CKM 2019-19 / Aziz Yardımlı




“Kaukasier, Georgier u.s.f. stammen von den Turks; die schönsten Geschlechter finden sich unter diesen Völkern.” — Hegel (1770-1831).

  Lands ever historically Inhabited and/or Controlled by Turkic peoples

Lands ever historically Inhabited and/or Controlled by Turkic peoples

  Map of countries that have a Turkic Language

Map of countries that have a Turkic Language (LINK)

  The spread of Turkic peoples

Verbreitungsgebiet der Turkvölker

📹 History of the Turks (552-1300) (VİDEO)

History of the Turks (552-1300) (LINK)

With the creation of the First Turkish Khaganate, the first undisputed turkish nation is born. After its fall a number of other Turkish nations where formed and this would eventually lead the way to the creation of the Ottoman Empire.



  • Pomponius Mela in the first century AD refers to the ‘Turcae’ in the forests to the north of the Sea of Azov.
  • Pliny the Elder lists the ‘Tyrcae’ amongst people of the same area.
  • Herodotos (iv. 22, İÖ 440) ‘Iurkai’/Ἰύρκαι olarak bilinen bir halktan söz eder.

22. Then beyond the Budinoi towards the North, first there is desert for seven days' journey; and after the desert turning aside somewhat more towards the East Wind we come to land occupied by the Thyssagetai, a numerous people and of separate race from the others. These live by hunting; and bordering upon them there are settled also in these same regions men who are called Irycai, who also live by hunting, which they practise in the following manner: — the hunter climbs up a tree and lies in wait there for his game (now trees are abundant in all this country), and each has a horse at hand, which has been taught to lie down upon its belly in order that it may make itself low, and also a dog: and when he sees the wild animal from the tree, he first shoots his arrow and then mounts upon his horse and pursues it, and the dog seizes hold of it. Above these in a direction towards the East dwell other Scythians, who have revolted from the Royal Scythians and so have come to this region.

22. [1] Βουδίνων δὲ κατύπερθε πρὸς βορέην ἐστὶ πρώτη μὲν ἔρημος ἐπ᾽ ἡμερέων ἑπτὰ ὁδόν, μετὰ δὲ τὴν ἔρημον ἀποκλίνοντι μᾶλλον πρὸς ἀπηλιώτην ἄνεμον νέμονται Θυσσαγέται, ἔθνος πολλὸν καὶ ἴδιον· ζῶσι δὲ ἀπὸ θήρης. [2] συνεχέες δὲ τούτοισι ἐν τοῖσι αὐτοῖσι τόποισι κατοικημένοι εἰσὶ τοῖσι οὔνομα κεῖται Ἰύρκαι, καὶ οὗτοι ἀπὸ θήρης ζῶντες τρόπῳ τοιῷδε· λοχᾷ ἐπὶ δένδρεον ἀναβάς, τὰ δὲ ἐστὶ πυκνὰ ἀνὰ πᾶσαν τὴν χώρην· ἵππος δὲ ἑκάστῳ δεδιδαγμένος ἐπὶ γαστέρα κεῖσθαι ταπεινότητος εἵνεκα ἕτοιμος ἐστὶ καὶ κύων· ἐπεὰν δὲ ἀπίδῃ τὸ θηρίον ἀπὸ τοῦ δενδρέου, τοξεύσας ἐπιβὰς ἐπὶ τὸν ἵππον διώκει, καὶ ὁ κύων ἔχεται, [3] ὑπὲρ δὲ τούτων τὸ πρὸς τὴν ἠῶ ἀποκλίνοντι οἰκέουσι Σκύθαι ἄλλοι, ἀπὸ τῶν βασιληίων Σκυθέων ἀποστάντες καὶ οὕτω ἀπικόμενοι ἐς τοῦτον τὸν χῶρον. (LINK)
Heredotos’un metninde görünen Ἰύρκαι sözcüğü Tύρκαι için yanlış bir yazılış biçimi olmalıdır, çünkü Pliny ve Mela’nın ellerindeki Heredotos metni modern çevirilerde kullanılan daha sonraki metinlerden daha doğru olmuş olmalıdır.

Reconstruction of Herodotus World Map, ca. 450 BC.

🗺️ World according to Herodotus (ca. 450 BC)

Worl according to Herodotus, Strabo, Ptolemy, “the Ancients,” and wind charts of Aristotle and Vitruvius (L)


About this Item


[Maps of the world] / J.L. v. Bachr' sculpt.

Includes maps according to Herodotus, Strabo, Ptolemy, "the Ancients," and wind charts of Aristotle and Vitruvius.

Created / Published

Subject Headings
- Maps

Format Headings
Book illustrations--1850-1860.

- Illus. in: Iconographic encyclopaedia of science, literature, and art / Johann G. Heck. New York : Published by Rudolph Garrigue, 1851, vol. 1, division 3, pl. 8.

1 print : engraving.

Call Number/Physical Location
Illus. in AE27.H43, vol. 1 (Case X) [P&P]


Digital Id
cph 3c15363 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c15363

Library of Congress Control Number

Reproduction Number
LC-USZ62-115363 (b&w film copy neg.)

Rights Advisory
No known restrictions on publication.


Online Format

Description 1 print : engraving. | Includes maps according to Herodotus, Strabo, Ptolemy, "the Ancients," and wind charts of Aristotle and Vitruvius.

LCCN Permalink

Additional Metadata Formats
MODS Record
Dublin Core Record


Herodotus’ World, ca. 450 BC (LINK)

Herodotus shows Araxes east and west of the Caspian Sea, which explains the Alexander Macedonian 331 BC war story about crossing Araxes. It took another hundred years for the Greeks to learn enough about the Central Asian geography to show Cheyhun, under the name of Oxus, on the maps attributed to ca. 200 BC.

