while the settled Slavs in Russia were successfully enslaved by their feudal lords as soon as the lords wiggled out from under the Tataro-Mongols, the Türkic and other subjugated pastoral people were never enslaved. Moreover, Bashkirs and Cossaks, who preserved their freedoms almost unscathed for another 3 centuries, became most potent allies of the Russian slave-holding Tsarist system precisely because they escaped vassalage and had to be bribed to serve the stronger power. With readily moveable property, you always have a walk-out alternative to subservience.

Burial Customs of Kimaks, Kipchaks, and Oguzes in Kimak Kaganate

Besides statues, about the world-vision and various reverence rites for the dead and the funeral cult, not numerous excavated burials contain information about Kimaks and Kipchaks. The things buried together with diseased give some idea about the daily objects surrounding nomads in life, though undoubtedly these materials because of their deposition (in tombs) are somewhat one-sided, usually they are presented by the objects necessary for the nomad during a trip (to the next world): horse harness, weapons, less frequently personal decorations and vessels with ritual food.

Next to the diseased  was laid his true tovarich (Türk., comrade), a horse, without which in the boundless steppes, where wide movement is necessary for life, a man practically was almost helpless. The belief in need to supply the diseased  with the things necessary on the road and at least for initial life in the other world, received an especially detailed illumination from Ibn Fadlan, the most inquisitive and truthful Arab traveler in the beginning of the 10th century. He described not the Kimak- Kipchak, but the Oguz funeral ceremony. However, from the excavations of the nomadic kurgans we know that the funeral ceremony of the Türkic-speaking peoples generally was extraordinarily monotonous, and it means that the general provisions, which the nomads held for the construction of the funeral complexes, were actually identical.


So, Ibn Fadlan tells: "And if a person from their number would die, for him is dug a big hole in a shape of a house, he would be dressed in his his jacket, his belt, his bow... and would put in his hand a wooden cup with nabiz, would put before him a wooden vessel with nabiz, would bring everything that he has, and would lay it with him in that house... Then would place him in it and cover the house above him with decking, and pile above it something like a dome of clay". So was constructed the sepulchral niche and the kurgan above it (a clay dome).

Then Ibn Fadlan wrote about actions accompanying a main ceremony: "Then they would take horses, and depending on their number would kill a hundred heads of them, or two hundred heads, or one head, and would eat their meat, except for the head, legs, hide, and tail. And, truly, they stretch all this on wooden frames and say: "These are his horses on whom he would go to paradise". And if he ever killed men and was brave, they would carve images from wood numbering those whom he killed, would place them on his tomb and would say: "These are his youngsters who would serve him in paradise"". The nomads were always accompanied on the way into another world with slaughtered horses, and sometimes with others animals, and also the killed by him enemies represented by simple stelae or rough human images from stone or wood (balbals). Images of diseased Oguzes themselves  were not installed neither over the tombs, nor in special sanctuaries. That custom was only among the population of the Kimak Kaganate, and mainly among the Kipchaks

Ibn Fadlan vividly and in details explains the meaning of the ceremony of accompanying the burials with horses: "Sometimes they would neglect to slaughter the horses for a day or two. Then one of their old man from among elders induces them and says: "I saw such and such, which is the diseased, in a dream, and he said to me: „ you see, my comrades already overtaken me, and on my legs formed ulcers from following after them. I have not caught up with them, and remain alone". In such cases they take his horses and slaughter them and stretch them over his tomb. And then a day or two would pass, and this old man would come to them and say: "Tell my family and my comrades that really I already caught up with those who left before me, and that I have found calm from weariness"".

Clearly, the horses were necessary for fast crossing, for coaching from one world to another. The more of them were, the better: the richer and more mobile was the diseased in a new to him world.

Kimaks and Kipchaks

Very sketchy testimony survived about other beliefs of Kimaks, and moreover about Kipchaks. So, Gardizi wrote that Kimaks worship river Irtish and say that "the river is a god of a man", and the later sources preserved a story about worship of fire, and even about a custom of a part of Kimaks to cremate their diseased, about worship of the sun and stars. "Cumans (Kipchaks) use astrology, use the star signs and worship them", wrote Abulfeda. Abu - Dulaf wrote about soothsayers of Kimaks, particularly the stones with which they call for a rain. A belief in mysterious force of stones was very wide among Türkic-speaking peoples.

Kimaks also worshipped rocks with images (apparently, ancient petroglyphs) and images of human foot and horse hoofs. Al-Idrisi spoke about belief in various spirits, and also about acceptance by some Kimaks of Manichaeism and Islam. The last two religions started penetrating Kimaks, apparently, in the 10th century, and spread among them much later, and only in the central areas, in the Irtish and Balkhash area.


Kipchaks, who in the 10th century were coaching in the western fringes of the Kaganate, were hardly inclined to accept and learn alien religious systems. They needed resolute actions and ideology that would substantiate these actions. Shaman star-reading, shaman soothsaying (ironically, for "soothsaying" S.A.Pletneva uses Türkic derivative "kamlanie" from Türkic Kam = diviner) over sacred rocks and burned mutton scapula, the ancestor sanctuaries surrounded by hundreds of killed enemies, called Kipchaks for battles, called into distant raids.

Aside from the truthful and objective depiction by Ibn Fadlan, and the derisive speculations from the pen of the author, the description of the Kimaks-Kipchaks beliefs is notable by its shallowness and poverty. A reader can get a wind that a part of Kipchaks were Moslems. What part, where, when, where are their mosques, their Korans, what are their Moslem names, how the burials were impacted, their art, their script... All these questions are left unaddressed and unanswered. Ditto for the Manichaeism. And ditto for the Tengrianism, so brightly shown in the Orkhon inscriptions written in the Kipchak language and archeologically studied by S.A.Pletneva herself in the Tengrian burials. And ditto for the ancient Türkic folk beliefs served by the Kams. The Kipchak history is now a constituent part of the Russian history, and the paucity of knowledge about it does nothing less than impoverish the whole Russian history.


Enough reasons for the migratory movement had accumulated. First of all, the increasing every year herds needed new pastures. A long peace period provided by the strong central authority of the Kimak Kagan has ended. Rapid development of economy in the state led to centrifugal forces of autonomous units, and corresponding strife. On the periphery the Kimak and Kipchak warriors were joining one by one, and sometimes by the entire clans into the Oguz (Seljuk) movement. The rich aristocracy was grabbing the pastoral routes and pastures. The ordinary nomads who did not leave their native lands had to go in servitude, or engage in robbery, plundering pastures of the weaker neighbors. The central authority could not cope any more with one of its main purposes, keeping order inside the country. Kipchaks have actually received independence already at the turn of the 10th and 11th centuries. From the beginning of the 11th century they moved to the west. Approximately in the 30es of the 11th century the Persian author Baihani records their location at the borders of Khoresm, and another eastern writer, the Tadjik (in the 11th c. Tadjiks were only Arabs from the tribe Tadjik, not the present Tadjiks)  Nasiri Husrau in the middle of the 11th century calls the Aral area steppes already not Oguz's, as did his predecessors, but Kipchak's.

Only the "western" authors preserved the news about the beginning of the expansion, namely al-Marvazi, who was serving at the end of the 11th - the beginning of 12th century as a court doctor of the Seljuk Sultans, and the Armenian historian Matvey Edessian who wrote in the middle of the 11th century. They both apparently recorded the same event mentioning semantically identical names. Al-Marvazi tells that Kais (snakes) and Kuns pressed the tribe Shars (Türkic sari = pale, yellow), and those, in turn, occupied the lands of the Turkmen, Oguzes and Badjanaks. Matvey Edessian tells that the people of snakes pressed the "red-haired" (i.e.yellow) and the last moved on the Oguzes, who together with Badjanaks attacked Byzantium.

In these testimonies for us is especially important the data about two ethnoses: Kais are, as we know, Kimaks, and Shars, in the opinion of all scientists studying the nomadic associations of the Middle Age epoch, are Kipchaks, because the Slavic copy word for Kipchaks is "Polovetses" (Slav. "polovye") with a meaning light yellow (Slav. "polova" = straw, chaff, husk).

Thus, in this total migration to the fecund western pastures Kipchaks were the most active participants, a number of sources calls them "yellow". Many researchers believe that Kipchaks were blondes and blue-eyed, some researchers even connect their origin with the "Dinlins", who lived in the steppes of Southern Siberia in the end of the 1st millennium  BC, and who were, according to the Chinese chroniclers, blondes. It is certainly quite apparently that among Kipchaks were some blonde individuals, however some of the Türkic-speaking people with an admixture of Mongoloidness (according to anthropologists) of the Kimak-Kipchaks was some dark-haired and brown-eyed. Possibly the color characteristic was a symbolical definition of, apparently, a part of the Kipchaks, as, for example, in the same centuries were separate Bulgarian hordes of "black" Bulgars in the Eastern European steppes, and in the 13th century a color definition received some Turkic states: Altin (Golden) Horde, Kuk (blue) Horde, Ak (white) Horde.

A little deeper look at the etymology would bring into this Russian-rivetted description a much wider perspective in time and geography: the derivative of "Sari" is shared by Slavs and the Germans, and, since there is no chance that the Slavs of the 10th c. taught the Germans of the 10th c. on how to call Kipchaks, the roots of the name comes from much earlier times, when the Germans, and the future Slavic part of the Baltics, and the Türkic Saris, all were members of the Western Hun empire, and when the Slavic language was being born from the mix of Baltic, Türkic, and Germanic: Falven, Falones, Val(e)we(n,) Phalagi, Ðlàvñi, Ðlàwñó, Ðlàuñi, Ðlàwci, Ðàlóñz(îk), Polovetsy, Polovtsy.

Anthropologically, the earth is still to produce a single anthropologist who can tell the color of the eyes and hair from his digs, the author's reference to "according to anthropologists" is a pure falsehood. But the combination of the Pazyryk-type mummies of the Senior Juz (Ch. "Greater Üechji"), Chinese description of the Dinlins, distribution of blood type "B" in Europe and Asia, prevalence of light colored eyes among the present Türkic-speaking peoples of Euroasia, and wide spread of light colored eyes in the present Russia among the genetically Türko-Finno-Slavic admixture allows to suggest that blue-eyed gene was widespread between the Kipchaks, and was popping out everywhere as soon as the dominant dark-eyed gene would give it a break.

Anthropologically, S.A.Pletneva and her mentor B.A.Rybakov should be well aware that the Slavs are dark haired, the western Slavs are almost exclusively dark haired, and the Slavic-speaking populace becomes lighter in hair and eye color as the gradient slides toward the east and north, into the native Türkic and Finnish areas of Poland and Russia.

These facts are not unknown among some of the Russian archeologists, who identified the Upper Ob and Srostin "cultures" and attributed them to the Kuman-Kipchak layer of the Türkic Kaganate. Among the Russian historians is not also unknown the fact that the first founding Kagan Tuman (Touman, Toumen, Tumen, etc., 240 - 210 BC) belonged to the Kipchak clan So/Suylyanti (So/Se= Ch. for Sogdy/Saka).

P.Golden explanation of Besenyo tribal names: Names of 8 tribes consist of two parts, a name proper, usually a horse color, and with some possible exceptions, titles of their rulers, e.g. Xaboujin-gula  => Qabuqàin-Yula => “Yula tribe with bark-colored horses”, Suroukoulpey => Suru Kül Bey => “Kül Bey tribe with grayish horses”. A tribal color is identified with a color of its herds.

It is likelier that the name Sari Kipchaks relates to the color of their herds, as in Besenyo example. This is even more plausible because in S.A.Pletneva's own observation, Türks traditionally had a freedom of association, selecting for themselves a union to join in, and this caused a demographic fluidity that would debunk the very concept of monoethnicity implied by her.

Besides Saris, i.e. the yellow Kipchaks, in the advance to the West participated other Kimak hordes (Kais, Kuns), and other members of the Kaganate.

Further, S.A.Pletneva lists separate Kipchak clans that may in fact originate from the 11 divisions of the Kimak Kaganate.

All this avalanche was moving on the roads still dusty from the Oguz armies and herds: the road to the fertile Don and Dnieper steppes was well blazed. In addition, these steppes were almost empty. The majority of the Badjanaks left to the Byzantian borders, the Oguzes (Türks) defeated by Rus Princes were also coaching in steppe on the right bank of the Dnieper.

In front of the the hordes headed by "yellow" Kipchaks laid immense pastures, richest hunting grounds, rich states from which in case of a successful raid or attack was possible to extract a rich payoff, capture slaves, get a booty.

Chapter 3.
"Obtaining a Native Land"


Hungarian scientists found a very successful definition for the brief period of the Hungarian history when Hungarians left under impacts of Badjanks to Pannonia, occupied Danube lands, pushing asade, and partially including in their union local populations of Slavs, Wallakhs (aka Vlakhs, speakers of Romance, also derisively called "Vulgar Latin"), and, apparently, Avars. This restless time is called in the Hungarian historiography a "conquest period" ora "period of obtaining native land".

S.A.Pletneva should have listed the many Türkic peoples who were natives of Pannonia for previous 5 and 10 centuries: Akathyrs, Esegels, Hunnic, Bulgarian tribes, all fragmentarily documented as residing in Pannonia, and spelled out the Slavic subdivisions, which by that time were known as separate entities.


For Hungarians who conquered the territory of an agricultural state (Great Moravia), this period passed very quickly. In other countries the formation, or, better, stabilization of the nomadic economy and  social relations went much slower (sometimes up to a century). A close study of the history of a nomadic ethnos shows that through a period of "obtaining native land" passed each of them. It starts with invasion of another's territory, and violent takeover for constant ownership of the pastoral lands from the former population.

A huge nomadic wave of Kipchak hordes in the first decade of the 11th century rose from settled place to a long and gross campaign: an invasion. Its purpose was not a peaceful resettlement of a part of the Kipchak population to the new lands, its purpose was a capture of new pastures somewhere in far west.

This phenomenon is economically characterized by a all-the-year-round (so-called "tabor") mode of coaching, and socially by a military democracy. The invasion is headed by few most persistent and talented military leaders. It would seem strange that the "yellow Kipchaks", subjects of a feudal state, headed there by a malik (khan), again descended to a lower stage of the economic and social development. Nevertheless a similar transition is also characteristical for the nomads who fell into similar situations, i.e. had to face a necessity of invasion.

