Contents Türkic languages
Ogur and Oguz
Oguz and Ogur Dialects
Pritsak O. Ogur and Oguz Languages
OGUZ AND OGUR
Below is a compilation from a wonderful site. I assembled it as a chapter, compressing into a single description the elements given throughout the site. The novelty of the summary is remarkable, it relays the story that in the historical literature is barely mentioned, if ever. Without an understanding of the Oguz and Ogur saga, the history is lost, as European historians used to assert, “somewhere in the depth of Asia” and “in the grayness of the ages”. Usually, the Oguzes and Ogurs are associated with the Central Asian area, and specifically with the Altai mountains or the area of the rivers Tolga and Selenga. At the same time, at around 150AD, Ptolemy mentions the Huns in the European Sarmatia, together with Agathyrsi, Savari and Rhoxolani. These Türkic tribes are separated from the Orkhon area by the distance equivalent to the distance from Portugal to Urals. A similar record of the kin people separated by the same distance was witnessed in 1223, when Tatars recognized Kipchaks as their kins in the N. Caucasus area.
Like all dialectical splits, the Oguz-Ogur separation was caused by the geographical separation. The Ogurs tended to inhabit more southern areas, from steppes to semi-deserts to subtropical latitudes, whereas Oguzes are known, from the antiquity to the present, to live in steppe, forested steppes, and forest areas, including the mountainous areas. These differences are attested by the tribal names that traditionally associate the populous subdivisions with occupations or geographical location: Burtas (Beehive As), Agachir (Forrest Man), Suas (Water As), Majar (Forrest Man), Tauar (Mountain Man), Suvar (Water Man) etc.
Much more can be told about the appearance, dress, tools, and armaments of the Oguzes and Ogurs, their similarities and differences. These are the people that were riders of the Achaemenid, Chinese, Parthian, Persian, Greek, Roman and Arab armies, their images populated stellae and palaces, and are familiar from the pictures and museum collections. These are the people that led a first revolt in the Arab Caliphate, and who in 868 AD established a first Türkic overlordship of Egypt and Syria, who as Ogur Bolgars, Sabirs and Majars faught with Attila’s armies, and as Oguzes took control of the Caliphate plus the Asia Minor.
In most cases I have a record where the page came from. It is possible that the source site moved or does not exist any more. All pages are accessible from their original source, and some credit is clamed here.
|Oguz and Ogur
The Ogurs are brothers of Oguzes. Not all brothers are always brotherly, and there is plenty of history about Ogur - Oguz brotherhood and enmity. Likely from an early separation (the latest in the 3 c. BC) their common language diverged somewhat phonetically. Linguists suggest that a proto-sound dental ”j” (jealousy) split into “s/r”; there were no gramophones at the time, and if he says so, he must know. The qualified differences are a change of the sound “z” in the Oguz to “r” in the Ogur branch, and a change of the sound “i, y” in the beginning of words in the Oguz to “d/dj/g” in the Ogur branch (for example: Yilan-Djilan/Gilan/Dilom for a ”snake” etc.). Application of this simple ancient linguistic observation makes discrimination and classification of the languages straightforward and easy.
The ancient Greek geographer Ptolemy (160-170) mentioned a river Yaik (renamed to Ural by the Russian Tsarina in the 18th c.; she must have hated Ptolemy more than she got scared of Stepan Razin) running into Caspian Sea as Daikh (Aikh), confirming with that that Ogur ancestors of Bulgars, Kangars, or Huns lived in the western Siberia, in the Itil steppes, before the 2-nd c. AD. Even more ancient reporter, Herodotus, in the 6th c. BC described in detail Agacheri (Agathyrsi) Scythians, who, like Savars/Suvars attested later by Ptolemy, are believed to have been speaking a language of Ogur branch. Information of the ancient western sources places the ancient Western Ogur tribes in the steppes of Eastern Europe and Middle East, while the Chinese sources place their contemporary Eastern Ogurs in the steppes of Middle Asia and Takla Makan desert. Under the names of Western Hu and Hu, i.e Huns, Türkic kün = ”kin”, the Chinese oldest sources extend the presence of the Ogur tribes to the Ordoc peninsula.