Herodotus uses the Türkic word for nomads, Iyrk, to call the “Iurcae” the nomads northeast of the Caspian, he uses a Türkic derogatory moniker “Iarymspu,” “half-eyed,” for Arimaspi, the squinted-eyed nomads northeast of Sogdiana, and locates the Türkic Ases {Alans} under the name “Issedons” in the steppes east of the Caspian, where his Chinese contemporaries also located Ases as “Wusuns/Usuns.” In between Tanais and Cuban, Herodotus uses the Türkic word for people, Budun, to call the "Budini", and also shows their tribal name, “Geloni,” from the Ogur Türkic “Gelon” — Snake. In the Northern Pontic steppes, Herodotus locates Ases, calling the land "Scythia", akin to the Assyrian "Ish-Guz" for "As-Guzes", Oguz Türkic "As-Tribe". And further west Herodotus uses the Türkic word “Agach-Eri,” “Forest People,” to name the “Agathyrs” in the more wooded area. The names Budini and Agathyrsi could be exo-ethnonymic appellations , given by the Scythians to their non Türkic-speaking neighbors, and later applied to the historically attested Türkic people. The non-distorted pronunciation of the words shows that that the Greek informers received these terms directly from the Türks. (LINK)



Wusun (from the 2nd century BCE to the 5th century CE) (W)

Migration of the Wusun

The Wusun (Chinese烏孫pinyinWūsūn) were an Indo-Aryan semi-nomadic steppe people mentioned in Chinese records from the 2nd century BCE to the 5th century CE.

The Wusun originally lived between the Qilian Mountains and Dunhuang (Gansu) near the Yuezhi. Around 176 BCE the Yuezhi were raided by the Xiongnu, who subsequently attacked the Wusun, killing their king and seizing their land. The Xiongnu adopted the surviving Wusun prince and made him one of their generals and leader of the Wusun. Around 162 BCE the Yuezhi were driven into the Ili River valley in ZhetysuDzungaria, and Tian Shan, which had formerly been inhabited by the Saka (Scythians). The Wusun then resettled in Gansu as vassals of the Xiongnu. In 133-132 BCE, the Wusun drove the Yuezhi out of the Ili Valley and settled the area.

The Wusun then became close allies of the Han dynasty and remained a powerful force in the region for several centuries. The Wusun are last mentioned by the Chinese as having settled in the Pamir Mountains in the 5th century CE due to pressure from the Rouran. They possibly became subsumed into the later Hephthalites.


Wusun is a modern pronunciation of the Chinese Characters '烏孫'. The Chinese name '烏孫' (Wūsūn) literally means  'crow, raven' + sūn 'grandson, descendant'. There are several theories about the origin of the name.

Sinologist Victor H. Mair compared Wusun with Sanskrit áśva 'horse', aśvin 'mare' and Lithuanian ašvà 'mare'. The name would thus mean 'the horse people'. Hence he put forward the hypothesis that the Wusun used a satem-like language within the Indo-European languages. However, the latter hypothesis is not supported by Edwin G. Pulleyblank. Christopher I. Beckwith’s analysis is similar to Mair's, reconstructing the Chinese term Wusun as Old Chinese *âswin, which he compares to Old Indic aśvin 'the horsemen', the name of the Rigvedic twin equestrian gods.



Issedones (W)

The Issedones (Ἰσσηδόνες) were an ancient people of Central Asia at the end of the trade route leading north-east from Scythia, described in the lost Arimaspeia of Aristeas, by Herodotus in his History (IV.16-25) and by Ptolemy in his Geography. Like the Massagetae to the south, the Issedones are described by Herodotus as similar to, yet distinct from, the Scythians.



Massagetae (W)

The Massagetae, or Massageteans, were an ancient Eastern Iranian nomadic tribal confederation, who inhabited the steppes of Central Asia, north-east of the Caspian Sea in modern Turkmenistan, western Uzbekistan, and southern Kazakhstan.

Tomyris Plunges the Head of the Dead Cyrus Into a Vessel of Blood — by Rubens.

The Massagetae are known primarily from the writings of Herodotus who described the Massagetae as living on a sizeable portion of the great plain east of the Caspian Sea. He several times refers to them as living "beyond the River Araxes", which flows through the Caucasus and into the west Caspian. Scholars have offered various explanations for this anomaly. For example, Herodotus may have confused two or more rivers, as he had limited and frequently indirect knowledge of geography.

According to Greek and Roman scholars, the Massagetae were neighboured by the Aspasioi (possibly the Aśvaka) to the north, the Scythians and the Dahae to the west, and the Issedones (possibly the Wusun) to the east. Sogdia (Khorasan) lay to the south.


Possible connections to other ancient peoples

Many scholars have suggested that the Massagetae were related to the Getae of ancient Eastern Europe. A 9th century work by Rabanus MaurusDe Universo, states: "The Massagetae are in origin from the tribe of the Scythians, and are called Massagetae, as if heavy, that is, strong Getae." In Central Asian languages such as Middle Persian and Avestan, the prefix massa means "great", "heavy", or "strong".

Some authors, such as Alexander CunninghamJames P. MalloryVictor H. Mair, and Edgar Knobloch have proposed relating the Massagetae to the Gutians of 2000 BC Mesopotamia, and/or a people known in ancient China as the "Da Yuezhi" or "Great Yuezhi" (who founded the Kushan Empire in South Asia). Mallory and Mair suggest that Da Yuezhi may at one time have been pronounced d'ad-ngiwat-tieg, connecting them to the Massagetae. These theories are not widely accepted, however.


Concerning the death of Cyrus the Great of Persia, Herodotus writes:

[1.201] When Cyrus had achieved the conquest of the Babylonians, he conceived the desire of bringing the Massagetae under his dominion. Now the Massagetae are said to be a great and warlike nation, dwelling eastward, toward the rising of the sun, beyond the river Araxes, and opposite the Issedones. By many they are regarded as a Scythian race.
[1.211] Cyrus advanced a day's journey into Massagetan territory from the Araxes... Many of the Massagetae were killed, but even more taken prisoner, including Queen Tomyris's son, who was commander of the army and whose name was Spargapises.
[1.214] Tomyris mustered all her forces and engaged Cyrus in battle. I consider this to have been the fiercest battle between non-Greeks that there has ever been.... They fought at close quarters for a long time, and neither side would give way, until eventually the Massagetae gained the upper hand. Most of the Persian army was wiped out there, and Cyrus himself died too.

