by Richard Burd

from Ayatoles Website


The following are a series of historic maps depicting various periods of time in Khazarian history.

Note: The borders shown on these maps are approximate borders; the actual line of control often fluctuated from year to year. Areas marked as 'tributaries' are the outmost regions the Khazars extracted tribute from, but did not necessarily 'govern' or claim rights to for any serious length of time. The outmost regions the Khazars retrieved plunder are far beyond the tributaries.


Introduction: 850 C.E.

Pre-History: 350 - 627 C.E.

Rise of Khazaria: 600 - 850 C.E.

Fall of Khazaria: 850 - 965 C.E.



Khazarian History Notes


• Pre-history

1 China

a) One of the earliest agrarian societies, has had a long history of problems with nomadic tribes of the Eurasian steppes. The Chinese were experienced in battle with the nomads and eventually drove them westward.


2 Invasion

b) Unlike the western agrarians, the Chinese likely knew Nomadic culture, their migration routes, and how to engage and defeat them in battle

1. Eventually the Chinese defeated the nomads, and forced them out of the region
2. The nomads relied on their mobility for protection. they were only part time specialists in fighting, and were no match for the recourses of agrarian China.

c) As these nomadic tribes, moved westward, they found agrarian societies who were no match for them.

* We see these classic (moving target v.s. still target) episodes which would dominate the conflicts of this era. Nomads could invade, loot, and destroy villages and then retreat back into the grasslands. For the agrarian societies to rebel, they had to go out and find these nomads who could be anywhere, making offensive military campaigns almost impossible. 2. only in later centuries do the western agrarians come to understand nomadic military tactics, and later defeat those not already in the process of becoming agruarianized.

3 Empire of the white Huns (350-550)
In the year 350 the Huns (the first of the many nomadic tribes from the grasslands [steppes] of northwest China) arrive in the region of Transoxania.

1. Transoxania is a region located south of the Aral sea. It is named after the river that runs through it, the Oxus river (now called Amu Darya) Oxus is only a Historic name.

1.1 A Greek colony existed here in the times B.C. however was thought to be destroyed by Indians and had no influence on Hun culture
1.2 This is a research frontier, in the history of Transoxania.

b) As the Huns move toward the Caspian sea and farther South, they drive the Persians south, or may have absorbed them (into Hun culture).

The Persians and Huns get involved in many conflicts over the years, before forming any alliances.

1. In 392 A.D. the Huns aid the Persians in an attack on Roman Mesopotamia.

c) Over time many other tribes appear in what is now south Russia. They are believed to be offspring of the Huns and or other nomadic tribes from the east. These tribes include the Bulgars, Avars, Uguars, and Khazars*. see arrows on map ‘pre-history’

d) The greatest leader of the Hun Empire was Attila, His death in 550 A.D. causes the empire to fall.

4 Western Turkish [Tirkut] {AKA Turkut*} Kingdom (550-650)
a) Attila’s death creates a power vacuum for eastern Europe. These various pastoral nomads are longer are forced to pay tribute to the Huns. This allows for less energy devoted to doing so. For pastoral societies to pay tribute, Trade for currency as well as giving up actual livestock must take place. If tribute isn't given the threat of a Hun army invasion, accompanied with fellow tribes under the same Hun tutelage is eminent.

1. The Avars and Uigurs move westward, the Avars then occupy the northern shores of the Danube River.
2. The Khazars are contempt with their occupied region, located between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.

2.1 With good reason; The Khazars frequently raid the region south of them, Georgia. They would raid cities and collect rich plunder, for the area wasn’t occupied by either Rome or Persia.
2.2 The Khazars do not move westward.

b) The various pastoral (Turkish) tribes soon realize the need to form an alliance, to defend themselves against the threats offered by Byzantium and other ‘civilized’ societies.

They form what became known as the Western Turkish Empire, aka Turkut Kingdom. The leader of this kingdom was called a *Kagan, the Khazars were to adopt this name and use it in reference to their rulers.

1. This (Turkish empire) was really nothing more than a mere continuation of the Hun empire. The map shows both empires side by side, however; please note that one preceded the other.

c) During this time (in 627 A.D.) the Roman [or east Roman AKA Byzantium] Empire began to campaign against Persia. Under the Emperor Heraclius. They invaded the Persian provinces of eastern Mesopotamia. The Khazars (still part of the Turkish Empire - not yet fully independent) sent 40,000 horsemen to the aid of the East Roman (Byzantium); see on map ‘pre-history’

1. The Kagan (Khazar Ruler) became impatient with the cautious(slow) pace of the Romans, and left to invade Tbilisi. The raid on Tables (now the capital of Georgia[the former soviet republic; not the southern U.S. state] was unsuccessful, and the Khazars returned home.

1.1 The Georgians had suffered Khazar invasions for several years, and got wise to the situation, they fortified their capital city> Tbilisi.

d) Rise of Islam (632-633) under the Arab conquests.

1. A year after Prophet Muhammad’s death [pabbuh] 632 A.D. ; ten years after the Hegira (the migration of the Muslim community from Mecca to Madinah ([then called Yathrib] 622 A.D.) and starting point of the Islamic [lunar] calendar; the Muslims conquered the Arabian peninsula, and parts of north Africa and Asia Minor, as well as Persia (now called Iran).