For the historical period, we have multiple testimonies that the Ogur and Oguz people coexisted in the same political unions, freely intermixed and amalgamated. The Tele tribal union, the Bulgar, Türkic, Khazar, Kimak, and Kipchak confederations (Kaganates) included both Ogur and Oguz tribes, ditto for the Ogur Uigur and Oguz Kirgiz confederations (Kaganates), ditto for the Türkic Oguz confederation and its descendents. It is reasonable to expect that in the pre-historical period that coexistence was occurring as well, whenever geography and politics brought these divergent groups together. Without a positive evidence, at no time should be assumed that Ogurs were exclusively Ogurs, and correspondingly Oguzes were exclusively Oguzes. One of the earliest Türkic confederations, summarily known under a name Tochars, may have included the Oguz Ases and Ogur Bulgars and Sabirs/Suvars (Sabaroi). The appellation Ases of the Bulgars may denote their former political affiliation and not their linguistic properties, exactly like the ethnically various tribes of the Türkic Kaganates carried the ethnonym Türk. Like any least initiated scholar would definitely not study or classify the Belgian language, so any scholar attempting to classify Türkic languages should first use some understanding of the study subject even before embarking on minute disection of the undiscriminated, and therefore meaningless, phonology.
The Eastern and Western Huns belonged to the Ogur linguistic family, today it is modestly called Karluk group, and incorrectly also listed as Southern Kipchak group. In the Antique Period, the Ogur family was much more visible then the Oguz family, due to their proximity to the literate southern populations. From the ethnonyms and recorded relicts of the language, the Ogur group included, in addition to the Huns, the Tochars, Kangars, Uigurs, Karluks, Bulgars, Khazars, Sabirs, Agathyrs, Avars, and tentatively every other ethnically distinct population that ends its name on -ar/-er/-ir/-ur. Conversely, the Oguz family should have included the tribes with the ethnonym ending on -az/-ez/-iz/-uz, but that does not happen. The historically attested Oguz tribes, with historically attested Oguz languages, carry all kinds of ethnonyms except those ending on -az/-ez/-iz/-uz (and -ash in Chivash, and -iz in Ediz). That indicates that the tribal ethnonyms are older then the -r/-s split, and the tribes on -ar/-er/-ir/-ur do not necessarily belong to the Ogur group. The subject of the Az/As tribe is a separate topic, historically they were affiliated with almost everybody in the Middle Asia area, extending as far as as the Middle East, as Az-kishi of the Assyrians, and Central Europe and the Far East. The fact that the Ases were Türkic does not raise any doubts, their predominant affiliation with the Türkic or Türkic-infected Mongolic languages is a prevailing evidence of their linguistic preferences. From the glimpses of the historical records, it appears that the -r/-s split happened within the Kangar tribes, producing the two pra-ethnoses, the Kangars and the Ases. The Ases were located north of Kangars, or at least occupying higher altitude, mountains areas, with a proximity to the mountain taiga, while the Ogur Kangars preferred the open steppes of the Kazakhstan and Takla Makan - Tarim Basin. Correspondingly, the Ogurs predominately remained purely steppe dwellers, tied to the rivers and the oases of the deserts, while many of the the Oguz tribes adjusted to the forest-steppe economy, and had to co-exist with the foot hunters of the taiga forests.
In the next chapter of history, we encounter the Ogur Huns already in a matrimonial union with the Ogur Uigurs, carrying titles and ethnonyms expressed in the Ogur vernacular, Huchji and Chjuki, and Ichjitsy, and Huchji, and Jichjo, and Chjilur, and Fuchjulei, and Yuechjies, and Yun-Chjun, and in the name of the wife Yanchjy for “abti“, that reflects the Türkic term for a wife, “atti“. Uigurs, who belonged to the Tele tribes, were of the Ogur group, for us is significant that the Tele tribes were not necessarily all Oguzes and that of all the Tele tribes the Ogur Huns singled out another Tele Ogur tribe of Uigurs for a matrimonial union. The Türks, and other Oguz tribes, in the 2nd c. BC remain outside of the Ogur power structure, to the detriment of the Ogur tribes. When the Chinese policy of corrupting and dividing their most powerful adversary bore fruit, the Oguz Tele tribes rose in revolt, and completed the demise of the Huns' dominance. With the power structure of the Hun's state severely injured, the Hun tribes and the tribes closely associated with Huns became fluidized, and flowed to safety. A small part of the Huns joined their brethren who kept occupying the parts of the Huns historical domains annexed by China, these Hun tribes continued their autonomous existence under dominion of China, and they remained a powerful magnet for various Hunnic tribes during discord times in the following millennia. A very significant part, numbering half a million population, joined their Syanbi Mongolic adversaries, changing their allegiance, but generally remaining intact in their previous areas. Another significant part leapfrogged their northern Oguz Tele foes, and established a new domain in the western Middle Asia, extending from the N.Caucasus to Balkhash. The initial Late Antique Huns' western domains included the tribes of Bulgars, Suvars (Savars), Ezgils, and Kangars. With time, the now Western Hun confederation included Alans, Agathyrs, Scythians, Sarmatians, N.Pontic Türks and European Huns (who preceded the leapfrogging movement of the Eastern Huns), Ases, a part of the Baltic tribes destined to become Slavic tribes, a part of the Germanic tribes, and Ugrian Magyars (aka Modjars, Mordva).