This is a line of totally incorrect and false statements, since many more Kipchaks remained in place than rolled to the west, pastoral life was way more beneficial than subsistence agricultural which begat it, Kimak was a federation and not a monarchy portrayed by the author, and tabor pasturage vs local pasturage is only a matter of climatic and neighborhood conditions. No army on a move carries villages and cities along, so tabor life is a norm.

Capture of N.Pontic steppes began with the most fertile area, richest in pastures necessary for pasture of horses and large horned livestock, with the Donetsk, Lower Don and Azov steppes. The same lands were captured in the beginning of their movement by Badjanks, they in the 8th century were occupied first of all by the Bulgar nomadic hordes, displaced by the Khazars from the Eastern Azov (Sorry, S.A Pletneva propagates a Russian state myth about Türkic newcomers, in fact the Onogur Bulgars lived in that area before the Greek colonists came in the 5-6th cc BC, and called a settlement there (Ph)onogur(ia). By the 9th century some remains of the ancient Bulgarian semi-sedentary population, despite of hard-taken Badjanak invasion, remained along the banks of the river Don basin and and Azov area. In addition, in the upper course of Severski Donets, in dead ends and inaccessible for a nomadic cavalry places still lived the former owners of the forest-steppe belt of the Khazarian Kaganate, the Alans. Though, archeological research of the settlements belonging to Alans and Bulgars gives us incontestable proofs of the destruction of these settlements not later then the beginning of the 10th century, i.e. from the strikes of the Badjanak hordes. However, the history does not know any examples of a total destruction of a population during periods of even most severe wars and most terrible invasions.

Burial Customs of Bulgars, Alans, Kipchaks, and Oguzes

A significant number of people, mainly women, children, and also artisans, are taken to slavery, and quite often they are left on their old ashes and gradually they, not always completely, restore the destroyed settlements. It is significant that anthropological study of the nomadic skulls of the 10th-13th cc. showed that externally the population of that time almost does not differ from the inhabitants of the steppes in the 8th - beginnings of the 10th century. Also is very significant that in the N.Pontic steppes, and especially frequently in the basin Seber Donets, are found burials of the 12th-13th centuries with a funeral ceremonies connected with former settlers of the steppes, the citizens of the Khazarian Kaganate. First, it is an atypical for Badjanks and Kipchaks meridional orientation of the diseased (heads towards north or south), frequent for ancient Bulgars and Alans; second, a presence in the tombs of a layer of chalk or coal, and some other attributes. For example there, on the banks of Donets and Lower Don, the nomads during Kipchak time used especially widely the objects made and distributed during the previous Khazarian epoch: mirrors, pendant earrings, pottery, etc.

Thus, a first component which certainly joined Kipchak's ethnic community and to some extent influenced a change in the physical appearance of Kipchaks, was numerically insignificant, but culturally settled population that earlier was subject to the Khazarian Kaganate.

The cavalier "numerically insignificant" statement is bored by the archeological studies, but if archeologists concentrate on flashier Kipchaks' kurgans, the number of non-Kipchak kurgans is far smaller, and also the "Christian" cemeteries are not studied at all, dropping another ball in the studies of the N.Pontic Middle Age populace. Plenty of those "Christians" may have nothing to do with Christianity. Completion of the missing studies may show quite a different demographic picture.

In the composition of the Kipchak's community much bigger role played remains of Badjanak's and Oguz hordes. First of all testifies to it an extraordinary variety of the funeral customs. As a whole the traditions of all these ethnoses were uniform: a primary task for the relatives was provisioning of the diseased into the next world with all necessities (first of all a horse and weapons). The differences are in the details of a ceremony: orientation of the diseased head to the west or east, burial with him of a full hulk or its effigy (the head, legs severed at the first, second or third joint, a hide filled with dry grass and with a tail), burial of solely an effigy without a dead man, location of the horse in relation to the diseased. Some differences are also observed in the form of the sepulcher and, at last, in the build of the kurgan. Badjanks buried under small earthen kurgans or constructed "additional" burials in the kurgans of the previous epochs, usually only for men, heads toward west, flat on the back, to the left from the diseased  was laid an effigy of a horse with  legs dismembered at the first or second joint. Apparently, they also buried in ancient kurgans the horse effigies (without a man), thus creating memorial cenotaphs. Oguzes, in contrast with Badjanks, were building log cover above the tomb, to place on it an effigy of a horse, or placed an effigy on a step to the left of the diseased.

Initially, the Kipchak tradition, apparently, differed strongly from the Bulgar-Alan and Oguz traditions. Their kurgans were filled with stone or were tiled with stones, were laid heads to the east, near them (mostly on the left) also with the heads to the east were laid whole hulks of the horse or its effigy, but with the legs cut at a knee. Kipchaks buried with honors men and likewise women, and constructed for both sexes memorial temples with statues.

This typical Kipchak tradition started to dissolve in a sea of alien customs still steppes in the Aral area and area east of Itil: the stone kurgans began to be replaced with simple earthen (sometimes including several stones in them), instead of a whole horse more often were buried horse effigies, and also sometimes  on the steps, like with the Oguzes, and was changing the orientation also, first for the horses heads toward west, and then also for  the diseased. As a whole. the funeral ritual testifies, like the anthropological data, about a constant mixing of completely different ethnoses and tribes. This process grew especially stronger, naturally, after arrival of already strongly mixed Kipchak hordes to the N.Pontic steppes. Only one ethnographic attribute remained constant, namely the erection of the sanctuaries devoted to the male and female ancestors. Brought from the depths of the Kimak Kaganate, this custom was further developed and literally blossomed in the N.Pontic steppes.

As to the archeological and anthropological data, they allow to state that the  Kipchak and Kimak hordes in the Dniepr-Don steppe very quickly, literally after one, at the most two generations, became different people with changed physical and partly cultural build. They like homogenized with all other previous inhabitants of the steppe ethnic groups.

This is another cavalier statement that tells more about a scientist then about the objects of the study. Considering that their whole physical anthropology science is reduced to primitive craniology to determine Mongoloid admixture, with absolutely no dental, DNA, blood group, etc studies, that the rest of the skeleton is simply routinely discarded, that no archeological or anthropological report includes the discarded material, no wander that they all seem to have the same face, like Japanese for British (or vice versa, not to offend the diseased). In reality, it takes many generations to change a physical type, anybody who saw a Mexican (i.e. Indian) or N.American African can tell you that there is a difference with a Spaniard or with an Anglo, and you do not need a PhD to see it.


Thus in the N.Pontic steppes appeared initially loose new ethnic mass. It was forming by the same laws like all other nomadic ethnoses and peoples of antiquity and Middle Ages, as in the Eastern European space several centuries ago were formed ancient Bulgars, Khazars, Hungarians. One of essential laws of this process is that the ethnos that gave its name to new ethnic formation not so necessarily happens to be a most numerous: simply due to a fortunate developing of the historical conditions and a vigorous military leader it came to the front  in the forming union. In this specific case, in the beginning of the 11th century, this place was taken by Saris, the "yellow" Kipchaks. They became that powerful nucleus, around which united all isolated and scattered in the steppe hordes of Badjanks, Oguzes, and also partially the remains of the Bulgarian and Alanian population.

The new ethnic union developing in the steppes received in Europe a new name: Kipchaks. The Ruses called theim "Polovetes", copying a self-name of new hordes. Following the Ruses started calling them other European peoples: Poles, Czechs, Germans ("Plavtsy", "Flavens"), Hungarians ("Paloch"). However, Hungarians also called them Kumans, like did the Byzantians and Bulgars who were frequently interacting with them. How is possible to explain the different names of the same ethnic formation?  Is not unreasonable the hypothesis of some researchers, who believe that in the N.Pontic steppes in the 11th-12th centuries was forming not one, but two closely related ethnoses: Kuns-Kumans, headed by one or several Kipchak hordes, and Kipchaks, united around hordes of Sari-Kipchaks. Kumans occupied the lands west of the Dniepr, they interacted much more, than Kipchaks, with Byzantium and other western states, and consequently their chronicles usually recorded Kumans (quite apparently, even when they actually met Kipchaks).

Kipchak's pastures were east of the Kuman's. Their territory is very precisely defined due to a distribution of stone sculptures, characteristic, apparently, only for Sari-Kipchaks (Kipchaks). The earliest Kipchak statues analogous with the Kipchak statues of 10th-11th of centuries (i.e. in Kimakia) are located in the basin of middle and lower course of Severski Donets and in Northern Azov. They are arrow-like flat sculptures with faces and some figure details (breast, hands, vessel in hands and so forth), drawn on a flat surface or made with a low relief. Male and female statues, like in the eastern Kipchak lands, were erected equally. Construction of ancestor sanctuaries is already a testimony of transition the nomads from a stage of invasion to a second stage of herding, for which, as is known,  is typical first of all some stabilization and reglementation of coaching along certain routes with permanent locations of winter and summer stans. In turn, a stabilization signifies an end of a difficult and restless period of "obtaining a native land".

A better explanation, without relying on baseless speculations, would take into perspective the presence of "Sari" people in the Itil-Dniepr interfluvial from at least Ptolemaic times, whether their name is rendered Sargets, Saragurs, Sari, Sir, Sari As, Sariman, Sarimanti (Sarmatians)  or Sarigurs. Depending on the climatic conditions and political-military situation, the center of gravity of the Sari people was oscillating west and east, but at no time the routs were abandoned completely. Like a good business, the emphasis was shifting to the areas of greater returns, but that same very shift created better opportunities for people who stuck to their much less popular routs. The winter and summer posts were established and maintained from the antique times. The change came with creeping colonization of the slash burn agriculturists, who happened to consolidate into a political coherency just in time to meet the Sarys gravitating back into the Itil-Dniepr interfluvial at the turn of the millennia. Both sides were up to some surprises. Thus, put the "testimony of transition the nomads from a stage..." etc. into a waste basket. No wonder Sarys were re-using "old kurgans". These kurgans were theirs and their ancestors' to begin with.

We do not know specific facts from the life of the Donets-Azov Shary-Kipchaks in the first decades of their settlement in new pastures, which they occupied, apparently, in the 1020s. As a rule, written sources of the adjacent countries do not tell anything about this dark period of initiation and formation of a nomadic society: the contemporaries were not concerned with the events occuring inside of the steppe formations. The first notes appear, naturally, when composed association starts searching to relieve accumulated energy. Usually this relieve is an attack on the nearest neighbor. For Kipchaks, the Rus became such a neighbor.

In the 1060 Kipchaks made a first attempt to rob rich Rusian lands ("rich Rusian lands" is not a sarcasm here. To call the dirt-poor principality "rich" is very-very patriotic). Svyatoslav Yaroslavich of Chernigov with retinue could defeat a four times larger Kipchak army. Numerous Kipchak warriors were killed and drowned in the river Snov, their leaders captured, apparently, almost without resistance. The route was total (but the description is ironic. The mercenary retinue of the Knyaz was not more then a couple hundred men, then the Kipchak "army" was not more than a thousand. Even if the record is truthful, it was an attack on a herding caravan or a similar clearly non-military group. More likely, it was a bandit attack by a Knyaz with his mercenaries, without a fear of retribution).

But already by the end of January - beginning of February of the 1061 "came Kipchaks for the first time on the Rus land to fight... That was the first misfortune for the  Rus land from the enemy, and their prince was Sokal..." (PSRL, 2, pp. 152).

The circumstance that in those years with Kipchaks fought the Chernigov and Pereyaslavl Princes Svyatoslav and Vsevolod tells, apparently, about attack of the Kipchaks bordering with Rus in the southeast, i.e. they were coaching somewhere in the Donetsk steppes (The Rus annals, and S.A.Pletneva skip the results of the encounter, the peace agreement and its conditions. Must be unpleasant to address this subject, quite a telling professorial muteness.)

The next attack from the same southeast side is noted in the (Rus) annals under the year 1068 (i.e. the first peace treaty of 1061 held for 7 years. Most likely, that was a term of that treaty). This time near a rivulet Lta (in the Pereyaslavl princedom) facing Kipchaks were joint forces of "triumvirate", regiments of Izyaslav, Svyatoslav and Vsevolod Yaroslaviches. They too were defeated by Kipchaks. After that event it became clear that a new terrible danger came to hung over the Rus land.

Synchronously with the Kipchak's community, was also developing the western branch of the Kipchak conquest: Kumanian. There were doing the same processes, as for Kipchaks. Possibly they were more complicated than for Kipchaks, with a big number of wandering in the steppe Dniepr-Dnestr interfluvial Badjanks and Oguzes, who gradually joined the new association forming there. An absence of stone sculptures does not allow us to pinpoint archeologicalally a fact of stabilization: the transition of the omads to the second stage of nomadic economy. About its completion we can judge only from the Rus annals noting an attack of Kipchaks on Rus right bank of Dniepr. It happened in the 1071. Two small Rus towns were located in the western part of the Ros area, the area on the left bank of the river Ros, a right tributary of Dniepr. Along the right bank of Ros was an enormously large forest, making the river inaccessible from the steppe almost for all its course. It was only possible to get to the river by the road going along the Dniepr to the mouth of Ros, or by circling around the forest from the west, almost at Buh. Apparently, the attack of the 1071 was made by a Kumanian horde, who occupied land in the Buh area, where earlier was herding the Badjanak horde Iavdiertim. The next attack, apparently, by the same horde happened already by the end of the 11th century: in the 1092 in a bad for the Rus droughty summer, and it was particularly noted that western small towns Priluk and Posechen in the Ros area were taken (an indication that the Rus counterpart failed to make a tribute payment, and collection was made from the two towns. But hold off, the most interesting is coming. Kumans took Rus prince with his army to collect from the Poles too, showing that his obligation was to supply military force for the Kuman campaigns). In addition, in the same year these Kipchaks (Kumans?), concluding a military alliance or hired as mercenaries, participated in a campaign of prince Vasilek Rostislavich "agains the Lyakhs (Poles)" (Is not this sweet? While we rob your towns, you hire us to help you to rob your neighbor. What a wonderful professorial righteous lie. They don't give you titles for nothing. Just keep reading.)

