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Contents Alataians
Besenyos, Ogur and Oguz
Alans and Ases
  Alan Dateline
Avar Dateline
Besenyo Dateline
Bulgar Dateline
Huns Dateline
Karluk Dateline
Kimak Dateline
Kipchak Dateline
Khazar Dateline
Kyrgyz Dateline
Sabir Dateline
  L.P.POTAPOV (1905-2000)
"Science" Publishing house, Leningrad branch, Leningrad, 1969
<= Title Part <= Part 1 <= Part 2 Part 3
Part 3. Ancient people in the ethnic composition of Altaians - Antique Period 147



Tele, Teles, and Türks


Ases and Azes






Ases and their kishtyms. Tuhas (Tocharians)


Kypchaks and Kimaks




Teleut ethnography


Boma and Alats




Solu or So






Tirgeshes and Dulu




Si - Tatabs


Türks Tukue


Tele, Teles, and Türks


Altai kiji


Northern Altaians

Part 3 Ancient people in the ethnic composition of Altaians

We have established in previous chapters that the nearest historical ancestors of modern Southern Altaians were mainly Türkic-speaking cattle breeding Tele tribes - Telenguts, Telengits and Teleses, who four centuries ago coached in the territory of Siberia, not only in its southern, especially mountain part in the Sayano-Altai mountains, but also in the forest-steppes and steppes in the interfluvial of Ob and Irtysh, south from the line Omsk - Novosibirsk - Tomsk. It should be noted that in all versions of the ethnonym names, dropping the plural endings leaves as a root the term Tele. That gives reasons to assert that in the foundation of the ethnic composition of overwhelming part of modern Southern Altaians lay a Türkic-speaking component connected with the ancient ethnonym Tele. Now we track down through the available sources the presence of this ethnonym among the nomads of the Central Asia during earlier historical times.

As the Chinese written sources tell, already in the first half of the first millennium of our era, under a name Tele was known a whole group of the nomadic cattlemen tribes that lived primarily in the eastern part of the Central Asia, on the northern side of the Gobi desert. The ancient nomadic Tele tribes in ethnogenetical relation can certainly be compared with the Teleuts-Telengits and Tele. Such comparison would help to bring light on the early ethnic history of modern Southern Altaians, because it will clarify the subject of their early historical ancestors.

The ethnonym Tele appeared in the Chinese annalistic sources of the Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907) dynasties in reference to a large group of tribes who were coaching on the northern side of the Gobi desert in extensive spaces between Great Khingan in the east and Tien Shan in the west. The territories of the modern Mongolia, Tuva and Altai, both Russian and Mongolian (and Chinese), were included into the pasturing rout zone of the Tele tribes. This is a historical fact. 1

1 A known French Orientalist L. Hambis writes: "Telenguts, naturally, are the present Teleuts, whom we call with this expanded form, though the transition from Talangit to Teleut is explained unsatisfactorily, but who continue to call themselves Telengets or Telengits " (L. Hambis. Notes sur trois tribus de superieur: les Us, Qapqanas et Talangiit. Journal Asiatinue, vol. CCXLV, 1957, f. 1, p. 33).the

The term Tele has got into Chinese annals undoubtedly as one of endoethnonym self-names of the Central Asian nomads, and certainly is not a Chinese word, for otherwise it would be impossible to explain its existence among a number of Türkic-speaking tribes and nations until our times, let alone that to borrow this term from the Chinese annals and to spread it to broad masses of nomads is practically impossible. Moreover, can be quite surely asserted that the name Tele that appeared in the annals of the Sui and Tang dynasties was an accurate transmission by the Chinese chroniclers of the self-name of a group of the nomadic cattlemen tribes. The proof of the accuracy consist of not only in that the ethnonym Tele was persevered in the self-names of some modern Türkic-speaking tribes and peoples among the Southern Altaians and Kirgizes. The proof also lay in that the ethnonym Tele is also used in such known medieval sources as the "Secret Legend" (in Mongolian), Rashid-ad-din annals (in Persian ), and at last in the Russian written sources of the 17th-18th centuries. In other words, the ethnonym Tele recorded by the Chinese chroniclers during the period of the Sui dynasty, 2 undoubtedly reflects correctly the self-name of specific tribes. It endured among the Türkic-speaking nomads for a duration of almost 15 centuries, reaching up to present. Therefore the attempts by some researchers who start with an assumption that the ethnonym Tele is only a Chinese transmission of some ethnonym, which in the language of the carrier sounded differently (for example, Terek), from the historical ethnographic point of view appear insufficiently justified. The ethnonym Tele is not such a term that would present difficulties for the Chinese phonetics of that time to distort its real form. As a result of underestimating of the capability to correctly transmit in Chinese the ethnonym Tele may be "restored" ethnonyms which we certainly would not find in the real ethnic history.

The term Tele was repeatedly discussed in the special literature. The most outstanding modern Orientalists tend to derive it through the earlier spelling forms (for example, Ch'ih-le, Modern Chinese Pinyin 敕勒 Chile) to the name Ting-ling (Dinlins, Modern Chinese Pinyin 丁零 Dinglings), who were (at least in the 1 century AD) Türkic-speaking tribes. 3

2 During that period Chinese chroniclers already better knew the nomads, "living on the northern side of Gobi, because between the nomads and Chinese dynastic court there were fairly regular relations (exchange of embassies, trade, etc.).
3 . Pulleyblank. 1) Some remarks on the Toguzoghuz problem. Uralo-Altaische Jahrbucher, Wiesbaden, 28, H. 1-2, 1956, p. 37-38; 2) The Hsiung-nu Language, 1962, p. 260; L. Hambis, Ibid., p. ox

The Tele tribes became known to the Chinese historians much earlier than their endoethnonym self-name appeared in the Sui and Tang dynastic chronicles. Our Sinologists for long ago noted information about these tribes in earlier Chinese sources, but under other names. 4 Without barging in the discussion on the evolution of the names of the Tele nomads in the Chinese annals prior to the Sui period, when the knowledge of historians about these tribes was fairly superficial and weak, we shall point to a fact of a common knowledge that in the history of the northern dynasties (386-581) instead of the name Gao-gui (Kao-ku, Modern Chinese Pinyin 高車 Gaoche) appeared ethnonym Tele. As was repeatedly emphasized, the name Gao-gui is Chinese, and was given by a household attribute. Its translation from Chinese means "high carts", for for their coaching migrations these nomads used wooden vehicles on two high wheels (with many spokes) pulled by oxes.

From the dynastic sources follows that at least in the 4th century Gaogyuans coached on the northern side of Gobi, in territory of modern Mongolia touching on the Sayano-Altai mountains, where sometimes they are mentioned as subjects of the Syanbian Toba dynasty. The Syanbi main tribe Uanhe, which later began to be called Weiho, and then Huiho or Uigur, lived in the basin of Selenga, in particular in the river system of the Orkhon and Tola. From the Gaogyuan customs of that time is interesting to note public prayer and sacrifice to the Sky (like the Huns), followed by a celebration. Sacrifices to the Sky were practised by the Sayano-Altai mountains nations up to the 20th century.

Gaogyuans were perennially hostile with Jujan (Modern Chinese Pinyin 柔然 Rouran) tribes, who were then coaching on the southern side of Gobi, but crossed in the summertime to the northern side and conflicted with Gaogyuans. Apparently, Gaogyuans appeared on the northern side of Gobi in the 1st century, with the northern Huns, who then mixed with Syanbinians and a significant part of them even accepted their name. 5 Incidentally, the Syanbinians also used wooden carts for coaching migrations. 6 Does this household feature also reflect a presence among the Syanbi conglomerate of the Gaogui tribes, under a name Tele? There is another curious fact. The history of the early Han dynasty recorded a Syanbi legend about miraculous origin of their well-known leader Tanynihai (middle of the 2nd century) who was conceived by his mother from a little hailstone. Maybe, the passage of that very original legend to the remote descendants of the ancient Tele tribes in the Altai and among the modern Teleuts was not accidental.

4 N.Ya.Bichurin (Iakinf). Collection of information on peoples in Central Asia in ancient times, vol. 1. M.-L., 1950, p. 301; D Pozdaev Historical sketch of Uigurs. SPb., 1899, p. 12-13.
5 N.Bichurin, Ibid., p. 150-151. Ibid., p. 153.

Such surmisal also seems even more probable because it is being proven now that some groups of Syanbians, in particular Toba, were Türkic-speaking. 7 In any case, the Türkic speech undoubtedly was heard in the Syanbian tribal conglomerate. That increases the the possibility of connection between the legend we recorded about the origin of the founder of the Teleut seok Mundus with the Syanbi legend about the origin of Tanynihai.

The animosity of Gaogyuans (Tele) with Jujans become especially aggravated in the second half of the 5th century. Gaogyuans held as Jujan subjects. However, the Gaoguiy leader Afuchjilo, aiming for independence, took his people numbering 100 thousand. wagon carts (~410,000 people) to the west across Mongolian Altai to the territory of modern Dzungaria with the center near the modern Turfan. That way the Tele Gaogyuans appeared partially in the headwaters of Irtysh (Black Irtysh). Probably, already then among them were the early historical ancestors of the modern Teleuts. In the new places, mainly near Altai mountains, Gaogyuans continued struggling with Jujans for three more decades. 8

The annalistic sources tell about the origin of the Tele tribes and state that they are lineal descendants of the Huns. "Tele ancestors were descendants of the Hunnu (Huns)", says the Sui dynastic chronicle. 9 The Tele language was similar with Hunnish, assert the Wei annals narrating the origin of the Gaogyuan ancestors from the Huns. 10 We can point to a number of ethnographic attributes confirming ethnogenetical relationship of the Tele tribes with the Huns. As is well-known, both groups were nomadic cattlemen. Above was noted sacrifice to the Sky, typical for Hun religion. Tele-Gaogyuans had the same ritual. And another parallel. Huns were able to produce wooden vehicles which they used for coaching migrations. 11 Because the Huns lived in the mountainous terrain, these vehicles were undoubtedly two-wheeled, i.e. the same as how the Chinese describe them in relation to the Tele-Gaogyuans.

7 P. Boodberg. The language of the T'o-pa Wei. Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, vol. 1, 1936, p. 167-185;
L. azin. Recherches sur les paries To-pa. T'oung-Pao, 1950, v. 2019, p. 4-5;
G. Clauson. Turk, Mongol, Tungus. Asia Major, New Series (vol. 8), pt. 1, 1960;
Compare: W.Bartold. Kirgizes. Frunze, 1927, p. 8 (referring to P.Pelliot's lecture given in Leningrad, in which Pelliot stated that Syanbian language is Türkic, basing on the Chinese dictionary of the Syanbi language);
E.Pulleyblank, citing P.Pelliot's remark that some groups of Syanbi spoke Mongolian, recognizes that Toba among Syanbians were certainly Türkic descending, in his opinion, from the Dinlins (Ting-ling). However, Pulleyblank thinks that the question of "To-ba" Türkic-linguality as a whole should be reconsidered (. Pulleyblanc. The Hsiung-nu Language, p. 259-260).
8 Ma Chjan-show. Türks and Türkic Kaganate. Shanghai, 1957, p. 7 (in Chinese).
9 Liu Mau-tsai, Ibid., vol. 1, p. 109. Compare: F. Hirth. Nachworte zur1nschriften des Tonjukuk. Die altturkischen 1nschriften der Mongolei. Zw. Folge. St.-Pet, 1899, p. 134;
N.V. Kuner, Chinese news about peoples of southern Siberia, Central Asia and Far East. ., 1961, p. 36 ("Tiele actually are a separate tribe of the Sünnu").
10 N.Ya.Bichurin, Ibid., p. 214.

During the period of the ancient Türks Kaganate (6-8 centuries) Tele became known to the Chinese chroniclers by individual tribes and by some tribal confederations. Most frequently are mentioned the following Tele tribes that played role in the history of the Central Asia eastern part generally, or in particular in connection with the history of the Türkic Kaganate and China: Seyanto, Beiho (Huiho, or Uigurs), Paegu, Tunlo, Pugu, Apa, Teleer, Sekis, Tolanko (Dolange), Kipi, Atie, Hun, 12 Husie or Husa, Fulo, Fuliku, Tubo (Dubo), Guligan. 13 Of them, some tribes are characterized by the sources as "special generation of Tele". They are Seyanto, Pugu, Tunlo, Kibi, Adie, Husie, Guligan, Baegu, Dubo. 14

Tele were settled over extensive space from the Great Khingan in the east to the Caspian sea in the west. The Sui annals list some Tele groups of tribes that can be presumably "associated" with various geographical areas. In the east can be names a group of tribes that lived in the territory from Baikal (53.5N 108.2E) to the basin of the river Tola (valley of present Ulan Bator, 475N 1065E). It consisted of Uigurs, Pugu, Paegu, Tunlo, Husie, Tolanko, Dubo, and others. In the west, in the area of the Enisei headwaters (51N 90E), Mongolian Altai (50N 96E), and Dzungaria (41N 85.5E) lived Seyanto, Teleer and others. Various Tele tribes lived between Aral and Caspian seas, etc. (What Tele tribes lived between Aral and Caspian seas? - Translator's Note).

Extracting information about location of some Tele tribes can illuminate this question in a better detail. The annals of the Sui dynasty tell that Uigurs lived on the river Selenga (49.2N 100.6E), and Husie (or Husa) lived along the river Tola (475N 1065E). To the north of Tola lived Pugu, Paegu, Tunlo and Fulo. In the Mongolian Altai in Dzungaria (50N 96E) coached Seyanto, Taki, Teleer, in the lake Kosogol (Khövsgöl,50N 100.5E) area coached Dubo. The annals of the Tang dynasty specify the pasturing routs of the Uigurs, Tolanko, Husa, Pugu in the basins of the Selenga headwaters, along Orkhon and Tola, and Dubo pastures are localized north from the Uigurs, east from Kyrgyzes and south from a small lake, apparently Kosogol (Khövsgöl). Guligans were the most northern Tele tribe, they lived on the northern side of Baikal. The tribes Paegu and Atie are localized at the Manchuria border (and where was Manchuria then ?), tribe Fuliku was placed behind Great Khingan (49N 126E) in the Southwest Manchuria, and Kipi was localized in the extreme west, in the valley of Uldus (43N 83E) northwest from Karashar. 15

11 Ibid., p. 99.
12 In the Hun tribe many scientists see remains of the Huns. See: . Pritsak. Xun der Volksname der Hsiung-nu. Central Asiatic Journal, vol. 5, 1959.
13 Liu Mau - Tsai, Ibid., vol. 1 and 2.
14 H. V.Kuner, Ibid., p. 40-51.

Let's briefly trace the fate of the Tele tribes in the sources, their history is closely associated with the state of the ancient Türks-Tukue.

The economic and military growth of the ancient Türks falls on the period at the end of the 520's and the beginnings of 530's. In 546 they attacked the "Dzungarian" Tele tribes, who at that time went on a campaign against their Jujan enemies. Türks crushed Tele and captured 50 thousand of their wagon carts (200,000+ people). That was a start of Tele submission to the ancient Türks.

The Tele tribes that became subjects of the ancient Türks, constituted a strong military force used regularly by the Kaganate leaders in aggressive and retaliatory campaigns. The Tang dynasty annals say that the ancient Türks "were heroes in the northern deserts with their (Tele) forces". 16 In 581 during Kagan Shabolio his brother Anlo ruled Tele tribes, who were coaching in the eastern part of the Central Asia, their pasturing routs were located along the river Tola. Between Khangai mountains and Mongolian Altai A nephew of Kagan was appointed a ruler of the Tele tribe Aba. The "Aba Tatars", remote descendants of the Aba tribe, up to the 17th-19th centuries retained their name, and were coaching in the Teleut neighborhood. In the 1618 in the midst of their pasturing routs was built the Kuznetsk fort.

In the beginning of 580's the Türkic Kaganate as a result of internecine strifes split into two independent parts, eastern and western. From that time normally are distinguished the states of Eastern and Western Türks.