In the Eastern Europe, the Ogur tribes continued their domination until the Arab wars. A 30-year sequence of wars, with decimation of entire local population, bled the dominant Ogur tribes to turn them into refugees in their own land, and gave rise to an influx of their eastern Oguz neighbors. Though the predominant linguistically Ogur majority in the Eastern Europe survived to the 15th century, it became increasingly affected by the Oguz languages of the Badjinaks, Oguzes, and Kipchaks.
In the Middle Asia, the eastern Ogur tribes, also to various degree diluted by the Oguz speakers, continued their proliferation thru the 8th c. Uigur Kaganate, 9th c. Kirgiz Kaganate, 10th century Oguz Yabgu confederation, 11th c. Karakhanid Kaganate, Karakithai Gurkhanate, Gaznavid and Seljuk Sultanates, 12th c. Horezm state, 13th c. Mongol Kaganate àíä Khilji Sultanate, Middle Asian Timurids and Moghuls. Into the modern period, except for the Uzbeks, the Ogur tribes entered as constituent tribes of various Oguz states, vestiges of the 13th c. Mongol Kaganate.
In the Central Asia, the Ogur tribes of Uigurs survived as monolithic ethnic community thru the Mongol period, and entered into the modern period generally intact, as constituent tribes of the late Mongol states and Manju China. A history of the Southern Huns has not been written yet, but reincarnation of a series of the Türkic-led states, confusingly termed in the Chinese dynastic historiography ”Northern Dynasies”, highlight the presence and weight of the Southern Huns and Uigurs, if at that time they still could be historically discriminated. In the Central Asia, Uigurs still remain a largest Türkic ethnic group, fractioned between the Uigur and Hui communities. Uigurs are one of the few Türkic tribes that still live in the same territories that they owned 22 centuries ago. Linguistically, only the Uigurs proper retained their Ogur language.
The problem of tracing the Ogur language is no different from tracing any other ancient language. Like the English of today is totally incomprehensible in comparison with the oldest Germanic languages, being contaminated by borrowings and dialectic distortions, so are the modern Ogur languages. A closer study would aim to address the older layers, performing linguistic paleoarcheological tasks that were mostly already completed for Indo-European languages. A boom in the paleoarcheological studies is already on the horizon, the coming few decades are ready to bore swell fruits.
OGUZES OF THE HISTORICAL PERIOD.
Oguzes of the historical records.
It is possible to date the name “Oguz” to the earliest times. In the Chinese sources of the 2-nd c. BC is mentioned a tribe O-Kut (there was no name “Türk” at that time). It is a Chinese version of the tribal name, which in Türkic is called Ogur, because some Türkic tribes came to pronounce the sound ‘z’ as ‘r’. The areas Tarbagatai and Kobdo, where the Chinese sources placed the O-Kut settlements, are known as Türkic territory.
The name “Oguz” comes from a word “Ok” = arrow, “Ok” in Türkic also means “tribe”. In those times this word was translated to Chinese as “tribe” (for example: On-Oki = ten tribes). According to this, the word “Oguz” is formed by connection to “Ok” of an ending “z”, the plural ending in the Old Türkic language. The word “Oguz” was not an ethnic name, and meant directly “Türkic tribes”.
In the Türkic texts, the name “Oguz” is used for the first time in the first inscription found on the bank of the Barlyk river (Ulu-Kem = runs into Yenisei). It said “Six Oguz tribes”. The inscription referred to the six Oguz tribes that joined into one union confederation. These inscriptions were referring to Beys, indicating that in the preceding time, Oguzes lived in this valley and formed a union.
The Orkhon inscriptions do not make a distinction between Oguzes and Kok-Türks, moreover, Oguzes were a main component of the Kok-Türk Kaganate. The word 'Türk” is a political term. The Kok-Türks belonged to the same ethnic group of a Türkic origin as Oguzes, Oguzes and Kok-Türks are of the same kin. In that respect, the Oguzes and Kok-Türks are the same. The origin of the Türks of the 6-7 centuries, Kok-Türks, from this group of Oguzes is noted in the Chinese sources.
In the documents of the period of rule Tang (after 618, annual chronicles Tang-Sy and Kiu Tand Shu with four different translations), the Nine Tribes, called in the inscriptions “Nine Oguzes”, sometimes “Nine Türkic Tribes (Kok-Türks)” are mentioned as “Türks of Nine Tribes (Kok -Türks)”, and sometimes as ”Nine Toles Tribes”, Nine Toles Oguzes means the same, as Nine Kok-Türk Oguzes. The roots of Kok-Türks are The Oguz tribes.