Vasilko Rostislavpch was not a first of Rus Princes who for his purposes started using the military potential of the steppe-dwellers, who were always ready for battle and a robbery. The first was  Oleg Svyatoslavich in the 1078, who fled from Vsevolod Yaroslavich to Tmutarakan (Slavic rendition of Tamiya Tarkhan) and then "brought the pukes to the Rus land" (PSRL, II, pp. 191).


Kipchaks carry captured exhausted Rus captives. Miniature of (Keningsberg, diplomatically euphemized by Soviet scientific lingo to) Radzivill annals

 Vsevolod's troops were crushed, and many were killed. Later this adventurous prince repeatedly brought Kipchaks against Rus (Here S.A.Pletneva implies that Chernigov/Karadjar was not Rus, for her Rus was Kyiv). During all of the 12th century his descendants became especially willingly related with Kipchaks and, having among them numerous relatives, constantly called on them for help in internecine rivalry (But calling here the fights "internecine" S.A.Pletneva implies that Chernigov/Karadjar was Rus).

The message about the events of the 1078 tells that those Kipchaks who were coaching on the banks of Donets or Azov, i.e. the Sari-Kipchaks, participated in the events, because through their territory passed Oleg on the way to Tamiya Tarkhan and back (later, an assilum given to the Chernigov/Karadjar prince in the Tamiya Tarkhan was used by Russian Empire to claim ownership of that Black Sea city and the whole N.Caucasus.

Rus annals called Kipchaks and Kumans "Polovetses". Actually, the diference in the Eastern European steppes was, apparently, quite real and appreciable, though, certainly, Kumans, Kipchaks and groups of Badjanks, Oguzes, Bolgars and other ethnoses who joined in their ranks, and constantly intermixed with each other, participated in common campaigns, concluded common treaties and, naturally, were indistinguishable for a stranger whose sight of a contemporary was poorly used to them.

As though there was, but we can speak confidently, that in 60s the period of "obtaining native land" at the Sari-Kipchaks (Kipchaks) who have occupied the lands on Dontsu, to the Lower Don and Azov, and, apparently, little bit later - to the beginning of 70es - at Kumen (Kumans, kunov), coached as it was spoken, in steppes, before the Badjanks occupied with four western hordes has ended.
And the hardware and others, be relative having ordered internal attitudes{relations} and economy, have begun the foreign policy actions with attacks on Rus boundary lands. It is typical, that also other aspect of mutual relations with Rus - the conclusion of the military unions at once is defined{determined}. And on fault of the Rus Princes rather inclined to political intrigues and adventures, Kipchaks repeatedly fell and successfully plundered defenceless, Rus princedoms conflicting with each other.





300 BC

Türkic language splits into 2 branches, Oguz (Eastern) and Ogur (Kipchak) (Western). Oguz 'z', 'y, i', (Oguz, yilan, Yaik) Ogur 'r', 'd, dj', (Ogur, djulan, Djaik)

201 BC

V. Carlgren: Ethnonym Kypchak (Kyjchak) in Chinese annals is Tsujshe (Kujshe, Kuche, Kyueshe, Kushi, Kushu, Kuchuk)

201 BC

Tsujshe are first listed among people conquered by Maotun in 201 BC, along with Geguns, ancestors of Enisei Kirgizes

300 AD

Gaogyuys are listed as branch of Huns in Chinese annals



Gaogyuys (Chinese "High Coach")=Tele (Türk. "Coach" =15 tribes =

?1 Uange (Uygurs)

?2 Seyanto (Sir + Yanto)

?3 Kibi

?4 Dubo (Tubalar)(Dabo)(Tele)

?5 Guligan (Kurykan)(Yakut)

?6 Dolange (Telengits)

?7 Bugu (Pugu)(Uygurs)

?8 Bayegu (Baiyrku)( Uygurs)

?9 Tunlo (Tongra)(Uygurs)

?10 Hun 11 Sygye (Uygurs)

?12 Husye

?13 Higye

?14 Adye(Eduz)

?15 Baysi (Barsil)


Seyanto (Sir + Yanto) occupied steppes between Mongol Altay and E. Tianshan in 4-7c.


Syanbinian Jujan Khan Cheunu attacks Tele's kingdom Gaogyuy, captures Tele (Teleut) lord Mivota, Tele escape to Ephtalites


Anahuan with his horde attacks Tele's kingdom Gaogyuy, defeats it. Tele's lord Ifu killed by his brother Yuegyuy, who continues resistance, is defeated, killed by Ifu's son Bidi


Tele's kingdom Gaogyuy under Bidi is defeated and Gaogyuy state stops existing. In Chinese sources Chinese exoethnonym "Gaogyuy" is replaced with Türkic endoethnonym "Tele" (Türk. "coach")


Kipchaks were members of Türkic Kaganate


Kipchaks lived in Altai, valley of Chjelyan = Djilan = Snake, so Snake mountain and city Zmeinogorsk. Probably same as Boma of Dinlin. Belonged to Türkic Kaganate, lived in Alashan, mixed with Kangals, became Koman, or Polovets


Sirs live in towns and have ports in Djurdjan, across Amu-Darya.


Türks invade and conquer Sirs.


Nominally Djungaria and basin of Tarim entered Western Khaganate. However Kibi on north slopes of East Tyan-Shan and Seyanto on So. Slopes of Altain-Nuru crest fought western Türks for 2 years (605-606) and gained freedom.


Leader of Seyantos Ishibo subordinated to Gelen but retained control over his tribe. state was likely a tribal union


Troops of Empire Suy attack Tele and Western Khaganate


Both Tele leaders, Kibi Mokhe-Khan and Seyanto's Inan, subordinate to Tung Djabgu Khan = Djabgu of Shenuy. Djungaria returned to Western Khaganate.


Avars controlled all Kuturgur Hun lands Uturgur (Onogur?) Bolgars did not participate in Khazars' war raids into Caucasus Uturgur (Onogur?) Bolgars guarded western border of Western Kaganate Uturgur (Onogur?) Bolgars are allied with Tele (Dulu).


Seyanto tribe and Djungaria left Western Khaganate and joined Eastern Khaganate?s Kat Il Khan


Seyanto and Uygurs, both Tele tribes, help each other in Khaganate. Seyanto's Inan and Uygur's Pusa support each other


Seyanto tribe with 70K yurts gains independence.


Tardu Tong Yabgu of Western Khaganate (619-630), per Chinese chronicle Tanshu, subjugated Toleses between rivers Orkhon and Tola and Aral Lake, to Iranians, and advanced to Khandagar in south. His army has hundreds of thousands good bow-shooters


Qarluqs rebel, Tung Yabgu (23) dies, W. Khaganate split, SW and NE. SW run by Nushibis, under Irbis Bolun Yabgu (31) (631-631), installed by Nishu Khan Shad (32), son of Baga Shad (24). NE run by Tele (Dulu), under Sibir Khan Yabgu (14) (630-631)


Türks of Ordos become Kok Türks (Blue Türks), different from their north neighbors-Tele


Seyanto pursue Türk?s Chebi Khan who finds refuge in Altai valley with 30K army.


Seyanto tribe keeps independence.


Seyanto under China = 70K wagons


Uygur leader Tumidu, heir of Pusa, defeated Seyantos and seized their ranges. Emperor Taitszun sent an embassy to Seyanto leader Inan and recognized him as Khan, as a counterweight to Uygurs. Uygurs subordinated and recognized new Khan.


Seyanto state organized as Türk's. Khan's sons are Shads, leading tolos (North) and tardush (South). Army numbered 200K lances, smaller than was 1,000K of Türks' Shibir Khan


Seyanto state successfully controlled all Türkic leaders except for Ordos Türks under Chinese protection. Some Ordos Türks move north into Seyanto state.


New Seyanto state spread from Altai to Khingan and from Gobi desert to Baikal.


Seyanto gave a blow from behind. Ashina Chuni, loyal to traditions of Eastern Kaganate, raised his army against Seyanto. He had 50K army without success.


Kipchaks are not in 10 arrows of Western Kaganate


Seyanto tribe with 70K wagons keeps independence


Tribes that did not receive autonomy were Karluks, Yagma (YanNyan), Kipchaks, Basmals, and Huns (Dulu) tribes Chue, Chumi and Shato.


Yshbara Tolis-Shad Yabgu reorganizes W. Khaganate into 10-arrow Türks, of 5 Nushibi and 5 Tele (Dulu) tribal leaders, recognizing them as Shads (blood prince).


NE of Western Khaganate controlled by Tele Khan Tong Shad Yabgu, who attempts to unite W. and E. Khaganates


Seyanto ally with Gaochan in defense of Gaochan from Empire Tan aggression. Gaochan is attacked and occupied


Tsujshe (Kirchaks) is mentioned in Chinese annals desribing Dulu Khan, who in 641 conquered tribes other than Dulu or Nushibi, among them Tsujshe and Gegu, ie Kipchaks and Enisei Kirgizes. Per Chinese annals, Kipchaks and Enisei Kirgizes were neighbors for 800 years in Upper Ob and Western Sayans


Türks in service of Tan Empire are moved to north bank of Khuankhe and serve as a barrier against Seyanto


Seyanto Khan Inan organized expedition against restored Türkic vassal Khaganate on north bank of Khuankhe. Seyanto army is demolished 80%.


Kipchaks have 100K people, 40K army, 90 K horses


Kipchak on Altai subordinated to Khan Yukuk Yabgu


Seyanto Khan Inan died


Remains of Seyanto Horde loses to Empire Tan army and is dispersed forever. Uygurs fought Seyanto with Empire Tan and become loyal subjects and fight in all wars for Empire


Seyanto Khanaate was destroyed by Empire and their allies Uygurs, people were mercilessly wiped out. Remains of Seyanto dispersed by slopes of Beyshan, and joined Türks


Türkic Chebi Khan horde is resettled in East Khaganate vacated by Seyanto


Kipchaks move to Upper Irtysh and E. Kazakhstan steppes under pressure from China and Uygurs


150K Kumans, Türkmens, Kök-Oguses and Kyrgises confederated with Khazars cross Idel. Shambat and Asparukh battle Khazars, loose and flee to Bashtu, present Kiev.


Kipchaks restored Türkic Kaganate, second component = Sirs, descendants of Seyanto, became 'Kok Türk' = blue Türks Known as Kipchaks from that time


Kipchaks mixed with Kangar (Besenyos, Russian 'Pecheneg') between Black Irtysh and Syr-Darya in Deshtikipchak


Created Orkhon Inscriptions on Tonyukuk slella, describing events and providing Türkic perspective. Inscriptions are bilingual, in Kipchak language in Türkic alphabet, and in Chinese language in Chinese characters


Orkhon Inscriptions on Kul Tegin stella with a large and small inscriptions. Inscriptions are bilingual, in Kipchak language in Türkic alphabet, and in Chinese language in Chinese characters


Kipchak name first shows on Selenga Stella, Kipchak with Türkuts are ruling Kök Türk tribes, and allied against Uigurs.


Created Orkhon Inscription on Mogilyan Bilge Khan slella. Inscriptions are bilingual, in Kipchak language in Türkic alphabet, and in Chinese language in Chinese characters




Founder -

Area -

Script - Türkic Alphabet Talas type

Coins - 


After Dukak death, Yabgu appoints his son Seljuk Syu-Bashi, head of army. Seljuk evacuates his tribe to Sugura, near Jend (Hojdent), bordering with Moslem countries. Relocation may be caused by Kipchak victory over Oguz State or shortage of pastures


8 Besenyo tribes, under Khan Kura, of Kipchak stock with Oguz element, freed of Khazar dominance, defeat Russian prince Svyatoslav and make a drinking cup of his scull. Besenyos continuous fights with Khazars, Byzantines and Rus


Kipchaks are pressed by Kumosi- Kimaks and then by Kidanes and move west. Kipchaks have three main groups: the main group and whole people are Kipchaks, western [European] branch is usually recorded as Cumans, and eastern [Asiatic] branch is known as Kangli (Kengeress)


Kipchaks occupy Middle and Lower Donets basin, lower Don and Azov steppes. Earliest Kipchak stone monuments w. of Itil in honor of diseased are located here


Kipchaks control steppes from Itil to Irtysh


Byzantines call Besenyos and Kumans "Skythicon"


Russian chronicles record appearance of Ghuz people, pushed by Kipchaks- a branch of Kimaks of middle Irtysh and of Ob.


Russians claim that majority of Kipchak tribes under the leadership of Khan Blush crossed Itil in pursuit of Oguzes and occupy E. European steppes.


Ipatian Chronicle reports first arrival of Kipchaks at border of Pereyaslav principality


Kipchaks replace Besenyos (Pechenegs) from N Caucasus steppes. Stan of Kipchak Khans is located on river Sunj. N Caucasus steppes are important component of Deshti-Kipchak.


First Kipchak Cumans attack of Rus under leadership of Khan Sokal


600K Oguzes crossed Danube, devastated Balkans to Thessalonica. Emperor Constantine X Ducas, and then Kengeres and Bolgars, ruled at that time from Byzantium, annihilated them. Remains of Oguzes were subjugated, eliminated or assimilated by Kipchaks.


600K Oghuzes crossed Danube and devastated Balkans to Thessalonica. Emperor Constantine X Ducas, and then Kengeres and Bolgars annihilated them. Remains of Oguzes were subjugated, eliminated or assimilated by Kipchaks.


Steppes N. of Lake Balkhash inhabited by three Türkic peoples: Oguz (Oghuz, Ghuz, Torks, Ouzoi, Uzes, Türkmen), Kimaks/Kipchak of middle Yenisey of Ob, and Kirgiz. group distinguished from other Türkic people that they had Y mutated to J (DJ).