Ancient Scythia. Map by Michele Angel. (L)
Ammianus Marcellinus considered the Alans to be the former Massagetae. At the close of the 4th century CE, Claudian (the court poet of Emperor Honorius and Stilicho) wrote of Alans and Massagetae in the same breath: "the Massagetes who cruelly wound their horses that they may drink their blood, the Alans who break the ice and drink the waters of Maeotis' lake" (In Rufinem).

Procopius writes in History of the Wars Book III: The Vandalic War: "the Massagetae whom they now call Huns" (XI. 37.), "there was a certain man among the Massagetae, well gifted with courage and strength of body, the leader of a few men; this man had the privilege handed down from his fathers and ancestors to be the first in all the Hunnic armies to attack the enemy" (XVIII. 54.).

Evagrius Scholasticus (Ecclesiastical History. Book 3. Ch. II.): "and in Thrace, by the inroads of the Huns, formerly known by the name of Massagetae, who crossed the Ister without opposition".

Tadeusz Sulimirski notes that the Sacae also invaded parts of Northern India. Weer Rajendra Rishi, an Indian linguist has identified linguistic affinities between Indian and Central Asian languages, which further lends credence to the possibility of historical Sacae influence in Northern India.

According to Guive Mirfendereski at the Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies (CAIS), the Massagetae are synonymous with the Sakā haumavargā of South Asian historiography.


Rouran Khaganate

Rouran Khaganate (from 4th to 6th century) (W)

The Rouran Khaganate (Chinese柔然pinyinRóurán), Ruanruan (Chinese蠕蠕pinyinRuǎnruǎn/RúrúWade–GilesJuan-juan/Ju-ju), Ruru (Chinese茹茹pinyinRúrúWade–GilesJu-ju), or Tantan  (Chinese檀檀pinyinTántán) was the name of a state of uncertain origin (Proto-MongolsTurkic, or non-Altaic), although it is commonly believed that its people were descended from the Xianbei. The Rouran are noted for being the first people to use the title of “khan” or “khagan.”

Rouran Khaganate in Central Asia.

The Rouran Khaganate lasted from the late 4th century until the middle 6th century when they were defeated by a Göktürk rebellion which subsequently led to the rise of the Turks in world history. The Rouran may have fled west after that and became the Pannonian Avars, however this is a contested theory among historians. The Göktürks chased after these "Avars" into the Byzantine Empire and referred to them as “Varconites” who were escaped slaves of the Türks. However they also claimed that these were not "true Avars", who remained in the east as subjects of the Türks, while the ones in the west were only "pseudo-Avars".

It is occasionally hypothesized that the Rouran are identical with the Pannonian Avars – also known by names such as Varchonites and "Pseudo Avars" – who invaded the territory of modern Hungary around the 6th century.

Rouran is a Classical Chinese transcription of the endonym of the confederacy. However according to Xianbei sources derived from orders given by Emperor Taiwu of Northern WeiRuanruan and Ruru means something akin to "wriggling worm" and was used in a derogatory sense.



Xianbei (W)

The Xianbei (/ʃjɛnˈb/Chinese鮮卑pinyinXiānbēi) were an ancient nomadic people that once resided in the eastern Eurasian steppes in what is today MongoliaInner Mongolia, and Northeastern China. They originated from the Donghu people who splintered into the Wuhuan and Xianbei when they were defeated by the Xiongnu at the end of the 3rd century BC. The Xianbei were largely subordinate to larger nomadic powers and the Han dynasty until they gained prominence in 87 AD by killing the Xiongnu chanyu Youliu. However unlike the Xiongnu, the Xianbei political structure lacked the organization to pose a concerted challenge to the Chinese for most of their time as a nomadic people. After suffering several defeats by the end of the Three Kingdoms period, the Xianbei migrated south and settled in close proximity to Chinese society and submitted as vassals, being granted the titles of Dukes. As the Xianbei Murong, Tuoba and Duan tribes were one of the Five Barbarians who were vassals of the Han Chinese Western Jin and Eastern Jin dynasties, they took part in the Uprising of the Five Barbarians as allies of the Han Chinese Eastern Jin against the other four barbarians, the XiongnuJieDi and Qiang. The Xianbei were at one point all defeated and conquered by the Di Former Qin empire before it fell apart at the Battle of Fei River at the hands of the Eatern Jin. The Xianbei later founded their own states and reunited northern China China as the Northern Wei. These states opposed and promoted sinicization at one point or another but trended towards the latter and had merged with the general Chinese population by the Tang dynasty.



Xiongnu (3rd century BC to 1st century AD) (W)

The Xiongnu [ɕjʊ́ŋ.nǔ] (Chinese匈奴Wade–GilesHsiung-nu) were a tribal confederation  of nomadic peoples who, according to ancient Chinese sources, inhabited the eastern Eurasian Steppe from the 3rd century BC to the late 1st century AD. Chinese sources report that Modu Chanyu, the supreme leader after 209 BC, founded the Xiongnu Empire.

After their previous rivals, the Yuezhi, migrated into Central Asia during the 2nd century BC, the Xiongnu became a dominant power on the steppes of north-east Central Asia, centered on an area known later as Mongolia. The Xiongnu were also active in areas now part of SiberiaInner MongoliaGansu and Xinjiang. Their relations with adjacent Chinese dynasties to the south east were complex, with repeated periods of conflict and intrigue, alternating with exchanges of tribute, trade, and marriage treaties (heqin).

During the Sixteen Kingdoms era, they were also known as one of the Five Barbarians who took part in an uprising against Chinese rule known as the Uprising of the Five Barbarians.

Attempts to identify the Xiongnu with later groups of the western Eurasian Steppe remain controversial. Scythians and Sarmatians were concurrently to the west. The identity of the ethnic core of Xiongnu has been a subject of varied hypotheses, because only a few words, mainly titles and personal names, were preserved in the Chinese sources. The name Xiongnu may be cognate with that of the Huns or the Huna, although this is disputed. Other linguistic links – all of them also controversial – proposed by scholars include Iranian, Mongolic, Turkic,  Uralic, YeniseianTibeto-Burman or multi-ethnic.