In the Chinese sources of the period of the Kok-Türkic Kaganate the Oguzes are mentioned not independently (that is as ”Oguzes”) but as ”Nine Tribes” (Kui-Sin), and the translation of the word ”Oguz” is given as Tu-Kue (= Türk), which shows the absence of a necessity to call this group by another name. An absence in the monuments of the period of the First Kok-Türkic Kaganate of the uses of the name ”Oguz” testifies to it too.
No Oguz tribe carried a name “Türks”. The word “Türk” was a political name. The Kok-Türk state was created by the ancient ruling Türkic dynasty Ashina, with the help of the Türkic groups surrounding it, organized into a union of tribes (i.e. Oguzes).
The confusion that arose as a result of a mention in the Islamic sources of Uigurs as ”Nine Oguzes”, is eliminated after an exact definition of Uigur tribe and that of the Kok-Türk Nine Oguzes.
500 Since the 6-th century, Oguzes were among the members of the Türkic tribes in the Kok-Türkic Khanaate.
In the period of disturbances, which began in 630, in the area of the rivers Tolga and Selenga, Oguzes jointed into a union, creating a Nine-Oguzes Khanaate. Oguzes, defeated by Ilterish in 682 (in the war on the Cow lake) were in this status. Later, at tomb of Ilterish-Khagan, was installed the monument (balbal) to Baz – Khagan, the ruler of the Oguz state, who died in this battle.
682 Concerned with Kutlug progress, Oguzes, living on coast of Selenga, made an attempt of cooperation with Chinese and Kitans.
682 The attack, initiated on the advice of Tonyukuk, on a coast of the Cow lake, was successful and has removed the Oguz threat
In 6-9 centuries Oguzes lived in the area of the river Selenga.
691 In the beginning of the Uigur Khanaate the Uigur leader, Moen-Chur, still being a ”Tegin”, was in the head of the Oguzes. A bit later the Oguzes rose against the Uigur Khanaate. This time they were a part of the Eight Oguzes. In Burgu and on the bank of Selenga Moen-Chur subjugated Oguzes, who joined with Otuz-Tatars, ”Thirty Tatars”. Oguzes, crossing Selenga, retreated. After that there is no sufficient information on the destiny of Oguzes in their native land. Certainly they resettled to the west in mass.
716 Revolt of Nine Oguzes and death of Qapagan Khagan.
716 Kul-Tegin has made 5 campaigns on Oguzes, in four of them participated also Bilge
As a result of the Khagan campaign against the Oguz tribes, which he was forced to undertake in 715, their cattle were killed. In 716 one of Oguz tribes - Baiyrku - was subjugated severely.
Wise man Tonyukuk together with Ilterish Khagan killed many Chinese in the south, Kitans in the east, Oguzes in the north.
But Oguzes continued to struggle with unabating force. Even in the year when because of a drought a lot of animals were lost, Bilge went on a campaign. Uch-Oguzes (3 Oguz = Karluks), who attacked Otyuken, were beatten off. Oguzes allied with Tatars and started an advance, but suffered a defeat in the war at Agu, after which masses of Oguzes left the country and went to borders of China (717-718)
The members of the Oguz tribal union relocated in great numbers from the Orkhon area to the vicinity of Talas, and then to Syr Darya. The Oguz dialect separated from the Eastern Türkic dialect before the 9-th century, and by the 11-th century the Oguz language of Syr Darya differs from Eastern Türkic language in the lexicon and pronunciation.
820 Attack of Nine Oguzes on Ushrusana (between Syr-Darya and Samarkand) in 820-821 is mentioned by Al-Tabery.
900 In first half of the 10th century the Oguzes lived in the steppes of Syr-Darya, in the cities of Karadjuk (Farab) (39.2°N 63.6°E) and Sairam (Ispidjab, 42.3°N 69.8°E). According to Islamic geographers (Al-Balkhi, Istakhri, Ibn-Haukal) and Khududul-Alem, Oguz territory spread to the Caspian Sea in the west (therefore the peninsula in the east of this sea received a Türkic name Mankishlak) to the city of Yurgench (Urgench, 42.3°N 59.2°E) in the south, to the settlements Djit on the northwest and Baratekin (in the south of the Aral lake), to the north of Bukhara (39.8°N 64.4°E) in Maverannahr, to city of Sabran at the feet of mountains Karadzhuk, and the half of steppe from Caspian sea to the mountains Karadzhuk, called”Oguz steppe”(Mafazul-Guziya).
1209 The domination of the Uigurs, mentioned in Islamic sources as “Nine Oguzes”, seized.
The Oguz state Yabgu
Generally, as Oguz directly means Türkic communities, the Oguz has remained in the east and used a sound ”z”, and the Ogur, after branching off from the original Türkic, began to use instead the sound “r”.