1.1. The region was now transformed by three new superpowers; The Byzantine Empire, The Umayyad Caliphate, and the emerging Khazarian Empire.
1.2. In 680 A.D. the Grandson of Prophet (Hussayen) is slaughtered at Karbala. The Party of Prophets son in law {Ali ibn Abi Talib} is born. The party (Shiat-Ali) or Shi’ias begin their struggle for independence from the Umayyad Caliphate. They play a key role in the political situation involving the Arab-Khazar wars. The Arabs may have ‘turned back’ in 737 [the Arabs defeated the Khazars and reached Darband, (Derbant) but decided not to take over, but rather to leave the area north of the Caucasus] because of internal problems with the Caliphate. These ‘problems’ likely involved Shi’ia uprisings in their city Kufa, now located in Iraq, also called An-Najaf


• Rise of Khazaria

1 - Hellenization / The Greek influence

a) It is often presumed the Khazars learned Agriculture from the Greeks living in the area around the Euxine (Black Sea). The Greeks developed several colonies in the area during the 700’s. Most of these colonies were located on the Crimean Peninsula.

1. These include; Theodosia, Kimmerikon, Nymphaion, Hermonassa, Phanagoria, Mirmekion, Tyritake, and Pantikapaion.

1.1 These colonies served as cornerstones for cities like Dores, Kirch, and Tamatarkha.

b) As agriculture developed the Khazars were able to develop settlements, Build Castles and establish a permanent foothold in the region.

2 - Caste

a) Over time the Khazars developed a stratified social system. Two economic classes emerge within the culture.

1. The higher class; the Ak-Khazars and the lower class; the Kara Khazars There are many different theories pertaining to this aspect of The Khazar Heritage. Some suggest this Caste was nothing more than a class system; not strictly divided by birth status.
2. The Ak-Khazars or ‘White Khazars’ were said to be fair skinned and beautiful like women, with long braided hair. The Kara-Khazars (according to Arab writers) were described as ugly and as dark as Indians

3 - Arab-Khazar wars
The Soviet historians have given the Khazars their place in history as a people who fought Arab invasion and the Proselytization of Islam. For many years their conversion to Judaism was ignored by Russian historians.

b) The wars began in 651 and ended in 737 with Arab victory.

c) The Abbasid Caliphate began to suffer from internal conflicts, and in 737 A.D., their armies were called back, and a campaign against eastern Europe never got under way

d) In 730 the Khazars began their destructive campaign on the Chalphate. The Khazars attacked the city of Ardabil, and got as far as Mosul. (see map ‘Rise of Khazaria’)

e) The Khazar army was finally pushed back by a fresh Army while on their way to Dimasq (Damascus).

f) In 732 The future Emperor Constantine V married a Khazar princess. Their son Leo IV, known as Leo the Khazar ruled the throne.

4 - Expansion
With the Arab wars of the early 700s behind them, the Khazars could now direct their attention to the north. They began several conquests in the Dnieper River valley. The Khazars extracted tribute from several nations stretching (at one time or another) to the Aral sea, the Urals and as far west as the Danube. Eventually they sacked Kiev in 840, extracting rich tribute from its Slavic population

5 - Conversion to Judaism
Bulan The first Khazar Kagan [King] and his conversion story. The story first appears in the Kazari published in 1700s*?

c) many different story lines exist to tell the story.

1. Yehudah ha-Levi (c. 1080-1141).

1.1 an angel appears to Bulan and tells him "Your way of thinking is pleasing to God, but not your way of acting."
1.2 Bulan consults a philosopher, and informs him of his idea; that either the Christian or Muslim religion is the right way of ‘acting’
1.3 Bulan consults a christen sage and says "I do not see any logical conclusion here; indeed, logic rejects most of what you have said.... I cannot accept these things... My duty is to investigate further."
1.4 He then invited an Islamic mullah [to his court], questioning him regarding his doctrine and observance. After talking to the Mullah he said "Indeed, I see myself compelled to ask the Jews, because they are the relic of the Children of Israel. For I see that they constitute in themselves the evidence for the divine law on earth."
1.5 (after inviting the rabbi) The rabbi replied: "I believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, who led the children of Israel out of Egypt with signs and miracles;
1.6 After this [conversation] the Khazar king traveled to the caucuses (mountains) and came upon a cave where Jews had observed the Sabbath. The King was circumcised. The King only revealed this to his special friends and when his community of Jews had increased (several more upper-class Khazars then converted) he made the affair public

d) Another story involves the Khazar king inviting three sages to his court. A Christian, Muslim and Jewish sage were summoned. The Jew was said to already be at his disposal [Koestler] and only the other 2 were summoned. The three of them argued and the story goes.......**

e) The other theory is based on a Jewish manuscript that said the Khazars converted when an Army general became king.

• Fall of Khazaria

I do not have a good set of notes ready at this time that I can show - dealing with the fall of the empire. To truly understand the downfall, and how and why the events took place, one would have to understand the complicated political intricacies that played a part, even before the Vikings showed up on the scene.


The map labeled 'the fall of Khazaria' (click image right) should be self explanatory. I used The Thirteenth Tribe by Arthur Koestler, and The Khazaria Info Center hosted by Kevin Brook to make that map. It will show step by step the campaign made by the Vikings as they conquered the scene.


The "Muslim Victory" shown on the map deals with the Khazar Muslims and their war with the Vikings (a revenge campaign against the Vikings for invading the Caspian Sea and pillaging Muslim communities within land accessible by the Caspian Sea). I wanted to make clear this battle [which took place in the Volga Delta] was not fought by the Abbasid Caliphate.