📹 The History of the Turks / Every Year (VİDEO)

📹 The History of the Turks / Every Year (LINK)

Yemen (Rasulids) — possible Turkic origin
Delhi (Mamluk-Tughlaq) — Turkic dynasties
Egypt (Tulunids, Ikhshidids, Bahri) — Turkic dynasties
Safavids, Afsharids, Qajars — Turkic dynasties
Malwa — possible Turkic origin
Bijapur, Bengal, Bidar, Golconda — Turkic dynasties
Bahmanis — dynasty founded by Turk
Terters (Bulgaria) — possible Cuman origin
Naimans, Khereids, Merkits — possible Turkic origin


📙 Pomponius Mela

Pomponius Mela (W)

Pomponius Mela, who wrote around AD 43, was the earliest Roman geographer. He was born in Tingentera (now Algeciras) and died c. AD 45.

His short work (De situ orbis, libri III) remained in use nearly to the year 1500. It occupies less than one hundred pages of ordinary print, and is described by the Encyclopædia Britannica (1911) as "dry in style and deficient in method, but of pure Latinity, and occasionally relieved by pleasing word-pictures." Except for the geographical parts of Pliny’s Historia naturalis (where Mela is cited as an important authority), the De situ orbis is the only formal treatise on the subject in Classical Latin.

Little is known of the author except his name and birthplace — the small town of Tingentera or Cingentera in southern Spain, on Algeciras Bay (Mela ii. 6, § 96; but the text is here corrupt). The date of his writing may be approximately fixed by his allusion (iii. 6 § 49) to a proposed British expedition of the reigning emperor, almost certainly that of Claudius in AD 43.

Pomponius Mela’s Description of the World
F.E. Romer

Book I
115. The Tanais [Don] itself, falling from the Riphaean Mountains, rushes so precipitously that it alone endures both summery heat and wintry cold in close proximity, yet it runs down always the same, unchanged and fast-moving, even when neighboring rivers, the Maeotis, the Cimmerian Bosphorus, and certain parts of the Pontus are all frozen by winter's cold. 116. The Sauromatae [Sarmatians] occupy its banks and the places that are contiguous with them. They are one nation but have as many peoples as they have names.

First, the Maeotid Gynaecocratumenoe [Grk., R uled By Women] — the kingdoms of the Amazons — occupy plains that are rich in pasture but barren and bare for other things. The Budini inhabit the city of Gelonos.

Next to them the Thyssagetae and Turcae occupy endless forests and feed themselves by hunting. 117. The next region is deserted and rough, with uninterrupted cliffs over a wide stretch; it extends all the way to the Aremphaei. These people enjoy customs that are very much based on fair treatment; they have sacred groves for homes and berries as food; and both men and women keep their heads bare. Therefore these people are regarded as consecrated, and no one from nations as savage as those here profanes these people, which results in the custom that other people flee to them for asylum. Farther on, the Riphaean Mountains rise up, and beyond them lies the shore that faces Ocean.

İÖ 43/44

(115) ipse Tanais ex Riphaeo monte deiectus adeo praeceps ruit, ut cum vicina flumina, tum Maeotis et Bosphorus tum Ponti aliqua brumali rigore durentur, solus aestus hiememque iuxta ferens idem semper et sui similis incitatusque decurrat. ripas eius Sauromatae et (116) ripis haerentia possident, una gens aliquot populi et aliquot nomina. primi Maeotidae Gynaecocratumenoe regna Amazonum, fecundos pabulo ad alia steriles nudosque campos tenent. Budini Gelonion urbem ligneam habitant. iuxta Thyssagetae Turcaeque vastas silvas occupant alunturque venando. tum continuis rupibus late aspera et deserta (117) regio ad Aremphaeos usque permittitur. his iustissimi mores, nemora pro domibus, alimenta bacae, et feminis et maribus nuda sunt capita. sacri itaque habentur, adeoque ipsos nemo de tam feris gentibus violat, ut aliis quoque ad eos confugisse pro asylo sit. ultra surgit mons Riphaeus ultraque eum iacet ora quae spectat oceanum.
Tr. by Frank E. Romer, 1998

115. The Tanais itself, falling from the Riphaean Mountains, rushes so precipitously that it alone endures both summery heat and wintry cold in close proximity, yet it runs down always the same, unchanged and fast-moving, even when neighboring rivers, the Maeotis, the Cimmerian Bosphorus, and certain parts of the Pontus are all frozen by winter's cold. 116. The Sauromatae [Sarmatians] occupy its banks and the places that are contiguous with them. They are one nation but have as many peoples as they have names. First, the Maeotid Gynaecocratumenoe [Grk., Ruled By Women] — the kingdoms of the Amazons — occupy plains that are rich in pasture but barren and bare for other things. The Budini inhabit the city of Gelonos. Next to them the Thyssagetae and Turcae occupy endless forests and feed themselves by hunting. 117. The next region is deserted and rough, with uninterrupted cliffs over a wide stretch; it extends all the way to the Aremphaei. These people enjoy customs that are very much based on fair treatment; they have sacred groves for homes and berries as food; and both men and women keep their heads bare. Therefore these people are regarded as consecrated, and no one from nations as savage as those here profanes these people, which results in the custom that other people flee to them for asylum. Farther on, the Riphaean Mountains rise up, and beyond them lies the shore that faces Ocean.


📙 Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia, Volume 1, p. 837

Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia, Volume 1, p 837


📙 The Penny Cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, Volume 26, p. 395

The Penny Cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, Volume 26, p. 395 (LINK1) (LINK2)


📙 Titan: A Monthly Magazine .., Volume 3

Titan: A Monthly Magazine .., Volume 3 (LINK)

Titan: A Monthly Magazine .., Volume 3
Turk, Toork


Turks (The History Files)

Turks (LINK)


Many claims have been made about the origins of the Turks. The question has long been bound up in cultural and nationalistic claims, especially by the Ottoman empire and its successor, modern Turkey. The Turkish Cultural Foundation would like everyone to believe that Turks have been around twice as long as seems to be the case, founding many great empires along the way. Instead the appearance of the Turks before the second millennium AD seems to have been piecemeal, almost accidental, with no Turks prior to the sixth century AD exhibiting definitive Turkish cultural or ethnic trappings. The early story of the Turks is complicated and remains highly-influenced by other ethnic groups and cultures.