Kipchaks defeat three joint Rus Knyazes Izyaslav, Svyatoslav, and Vsevolod on Al'ta/L'to River


Svyatoslav pretender-son Oleg brought Kipchak army to Rus


The reign of Kipchak Khan Bonyak (1090-1167)


Kipchaks under Tugorkhan (?-1096) (Grousset's Togortak) and Bonyak (Grousset's Maniak) are allied with Byzantium under Alexius Comnenus, and together crushed Besenyo army at Mount Lebunion


Kiev Grand Knyaz Vladimir Monomah signs peace treaty with Kipchaks, exchange and adopt sons (Türk. tali, or amanaty), then treacherously slaughter Khans Kitan and Itlar, raid and rob Kipchak settlements, causing retributions


Khan Bonyak Cumans defeat Hungarian army of King Coloman Beauclerc at Przemysl


Kipchaks are subdivided into hordes: Dniepr, Don, Lower Itil (Kipchak-Saksin), Eastern (Kipchak)


Rus Dolob Congress to unite Rus forces to crush Cumans


W. Kipchaks are invaded and defeated on river Suten (Molochnaya) by Vladimir Monomakh and Svyatopolk Izyaslavich of Kiev. 20 Kipchak princes died. Kipchaks retreat from Bug


Khan Bonyak Cumans retaliate attacking Zarub


Don Kipchaks are invaded and defeated by Rus Khyazes


Kipchaks stone monuments spread in Dniepr basin, Crimea, Azov, Don, Itil, N Caucasus


Don Kipchaks are again invaded and defeated by Rus Khyazes.


Don Kipchaks are again invaded and defeated by Rus Khyazes. Cities Sharukhan, Sugrov and Balin with Alano-Bulgar populations are taken.


(1116-1236) End of Russo-Kipchak wars. Kipchaks ally with Rus Principalities and join in in Rus intercine wars. In 120 years Kipchaks participate in 16 Russo-Russo wars, with only 6 Russo-Kipchak invasions and 6 Kipchak-Russo invasions


Kipchaks under Khan Otrok retreat to N Caucasus steppes. Kipchak Khan Syrchan remains in Don Steppes. Kipchaks under Khan Otrok on way to N Caucasus destroy Sarkel. Its inhabitants with Besenyos and Oguz Türks migrate to Rus principalities


Kipchak Khan Bonyak and Rus Knyazes Vsevolod of Kiev and Andrey of Pereyaslavl sign peace treaty near Malutin


Kipchaks make peace with Alans. Khan Otrak has 40K army and is allied with Georgian King David IV the Builder and participates in war with Seljuks. A number of Kipchaks settle in Georgia


Rus Knyaz Yuri Dolgoruky defeats Bulgars under pretext that they poisoned his father-in-law, Kipchak Khan Aepak


Rus defeats Berendeys, Oguses and Cumans. Cumans leave


Kipchak Khan Bonyak defeats Besenyos at Battle of Eski Zagra. Cumans subsequently occupy their lands


1130-1150 Kipchaks participate in intercene wars of Rus principalities.


Foundation of Karakalpak (Black Caps - Russ. Chernii Klobuki) Union (comprised of remnants of defeated Türkic peoples), dependent on and largely loyal to Rus. First time Rus annals mention Wild Kipchaks (Russ. "Wild Polovetsy") and Brodnicks


Kipchak lands are defined in Ipatievsk Chronicle and Chronicle of Igor. Itil, N Black Sea, Sula, Crimea (Suroj and Korsun (Kerch)), Tmutarakan (NW Fore-Caucusus)


Kipchak Khan Bonyak (1090-1167) dies, Khan ? becomes Kipchak Khan(1167-1172)


Rus Knyazes under the leadership of Mstislav Izyaslavich raid Dnestr Kipchaks


Besenyos lose control of Moldova to Cumans (1171-1241)


Kipchak Khan ? (1167-1172) dies, Khan Konchak becomes Khan (1172-1201)


Kipchak Khan Konchak and the Rus Knyazes Rostislav and Gleb sign peace treaty near Pesochna. Bulgars repel attack of Mstislav, son of Andrey Bogolyubsky


Kipchak Khans Konchak and Kobyak fail in raid on territory of Pereiaslavl Knyaz Igor


Kipchaks consolidate into 2 confederated hordes, Dniepr and Don. Al Mansuri and An Nuvayri mention Burjogly and Toksoba confederations.


First successful raid of Kipchak Khan Konchak to Pesulye


Kipchaks aid Knyaz Igor and Olgovichi against Knyaz David in Smolensk and Ryurik. After the defeat of Igor, they flee with his troops. The battle took place near Chertoriye River


Dniepr Kipchaks are again attacked and defeated near Ivan-Voyn, and Kievan Grand Knyaz Svyatoslav (not Igor) captures and kills Khan Kobyak. Kobyak is from line Toglyy/Izay/Osoluk/Kobyak (in Russ. sources patrimonic name Karepyevich, from Karep)


Don Kipchak Khan Konchak raids Russ and is defeated. Army of Knyaz Vsevolod devastates some Bulgar areas


A number of Kipchaks, in 10'sK, settle in Georgia in times of George III (1152-1184) and Quinn Tamara (1184-1214).


(March) Russ Knyazes Ryurik and Svyatoslav defeat Kipchaks on Khorol River. Month later Igor launches his disastrous campaign against Kipchaks. Khan Konchak and Gzak retaliate successfully in Pereiaslavl region


1185-1187 Cuman-descended Bulgarian "boyars" Peter and Asen revolt against Byzantine rule, with Bulgar, Wallachian and Cuman troops. Foundation of second Danube Bulgar state


Great March of Rus knyazes against Dnestr Kipchaks, the final destination is "Blue Wood"


Rus Knyazes - co-governors Svyatoslav and Rurik fail to arrange peace treaty with (Kipchak vassals?) Lukomors and Bureviches.


1195- Kipchaks participate in intercine wars of Rus principalities.


Rus Knyaz Rurik with Kipchak allies defeats Galitsky princedom


Kipchak Khan Kotyan's reign (1202-1240) over territories in N. Pontic and Hungary


Kipchak Cumans capture Kiev


Death of Delhi Sultan Muhammad Guri. Kipchak viceroy gulam Kutb ad-Din Aibek (1206-1210) becomes first Sultam of new dynasty


Novgorod Knyaz Mstislav allied with Cuman Khan Kotyan, recaptures Galich from Magyars


Gengiz Khan grants Muyten Bey yarlik for Bashkir? Kipchak? Ulus from Yaik and Agizel (Belaya), tributary of Kama, to Irtish


Combined Russo-Kipchak forces of Knyaz George II of Vladimir raids Itil Bolgars, capture Oshel and other cities along Kama. Bilyar city was saved by paying rich tribute


King George IV's Georgian Royal Guards Cuman cavalry defeated by Mongols


Dominicans send missionaries to Cumans


Khan Kotyan Cumans, Bulgars, Khazars and Alans in first fight with Mongol-Tatars, accept promise not to be harmed as speakers of Tatar Kipchak dialect, withdraw, but are attacked and defeated. Alanian capital Magas (Meget) is seized


War councel in Kiev: Kipchak Khan Kotyak, Galician Knyaz Mstislav Mstislavich Udaloy (Brave), Kiev Knyaz Mstislav Romanovich, Chernigov Knyaz Mstislav Svyatoslavich, Volyn Knyaz Daniil, Kursk Knyaz Oleg, Smolensk Knyaz Vladimir, former Novgorod Knyaz Vsevolod


Mongol-Tatars defeated important Khan Kotyan's Russo-Kipchak force on May 31, 1223, at battle of Kalka


80K Russo-Kipchak force was defeated by 20K 3 tumen force of Subetai on June 16, 1223, at battle of Kalka


Itil Bolgar Khan Gabdulla Chelbir collects 24K army, of 5K kursybays, 3K militia of Dair Tetush, 6K kazanchies, 10K Bashkorts. Staged at Kermek, NW of Mardan-Sember (present Simbirsk), on left bank of Itil. Subetai had 20K Tataro-Mongols, and 50K Türkmen and Kumans. Severe defeat of trapped Mongol army




Founder -

Area -

Script - Türkic Alphabet Talas type

Coins - 


Juchi dies, Batu becomes Ulus Juchi (Kipchak) Khan (1227-1255)


Cuman Khan west of the Dneiper Bortz/Bortch (Türk. "debt") and 15,000 of his people baptized as Catholics in Moldavia and swear allegiance to Hungary


First bishopric of Cumania, with seat at Milkov in Moldavia, established in Transylvania and King King Béla IV of Hungary assumed title ?king of Cumania?


Eastern Desht-I Kipchak from Altai to Idel are included in Tataro-Mongol Empire


Batu Khan becomes ruler of Kipchak Kaganate (Ak Urdu) (Golden Horde).


Invasion of Asses and Kipchaks in N.W. Caspian and N. Caucasus. Leading Kipchak warrior Bachman killed, Khan Kotyan retreat beyond Tanais. Batu starts encircling maneuver going through Burtases, Erzya Moksha, and Rus


King Béla IV of Hungary granted asylum to Cumans and their prince Kotyan (BE "Kuthen"), who had earlier unsuccessfully tried organize Rus resistance to Mongols. Kotyan agreed to convert his people to Catholicism, and be loyal to Hungary


Batu Khan controls Kipchak, Bolgar, Rus Principalities


Kuthen, considered a dangerous alien, is murdered; Cumans left Hungary but resettled there by Béla IV in 1245


Cumans lose control of Moldova to Mongols (1241-1286)


Cumans exacted revenge upon Hungarians by deserting them in their greatest time of need. They fled to Balkans, ravaging as they went


Establishment of Kipchak Türkic Mamluk dynasty in Egypt


Kipchaks spoke a Türkic language whose most important surviving record is Codex Cumanicus, a late 13th-century dictionary of words in Kipchak, Latin, and Persian, compiled by Christian missionaries


Presence in Egypt of Kipchak-speaking Mamluks stimulated compilation of Kipchak-Arabic dictionaries and grammars written in Egypt and Syria


Béla IV's son, future Stephen V, married Cuman princess, and, under rule of their son (Ladislas IV [László]; 1272?90), Cuman influence in Hungarian affairs was great


Cumans did not completely assimilated into Hungarian society for centuries


Batu dies (1227-1255). Sartaq the Christian becomes Kipchak Khan (1255-1257), then Ulagchi the Child (1257-1257)


Ulagchi the Child dies (1257-1257), Berke the Moslem becomes Kipchak Khan (1257-1266)


First war between Kipchak Kaganate and Il Khans.


Kipchak Khanaate (Ak Urdu) carried on an extensive trade with Mediterranean peoples, particularly their allies in Mamluk Egypt and Genoese.


Berke Moslem dies (1257-1266), Mangu Timur becomes Kipchak Khan (1266-1280)


Kipchak (Cuman) George Terter I installed in Bulgaria (1280-1292)


Mangu Timur dies, Tode Mangu the Moslem becomes Kipchak Khan (1280-1287)


Tode Mangu Moslem dies, Tole Buqa becomes Kipchak Khan (1287-1290)


Tole Buqa dies, Toqtagha becomes Kipchak Khan (1290-1312)


Hungarian-Cuman force fights in Battle of Gollheim with army of Albrecht I of Habsburg


Kipchaks settle in E. of Itil and in S. Urals


Kipchaks settled from Itil to Lower Ilek rivers left modest earthen kurgans with rectangular burials facing East, with a hide or a mummy of harnessed and saddled horse


Kipchaks settled E. of Lower Ilek river left stone kurgans with rectangular burials facing East, with a hide or a mummy of harnessed and saddled horse. Both groups have same ritual: men are equipped with birch lube quivers with cut arrows, knives and flints. Women? are buried with bronze or silver pendants, ear rings, signet rings, scissors, bronze mirrors and elements of head dress (bokki in a shape of a birch lube tube)


Pope John XXII instructs Hungarian bishops not to collect tithes from Cumans


Casimir the Great (Kazimierz Wielki) (1333-1370) expands Poland on the border of Kipchak khanate into a major Central-European power, increasing her territory 2.5 times, bringing it's size up to 270,000 sq.kms.


Tini Beg dies, Jani Beg I becomes Kipchak Khan (1341-1356)


Pope Coloman VI charges Minorite friars to convert Cumans


Jani Beg I dies, Berdi Beg becomes Kipchak Khan (1356-1359 opposed by)


Death of Jani Beg, last member of House of Juchi to rule over Kipchak Kaganate


Berdi Beg dies, Qulpa becomes Kipchak Khan (1359-1360 and)


Nauruz Beg dies, Hizr (of Ak Urdu - White Horde) becomes Kipchak Khan (1360-1361)


Qulpa dies, Nauruz Beg becomes Kipchak Khan (1360)


Hizr (of Ak Urdu - White Horde) dies, Temur Hoja (of Ak Urdu) becomes Kipchak Khan (1361-1362)


Temur Hoja (Ak Urdu) dies, Abdullah becomes Kipchak Khan (1362 d1370)


Abdullah dies, Jani Beg II becomes Kipchak Khan (1369-1370)


Jani Beg II dies, Mohammed Buluq-Khan becomes Kipchak Khan (1370 d)


Mohammed Buluq-Khan dies, Tulun Beg-Khanum (fem) (Ak Urdu) becomes Kipchak Khan (1370-1373)


Tulun Beg-Khanum (fem) (Ak Urdu) dies, Ai Beg (Ak Urdu) becomes Kipchak Khan (1373 d 1376)


Dmitrii Donskoi of Moscow repulsed Kipchak punitive invasion


Ai Beg (Ak Urdu) dies, Hajji Cherkes (in Sarai) becomes Kipchak Khan (1375-1376)


Hajji Cherkes (in Sarai) dies, Urus-Khan becomes Kipchak Khan (1376-1378)


Khan of Ak Urdu Tokhtamysh assumes control of Kipchak Kaganate


Urus-Khan dies, Arab Shaykh (restored)(in Sarai) becomes Kipchak Khan (1378-1379)


Arab Shaykh (restored)(in Sarai) dies, rebellious Mamai claims Kipchak Khan throne (1379-1380)


Dmitrii Donskoi of Moscow and Rus princes, as vassals of Tokhtamish, fight and win a signal victory over Kipchak Horde under pretender general Mamai at Battle of Kulikovo in 1380


Tokhtamish, son of a minor Tatar prince, won fight with Mamai and ascended throne of Kipchak Khaganate - Ak Urdu. Mamai dies, Tokhtamish becomes Kipchak Khan (1380-1397)


Timurlan defeats Tokhtamysh. Türkish Emir Edigu takes over control of Kipchak Kaganate.