At the end of the 6th century the Western Türks for some time controlled the lands north from the Gobi, and a majority of the Tele tribes fell under their rule. But the Western Türks never stopped having internecine feuds. The Tele tribes (in the Middle Asia "Tele" was pronounced as "Dulo", and in that form it appears in the dynastic and historical records. Modern pronunciation is "Dulat", with apparently Mongolic plural affix, They belong to the Kazakhstan Uly Juz = Senior Juz - Translator's Note) frequently rebelled against their domination. A part of them coached away to the southern side of the (Gobi) desert, under a protection of the Eastern Türkic Kimin (or Symyn) - Kagan, who was under protection of the the Chinese emperor, and another part migrated through Altai to Dzungaria, where they had to fight with Western Türkinc Heli-khan (Aru Khan) and Shehu Kagans, whose forced Tele managed to defeat. A number of the Tele tribes (Seyanto, Kibi, Hoihu or Uigur, Tunlo) at that time began coaching north of Tien Shan (Jeti-su, Ili river basin). Thus, during that period the Tele tribes dispersed. However, after the Western Türkic Kagan Chulo-khan in the 605 first subdued them, and then exterminated almost all their leaders and imposed a heavy tribute, the Tele tribes (Uigurs, Seyanto, Pugu, Tunlo, Paegu, and others) united again, rose in insurrection, freed from the yoke of Chulo-khan, and formed in the west their own short-lived Kaganate (Tele Kaganate).

15 E Grumm-Grjimailo, after studying the mentioned sources, came to a conclusion that Tolanko (Dolange) coached in the basin of the river Dzabhan (49N 95E) southeast from the lake Kyrgyz-nur (Khar Nuur), where Dzabhan discharges; Uigurs coached between Tola (475N 1065E) and Orkhon (47.5N 102.8E), Seyanto coached in the Gobi Altai (445N 975E); Pugu coached in the lower course of the Orkhon (47.5N 102.8E) and Selenga (Selenge, 49N 100E), etc. (Western Mongolia and Uryanhai territory, vol. 1, M-L., 1956, p. 247-251, 275-276).
16 N.Ya.Bichurin, Ibid., p. 301.

The Tele Kaganate was headed by Seyanto leaders, Uigurs also played a large role; temporarily its power also controlled some city-states of the East Turkestan. Tele were sending there officials for tax collection from subordinated inhabitants, described in the annals of the Sui dynasty. Tele also attacked Chinese territory. But when in the 609 Shibi (609-619) became an Eastern Türkic Kaganate (L.Potapov: Eastern  Tukue) Kagan, seven Tele tribes (Uigurs, Paegu, Atie, Hunlo, Pugu, and others), who were coaching in the Otuken mountains (in the Khangai area, 47N 100E), subordinated to him. Seyanto (in the Mongolian Altai) (= Gobi Altai 445N 975E ?) and other Tele tribes, who were coaching in the west, were subjugated by the Western Türkic Kaganate (L.Potapov: Western Tukue) during the 615-619.

After the death of Shibi in 619, his brother Aru (L.Potapov: Heli) became a Kagan. He appointed a son of the deceased Kagan Shibi-Tuli as a khan (yabgu, which is an appointed position, vs. khan, an inherited title. L.Potapov follows indiscriminate Russian terminology) of the tribes in the east. The Tele tribes on the northern side of desert, were ruled by Shad Uiku, a son of Aru (L.Potapov: Heli)-Kagan. Under his authority also happen to fall the Seyanto, who migrated from the Western Türkic Kaganate (L.Potapov: Western Tukue) to Aru (L.Potapov: Heli)-Kagan numbering 70 thousand yurts (290,000 people), headed by Inan. However, the power of the Eastern Türkic Kagan began falling. This weakening was predominantly caused by the revolts of their subject Tele tribes, whom Aru (L.Potapov: Heli) assessed with large taxes.

The Tele tribes, Seyanto and Uigurs, revolted in 627, invaded the Eastern Türkic Kaganate (L.Potapov: Tukue) through the northern border, and defeated detachments of Kagan (Bagatur-Shad Kat Il Khan Kagan 621-630). Uigurs especially distinguished themselves in the action, and after that victory gained strength. Together with Seyanto they became the strongest tribes, their pasturing routs spread to Northern Mongolia and Tuva. Many Aru (L.Potapov: Heli)-Kagan clans and tribes surrendered to Seyanto and Uigurs. The superiority of Inan, a leader of Seyanto, was also recognized by the Uigur leader Pusa, whose court was near the river Tola. The desertion and revolt of the Tele tribes seriously emaciated Aru (L.Potapov: Heli). In the 628. Inan became a Kagan of not only Seyanto, but also a Kagan of the Tele tribes (Uigurs, Paegu, Atie, Tunlo, Pugu, Si). Inan established his court on the northern side of the (Gobi) desert in the Yuidugun mountains (Yui Dügün - Yui Wedding). 17 His possessions reached from Altai to the east.

In 630. Aru (L.Potapov: Heli)-Kagan was defeated by the Chinese army and taken to captivity. The First Türkic Kaganate has finished its existence. The Aru (L.Potapov: Heli)-Kagan tribes partially fled to Seyanto. Inan began to advance eastward and fortified in the mountains south of Tola. East from him lived some Shivei groups (along Kerulen river, per L.Gumilev), to the south lived Türks  (L.Potapov: Tukue. Which Türks ?),  to the west was Altai, and to the north was Baikal. The annals say, it was a former territory of the Huns.

17 These mountains cannot be identified with Otuken mountains.

That way, on the northern side of the (Gobi) desert, in eastern part of the Central Asia, emerged a Kaganate of the Tele tribes (Second Tele Kaganate ?), the far ancestors of the modern Tuvinians and Altaians, led by the Seyanto tribe, in Türkic Tokuz-Oguz, i.e. "nine Oguzes" or "nine tribes". The nucleus of that confederation consisted of nine tribes, whose number also included the ancient ancestors of Telengits (Dolanko or Dolango of the Chinese records) (Modern Chinese Pinyin 多览葛 Duolange).

In the annals of the Tang dynasty Tokuz-Oguzes usually are simply called "nine tribes", which is a translation into the Chinese language of the term Tokuz-Oguz, and this term appears in the Chinese sources at about 630. The name Tokuz-Oguz is also present in the ancient Türkic inscriptions of the 8th century, where it means a confederation of the (9) Tele tribes. A custom to call tribal associations by a numerical name was fairly widely known in the history of the Central Asian (Türkic) nomads. However, the numerical name not always coincided with the actual number of the tribes which were included in the association. The Tang annals still occasionally called Tokuz-Oguzes "nine Türkic (L.Potapov: Tukue) tribes" or "Tukue of nine tribes", because Tokuz-Oguzes during the (First) Türkic Kaganate, as a rule, were subjects of the Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue's), who frequently used them for military campaigns, and the daily life and language of the Tele (Tokuz-Oguzes) were fairly close with the eastern Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue).

The political influence of the (Tele) Kaganate headed by Seyanto extended to the territory of the modern Mongolia, Tuva, Altai, and the Hyagas (Enisei Kyrgyz) state, located in the Minusinsk depression.

The Seyanto Kagan, who re-occupied his former pasturing routs on the northern side of (Gobi) desert, had 200 thousand elite soldiers.

At that time the tribal aristocracy of the eastern Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue), nominally subordinated to China, elected as a leader Kupi, a scion from the Kagan clan Ashina (Chinese called their puppet appointees "Kagan", even if they were not elected - Translator's Note). But Tokuz-Oguzes, led by Seyanto, were so strong that Kupi himself recognized their superiority. It was a period of short-lived sovereignty of the Tele tribes over the eastern Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue). In the 632 and 635 Teles crushed Western Türkic Kagans who tried to destroy them. Kupi so was afraid of Tokuz-Oguz Kagan that soon he defected from the Great Wall (Chinese kept their puppet "Kagans" close to China, or even settled their followers in China- Translator's Note). He established his court to the north of the Mongolian Altai, where he proclaimed himself a Türkic (L.Potapov: Tukue) Kagan.

In 639 Chinese emperor, scheming to counterpose to Kagan Kupi his own protégé, appointed a relative of the deceased Aru (L.Potapov: Heli) by the name Semo  as a Kagan of the eastern Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue) subjugated by Chinese, and ordered him to move the Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue), a majority of whom lived in China, to the old territory located south from the (Gobi) desert along the bend of the Huang He river, north from the Great Wall.

In 641 Seyanto (under Inan leadership), together with Uigurs, Tunlo, Pugu and other Tele tribes, crossed (Gobi) desert, attacked Semo-Kagan and partially invaded China. The Chinese army came in time to the aid and defeated Inan.

In 645 Kagan Inan died. His son Bachjo became a Kagan. In 646 the Chinese army, together with the calvary of the eastern Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue) trounced Seyanto north of the Otuken ridge, decapitating more than 5 thousand people, and taking prisoner over 30 thousand men and women. Seyanto were completely broken and dispersed.

In that situation against Seyanto rose other Tele tribes. A leader of Uigurs Tumitu inflicted on Seyanto a strong defeat and captured their territory. In 648 Chinese troops crushed Seyanto remains at the Mongolian Altai. Uigurs began playing a dominating role among Tokuz-Oguzes. Yielding to increased power of Tang empire, Tele tribes (Tokuz-Oguzes) were compelled in 648 to temporarily recognize a supremacy of China. To rule over them, in their territory were established 13 prefectures or administrative areas and commanderies. Of them, six were for Uigurs, Pugu, Dolango (Telengits), Baegu, Tunlo and Baisi were set up in the territory of the modern Mongolian People's Republic. In the area of modern Ulan Bator was administrative province Yan-Jan, not far from it were coaching Telengits. All other provinces located on the northern side of the (Gobi) desert was subordinated to this province. The territory of Tuva, Altai and Enisei Kyrgyz (L.Potapov: Hyagas) possessions were also subordinated to the Yan-Jan province, which in 663 was renamed Hanhai. However, these prefectures did not have Chinese administrations. The recast was confined to appointing Tele tribal leaders as military governors and prefects. As a symbol of authority they received an iron image of a fish. In particular, the son of the Uigur leader Tumitu was appointed a "commandant" of Hanhai.

Tele tribes, temporarily subjected to the Tang dynasty, were used for various military campaigns. However, also in these conditions the Tokuz-Oguzes, who were coaching on the northern side of the (Gobi) desert, were incessantly staging insurrections, which usually were severely suppressed.

The revolts of the Tele and Türkic (L.Potapov: Tukue) tribes demonstrated that the Türkic-speaking nomadic masses subordinated to the Tang dynasty, shattered, but not subjugated, carried the ideas of unification and state independence.

As a result of the revolts of Türkic (L.Potapov: Tukue) tribes in 682 emerged a Second Türkic Kaganate. The first Kagan of the revived state of the eastern Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue) was Gudulu (Ilteres-Kagan in the ancient Türkic inscriptions) (Kutlug 682-694, Modern Chinese Pinyin 阿史那骨篤祿 Ashina Gudulu, with titles Ilterish = nation (il) unifier, refounder (terish), Il-Kagan 伊利可汗 "Kagan of the land" - Translator's Note).

Initially a military-political center of the Kaganate was on the southern side of (Gobi) desert, near a known city Kuku- Hoto.

Kutlug (L.Potapov: Gudulu) started rebuilding the eastern Türks' (L.Potapov: Tukue) state, serving in the interest of the ruling class headed by the Kagan clan (Ashina). Fight for political hegemony among the nomads on the both sides of the (Gobi) desert, oppression of the subordinated tribes, extortionate campaigns and attacks on their neighbors were the essence of of the Kagans' policy in the revived eastern Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue) state.

After crushing Tokuz-Oguzes, Kagan captured Otuken, 18 populated mostly by Uigurs who were heading Tokuz-Oguz confederation. Kutlug (L.Potapov: Gudulu) Kagan soon relocated his court there, i.e. to the northern side of the (Gobi) desert. In the southern Kara Kum (Black Sand) court ruled his brother Shad (Crown Price) Mocho, who after a death of Kutlug (L.Potapov: Gudulu) (692) proclaimed himself a Kagan (actually not "proclaimed himself", but succeded as being second in line of the lateral succession law, with a consent of the whole ruling clan Ashina - Translator's Note). In the ancient Türkic inscriptions he is called Kapgan ("Conqueror"). His court and has remained in the Kara Kum (L.Potapov: Black Sand).

Tokuz-Oguz tribes, occupying the northern side of (Gobi) desert, frequently revolted against Kagan. In the autumn of 715 Mocho strongly defeated them, destroying many people and cattle. In 716 at the river Tola he attacked and crushed Paegu tribe. But he himself was killed in that raid. Rejection of the Tokuz-Oguz tribes was again a hard blow to the eastern Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue).

The Türkic (L.Potapov: Tukue) tribes were re-united by the Kutlug (L.Potapov: Gudulu) son by the name Kultegin, who returned the Türkic Kagan throne to his senior brother Mogilyan (in Orhon inscriptions Bilge-Kagan). Kultegin remained a commander of the army at the service of Kagan (with the title Shad, Crown Price).

Kultegin established the court in the Otuken area. The Türkic inscription in honor of Kultegin shows that the Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue) had to fight with Tokuz-Oguzes, i.e. Tele, many times, as also testify the Chinese annals.

After Mogilyan death, internecine conflicts for the throne flared among the Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue) (About conflict between matrilineal and patrilineal family see Yu.Zuev - Translator's Note). Their last Kagan in the ancient Türkic inscriptions was called Ozmish-Kagan.

In 744 the Second Türkic Kaganate fell, and political domination in the eastern part of the Central Asia passed to Uigurs. In 743 the leader of Uigurs relocated his court back to the Uigur ancient pasturing routs in the Otuken area, and solidified his control in the territory from the Altai to Baikal. The new Uigur confederation included Tokuz-Oguz tribes. By then Uigurs consisted of 10 tribes (On-Uigur). From that time the history of the tribes populating the territory of the modern Tuva and the adjoining areas of Mongolia becomes closely associated with the history of Uigurs.

Thus, the Tele tribes wielded substantial influence on the fate of the ancient Türks' state. Their secession from the Aru (L.Potapov: Heli) Kagan decided the fate of the Frst Türkic Kaganate. Their revolt in the 715-716 (Tokuz-Oguz confederation) wrecked the Second Türkic Kaganate, and inflicted a death on Mocho-Kagan. Finally, the Uigur-lead Tele tribes later decided the fate of the Kaganate, overthrowing the Türkic (L.Potapov: Tukue) power and establishing their supremacy for almost 100 years.

18 The Otuken territory covers extensive mountain forest area from the headwaters of Selenga (Selenge, 49N 100E) to the Enisei headwaters (51N 90E), which also included north-eastern Tuva, where the name Otuken survived to this day for one of the forested mountain ranges.

This is an outline of the Tele tribes history during Türkic Kaganates. It is visible that Tele tribes were numerous and coached in the extensive space on the northern side of Gobi from Khangai to the east Tien Shan. The territories of the modern Mongolia, Tuva and Mountain Altai were included into the zone of the Tele tribes coachings.

The location of the Tele tribes is reflected in the ancient and medieval toponymy. One of the written Chinese documents, belonging to the period from the end of the 7th to the end of the 8th century, mentioned Tele mountains - Te-le-shan, located in the Alashan desert, i.e. the Alashan ridge on the modern map. 19 A known Persian anonym Hudud-al-alam of 10th century named mountains (or mountain) . 20 The road from the west to these mountains went through the upper Irtysh and  apparently run to the mountains of the Mongolian Altai. As the term Tulas in some medieval Muslim sources is a synonym of the name Teles, apparently these mountains were called Teles. In the well-known Rashid-ad-din's collection of annals 21 a term Tulas rendered the ethnonym of one of the Türkic forest tribes in the location Bargudjin-Tokum, i.e. in Mongolia, which in the Mongolian "Secret Legend" sounds as Teles. The ethnonym Tele is also preserved in the modern toponymy, especially in the names of several rivers in Mongolia, one of which under a name Teli (or in Mongolian the Telin-gol) runs into Upsa-Nor lake, another runs into in river Shabir (tributary of the river Tesi), etc. A river named Dele is in the Alatau mountains. 22 That hydronym is in the area of the Teles lake (Altyn Gol) in the Altai. We shall also remind about the name of lake Tele-Kol in Kazakhstan {south from the lake Arys).

