A Resource for Turkic and Jewish History in Russia and Ukraine
Last Updated: January 1, 2023
about The Jews of Khazaria - the
best general-interest book about the Khazars in English
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The sequel is The Maternal Genetic Lineages of Ashkenazic Jews (October 2022)
A new candidate for Atil's location has emerged! It's Semibugry, a large Khazar-era city that was discovered
in 2019 by researchers from Astrakhan, including Damir Solovyov.
They continued to dig in the summers of 2020 and 2021.
I added what we know so far about Semibugry's remains to my Atil page.
Genetics of the Medieval Khazars is our new page summarizing the
results obtained so far from scientific teams around the world that
have worked with genuine Khazar DNA and Saltovian DNA.
The latest study was led by Tatiana Tatarinova of the University of La Verne
and included Y-DNA, mtDNA, and autosomal DNA.
Tatarinova's team concluded that the Khazars' DNA doesn't match
the Ashkenazic Jews' DNA. They also confirmed that the Khazars included
members with a combination of Caucasoid and Mongoloid origins. Both of
these findings match statements in the 3rd edition of The Jews of Khazaria,
which was written two years earlier.
All but one of the bonafide Khazars studied show significant
Mongoloid ancestry from the original Turkic homeland in southern Siberia
and Central Asia.
"O nakhodke sosuda s graffiti v Mariupole" by Eduard Ye. Kravchenko and V. K. Kul'baka was published in Russian (with an English summary) in the journal Arkheologicheskii al'manakh No. 21 (2010) on pages 386-395.
This article describes Khazar-era artifacts found in the city of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine.
They include two Arabic dirhams that were used as pendants, mirror fragments, and a pot (shown on the bottom of page 389) that bears two drawn symbols: a Jewish menorah and a plus sign that's interpreted as a Christian cross. The authors believe the potter was neither a Jew nor a Christian but was a pagan who was familiar with these other religions that were practiced in Khazaria at the time. Was the plus sign really not a tamga? Some other authors disagree with the hypothesis that that plus sign was Christian.
In his article "Iudaizm, khristianstvo, islam v khazarskom kaganate po arkheologicheskim dannym (kratkiy obzor)" ("Judaism, Christianity, Islam
on archaeological data in Khazaria") in volume 8 (2018) of the journal
Prinosi kum bulgarskata arkheologiya on pages 139-145, Valery S. Flyorov
agrees that among artifacts currently unearthed it depicts a unique image
of a Jewish Khazarian menorah (with 7 candles above a rhombus) "S bol'shoy
doley veroyatnosti" (with a high degree of probability) (page 140).
Having said that, Flyorov regards it as Jewishly inappropriate to find a
menorah in a kitchen and thus believes that the pot was made by a
"neophyte" (page 141). He also points out that the pot was found in a
grave together with other artifacts, including a mirror, a copper chain,
and two dirham coins originating from 8th-century Baghdad, and burials
with objects typify paganism rather than standard Judaism (page 140). The
rhombus within the menorah is also unusual and "raises questions" (pages 139).
Flyorov disagrees with the idea that the pot's "small clumsily incised
oblique cross with equal bars" was inspired by Christianity (page 139).
Medieval Kingdom of Khazaria, 652-969
Over a thousand years ago, the far east of Europe was ruled by Jewish
kings who presided over numerous tribes, including their own tribe: the
Turkic Khazars. After their conversion, the Khazar people used Jewish
personal names, spoke and wrote in Hebrew,
were circumcised, had synagogues and rabbis, studied the Torah and Talmud,
and observed Hanukkah, Pesach, and the Sabbath.
The Khazars were an advanced
civilization with one of the most tolerant societies of the medieval
period. It hosted merchants from all over Asia and Europe. On these
pages it is hoped that you may learn more about this fascinating culture.
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORY OF KHAZARIA
Essays summarizing the history of the Khazars, their principal
cities, their culture, and their conversion to Judaism in the
Introduction to the History of Khazaria
- Current Issues
in Khazar Studies
Khazares: un experimento europeo de construcción de un estado
Judío - in Spanish
des Khazars: la nation juive de Russie et d'Ukraine - in French
- Znakomstvo s
Istoriey Xazarii - in Russian
Türkleri tarihine giriş - in Turkish
ILLUSTRATIONS AND PHOTOGRAPHS OF KHAZAR ARTIFACTS
The first gallery includes images of Turkic runes, Turkic tribe symbols,
a Khazar metal disc with an engraving of a shamanistic 6-pointed star,
Khazar-Saltovo amulets, depictions of an epic motif, Khazarian battle
and hunting scenes, Khazar silver belts, a pot with images of
a menorah and a cross, and a map of Khazaria.
The second link presents the display on 8th-9th century Khazar
objects (including arms and armor) from the northwestern Caucasus
from the March-September 2003 exhibit "Horse and Rider" at the
State Historical Museum in Moscow.