Tokhtamish dies, Temur Qutlugh becomes Kipchak Khan (1398-1400)


Temur Qutlugh dies, Shadi Beg becomes Kipchak Khan (1400-1407)


Shadi Beg dies, Pulad becomes Kipchak Khan (1407-1412)


Pulad dies, Jalal Al-Din becomes Kipchak Khan (1412-1413)


Jalal Al-Din dies, Karim Berdi becomes Kipchak Khan (1413-1414)


Karim Berdi dies, Kebek becomes Kipchak Khan (1414-1417)


Kebek dies, Jabbar Berdi becomes Kipchak Khan (1417-1419)


Jabbar Berdi dies, Ulugh Mehmed becomes Kipchak Khan (1419-1420 d 1434)


Death of Edigu. Beginning of civil war in Kipchak Kaganate


Ulugh Mehmed dies, Devlat Berdi becomes Kipchak Khan (1420-1421)


Devlat Berdi dies, Baraq becomes Kipchak Khan (1421-1428)


Crimean Khaganate separates from Kipchak Khaganate under Khan Mengli Girei


Baraq dies,Kuchuk Mehmed becomes Kipchak Khan (1423(36?)-1459)


Kuchuk Mehmed dies, Ulugh Mehmed (restored) becomes Kipchak Khan (1428-1434)


Kazan Khanate separates from Kipchak Khaganate.


Kipchak Khan Ulugh Mehmed's envoy enthroned Vasili II on throne of Moscow instead of in Vladimir. This is last time that Tatar envoy participated in coronation of Grand Prince of Rus


Ulugh Mehmed (restored) dies, Sayyid Ahmad I becomes Kipchak Khan (1434-1436)


Sayyid Ahmad I dies, Mahmud becomes Kipchak Khan (1459-1466)


Mahmud dies, Ahmad becomes Kipchak Khan (1466-1481)


Struck last bilingual Kipchak-Rus coins


Ahmad dies, Sayyid Ahmad II becomes Kipchak Khan (1481-1502)


Destruction of Kipchak Kaganate capital Sarai.



The Codex Cumanicus

Peter B. Golden





Medieval Hungarians, who had close relations with Cuman-Kipchaks and to whose land elements of the Cumans/Kipchaks fled in the 13th century seeking sanctuary from the Mongols, knew them as Kun. the Qun are, in turn, to be associated with the Hun ( < * u n) = Xun/Qun .The Cuman-Kipchaks held sway over the steppe zone stretching from the Ukraine to Central Eurasia where they constituted an important element, closely associated with the Xwƒrazmian royal house via marital alliances. They had equally close relations with Rus’ (with whom they often warred), Georgia (where elements of them settled and Christianized ), Hungary and the Balkans where later, under Mongol auspices,the Cuman Terterids established a dynasty.
Cuman-Kipchak hegemony extended to much of the Crimea as well. Here their interests were, as in many other areas, commercial. In the pre-Genghis period, the Cumans took tribute from the Crimean cities. The city of Sudaq, an ancient commercial emporium, was viewed by Ibn al-AŒr (early 13th century) as the "city of the Kipchaks from which (flow) their material possessions.

It is on the Khazar Sea. Ships come to it bearing clothes. The Kipchaks buy (from) them and sell them slaves, Burtas furs, beaver, squirrels..." By virtue of their political hegemony, Cuman/Kipchak became the lingua franca of this area.

It spread to the other communities resident there as well.

After Genghis some Kipchak tribes (most notably those under Kten) fled to Hungary. The majority, however, were incorporated into the Mongol Empire. The pan-nomadic empire of the Turks was thus recreated on an even larger scale. The Kipchak language, far from receding into the background, established itself as a lingua franca in the Western Eurasian zone of the Genghis Khan's state within a century of the Conquest. Thus, a Mamluk scholar, al-‘UmarŒ (d.1348), observed that the "Tatars," whose numbers, in any event, were not great and whose ranks already included numerous Turkic elements from Inner and Central Asia, had intermarried extensively with the local Turkic population and had, in effect, become Kipchakized.

In the latter half of the 13th century (beginning in the 1260’s), as the Genghis khanates began to squabble over territory, the Jocids of Saray in their struggle with the Hlegids of Iran, found a useful ally in the Kipchak Mamluks of Egypt-Syria to whom they continued to supply mamluks from their Crimean ports. The spread of Islam to the Mongols beginning with Berke (1257-1266) and culminating with Ozbeg (1313-1341) helped to strengthen this tie.


The Codex Cumanicus, which is presently housed in the Library of St. Mark, in Venice, Cod. Mar. Lat. DXLIX, is not one but several unrelated (except in the broadest sense) works which were ultimately combined under one cover. The Codex may be divided into two distinct and independent parts : I) a practical handbook of the Cuman language with glossaries in Italo-Latin and Cuman II) a mixed collection of religious texts, linguistic data and folkloric materials ( the Cuman Riddles), stemming from a number of hands, with translations into Latin and a dialect of Eastern Middle High German. It is also clear that a number of subsequent hands made contributions to both sections.

Many scholars have simply termed these two, distinct works, the "Italian" part and the "German" part. This is undoubtedly true with respect to the ethno-linguistic origins or milieus of the authors. But, Ligeti is probably closer to the mark in calling the first part, the "Interpretor’s Book" and the second part the "Missionaries’ Book."

The Codex was first mentioned in the 17th century and was believed to have come from the library of the great Italian Humanist Petrarch (1304-1375). This attribution, however, has been shown to be incorrect. The dating and place of origin of the Codex’s different sections have long been in dispute. Bazin, who has closely studied the calendrical entries (CC, 72/80-81) concluded that the "Interpretor’s Book" was probably composed between 1293-1295. Drll, however, would place it as early as 1292-1295. The date found in the Venice ms. "MCCCIII die XI Iuly" (CC, 1/1) should be viewed as the date of the first copy or the beginning of the first copy. The copy preserved in the Venice ms., as an examination of the paper has demonstrated, stems from, or was at least copied on, paper made in the mid-13th century. The "Missionaries’ Book" comes from a variety of sources and was put together ca. 1330-1340. Other elements were perhaps added later. The authors are unknown, although it seems likely that they were part of the Franciscan community. The German Francsicans who played an important role in the creation of the "Missionaries’ Book," came from an Eastern High German- speaking background. The "Interpretor’s Book" was compiled by Italian men of commerce (Venetians or Genoese) or their scribes in Solxat (Eski Krim) or Kaffa (Feodosija). There is evidence to indicate that different individuals ( perhaps many ) were involved in preparing/translating the Persian and Cuman sections of the tri-lingual glossary. The first copy (1303), it has been suggested, was done in the monastery of St. John near Saray. The later copy which is preserved in Venice, dating to ca. 1330-1340, probably came from some Franciscan monastery. Here too, it seems likely, is where the different sections of the Codex were combined. Somehow, these various parts came again into Italian hands and thus to Venice. The work, then, is a pastiche of larger and smaller pieces which were composed/compiled with different intentions. The "Interpretor’s Book" was largely, but not exclusively, practical and commercial in nature. The "Missionaries’ Book," in addition to its purely linguistic goals, contains sermons, psalms and other religious texts as well as a sampling of Cuman riddles.

The Venetians and Genoese were actively involved (as well as competitors) in trade in the Crimea. This trade, as we know from contemporary accounts, such as Pegolotti, went by stages from Tana (Azov, a major unloading site for goods coming from Asia to the Crimea ) to the Lower Volga (Astraxan-Saray) and thence to the Urals and Xwƒrazm and ultimately to China. It dealt with a wide variety of items, e.g. wax, metals (including precious metals), spices and other foodstuffs, silk and other fabrics, pelts of valuable furs etc. The Italian commercial colonies in the Crimea, had, of course, regular contact with Tana. There was also contact with Ilkhanid Iran via Trapezunt. Indeed, Drll argues that the author(s) of the Latin-Cuman glossary of the "Interpretor’s Book" must have been Genoese, operating from Kaffa, as the Genoese were the only ones who had contact with merchants from both the Ilkhanid and Jocid realms. ALthough the Italian merchants were not involved in the slave or mamluk trade with Egypt, the Crimea had a long history of involvement in this activity. There is a Modern Kazak proverb that reflects this : uli irimga, qizi Qirimga ketti "the son went as a hostage and the daughter went off to Crimea (i.e. to slavery)." The trilingual glossary reflects this trade orientation and as we shall see has extensive lists of consumer goods.


The Latin of the Codex is found in two variants, indicating the ethno-linguistic affiliations of the authors and their educational level. The Latin of the "Interpretor’s Book" is a Vulgar Italo-Latin, while that of the "Missionaries’ Book" is more "correct," reflecting the ecclesiastical training of its Franciscan authors. The Persian material has been the subject of two recent studies. Daoud Monchi-Zadeh has argued that the Persian material came through Cuman intermediaries, a kind of Cuman filter, and was translated by them. Andras Bodgrogligeti, on the other hand, suggests that this Persian was rather a lingua franca of the Eastern trade. As a consequence, it had undergone, to varying degrees, standardization, back formation and simplification. Some words are archaic, others unusual. In short, what we see reflected is not the living language of a native speaker, but rather a kind of simplified koine.

The Cuman of the CC also represents some kind of lingua franca, one that was understood throughout Central Asia. This language, however, was not perfectly reflected in the CC. The latter, we must remember, was compiled by non-Turkic-speakers with varying levels of command of the language. There are a number of "incorrect" syntactical constructions as well as mistakes in grammar, phonetics and translation. Some of these are simply the result of faulty knowledge or scribal errors. Other deviations from the "norms" of Turkic are probably to be attributed to the word for word, literal translations. These types of translations in the Middle Ages, were well-known, especially when translating sacred, religious texts. Thus, in Karaim, one of the closest linguistic relatives of the Cuman mirrored in the CC, we find sentences such as : kisi edi yerind’a Ucnun, Iyov semi anin, da edi ol kisi ol t’g’l da t’z, qorxuvcu t’enrid’n ("There was a man in the Land of Uz whose name was Job and that man was perfect and upright and one that feared God," Job,1 ) , a word for word rendering of the Hebrew. Some of the forms which have an "unturkic" character about them may almost certainly be attributed to the influence of the compilers’ native Italian/Italo-Latin and German. Many of these forms, however, are ambiguous in origin as similar phenomena can be found in other Turkic langauges as well and may here also reflect the influence of Indo-European languages.

Of greater interest is the fact, hardly unexpected in a work in which so many different hands were involved, that the CC lexical material is comprised of several Qipcaq dialects. Some of these can be most clearly seen in the different sections :

"Interpretor’s             Missionaries’

Book"                     Book"

kendi                      kensi       "self"

tizgi                      tiz         "Knee"

bitik                      bitiv       "book,writing"

berkit-                    berk et-   "to strengthe"

ipek                       yibek       "silk"

ekki                       eki         "two"

todaq                      totaq       "lip"

etmek                      tmek        "bread"        

yag                        yav         "fat"

tag                        tav         "mountain"

kyeg                       kyv         "bridegroom"

igit                       yegit       "youth"

sag                        sav         "healthy"

abusqa                     abisqa      "old, aged"

qadav                      xadaq       "nail"

agirla-                    avurla-     "to honor"

In some instances, one of the sections indicates several dialects, e.g. "Interpretor’s Book" (CC, 52/57, 57/61) Lat.

manenda Cum. oasamac ( or oosamac which Grnbech reads as oqsamaq) and the "Missionaries’ Book" (CC, 141/199) ovsadi (ovsadi "resembled, was like"), (CC,162/226) ovsar (ovsar) "enlich;" (CC, 131/183) job sngnc ( ypsengenca ) "sin quod tu approbas," (CC, 140/195), iopsinip ( ypsinip ) : ypsen- / ypsin- "billigen, genehmigen, gutheissen."

The well-known shift in Kipchak g > w/v is clearly indicated in the "Missionaries’ Book." The latter also has greater evidence of the q > x shift (e.g. yoqsul > yoxsul "arm, mettellos"). The "Interpretor’s Book" appears to represent an older or more conservative dialect.

We may also note that whereas the "Missionaries Book" clearly renders j with g in non-Turkic words, e.g. gahan =cihan "World," gan = can "Soul," gomard = comerd "generous" ( all borrowings from Persian), the "Interpretor’s Book" renders this with j or y. This might indicate a pronunciation with y

Finally, we might note that intervocalic v/w which Grnbech regularly transcribes as v, may just as easily represent w, e.g.

(CC, 65/72) youac = yovac or yowac "opposite," (CC, 102/121) culgau = culgav or culgaw "foot-wrappings," (CC, 90/105) (CC, 109, 113/130,134) tauc, taoh = tavuk or tawuq, tavox or tawox "hen."

The numerous orthographic peculiarities (e.g. s is transcribed by s, s, z, x, sch , thus bas "head" in the "Interpretor’s Book" is rendered as (CC, 29,86, 94,/30,99,109) bas, bax and in the "Missionaries Book" (CC, 121,126,128/161,171,175) as bas, basch, baz; basqa "besides, apart from" the "Interpretors’s Book" (CC, 64/70) bascha and in the "Missionaries’ Book" (CC, 121,123,138/158,163,189) baska, baschka, bazka) clearly indicate that there were many contributors to the CC and little attempt was made at regularization. This, of course, makes many readings conditional.


The "Interpretor’s Book" consists of 110 pages (CC,1-110/1- 131). Pages l-58/1-63 contain a series of alphabetically arranged (by Latin) verbs in Latin and Cuman. The first entry is audio. A sampling of some of the forms is given below: audio "I hear" mesnoem (mˆsnowm) eziturmen (esitrmen), audimus "we hear" mesnam (mˆsnowŒm) esiturbis (esitrbiz), audiebam "I was hearing" mesin(.)dem (mˆsinŒdm) esituredim (esitredim), audiebant "they were hearing" mesinident (mˆsinŒdnt) esiturlaredj (esitrleredi), audiui "I heard".sinide (= sinŒdm) esitum (esitm), audiueratis "you had heard" sindabudit (sinada b–dŒt) esitungusedi (esitnguzedi), audiam "I will hear" bisnoem (bisnowm) esitcaymen (esitqaymen or esitkeymen), audiemus "we will hear" besnoym (besnowŒm) esitqaybiz/esitkeybiz, audi "hear!" bisn" (bisno) esit (esit), audirem "were I to hear" ysalla mes(i)nde (isƒllƒ mˆsinŒdm "if I should only hear" ) chescha esitkaedim (keske esitqayedim/esitkeyedim) audiuisse(m) "If had heard" y sinada budim (isƒllƒ sina budŒm "if I had only heard") c esitmis bolgayedim (keske esitmis bolgayedim), audiam "if I should hear" y besnoem (isƒllƒ besnowm "if I should only hear") c esitchaymen (keske esitqaymen/esitkeymen "would that I hear"), audire(m) "were I to hear" zonchi mesnide(m) ( conki mˆsinŒdm "since I hear") esittim essa (esittim ese), audires "were you to hear" z mesnidi (conki mˆsinŒdŒ "since you hear" nezic chi esiti(n)gassa ( necik ki esiting ese "lorsque tu as entendu" , audiueim (=audiverim ) "were I to have heard" z s(.)ndidem (conki sinŒdm "since I heard") esittim ersa (esittim erse), audire "to listen" sanadae(n) (sanadn) esitmaga, yzitmaga (esitmege, isitmege),audiens "one who hears, hearer" sanoenda (sanownda "he who hears") esattan (for esatgan = esitgen), auditurus "one who will hear, is about to hear" ghoet sinidn (xoht sinŒdan "he who wants to hear") esitmaga cuyga (esitmege kyge "one who expects to hear").