After demonstrating a wide spread in antiquity of the cattle breeding Tele tribes, who were coaching in the Central Asia on the northern side of the Gobi desert, and after briefly outlining their political history during the period of the Türkic Kaganate states, we have reasons to confidently state about the Tele tribes in the examined period as the most ancient of the authentic historical ancestors of the contemporary Southern Altaians, who preserved this ethnonym in their self-name until present. However, we are able to conduct more detailed comparisons of the Southern Altaian ethnonyms with some specific Tele tribes of the ancient Türkic and subsequent periods.

19 Yu.A.Zuev. Tamgas of horses from vassal princedoms. Works of Inst. History, Archeology and Ethnography Acad. Sciences Kaz. SSR, vol. 8, Alma-Ata, 1960, p. 112 (Further TIIAEANK).
20 V. inrsk. Hudud al-Alam. Regions of the World, a Persian geography. London, 1937, p. 195-196. 1952, 1958, vol. 11.
21 Rashid-ad-din. Collection of annals, vol. 1, book 1. M.-L., p. 121.
22 C.Valihanov. Selected works. Alma-Ata, p. 243-244;
G.N.Potanin. Essays on Northwestern Mongolia, SPb., 1883, p. 15.

But before pausing for this review, we would like to note that the ethnonym Tele in this form is mentioned in one of the documents (14 century), found in Hara-Hoto.It says: "Moving the army forward, Mongolian suan-fu-shi Van - chji crossed sands and, coming in He-si, struck on tribes, Sa-li, Tele, and Chan-myan". 23

From the names of separate Tele tribes found in the Chinese dynastic sources, among the modern Southern Altaians was preserved, as we can see, the ethnonym Telengit (Telengut), which in the Chinese chronicles has a form Dolange and Tolanko, and in the earlier news first belongs to the Gaogui generations, and later to the Tele tribes. L. Hambis considers possible, though with qualifications, to accept the identification of Tolanko with Telengit. 24 The ethnonym Dolange is also mentioned in the confederation of Tokuz-Oguzes, i.e. Tele "nine tribes". The territory of Dolange-Telengut in the 7th century is defined in the Chinese annals in double format: either it tells who were Dolange neighbors, or what district they lived in. From that follows that Dolange lived between Tele tribes Seyanto (in the west), Kibi (in the south), Husie (in the north), Pugu (in the east), 25 in the territory of modern Central Mongolia. But there is also a direct geographical indication: Dolange coached along the river Tunlo which is identified with the river Upper Chika (Selenga basin). 26 Thus, the earliest evidences in the written sources locate the ancient Telenguts in Mongolia. However, the pasturing routs of the Telenguts were unlikely limited to the valley of the river Tunlo, where most likely was a court of their leader, for after the fall of the First Türkic Kaganate (630), when the Tang dynasty tried to solidify its political domination over Tele and other tribes, or more accurately over "nine tribes" (Tokuz-Oguzes), the Telengit pasturing routs were proclaimed to be a Yan-jan commandery. 27 As the name of Yan-jan commandery was derived, by the evidence of the sources, from the name of the Khangai mountains, 28 the Telengit pasturing routs territory in the west extended to Khangai , and probably to the great lakes depression. Probably that was a reason that in the 663-664, when the control of subordinated by the Tang dynasty tribes of Tele and Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue) was reformed, Yan-jan commandery was renamed to Hanhai. 29

23 A.Ivanov. Documents from city Hara-Hoto. News of the Acad. Sciences. SPb., 1913, p. 813.
24 L. Hambis, Ibid., p. 33.
25 N.V.Kuner, Ibid., p. 40, 51;
N.Ya.Bichurin, Ibid.gt. 1, 346.
26 Yu.A.Zuev, Ibid., p. 109.
27 N.Ya.Bichurin, Ibid., vol. 1, p. 346;
. Chavannes. Documents sur 1es Tou-kien (Turcs) occidentaux. St.-Pet., 1903, p. 91.
28 N.Ya. Bichurin, Ibid., vol. 3, 1953, p. 78.

In the ancient Türkic runiform inscriptions, in contrast with the Chinese annals, the ethnonym Dolange-Telengit is abscent, like some other ethnonyms of the Tele tribes. Tokuz-Oguzes are mentioned only generally, Dolange-Telengitsbelonged to them, as we saw above. But the sources of the beginning of the 13th and the 14th century mentioned ethnonym Telengut repeatedly, together with the ethnonym Teles, which is very interesting. The Mongolian "Secret Legend" source, among the peoples subjugated by the Mongols right at the beginning of the 13th century, in one simultaneously appear Tooleses and Telenguts, and in another place simultaneously appear Tenlek and Tooles. They all belonged to the category of "forest peoples", 31 who lived in the forested mountain areas extending from the west to the east from the Mongolian Altai (Irtysh headwaters) to the Khangai mountains and further east. The cited testimony of the source is especially valuable because it certifies the fact that in the beginning of the 13th century simultaneously existed people or tribe with the name Tooles (another spelling is Toeles), and people or tribe with the  name Telengut and Tenlek. In other words, like with the modern Southern Altaians, in the beginning of the 13th century the names of Tele and Telengut were not synonymous, and designated different groups of the "forest peoples", linguistically related, whose occupations were nomadic cattle breeding and hunting.

The localization of some forest peoples can be found in the second fragment of the same Mongolian source. It says that in 1207 Djuchi, the son of Chingishan,departing from the headwaters of river Onon (50N 103E), quickly subdued "forest peoples without loosing any people or horses" and received them from his father and ruler in "possession". The names of the subjugated peoples and their geographical sequence is noted: "The forest peoples, starting from there toward us (from the west to the east - L. P.), namely the peoples Shibir, Kesdiin, Bait, Tuhas, Tenlek, Toeles, Tas and Bachjigi". 32 From this is visible that Toeleses lived in relation to the other listed peoples closer to the headwaters of Onon and Kerulen, whence Djuchi set out to a campaign, most likely they were in the area of the Sayano-Altai uplands (Not any less interesting, but not commented here by L.Potapov, is that Tenlek-Telenguts bordered with Tuhas-Tochars, some fractions of which are known to remain in the Central Asia, while the other fraction went west in the 2nd c. BC. The furtherst in the west were Shibirs, a fraction of whom were controlling North Pontic in the 5th c. AD, who were in the Bulgarian confederation in the 5th - 10th cc. AD, and who fled to the Itil - Kama interfluvial with the Bulgars at around 859, and establish city Suvar - Translator's Note).

29 Liu Mau-Tsai, Ibid., vol. 1, p. 246; vol. 2, p. 587, 606.
30 Secret Legend. The Mongolian chronicle of 1240 "Yuan chao bi shi". Mongolian ordinary collection, vol. 1. M.-L., 1941, p. 161, 174-175.
31 Rashid-ad-din explains: "Any tribe whose yurts are in forested places, is called a forest tribe" (Ibid., vol. 1, book 1, p. 123).
32 Secret Legend, p. 174-175.

A significant interest also presents the ethnonym Tenlek, which is identified with the term Telek or Teleg, an endoethnonym self-name of a significant group of the modern Tuvinians and which also goes back to an ancient ethnonym Tele. L. Hambis allows a possibility to consider Telek (Talak) a dialectal form of the ethnonym transcribed by the Chinese sources with a term tolo ('o-lo) and its variations, which he thinks ascend to a more ancient form Ting-ling. 33 The author refers to the researchers (Naka and Wang Kouo-wei) who expressed in their comments to the "Secret Legend" an idea that the word tenlek (Tanlak) was one of the forms of the name Telengut, believing that though it seems veritable, it still needs proofs. His line of reasoning is this. If Tenlek is a singular of Telengut, this form is a result of fairly probable mistake of the copyists, who red so the Mongolian original, where apparently the external line was sloppily (badly) drawn above a projection, which produced Tenlek instead of Teleng, a correct singular form of Telengut. The researcher refers to the Ulan-Bator edition Altan Tobchi, where is written Teleng, which confirms the correction of the suspected mistake of the copyist. 34 In that connection we need to recall once again that the modern Tuvinians have a group named Telek or Teleg, and that the modern western Tuvinians also call their Altai Telengit neighbours with the term Teleg.

The Telenguts and Teleses are mentioned in the Persian source, Rashid-ad-din "Collection of annals". It usualy mentions Telenguts next to Urasuts. It also says that Telenguts belonged to the forest tribes, that "they live in the forests within the limits of the Kirgizes and Kem-Kemdjiuts country". 35 Hence, the Telengits at this time lived in the Sayano-Altai highlands, because the country Kem-Kemdjiut is the territory of the Kem and Kemchik (modern Tuva), and the Kyrgyzes occupied, as is known, the Minusinsk depression, spreading theit domination to the Sayan mountains, and over some areas on the southern side of the ridge. The country Kem-Kemdjiut not only adjoined the country of Kyrgyzes, but was also dependent of them. Were the Telengits at that time in the Altai, no information is available. But, considering the proximity of the Kem and Kemchik area to the Altai, hardly can be questioned that Telengits spread (like many other Tuvian tribes) their pasturing routs to the Altai, where later (in the16th-17th centuries) their is confirmed by written sources.

33 L. Hambis, Ibid., p. 33.
34 Ibid., p. 32.
35 Rashid-ad-din, Ibid., vol. 1, book 1, pp. 122-123.

Rashid-ad-din calls Teleses Tualas or Tulas. They lived "on that side of the river Selenga" in the location Bargudjin Tokum (Buryat "barga" = "boonies", "djin" = "inhabitant of"). Rashid-ad-din explains "This district is located above the river Selenga, in the easterm Mongolia". 36 In a word, the location is southern Baikal area. Teleses-Tulases were related with the tribe Tumat. 37 And now, among the Southern Altaians, has preserved a seok Tumat, and among the Tuvinians with this name is known a significant group. During the period from the 6th - 8th till the 13th - 14th centuries the pasturing routs of the Telengits and Teleses were located in the Khangai and Sayano-Altai uplands. The memoirs about living in the areas adjoining the Khangai if not in the Khangai Khangai highlands remained among the modern Telengits in the Altai in the spells of shamans who, while calling the spirits and revering the most esteemed mountains, name Khangai among other places. 38

The written historical sources allow to track the further existence of the Telenguts-Telengits and Teleses after the 14th century, down to the appearance of their name in the Russian written documents of the 17th-18th centuries.

The well-known composition of the Mongolian Beg Sanan Setsen (1604-1662) that describes the history of the Mongolian khans up to the middle of the 17th century, compiled from the earlier historical works, mentions Telenguts. 39 Their name is given in the form Teilengud (in the I.Schmidt's edition) which, as has explained L. Hambis, in the Mongolian text is actually given as Taileggiit, where in hisopinion "the hook was certainly incorrectly marked or incorrectly read in the manuscript, similar to the Tanlak in the Secret history ("Secret Legend" - L. P.), and it should be read Talanggut ("v" appeared because of "gg" which suggests "ng" = "n" before the second "g"). 40 L. Hambis justified it with references to the A.Mostaert's works. Mostaert really, basing on German, Chinese and his own translations of Sanan Setsen, confirms the transcription of this ethnonym as Talang-giis (elengiis), and says that the name Telenggus is found as a name of one of the Oirat clans, and also as the name of one of the clans among the modern Ordos Mongols in the banners (hoshun or division - L. P.) Aukhan and Naiman. 41

36 Ibid., Book 2, p. 111.
37 Ibid., Book 1, p. 121.
38 A.V.Anokhin. Materials on shamanism among Altaians L., 1924, p. 79.
39 Geschichte der Ost-Mongolen und ihres Furstenhauses, verfasst von Ssanang-Ssetsen Cungtaidschi der Ordus, aus dem Mongolischen tiberzetzt von I. J. Schmidt. St.-Pet. - Leipzig, 1829. This work was published in full by vCHTA by A.Mostaert: Erdeni-yin Tobci. Mongolian chronicle by Sagan Bechen, with a critical indroduction of A. Mostaert, vol. 1-4, Chambridge, Massachusettes, 1956,
40 L.Hambis, Ibid., str 32-33
41 L.P.Potapov

Thus, Telenguts appeared in Ordos among Oirats and later southern Ordos Mongols. The presence of the Telengits among Oirats at that time is historically quite possible, and their assimilation among the Ordos Mongols people also cannot cause any doubt, because these Mongols came there from the north, which is evidenced by their songs where are mentioned Khangai and Altai, as was noted by G.N.Potanin. 42

Thus, is positively established the origin of the modern Altai Telengits or Telenguts (Teleuts), from one of the ancient Türkic tribes Tele-Dolange, through the Telenguts of the Mongolian period, and their more closer historical ancestors mentioned in the Mongolian sources during the 15th-16th centuries and in the Russian documents of the 17th-18th centuries.


In respect to the the Altai Teleses with full confidence we can assert their most ancient ethnogenetical historical connection, at least from the 13th century, with the Teleses of the Mongolian period. There is no doubt that Teleses and Tulases of the Mongolian and Persian sources are the ancestors of the modern Altai Teleses. However,  to track the ethnogenetical sources of these medieval Teleses, with their earlier historical ancestors, is quite difficult. Nevertheless, such effort should be attempted.

The difficulty primarily consists in the absence in the Chinese written and ancient Türkic runiform sources of the ethnonym Tele, while the ethnonym Telengit (Dolange), though absent in the runiform inscriptions, is present in the annalistic chronicles. In respect to the ancient Türkic inscriptions the silence about these two ethnonyms, and likewise of the ethnonym Tele, is apparently easier to explain, because in these inscriptions the Tele tribes belong to the political association or confederation of the "nine tribes", and are called Tokuz-Oguzes in general. 43 Because the ancient Türkic Kaganates dealt not with the Tele tribes, but with their confederation, whish was known as a political opponent of the Türks-Tukue, despite the affinity of languages and ethnic origins; naturally that the slab monument inscriptions that were articulating the political history of the Kaganates, did not mention the ethnonym Tele, but a political name of the Tokuz-Oguz confederation, which replaces the ethnonym Tele.

41 Antoine Mostaert. Ordosica. Bulletin of the Catholic Universityof Peking, 1934, No 9, p. 45-46. The author found in Ordos version of the manuscript of this chronicle, which he designates M.. (Manuscrit Ordos). In the Shara-Tudji the term Telengut is transmitted as telengis (N.P.Shastina. Shara-Tudji. Mongolian annals of the 17th century M.-L., 1957, p. 80).
42 G.N.Potanin. The Tangut-Tibetan fringe of China and Central Mongolia. ., 1950, p. 123.,
43 See about it: . Pulleyblank. Some remarks on the Toguzognuz problem.

Relying on the Chinese written sources that contain the name Telengit in the listing of the Tokuz-Oguzes allows to confidently believe that the ancient Türkic runiform inscriptions did not mentioned Telengits because they were a part of the Tokuz-Oguzes. But in the runiform monuments of the ancient Türkic writing was found a term Tolis, which initially W.Radloff read Teles, and which began to be usually identified with the Tele of the Chinese historical sources. 44 Because of that, N.A.Aristov accepted Teleses as one of the Türks - Tugue main tribes, for the Orhon inscriptions clearly divide the ancient Türks into Teles and Tardush, with the Teleses being in the east, and Tardushes in the west. The problem of reading the ethnonym of interest to us in the ancient Türkic inscriptions seems not to have received a clear answer till this moment. We shall remind that W.Radloff and P.Melioransky read this term as toles. In particular, they read so an inscription on the first stone from a chain of balbals installed at the remains of a temple erected for the funerals in honor of the diseased Bilge-Kagan (Mogilyan-khan). The inscription says: "This is a stone balbal [in memory] of Shad of Toleses". 45 S.E.Malov in different monuments read this term differently. We shall cite examples. In the Kul-Tegin monument he names the language of the people to whom the diseased "gave placement", in the transcription olic, in the translation Tlis. 46 But in the monument in honor of Mogilyan-khan in transcription stands olac, in translation stands Toles. 47 However, in the Moyun-chur monument in the transcription is already given a term olic (in the translation Tlis). 48 L. Hambis is giving an Orhon name to this term Tolas (Tolos), 49 and E.Pulleyblank is giving Tolis. 50 The reading Tolis (in Russia) apparently introduced I.A.Klukin, who for some reasons did not consider it necessary to give reason for that, though he could not know how W.Radloff and P.Melioransky read this term, or F.Hirt and E.Shavannes, who were identifying the ethnonym Teles with the Tele of the Chinese annals. 51 Because the reading in the ancient Türkic inscriptions of the examined here term Tls, homophonic with the modern Altai ethnonym, is impossible to deem accepted by the modern Orientalists, we certainly should also consider the term Tolis.