The unions of the Ogur communities consisted of 5-Oguz, 6-Oguz, 9-Oguz, 10-Oguz and 30-Oguz. The Eastern Türks also had the unions, named after a number of communities included in them.
In the Kimek union were Baindyr tribe, who, probably, were not numerous and widespread. They simply were a part of Oguz people. Later, in the 15 c., the Baindurs clan Akkoyunlu will create a state in eastern Anatolia and Azerbaijan. From the book “Dede Korkut”, written in the period when the tribe Baindyrs was a part of Oguzes, it is clear that Baindyrs were in the Kimek union at a Khanaate level.
The sources tell that the Kimek country occupied the extensive steppe spaces in the eastern Siberia. The main center of the Kimek country was the coast of the middle Irtysh. The borders expanded with the growth of the peoples of the union. In the records of some Muslim geographers we find information about the borders of the Türkic country. Geographer Muhammed el-Mukaddesi speaks that in 10th century the southwest border passed by settlements Sabran and Shagljan in the river basin of Syr-Darya. Of them the Sabran was the settlement protecting the border of Oguzes and Kimeks. Shagljan was the big and rich settlement, surrounded with fortifications, on the Kimek border. Ibn Havkal believes that in the west the border is reaching the sources of the river Ak-Itil.
One of three areas of the Kimek country was called Kyrkyzkhan, showing that Kirghiz tribe also joined Kimeks. The tribe Kangly, living in the neighborhood with Oguzes and later united with Kipchaks, also joined the union.
Kimeks spoke a Türkic language. Judging by the remnants of the language, it is possible to conclude that two dialects were used in the Kimek country. The larger part of the population of the country, together with the neighboring Oguzes, spoke the basic Oguz Türkic language dialect (Türkish with the use of “y”). A part of Kipchaks and Imeks, who lived in the northwest, spoke the Ogur Kipchak (Bulgarian) Türkic language dialect (Türkic with the use of “dj”).
Kimeks had difficulty keeping big herds of cattle in the severe winter conditions of their territory. Therefore they, by an annual arrangement with Oguzes, came with the herds over to their side. A place where Kimeks drove the horses for wintering was the settlement Ak-Tag (Ok-Tag) near the Oguz country.
The Islamic traders were coming to the locations of some Türkic tribes located far from the main trading routes, such as Oguzes, Kimeks and Kirgizes, and set there the bazaars.
In first half of the 10-th century Oguzes established a new state with a summer center in the city of Eni-Kent (Eni City). The confederation was headed by Yabgu. A leader with a rank of Erkin was his deputy, Subashi commanded the army. The state Yabgu had uneasy relations with the neighboring Besenyos and Khazars. Per Ibn-I-Fadlan (the first quarter of the 10-th century) and El-Messudi, between them frequently occurred wars. The local Athrig dynasty of Khoresm was under pressure from Oguzes. The death of Oguz Yabgu in one of the wars with Karluks attests to the struggles of Oguzes with their eastern neighbors Karluks. On the other hand, Mahmud Kashgari talks about a constant enmity of Oguzes with Chigils. With Kimeks, who were living to the north, the relations were sometimes friendly, and sometimes hostile. The Yabgu Oguzes used a political name ”Türkmens” along with the general name ”Türks” (”Türkmen” is an exoethnonym, applied by extraneous people specifically to the Türkic Moslems, with a meaning of lit. ”Türk-like”, i.e. ”Türk-apostate”, ”Tengrian apostate”. Some researchers took it literary, ascribing it a meaning not of converts, but of a different genera, supposedly Persian-speaking, that adopted Türkic pastural husbandrymen lifestile and language. That supposition conflict with the known etymology of the term ”Türkmen”).
After Oguzes came to the Muslim countries, the Islamic sources began to mention them under the Türkmen name also. No other information was found about the history of the Oguz state Yabgu. A mention by Reshidud-din (the first quarter of the14th century) of a certain Ali-Khan who was, in his opinion, the last of the Oguz Yabgus, and, being the Seljuk’s enemy, forced sufferings on the Seljuk Beys Turgul and Chagry, seems to be a legend, like a depiction that a famous Chendian judge Shan Melik was a son of this Ali-Khan.