No other verb is given such detailed treatment. Most have 3- 5 entries, e.g. (CC, 5/6) adiuuo "I help" yari medehem (yƒrŒ mˆdehm) boluzurmen (bolusurmen), adiuuaui "I helped" yari dadem (yƒrŒ dadm) boluztum (bolustum), adiuua "help!" yari bide (yƒrŒ bideh) bolus (bolus) adiutorium "help, aid" yari (yƒrŒ) bolusmac (bolusmaq).

Some Latin terms are translated by two verbs in Cuman, eg.

(CC, 6/7) albergo hospito "I lodge" ghana cabul mecunem (xƒna qab–l mˆkunm) conaclarmen vel condururmen (qonaqlarmen or qondururmen, (CC, 9/10) balneo aliquid " bathe something" tarmecunem (tar mˆkunm) "I wet" us etarmen vel iuunurmen ( us etermen or yuvunurmen ). In a number of instances, we are given deverbal nouns as well as the verbs, e.g. (CC, 12/13) coquo "I cook" mepaxem (mˆpazm) bisuturmen (bistrmen) coqui "I cooked" pohten (poxtm) bisurdum (bisrdm) coque "cook!" bepoh (bepox) bisur (bisr) motbahi (motbaxŒ) bagerzi (bagirci < baqir "copper," cf. Nogay baqirsi bala "junosa obsluzivajuscij ljudej v roli povara u kotla iz medi") coquina "kitchen" muthagh (= mutbax "kitchen") as bisurgan eu (as bisrgen ew (lit. "house where food is cooked").

Compound Verbs (henceforth, unless needed to further explicate the Cuman forms, the Persian entries will be omitted and the Cuman forms will be given only in transcription) : yk tsrrmen "I unload," tinimdan kecermen "I despair," (CC, 19/21 eligo "I pick, I choose") kngl icinde ayturmen "say what is in my heart," eygirek etermen "I make better," (CC, 35/37, nauigo "I sail" dar driyƒ mˆrowm "I go on the sea") tengizda yrrmen ("I go on the sea"), qulluq etermen "I serve."

Compound Verbs with Arabic Elements are fairly well represented.

The Arabic element does not always correspond to the that found in similar compound verbs in the Persian entries : (CC,20/21) denpingo (sic) "I paint" naqs mekunm naqslarmen ( < naqs "painting"), (CC, 23/25) expendo "I spend" xarj mˆkunm, xarj etermen etc. But, cf.(CC,44/47-48) quito "I quit" rahƒ mˆkunm tafs etermen < Arab. tafs "flight, run away, escape").

Compound Verbs with Persian Elements. In many instances it may be presumed that the Arabic elements entered Cuman via Persian. The words considered here are only those that are etymologically Persian. (CC,23/26) estimo "I estimate, value" bahƒ mˆkunm "I consider the value" bacha ussurmen (baha usurmen "I consider the value," KWb., p.266 reads it as baha ur- "schtzen bewerten," < paha "price." (CC, 42/454) penito "I repent" pesmanim, pesman bolurmen < pesman "penitent."

The verb "to have" is expressed using three different forms: (CC, 29/30-313) habeo "I have" mende bar, habui "I had" tegdi ( < teg- "treffen, berhren, erreichen, gelangen, zuteil werden") habeas "you have!" dar "have!" saga/sanga bolsun "may you have!." Adverbs

The section of verbs is followed ( CC, 59-65/64-72) by one on adverbs ( many of which are expressed by postpositioned forms), e.g. ( CC, 54/61) ante "before" eng borun or ilgeri ab "from" idan, aput "at, near, by, with" qatinda ( < qat "Seite, der Raum neben oder bei etwas"), brevitur "soon" terklep, bene "good, well" yaqsi or eygi, benigne "benignly, heartily" xos kngl bile ( "with a good heart"), com "with" birle, bile, (CC, 61/66) hodie "today" bu kn, (CC, 61/67) ideo "on that account, therefore" aning cn, jam "now, already" saat digar "immediately" bir anca or imdi, (CC, 62/68) multum "much" kp, malicioxe "maliciously" knavishly, wickedly" yaman kngl bile, non "no" yoq, nihil "nothing" hec-neme-tagi, (CC, 62/69) postea "afterwards" songra (CC, 63/70) quid "what?" ne, (CC, 64/70) sane "healthily" sagliq bile.

Personal Pronouns (CC, 66-68/72-74) follow the listing of adverbs, examples are : ego "I" men, mei "of me" mening, michi "to me" manga, me "me" meni, ame "from me" menden, nos "we" biz etc.(CC, 68/74) ipse met "himself" anlar ox (anlar z ?) "they themselves." This same section contains a series of indeclinable nouns, e.g. : alius "other (than)" zge, (CC, 69/74) omnis "all" tegme or barca, solus "alone" yalguz, talis "of such a kind, such" falan, qualis "of what kind?" qaysi and basic adjectives, e.g. : ulu "big," kici "little," yaqsi or eygi "good," yaman "bad," yngl "light," agir "heavy."

Vocabulary Pertaining to Religion (CC, 70/77) Tengri "God," Maryam qaton "The Queen (Virgin) Mary" mater dey, friste "angel," peygambar "prophet," ari, algisli "holy, saint" santus, xac "cross," bapas "priest," tre "law,"yarligamaq "mercy," bazliq "peace," tengri svmeklig "love of God"

The Elements (CC, 71/78-79): hawa "wind" and salqon "wind" (cf.

Mong. salkin "wind" and Old Turkic salqim "cold, hoar-frost," Siberian Turkic salqin "violent (cold) wind"), su "water," yer "earth, land," ot "fire."

Humours of the body (CC, 71/79): qan "blood," balgam "phlegm ( <Ar. <Gr.), qursaq "stomach," sari "gall, bile" (lit.

"yellow,"cf. Pers. safrƒ ( < Ar. safrƒ "yellow"), sauda "melancholy" (cf. Pers.saudƒ < Ar. saudƒ "the black (bile)").

Terms Relating to Time (CC, 71-72/78-81) : yil "year," ay "moon, month," kn "day," kece or tn "night," etc. This fairly full section contains a list of the days of the week (largely deriving from Pers.) and the months of the year : tu-sanbe (<Pers.) "Monday," se-sanbe ( <Pers.) "Tuesday," caar- sanbe ( < Pers.) "Wednesday," pan-sanbe ( < Pers.) "Thursday," ayna ( <Iran. a ina) "Friday," sabat kn "Saturday," (sabat ultimately derives from Hebrew sabbat. It is also found in Karaim ( sabat kn, hardly unexpected there ), Armeno-Coman (sapat’ k‘un) and Kaaracay-Bulgar (sabat kn), all Western Kipchak languages deriving from Cuman. This culture-word also entered into Cuvas ( samat, samat kun ) and Volga Finnic ( Ceremis/Mari sumat Votyak/Udmurt sumot, perhaps from Volga Bulgaric). In all instances, the ultimate source for this word in Turkic was most probably Khazar. )ye-sanbe "Sunday," aybasi "first day of the month," kalendas. The Cuman calendar is given below, together with the Latin and Perso-Islamic equivalents :

januarius        safar                 safar ay

februarius       rabŒ awal             swnc ay

martius          rabŒolƒxer            ilyaz ay

aprilis          jimˆdŒ-awal           tob(a) ay

madius           jimˆdŒ-al ƒxel       songu yaz ay

junius           rejeb                 kz ay

julius           sa’bƒn                orta kz ay

augustus         ramadƒn               song kz ay

september        saugal (sawwƒl)       qis ay

octuber          zilga’da              orta qis ay

november         dilhija               qurban bayram ay

december         muharam               azuq ay



The Five Senses (CC, 72/81) : kormek "sight," esitmek "hearing," tatmak "taste," iylamak "smell," tutmak "touch."

Other Terms relating to Time, the Seasons, Direction, Orientation ( CC, 73/81-82) kun towusi "East," kun batisi "West,"yarik, yarik "clear, bright," bulud "cloud" (for nubiloxum "cloudy") etc.

Opposites (CC, 73-74/83-84) : jift "like, pair," par, hamtƒ, taq "unalike," behamtƒ, dispar, btn "whole," sinuq "broken," tatli "sweet," aci "bitter," sismis "swollen," sisik ketken "the swelling has gone" (cf. Pers. ƒmƒh raft "it went down").

Qualities of Things (CC, 75-77/85-88) : eygilik "goodness." Sometimes these are given in pairs of opposites, e.g. yaqsi or eygi "good," yaman "bad," korkul "beautiful," korksuz "ugly," uzun "long," qisqa "short," jigit "young, youth," abusqa or qart "old," tiri "alive," l "dead."

Things of the Everyday World (CC, 78-79/88-90) : jahan "world," tengiz "sea," tag "mountain," yol "road," tos/toz "dust, powder," terek (Old Turkic "poplar," in Qipcaq it has comes to mean "tree" in general ), yemis "fruit," sa(h)ar or kent "city," qala/qalaa "fort, castle," xala "village," saray "palace," ev/ew "house," kebit or tugan "shop," kopru "bridge."

Business, Names of Articles of Trade and Things Pertaining to Them (CC, 80/90-91) : saraf "banker," tarazu "scales," bitik or taftar ( cartularius "ledger book, calendar," taqwim "calendar"), naqt or aqca "money," borclular "debtors," bitik "letter," ( litera, xat ) etc.

These are followed by several lengthy lists of Articles of Trade and Handicraft (CC, 80-86/91-99) and the professionals involved in them. Many of the terms are "international" in character, often of Indic origin via Persian and Arabic : atar ( < Arab. ‘attƒr ) "spice-merchant," comlek "cooking pot," sakar/seker "sugar" ( < Middle Iran. sakar < Sanscrit sarkara ), bal "honey," burc "pepper," ( < Sanscrit marica via Iranian) jinjibil "giner" ( < Arab. zinjibil < Sanscrit sringgavera), darcini "cinnamon" ( < Pers.), nil "indigo" ( < Pers. nil <Sanscrit nili), qondroq "incense" ( < Pers. kundurak "mastic" <kundur < Gr. ) baqam "brazilwood" ( < baqqam), tutiya "tutty, zinc" ( < Arab. tutiyƒ’ < Sanscrit tuttha ), etc. oglanlar "servants," otlar "herbs," maajunlar "powdered medicines, electuaries" ( < Arab. ma‘j–n), altunci "goldsmith," temirci "blacksmith," caquc [ cekc ] "hammer," temir "iron," kmis "silver," altun "gold," baqir "copper," qalaj, aq qorgasin "tin," qorgasin "lead" ( < Mong. qorgaljin ? ), kmr "coal," kre "furnace, forge," tonci "furrier" ( <Saka thauna "clothing" ) igine "needle," bicqi "saw," oymaq "thimble," ip "thread," tlk "fox," teyin "squirrel," qara teyin "grey squirrel," kis "sable," silevsn ( < Mong. silegsn), teri ton "fur coat," derzi ( <Pers.), cekmen "woolen clothing," qipti "sheers," arsun, qari "yard," tsek "mattress, cushion, " etikci "shoemaker," basmaq "shoe," balta "axe," burav "augur," trg "chisel," toqmaq "mallet" etc.

Barbering and Related Equipment (CC, 86-87/100) ylci "barber," ylngc "razor," saqal "beard," kzg "mirror," tas "barber’s basin," snglce "lancet," bilev "whetstone, " ot, malahan ( <Pers. malaham < Arab. marham) "salve." Professions (CC, 87-90/100-104): qlic ostasi "sword-maker," eyerci "saddle-maker," ygenci "bridle-maker," otaci "medical doctor (physician and surgeon)," xkmci ( Arab. hukm) "lawyer," siqriq "courier," yalci "pommel-maker,"astlanci "middleman, broker," talal, miyanci (<Arab. Pers.) "broker, br(k)ci "hat-maker," naqslagan (Arab. naqs) "painter," qulluqci "servant," julaxak ( < Pers. jullahak ) "weaver," yaqci "bow-maker," qobuzci "musician," bitik ostasi "Magister Scolarum," etc. To this list various words were added: etmek "bread," urluq "seed," tb "root," olturguclar "seats," is "work," kc "labor" etc.

Political Titles, Offices and Related Terms (CC, 90/104-105) : qan "emperor," soltan ( <Arab.) "king," beg "prince," bey "baron ( amir)," ceribasi "army leader," elci "envoy," yarguci "judge ( potestas, sana < Arab. sahna "prefect"), seriyat ( ( < Arab. sar‘iyyah "Islamic law" ) "judge" (consul, qadi ), bogavul/bogawul "servant of the court, Gerichtsdiener" (placerius, tatawul) < Mong. buqawul (see below), atlu kisi "mounted soldier," qan qatuni "empress," evdegi/ewdegi epci "female servant," tilmac "translator," etc.