44 W. Radloff. Aus Sibirien, Bd. 1. Leipzig, 1884, p. 26;
Fr. Hirth. Nachwort zur 1nschriften des Tonjukuk. 1n: Die Alttiirkischen 1nschriftender Mongolei. Zweite Folge. St.-Pet, 1899, p. 133;
E. Chavannes, Ibid., p. 14-15, 21;
. Franke. Geschichte des chinesischen Reiche. Bd. 3. Berlin, 1937, p. 248.
45 Ancient Türkic monuments in Kosho-Tsaidam. Coll. of works of Orhon expedition, 4, SPb., 1897, p. 45.
46 S.E.Malov, Monuments of ancient Türkic writing of Mongolia and Kirgizia. M.-L., 1959, p. 30, 38.
47 Ibid., p. 18, 23.
48 Ibid., p. 36, 40.
49 L. Hambis, Ibid., p. 32.
50 . Pulleyblank. The Hsiung-nu Language, p. 258.
51 E. Chavannes. Documents sur les Tou-kien (turcs) occidenteaux. p. 14;
F. Hirth. Nachworte zur 1nschrift des Tonjukuk, p. 133.
11 L.P.Potapov

However in that connection we should note something else. Now is considered to be proven that neither Tele, nor Tolis can be identified with the ethnonym Tele (with a plural affix "s"). Tolis at that time was only a name of a geographical military-administrative division (among Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue), Tokuz-Oguzes, and then Uigurs) with a meaning "eastern half" or "eastern (left) wing". This opinion belongs to prof. I.A.Klukin and is accepted by modern Turkologists and Sinologists. 52 Investigating the terms Tolis and Tardush, Klukin allows that both of them as the names of the left and right the half (or a wing) could originally be ethnonyms taken from the Türkic-speaking tribal people where this division originated, but he allows as well their origin from the names of the geographical environment. So, starting with such facts, as the absence of the ethnonym Tele in the ancient Türkic inscriptions, and as the semantics of the term Tolis, comes a question whether the name Tls of the group of the modern Altaians can be considered to be an ethnonym ascending to the ancient Türkic period. Could there be during ancient Türkic time such an ethnonym?

We answer this as follows. Both cited facts cannot serve as a proof of total absence among the Türkic-speaking tribes of the ethnonym Tels during the examined time. The ethnonym Tele in the above inscriptions is also not present, but its existence for that time is evidenced by other written sources, and then by its preservation among a number of the modern nations. Are not also present in the same ancient Türks inscriptions such ethnonyms belonging to the individual Tele tribes as Bugu, Telengit, and Tuba, which are well-known from the annalistic sources and also remained up until now among some Türkic-speaking peoples. Therefore, sharing the I.A.Klukin opinion on the meaning of the term Tolis in the Orhon inscriptions, at the same time we do not see an obstacle for the hypothesis of existence of the ethnonym Teles with a root of the term Tele and a plural formant "s". 53 Certainly, there is no need to connect the origin of the ethnonym Tels with Tolis, recognizing that the carriers of the ethnonym Tels belonged to the eastern half of some Türkic-speaking tribes, which caused them to begin to be called Teles.

52 I.A.Klukin. New data on the tribes of Tardushes and Tolises. News of Far East branch of USSR Acad. of Sciences, 1932, No 1-2, p. 96-98;
E. u1leblank. 1) Some remarks on the Toguzoghuz problem, p. 38; 2) The Hsiung-nu Language. Pulleyblank, like the some other scientists, categorically asserts that T'ieh-le and its early forms, Ch'in-le, etc. have nothing common with Tolis.
53 R.Boodberg. Three notes on the T'u-chiieh Turks. Semitic anaOriental Studies University of California, 1951, vol. 11, p. 5.

The existence of the term Tolis with a meaning "eastern half" does not exclude a simultaneous existence of the ethnonym Teles. Many Tele tribes belonged to the eastern half, in particular Tokuz-Oguz tribes (including Telengit-Dolange, Dubo-Tuba, Bugu, and others), but that did not prevent them from keeping their own names, which did not reflect in any way their belonging to the right wing of tribes. To that category may also belong the term Teles, which as an ethnonym is documentarily known only from the beginning of the 13th century.

In connection with the stated above should be mentioned the W.W.Bartold's opinion that Teles (Tolis) of the Orhon inscriptions should be connected not with the name Tele, as was done by V.Tomsen and others, but with the ethnonym transmitted by the Chinese annals in the form Tu-li, as a name of one of the tribal divisions that were coaching in Mongolia. 54 The W.Bartold's opinion supported P.Melioransky and G.E.Grumm-Grjimailo. G.E.Grumm-Grjimailo identified Tols with To-li or Tu-li of the Chinese annals, and held it as aboriginal Türkic tribe which after the fall of the First Türkic Kaganate rose against Tele and coached away to Altai (probably, to the Kobdo river basin) headed by Chebi, a son of the deceased Aru (L.Potapov: Heli)-Kagan. 55 Chebi, having fled from the Tokuz-Oguzes to the Altai mountains, proclaimed himself a Türkic Kagan, and subordinated Karluks and Enisei Kyrgyzes in the north. Anyway, the tribe Tu-li really existed, and possibly that name sounded among its carriers as Tls.

However, all that remains though plausible, but nevertheless a supposition. And only in the beginning of the 13th century, as was stated above, appeared authentic information about Tele as forest people, or a tribe mentioned simultaneously with Telenguts.  The same documentary news we also cited about them for the 14 century. It is obvious that by the 13th century, when Teleses started to appear in the historical sources, they already had, like the Telenguts, a long history undoubtedly connected with the Türkic-speaking Tele and ancient Türkic Kaganates. To find the ancestors of Teleses of the Mongolian period in earlier written sources is a task for the future. For now we should be content with the hypotheses.

But after the 13th-14th century about the Teles ethnonym testify the written sources belonging to most "dark" period, preceding the detailed information on Tele and Telenguts in the Russian historical acts of the 17th century. Such information give us some Muslim sources of the 16th century

54 Die historische Bedeutung der alttiirkischen 1nschriften. In: W. Radloff. Die alttiirkischen 1nschriften der Mongolei. Neue Folge. SPb., 1897, p. 8.
55 G.E.Grumm-Grjimailo. The western Mongolia and Uryanhai Territory, vol. 2. L., 1926, p. 283-284.

In the composition "Madjmut at-tavarih" is mentioned a tribe Tels among the Kirgiz tribal groups west from the Altai. 56 At that time a part of Teleses was one of the historical ancestors of the modern Kirgizes, they still have this group up until present. About Teleses also tell the Muslim compositions of the 18th century as participants in the army of Arzu Muhhamed-bek campaigns against Yarkand. 57 Nothing needs to be said that with the arrival of the information about Tele in the Russian historical documents of the 17th century, the Teleses ethnic and political history is well traced down to the present, at the same time it is well connected with their history of the earlier period, at least to the beginning of the 13th century.

Having examined the most common and widely spread ethnonyms of the Southern Altaians with the root of the term Tele, formed by the plural affix of either the ancient Türkic ("s") or of the Mongolian ("ut" or "t"), we could determine and define where possible the ancient ethnic elements of the modern Southern Altaians, and ascertain that they ascend to the people of the nomadic cattle breeding tribes, called Tele.

Ases and Azes

But among the Southern Altaians we should also note a number of seok names which also signal about ancient ethnic connections. To them belong the names of the Telengit seoks Dieti-As (Russ. Titas) and Chygat (Chigat), which were shown above as connected by their origin with Teleses, and also name of the Teleut seok Tert-As. The (Russian) term Titas represents a reduction of the name Dieti-As (Teti-As), which means "Seven Ases", just as the name of the Teleut seok Tertas is translated as "Four Ases". Dropping the numerical designation in both names (Seven As and Four As), incidentally typical for the tribes of the ancient Türkic period (compare Nine Oguzes, Ten Uigurs, Three Karluks, Three Kurykans, and others), leaves the ethnonym As or Az, which is of interest because it is mentioned in the ancient Türkic runiform inscriptions. They say that a tribe or people As lived in the western part of the modern Tuva, near the lake Kara-Hol (With all its inventive spelling reincarnations, the kul/gol/hol/kal/kül ets. is a Türkic "lake", "Kara-Hol" = "Black Lake", "Baikal" = "Lord Lake", etc. - Translator's Note). The Ases lived in the territory which was included in the pasturing routs of the Tele tribes.

56 Manuscript B-667, stored in Leningrad branch of Institute of Asian Peoples, USSR Academy of Sciences (LOINA), ll. 86-a, 88-a, 133-b. With this information ee are obliged to the courtesy of V.A.Romadin, who took the trouble of locating and translating resspective places in the manuscript, to which we express a sincere gratitude.
57 From the manuscript Tarih and Kashgar, M.N.PokrovSky translation. It was pointed to us also by V.A.Romadin.

The Türkic Kagan Mogilyan defeated them in 709, and the famous Kul-Tegin inflicted on them a final defeat in 716, after which Ases lost their independence, migrated from the Enisei southwest, and apparently merged with the Western Türks - Tyurgeshes. 58 W.Bartold found it possible to compare Azes with the generation of the Jeti-su Tyurgeshes - Azians. 59 About Ases tells the Persian anonym "Hudul al-Alam" (10th century), and Persian geographer Gardizi (middle of the 11th century) already describes As as a branch of Tyurgeshes. From the Orhon inscriptions follows that Ases lived in the neighborhood of Altai, only several dozens kilometers from the East Altai areas, adjoining the Teles lake (Altyn Gol), where nowadays live Teleses. Hence, the tribe As, which in the 8th century was hostile toward the ancient Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue), belonged to the Tele tribes, judging by the occupied territory, and coached near the modern habitat of the Altai Teleses. In that connection presents a significant interest a field record of G.N.Potanin, who informed that Djity-As (Titas) represent "a real name of Teleses". 60 The cited materials point to a close connection of the 8th century Azes, and the Azes joined with Teleses in the 19th century, with the Tele tribes. As reflection of such connection descending from deep antiquity should be viewed the ban on marriages between the seok Dieti-As (Russ. Titas) and Tele we noted above. Probably some groups of the Ases-Tele joined the Altaians proper (Altai-kiji), the evidence of which can serve the Altai seok by the name Bailagas. This name can also reflect a numerical meaning of the ethnonym As, if to suggest that its real pronunciation was Bailangas. In that case it could mean in the Southern Altaian (Teleut) language "Numerous Ases".

Citation from W.W.Bartold, "Essay on history of Jeti-su", p. 21

Chinese, Arabian and Persian sources enable us to receive a pretty good idea about the grouping of the Türkic tribes after the fall of the Western Türkic Empire....

In the Jeti-su remained only the Turgeshes, divided into two generations, on Tahsians (Tochars) and Azians (Ases) (reading of these names is doubtful, probably, the Azians are identical with the mentioned in the Orhon inscriptions Az people). The domination in the Jeti-su in the second half of the 8th century passed to the Karluk people....

(Turgeshes, maybe slightly distorted or reduced form of Türk-kiji, were called in the Chinese annals 月支, in Modern Chinese Pinyin "Yuezhi", they consist of 2 tribes, Tahsi and Az, as much inseparable as the Tochars and Ases in the conquest of Bacria ca 150 BC, and Dügers/Digors and Ases in the Alanian confederation, and in today's Altai by encountered by L.Potapov as Dieti-As and Tert-As, and Bailagas, and again with Tahsi. More on Ases and Tochars see Yu. Zuev - Translator's Note)


The name of the seok Chygat, nowadays living among Tubalars, but as we have established above, of the Teles origins, also comprises ancient ethnonym Chik with a Mongolian plural formant "(a)t". The Chiks are mentioned in the same ancient Türkic inscriptions together with Ases and in their close neighborhood. At that time they lived in the territory of the modern Tuva, mainly in the Ulug-Hem valley and probably also Hemchik valley, because the inscription tells about a defeat of the Chiks by the Türkic Bilge-Kagan (Mogilyan) in 709 at the river Hem, which he had to cross. Chiks remained living there after the defeat, for an another ancient inscription tells about their defeat at the river Hem in the 750 by the Kagan of Uigurs. 61 Yu.A.Zuev reminded recently that Markwart located Chiks along the river Hemchik, believing that their name was preserved in the name of area Kemchigut which he deciphered "Chiks tribe from the river Kem". 62

58 History of Tuva, vol. 1, M., 1964, p. 81.1.
59 W.W.Bartold. Essay on history of Jeti-su. Issue 2. Frunze, 1943, p. 21.
60. G.N.Potanin. Essays on Northwestern Mongolia, vol. 4. SPb., 1883, p. 9.
61 History of Tuva, vol. 1, p. 81.
62 Yu.A.Zuev, Ibid., p. 113.

In the 8th century, the Chiks' territorial proximity to the eastern Altai is as doubtless as the proximity of the Azes. Chiks and Azes could very well reach Altai at that time. Later, as it was shown, the Chiks pasturing routs were on the northern slope of the Altai mountains, in the Ob steppes, where in the16th-17th centuries were coaching Chagats (or Chats). Ethnonym Chik was preserved in the name Chik of the left tributary of the Ob river (near Novosibirsk). The same argument which we cited in examination of the ethnonym As also testifies to the Chiks' belonging in antiquity to the Tele tribes. And their belonging to Teleses, at least in the16th-17th centuries, probably reflects Chiks' connections with Tele during the earlier period (8th century).


Thus, the specific historical material shows preservation in the tribal names of the Southern Altaians not only of the generalized ancient ethnonym Tele, but also of a number of other separate tribes that reflect specific names of the Tele tribes. The last statement can be supported by one more fact. For that, should be noted the name of the seok Aba, which in our literature is attributed to northern Shors, because they are the same those Abans in which land in 1618 was erected Kuznetsk. We already noted above the name of Aba in the Russian historical documents of the beginning of the 17th century, as the name of the "Kuznetsk Tatars" volost, which then meant the local Türkic-speaking population living in the area where the Kuznetsk fort was built. The participants of the18th century Russian academic expeditions I.Gmelin and I. Georgi, describing culture and daily life of the Abans, emphasized a full similarity, as expressed Georgi "in respect to the appearance, spiritual character, daily life, personality, language, notation of time, and ceremonies", with the Teleuts. 63 Hence, in the 16th-17th centuries the Abans were ethnographically close to their  Teleut neighbors. Though in the beginning of the 18th century the Abans are described from the angle of economic occupations emphasizing the importance for them of the animal hunting and metallurgy (extraction and smelting iron), all of them were cattlemen, and specifically nomadic cattlemen, for Georges notes that among the Abans "the cattle breeding in every detail is similar with that of the Teleuts". The Abans of the 17-18th centuries knew precisely the nomadic cattle breeding, typical for the nomads Central Asia. That sharply differentiated Abans from the ancestors of the southern mountain Shors, these typical taiga hunters, fishermen and gatherers of wild plant roots and stalks.

In the 19th and 20th centuries the Abans (after W.Radloff's travel across Southern Siberia) were already noted by the researchers only as a seok of the northern "Shors", sometimes called "steppe" Shors.

63 J. Gmelin. Reise durch Sibirien von dem Jahre 1733 bis 1743, Bd. 1. Gottingen, 1751; I.Georgi. The description of all peoples living in the Russian state, ch. 2. SPb., 1779, p. 162.

We find it possible to juxtapose Abans the 17th century, then in all respects identical to Teleuts, with one of the tribes of the ancient Tele, called Aba. The Aba tribe is mentioned in the history of the Sui dynasty. In 603 it was among the Tele tribes revolting against Tatu-Kagan of the Western Türks. 64 At the end of the 6th century Aba coached between the Khangai and Altai mountains, and were subjects of Dalobyan, a son of the late Eastern Türkic Kagan Muhan. In the translation of the annals published by N.Ya.Bichurin, the Tele tribe Aba was wrongly identified with the name of the Abo khan and his aimak (Abo aimak). 65 The remote descendants of the ancient Aba, the Abans were coaching in the Kuznetsk steppe and in the 16th-17th centuries belonged to the Teleut confederation, like in the 6th-7th centuries their early ethnic ancestors were part of the Tele tribes.

