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Books about Khazars and the Khazar Kaganate for Sale

Last Updated: September 9, 2010


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The Jews of
Khazaria cover 1. The Jews of Khazaria, 1st and 2nd editions
by Kevin Alan Brook
The Jews of Khazaria recounts the eventful history of the Kingdom of Khazaria, which was located in Eastern Europe and flourished as an independent state from about the year 650 to the year 1016. The Khazars held back the Arabs from invading Europe and Byzantium (similar to the role of the Franks in the West); hosted traders from all over Europe and Asia; influenced the language and government of early Rus; and impacted many other aspects of the medieval world. The Khazar kingdom was the only nation in its region with a permanent standing army and a supreme court consisting of representatives of multiple religions. In the 9th century, the Khazarian royalty and nobility, as well as a significant portion of the Khazarian population, embraced the Jewish religion.

The Kuzari cover 2. The Kuzari: In Defense of the Despised Faith, 1st and 2nd editions
by Yehuda HaLevi
The Kuzari is one of the most revered Jewish philosophical works of all time. Written by Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi over a period of 20 years and based upon the theme of the Khazar king's conversion to Judaism, it has enthralled generations of Jews and non-Jews alike with its clear-cut presentation on Judaism and its polemics against Greek philosophy, Christianity, Islam and Karaism. The Korobkin edition is the first translation into English since 1905. Some of the topics discussed include the fundamentals of Judaism, tradition versus logic, prophetic messages, the afterlife, the Hebrew language, the benefits of communal prayer, the Sabbath and God's various names. This edition also features a brief history of the Khazar empire; a biographical sketch of HaLevi; and appendices explaining HaLevi's approach to Greek philosophy, living in Israel, and Hebrew grammar. You will also find the historical letters exchanged between Khazar King Joseph and Hasdai ibn Shaprut.

3. The Origins of the Old Rus' Weights and Monetary Systems: Two Studies in Western Eurasian Metrology and Numismatics in the Seventh to Eleventh Centuries
by Omeljan Pritsak
A great resource for learning about Khazarian coinage.

4. Oxford Slavonic Papers, New Series, Volume 31
Includes the excellent essay "The Khazars' Formal Adoption of Judaism and Byzantium's Northern Policy" by Jonathan Shepard.

Other titles

The World of the Khazars: New Perspectives - Selected Papers from the Jerusalem 1999 International Khazar Colloquium, edited by Peter B. Golden, Haggai Ben-Shammai, and András Roná-Tas
18 papers from the 1999 international colloquium on the Khazars. Topics include Khazars' economy, language, international relations, and more.

Turks and Khazars: Origins, Institutions, and Interactions in Pre-Mongol Eurasia, by Peter B. Golden
A collection of Golden's articles about the Turk Empire (mid-6th to mid-8th centuries), the stateless polities that appeared after its collapse, and the Khazar Kaganate (mid-7th to late-9th centuries), its imperial successor state in the western Eurasian steppes. The following articles focus on Khazar studies: "Some Notes on the Comitatus in Medieval Eurasia with Special Reference to the Khazars", "Khazar Turkic Ghulams in Caliphal Service", "Khazar Turkic Ghulams in Caliphal Service: Onomastic Notes", "The Khazar Sacral Kingship - Revisited", and "The Conversion of the Khazars to Judaism".

The Emergence of Rus 750-1200, by Jonathan Shepard and Simon Franklin
This book contains basic information about Khazarian history and archaeology in the midst of a text concerning the development of Kievan Rus. The bibliography is excellent.
        "...the authors choose to examine the settlements of the Rus (also known as Varangians) in their new homeland and their seemingly insatiable quest for silver down the Volga trade route...." - Speculum (January 1998)

The Islamic World, Russia and the Vikings, 750-900: The Numismatic Evidence, by Thomas S. Noonan
Particularly important is the article "Why Dirhams First Reached Russia: The Role of Arab-Khazar Relations in the Development of the Earliest Islamic Trade with Eastern Europe".
        "Six articles originally published 1981-86 explore the origin and development of commerce by Viking and Rus merchants through European Russia to the markets of Khazaria and the `Abbasid caliphate by analyzing the silver coins known as dirhams that the northerners received in exchange for fur and slaves. The evidence of coins is important to augment the single contemporary Islamic account of the trade, and suggests that the dirhams were treasured more as silver than as coinage. Two essays discuss why Vikings first came to Russia and why they had dirhams, three focus on particular hoards of coins, and one looks at the output of the early `Abbasid mint." - Book News, Inc.
        "...of the greatest importance for those interested in coin circulation in the Middle East as well as in Russia and the Viking world.... our knowledge of the extensive trade between the Abbasid caliphate, the Vikings, and the Khazars in medieval Rus in the eighth and ninth centuries is derived almost exclusively from the numismatic evidence." - Religious Studies Review

The New Cambridge Medieval History - Volume 3: c.900-c.1024, edited by Timothy Reuter
The period of the 10th and early 11th centuries was crucial in the formation of Europe, much of whose political geography and larger-scale divisions began to take shape at this time. It was also an era of great fragmentation, and hence of differences which have been magnified by modern national historiographical traditions. This volume reflects these varying traditions, and provides an authoritative survey in its own terms. The volume is divided into three sections. The first covers general themes such as the economy, government, and religious, cultural, and intellectual life. The second is devoted to the kingdoms and principalities which had emerged within the area of the former Carolingian empire as well as the 'honorary Carolingian' region of England. The final section deals with the emergent principalities of eastern Europe and the new and established empires, states and statelets of the Mediterranean world.
        "The contributor with one of the more obvious axes to grind is Thomas Noonan, whose chapter on 'European Russia, c.500-c.1050' (pp. 487-513) is a must-read. His enormously learned contribution, which draws on numerous written sources and scholarly language traditions in addition to archeological and numismatic evidence, should go a long way towards stimulating interest in a part of Europe which is very little known in the Anglophone world. He begins with the premise that most treatments of his region and time period are far too geographically limited (focusing only on the Kievan Rus to the exclusion of other important states such as the Khazar Khaganate and the Volga Bulgar Amirate) as well as ethnically and socially elitist, ignoring many of the peoples governed by and outside of those states. Noonan is the sole contributor to the regional survey Parts II and III who fully integrates social and economic concerns, as well as the areas Jewish inhabitants, into his chapter. Noonan's contribution can be easily adapted by those Western and Central European specialists who might be giving short shrift to the East in their undergraduate lectures. In that Kiev was, in the eleventh century, one of the largest cities in medieval Europe (p. 512), the Rus state certainly deserves attention, but Noonan's great achievement lies in demonstrating that a brief survey chapter can provide a complex, holistic view of an area (one far larger than England, for instance, or Southern France) without sacrificing clarity and solid organization." - Felice Lifshitz, Florida International University, Miami, in The American Academy of Research Historians of Medieval Spain (AARHMS) Reviews

Nomads and Their Neighbours in the Russian Steppe: Turks, Khazars and Qipchaqs, by Peter B. Golden
Includes Golden's 1983 article "Khazaria and Judaism".


Fictional Literature about the Khazars

Books about Eastern European Jews


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