Various attempts have been made to link mentions of tribes in antiquity to some form of Turkic linguistic continuity. Establishing such continuity is impossible given the fragmentary nature of such mentions. The Chinese Spring and Autumn Annals refer to a neighbouring people as Beidi. Pomponius Mela in the first century AD refers to the ‘Turcae’ in the forests to the north of the Sea of Azov, and Pliny the Elder lists the ‘Tyrcae’ amongst people of the same area, but the steppe at this time was still a stronghold of Indo-Iranian tribes which can be grouped together as Sakas and then Scythians. Some Turkish influence can be detected in the Kidarites of the fourth century AD, but descriptions of them are somewhat confusing. Claimed as being inner Asians, they may be related in part to the Xiongnu, and can best be described as Turko-Mongolians. (See map link, right, for more details about early Turks.) Claims of a 'Great Hun Empire' of Turks being formed by them are wide of the mark, but ascribing a Turko-Mongoloid-Indo-Iranian heritage to most (or all) of the early Turkic groups may be more accurate than any other form of description. Even the later Azeris display clear Indo-Iranian links.

The first fully-formed Turkic ethnic group was that of the Gök Türks (or Göktürks). Semi-nomads who dwelt largely in Mongolia, they emerged into history in the early sixth century AD from obscure tribal origins. The Chinese recorded more than one source for them during the sixth and seventh centuries but none provide entirely conclusive evidence. Even so, Chinese records are the best hope of pinning them down. They were the first nomads in Mongolia (or anywhere) to refer to themselves as Turks, with the name believed to be for a dynastic ancestor called Türük, of the Ashina tribe. In The Turks in World History, Carter Vaughn Findley points out that the Ashina name probably originates from one of the Indo-Iranian languages of Central Asia. Edward Dawson confirms this with the observation that the 'As-' or 'Ash-' verb, meaning 'to be', as seen in Asha, is also present among Germans. In this case, most uses of it were altered to 'is-', except in the word for the early Germanic gods, the Os or Aesir (see feature link, right, for more information).

Findley's observation is further supported by Peter Benjamin Golden and also by the Hungarian researcher, András Róna-Tas, who finds it highly plausible 'that we are dealing with a royal family and clan [that is] of Iranian origin, almost certainly Saka'. If that origin provided anything more than simple cultural influences then this would mean that the Ashina core tribe was almost certainly of Indo-European origin. To balance this, Zhu Xueyuan suggests that Ashina derived from the Manchu word 'Aisin' and the early Wusun (Asin or Osin), whom he considers to have been a Tungusic people. However, it is quite possible that the early Turks were a blend of all of these - Tungusic/Mongolian, Indo-Iranian Sakas, and even Tocharians.

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information by Edward Dawson, from The Origin of the Turks and the Turkish Khanate, Gao Yang (Tenth Türk Tarih Kongresi, Ankara 1986), from Türkiye halkının kültür kökenleri: Giriş, beslenme teknikleri, Burhan Oğuz (1976), from The Turks in World History, Carter Vaughn Findley (Oxford University Press 2005), from The Origins of Northern China's Ethnicities, Zhu Xueyuan (Beijing 2004), from Ethnogenesis in the tribal zone: The Shaping of the Turks, Peter Benjamin Golden (2005), from The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade, Susan Wise Bauer (2010), from An Introduction to the History of the Turkic Peoples, Peter B Golden (1992), and from External Links: Encyclopaedia Iranica, and the Turkish Cultural Foundation.)



Heavenly Qaghans: The Türks and Their Successors

Heavenly Qaghans: The Türks and Their Successors (LINK) (AMAZON)

Avar-Wei wars drove tribes westward. These and earlier migrations transformed the steppes from what had been an area of Iranian speech into one that was increasingly Turkic. Among the peoples who came to the Black Sea steppes, around 460, were Oghur Turkic tribes, part of a loose union called Tiele in Chinese, which sprawled across Eurasia. The Avar qaghan, Anagui (520-552), facing eastern Tiele unrest and internal foes, turned to the Wei for help, but they had split into rival eastern and western branches. These political crises provided the backdrop to the rise of the Türk Empire. Little is really known about the origins of the Türks. Their ruling clan bore the name Ashina, probably an eastern Iranian or Tokharian word (ashsheina or ashna) meaning “blue,” which can denote the east in the Turkic system, borrowed from China, of associating colors with compass points. According to Chinese renderings of Türk legends, the Ashina Türks descended from the mating of a she-wolf and the sole survivor of a tribe annihilated by enemies. The theme of a ruling clan born of a wolf or suckled by a wolf is widespread across Eurasia. The Chinese accounts place the Ashina in Gansu and Xinjiang, areas associated with Iranian and Tokhharian peoples. This legacy may account for important eastern Iranian elements in the early Türk union. From this region they migrated in the fifth century to the Altai Mountains, with its Turkic-speaking inhabitants, where they became subject ironsmiths of the Avars.

The ambitious ruler of the Türks, Bumin, after helping his overlord to suppress a Tiele revolt in 546, requested an Avar bride in 551. The Avars haughtily refused. The western Wei, with whom Bumin had drawn close, immediately granted Bumin a royal princess and he destroyed the Avar Empire in 552. Anagui committed suicide, and by 555 the Avars ceased to be a factor in the eastern steppes.

Bumin, whose name, like those of many early Türk rulers, is not Turkic, assumed the title of Qaghan, but soon died. His sons Keluo and Mughan and his brother Ishtemi subjugated the tribes and statelets north of China and forged an empire from Manchuria to the Black Sea. This was the first trans-Eurasian state directly linking Europe with East Asia. The eastern European-western Central Asian conquests were the work of Ishtemi, also known as the Sir Yabghu Qaghan (a title just below that of the Qaghan). Sir derives from Sanskrit S´rî (fortunate, auspicious), and Yabghu may be Iranian. These titles show the wide range of non-Turkic influences in the shaping of Türk imperial culture.

