Khazarian Names

Last Updated: September 29, 2006

The Khazars generally gave themselves Turkic and Hebrew given-names, but some of them used Slavic given-names, and some of the Turkic names may be originally of Persian or another origin. Some Khazars had a Turkic name as well as a Hebrew name. Below are most of the known names of Khazars from different periods in their history. Some names have more than one known spelling. The list does not include the names of Islamicized Khazars with Muslim names like Muhammad who served in Arab countries nor those (like Emperor Leo IV "the Khazar") who were children and grandchildren of mixed Byzantine-Khazar marriages and resided in the Byzantine Empire, since such names are unrepresentative of typical names a Khazar would have had while residing in Khazaria or Kievan Rus. Another omitted name is Leon II, the ruler of Abkhazia, who had partial Khazar ancestry. Also excluded are Moses (a scribal error in a version of the King Joseph Reply). I deleted Solomon from the list of Hebrew names because scholars proved that the Messianic leader named Menahem ben Solomon (apparently the pseudonym of David al-Roy), who was mentioned in the Messianic Letter of Solomon ben Dugi that was found in the Cairo Genizah, actually came from Kurdistan and not Khazaria; Dunlop p. 254-255 and his predecessors had mistranslated the text.


Male Khazarian names

Turkic names:
Alp (means "hero")1
Baghatur (means "brave warrior")2
Balgitzi, Belgichi, Bälgichi, Balghichi3
Barjik4
Bashtu, Bashtwa15
Bihor, Biheros, Bihar, Virhor5
Bugha (means "bull")62
Bulan (means "elk")6
Bulchan, Buljan, Bluchan7
Buzer, Busir, Bazir8
Chat9
Chat`n10
Chorpan (means "star")11
Itakh (means "puppy")12
Kayghalagh, Kayqalagh64
Khatir, Khadir, Qadir13
Khuterkin, Quterkin (means "chief with heavenly good fortune")66
Kisa14
Kundajiq, Kundaj16
Mänär17
Mänäs18
Ötemish65
Papatzys61
Samsam, Simsam21
Tarkhan (normally a title; means "general" or "commander")22
Tarmach23
Tuzniq63
Yilig, Ilig25
Ziebil (probably equal to the title Yabghu, Jebghu)26

Hebrew names:
Aharon, Aaron27
Amram28
Avraham, Abraham29
Benyamin30
David31
Hanukkah32
Hezekiah33
Menakhem, Menahem34
Menashe35
Nisi, Nissi36
Obadiah, Ovadiah37
Pesakh, Pesah38
Reuven, Reuben39
Sabriel40
Shmuel41
Simson42
Sinai43
Yaakov45
Yehudah46
Yitzhak47
Yosef48
Zebulun, Zavulon49
Zechariah, Zachariah, Zecharias50

Slavic names:
Gostyata, Gostata51
Ivan52

Other names:
George, Georgios, Georgius53
Kupin, Kufin54
Morut, Marót19
Menumorut, Menmarót, Mënü Marót20
Zambri, Zambrios55
Zoilus, Zoilos56
Kibar44


Female Khazarian names

Turkic names:
Chichek, Chichäk (means "flower")57
Khatun (normally a title; means "lady" or "queen")58
Parsbit, Barsbek (also a male name)59