Ases and them kishtyms. Tuhas (Tocharians)

W. Radloff has registered Ak-kishtyms as a tribe among the Teleuts, mentioned above. Information on them starts from the first quarter of the 17th century. In the yasak books of the Kuznetsk district they are registered from the 1629, but their volost is called Azkyshtym. Apparently, this name is correct, because is correctly translated as "tribute payers" (kishtyms) of the Azes. In documents of the 17th and the beginnings of the 18th century kishtyms are mentioned frequently, but not in ethnic sence, but as tribute payers. For example, it is said: "In 1703 Tele's kyshtyms paid 40 sables" and "Teleut's kyshtyms - 25 sables", etc. 66 In the 16 century the As-kyshtyms lived intermixed with Teleuts, between Tom and Ob in the "steppe volosts" to which also belonged the volosts Togul, Keret, and Tagap. In the second half of the 19th century V.VerbitSky lists the Ashkyshtym volost among the nomadic volosts of the Kuznetsk district. The correct name of it was, as was already noted, As - or philologically identical Ash- or Ach-kishtym. The name of a part of the Teleuts As-kishtyms or Ach-kishtyms ties well with fairly early ethnic materials reflected in the written sources, in which appears the term kesdiin with a function of quasi-ethnonym. The Chinese sources, however, do not have such ethnonym. Still, the name kesdiin in the form geshdum was found in a Tibetan document of the middle of the 9th century, in the report of five Uigur ambassadors about the northern part of the Central Asia, composed in the middle of the 8th century, 67 and then, in the form keshdim it was found in a runiform inscription Haya-bayat (on river Hemchik). 68

64 Liu Mau-tsai, Ibid., vol. 11, p. 527.
65 N.V.Kuner attracted my attention to it.  G.E.Grumm-Grjimailo found that discrepancy in the translation of Iakinf (Bichurin). See his "Western Mongolia and Uryanhai territory", vol. 2, p. 232, note 3, with more accurate translation and with a reference to the known French Sinologist  S.Julien.
66 B.O.Dolgih. Clan and tribal structure of Siberian peoples of the 18th century, ., 1960, p. 108.

In the last case the dating of the term is not earlier than the 9th century, and the term is used in respect of the whole area Keshdim, where lived dependent from the Enisei Kyrgyzes population subdivided into six "bags" (Beg, Bey, Bek, Bag, Bai etc. are equivalent dialectal variations meaning "Lord" or "Prince", like in "Baikal" etc. - Translator's Note), probably administrative or tribute units. 69 The name kesdiin is present in the list of forest peoples of the Mongolian "Secret Legend", together with ethnonyms Toeles, Tuhas, Tenlek, and others. We find it at Rashid-ad-din together with Telenguts in the list of the forest peoples who live "on that side of Kirgizes" in the form kushtemi. 70 As was stated above, the term kishtym is also in the Russian written sources of the 17th-18th century, where sometimes it obviously serves as an ethnonym (Teleuts' As-kishtyms). It seems to us that when the word kishtym has a determinant, as for example As-kishtym,  it does not have a meaning of an ethnonym. But the scientific historical value of it is conserved, for such a name points to the specific ethnic possessors. It is quite probable that in the Teleut As-kishtyms we have descendants of some small tribal groups held in kishtym dependence from the Azes, who lived in the Sayano-Altai uplands and then in the Ob steppes, where they also could have kishtyms from the nomadic cattlemen people.

Kypchaks and Kimaks

Now should be mentioned the question about ethnonyms Kypchak, Todosh and Naiman, serving among the Southern Altaians as the names of the seoks, but well-known in the history of the Central Asia (especially Kypchak and Naiman) as the name of large peoples or tribal societies. Ethnonym Kypchak should certainly be attributed to the ancient tribal names. Even without a recognition of its mentioning in one of the texts of the Chinese annalistic news dated by the 3rd century BC, connected with the description of the Hun leader Mode conquests, 71 it is indisputable that it is mentioned in an ancient Uigur runiform inscription. A known monument of Uigur Kagan Moyun-Chur definitely says: "...Kipchak Türks dominated [over us] for fifty years..." .72

67 J. t. Reconnaissance en Haute Asie septentrionale par cinqenvoyes ouighours au 8-e siecle. Journal Asiatique, Paris, 1956;
G. 1ausn, A propos du Manuscrit Pelliot Tibetain 1283. Journal Asiatique, 1957;
L. Hambis. Kastim et Gesdum. Asiatique, 1958, No 3.
68 S.E.Malov. Enisei Türkic writing. M.-L., 1952.. 44.
69 History of Tuva, vol. 1, p. 179.
70 Rashid-ad-din, Ibid., p. 123.
71 A.N.Bernshtam. Most ancient Türks elements in ethnogenesis of Central Asia. Soviet ethnography, 1947, No 6-7, p. 154 (ethnonym "tsuyshe", mentioned by Syma Qian, the author of the 2nd century BC, in the section "Shitszy" as "Kypchak");
V.Kargren. Analytic dictionary of Chinese and Sinno-Japanese. Paris, 1923 (reference in Bernshtam).
72 S.E.Malov. Monuments of ancient Türkic writing of Mongolia and Kirgizia, p. 38.

There, Kypchaks are ascribed to the Türks-Tukue, but not to the Tele tribes, and apparently to the ruling elite of the Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue). Thus, the written sources testify to the presence of the Kypchaks in the 7th-8th centuries in the Sayano-Altai mountains. However, we do not have sufficient evidence to state a direct ethnogenetical connection of the seok Kypchak among the Southern Altaians with the Kypchaks of the eastern Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue) (7th-8th centuries), for the available ethnographical materials only confirm closer to the present Kypchak connections with the tribes of the Middle Ages. We mean those Kypchak tribes a part of which was known by the eastern authors under a name of Kimaks, and which are already mentioned by the Arabian geographer of the first half of the 9th century Ibn-Hordodbeh. The manuscript of the Persian geographer Gardizi (first half of the 11th century) says that Kimaks "live in forests, gorges and steppes, all of them own herds of cows and rams; they do not have camels. In the summer they eat mare milk, which among them is called koumiss; for the winter they prepare dried meat of mutton, horse, cow, everyone according to his means. Kimaks hunt sable and ermines". 73

Kypchaks were a western branch of Kimaks. In the compositions of the eastern authors Kimak-Kypchak tribes are inhabitants of Irtysh and western Siberian steppes. Certainly, they also lived in the Altai mountains, especially western Altai, and hunted sables and ermines with which these mountains were famous until recently.

In the 11th century Kypchaks spread from the banks of Irtysh to the Central Asian and North Pontic steppes (L.Potapov: southern  Russian steppes).

As a political force Kypchaks rose in the 12th and the first decades of the 13th century in the extensive steppe space from the Altai to Crimea and Danube. In the Arabian and Persian written sources the huge steppe territory dominated by Kypchaks was called Desht-i-Kypchak, i.e. Kypchak's steppe. During that period under Kypchak hegemony, and later with their participation among many Türkic-speaking nomads in Eurasia were observed formation processes of separate nations and formation of cultural and daily life commonality (very romantic scenario, with a flavor of Stalinist science, a nonsense phrase wrapped in slogan words. Poor Türkic people, they were waiting for one and a half millennia to form their "commonality" and "nations" under messianic Kypchaks, and then wait for another millennia to get observed in that process with penetrating oculars of the Soviet politicized science - Translator's Note) 

At this time the steppes of Western Siberia, Kazakhstan, Northern Aral and Caspian, North Pontic (L.Potapov: southern  Russian ) steppes to the northern Black Sea coast, Crimea and Danube inclusive were in the sphere of influence of numerous nomadic Türkic-speaking tribes. Of them, for a time the strongest became the confederations of Türkic tribes in the Aral and Caspian steppes headed by Badjinaks (Besenyo, L.Potapov: Pechenegs) (10th-12th centuries) and especially Kypchaks in the North Pontic (L.Potapov: southern  Russian) steppes (Kypchaks of the Russian annals).

73 W. Bartold. Report on trip to Central Asia with scientific purpose in 1893-1894, p. 107.

The political dominance of Kypchaks was terminated by the of Chingis-khan state. In 1230's Mongols became the political owners of the Desht-i-Kypchak. With the formation of the Kypchak Khanate (L.Potapov: Djuchi ulus) state the process of the Türkic ethnogenesis became complicated by the new Mongolian influence. However, it still consisted of various combinations of the Türkic-speaking tribes constituting a majority of the Desht-i-Kypchak population, though in connection with other, and first of all Mongolian admixtures. The ordinary Mongol nomads were dissolving among the Türkic-speaking Kypchak people, about which exist direct testimony of the Muslim authors. An Arabian historian of the 14th century al-Omari in respect to the Kypchak Khanate (L.Potapov: Djuchi Ulus or Golden Horde) tells the following: "In antiquity this state was a country of Kypchaks. But when of Tatars (i.e. Mongols - L. P.) took hold of it, Kypchaks become their subjects. Then Tatars intermixed and intermarried with them [Kypchaks] and the land won over their [Tatars] natural and racial qualities, and all of them became exact Kypchaks, as from the same clan with them, because the Mongols [and Tatars] settled down in the Kypchak lands, intermarried with them and remained to live in their [Kypchak] lands". 74 The Türkic-lingual substratum of the linguistic process is manifested in that fact of common knowledge that even the literary language in the Kypchak Khanate (L.Potapov: Djuchi ulus) was the Türkic language with a presence of the Kypchak linguistic elements, let alone the vernaculars of the nomadic tribes living in the steppes, where these Kypchak elements prevailed. In the Türkic literary language were also written the official yarlyk prescripts of the Kypchak Khanate (L.Potapov: Altyn Orda) khans, and some of them were even written in the "local Kypchak language" (1393 yarlyk of Tohtamysh-khan). 75

The Altai (southern) tribes, including Teleuts, belonged to the eastern part of the Kypchak Khanate (L.Potapov: Djuchi ulus)  (White Horde), and lived with a common cultural and community life with the neighboring Kypchak tribes of the White Horde (A horde is a name for an administrative subdivision of the state, with its supreme governor responsible for administration of its uluses. tax collection, and assembly and delivery of his fully equipped horde army on the order of the Khan - Translator's Note).

(1256 .) Kypchak - , , , U, , , Altaians . Kypchak , , . , - , , , Uzbeks, , Altaians , , - (Kypchak, , . .).

After the death of the khan Batu (1256), during political fragmentation of the Kypchak Khanate (L.Potapov: Djuchi ulus), the Kypchak Türkic-speaking tribes created new combinations, which commingled with Mongols poured into the ethnic base of such modern nations as Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Karakalpaks, Bashkirs, Southern Altaians, and others. Kypchak also people participated in the formation of Kirgizes, Bashkirs, and Siberian Tatars. It is a fact of common knowledge that in the tribal compositions of the Kazakhs, Kirgizes, Karakalpaks, former nomadic Uzbeks, Bashkirs, Southern Altaians and other ethnicities living for centuries at a far distance from each other, are the same tribal names (Kypchak, Naiman, Merkit, and others). (For the ethno-historical overview, L.Potapov skips on very substantial ethnical points.

First, prior to the Mongol invasion the Türkic layer was an integral component of the Estern European societies, from the Rus in the north to Armenia and Georgia in the south, at all levels of the society except serfs. The Western and Central Siberia were predominantly Türkic.

Secondly, the "undiluted" Türkic population only in the Eastern Europe was about 2,000,000, theoretically able to stage a 500,000 combined army. The Siberian population was not less than 1,000,000, able to stage a 250,000 army.

Thirdly, the non-Türkic population in the Eastern Europe numbered another 2,000,000 people.

Fourthly, Batu had 120,000 strong Mongol army, of which Mongols constituted less than a 10,000 component, and 95% of his army was Türkic, with predominance of the Tele Kypchak-speaking people. The majority of the army, including the Mongol contingent, after the conquest were demobilized and returned to their herds, leaving behind spotty garrisons with a combined strength of ca. 20,000 men,  95% Türkic. The demographical contribution of the Mongols in the Eastern Europe is statistically undetectable, especially considering that it was limited to the upper layers of the societies. Other minorities, like the Greeks, Italians, Scandinavians, Germanics, etc. numerically far exceeded the Mongol influence.

Fifthly, the subsequent relocation of the Mongolic tribes to the west, and corresponding relocation of the Türkic tribes to the west, while changing the local demographic picture caused by the population replacement, changed little the demography of the relocated peoples before the takeover of the Kypchak Khanate splinters by the Russians in the 16th-17th centuries.

Sixthly, L.Potapov wisely avoided discussion of the Tatar component in the Batu army and in the following events. As was demonstrated by the Subetai encounter with Kumans in 1222, the Tatars of Subetai and the Kypchak Kumans were of the same lineage, and the argument about genetical and cultural influence of the Tatar Kypchaks on the Kypchak Kypchaks is a patented nonsense.

And seventhly, L.Potapov draws a totally distorted ethnographical picture by projecting backward the Soviet (Stalinist) political fractionation of the Türkic people, he calls "ethnicities" ("narodnosti") the newly created assemblies of various people (by the 1969, they were barely 40 years old) within arbitrary-set political borders. The dismemberment of the traditional tribal associations and their reconstitution along the lines of divide and rule does create political entities listed by L.Potapov, but it is clearly contradictory to the L.Potapov's vision of studying the people by seoks and tribes, transcending the new political boundaries.

 The "new combinations of the Kypchak Türkic-speaking tribes with Mongols", except for a relatively narrow strip impacted by the population replacement is a Russian politically-driven city myth. - Translator's Note)

74 V.Tizengauzen. Collection of the materials about history of Golden Horde, vol. 1. SPb., 1884, p. 235 (Russian translation).
75 B.D.Grekov and A.Yu.YakubovSky. Golden Horde and its fall. M.-L., 1950, p. 66.

The ethnogenetical connection of the modern Teleuts and Southern Altaians in general, who include the Kypchak seok, with medieval Kypchaks is fairly convincingly disclosed by the ethnographical material. The sources allow to form interesting comparisons of the Southern Altaians modern ethnographical features with some specific features of culture and daily life typical for the medieval Kypchaks. They are known to us from the descriptions of the West-European travellers who visited Kypchak steppes in the 13 century. For example, Marko Polo described Natigai deity: "Everyone has it in the house. It is made from felt and cloth and is held in the houses; they also make the wife of that God and his Sons... During the meal they take and butter a fatty chunk on the mouth of the God, his wife, and sons". 76 Similar images of deities as dolls of felt and cloth were widely spread among Altai Telengits and Teleuts up to the revolution. They were held in yurts and "fed" precisely as described Marko Polo. Moreover, the modern Telengits even called this deity the same. G.N.Potanin during his travel in the valley of the Chui river recorded his name, it also sounded "Natigai". 77 Incidentally, the Teleuts sewed the images of the deity from a canvas as dolls, filled with rugs, felt or sheep wool, and called him with a common term emegender (old ancestor women). These dolls also were periodically "fed". The domestic penates as felt dolls, representing the whole families of deities, the modern Tuvinians were making and revering very recently 78 (indicating that 25 years of cultural genocide can kill millennia of cultural heritage. In 1969 it was only 25 years since Russia (Soviets) seizing of Tuva, a blink of an eye in their long history. It also shows that the Russian post-war historians and archeologists, who wrote a lot of scholastic nonsence about Kipchaks, needed only a train ticket to get acquainted a little with the subject of their speculations - Translator's Note).