- Horse and Rider:
THE KHAZAR CAPITAL CITY OF ATIL
Atil was the third capital city of Khazaria until it was conquered in 969.
Archaeologists have located the remains of Atil.
- The Khazar Capital City
THE KHAZAR FORTRESS OF SARKEL
Sarkel's fortress was one of Khazaria's most important, serving both
as a defensive structure and a trading caravan stopover. Includes
images of the layout of the fortress, a bronze warrior figurine,
pottery, jewelry, bricks, and other objects.
- The Khazar Fortress
AN EXPLORATION OF KHAZARIAN SHAMANISM
The original religion of the Khazars was Tengri Shamanism.
- An Exploration
of Khazarian Shamanism
MEDIEVAL QUOTES ABOUT KHAZAR JUDAISM
Judaism was practiced widely among Khazars, as these authentic
quotes from medieval chroniclers demonstrate.
Quotes About Khazar Judaism
DESCENDANTS OF THE KHAZARS IN EUROPE
What happened to the Khazars after the fall of their kingdom?
This remains one of the most controversial questions in Khazar
studies. Some new answers emerged from new discoveries.
The first essay is outdated now but summarizes evidence and
opinions surrounding the issue.
The second essay
explains how we know that Eastern European Jews descend from
non-Khazar Jews. The third page gathers available evidence on
genetics and shows that Ashkenazic Jews have substantial roots in the
as well as some ancestry from Italy,
Southern China, North Africa, and the Slavic lands.
The fourth page queries whether Jews who live in the
Caucasus today descend from Khazar converts.
- Are Russian
Jews Descended from the Khazars?
- Are Russian
Jews Descended from the German and Bohemian Jews?
Genetics: Abstracts and Summaries
- Are Mountain
Jews Descended from the Khazars?
- Contested Origins of Eastern European Jewry: Clues from History, Linguistics, and Onomastics by Alexander Beider in the Summer 2017 issue of Avotaynu includes discussions of theories of Khazarian and Slavic contributions to Ashkenazic populations.
A list of personal names that the Khazars used in their own country,
including Turkic, Hebrew, and Slavic names.
EXCAVATION REPORTS FROM CHASTIYE KURGANY AND GOLDEN HILLS
Excavation reports with photographs of Khazarian graves and objects.
Burial Mounds at Chastiye Kurgany
Fortress of Golden Hills (Zolotiye Gorki)
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF KHAZAR STUDIES
The largest database of references of books and articles about
Khazarian history, including works in English, French, German, Hebrew,
Hungarian, Russian, Swedish, and other languages.
- Bibliography of
Khazar Studies (1901-Present)
A guide to conventionally-published novels, short stories, and
poems about Khazaria.
Literature about the Khazars
THE KUZARI AND ITS AUTHOR
Yehudah ha-Levi was one of the greatest Spanish Jewish poets. He
was born circa 1080 in Toledo, Spain, while it was under Islamic rule.
He was a prolific writer of both Arabic and Hebrew poetry.
From 1120 to 1140, ha-Levi wrote the famous 5-chapter book known as
The Kuzari, which bases its storyline upon the Khazars' conversion to
- The Kuzari's
References to the Khazar Conversion to Judaism
Poetry and Prose of Yehudah ha-Levi
RUSSIAN-LANGUAGE HISTORIES OF KHAZARIA
This is a wonderfully illustrated guide to the history of
the Khazars, compiled by staff at Rostov State University. The only
unfortunate thing in the site is that Khazar Judaism is wrongly accused
of causing strife and a civil war.
THE KHAZAR CORRESPONDENCE
The Jews of Spain were introduced to facts about the Khazar kingdom
largely through the efforts of Hasdai ibn Shaprut, vizier and
physician to the Spanish caliphs, who wrote a letter to King Joseph of
from the Letters of Hasdai ibn Shaprut and King Joseph
THE GENETICS OF THE PEOPLES OF KHAZARIA
Tatiana Tatarinova, Tatiana Faleeva, Gennady Afanasiev, and their
colleagues have studied the DNA of the Khazars and their subjects
and published their results. Take a look at our summary.
Genetics of the Medieval Khazars
HISTORY OF THE PROTO-BULGARIANS
This book, translated from Bulgarian into English, chronicles the
history and archaeology of the Khazars, Bulgars, North Caucasian
Huns, and Alans. There are sections discussing the Khazar cities
Sarkel and Balanjar. Includes maps, photographs, footnotes, quotes
from historical sources.
of the Proto-Bulgarians North and West of the Black Sea
OTHER ESSAYS ABOUT THE KHAZARS
Selected essays about Khazar history in English and Russian.