Allied with Sasanid Iran, Ishtemi crushed the Hephthalites, most probably between 557 and 563. The Türks, having taken Transoxiana (the land beyond the Oxus River), including Sogdia, burst into the Black Sea steppes, seeking their fugitive “slaves,” the Avars. By the 560s, the Byzantines report contact with a people migrating from the east who called themselves Avars, but whom some Byzantines considered “Pseudo-Avars.” Whether they were the remnants of the Asian Avars or some people who used their name remains a matter of controversy. Whatever their origins, they were soon caught up in the conflicting political and commercial interests of the Türk, Sasanid, and Byzantine empires.

Central Asia in World History, Peter B. Golden (Oxford University Press, 2011, s. 37-8).




Records of the Grand Historian

Records of the Grand Historian (W)

The population ancestral to the Turks is thought to have included the Xiongnu of Mongolia or along the upper Yenisei in Siberia (the area of the contemporary Tuvan language), known from historical sources. The Han chronicle of the Xiongnu, included in the Records of the Grand Historian of the second century BCE, traces a legendary history of them back a thousand years before the Han to a legendary ancestor, Chunwei, a supposed descendant of the Chinese rulers of the Xia dynasty (c. 2070 – c. 1600 BCE). Chunwei lived among the "Mountain Barbarians" Xianyun or Hunzhu. Xianyun and Hunzhu’s names may connect them to the Turkic people, who later were said to have been iron-workers and to have kept a national shrine in a mountain cave in Mongolia.

Tuvan language (W)

(Tuvan: тыва дыл, tıwa dıl; [tʰɯˈʋa tɯl]), also known as Tuvinian, Tyvan or Tuvin, is a Turkic language spoken in the Republic of Tuva in south-central Siberia in Russia. The language has borrowed a great number of roots from the Mongolian language, Tibetan and more recently from the Russian language. There are small diaspora groups of Tuvan people that speak distinct dialects of Tuvan in the People's Republic of China and in Mongolia

Inscription in Kyzyl using Turkic script

Region Tuva
Ethnicity Tuvans
Native speakers 280,000 (2010)
Language family
  Common Turkic
   Siberian Turkic
    South Siberian
     Sayan Turkic

Writing system Cyrillic

Apparently the Xiongnu comprised a number of tribes and geographic groups, not all of which were probably Turkic (considering the later mixed ethnicity). The Records of the Grand Historian mention the Mianshu, Hunrong and Diyuan west of Long; the Yiqu, Dali, Wiezhi and Quyan north of the Qi and Liang mountains and Jing and Qi Rivers; the Forest Barbarians and Loufan north of Jin and the Eastern Barbarians and Mountain Barbarians north of Yan. Later the treatise mentions others.

There were apparently many of the latter. At the end of the Xia, about 1569 BCE by the reckoning of the Records of the Grand Historian, the Chinese founded a city, Bin, among the Rong tribe of barbarians. In 1269 the Rong and the Di forced the relocation of Bin. About 1169 BCE the Quanyishi tribe was attacked by the Zhou Dynasty, which in 1159 forced all the barbarians into "the submissive wastes" north of the Jing and Luo Rivers. In 969 BCE "King Mu attacked the Quanrong and brought back with him four white wolves and four white deer ...." The early Turkic peoples believed that shamans could shape-shift into wolves.


Records of the Grand Historian

Records of the Grand Historian (Sima Qian) (W)

The Records of the Grand Historian, also known by its Chinese name Shiji, is a monumental history of ancient China and the world finished around 94 BC by the Han dynasty official Sima Qian after having been started by his father, Sima Tan, Grand Astrologer to the imperial court. The work covers the world as it was then known to the Chinese and a 2500-year period from the age of the legendary Yellow Emperor to the reign of Emperor Wu of Han in the author's own time.

The Records has been called a “foundational text in Chinese civilization.” After Confucius and the First Emperor of Qin, "Sima Qian was one of the creators of Imperial China, not least because by providing definitive biographies, he virtually created the two earlier figures." The Records set the model for the 24 subsequent dynastic histories of China. In contrast to Western historical works, the Records do not treat history as "a continuous, sweeping narrative", but rather break it up into smaller, overlapping units dealing with famous leaders, individuals, and major topics of significance.


  📹 Videos

📹 The History of the Turks / Every Year (VİDEO)

The History of the Turks / Every Year (LINK)



📹 The Khanates of Asia Every Year (VİDEO)

The Khanates of Asia Every Year (LINK)

The evolution of the states in Northwest Asia during the Khanate era.


📹 How Turks end up in middle east from Mongolian steppes / Kenneth W. Harl (VİDEO)

How Turks end up in middle east from Mongolian steppes (LINK)

This video is extracted from 36 Lectures course called "The Barbarian Empires of the Steppes" instructed by Professor Kenneth W Harl.

During the 11th century the Seljuk Turks who were admirers of the Persian civilization grew in number and were able to occupy the eastern province of the Abbasid Empire. By 1055, the Seljuk Empire captured Baghdad and began to make their first incursions into the edges of Anatolia.When the Seljuk Turks won the Battle of Manzikert against the Byzantine Empire in 1071, it opened the gates of Anatolia to them.


📹 The Origin of Turks — Avars, Göktürks, and Uighurs (Harl) (VİDEO)

The Origin of Turks — Avars, Göktürks, and Uighurs (Harl) (LINK)

An excellent lecture by Dr. Harl about the origins of the Turks and how they transformed the steppes.


Turkic Deities


Tengrism (W)

Tengrism, also known as Tengriism, Tenggerism, or Tengrianism, is a Central Asian religion characterized by shamanism, animism, totemism, poly-, and monotheism, and ancestor worship. It was the prevailing religion of the Turks, Mongols, Hungarians, Bulgars, Xiongnu, and, possibly, the Huns, and the religion of the several medieval states: Göktürk Khaganate, Western Turkic Khaganate, Old Great Bulgaria, Danube Bulgaria, Volga Bulgaria and Eastern Tourkia (Khazaria). In Irk Bitig, Tengri is mentioned as Türük Tängrisi (God of Turks).