Further reference to some features of the funeral Kypchak ceremony was supplied by W.Rubruk. There are a few of tell-tale features. First, Kypchaks poured above the diseased a large tumulus, i.e. kurgan. Second, as the traveler writes, "they erect to him a statue facing east and holding a bowl in the hand in front of the navel". Thirdly, at the funerals, Kypchaks slaughtered horses. Rubruk testifies: "I saw one recently diseased, near whom they (Kypchaks - L. P.) hung up on high poles sixteen hides of horses, four on each side of the world". 79 A similar ceremony at the funerals was preserved among the Southern Altaians till the 19 century inclusive (i.e.  till the 20 century), and was called koilogo, and the horse, supplied to accompany the diseased man into the next world was called koilo at. 80 (Compare that with S.A.Pletneva's descriptions. We can readily imagine the horror of the people who were suddenly prohibited by the enlightened occupiers from supplying their diseased parents and relatives with the first necessities in the travel to another world, a horse and a food for them (kurgan represents a meadow for the horses), and a solemn prayer addressed to the rising Sun about resting at peace. That must have been worse then throwing your parents to the dogs - Translator's Note)

76 Marko Polo. Travel. L., 1940, p. 63, 117.
77 G.N.Potanin. Essays on Northwestern Mongolia, vol. 4, p. 97.
78 L.P.Potapov. Materials on ethnography of Tuvinians of the Mongun-taiga and Kara-Hol regions. Works of the Tuva complex expedition of the USSR Academy of Sciences Ethnography Institute, vol. 1, M.-L., 1960, p. 220.
79 W.Rubruk. Travel to the eastern countries. SPb., 1911, p. 80.

Altaians also buried diseased under kurgans, but the modern Southern Altaians did not install stone sculptures. However, in the Altai are such stone sculptures which Rubruk saw and described among Kypchaks. Probably, some of these stone sculptures were erected by the Kypchaks living in the Altai mountains. There is another fairly curious detail which can be considered an evidence of ethnogenetical connection of the modern Southern Altaians with the medieval Kypchaks. Rubruk recorded that Kypchaks were carrying bags in which they kept their trifle, and called them kaptargak (modern Russian "kapterka" = "closet" - Translator's Note). Similar bags are carved as suspended on the belt on some, apparently Kypchak stone sculptures (Russian "Stone Babas", i.e. Stone Grandmas, "baba" is a Türkic for grandma and grandpa, and it retained its semantics in Russian - Translator's Note). The same semicircular leather bags until recently carried the Altai hunters. In Altaian they were called kaptarga, i.e. the same as the medieval Kypchaks. We managed to buy an Altaian kaptarga for the Ethnography Museum of the USSR peoples (Leningrad).

We also find parallels between the cultures of Teleuts and Southern Altaians and the medieval Kypchaks in the field of folklore. The epic creativity of the Türkic-speaking tribes and nations from the time of the Kypchak Khanate (L.Potapov: Djuchi ulus) state which arose on the Kypchak ethnic basis, for example the legends about Chara-Batyi, Edige, Toktamysh, not only were preserved in Crimea, among Northern Caucasus Nogays, among Kazakhs and various groups of the Siberian Tatars, but were also noted among the Southern Altaians. 81

The name of the seok Todosh also should be attracted to the comparative historical analysis. In the consciousness of the modern Southern Altaians seok Todosh is considered to be "kinfolk" of the seok Kypchak, being with it in in-law relations (badjan/bechen, Russ./Greek "patcin/pechen") They are, as was already stated, "parents-in-law" seoks. However, the ethnonym Todosh apparently testifies about the presence among the Altai-kiji and Teleuts of the ancient ethnic elements ascending to the western Türks (L.Potapov: Western Tukue) of the Türkic Kaganates period, because it matches te name Tardush. This is how the acknowledged Soviet Türkologist linguist N.A.Baskakov motivates this equivalence: "Tardush > Alt. Todosh - can be explained by the loss of the sound "r" in a position before a consonant, the phenomenon widely spread in Türkic languages, especially in the modern new-Uigurian language, and the later folk etymologization of the word". 82

80 Compare Mongolian hoilga as the name of custom burial of the horse with the diseased  (J. Schmidt. Geschichte der Ost-Mongolen. St.-Pet., 1829, p. 235); among Sakha (L.Potapov: Yakuts) - hoiluga is an animal slaughtered at commemoration; among Tuvinians hoilege-at; among Khakases (Kachins, Sagaians, Beltirs) - koilaga.
81 L.P.Potapov. Heroic epos of Altaians. Soviet ethnography, 1949, No 1.
82 N.A.Baskakov. Altai language. (Introduction to study the Altai language and its dialects). ., 1958, p. 29.

Bearing in mind the described above research of I.Klukin, can be asserted that though the Tardush of the ancient Türkic runiform inscriptions is not an ethnonym, and represents only a term meaning the western half or the western wing of the ancient Türks, nevertheless it is connected with the western Türks-Tukue, whose many tribes at that time lived near Altai, especially the western Altai. Also deserves attention the fact that at the ancient Türks-Tukue the western wing was called Tardush, and at the Tele tribes in their short-lived Kaganate headed by the Seyanto tribe, the western part of their possessions was called Tadush, and the eastern part was called Tulish (compare Tolis). 83 Thus, already during the ancient Türkic time the term Tardush with loss of the "r" sound existed among the Tele tribes.

The presence of the ancient Türks in the territory of the Mountain Altai is well-known from the archeological monuments. Turning to the group of recently discovered ancient Türkic runiform inscriptions, which is already in itself a documentary proof of the presence in the Mountain Altai of the ancient Türks-Tukue, we obtain the evidence that there were specifically the western Türks. It is evidenced by the character of the runiform inscriptions which are resembling the form of the inscriptions from Talas. 84 Also, among the modern Altaians exist shining ethnographical material that does not leave any doubts that in addition to the Tele tribes in the ethnogenesis of not only the Southern, but also of the Northern Altaians took part the ancient Türks-Tukue, and not only the western, but also the eastern Türks. However, that subject would be more expedient to address a little further down.


We have only left to point out one fairly numerous ethnic component among the modern Southern Altaians, which is chronologically connected with the medieval period and was reflected in the fact of dispersion of the seok Naiman. The name of the tribe or Naiman tribal association appeared in the Lao-shi dynastic history (906-1125). In the beginning of the 13th century Naimans were subjugated by Chingis-khan. They lived between Khangai and Mongolian Altai, extending their pasturing routs all the way to the headwaters of Irtysh (Black Irtysh). No uniform views fused about the Naiman origins. Some scientists hold them Mongols by origin, the others assert their Türkic origin.

83 N.Ya.Bichurin, Ibid., vol. 1, p. 340;
Ma Chan-show. Türks and Türkic Kaganate, p. 12.
84 E.R.Tenishev. Ancient Türkic epigraphics of Altai. In Coll.: Turkological collection for six-decade of A.N.Kononov, ., 1966, p. 262-265.

Lately (in respect to 1969 - Translator's Note) grew voices asserting the Türkic origin of Naimans. 85 Naimans were a part of some large modern Türkic-speaking nations (Kazakhs, Kirgizes, Uzbeks, and others), and now everywhere they are Türkic-speaking. The Naimans living in the Mountain Altai, in particular in the areas adjoining the Teles lake (Altyn Gol), is documented for the 17th century, as was stated above, in the Siberian annals. Naimans could migrate to Altai during the 14th-15th centuries, at the time of feudal partitioning the White Horde, when many tribes intermixed, interbred, and participated in the formation of such nations as Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Kirgizes and others (before they materialized as Kazakh etc., they were frozen in time as embryonic cells, they did not have traditional cemeteries because they were immortals, and they did not have ancestral ranges because their horses lived by spiritual food only - Translator's Note). They could migrate there earlier too, during pre-Mongol period, because in the 12th century Naimans occupied places from Khangai to the Mongolian Altai, i.e. were neighbours of the Sayano-Altai mountains population. Can not be excluded a possibility that during pre-Mongol time Naimans were Türkic-speaking, as hold some scientists who analyzed the sparse Naiman linguistic material. 86

We are finishing the comparison of the Southern Altaian ethnonyms with the ethnonyms recorded in the written historical sources, which we reviewed with simultaneous uncovering of the matching parallels in the ethnographical material whenever possible.

Teleut ethnography

Now we would like to note the existence among Teleuts of some ethnographic traits that compel to expect in the ethnic composition of the Teleuts ancient Türks-speaking people, even if they were not reflected in the modern Altai ethnonyms. For that, we would turn to the materials of the Teleut shamanism that preserved traces of the ancient ethnogenetical connections. The subject is one name of the shaman tambourine, used by the Teleut shamans only during kamlation. As was already mentioned above, during the shamanistic prayers the tambourine among the Sayano-Altai mountains' nations symbolized a shaman's riding animal and was called by the name of that animal. Among the Teleuts and Kumandy people, the tambourine in such cases was called with the term an adan meaning "sacred camel", and not a camel generally, but a riding neutered camel.

85 L.L.Viktorova. Question about Naiman theory of the origin of the Mongolian literary language and writing (12th-13th centuries), Scientific Notes of LGU, No 305, series Orientalistic Sciences, vol 12, 1961.
86 S. Murayama. Sind die Naiman Tiirken oder der Mongolen? Central Asiatic Journal, 1959, vol. 4, No 3. Compare: . Poucha. Die GeheimeGeschichte der Mongolen. Archiv orientalny, suppl. 4, Praha, 1956, p. 59.

The usual formula of the Teleut shaman appealing to the tambourine said: "Alty brkbshtu ak adan", i.e. "six-humped sacred camel". 87 But, visiting northern Shors in 1927, we found out among the seok Chelei (Chelei), which hold themselves to be Teleuts, that there shamans call tambourine "alty orkoshtu an chagal", i.e. "six-humped sacred chagal". 88 Our field records concerning the term chagal are corroborated by the G.N.Potanin's message who, relying on the information of the Teleut missionary and a known translator M.Chevalkov, writes that among Teleuts "during kamlation is said about the tambourine: "alg() orkoshtu ah yagalym" which is "six-knobbed my white (sacred?) tambourine" ". 89 Potanin's translation needs an explanation. The tambourine among Teleuts is called with the name yagal (Yagal) and is called "six-knobbed" with the epithet "white", or "sacred". The word ah (ak), certainly, is better to translate "sacred", and six-knobbed is better to translate "six-humped" for, from the M.Chevalkov's explanation recorded by Potanin, the word "orkosh" is a name foe a camel hump. 90

However, the term Yagal, being only a phonetic variation of the word "chagal", remained there without an appropriate literal translation. It turned out that even such an expert on Teleut and Altai languages as was M.Chevalkov translated the term chagal as simply "tambourine", without disclosing the literal translation that symbolized an image of the tambourine as a riding animal of the shaman. Likewise the V.VerbitSky, who knew the word Yagal, could not explain the meaning of the examined term, in spite of being a well-known Altai missionary and an expert on the Altai vernaculars and ethnography, he placed the word in the dictionary with a generalized translation "shaman's tambourine". 91 (How could adult and educated man be a missionary advocating his cosmogenic doctrine without familiarity with the cosmogenic doctrine he purpose to replace, is beyond me. Use incenser instead of tambourine, change the spelling of the God's name from Tangri to Jesus, sprinkle water on yourself instead of a sacred tree - and voila, another soul saved? Like the illiterate priests a millennia before, who drove peasants into Christianity with cudgel rods  - Translator's Note) Our own attempts to obtain a literal translation of the term, after we found out that Teleut shamans call tambourine with the term chagal only during kamlation, also were not crowned with success, though we were tried to find it out directly from the shamans from whom we have heard the name "chagal". There is no doubt that the initial literal meaning of the word "chagal" was also completely forgotten by the shamans. These shaman clearly visualized the tambourine as a riding wild animal, with which skin it was covered (deer or maral), but they called it in ancient way "six-humped" some kind of "chagal", instead of the words which in Teleut language designate deer or maral.

87 L.P.Potapov. 1) Tambourine of Teleut shaman lady and its drawings, Coll. USSR Academy of Sciences Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, vol. 10, L., 1949;
2) Die Schamanentrommel bei den altaisclien Volkerschaften. Budapest, 1963.
88 L. Potapov. Die Herstelhmg der Schamanentrommel bei den Sor. Mitteilungen des Seminars fur Orientalische Sprachen zu Berlin, 27, Ostasiatische Studien, 1934.
89 G.N.Potanin. Essays on Northwestern Mongolia, vol. 4, p. 42.
90 Ibid..
91 Dictionary of Altai and Aladag vernaculars of Türkic language. Kazan, 1884, p. 65.

Nowdays the term chagal is not a mystery any more. It was found in a literal translation in a five-language dictionary (Manchjuro-Tibeto-Mongolian-Uiguro-Chinese) compiled in the 18th century and published in Peking in 1957 under a name "Mirror of Manchurian language in five languages". 92 The dictionary contains rich and at times rare for our time lexical material recorded during 18th century. Among them was the Uigur word of interest to us, with the meaning of a horse with multi-colored black or red strips or spots on the neck and breast. 93 In other words, chagal is a skewbald horse. Hence, the shaman tambourine once symbolized among the Teleuts a skewbald riding horse. The shaman's sacred symbolical horse - tambourine - was called by its color, which is generally also typical for ordinary life of the Türkic-speaking nomads (follow 2 Turko-Russian examples). And that fact that for the shaman tambourine was developed a vision about skewbald, instead of a horse in general (of any color), presents for us a special ethnogenetical interest, for it forces to recollect the ancient Türks-speaking tribe of  "motley horses" (Ala-at), 94 the news about whom appeared in the Chinese annals under the name Bo-ma, which is "skewbald horse" in the Chinese translation (That is supposedly a branch of Enisei Kyrgyzes, which was known only under a Chinese utilitarian moniker - Translator's Note).

Boma and Alats

Notaspiring to the task of laying out the ethnic history of the motley horses tribe, we shall only list some moments, at a modern state of the knowledge, to address this ethnic component among the Teleuts. The early information on the tribe of Skewbald horses in the written sources belong to the 4th century, when they lived on the northern slopes of the ancient ridge Inshan and south of it, in the Ordos (39.5N 110E). This tribe was included at some time into the Syanbi and Jujan confederations, and traced its origin from some groups of the Huns who migrated from northern part of (Gobi) desert to Ordos. During the ancient Türkic period, in the 7th century, the -Alats tribe already lived north of Altai and west from Baikal, where they adjoined the territory of Kyrgyzes, with whom they were frequently hostile. A little later they submitted to the Kaganate of Uigurs, and then migrated to the basin of Ob, north of Tomsk (56.5N 85E). In the 17th century they were known under the name of Skewbald Horde recorded in the Russian Siberian annals, and lived in the Narym area (59N 81.5E). At the same time is known that a part of Alats "motley horses" was s part of Kypchaks, and later joined the Kazakhs Kyshe (Junior) Juz (Juz) (L.Potapov: Junior Horde), some part of nomadic Uzbeks, and Siberian Tatars (L.Potapov is using here the deficient and misleading Russian terminology, though in parenthesis he corrects it. "Juz" is a union, confederation, and it was borrowed into Slavic before the Rus ever evolved, and by now it grew into a huge cluster of Russian words, one of them, "Souz", became a name of the USSR and a name for a space sputnik known around the world, semantically it retained the same meaning as the original Türkic "Juz". Replacing the word "Juz"  = union with a word "Horde" with negative connotations, as was done for centuries in the Russian propaganda-saturated scientific literature, is expedient politically, but misleading otherwise, misrepresenting the main aspect of the political entity, equally unpalatable during the Imperial period, and in the Siviet times.

Another unspoken, but ethnologically important point is connected with the terms Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Siberian Tatars etc. L.Potapov is careful qualifying the "Uzbeks" as "nomadic Uzbeks", and should be given a credit for it. The reason is that "nomadic Uzbeks" is a conglomerate of the Türkic tribes undistinguishable from the "Kazakhs", but under the auspices of the Kipchak Khanate's Khan Uzbek. The same pertains to the "Nogais", who are Kazakhs under the auspices of the Khan Nogai and his descendents. Ethnically, all these entities are Tele tribes, with a common language, culture, societal organization, mentality, and economy. - Translator's Note)

92 About this dictionary see E.V.Maltseva's publication (Works of Buryat Complex Scientific Research Inst. USSR Academy of Sciences, 1960, p. 261-264).
93 The word chagal was found in this dictionary by the Hungarian researcher . Kohalmi, who at my request searched for it in different dictionaries. I use this opportunity to thank E. Kogalmi for this courtesy.
94 About Boma see Yu.A.Zuev's work "Ancient Türkic ethnonymy by Chinese sources " (Works Inst. Histories, Arheol. and Ethnogr. Academy of Sciences Kaz. SSR, vol. 15, Alma-Ata, 1962).