The fall of the Oguz Yabgu state and its consequences
In the Yabgu state the Oguzes were organized in two groups: Uch-Oks and Boz-Oks. There are two lists, one of which belongs to Mahmud Kashgari (the third quarter of the eleventh century), and another to Reshidud-din Fjami-ut-tevarih (the first quarter of the 14th century), which record the Oguz tribes of these groups. Mahmud Kashgari gave the names of 22 tribes, together with their tamgas, and Reshidud-din Fjami-ut-tevarih specified 24 tribes, and also divided them between Boz-Oks and Uch-Oks. He also described their tamgas and their coat-of-arms. Per him, Oguz tribes Boz- Ok were:
Kai, Bayat, Alka-Evli, Kara-Evli, Yazyr, Doger, Dodurga, Yaparly (not present in Mahmud Kashgari), Afshar, Kyzyr (not present in Mahmud Kashgari), Begdiliu, Karkyn (not present in Mahmud Kashgari, instead of it is listed Charuklu);
Baindyr, Pechene, Chavuldur, Chepni, Salur, Eymur, Alaüntlu, Üregir, Igdir, Bügdüz, Iva, Kynyk.
Coming nearer to the year 1000, the Oguz Yabgu state fell. It is believed that it happened as a result of attacks by one branch of Kimek tribe, Kipchaks (Kumans), settled there in the 9-th c., on one hand, and because of the departure of Seljuk branch together with tribes allied with them on another hand. According to the Mahmud Kashgari’s map, in middle of the 11th century the Kipchaks took the Oguz steppe and the territory of the lower fork of Syr-Darya. As the result of the fall of the Oguz Yabgu state, numerous Oguzes moved from the north of Pontic Sea to the west (Uses), and another part moved to the area of Djend, and from there it went to Khurasan (Seljuks). The remaining Oguzes lived in Mankishlak in the area of Karadjuk mountains and in the settlements on the banks of Syr-Darya (the 11th century was a begining of a wetter perod in the Sary Kamysh and Usturt plateau land. deserted in the previous dry period, it bacame habitable for new husbarymen, in this case Oguzes - see E. Tsvetsinskaya).
One of the tribes participating in the last big wave of Türkic resettlement from Central Asia to the west (9-11 cc.) were Besenyos, who were one of the groups in the Kok-Türkic Kaganate. It is probable that they lived in areas of Issyk Kul and Balkhash, as a part of the On-Oks (Turgishes), and after the disintegration of the Western Kok-Türkic Kaganate (middle of the 7 c.), probably, retreated to western Siberia (second half of the 8-th c.) because of Oguzian relocation to Syr-Darya as a result of pressure from Karluks.
Mahmud Kashgari talks about Besenyos as a branch of Oguzes. According to the Byzantium emperor K.Porphirogenesos, a part of Besenyos, who went to the west, remained with Oguzes (“Oguzian Besenyos”), so the Besenyos, noted by Mahmud Kashgari among Oguzes, should be those.
In middle of the ninth century the Besenyos, who took the control of the trading route from Itil to Khorezm, dealt a hard blow to the Khazarian trade, and became their dangerous neighbors. The Khazars tried to ally with the Uses (Oguzes) to the east of them against Besenyos, but did not succeed.
Besenyos, named in various sources “Patzinaks” (Byzantium), Pechenachi, Pachenase, Pezengs,”Bissenus” (in Latin),”Badzinags” (in Armenian),”Beshenye” (in Hungarian), “Pechenegs” (In Russian), lived between the rivers Emba and Ural, and in the first half of the 9-th century were displaced by the allied forces of Khazars and Oguzes because of a threat to their trading routs. Crossing Itil, they settled instead of the Magyars, whom they displaced, in the vicinity of Don and Kama (860-880). It was a first part of a big resettlement movement.
After Besenyos (“Türkic Besenyos”), who followed Magyars, came Oguzes, and behind them from the north of Black Sea to the west went Kipchaks. Further away toward Siberia were Kimeks. Besenyos, displacing Magyars from Atil-Kuzü (889-893) toward the Carpathian mountains, settled down on the plains from Don to western Dniepr.
According to the records in the “D’Administrando Imperio”, by Emperor K.Porphirogenesos (948-952), Besenyos consisted of communities:
Ertim (or Erdem; the leader - Baicha, then - Yavdy),
Chor (the leader - Kyugel, then - Kuerchi),
Yula (the leader - Korkutkhan, then - Kabukschin),
Kukhey (the leader - Ipa, then - Sura),
Karabai (the leader - Karduxm),
Tolmach (the leader - Kortan, then - Boru),
Kapan (the leader - Yazy),
Choban (the leader - Batahan, then - Bula).
These communities, three of which (Ertim, Chor and Yula) were mentioned as ”Kangar”, meaning “brave”, in middle of 10 century occupied the banks of the rivers running into the Black Sea, in this fashion:
Choban (in Don area),
Tolmach (in area of Don flowing into the sea),
Chor (the east of Dnepr),
Karabai (between Dnepr and Bug),
Kapan (the lower Danube).