Tengrism has been advocated in intellectual circles of the Turkic nations of Central Asia (including Tatarstan, Buryatia, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan) since the dissolution of the Soviet Union during the 1990s. Still practiced, it is undergoing an organized revival in Sakha, Khakassia, Tuva and other Turkic nations in Siberia. Burkhanism, a movement similar to Tengrism, is concentrated in Altay.

Khukh tengri means "blue sky" in Mongolian, Mongolians still pray to Munkh Khukh Tengri ("Eternal Blue Sky") and Mongolia is sometimes poetically called the "Land of Eternal Blue Sky" (Munkh Khukh Tengriin Oron) by its inhabitants. In modern Turkey, Tengrism is known as the Göktanrı dini ("Sky God religion"); the Turkish "Gök" (sky) and "Tanrı" (God) correspond to the Mongolian khukh (blue) and Tengri (sky), respectively. According to Hungarian archaeological research, the religion of the Hungarians until the end of the 10th century (before Christianity) was Tengrism.

Relationship with shamanism

The word "Tengrism" is a fairly new term. It is conventionally used to describe a form of Tengri-centered shamanism that prevailed on the Eurasian steppes mostly among early Turkic and Mongol Khanates. Tengrism differs from Siberian shamanism in that the polities practicing it were not small bands of hunter gatherers like the Paleosiberians but a continuous succession of pastoral, semi-sedentarized Khanates and empires from the Xiongnu Empire (founded 209 BC) till the Mongol Empire (13th century). Among Turkic peoples it was radically supplanted by Islam while in Mongolia it survives as a synthesis with Tibetan Buddhism while surviving in purer forms around Lake Khovsgol and Lake Baikal. Unlike Siberian shamanism which has no written tradition, Tengrism can be identified from Turkic and Mongolic historical texts like the Orkhon inscriptions, Secret History of the Mongols and Altan Tobchi. However, these texts are more historically oriented and are not strictly religious texts like the scriptures and sutras of sedentary civilizations which have elaborate doctrines and religious stories. On a scale of complexity Tengrism lies somewhere between the Proto-Indo-European religion (a pre-state form of pastoral shamanism on the western steppe) and its later form the Vedic religion. The eastern steppe where Tengrism developed had more centralized, hierarchical polities than the western steppe. Tengrism has been noted as more centralized, less polytheistic, less myth-intensive and more historically focused than the paganism that grew out of the western Proto-Indo-European religion. Nonetheless, the chief god Tengri (Heaven) is considered strikingly similar to the Indo-European sky god *Dyeus and the structure of the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion is closer to that of the early Turks than to the religion of any people of Near Eastern or Mediterranean antiquity.


Tengrists view their existence as sustained by the eternal blue sky (Tengri), the fertile mother-earth spirit (Eje) and a ruler regarded as the holy spirit of the sky. Heaven, earth, spirits of nature and ancestors provide for every need and protect all humans. By living an upright, respectful life, a human will keep his world in balance and perfect his personal Wind Horse, or spirit. The Huns of the northern Caucasus reportedly believed in two gods: Tangri Han (or Tengri Khan), considered identical to the Persian Aspandiat and for whom horses were sacrificed, and Kuar (whose victims are struck by lightning). Tengrism is practised in Sakha, Buryatia, Tuva and Mongolia in parallel with Tibetan Buddhism and Burkhanism.

Kyrgyz means “we are forty” in the Kyrgyz language, and Kyrgyzstan's flag has 40 uniformly-spaced rays. Tengrist Khazars aided Heraclius by reportedly sending 40,000 soldiers during a joint Byzantine-Göktürk operation against the Persians.



Tengri (W)

Tengri (Old Turkic: 𐱅𐰭𐰼𐰃‎; Bulgarian: Тангра; Modern Turkish: Tanrı; Proto-Turkic *teŋri / *taŋrɨ; Mongolian script: ᠲᠩᠷᠢ, Tngri; Modern Mongolian: Тэнгэр, Tenger), is one of the names for the primary chief deity used by the early Turkic (Xiongnu, Hunnic, Bulgar) and Mongolic (Xianbei) peoples.

Worship of Tengri is Tengrism. The core beings in Tengrism are the Heavenly-Father (Tengri/Tenger Etseg) and the Earth Mother (Eje/Gazar Eej). It involves shamanism, animism, totemism and ancestor worship.


The oldest form of the name is recorded in Chinese annals from the 4th century BC, describing the beliefs of the Xiongnu. It takes the form 撑犁/Cheng-li, which is hypothesized to be a Chinese transcription of Tängri. (The Proto-Turkic form of the word has been reconstructed as *Teŋri or *Taŋrɨ.) Alternatively, a reconstructed Altaic etymology from *T`aŋgiri ("oath" or "god") would emphasize the god's divinity rather than his domain over the sky.

The Turkic form, Tengri, is attested in the 8th century Orkhon inscriptions as the Old Turkic form 𐱅𐰭𐰼𐰃Teŋri. In modern Turkish, the derived word "Tanrı" is used as the generic word for "god", or for the Abrahamic God, and is used today by Turkish people to refer to any god. The supreme deity of the traditional religion of the Chuvash is Tură.

Other reflexes of the name in modern languages include Mongolian: Тэнгэр ("sky"), Bulgarian: Тангра, Azerbaijani: Tanrı.


Tengri was the national god of the Göktürks, described as the "god of the Turks" (Türük Tängrisi). The Göktürk khans based their power on a mandate from Tengri. These rulers were generally accepted as the sons of Tengri who represented him on Earth. They wore titles such as tengrikut, kutluġ or kutalmysh, based on the belief that they attained the kut, the mighty spirit granted to these rulers by Tengri.