Thus, Teleuts at some stage of their ethnic history probably included some groups of Skewbald horses Alat tribe, which early history is connected with the Syanbi-Tele (Gaogui) antiquity, because that is evidenced by nowadays already forgotten vision of the shaman tambourine as a skewbald saddle horse of the shaman. That now that skewbald horse is called "six-humped" (meaning camel humps) only tells about contamination of the image of the shaman riding animal as a result of apparent overlaying of the skewbald horse image by the image of a riding camel. The stated material clearly shows how far complex and mixed was the origin of the Teleuts, like the other groups of the Southern Altaians, and how far in the depths of history are traced some of their ethnic elements.


Now we should turn to the definition of ancient ethnic elements among the Northern Altaians. Following the chosen method, we shall start with ethnonym Dubo which was preserved first of all in the generalized name of the Northern Altaian group "Tuba kiji", or Tubalars. The early annalistic sources under a name Dubo describe one of the Tele tribes that in the 6th-8th centuries lived in the area adjoining the lake Kosogol (Khövsgöl) or Hubsugul (51N, 101E) and west from Kosogol (Khövsgöl) down to the Enisei headwaters (51N 90E). From the ethnographic description of Dubo in the dynastic sources is seen that in the way of life, culture and daily life Dubo sharply differed from nomadic cattle breeding Tele tribes and Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue), with whom they were associated. They are described: "Dubo is a special tribe of Tele (L.Potapov: Tiele)". 95 They were divided into three aimaks, ruled by their own leaders. The aimaks were called Dubo, Milige, and Echji. Their typical means of transportation were ski. They covered their dwellings with the birch bark (L.Potapov is addressing one of two ethnonymic possibilities. In addition to the term "Dubo, Tuba, Tuva" possibly and very likely being an endoethnonym of an ancient Türkified Nenets or Ugraian or Ket tribe, of which no ethnonymic traces were detected among the Nenetses or Ugrs or Kets; the other possibility is that the term "Dubo, Tuba, Tuva" is a social exoethnonym denominating ethnically different people, which survived in a generalized form "tüba" meaning "ulus" but with a connotation "alien ulus, dependent ulus, kyshtym ulus". "Tüba" ethnonymically parallels the Scythian "Budini", which meant just "people, a people, tribe" with the same connotation "alien, non-Scythian, dependent people, forest  people, pedestrians" (Herodotus 4.21), that with time expanded to include a meaning of "territory" among the Türkic people, and to become generic endoethnonym among the people living in the tüba. Division between the "uluses" as a heartland and "tüba" as provinces was recorded among the Middle Age Eastern Bulgars of the Middle Ages - Translator's Note).

Another source described them in more detail:

"They did not know annual periods (had no calendar); lived in grass tents;  had no cattle breeding or tilling the soil. They had a lot of sarana (grain; plant like Campanula with root like a rice grain), they collect its roots and cook porridge. They fished, caught birds and animals, and fed on them. They dressed in sable and deer dress, and poor people made clothes of bird feathers. At the weddings the rich gave horses, and the poor brought deer hides and sarana roots. Their diseased were laid in coffins and position on trees. Seeing off the diseased, they made wail the same as the Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue)". 96

65 N.V.Kuner, Chinese news about peoples of the Southern Siberia and the Far East. ., 1961, p. 292.
96 N.Ya.Bichurin, Ibid., vol. 1, p. 348 No

Despite that by the time of compiling the annals which we cited the Dubo already were in a long association with the Tele and also Türkic tribes (L.Potapov: Tukue) and that resulted that  rich Dubo for example had horses and apparently were adopted some (Türkic) customs ("made wail the same as the Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue)"), the culture and daily life of Dubo preserved all the features typical for the life of the mountain taiga hunters. 97 The geographical conditions in the life of Dubo strongly assisted to the preservation among them of the way of life described above. As a rule, the nomadic cattle breeding or any significant agriculture were impossible in the places of Dubo location. The noted perpetual ethnographical features can serve as evidence in surveying the question on the Dubo origin and their ancestral home. If in respect to the Tele tribes we have testimony of the written sources about their migration to the northern side of the Gobi desert from the south, in relation to the Dubo there are no such messages. And it is difficult to suggest that the "foot" hunting tribes of the mountain taiga appeared there (in the taiga) from the south, crossing the (Gobi) desert.

They certainly were aborigines of the mountain taiga places. But with the penetration of the territories on the northern side of Gobi by the nomadic cattle breeding tribes of Tele, Jujans, and Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue), these mountain taiga hunter tribes fell in submission to them, and probably sometimes joined in as a part of nomadic confederations. Therefore in some sources they are described as belonging to the Tele, or to the Türkic (L.Potapov: Tukue) tribes.

As to their origin and language, the available scarce materials indicate that perhaps at that time Dubo were not Türkic-speaking. Proving it is certainly difficult, but some indications in favor of such conclusion do exist. Turning to modern location, language, culture, and daily life of the tribes and nations which preserved in their name, or rather in their self-name endoethnonym,  the ethnonym Dubo, we see the following picture. The ethnic term Dubo is known to the modern population within the ancient borders of its distribution, from the Kosogol (Khövsgöl) to the Enisei headwaters, and to the west, in the Sayano-Altai mountains area, with different phonetic variations: Tubo, Tufa, Tuha, Tuma. G.N.Potanin found in the 1870's in the Kosogol (Khövsgöl) area (east and northeast from the lake) so-called Uryanhaians (Tuvinians), who called themselves Tufa or Tuha and Edjen-Uryanha. 98 In the basin of the river Shikshita, from which in 1207 Djuchi, the son of Chingishan, began a conquest of the "forest peoples", listed in the Mongolian "Secret Legend", the Uryanhais (or Tuvinians), according to the information of G.N.Potanin, were called by a generalized name Tuha. They lived along the river Huku and belonged to the Hotogoi Van (Prince). Researcher recorded among them the clans (or "bones"): Dzoktu (i.e. Chogdu), Zot (Chot) and Eldjigen. "From that follows that near Kosogol (Khövsgöl)) in the 19th century lived the descendants of the 6th-7th centuries Dubo and Echji under the same self-names, Tuha and Echjen. This fact is exceedingly remarkable, for it shows how enduring are the ancient ethnonyms, and in addition it demonstrate the low mobility of the mountain taiga pedestrian inhabitants, and the preservation among them of the the same patterns in economy.

97 As a result of the Dubo association with the Tele and Türkic (L.Potapov: Tukue) tribes, their rulers began to occasionally participate in joined trips to the Tang dynasty court (N.Ya.Bichurin, Ibid., vol. 1, p. 348).
98 G.N.Potanin. Essays on Northwestern Mongolia, vol. 4, p. 12-13; vol. 2, p. 9.
99 Ibid., vol. 4, p. 12.

Our conclusion about ethnogenetical continuity of the Kosogol (Khövsgöl)and Huku Tuvinians (Dubo of the Chinese sources) can be also supported  by the factual material belonging to the intermediate period, or more accurately to the Mongolian time. The "Secret Legend" of Mongols and the Rashid-ad-din "Collection of annals" mentioned the tribe Tuha (Tuhas) and the tribe Eldjigin. The "Secret Legend" mentioned Tuhas in the list of forest peoples. The Rashid-ad-din "Collection of annals" gives the name Eldjigin in the list of names of the Türkic nomadic peoples, together with such peoples, as for example Telengits (at Rashid-ad-din Telenguts or Tulangits), Teleses (at Rashid-ad-din Tualases or Tulases), Tumats, Uryanka, and many others, and also in the list of peoples "similar to Mongols". 100 All these peoples or tribes, both forest, and not forest, in the beginning of the 13th century were subjugated by Chingiskhan. The tribe Tuha and tribe Eldjigin are mentioned next to each other during the same epoch. The presence of these both ethnonyms simultaneously among the population of the Huku valley in the 19th century is also fairly indicative and only confirms the ethnogenetical continuity noted above. Further, in the form Tofa the ethnonym Dubo is a self-name of the Tofalars in the Irkutsk area, they are a small nation called in the old ethnographical literature Karagases, among whose bones (or clans) were registered: Chogdu (compare the bone Chogdu among the Huku Tufa, and Choodu among the modern Tuvinians); Cheptei (compare the Altai seok Chapty), and others. In the phonetic version Tuva this ethnonym is known among the Tuvinians as a self-name of the modern nation as a whole (within the limits of the Tuva ASSR), and as the self-name (Tuba) of the Tuva groups located in the headwaters of the river Kobdo in the Mongolian People's Republic.

From the above review follows that nowadays the ethnonym Dubo in its various phonetic variations expresses the self-name of some Türkic-speaking tribes and nations. But nevertheless it is difficult to align with the enduring ancient ethnographic attributes of the majority of the mentioned groups, conflicting with their belonging to the Türkic-lingual tribal groups, a typical feature of whose way of life from the extreme antiquity was a nomadic cattle breeding, certainly in a combination with animal hunting and some other subsidiary types of production (small primitive agriculture, etc.) To what ethnic and linguistic group in the past belonged the Dubo, if their modern descendants that preserved this ethnonym are all nowadays Türkic-speaking?

100 Rashid-ad-din, Ibid., vol. 1, Book 1, p. 75, 78, 117, etc.

Most likely, they were Nenetses (L.Potapov: Samodians. The historical Russian name was a derisive "Samoed" = "Self-Eater" going as far back as the Slavic-Rus annals go. In the mid of the 20th century, after expressed protests of the natives, that insulting term was officially and high-handedly mollified to a similarly sounding "Samodiy" = "Self-Dealing", but that did not improve much the situation, because by that time the Russian insulting terminology infiltrated the world science and became fossilized in various linguistic and ethnological classifications. Under continued protests, both derisive terms are being replaced by the endoethnonym of the largest group, the Nenetses, which first started to be used in the post-Soviet Russia, in the Nenets native Russian-lingual publications, and slowly becomes reflected in the Russian and non-Russian publications. It goes without saying that in the Nenets-lingual publications these old degrading terms were never used. And knowing the deference, courtesy, and honor demonstrated by L.Potapov in his work, it is unlikely that given a proper alternative L.Potapov would have used the self-deprecating disrespectful terminology - Translator's Note). In favor of such opinion indicates a very essential fact. The matter is that a number of the modern tribes and nations of the Sayano-Altai who retained the culture and daily life of the mountain taiga hunting tribes, similar with Dubo in the descriptions of annalistic sources (for example, Tofalars, some Tuvinian groups of Todjins, Koibals, Motors, and others), up until the 18th and even to the beginning of the 19th century also retained the remains of the Nenets (L.Potapov: Samodian) language. Their relationship with the Nenetses (L.Potapov: Samoeds) or Nenetses (L.Potapov: Samodians) some time ago pointed out I.Georgi. 101 Later, this view were substantiating M.A.Kastren and W.W.Radloff. 102 In our time the belonging of the ethnonym Tubo-Dubo to the southern tribes was confirmed by the linguist ethnographer G.N.Prokofiev. 103 Finally, the same opinion holds a well-known expert on Nenets (L.Potapov: Samodian) languages A.Ioki. 104

The modern Türkic-linguality of such past Nenets-lingual (L.Potapov: Samodian-lingual) tribes and nations came about as a result of the close Türkic-lingual surroundings and long contacts with the Türkic states, linguistic assimilation, etc. In particular, judging by the historical data stated above, the Dubo underwent a language assimilation by the Tele tribes, especially by the Uigurs, even before the emergence of the Türkic Kaganate, but they retained their self-name. The fact of preservation of the Nenets (L.Potapov: Samodian) language by some tribal taiga groups in the Sayano-Altai mountains, hunting tribes in their way of life, is a weighty proof of the stated hypothesis about the Nenets (L.Potapov: Samodian) origin of the Dubo tribes. It also explains the presence among some northern groups of Altaians of the common traits in the culture and daily life with, for example, the Nenets-lingual (L.Potapov: Samodian-lingual) Selkups etc.

In direct connection with the ethnonym Dubo-Tuba is also the tribal name Tumat. Nowadays as a tribal name the Tumat exists not only among Altaians and Tuvinians, but also among Sakha (L.Potapov: Yakuts), Mongols, and Uzbeks (By not using the qualifier "nomadic", L.Potapov implies that Tumats lived in the Middle Asia, in the Seyhun-Chayhun/Syrdarya-Amudarua interfluvial before the arrival of the ethnically Kazakh "nomadic Uzbeks" in the 15th century, apparently as rural cattlemen dwellers in the steppes - Translator's Note). The Soviet scientists formulated a hypothesis about identification of the terms Tuhas, Tubas, and Tumat, which from the linguistic angle is quite justified (Who are these "Soviet scientists" L.Potapov prudently does not provide with a needed reference, but combining this muted statement with the works of Yu.Zuev, a picture develops that at about 300 BC the Tele tribe As had their Tuhses and Hunnish kyshtyms, at about 200 BC the Huns revolted, and sent the Tele Ases with their Dubo-derived Tuhs kyshtyms packing. Ases and Tuhses fled to the Jeti-su, acquired another kyshtym from the remnants of the local Sakauraka tribe, but after two generations they were booted from it by the Usun branch of the Huns. They moved to Fergana, stayed there for a generation with an apparent consent of the Kangar ruler, and moved westward again along the interfluvial, probably prodded by the Kangar ruler who found a common language with the newly elevated Huns. They consisted of five sub-tribes, likely a ruling As tribe, three kyshtym Tuhs tribes, and one kyshtym Sakauraka tribe, each ruled by their native chieftain. At around 160 BC an enterprising As ruler replaced the Tuhs and Sakauraka chieftains with his yabgus (viceroys), and went south to conquer Bactria and parts of India, now corresponding with the parts of Afganistan, Pakistan, and India. Thus, they became known to the Greeks as Ases, Tochars, and Sakauraka who conquered Bactria. A part of the Tuhses fled east and west, probably retaining a dual As-Tochar confederation within each splinter, and became known as Dügers/Digors in the west, between Uzboi and Mangtshlak, and the Turgeshes in the east. At any point of their further history, they retained a perennial animosity toward the Huns and the Türks, and the only occasions when the royal clan of Dubo/Dulo submitted to the royal clans of the Huns and the Türks were submittal of the Alanian Ases to the Hun's Bulumar in the 370's AD, and of the Bulgarian Bat Boyan to the Khazarian Ashina in the 680's AD. Perennial animosity of As-Tuhsi dynastic elite with Türkic Ashina dynasty corroborates the suggestion - Translator's Note)

101 I.Georgi. The description of all peoples in Russian state, ch. 3. SPb., 1779, p. 17.
102 Castren. Reiseberichte und Briefe aus Jahren 1845-1849. Nordische Reisen und Forschungen, Bd. 2. St.-Pet., 1856, p. 351;
W. Radloff. Aus Sibirien, Bd., 1, p. 191, 207, 212-213.
103 G.N.Prokofiev. Ethnogenesis of the Ob-Enisei basin nations. Soviet ethnography, No 3, 1940, p. 69-70.
104 A.Ioki considers the words uba, ufa a common name of the southern Nenetses (L.Potapov: Samoeds) and after W.Radloff believes that Tu-po (upa, uba) mentioned in the Chinese sources represent southern Nenetses (L.Potapov: Samoeds). Moreover, the author sees pra-Nenetses (L.Potapov: pra-Samoeds) during the Scythian time as the northern mountain taiga neighbours of the carriers of the Pazyryk archeological culture in the Altai, and objects to Jettmar who attributes them to the ancestors of the modern Ob Ugrs (Aulis Jki. Die Lenhwortes des Sayansamojedischen. Memoires dela Societe Pinno-Ougrienne, 103, Helsinki, 1952, p. 29).

Excluding from these terms the plural affixes ("sig") we receive the root of the word in form the Tuma, Tuba, and Tuha. The alternation of "m", "b"and "h" between vowel sounds for Türkic and Mongolian languages is typical (M.Zakiev used this phenomenon to argue that the Sogdian language of Horasmians, of which we have written records, is an "h" dialect of the same old Türkic language, where "su" = water becomes "hu" = water, and "Su-Asses/Su-Ars" = "Water Ases/Water Ars" become "Hu-Asses/Hu-Ars", which is reflected in the spelling of the Horasmian name as "Choaras" = "Hu-Ars". See M.Zakiev study and here - Translator's Note) It is possible to advocate this hypothesis with the written sources. About Tumats as forest people we learn from the Mongolian "Secret Legend" and Rashid-ad-din "Collection of annals", they talk about this tribe as a branch of the tribes Bargut, Kori and Tulas (Tele). 105 An ambassador of the Chinese emperor on the road to the Chingis-khan court among various tribes which he met on the way names a tribe "Tu-ma", i.e. Tumats. 106 The ethnonym Tuma corresponds quite naturally with Dubo, the self-name of the mountain taiga tribes in the Sayano-Altai mountains described above.

