T.M. Kalinina, V.S. Flyorov, V.Ya. Petrukhin. Khazaria in Cross-cultural Space: Historical Geography, Fortress Architecture, Choice of Faith

T.M. Kalinina. Khazaria in Arabic-Persian Sources

The chapter deals with the various aspects of Arabic and Persian sources which feature Khazaria. The study takes into account the existing literature in the field and analyses the current perspectives on the main issues in the history of Khazaria.

The first section of this chapter shows the range of medieval Oriental sources containing information about Khazaria The second part deals with the problem of anachronistic features in political event descriptions, which are accepted by some researchers to the reliable The third part contains a detailed analysis of the use of the term Al-Khazar in Arabic-Persian literature, concentrating on toponyms, hydronyms etc. in that region, and highlights the issue of Khazaria's shifting boundaries. The fourth section describes the economy, population, trade routes and patterns, as well as urban areas of Khazaria. This section also includes commented translations of Arabic-Persian and Jewish sources about the city of Itil. The fifth part consists of an analysis of information on the social and political system of Khazaria (i. e. the Khagan / Hakan and his deputy, their role in different times, the officials and their titles, the military organization).

V.S. Flyorov. Building Materials of Byzantian Origin in Khazar Fortresses of the Lower Don

The use of materials of Byzantine origin in Khazar Khaganate was further ascertained in our excavations of two Khazarian fortresses. The first one is the Semikarakory fortress with mud brick walls and some big constructions made of flamed bricks, which also had tiled roofs (tegulae and imbrices). The second fortress is Pravoberezhnoye Tsymlyanskoye, with walls built of white limestone blocks.

The study also features some long neglected materials from excavations by M.I. Artamonov in Sarkel, a flamed-brick fortress.

The distribution of materials which are usually thought to be rare in Khazar Khaganate and of the opus mixtum masonry is as shown in the table

In other fortresses of Khazar Khaganate similar materials are unknown

Special attention is paid to the unique little bricks made of crushed limestone solution, present only in the Pravoberezhnoye Tsymlyanskoye fortress Their contours are painted red Their shape is found to be triangular (photo 1: 6, 7). An angle (photo 1: 8) was made from the same grout

Tiles (tegulae and imbrices) are widely represented in Crimea, including Chersonese. It seems paradoxical, that in Sarkel with its brick structures only less than 30 fragments of ceramic tiling were found. The only analogue for small thin ceramic bricks was found by the author in the Phanagoria collection (Taman peninsula).

Khazarian tiles were not imported, but manufactured by local masters using imported samples

Building materials and technologies Semikarakory fortress Pravoberezhnoye Tsymlyanskoye fortress Sarkel fortress
tegulae (flat tiles) and imbrices (oval tiles) hundreds of fragments (similar to the Pravoberezhnoye Tsymlyanskoye fortress) hundreds of fragments (similar to the Semikarakory fortress) 30 fragments (different from Semikarakory and Pravoberezhnoye Tsymlyanskoye fortresses)
small thin bricks mentioned by M.I. Artamonov (1959. P. 7); unknown from excavation 19711974 dozens of fragments
plaster little fragments in citadel in separate objects; high-quality, thin-layered uncertain degree of prevalence; a thick layer
bricks of limestone solution +
red paint + +
green paint +
opus mixtum fragment of one structure

V.Ja. Petrukhin. Choice of Faith in Eurasian History: Khazaria and Rus

A search for the place of a people and its ruler in the history of the world civilization becomes relevant when the people and the land face a historical choice a choice of faith or of a state-building example. In the Early Medieval Eastern Europe, this is seen in Rus and Khazaria; the Russian Primary chronicle (Tale of Bygone Years), the Jewish-Khazarian correspondence and the Vita Constantini all have similar narratives related to the choice of faith and discussions between people of different faiths. The three major texts that deal with that theme: the Letter of King Joseph from the Jewish-Khazarian correspondence, the story of Constantine the Philosopher's mission and controversy with infidels in his Life, and the faith debate in the Russian chronicle have been thought to have obvious literary origins, not to represent real historical events New sources on Judaism in Khazaria emerged with the discovery of the hoard from Gotland containing the so-called Moses dirhams with a kufic legend Musa rasul Allah Moses the Messenger of God The American numismatist Roman Kovalev considered the numismatic and historical context of such Khazar imitations of Arabic coinage and speculated that the release of Moses dirhams is associated with the conversion of the Khazars under Bulan, described in the Letter of King Joseph and in the Cambridge document; he then dates the issue as 837/838. Coin issue in the Early Medieval world was directly linked to the ruler's policies, so one might argue that the elite of the Khaganate were Jewish already in the first third of the 9th century.

If the khagan and his associates had been Jewish, what could be the purpose of Constantine's mission, invited by khagan in 860? Obviously, the crisis that had gripped the Eastern (Central) Europe the invasion of Rus in the Khazars' sphere of influence (and their Constantinople raid in 860), the Hungarian raid to the Central Europe (862) and their aggressive behavior in Khazaria during the Byzantine mission made the authorities of the Empire and the Khaganate look for a union and consider some trade-offs, including ones in confessional politics

The problem of depth or superficiality of Judaism adoption by the elite of Khazaria is greatly complicated not only by archaeological data demonstrating conservation of Pagan funeral rites (with no evidence of Judaism), but also by the information of the Eastern authors about the killing of Khagan as a Sacred King, which is incompatible with Judaism. However, this common, also in old Turkic traditions, folklore story in the style of Golden Bough did not reflect the historical realities, but rather a historiographical myth about the custom of the sacred ruler, ready to give his life for the welfare of his subjects.

The letter of the Khazar Jewish community in Kiev, dating back to the 10th century (Norman Golb), reveals the obvious local origins of the annalistic tradition describing the Kiev embassy of the Khazarian Jews to Vladimir when he was choosing his faith. The Greek Philosopher followed the Jews: Vladimir tells him about the rejected embassy of the Jews and in turn listens to the speech of the Philosopher that contains adversus judaeos. Mention of the Khazarian Jews and even their participation in a dispute at the court of Vladimir could be attributed to Kievan historical reality, but not their embassy or mission.

The situation with confessional change of names among Russian rulers looks clearer than the Khazar tradition: first came the baptism of a Princess, and Princess Olga got the Christian name of her godmother Helen, the wife of Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus; Vladimir was christened using the Imperial name Basil after Emperor Basil II. The paradox is that in the chronicle, as well as in the hagiographical tradition, Olga and Vladimir were venerated by their princely and not their Christian names. For Russian rulers, genealogical princely ancestors were more important than the heavenly patrons, and after baptism they retained their Pagan names (including Scandinavian ones Rurik, Oleg / Olga, Igor, referring to the age of the vocation of the Varangian princes) The divine story is separated here from the narrative of the Earth realm