The first three had contacts with Uses, Khazars, Alans, and Crimea; the Yula bordered on “Türkey” (Hungary), Kapan bordered with Danube Bulgars. A part of the names of communities are the Türkic title ranks (Yula, Chor, Kapan = Kapgan, Kul, Bey), and the names of the leaders in most cases mean colors: Kuerchi = blue, Kakhushkin = wood bark, Sulu = ash, Boru = grey, Yazy = swarty, Bula = multi-colored, Yavdy = brilliant.
In the 13th century the number of the Besenyo communities has grown to 13, and among the names were Aba, Balchar, Bator, Bychkyly, Eke, Ilbeg, Kure, Karaja, Temir, Teber, Sol. The fortresses belonging to them were named as follows: Salma, Saga, Kerbak. Names of four others Besenyoan fortresses are not yet known.
From these words it is clear that the Besenyo language most of all resembled the Türkic Kipchak dialect.
Besenyos, during all their history, remained under the direction of communal leaders and did not form a centralized state. However, during campaigns and for the defense they united (like Kipchaks and Uzes).
In the east, Besenyos did not live a tranquil life. The Uzes (Oguzes), who displaced them from their territory beyond Itil, kept pressing to the east, and from the territory around Oka they increased pressure upon the eastern front of Besenyos.
Social and political organization
Families or clans, uniting, formed a tribe headed by a Bey (Bag, Beg, Bi) whose primary goal was to keep mutual aid, to observe rights and fairness, and to apply a force if necessary for the protection of the tribe. Therefore a tribe is an association of a political nature, with a military force. Its property and herds differed from the others’ (each of 24 Oguz tribes had its own tamga).
The private property is a guarantee of rights and freedoms of a person. Bulgars in the 10 c. could even pay to the ruler no tribute at all from the goods produced on their own estates. The Khazar Khagan and his court did not even try to take a tribute from the property of citizens. The Oguz Beys raised voices in case of some excessive actions of khan.
One Byzantinian spoke in the capital of the European Huns in Attila times that unlike of Byzantium, where a person is under pressure and the laws do not work, in the Hun empire he feels free and lives without a fear. The Chinese slaves escaped to the country of freedom, the Asian Hun empire. The same have also done the Russian slaves, escaping to the country of freedom, to the Türks behind frontiers.
The listings of the inscriptions: “Khagan, his family, the tribal union, Beys, Tarkhans, Beys -buiruks, Beys of Tokuz-Oguzes...”, is not a class hierarchy, but a direct listings from the ruling in the state to the controlled.
Atilla gave an extensive territory of the state up to Ural under a management of his son Ilek. The western wing of Kok-Türkic empire, the Khazar country, since 630-th was under the control of a prince from Ashina family. The Karluk Yabgus joined the Ashina dynasty. Small political formations like the states of Uigurs, Turgeshes, Oguzes-Yabgu, undoubtedly, were organized in a similar way. For example, the Uigur khan Moenchur headed Oguzes while still being a Tegin.
The administration of foreign affairs, which run the diplomatic relations, was one of the most important services in the great Türkic empires. In the capital of the Asian Hun empire worked a large group of persons, who spoke and wrote in different languages. In the capital of the western Hun empire worked secretaries, translators, couriers. Responsible for the implementation of the medjilis decisions for foreign policy of Tabgaches were Bitachins, of Kok-Türks, Turgeshes and Uigurs were Bitakchis tamgachis, of Oguzes were Tugrajis. The official seal of Tankhu or Khagan was impressed on the written documents. The ambassadors had inviolability until they began spying.
Rashid ad Din, listing in the book Djat-al-Teravikh (814) the 24 Oguz tribes, details one bird as Ongon (the word Ong means success, therefore the meaning of the Totem) for each group of four tribes.
Mahmud Kashgari in his listing of the same Oguz tribes, dated to the pre-Mongol time, does not mention the Ongon birds, but mentions the seals described by Rashid ad Din).
Laws and traditions
The Tore is a collection of obligatory traditions and customs. The Orkhon-Yenisei records say that the state cannot exist without a Tore. In the book Divanu-Lyugati-Türk the word Tore is explained as the major place in the house, this word in the basic sense is used as a custom, a tradition. Gekalp informs that a word Tore and Türk may have one root (this is confirmed numismatically, the first Turanian coins use ”trg” as ”state” > ”law”, see A.Mukhamadiev). According to that concept, the word Türk means observing Tore. Tore exists in all steppes, compiled during thousands of years. Seljuks and Osmans called the traditions, which came from ancestors, the Oguz Tore. However, Tore consists not only from Oguz traditions. It is inherent to the whole Türkic world.
According to the historical documents belonging to the Huns, Kok-Türks, Khazars, Oguzes and Bulgars, the Türkic men, as a rule, were long haired and had a custom to remove the headdresses as a token of respect.