- Khazars, by
Roman K. Kovalev (from Encyclopedia of Russian History)
- Khazaria, by
Peter B. Golden (from The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern
- Khazars, by
Dan Shapira (from Encyclopaedia Iranica Online)
- So, Who
Were the Khazars? by Dan Shapira (Tablet, January 29, 2021)
Story of the Medieval European Jewish State – The Khazar Khaganate, by
David Matsievich (History is Now Magazine, July 28, 2021)
(586-1083 AD), by Dennis Leventhal
- The Khazars, by
Peter Wolfe and Jeff Zolitor
- The Khazars, by
Khazar Kingdom: A Jewish Empire in the Middle Ages, by Rivka
Khaganate, by Tristan Dugdale-Pointon (from Military History
Encyclopedia on the Web)
Most Prosperous Ancient Nation You've Never Heard Of, by Lawrence W. Reed (Foundation for
Economic Education, July 18, 2020)
- Khazari: Il
popolo dimenticato che difese l'Europa, by Lawrence M.F. Sudbury
erste Judenstaat Europas
kostyum VII-X vv., by Aleksey (Kutluk) Tselikovskiy -
about Khazarian and North Caucasian costumes
xazary", with Svetlana Pletnyova and Vladimir Petrukhin
- Khazary, by Svetlana
- Khazary, by "Oleg Ivik" (the collective pseudonym of Olga Kolobova and Valeriy Ivanov) and Vladimir Klyutchnikov
Xazarskii kaganat. Prinyatie iudaizma. Rastsvet i gibel' Xazarii."
(Chapter 2) and "Xazary i
slavyane. Evrey i Kievskaya Rus'. Nashestvie mongolov." (Chapter
3) in Ocherki
vremen i sobytii, by Feliks S. Kandel'
tsarstvo v drevnyaya Rus', by Grigorii Vinogradov
Kahanat, by O. V. Komar (from Entsyklopediya istoriyi Ukrayiny)
- Khazariya, by Menashe Goldelman in
World ORT's Elektronnaya Yevreyskaya Entsiklopediya, originally in volume 9 of Kratkaya Yevreyskaya Entsiklopediya in 1999
Istorii Yevreyskikh Obshchin Severnogo Kavkaza, by E. A. Rabaev
materialy k probleme izucheniya slavyano-xazarskix otnosheniy (po
pamyatnikam Severskogo Dontsa), by V. V. Koloda - about apparent
coexistence and synchretism between certain groups of Khazars and Slavs
v Verxnem Saltove v 1996 godu, by V. V. Koloda - discusses
Khazarian/Saltovo burials, one of which contained a well-conserved
punkt (gorod) Khazarii, by A. V. Kryganov - discusses the more
than 30 Khazarian cities, some of which (particularly Atil) have not yet
i voennoe delo Khazarskogo kaganata, by A. V. Komar and Oleg Sukhobokov
khazary v Severnom Prichernomorye (Postanovka problemy), by A. V.
Xazarskiy kaganat - includes Mikhael Gorelik's illustration of
Khazar kagan's palace in Atil
i Bizantiya, by Igor Godovich Semyonov
- 600 Lyet Vmeste i
50 Lyet Lzhi, by Semyon Charny, in Lekhaim, March
- V Storonu
Khazarii, by Denis Sobolev, in Zhurnal "22" No. 103, pp.
114 ff. - brief history of Khazars
v Khazariyu, by Denis Sobolev, in Zhurnal "22" No. 108, pp.
162 ff. - about controversy of descendants of Khazars and origins of
imenovaniya v drevnerusskom tezauruse problemi interpretatsii, by Dmitrii
founding family of Kyivan-Rus': Sviatoslav the Conqueror, Part I, by
"The Khazars originated from the distant East... In the seventh and eighth centuries, this new empire halted Arab expansionism,
established contact with Byzantium, and became a decisive force between the Caspian Sea and the River Don up to the middle
of the tenth century. Land cultivation, animal husbandry and handicrafts flourished in the empire. Merchants traded not only
with Byzantium, but also with the Arab-Persian world and the distant East. The kagans did not prohibit the activities of Christian
and Moslem missionaries. Both religions maintained places or worship and schools on Khazar land. Out of political considerations,
however, the kagans and their retinues embraced a third great monotheist religion, Judaism."
- The Magyars: The Birth of a European Nation
by György Balázs, page 8.
"The khaganate of the Khazars was of the upmost strategic importance for the
Byzantines for several reasons. First of all, it controlled the routes to the
southern Caucasus, thus playing a central role in the geopolitics of the area.
... Secondly, the Byzantine possessions in Crimea... were bordered by the
Khazars, who represented a major piece in the puzzle of nations who competed
for domination of the region. ... Finally, the Khazar Empire lay at a crossing
of trading routes linking the Russian steppes with Central Asia..."
- The Emperor Theophilos and the East, 829-842
by Juan Signes Codoñer, "Section V: The Khazar Flank", page 335.
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