Hebrew names:
Serakh, Serah60


Footnotes: Primary and Secondary Sources

1. Lewond, cited in Golden 1980 p. 150-151.
2. Kitab al-Futuh by Ibn Atham al-Kufi, cited in Golden 1980 p. 155-156.
3. Theophanes, cited in Golden 1980 p. 165-167 and Mango and Scott p. 520-521.
4. Tarikh-i Tabari by Balami, cited in Golden 1980 p. 157 and Dunlop p. 63. The name also appears - in various garbled forms including Barsbik, Barsnik, and Barstik - in Kitab al-Futuh by Ibn Atham al-Kufi, as Golden 1980 explains on p. 158-160. The Derbend-Nameh gave the name as Pashenk, cited in Golden 1980 p. 158.
5. Armenian version of the Life of Saint Stephen of Sugdaia, cited in Gero p. 22.
6. King Joseph's Reply, cited in Golden 1980 p. 169-171. Trans Korobkin.
7. Georgian Chronicle, cited in Golden 1980 p. 171-172; Tarikh al-Bab, cited in Vladimir Minorsky's History of Sharvan and Darband p. 17.
8. Anonymous Byzantine Chronicle, cited in Dunlop p. 171 and Golden 1980 p. 182-183.
9. History of the Caucasian Albanians by Movses Dasxuranci, cited in Golden 1980 p. 173-174.
10. History of the Caucasian Albanians by Movses Dasxuranci, cited in Golden 1980 p. 174.
11. History of the Caucasian Albanians by Movses Dasxuranci, cited in Golden 1980 p. 176-177.
12. Tabari, Ibn al-Athir, and Ibn Khallikan, cited in Marcel Erdal's article "Ein umbemerkter chasarischer Eigenname" in Türk Dilleri Araştırmaları 1 (1991), pp. 31-36. Also to be discussed in a forthcoming study by Marcel Erdal.
13. Lewond, cited in Golden 1980 p. 197-198.
14. Tarikh al-Bab, cited in Vladimir Minorsky's History of Sharvan and Darband, p. 42.
15. Risalah by Ibn Fadlan, cited in Brook p. 231
16. Diwan by Buhturi, cited in Dunlop p. 61.
17. Kievan Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 15. The Turkic nature of this name and the Khazar ethnicity of its bearer are not completely proven, but both are likely.
18. Kievan Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 15. The Turkic nature of this name and the Khazar ethnicity of its bearer are not completely proven, but both are likely.
19. Anonymus, cited in Douglas Dunlop's article "The Khazars" in The Dark Ages: Jews in Christian Europe, 711-1096 (1966), p. 348.
20. Anonymus, cited in Douglas Dunlop's article "The Khazars" in The Dark Ages: Jews in Christian Europe, 711-1096 (1966), p. 348.
21. Cited in Vladimir Minorsky's History of Sharvan and Darband, p. 81. The name was mentioned in the Akhtï Chronicle from the north Caucasus, and later in Gulistan-i Iram, but it may not be a genuine Khazarian name, according to Peter Golden.
22. For discussion see Golden 1980 p. 210-213 and elsewhere.
23. Lewond, cited in Golden 1980 p. 213-214.
25. For discussion, including citations from Yaqut, see Golden 1980 p. 184-185. Ilig was both a personal name and a title among the Khazars and other Turks.
26. Theophanes, cited in Golden 1980 p. 218-219 and Mango and Scott p. 447; Scylitzes-Cedrenus, cited in Golden 1980 p. 218-219. However, Ziebil was not necessarily an ethnic Khazar, even while serving as their ruler.
27. King Joseph's Reply, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 22; Schechter Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 115; Sefer ha-Ittim by Yehudah ben Barzillai al-Barsaloni, cited in Dunlop p. 157.
28. Letter of Hasdai ibn Shaprut, cited in the Korobkin edition of The Kuzari p. 347.
29. Kievan Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 15.
30. King Joseph's Reply, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 22; Schechter Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 115.
31. Mandgelis Document, cited in Brook p. 41 and Dunlop p. 251. The authenticity of the Mandgelis Document has been in doubt.
32. Kievan Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 13, 15; King Joseph's Reply, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 22.
33. King Joseph's Reply, cited in the Korobkin edition of The Kuzari p. 355.
34. King Joseph's Reply, cited in the Korobkin edition of The Kuzari p. 355.
35. King Joseph's Reply, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 22.
36. King Joseph's Reply, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 22.
37. King Joseph's Reply, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 22.
38. Schechter Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 117, 119.
39. Kievan Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 15.
40. Schechter Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 113.
41. Kievan Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 15.
42. Kievan Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 15.
43. Kievan Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 15.
44. Kievan Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 15.
45. Kievan Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 13.
46. Kievan Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 15.
47. Kievan Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 15; King Joseph's Reply, cited in the Korobkin edition of The Kuzari p. 355.
48. Letter of Hasdai ibn Shaprut, cited in the Korobkin edition of The Kuzari p. 345; King Joseph's Reply, cited in the Korobkin edition of The Kuzari p. 350-357; Schechter Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 115; Kievan Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 15; Sefer ha-Ittim by Yehudah ben Barzillai al-Barsaloni, cited in Dunlop p. 157; Sefer ha-Qabbalah by Abraham ibn Daud, cited in Brook p. 141.
49. King Joseph's Reply, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 22.
50. Russian Chronicle, cited in Brook p. 222; Life of Constantine, cited in Dunlop p. 195.
51. Kievan Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 15 and Avraham M. Torpusman's article "Slavic Names in a Kiev Manuscript from the First Half of the 10th Century" in These Are the Names: Studies in Jewish Onomastics (1999), p. 171-175. Torpusman thinks that the earliest Kievan Jews were Israelites who simply adopted local Slavic and Turkic names. His opinion is not shared by some other scholars who have explored the Kievan Letter.
52. Russian Chronicle, cited in Dunlop p. 253.
53. Cedrenus, cited in Dunlop p. 251-252; Life of Saint Stephen of Sugdaia, cited in Dunlop p. 252; archaeological evidence (seals on which the name was inscribed), cited in Thomas S. Noonan's article "The Khazar-Byzantine World of the Crimea in the Early Middle Ages: The Religious Dimension" in Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi 10 (1998-1999), p. 213-214.
54. Kievan Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 15.
55. Life of Methodius, cited in Brook p. 124.
56. Theophanes, cited in Mango and Scott p. 527 and Brook p. 169.
57. De ceremoniis aulae byzantinae libri by Constantine Porphyrogenitus, cited in Golden 1980 p. 175-176.
58. Lewond, cited in Golden 1980 p. 196-197; Ibn Atham al-Kufi, cited in Golden p. 196-197.
59. Lewond, cited in Golden 1980 p. 159, 205-206.
60. Schechter Letter, cited in Golb and Pritsak p. 109.
61. Theophanes, cited in Golden 1980 pp. 204-205 and Mango and Scott pp. 520-521.
62. Georgian Chronicle, cited in Golden 2004 p. 281.
63. Diwan by Abu Firas al-Hamdani, cited in Golden 2004 p. 284.
64. as-Suli, cited in Golden 2004 p. 304.
65. al-Masudi, cited in Golden 2004 p. 302.
66. al-Masudi, cited in Golden 2004 p. 302.