Things Pertaining to the Bazar, Merchandise (CC, 91-92/105-108): bazargan "merchant," satuq "trade," alici "buyer," satugci/satuqci "seller," behet ( < Arab. bai‘at "commercial transaction ? ) "deposit, down payment," tlemek "payment," naqt (Arab. naqd) "money," kendir "hemp," skli "flax," fanar (<Gr.)"lantern," qoz "nut," cuz "light taffeta," g yungi "owl feather (brush ? )," baliq "fish," brinc "rice," ipek "silk," frangi suf "Western wool, bolting cloth, " isqarlat (Middle Latin scarlata < Arab.Pers. saqallƒt ) "scarlet," kvrk "sulphur," jonban ketan "linen of Champagne," Rusi ketan "linen of Rus’," alamani ketan "German linen," orlens ketan "linen of Orleans," etc.

Colors (CC,92- 93/107-108): aq "white," qara "black," qizil "red," qrimizi "crimson," kk "blue," sari "yellow," yasil "green," ipkin "violet," etc.

Precious Stones (CC, 93/108=109) yaqut ( < Arab.) "ruby," laal ( < Arab.) "ruby of Badakhshan," kabut, yapqut "saphire," zmurut (probably for zumrut, zumurut, < Pers. Arab. zumurrud < Gr.

) "emerald," yalmas ( < Pers. almas < Gr.

) "diamond,: ingc ( < Chin. ) "pearl," etc.

The Human Being, Parts of the Body (CC, 94-96/109-113): azam ( < Arab. adam ), kisi "man, human being," epci "woman," bas "head," elat ( < Arab. axlƒt ) "humors," alin, manglay (< Mong.) "forehead," qas "eye-brow," kirpik "eyelid," qulaq/qulax "ear," kz "eye," kz yaruxi "light of the eye," burun/burin "nose," yangaq "cheek," tis "tooth," til "tongue," qursaq "stomach," kngl "heart," icex, sucux "gut, intestine," teri "skin," sik "penis," tasaq "testicles," am "vulva." kt "anus," qol "arm," qoymic "coccyx," tamar "vein," qan "blood," el, qol "hand," barmaq "finger," ayaq "foot," tin "soul," etc.

The Family, Relatives (CC, 97/113-115) : at(t)a "father," anna "mother," er "husband," epci "wife," ogul "son," qiz "daughter," qarandas "brother," qiz qarandas "sister," ul(l)u at(t)a "grandfather," qayin "father-in-law," kyeg "son-in-law," abaga "uncle( < Mong.)," ini "nephew," ortaq, nger ( < Mong.), "friend, comrade," qonsi "neighbor," etc.

Good Qualities of People (CC, 97-98/115-116) : tkel "complete, whole," yaqsi, eygi "good," barlu kisi "wealthy," ustlu, aqil ( <Arab.) "intelligent," krkl "pretty, handsome," kn "legal, lawful," xalal ogul "legitimate son," zden "noble, free," erdemli "virtuous," kcl "strong," tanur kisi "experienced person," sver kisi "amiable person," erseksiz "chaste," qiliqli "honest," etc.

Human Defects (CC, 98-99/116-117): yaman "bad," yarli, yoqsul "poor," qart, abusqa "old (person)," teli, aqmaq ( < Arab. ahmaq ) "insane, stupid," soqur, calis "squint-eyed," kzsiz, kr "blind," tvlk "blind," kniden towgan "illegitimately born, bastard," aqsax "lame," tasaqsiz "castrated," qaltaq "pander, procurer," qulaqsiz "deaf," tilsiz "mute," trkci "liar," yazuqlu "sinful," egri kisi "false person," etc.

Things Pertaining to War (CC, 100/118) : ceri "army," sancis "war," sagit ( < ?) "arms," sirdaq (cf. Mong. siri-deg "gesteppte Filzdecke, saddlepad," siri- "to quilt, stitch") "coat,"tovulga/towulga "helmet," kbe "coat of mail," btlk "cuirass," qlic "sword," bicaq "knife," etc.

Things Pertaining to the Home (CC, 100/119) : izba ( E.Slav.) "room," boxorik ( < Pers.) "oven," yuzaq "lock," acquc "key," qadav/qadaw "nail," olturguc "seat," etc.

Things Pertaining to Sewing and Clothing (CC, 101/119) : opraq "clothing," teri ton "fur clothing," tvme/twme "button," yeng "sleeve," etc.

Things Pertaining to Construction (CC, 101-102/119-120) : tb "fundament," tas "stone," kirec "lime-stone," qum "sand," su "water," taqta, qanga "floor," tik agac "column," kerpic "baked brick," aginguc "ladder," etc.

Sundry Articles of Attire and Travel Gear (CC, 101-102/120- 121): kvlek/kwlek "shirt," kncek "trousers," qur, beli-gab "belt," yanciq "purse," kepes, brk "hat," calma "turban," etik "book," basmaq "shoe," tizge "garter," artmaq "saddlebag," yasman "flask," catir "tent," qamci "whip," araba "wagon, coach," etc.

Things Pertaining to the Horse (CC, 102-103/121-122) : at "horse," naal ( <Arab.) "horse-shoe," ayran "stall," eyer yabogi "saddle-blanket," tizgin "reins," aguzluq "bit," zengi "stirrup," kmldrk "pectoralis," yingircaq "pack-saddle," etc.

Things Pertaining to the Bedroom (CC, 103-104/123) : tsek "couch, bed," tsekning ayagi "tripod," yastuq "pillow," yorgan "blanket," kilim "rug," gali/qali, kvz/kz "carpet," ksegen "bed-curtains," etc.

Things Pertaining to the Table (CC, 104/123-124): tastar, sarpan "table cloth," yiltrin, sise ( < Pers.) "bottle," piyala (<Pers. ) "goblet, cup," bardaq "pitcher, mug," ciraqliq "candelabrum," as "food," etc.

Things Pertaining to the Kitchen (CC, 104-105/124-125) qazan "pot," cmic "ladle," qasuq "spoon," cmlet/cmlek "cooking pot," yaglav/yaglaw "frying pan," qavurqina/qawurqina "kind of frying pan" (tianus, tawa ), ttn "smoke," yirgaq "hook," tepsi ( < Middle Chin.*dep tsi ).

Trees and Fruits (CC, 105-106/125-126) : terek "tree," butaq "branch," yabuldraq "leaf," agac "wood," klege "shadow," yemis "fruit," kiras "cherry" (<Gr.), armut ( <Pers.),kertme "pear," alma "apple," catlavuq /catlawuq "hazel-nut," qoz "nut," saftalu (<Pers.) "peach," erik "plum," limon ( cf. Ital. limome < Arab.

Pers. laymun ) "lemon," pistaq ( < Gr. "pistachio," qovun "melon," etc.

Herbs and Vegetables (CC, 106-107/126-127) : sadaf ( <Pers.) "rue," yisqic "mint," ispanaq ( < Pers. <Gr.) "spinach," marul ( <Gr.) "lettuce," qabuq "rind, crust, bark," cgndr "carrot," etc.

Names of Animals (CC, 107-108/127-129) : janavar "beast, animal" , at "horse," aslan "lion," qistraq "mare," katir "mule," esek "donkey," tonguz "pig," keyik tonguz "wild boar," kz, sigir "ox," inek "cow," buzav/buzaw "calf," tisi qoy "female sheep," qocqar "ram," qozi "lamb," ecke "goat," it "dog," maci "cat," fil "elephant," sazagan "dragon," ayu "bear," qoyan "hare," kurt"wolf," sican "mouse," boga "bull," etc.

Names of Reptiles, Vermin and Insects (CC, 108-109/129) : qurtcuk "worm," sazagan "snake," yilan "snake," cibin "fly," bit "flea," qandala (<?) "bug."

Names of Birds (CC, 109/129-130 ) : cipciq "bird," qaraqus "eagle," balaban "falcon," qarciga "hawk," qirqiy "sparrow- hawk," turna "crow," yabalaq "screech-owl" sigirciq "dove"(?) etc.

Grains, Dairy Products and other Comestibles (CC, 110-130-131): boday,bogday "wheat," arpa "barley," tuturgan, brinc "rice," marjumak ( < Pers.) "lentils," bircaq "vegetables," un "flour," st "sweet milk" ( lac dulce, sir), yogurt "sourmilk" (lac acer, mast ), kptelk "a dish of flour and meat" (granum marcengum, koptaluk) etc.

The Missionaries’ Book (CC, 111-164/132-235) consists of several very different sections or parts from undoubtedly a number of authors. A strong impression is left that this is hardly a finished work, but rather one that may have been still in progress at the time in which our copy was made. It contains a variety of vocabulary listings ( not in alphabetical order ), grammatical notes, a conjugation of the verb anglarmen "intelligo" (CC, 129-134/177-180), a section of Cuman riddles, a number of religious texts and a scattering of Italian verses. It begins with the verbs seskenirmen, elgenirmen "ich irschrake" (= Eastern Middle High German trans.) and several other verbs and phrases, e.g. yiti bicaq "eyn scharf messier," satov etermen "ich kouflage," yp yp ulu bolur "is wirt y lengir y grossir."Some of the phrases are translated into both East Middle High German and Latin, e.g. it redir "d’ hunt billit canis latrat," it ugrayadir "d’hunt gru(n)czet," qoy mangradir "ouis balat," kisi incqaydir "d’ menche brehtit (Grnbech, KWb., p.273 reads this as "der mensche krHcit"), ucamda yatirmen "ich lege uf dem rucke," etc. Without any preamble there is on CC,117/141 a brief religious text that begins with : bilge tetik kisiler menim szm esitingler, eki yolni ayringlar ("Wise and intelligent persons, listen to my words, distinguish between two paths...").

Given the fragmented and highly variegated nature of these texts, we will not follow, as we have thus far, a page by page analysis, but rather will excerpt texts and sections that best illustrate the character of the whole.

The Cuman Riddles (CC, 119-120/143-148) are a very important early source for Turkic folklore. Indeed, they represent the oldest documented material that we have for Turkic riddles. They are, as Andreas Tietze has remarked in his excellent study "early variants of riddle types that constitute a common heritage of the Turkic- speaking nations." Some of the riddles have clear, virtually identical modern equivalents, e.g. : (CC, 119/144): kecak ut(a)hi kegede semirrir. ol huun, which Tietze reads as : kkce ulaxim kgnde semirir. Ol xowun "my bluish kid (tied) at the tethering rope, grows fat, The melon. Cf. Qazaq kk lagim kgende turup semirgen. Qarbiz. "A green kid grew fat lying tethered. The watermelon," Osm. Gk oglak kkende bagli.

karpuz "the bluish (greenish) kid is tied to a tethering rope.

Watermelon." Cuman olturganim oba yer basqanim baqir canaq ( Kuun : camek which Tietze reads as ck, but Grnbech, KWb., p.73 has, correctly in my view, canaq ).Ol zengi. "Where I sit is a hilly place. Where I tread is a copper bowl. The stirrup." Cf.

Qazaq otirganim oba zer basqanim baqir sanaq. uzengi (CC, 120/145) yazda yavli/yawli toqmaq yatir. Ol kirpi-dir. "In the plain a fatty club lies. It is the hedgehog." Cf. Xakas: cazida caglig toqpag cadir. Cilan "On the plain a fatty club is lying.

The snake." Qazaq : Dalada zabuli toqpaq zatir. Kirpi "On the plain there lies a closed club (or "club covered with a horse cloth"). Hedgehog."

Other riddles show close structural or semantic parallels, e.g. ( CC, 119/143) aq kmening avzu yoq. Ol yumurtqa "The white- vaulted structure has no mouth (opening). That is the egg." Cf.

Qazaq: auzi biten aq otau. zumirtqa "A white yurt whose mouth is closed. Egg," Qazan Tatar : ber aq y bar, kerege isegi yuq.

yomirtqa "There is a white house, it has no door for going in.

Egg." (CC,120/145) burunsiz buz teser. Ol qoy bogu. "Without a nose it breaks through ice. It is sheep dung." Cf. Qazan Tatar borinsiz cipciq boz tis. Tamci, Baskir boronho turgay bo tisr. Tamsi. Qazaq murinsiz muz tesedi. Tamsi "Beakless sparrow pierces the ice. Drop."

The Religious Texts

At the time of the composition of the "Missionaries’ Book," attempts to convert the Cumans already had a considerable history. An episcopatus Cumanorum seems to have been in existence by 1217 or 1218. The Papacy and the Hungarian kings were particularly interested in their conversion for a variety of reasons, both foreign and domestic. The Dominican and Franciscan orders were tapped for this program. The mission took on further momentum when a Cuman chieftan Borc/Bortz and his son Membrok as well as a goodly number of their tribesmen converted in 1227.

Robert, the archbishop of Esztergom, received Papal permission to go to Cumania for this purpose. These missionary activities appear to have survived the Mongol invasions. By 1287, the Franciscan mission was flourishing under Cinggisid protection.

They had a church and hospice at Kaffa and a chapel at the administrative center of the Crimea, Solxat. Yaylaq, the wife of Nogay, the Tatar strongman of the late 13th century, was baptized there. From the Crimea, missions were sent to the more northern Qipcaq-Tatar lands.

The religious texts consist of homililetics that would be useful in the task of proselytixation, the Ten Commandments, the Nicene Creed and various Psalms. An illustrative sampling is given below (CC, 132/184-185) : Tengrini svgil barca stnde "Love God above all else" (= "Thou shalt have no other gods before me"), Tengrining ati bile anticmegil = "Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain," ulu kn avurlagil = "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy," atangi anangi xormatlagil "Honor they father and thy mother," kisini ltrmegil = "Thou shalt not kill," ogur bolmagil = "Thou shalt not steal," (h)ersek bolmagil = "Thou shalt not commit adultery," yalgan tanixliq bermegil "Thou shalt not bear false witness," zge kisining nemesi suxlanmagil = "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house " etc.

The prohibition on graven images in curiously absent. Added to these commmandments, however, are a number of others, e.g. sevgil sening qarindasin sening kibi "Love thy brother as thyself."

(CC,124/167) "Ari Augustus alay aytir : yazuqlu kisi, kim tiler kensi yazuqin aytma(ga), necik Tengri tiler daxi, sening janing aringay, anga kerek trt neme burung qaygirmax kerek kirti kngl bile kensi yazuxung cn..." "St. Augustine says thus : a sinful man who wishes to confess his sins, as God wishes it, so that your soul may be pure, four things are necessary for him (to do). First, it is necessary to regret (repent) with a true heart one’s sins..."

