Khazars

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Khazars

(khä`zärz), ancient Turkic people who appeared in TranscaucasiaTranscaucasia
, transitional region between Europe and Asia, extending from the Greater Caucasus to the Turkish and Iranian borders, between the Black and Caspian seas. It comprises the Republics of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.
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 in the 2d cent. A.D. and subsequently settled in the lower Volga region. They emerged as a force in the 7th cent. and rose to great power. The Khazar empire extended (8th–10th cent.) from the northern shores of the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea to the Urals and as far westward as Kiev. Itil, the Khazar capital in the Volga delta, was a great commercial center. The Khazars conquered the Volga Bulgars and the Crimea, levied tribute from the eastern Slavs, and warred with the Arabs, Persians, and Armenians. Religious tolerance was complete in the Khazar empire, which reached a relatively high degree of civilization. In the 8th cent. the Khazar nobility embraced Judaism, and Cyril and MethodiusCyril and Methodius, Saints
, d. 869 and 884, respectively, Greek missionaries, brothers, called Apostles to the Slavs and fathers of Slavonic literature. Their history and influence are obscured by conflicting legends.
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 made some Christian converts among them in the 9th cent. In the 10th cent. the Khazars entered into friendly relations with the Byzantine EmpireByzantine Empire,
successor state to the Roman Empire (see under Rome), also called Eastern Empire and East Roman Empire. It was named after Byzantium, which Emperor Constantine I rebuilt (A.D. 330) as Constantinople and made the capital of the entire Roman Empire.
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, which attempted to use them in the struggle against the Arabs. The Khazar empire fell when SviatoslavSviatoslav
or Svyatoslav
, d. 972, duke of Kiev (945–72), son of Igor and of St. Olga. His mother acted as regent for him until c.962, when he came of age.
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, duke of Kiev, defeated its army in 965. The Khazars (or Chazars) are believed by some to have been the ancestors of many East European Jews.

Khazars

 

a nomadic Turkic-speaking people who appeared in Eastern Europe in the fourth century, after the invasion of the Huns. In the 560’s, the Khazars were subjugated by the Turkic Kaganate. The Khazar Kaganate was formed in the mid-seventh century; after it fell, the Khazars intermingled with other nomadic Turkic peoples.

REFERENCE

Artamonov, M. I. Istoriia khazar. Leningrad, 1962.
References in periodicals archive ?
It is well known that Ashkenazi Jews lived in villages in what is now northeastern Turkey during the Middle Ages in an area called "Ancient Ashkenaz." While the two communities would have coexisted during that time, it seems that at some point, the Jews moved north into the Khazar kingdom and onwards into Europe, while the Druze moved south into what is now Syria, Lebanon, and Israel.
In fact, Sand maintains that Zionist historians have ignored many books, historical research and conference findings, which all spoke of the Jewish Khazar kingdom in the Caucasus, established between the eighth and the thirteenth centuries AD.
Apart from its political significance, Constantine's legation also had a missionary task to promote the Christian religion and Byzantine culture in order to counter Jewish and Arab influences in the Khazar Kingdom. According to the scant historical data available, the Khazars were a warlike and nomadic people who most probably came from the East at the time of the Great Migration and settled in the region between the Caspian and the Black Sea.
Centuries later, the people of the Khazar kingdom in what is today south Russia, would convert en masse to Judaism, becoming the genesis of the Ashkenazi Jews of central and eastern Europe.
Sand pointed to the strange state of denial in which most Israelis live, noting that papers offered extensive coverage recently to the discovery of the capital of the Khazar kingdom next to the Caspian Sea.
There is an increasing unanimity among Jewish and non-Jewish scholars on the non-Semitic, non-Israelite, non-Palestinian origin of contemporary Israelis who are, largely, a Slavo-Turkic people originally from the Turkic Khazar kingdom. This latter Kingdom was established after the mass conversion of Khazars to Judaism in the 8th century A.D.
However, this Khazar kingdom was neither Christian nor Muslim at the height of its power but Judaic, which makes study of it all the more interesting, since it places a powerful Judaic military presence amidst the power politics of the period in question.
As to the origins of the Khazar kingdom, this can be traced back to the West Turkish empire -- a confederation of Turkic tribes, of which the Khazars were but one, stretching from the Black Sea to Turkestan in the mid-sixth to mid-seventh centuries.
Archaeologists claim to have discovered remnants of the legendary Khazar kingdom in southern Russia, according to a recent report.