a confederation of Turkic-speaking tribes of Central Asia (fifth through eighth centuries) under the leadership of the Ashina tribe. From A.D. 265 to 460 the Ashina tribe was part of the late Hunnic states, which had conquered western China and part of eastern Turkestan. In 460 they were subjugated by the Juan-juan and driven to the Altai, where they headed a tribal alliance, which came to be called the Turkic alliance. Between 551 and 555 the Orkhon Turks defeated the Juan-juan and created the Turkic Kaganate (552–745), with its center on the Orkhon River in Mongolia. The Orkhon Turks were defeated by the Uighurs between 740 and 745 but retained their autonomy and part of their tribal territory until the tenth century. The chief occupations of the Orkhon Turks were nomadic livestock raising and iron working. The major cultural monuments are the Orkhon-Enisei inscriptions and the stone images.
REFERENCESBernshtam, A. N. Sotsial’no-ekonomicheskii stroi orkhono-eniseiskikh tiurok VI-VIII w. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946.
Kliashtornyi, S. G. Drevnetiurkskie runicheskie pamiatniki kak istochnik po istorii Srednei Azii. Moscow, 1964.
S. G. KLIASHTORNYI