(CC, 121/158) "Kim egi kngl bile bizim yixvge kelse ulu kn agirlap anga bolgay alti yil bosaq" "He who comes with a good heart to our church and honors the Sabbath, to him will be (granted) six years indulgence"

(CC, 137/186, the Psalm Ave Porta Paradisi) :

"Ave ucmaqning qabagi
tirilikning agaci
yemising bizge teyirding
Yesusni qacan tuwurdung"
"Ave gate of Paradise, tree of life, Thou hast brought forth thy Fruit to us, when thou gavest birth to Jesus"

(CC, 124/164, "Parable of the Lepers"): "Kristus alay aytti kelepenlerge : barungiz krngiz papazlarga. Ol szin Kristus bugn aytir barca yazug(li)larga kim kerti kelepenler Tengri alinda." "Christ sppoke thus to the lepers : ‘Go, show yourselves before the priests.’ These words Christ today says to all sinners who are true lepers before God."

(CC, 126/171, the "Pater Noster" ) : "Atamiz kim kte sen.

Algisli bolsun sening [ating, kelsin] xanliging bolsun sening tilemeging necik kim kkte alay yerde. Kndegi tmekimizni bizge bun bergil daxi yazuqlarimizni bizge bosatgil necik biz bosatirbiz bizge yaman etkenlerge" "Our Father which art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us out sins as we forgive those who have done us evil" (instead of "for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us"). This may be compared with a somewhat garbled "Pater Noster" which survived in Hungarian Cumania (CC, XLIV-XLV) : "bezen attamaz kenze kikte, szenleszen szenadon, dsn szenkklon, nicziegen gerde ali kekte, bezen akomazne oknemezne ber bezge pitbtr kngon..." = "Bizim atamiz kim sen kkte, sentlessen ading, dznsen kngln nicekim zerde alay kkte, bizim ekmemizni ber bizge...kngn..."

Finally, we may note the "Nicene Credo" ( CC, 148/211-212) : "Inanirmen barcaga erkli bir ata Tengrige kkni yerni barca krnr krnmezni yaratti dey. Dagi bir beyimiz Yesus Kristusga barca zamanlardan burun atadan tuwgan turur (Kuun : ata tuuptrur = ata towupturur ), Tengri Tengriden, yarix yarixtan, cin Tengri cin Tengriden, etilmey ataga tzdes tuwupturur, andan ulam bar barca bolgan-turur kim biz azamlar cn dagin bizim ongimiz kkden enip ari tindan ulam erdeng ana Maryamdan ten alip kisi bolup- turur..." "I believe in one God the Father, all-powerful, who created heaven and earth and all things visible and invisible, and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, who was born of the Father before all times, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, not created, born ( of ) the same substance as the Father, through Thee all things were made, who for us men and our health (=salvation) also descended from heaven and through the Holy Spirit and from the Virgin Mother Mary took flesh and became man..."

There are many other aspects of the CC which we may explore further. Given the limits of space, however, we will touch on only a few of them here.


The CC is very rich in the international mercantile vocabulary that had developed in the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Eurasia. This vocabulary is particularly well-represented in the trilingual "Interpretor’s Book." These terms, as we have seen, were largely of Persian or Arabic origin, often going back to still earlier borrowings into those languages from Greek and Indic. On the basis of the CC, it would appear that this international vocabulary had entered virtually every aspect of Cuman life. Having noted this, a word of caution is necessary. We must bear in mind that the vocabulary of Cuman urban dwellers was undoubtedly richer in these terms than their steppe neighbors.

The polyethnic origins of the population of the Crimean cities almost certainly increased the "foreign" elements in local Cuman speech. Moreover, the compilers of the CC, given their origins, may have also been more inclined to use and hence include in their glossaries these lingua franca elements.

Greek Elements : bapas, papas, papaz "priest" < is also found in Karaim, Armeno-Cuman, Mamluk Kipchak, Bulqar and Ottoman. This term probably entered Cuman directly from Greek perhaps through Orthodox missionaries or merchants in the Crimea.

Fanar "lantern" < , cf. also Osm. fener. It is found as a recent loanword from Russian (fonar’) in Kazan Tatar and Karacay-Bulqar. K(i)lisia "church" < , cf. Qaraim kilise, Qaracay-Balqar klisa Osm. kilise. Limen "port" <

, cf. Osm. liman. Mangdan "parsley" < > Arab. maqd–nis/baqd–nis, cf. also Osm. maydanoz > Mod. Gr.

. Marul "lettuce" < < Lat.

amarula (lactuca), cf. Osm. marul, Mamluq Kipchak marul.

Timean "incense" < possibly via Eastern Slavic timian. Trapes "table" <

Eastern Slavic : izba "room, chamber" (CC, 100/119 camera, hujra) < izba "house, bath." Ovus "rye" < Old Rus’ ov’s, Russ. ovs "oats," cf. Qaraim uvus. Pec "stove" < pec’, cf.

Qaraim pec. There are also more recent borrowings of this word into other Turkic languges from Modern Russian. Samala "pitch" < smola "soot," cf. Maml–k Qipcaq samala, samla, salama. Salam "straw" < soloma, cf. Maml–k Qipcaq salam, kk salam - saman, found also in Qaraim, Karacay-Bulqar, Kazan Tatar salam and in Hungarian szalma. The connection of Turkic saman "straw" with this term is unclear. Some terms are problematic, e.g. terem "tabernacle, shrine," cf. Old Rus’ terem "high house, court, cupola, watch-tower," Russ. "room, tower-chamber" - Gr.

"room, chamber." But Sagay Turkic has trb "yurt," cf.

Mong. terme "wall." Similarly, bulov "some kind of weapon, probably a club ( cf. Mamluk Kipchak bulav, bula’u) may be taken from Eastern Slavic bulava. The reverse may also be true.

Mongol : The CC contains a number of Mongol loanwords. Given the historical contacts of the Turkic and Mongolian peoples, not to mention the much-debated Altaic question, the dating and nature of these words pose many problems. Our task is further complicated by the fact that Mongol-speaking, or bilingual, Mongol and Turkic-speaking (i.e. Mongol tribes that were becoming Turkicized) joined the Cuman-Kipchak confederation before the 13th century. Other Mongol influences undoubtedly stem from the era of Genghis hegemony. Thus, there are many layers of Cumano-Kipchak- Mongol interaction, some very old, which cannot be easily differentiated. Poppe has done a very thorough study of these words. As a consequence, we shall give here only a representative sampling :

Codex Cumanicus                   Mongol

abaga                             abaga "uncle"

abra- "to defend"                 abura- "to save"

bilev "grindstone"                bileg, bile’, bile-, bili-      

                          "to stroke, stripe, streak"

ceber "pleasant, amiable"        ceber "pure, sober"

egeci "father’s sister"           egeci < *ekeci  "older sister"

elbek  "richly"                   elbeg   "richly"

kenete "suddenly"                 genete, genedte "suddenly"

maxta- "to praise"                magta-, maxta-, maqta- "to      


nger "friend, comrade"           nker  "companion"

olja "war booty"                  olja "booty"

bge "grandfather"               ebge < *ebke "grandfather"

qaburga  "rib"                    qabirga   "rib"

silevsn "lynx"                   silegsn   "lynx" etc.


Among some of the problematic words, we may note Cuman bagatur, bahadur, Mong. bagatur "hero" which Poppe considered a Mongol loanword but surely it is a Turkic word. Clauson, however, suggested that this very old, Inner Asian culture word went back to the language of the Hsiung-nu. Cuman qarav, qarov "recompense, reward, retribution" ( CC, 43/46 premium, jaza ) and qarav berrmen "I forgive, absolve" ( retribuo, miamorzm ), cf. Qaraim qaruv "answer"—Mong. qarigu, xarigu "answer, response, return, retribution." Cuman tepsi "plate, dish" ( in numerous Turkic dialects ) -- Mong. tebsi "large oblong plate, platter or tray, trough" < Chin. tieh-tzu Middle Chin. dep tsi. Of uncertain origin is (CC, 90/105) bogavul/bogawul "officer of the court" placerius, tatawul, cf. the Ilxanid functionary bukawul/buqawul "Vorkoster, vielleicht General Zahlmeister."

Arabic: Arabic elements, as we have seen, are quite numerous in all the socio-linguistic categories noted in the "Interpretor’s Book" and elsewhere. This reflects the important Muslim political, commercial and religio-cultural influences in the Crimea. That these words were not limited to the Muslim population can be seen by their presence, without sectarian connotations, in Karaim and Armeno-Cuman. Elsewhere in this study, frequent reference has been made to words of Arabic origin, many of which entered Cuman via Persian. We shall cite here only a few examples : alam "banner" < Arab. ‘alam, albet "certainly, of course" < Arab. albatta, azam "man" < adam, seriat "judge" < Arab. sar‘iyyah "Muslim law." This use of a specific Muslim term for a broader category is also a feature of the Tolkovanie jazyka poloveckogo (13th century ?, discussed below), cf. alkoran "zakon" < al-qur’ƒn, elfokaz "uciteli i velikie tolkovnici" < al-fuquhƒ "jurists of religious law." Xukm "judgement, decision" < Arab. hukm, hakim, xakim "doctor" < Arab. hakŒm, aziz, haziz "rare, costly, pilgrim, holy, sacred" < Arab. ‘azŒz, nur "light" < Arab. n–r, safar "journey" < Arab. safar, seir "poet" < Arab. si‘r "poetry," sƒ‘ir "poet," tafariq (CC, 132/184, tafsanyt ) "difference" < Arab. tafrŒq, pl. tafƒriq "separation, differentiation." Persian: The principal Muslim lingua franca of the East, Persian, is also well-represented in the CC. As these words have been pointed out in much of the foregoing, the following is only a very brief sampling : daru "medicine" < Pers. dƒr–, drust "true" < Pers. drust, durust, bazar "bazaar,market" < Pers. bƒzƒr, bazargan "merchant" < Pers. bƒzargƒn, hergiz, herkiz "never" < Pers. hargiz "ever, always, continuously," jahan, jehan "world" < Pers. jahƒn, jihƒn, jigar "liver < Pers. jigar, piyala "goblet" < Pers. piyƒla etc.

Hebrew, Syriac and Others Elements : as was noted earlier, Cuman sabat kn "Saturday" derives ultimately from Hebrew sabbat via a probable Khazar intermediary. The name (CC, 143/202) Hawa/Hava "Eve" also appears in its Hebrew form (Hava) rather than the expected Eva. Interestingly, the word for "Messiah" appears in its Syriac form, or a form derived from it : (CC, 138/189) misixa < Syr. MesŒha. There are a number of words of undetermined origin. Among them is (CC, 160/222) kesene "grave mound," which is preserved in Qaracay and Balqar k‘esene, kesene "Friedhoff, grobnica." Ligeti suggested a Caucasian provenance without adducing further evidence. Zajaczkowski noted Pelliot’s earlier Persian etymology, kasana "a small house." But, it is not quite clear how the Cuman form could have emerged from the Persian.

The authors of the "Missionaries’ Book" had to create or elaborate a special Christian Vocabulary. Certain religious terms were already known to Cuman, as part of the Inner Asian Turkic legacy of long-standing contacts with a variety of religions.

Thus, terms such as tamu,tamuq, tamux "Hell," ucmaq "Paradise," both loanwords from Sogdian ( tamw, ‘wstmg ) or some other Iranian language , were already familiar concepts and not necessarily in a Christian form. These and other Old Turkic terms were now given a specific Christian nuance,e.g. bitik ( < biti- "to write" < Middle Chin. piet "brush" ) "anything written, book" now became "The Book," i.e. the Bible. Other terms were loan- translated into Turkic, e.g. Bey(imiz) Tengri "Dominus Deus," clk "the Trinity," ari tin "the Holy Ghost," kktegi xanliq " the Kingdom of Heaven," etc. An interesting usage (if not original in Cuman) is yix v ( < iduq ev "holy, sacred house") "church" (found in Karaim as yeg’v "church," a semantic parallel can be seen in Hung. egyhaz "church, " lit. "holy house"). The notion of "saviour" was directly translated into Turkic : (CC, 122/160) "Yesus Christus bitik tilince, tatarca qutqardaci, ol kertirir barca elni qutqardaci" "Jesus Christ, in the language of the Book, in Tatar, is the Saviour, that means the Saviour of all people."

The Cuman calendar ( see above) shows neither specific Christian influences nor any trace of the Sino-Turkic 12 year animal cycle. This appears to be an archaic system, typical, perhaps, of the Northern Turkic milieu from which the Kipchaks emerged.

Other examples of this older Turkic culture can be seen in words such as qam "sorceress" < qam "shaman, sorcerer, soothsayer, magician."

Cuman Documents Contemporary to the Codex Cumanicus

A number of Kipchak-Arabic grammar/glossaries (sometimes containing other languages as well ) appeared in Mamluk lands in the 14th and 15th century. Close in content to the CC, although very different in format, are the Kitƒb al-Idrƒk li’l-Lisƒn al- Atrƒk (ca. 1313 or 1320) of Abu Hayyƒn (1286-1344), the Kitƒb Majm–‘ Tarjumƒn TurkŒ wa ‘AjamŒ wa MugalŒ wa FƒrsŒ (now dated to 1343), the Kitƒb Bulgat al-Mustƒq fi Lugat at-Turk wa’l-Qifjƒq of Jalƒl ad-DŒn Abu Muhammad ‘Abdallƒh at-TurkŒ (which may date to the late 14th century, but certainly before the mid-15th century), the At-Tuhfah az-Zakiyyah fi’l-lugat at-Turkiyyah of as yet undetermined authorship (written before 1425) and the al- QawƒnŒn al-Kulliyyah li-Dabt al-Lugat at-Turkiyyah written in Egypt at the time of Timur. To this list may perhaps be added the thus far partialy published six-languge Ras–lid Hexaglot (dating to the 1360’s) which contains vocabularies in Arabic, Persian, two dialects of Turkic (one of which is clearly Oguz, the other may be viewed as Kipchak dialect)

There are also fragments of Cuman-Rus’ glossaries such as Se tatarsky jazyk which is found in a 15th century sbornik from Novgorod and the Tolkovanie jazyka poloveckago found in a 16th century menologium. These undoubtedly date from an earlier period.

Finally, mention should be made of the Kipchak translation of Sa‘di’s Gulistƒn done by Sayf-i SarayŒ in Cairo in 793/1390- p1391.