Credits

The above list was researched by Christian Settipani and Kevin Alan Brook.


References

Brook, Kevin A. The Jews of Khazaria, 2006.
Dunlop, Douglas M. The History of the Jewish Khazars, 1954.
Dunlop, Douglas M. "The Khazars." In The Dark Ages: Jews in Christian Europe, 711-1096 (ed. Cecil Roth and I. H. Levine) on pp. 325-356, 1966.
Gero, Stephen. Byzantine Iconoclasm During the Reign of Constantine V, with Particular Attention to the Oriental Sources, 1977.
Golb, Norman and Pritsak, Omeljan. Khazarian Hebrew Documents of the Tenth Century, 1982.
Golden, Peter B. Khazar Studies, 1980.
Golden, Peter B. "Khazar Turkic Ghulâms in Caliphal Service." Journal Asiatique 292:1-2 (2004): 279-309.
Korobkin, N. Daniel. The Kuzari: In Defense of the Despised Faith, 1998.
Mango, Cyril and Scott, Roger, translators. The Chronicle of Theophanes Confessor: Byzantine and Near Eastern History AD 284-813, 1997.
Marquart, Joseph. Osteuropäische und ostasiatische Streifzüge, 1903.
Minorsky, Vladimir F. A History of Sharvan and Darband in the Tenth through Eleventh Centuries, 1958.


  • Medieval Quotes about Khazar Judaism
  • An Introduction to the History of Khazaria
  • The Khazar Fortress of Sarkel
  • Khazaria Image Gallery
  • Bibliography of Khazar Studies, 1901-Present
  • Medieval Naming Guides: Jewish
  • Yiddish Personal Names of Hebrew or Aramaic Derivation
  • YIVO Encyclopedia: Names and Naming (by Alexander Beider)
  • Some parallels between Khazar Hebrew names and ancestral names in contemporary Jewish communities

  • Khazaria.com Homepage

    Contact me: