Registered & Protected  EWYF-AUCZ-AAR8-HLZT Bulgarians: Yuezhi and Bulgars


Showing posts with label Yuezhi and Bulgars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yuezhi and Bulgars. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Bulgars titles - kanasubigi

Kanasubigi was a title of early Bulgars rulers. It is a compound word which consists of archaic form
Greek Inscription of Bulgars title "Kanas ubigi Omurtag", Madara, Bulgaria - Bulgars title is the same as Yuezhi title
Kanas ubigi Omurtag,
Madara, Bulgaria
kana for khan (king, ruler) and the title yabgu. Commonly known as Turkic titles of nobility both titles actually are not of Turkic origin and were first used by the Yuezhi and Wusun - nomadic people from north-western China (Gansu and Turfan regions), of whose languages hardly anything is known.

Kan/kagan was an Yuezhi title. According to Hyun Jin Kim the nomadic Yuezhi possessed political institutions that closely resemble the Xiongnu and later Hunnic models. The Chinese refer to the five xihou or Lords of the Yuezhi who rule the five tribes of their imperial confederation. According to Pulleyblank the Yuezhi were Indo-Europeans and they spoke a Tocharian type language.[1] The title xihou corresponds in the pronunciation to what would later become the Turkic title yubgu. This originally Yuezhi royal title appears on the coins of their rulers as IAPGU/yavuga[2] and it came to the Xiongnu from the Yuezhi.[3] F. Hirth has successfully compared the transcription sihou (<*khiəp-g’u) with a title yavugo on the Yuezhi-Kushan coins from Kabulistan and yabγu of the ancient Turkic monuments. This title is first of all an Yuezhi title, and it is a "true Tocharian" title. In the 11 BC an Yuezhi from the Xiongnu state fell in the Han captivity, he was a "chancellor" with the title sihou (yabgu). After 4 years he returned to the Xiongnu chanyu. Chanyu gave him his former post of a "second (after Chanyu) man in the state" and retained the title sihou (yabgu). The bearer of this high title did not belong to the Xiongnu dynastic line, but he was a member of the numerous Yuezhi autonomous diasporas in the Xiongnu confederation. This history suggests that in the Wusun (Asman, Ashina) state Butszü-sihou also was a yabgu. Among the Turks, the title yabgu gained a new lease of life. In the Turkish inscriptions of Mongolia, it refers to a noble ranking immediately after the qagan.[4] Kuyan/gayan was a "common Yuezhi symbol for a terrestrial embodiment for the Moon and Milky Way". The myth about Milky Way Kagan found some new aspects among Turks and Mongols but the essence remained the same.[5]

Bulgars' tribes originated from the Great Yuezhi. The Great Yuezhi entered Europe together with the Huns and in the beginning they were called with their old name Massagetae.[6] Edwin G. Pulleyblank, Yury Zuev and some modern Bulgarian scholars identify the Bulgars Utigurs as one of the tribes of the Yuezhi. According to Edwin G. Pulleyblank and Yury Zuev the Utigurs of Menander are Uti, and the word Uti was a real proto-type of a transcription Yuezhi < Uechji < ngiwat-tie < uti.[7-10]


1. THE PEOPLES OF THE STEPPE FRONTIER IN EARLY CHINESE SOURCES, Edwin G. Pulleyblank, University of British Columbia, (1999), Summary, page 35

2. The Huns, Rome and the Birth of Europe, Hyun Jin Kim, (2013, Cambridge University Press), page 256

3. Turks and Iranians: Aspects of Turk and Khazaro-Iranian Interaction, Peter B. Golden, page 17, footnote 89, Zuev, Early Turks, p.31 : "This title is first of all an Uechji title, or, in the opinion of the eminent scientist [F. Hirth, 1899, p. 48-50], it is a “true Tocharian” title. "

4. ENCYCLOPÆDIA IRANICA, JABḠUYA : "Although yabḡu is best known as a Turkish title of nobility, it was in use many centuries before the Turks appear in the historical record. ... Among the Turks, the title yabḡu gained a new lease of life."

5. EARLY TURKS: ESSAYS on HISTORY and IDEOLOGY, Yu. A. Zuev, page 39

6. SINO-PLATONIC PAPERS, Number 127 October, 2003, The Getes, page 22-24 : Da Yuezhi -> Ta-Yue-ti (Great Lunar Race) -> Ta-Gweti -> Massa-Getae

7. EARLY TURKS: ESSAYS on HISTORY and IDEOLOGY, Yu. A. Zuev, p.38 and p.62 : " The Utigurs of Menandr are Uti, associated with Aorses of the Pliny "Natural history" (VI, 39). The word Uti was a real proto-type of a transcription Uechji < ngiwat-tie < uti (Pulleyblank, 1966, p. 18)"



10. Chinese and Indo-Europeans, E. G. Pulleyblank, 1966, Cambridge University Press

Friday, December 16, 2016


Bulgars Massagetae in central Asia
The Massagetae were an ancient nomadic confederation who inhabited the steppes of Central Asia betwen the rivers Amu-Daria and Syr-Daria east of the Sea of Aral. They are know primarily from the works of ancient Greek authors as Strabo and Herodotus. At least some of their tribes were East Iranian speakers. Their neighbours were the Aspisi to the north, the Wusun(Isedones) to the east, Dahae and Scythians  to the west. To the south lay Khorasan/(Sogdia). The Massagetae was one of many tribal groups in the region north and east of the river Syr Darya (otherwise known as the River Tanais).

The Massagetae were similar to the Scythians in their dress and mode of living, they lived on their herds and fishing, milk was their main drink. They fought both on horseback and on foot, neither method being strange to them: they used bows and lances, but their favorite weapon was the battle-axe. According to Strabo, the Massagetae worshipped the sun and sacrificed horses to it.

Origin of Massagetae

Numerous hypotheses exist about the identity of the Massagetae and their ethnic background. Massagetae are believed to have been related to the Getae.[1] In Central Asian languages such as Middle Persian and Avestan, the prefix massa means "great", "heavy", or "strong".[2] Some authors as James P. Mallory and Victor H. Mair relate Massagetae with the Yuezhi: "(Greater) Yuezhi or in the earlier pronunciation d'ad-ngiwat-tieg, has been seen to equate with the Massagetae who occupied the oases and steppelands of West Central Asia in the time of Herodotus; here Massa renders an Iranian word for "Great", hence "Great Getae".[3][4] This identification was made by Alexander Cunningham and is supported by B.S. Dahiya (1980, 23), Edgar Knobloch (2001, 15), Zuev, Lozinski, Tolstov and others.[5][6] Dahiya wrote about the Massagetae and Thyssagetae : "The Chinese were right in stating that the Xiongnu were a part of the Yuezhi. These Guti people had two divisions, the Ta-Yue-Che and Siao-Yue-Che, exactly corresponding to the Massagetae and Thyssagetae of Herodotus... Thyssagetae, who are known as the Lesser Getae, correspond with the Xiao Yuezhi, meaning Lesser Yuezhi."(Dahiya 1980, 23).[7][8]

Customs of Massagetae

According to Herodotus:
"In their dress and mode of living the Massagetae resemble the Scythians. They fight both on [1.215]
Herodotus world map with Bulgars Massagetae
Herodotus world map
horseback and on foot, neither method is strange to them: they use bows and lances, but their favourite weapon is the battle-axe. Their arms are all either of gold or brass. For their spear-points, and arrow-heads, and for their battle-axes, they make use of brass; for head-gear, belts, and girdles, of gold. So too with the caparison of their horses, they give them breastplates of brass, but employ gold about the reins, the bit, and the cheek-plates. They use neither iron nor silver, having none in their country; but they have brass and gold in abundance." 
" Each man has but one wife, yet all the wives are held in common; for this is a custom of the Massagetae and not of the Scythians, as the Greeks wrongly say. Human life does not come to its natural close with this people; but when a man grows very old, all his kinsfolk collect together and offer him up in sacrifice; offering at the same time some cattle also. After the sacrifice they boil the flesh and feast on it; and those who thus end their days are reckoned the happiest. If a man dies of disease they do not eat him, but bury him in the ground, bewailing his ill-fortune that he did not come to be sacrificed. They sow no grain, but live on their herds, and on fish, of which there is great plenty in the Araxes. Milk is what they chiefly drink. The only god they worship is the sun, and to him they offer the horse in sacrifice; under the notion of giving to the swiftest of the gods the swiftest of all mortal creatures." [1.216]
At the close of the 4th century CE, Claudian wrote of Massagetae that they cruelly wound their horses so that they may drink their blood.

History of Massagetae

Massagetae were known as numerous and warlike nation. According to Herodotus, Cyrus the Great of Persia met his death in a battle with the Massagetae living beyond Araxes river. In the year 530 B.C.  Cyrus the Great's army invaded the Scythian lands. Cyrus who had already beaten the Babylonians was victorious in his initial assault on the Massagetae. He captured the son of Massagetae queen Tomyris, Spargapises, who commits suicide. However the queen's forces promptly destroyed Cyrus' army and killed the Persian king.

About 515 B.C. Darius I invaded into the lands of nomadic Scythians. Generally Scythians were called Saka by Persians and the term Saka was used as a prefix to their tribal names. For example three groups of Saka/Scythians are listed on Darius' (522-486 BCE) inscriptions at Behistun (in north-western Iran) : Saka Haumavarga , Saka Tigrakhauda (translated as "pointed caps"), and Saka Paradraya. The Saka Tigrakhauda occupied open grasslands around the Aral Sea, in modern south-western Kazakhstan. The pointed caps they wear would be sized according to seniority, with the tallest being reserved for the chieftain. It is this group of Sakas that is most likely to be the Massagetae of Strabo.

In the 4th century B.C. Alexander the Great conquers the Persian empire and campaigned in the east. According to Sulimirski Massagetae adopted new military tactics of armoured cavalry from Macedonians and in the 4th-3rd centuries BC were able to subdue nearly all the nomad tribes north-east of Macedonian frontier including the Xiongnu who roamed the steppes further east up to the Chinese border. Xiongnu had to acknowledge the Massagetan suzerainty for about a century. But eventually Xiongnu defeated Massagetae and in 165 BC drove them westwards out of their lands.[9]


[1] Leake, Jane Acomb (1967). The Geats of Beowulf: a study in the geographical mythology of the Middle Ages (illustrated ed.). University of Wisconsin Press. p. 68.
[2] Rishi, Weer Rajendra (1982). India & Russia: linguistic & cultural affinity. Roma. p. 95.
[3] Mallory, J. P.; Mair, Victor H. (2000), The Tarim Mummies: Ancient China and the Mystery of the Earliest Peoples from the West, London: Thames & Hudson. pages 98-99 
[4] Pazyrik - The Valley of the Frozen Tombs, John F. Haskins
[5] THE STRONGEST TRIBE, Yu. A. Zuev, page 33: "Massagets of the earliest ancient authors... are the Yuezhis of the Chinese sources"
[6] The Huns, Rome and the Birth of Europe, Hyun Jin Kim, p. 201/note 79
[7] SINO-PLATONIC PAPERS, Number 127 October, 2003, The Getes,  page 22-24
[8] The glorious Gutians, Samar AbbasMarch 24, 2005
[9] Tadeusz Sulimirski - The Sarmatians,pages 81-82

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


The Kidarites (Chinese: 寄多羅 Jiduolo[1]) were a dynasty of the "Ki" clan named after their ruler Kidara. They were part of the complex of Iranian-speaking tribes known collectively as Xionites or "Hunas". 
During the 4th-5th century they established the Kidarite kingdom.
Bulgars Kutrigurs originated from Kidarites Yuezhi Huns
Kidarites lands

History of Kidarites

The Kidarites, a nomadic clan, are supposed to have originated in China and arrived in Bactria with the great migrations of the first half of the 4th century.

When Shi Le established the Later Zhao state, it is thought that many of the Uar (Chinese 滑 Huá) fled (c. 320 CE) from the area around Pingyang (平陽; modern Linfen, Shanxi) and fled west along the Silk Road. This put pressure on the Xionites, who increasingly encroached upon Khorasan and the frontiers of the Kushan state.

The Kidarite king Grumbat mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus was a cause of much concern to the Persians. Between 353 AD and 358 AD, the Xionites under Grumbat attacked in the eastern frontiers of Shapur II's empire along with other nomad tribes. After a prolonged struggle they were forced to conclude a peace, and their king Grumbat accompanied Shapur II in the war against the Romans. Victories of the Xionites during their campaigns in the Eastern Caspian lands are described by Ammianus Marcellinus:Grumbates Chionitarum rex novus aetate quidem media rugosisque membris sed mente quadam grandifica multisque victoriarum insignibus nobilis. ("Grumbates, the new king of the Xionites, while he was middle aged, and his limbs were wrinkled, he was endowed with a mind that acted grandly, and was famous for his many, significant victories." –Ammianus Marcellinus, 18.6.22.)
The southern or "Red" Kidarite vassals to the Kushans in the North-Western Indus valley became known as Kermikhiones.
A "Kidarite dynasty", south of the Oxus, was at war with the Sassanids in the fifth century. Peroz I fought Kidara and then his son Kungas, forcing Kungas to leave Bactria. They entered Kabul and replaced the last of the Kushan Empire rulers. However, the Kidarites in turn were soon overwhelmed by the Hephthalites.[2]

Kidar Bulgars involved in causing Hunnic migrations across the Volga into Europe were identified with Kidarites by David Marshall Lang.[3]

Origin of Kidarites

According to the Chinese sources Kidarites appeared in Kazakhstan and Bactria in 4th century and
Kidarites Yuezhi archer riding on reverse - same as Bulgars Kutrigurs archers
Archer riding on reverse
were branch of the Little Yuezhi. Some of them inherited the Kushan Empire and were called little Kushans.[4][5] Kidarites were also called Red Huns,[6][7] they practiced artificial cranial deformation[8] and were displayed on Sogdian coins as archers riding on the reverse.[9] The Little Yuezhi remained in North China and were included into Xiongnu confederation under the name Jie (sometimes also Chieh) people. Chinese chronicles documented them as one of the 19 tribes of Xiongnu.[10] Obviously their number wasn't small at all, as it is usually assumed, because we are told that between 184 AD and 221 AD there was a serious revolt of the Little Yuezhi in Gansu and the Chinese couldn't suppress it for almost 40 years.[11] In 349 AD there was a massacre of Jie Chieh people in North China, Maenchen-Helfen points out that 200 000 of them were slain. Probably it can 

be considered as the final date of the Little Yuezhi migration from North China/Tarim basin toward Kazakhstan and Bactria.

Kidarite kingdom

The Kidarite kingdom was created either in the second half of the 4th century, or in the twenties of the 5th century.

The only 4th century evidence are gold coins discovered in Balkh dating from c. 380, where 'Kidara' is usually interpreted in a legend in the Bactrian language. Most numismatic specialists favor this idea. All the other data we currently have on the Kidarite kingdom are from Chinese and Byzantine
sources from the middle of the 5th century.

They may have risen to power during the 420s in Northern Afghanistan before conquering Peshawar and part of northwest India, then turning north to conquer Sogdiana in the 440s, before being cut from their Bactrian nomadic roots by the rise of the Hephthalites in the 450s. Many small Kidarite kingdoms seems to have survived in northwest India up to the conquest by the Hephthalites during the last quarter of the 5th century are known through their coinage.

The Kidarites are the last dynasty to regard themselves (on the legend of their coins) as the inheritors of the Kushan empire, which had disappeared as an independent entity two centuries earlier.

Kidara Ifl. c. 320 CE
Kungas330's ?
Varhran Ifl. c. 340
Grumbatc. 358-c. 380
Kidara (II ?)fl. c. 360
Brahmi Buddhatalafl. c. 370
(Unknown)fl. 388/400
Varhran (II)fl. c. 425
Gobozikofl. c. 450
Salanaviramid 400's
Vinayadityalate 400's
Kandikearly 500's

The Kidarites were the first "Hunas" to bother India. Indian records note that the Hūna had established themselves in modern Afghanistan and the North-West Frontier Province in present-day Pakistan by the first half of the 5th century, and the Gupta emperor Skandagupta had repelled a Hūna invasion in 455.

White Huns

As a result of "Wusun vultures" descending upon them in Transoxiana, the Kidarite powerbase moved in 460 from southern "Red" Balkh to western "White" Khiva, where the Hephthalite dynasty was established by Khingila I. However different sources give different names for this relocation: "The Hsiao-yüeh-chih (Little Yuezhi) have their capital at Peshawar. The King was originally the son of Chi-to-lo, king of the Ta-yüeh-chih(Great Yuezhi). Chi-to-lo was forced to move westwards by the attack of the Hsiung-nu and later made his son guard this city. For this reason, the kingdom was named the Hsiao-yüeh-chih."[12]

The Greek envoy Rhetor often referred to the "White Huns" as "Kidarite Xionites" when they united with the Uar under the Hepthalite clan. While in India, the Kidarite Xionites became known as Sveta-Hūna meaning "White Huns". They were said to have been of fair complexion according to Procopius, although according to the Central Asian order of cosmic precedence, "White Huns" would simply mean "Western Huns".

Although they fought against the Sassanians, early 5th century "OIONO" coins (thought to have been minted by Xionite rulers) imitate Sassanian drachmas (for more information on coins see Xionites).

The Kidarite Xionites flourished under the Hephthalites, until something forced them to migrate from Khiva to Atil under Kandik in the mid-6th century. Not long afterwards, the Hephthalites remaining in Central Asia submitted to Gokturk rule in 567AD.

Relation to the Huns of Europe

The Huns already present on the Black Sea Steppes might not have been as closely related to the northern Karakum Desert Kidarites and the related Xionites or Hunas as is usually presumed.[13] Though the Chronicles of Kiev mention how the Ki clan founded Kiev after subjugating the eastern Hunno-Bulgars who subsequently became known as the Kazarig.

References and notes on Kidarites: 

1. Sasanian Persia, Touraj Daryaee (2009),  London and New York: I.B.Tauris, p. 17 

2.  The Empire of the Steppes, Grousset, Rene (1970), Rutgers University Press, p. 68–69 

3.  The Bulgarians: from pagan times to the Ottoman conquest (1976), David Marshall Lang, pages 31 and 204: "The Armenian geographer states that the principal tribes of Bulgars were called Kuphi-Bulgars, Duchi-Bulgars, Oghkhundur-Bulgars, and Kidar-Bulgars, by the last-named of which he meant the Kidarites, a branch of the Huns. "

4.  COINS OF THE TOCHARI, KUSHÂNS, OR YUE-TI, A. Cunningham, The Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Numismatic Society

5.  A NOTE ON KIDARA AND THE KIDARITES, WILLIAM SAMOLIN, Central Asiatic Journal, Vol. 2, No. 4 (1956), pp. 295-297, „The Yueh-chih origin of Kidara is clearly established...“ 

6.  Kuṣāṇa Coins and Kuṣāṇa Sculptures from Mathurā, Gritli von Mitterwallner, Frederic Salmon Growse, page 49 

8.  The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Attila, Michael Maas, page 185 

9. History of Civilizations of Central Asia, Ahmad Hasan Dani, B. A. Litvinsky, page 120

10. The World of the Huns, Otto Maenchen-Helfen, pages 372-375 
11.  The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia, Volume 1, Denis Sinor, page 170 

13.  The Huns, Hyun Jin Kim, p. 49: "Kidarites's name ... may simply indicate that they were the western Huns" 

ENOKI, K., « On the Date of the Kidarites (I) », Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko, 27, 1969, p. 1–26. 

GRENET, F. « Regional Interaction in Central Asia and North-West India in the Kidarite and Hephtalite Period », in SIMS-WILLIAMS, N. (ed.), Indo-Iranian Languages and Peoples, (Proceedings of the British Academy), London, 2002, p. 203–224.