Tengri was the chief deity worshipped by the ruling class of the Central Asian steppe peoples in 6th to 9th centuries (Turkic peoples, Mongols and Hungarians). It lost its importance when the Uighuric kagans proclaimed Manichaeism the state religion in the 8th century. The worship of Tengri was brought into Eastern Europe by the Huns and early Bulgars.

Tengri is considered to be the chief god who created all things. In addition to this celestial god, they also had minor divinities (Alps) that served the purposes of Tengri. As Gök Tanrı, he was the father of the sun (Koyash) and moon (Ay Tanrı) and also Umay, Erlik, and sometimes Ülgen.




Ülgen (W)

Bai-Ülgen or Ülgen (Old Turkic: Bey Ülgen; also spelled Bai-Ulgen, Bai-Ülgen, Bay-Ulgan, Bay-Ulgen, or Bay-Ülgen; Khakas: Ӱлген, Russian: Ульгень or Ульге́нь, Ottoman: اولگن) is a Turkic and Mongolian creator-deity, usually distinct from Tengri but sometimes identified with him in the same manner as Helios and Apollo. His name is from Old Turkic bay, "rich", and ülgen, “magnificent.” Ülgen is believed to be without either beginning or end.


In Turkic and Mongolian mythology, the birch tree, regarded as a cosmic axis between earth and sky, was regarded as sacred to him, as was the horse (horse-sacrifice was a part of his worship). Ülgen symbolizes goodness, welfare, abundance, plentiness of food, water, etc. Furthermore, he created earth, heaven and all living beings. In addition, he controls the atmospheric events and movements of stars. He creates land for people to live on, the heads of both humans and animals and the rainbow. He was regarded as the patron god of shamans and the source of their knowledge.

It is believed that Ülgen has been created from Tengri (Tengere Kayra Khan). He is the highest deity after Tengri in the Mongo-Turkic pantheon. Often, Ülgen is compared with Tengri and at times they are thought to be on par, or even the same. In some sayings, the name/function of Ülgen may be (partially) interchangeable with that of Tengri.

Ülgen is described as the enemy of Erlik who is the god of evil and darkness. Ülgen assumes the protectorship of humankind against him.

Bai-Ülgen lives on the sixteenth floor of the sky above the stars, sun and moon in a golden house. Mere humans may never reach him, excepting shamans or kams, who possess astral powers. Animals are used for sacrifice in worship of him, especially horses. Once in every third, sixth, ninth, or twelfth year, a shaman may sacrifice a white horse as the first step of reaching Ülgen. Then he must ride its soul, penetrate through all the layers of heaven until he reaches Ülgen. Firstly, the kam (shaman) meets Yayık who is the servant of Ülgen. This entity informs the kam whether or not the offering has been accepted. If the sacrificial rite has been successful, the shaman is able to learn from the omniscient Ülgen of impending dangers, such as bad harvests.

Children of Ülgen

Ülgen has seven sons, named Akoğlanlar (White Boys) or Kıyatlar. They are "Karakush Khan, Karshyt Khan, Pura Khan, Burcha Kan, Yashyl Khan, Er-Kanym Khan, Bakty Khan". And he has nine daughters, that named Akkızlar and Kıyanlar. But no one knows their names. His daughters are source of inspiration for shamans.


They are the sons of Ülgen.

  1. Karshyt Han or Karşıt: The god of purity.
  2. Pura Han or Bura: The god of horses.
  3. Burcha Han or Burça Kan: The god of prosperity.
  4. Yashyl Han or Yaşıl Kan: The god of nature.
  5. Karakush Han or Karakuş: The god of birds.
  6. Kanym Han or Er Kanım: The god of confidence.
  7. Bakhty Han or Baktı Kan: The god of blessing.



Menges, Karl H.:
The Turkic languages and peoples; an introduction to Turkic studies / Karl II. Menges , — 2., rev , ed , — Wiesbaden Harrassowitz, 1994


  • Türkik diller Baltık’tan Güney Sibirya’ya geniş bir alana yayılır.
  • En erken tarihsel veriler olan Çin kaynaklarına göre, Türkler Orta Asya step bölgesinin kuzey doğusunda Kuzey Moğolistan’da yaşıyordu. (Hunlar da aynı geniş bölgede göçebe Altay halkları arasında bulunuyordu.)
  • Hunlar haklarında en erken tarihsel kayıtların bulunduğu Altay grubudur. Bu kayıtlar geriye İÖ 3’üncü yüzyıla gider.

Menges, Karl H.:

It would seem that their consolidation, towards the end of the 3rd century, on the vast northern steppes of present-day Mongolia, as well as their warlike movements, caused unrest in China, and the downfall of the C‘in Dynasty—which had started the gigantic construction work of the Great Wall against the northern invaders—followed by a regrouping of Chinese forces and political strength under the Former Han Dynasty (208 BC - 9 AD). The struggle with the Huns characterizes the entire foreign policy of the Former Han Dynasty.

At the the end of the Later Han Dynasty, 216 AD, the southern Hunnic state was dissolved; this time the Hunnic power was broken forever. By the time Hunnic power had begun gradually to decline, towards the end of the Older Han Dynasty, in the first century BC, certain Hunnic tribal groups had already moved westward as far as the plains of present-day southern Qazaqistan. There, in the lowlands of Eurasia, with their boundless pastures, they came into close, if not immediate, contact with the ruling populations of that vast area which extends as far west as the Carpathian Mountains. These were the Skythai, who were in retreat from the west, being themselves of European, possibly Northeast-Caucasian, origin, close to the present-day NorthwestCaucasians of the Cerkes-Qabarda complex, with a strong admixture and superstratum of Iranian origin. And now those same Iranians who had caused the eastward migration of the Skythai were here their immediate western neighbors. These Iranians are historically known as the Sarmatai (and Sauromatai) in present-day Ukraine, and beside the Massagetai and Thyssagetai the strong nomadic complex of the Alanoi and Aorsoi. It is upon these groups, especially the latter two, that Hunnie westward pressure was soon to be exerted

The family of Turkic languages (LINK).


  Map of Migrations in Antiquity
Map of Migrations in Antiquity (LINK)



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