The Türks built fortifications only rarely. The Chinese in 36 BC destroyed the capital Chichi of Hun Tankhu. The Asian Huns constructed the city of Gi-Tsang in the Kansu area. The city of Itil had a wall with four gates. However, the Türks, as a rule, did not like to surround cities with walls (in the words of Tonyukuk) as it did not reflect their way of life.
The cities of Kok-Türks were not a result of an aspiration to imitate the settled way of life. The agricultural villages had to appear first. This is especially true for Besenyos, Oguzes, Khazars and Volga Bulgars. Then, the Türks built cities-fortresses.
The Oguz cities constructed in 10 c. were busy shopping centers Karajuk (Black Sak), Sutkent (Water Town), Altun Tepe (Golden Settlement), Savran, Sairam, Karnak, Kurul Tepe(akin to Kurultai), Jent (Hojdent), Sugnak, Ishkan (As Khan), Chardary, Bayirkum (Bayir Sands), etc.
The Moslem victory, with the help of Karluks, in the Talas war in 751, extinguished finally the Chinese interest to the western Asia. This started a period of prosperity in the central and western Asia in the states and cities of Uigurs, Karluks, and Oguzes. The independence, achieved in the time of Huns and the first Kok-Türk Kaganate, was again gained in the second half of the 9-th century by the political organizations of Uigurs in the Eastern Türkestan, Turgishes in the Western Türkestan, and especially by Karluks. In the west, the Khazar Khaganate was an important state.
The Türkic Oguzes were at the same time good cattlemen and good farmers. This ability is a main factor that sets them apart from the eastern Türks (Huns, Kok-Türks, Uigurs, Oguzes). Some eastern Türks were involved in agriculture in the areas favorable for it. The Steppes, where Türks lived, are different from the desert steppes. Their surface is almost completely covered with grass, and there are also the areas favorable for the agriculture. According to the Chinese sources, Huns sowed wheat and millet. One of the Chinese yearbooks mentions that because of a strong cold, in one year Huns had a poor harvest. The same sources discuss the Hun’s species of wheat and Hun’s species of beans. The results of the archeological excavations show that the cultivation of grain crops in the Altai mountains lasted as a minimum from the third millennium BC. Each Kok-Türkic family had a plot of irrigated and sowed land.
In the Hun period were built irrigation canals (in Bashkavuz, near river Chulyshman) in Altai. The canal, running from the river Toto, and the canal Ak-Tura, illustrate the development of the agriculture in Altai. Iron ploughs (brought from China), scythes, millstones etc were found in Ibolga and Ilmovo between Selenga and lake Baikal. Ploughs and shovels were found in the Kok-Türk’s kurgans in the Selenga area. A multitude of canals were dug in this period. The length of canal Toto, used during the Kok-Türk time and later, was about 10 km. It was built with such a technical skill, that in 1935 the Russians decided to reuse it. Some of the Karluk’s and Oguz’s areas were irrigated in the same way.
The economy of the steppe states was supported not only by the taxes raised from the subject countries and their gifts, but also the taxes from the people. In the Asian Hun empire taxes were collected by the special officials. Kok-Türks and Oguzes called the tax officials Amga (or Imga), and the state treasury Aglyk. Most likely, the payments were made in kind, by products and goods. The Khazars collected from the Slavs one sword or one pelt of ermine from a family (and rarely money).
Culture and literature
One of ancient Türkic destans was about a famous hero Alper Tunge. Mentioned in the work of the poet Ferdowsi (11th century) under a name Athrasiab, he lived for centuries in the memory of Türks, his memory was honored by Yogi feasts, some of ruling Türkic families (Karakhans, Uigurs, Seljuks) related themselves to him. Another destan, describing the life of the steppe Türks, is destan about Manas, a typical hero of the Alper period. The book “Dede Korkut”, considered to be a part of the ancient Oguz destans, holds an important literary place because of its description of the society of steppe Türks, their organization, social structure, traditions and customs.
The Türks’ ideas of God developed toward the increased essence of the Superior Being in the material sky. In Orkhon inscriptions there is an expression that reveals the Türkic cosmogony in one sentence:”Use Kek Tangri asra yagyz yir kylyndykta ikin ara kishi oglu kylynmysh” (When the God created the blue sky on the top and the earth below, a human was also created between them). The mentioned here Kek Tangri is the God-Sky. During the Kok-Türk times the Sky, covering the earth and ruling everything on the ground, was the God in eyes of steppe peoples.
The Oguzes in the 10th c. had the beliefs similar to this. According to the information of Ibn Fadlan, when Oguzes faced an unfair treatment or any trouble, they looked at the sky and said:”God!”. The basic Türkic belief did not have antropomorphism.
Contents Türkic languages
Ogur and Oguz
Oguz and Ogur Dialects
Pritsak O. Ogur and Oguz Languages