Thus, the history of the Dubo tribes is briefly summarized as follows. In the 5th century in the Northern Wei dynasty annals (386-534) Dubo are one of the generations of the Gaogyuans, who were living south from Baikal. 107 In the Sui time (581-617) they appear with the Tele tribes, and are also shown south of Baikal. 108 In the Tang time (618-907) Dubo are already listed as "Ski Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue)", the eastern neighbors of the Kyrgyzes. 109 The attribution of the Dubo in the Tang annals to the Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue), like in the previous annals to the Tele, only reflects their political dependence on the Tele and the Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue).

Solu or So

Among the Northern Altaian ethnonyms now preserved in the names of the seoks, the Kumandy seok So can't fail to draw attention. As was stated above, its name have drawn attention of researchers in connection with the ancient Türkic genealogical legend retained in the Chinese Choushu annals. N.Aristov placed the state (or possession) So in the northern Altai on the Kumandy lands, because among Kumandy was preserved the seok So. Though the N.Aristov's hypothesis about the origin of the ancient Türks from the state (or possession) So cannot be accepted in view of the modern knowledge of the ethnogenesis of the ancient Türks-Tukue, which was discussed above, still the ethnonym presents a strong interest. It is very ancient ethnonym. Before discussing its ethnogenetical significance, should be mentioned that during the 17th century written Russian sources call Kumandy seok So with a name Solun volost.110

105 Rashid-ad-din, Ibid., vol. 1, Book 1, p. 121.
106 . Bretshneider. Mediaeval studies from Eastern Asiatic sources; fragments towards the knowledge of the geography and history ofCentral and Western Asia from the 13th to the 17th century London, 1887, (1st edition), p. 27-28.
107 H. V.Kuner. New Chinese materials on ethnography of 7th-8th centuries Kyrgyzes. Notes of khakas Scientific Research Inst. of Language, Literature and History, vol. 2, Abakan, 1952, p. 14.
108 Liu Mau-tsai, Ibid., vol. 1, p. 128.
109 H. V.Kuner New Chinese materials..., p. 14.
110 B.O.Dolgih, Ibid., p. 105, 111.

Although W.Radloff noted this seok under a name So, we however have a documentary evidence belonging not only to the 17th, but also to the beginning of the 20th century about the seok Solu among Kumandys. 111 And even now some Kumandy people call the seok Solu. 112 What is interesting in the historical relation in the name of the seok Solu or So? It is because it connects the modern Kumandy with the early ethnic history of the Tele tribes, ascending to the ancient pre-Türkic period, and this is how.

We already stated that by now the question of the origin of the ancient Türks-Tukue state was resolved with the help of the new sources. 113 Also was illuminated the ethnogenetical process of the period from the 3rd to the middle of the 4th centuries AD. Because of that, the significance of the sources in that part of the above mentioned ancient Türkic legend about the Türks' origin, which was usually connected with the Sayano-Altai mountains, needs to be set back to an earlier time, at least by the period before 265 AD, when started a mass advance to the west by the Southern Siberian and Central Asian tribes. But now has appeared a better justified view on the state So, mentioned in the legend. The name So or Solu, is now connected with the ancient name of the country So-lu of the Syanbian tribes in the Eastern Mongolia.


(For long time Syanbi were depicted as most enigmatic people, presumably Türkic, but every effort was made to find an alternative. The ever-present Iranian paradigm lingered until dispatched by P.Pelliot; Iranians did not want any Mongolian pedigree. L.Potapov demonstrated that there should not have been much enigmatic about Syanbi, their affiliation and origin are fairly straightforward. Summary of L.Potapov account on Syanbi constituents in this work:

Türkic Tele Uigur clan Toba (Touba, Tabgach) - founder, dynastic clan. Toba descended from tribe/country So (So-lu), which was also progenitor ancestor of Türks. Toba were Türkic speaking
Tungus Tanguts=future Mongol Uhuans (Uanhe, Wuhuan) - army that defeated Huns (P.Pelliot: Mongol)
Türkic Tele (Gaogui) significant part of Tele accepted Syanbi name
Türkic Huns numbering up to 100 thousand wagon carts "accepted national name Syanbi"
Türkic modern Teleut seok Mundus legendary descent from Tanynihai, a Syanbi Kagan
Türkic Alats (Boma), a tribe of tribe of Skewbald horses (record of 4th c.)
Türkic So, primogenitor tribe of Türk tribes in Syanbi state (Liu Mau-tsai, B.Ogel: a name of one of Syanbi tribes) - Translator's Note)

Syanbinians appeared there after a defeat of the northern Huns by the Tanguts in 93 AD. They occupied the territory of the escaped Hunnish Shanyu, and the remaining in the same places Huns numbered up to 100 thousand wagon carts "accepted the national name Syanbi". 114 The supreme leader of the Syanbians had a title Kagan, which later became typical for the ancient Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue) and Tele. In the written sources this word for the first time appears at Syanbians. 115

Having mentioned the Syanbians, who in the ethnic relation were a conglomerate, some of their ethnographical features noted by the annals should not be missed. Before marriage, Syanbinians shaved heads. In the last spring month (on April moon) they were gathering at a river and organized a feast, after which they were joining in marriage. 116 During coaching migrations Syanbinians transported their property on the carts, which brings them closer with the Tele-Gaogui tribes. 117 They had a legend about the origin of their main leader Tanynihai, that he was conceived by his mother from a little hailstone, which she swallowed during a rainstorm.118

111 See above, Ch. "Ethnic composition of Altaians".
112 Message of our post-graduate student, ethnically Kumandy F.A.Satlaev.
113 Liu Mau-tsai, Ibid., vol. 1, 2; History of Tuva, vol. 1, M., 1964, p. 59-60; S.G.Klyashtorny. ancient Türkic runiform monuments as a source on history of Central Asia. ., 1964, p. 101-114.
114 N.Ya.Bichurin, Ibid., vol. 1, p. 150-151.
115 G. Clauson. Turk, Mongol, Tungus. Asia Major, New .Series (vol. VIII)  pt. 1, London, 1960, p. 115.
116 Ibid., p. 149.
117 Ibid., str 153.
118 Ibid., p. 154.

As a political association the Syanbinians fractured at the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 3rd century, because of internecine conflicts and clashes.


From the mixed Hunno-Syanbi ethnic people arose two tribal confederations, one of which was called Topa (To-pa) or Toba, and in the Chinese annals received a nickname "braiders", because their men plaited their hair into a braid. 119 Toba were nomadic cattlemen and lived north from the other Syanbi tribes. For three centuries they lived around the river Onon (50N 103E), and then gradually began advancing south, crossed Gobi, and conquered a number of provinces in the shattered and clashing China, where they established a well-known dynasty Northern Wei (386-535).

Toba spoke Türkic, judging by the 5th century information that reached us. 120 They partially were the ancestors of the ancient Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue) and possibly also Tele, because Tele descended from the Hunnish people. The sources say that when the founder of the Northern Wei dynasty Toba-chui ascended the throne, some Gaogui generations submitted to him, i.e. some Tele tribes. 121 Following the ancient Syanbian tradition, Toba in the summer brought sacrifice to the Sky. Because the Toba descended from the country So, they were called So-lu, which ostensibly meant "barbarians So". 122 Thus, according to the modern concept, the Kumandy ethnonym So or Solu takes us back into the Hunno-Syanbi antiquity, where the ethnogenetical roots of the ancient Türkic-speaking Tele and Türkic (L.Potapov: Tukue) tribes originate. The Tele tribes were adjoining Syanbinians and intermixed with them, quite possibly they could accept the ethnonym So or Solu and preserve it until now. And probably not by accident the origin of the Kumandy seok So descends from Teleuts, as was stated above. We already noted the Teleuts as keepers of some very ancient household traditions of the Central Asian nomads. We shall add to that another ethnographical feature, wearing braids by the Teleut men, that survived (in Russia) to the beginning of the 1930's. This custom connects the modern Teleuts, and likewise some other groups of the Southern Altaians, with Syanbian-Toba tradition. Hence, can already be staed an accumulation of ethnographical material from the sphere of material and spiritual culture, in addition to the ethnonyms, to stipulate ethnogenetical connection of some tribal groups of the modern Altaians with the Hunno-Tele ethnic environment.

119 Ibid., p. 167.
120 L. Bazin. Recherches sur les paries T'o-pa. T'oung Pao, vol. 39, livr. 4-5, 1950;
G.Clauson, Ibid., p. 115-117.
121 H. J.Bichurin, Ibid., vol. 1, p. 173... vs
122 Liu Mau-tsai, Ibid., vol. II, p. 489.


Among the modern Kumandy is one more name of a seok which draws attention at juxtaposition with ancient and medieval ethnonyms, it is the name Tas. In 1660's this seok constituted a yasak "Tastar volost" then attached to the "mountain border volosts" of the Tomsk district, located in the northern spurs of the Kuznetsk Ala Tau. In the beginning of the 13th century Tastars are mentioned in the "Secret Legend" near Tele, in the list of "forest peoples" subject to Mongols. No other data, except the ethnonymic comparisons, is available on Tastars. Our reasons for probable affinity of the Tastars with the Teleuts, and for late affiliation of the Tastars with the Kumandy people were stated above.

Tirgeshes and Dulu

Of the Northern Altaians ethnonyms a large historical interest presents the name of the seok or volosts Tirgesh. The Tirgesh volost of the 17th century, already noted above, in the 18th century in the (Russian) official documents began to be called Kergesh (Turgesh). But the name Tirgesh among the Tubalar people was stable and was preserved till this moment. The ethnonym Tirgesh among the Tubalars is certainly comparable with the ethnonym of the western ancient Türks, the Tyurgesh. In the 7th-8th centuries Tyurgeshes lived next to the Western Altai, and were associated with the Dulu union of the Western Türkic tribes, they were coaching in the territory of the Jeti-su. Like with the ethnonym Tardush/Todosh, the name Tirgesh serves as a solid confirmation of the participation of the Türkic (L.Potapov: Tukue) tribes in the ethnic composition of the ancestors of the modern Altaians. The modern Altai Tubalars in that relation are especially indicative. Among them, the whole complex of ethnonyms of the ancient Türkic time comes to light. The composition of the seoks in the same Tirgesh volost produces in their names three such ancient ethnonyms at once: Tirgesh, Togus and Chygat. The first of them is identical to the term Turgesh, as was called a part of the ancient Türks-Tukue, and the second and the third terms are connected with the tribal names of Tokuz-Oguzes and Chiks, i.e. the ancient Tele.

The linguistic arguments for identification of the seok Togus name with the Toguz-Oguzes of the Orhon inscriptions were provided by N.A.Baskakov. 123 The ethnonyms Chygat and Chik we discussed above. Such a complex of ethnonyms certainly excludes any elements of chance and should be considered as one of weighty proofs of the presence in the ethnic environment of the modern Altai Tubalars of the ancient Türkic components. This argument gains a greater weight in comparison with it of the ethnographical materials stated above, which reflect in the culture and daily life of the Tubalars-Tirgeshes the ancient cattle breeding traditions, which in turn receive an explanation in the origin of some Altai Tubalars tribal groups from the ancient Türkic-speaking Türkic (L.Potapov: Tukue) and Tele tribes, who later intermixed.

123 N.A.Baskakov. Altai language, p. 28.

Having analyzed fairly large volume of material on the ethnonyms of the modern Altaians, both the southern, and the northern, we could establish by comparison the antiquity of many ethnonyms. From that follows that ethnonyms of the Sayano-Altai mountains population display a great stability in time, and can be a valuable ethnogenetical source reflecting a belonging of modern carriers of the ethnonyms with the matching ancient tribal groups, associations or nations. As is known, mountain ranges usually serve as a type of a preserve-refuge for splinters of sometimes long gone disappearing nations. That applies, as is known, to the Caucasus and the Alps, to the Tien Shan and Hindu Kush, to the Himalayas and other mountain areas. The Sayano-Altai highlands provide such an example in respect to the (Middle and) Central Asia. Leaving the framework of our research easily expands the circle of ancient nations whose remains ended up as in the Sayano-Altai mountains as a result of various relocations and migrations.


A vivid example of preservation there of the ancient ethnonyms (recorded by early Chinese sources, or ancient Türkic runiform inscriptions), reflecting the real ancient ethnogenetical connections, can serve the name Bokli or Bukli. We find it in the Russian historical documents of the 17th century, where Boklis sometimes are called "Bokli" or "Bukli" land or volost. The "volost" in the 18th century lived in the basin of the river Tuba (right tributary of Enisei south of Krasnoyarsk). It is certainly difficult not to identify the yasak-paying Bokli of the 17th century with the people of the "Bekli steppe", whose members, together with Kyrgyzes, Uch-Kurykans (Tree Kurykans, or Three Sakha (Yakuts), Modern Chinese Pinyin 骨利干 Guligan), and others came to the funeral of one of the first Türkic Kagans (in the beginning of the second half of the 6th century), as is said in one of the ancient Türkic runiform inscriptions. 124 Though it is established that Bokli of the mentioned inscription meant the Northern Korean state, probably some of its tribes with the time migrated to the northwest, to the the Sayano-Altai mountains, and brought with them the ethnonym Byokli after the former belonging to that state. One more example.

124 See our work "People of Bekli steppe" (in Coll.: Turkological studies, M.-L., 1963, p. 282-291).

Si - Tatabs

In the beginning of the 18th century a traveler D.Messershmidt recorded from the words of the "Tatar from the river Syde" (right tributary of Enisei, below confluence of rivers Tuba and Viry) a story that ulus Si (pl. Silar) earlier lived along the river Oe, i.e. much to the south, in the northern spurs of the Sayan ridge, even south from Minusinsk. 125 The name of the ulus Si should be certainly identified with a known ethnonym Si, or Hi (Tatabs of the ancient Türkic runiform texts), the tribes that lived in the area of the lake Dalai Nor. The ancient Chinese annals call Si special a branch of the Huns, and note that they live on the former lands of Syanbians. 126

After this deviation we shall return to our discourse. We can state now that among the modern Northern Altaians, examined in this work, exist the ancient Türkic ethnic components connected with the nomadic cattle breeding populations, in particular with the ancient Türks-Tukue and Tele tribes. Such conclusion is inevitable in light of the historical ethnographical analysis of the ethnic composition of the Northern Altaians by individual seoks. Hence, now it is already impossible to share W.Radloff's beliefs that the Northern Altaians are only Turkified Nenetses and Eniseans (Kets). In the mixed ethnic substratum of the Northern Altaians which includes Nenets, Enisei and Ugr groups, undoubtedly also were ancient Türks-speaking people connected with the tribes of the Tele and Türkic (L.Potapov: Tukue) confederations. The linguistic facts confirm a conclusion about a mixture in the ethnic composition of the modern Northern Altaians of the Türkic (likewise mixed), Nenets and Ugrian people. 127

Türks Tukue

Because in a previous discourse we emphasized on the basis of various sources a role of the Tele tribes in the early stages of the Altai ethnogenesis, now it is time to address the ancient Türkic (L.Potapov: Tukue) tribes. The signals about participation in the ethnogenesis of the Altai population of the ancient Türks Tukue not only serve the ancient ethnonyms examined above, but they are also confirmed by other various sources. First of all we shall remind of the archeological monuments excavated in the territory of the Mountain Altai and its northern foothills, where are kurgans with the diseased buried with a horse, undoubtedly belonging to the ancient Türks 128 (This is an interesting statement coming from an eminent ethnographer: Burial + Kurgan + Horse = undoubted Türk. Following this observation would clinch a mass of disputable monuments - Translator's Note). We shall recollect a whole group of ancient Türkic runiform inscriptions "discovered" recently on the stones in the Mountain Altai ("Discovery" is needed only if the aborigional population was wiped out, as it happened in other parts of Russia. Otherwise, just descend to talk to the locals, they have long memories - Translator's Note). It is also impossible to forget the linguistic facts testifying to the presence in the modern dialects of the Altaians of the lexical layer connected with the ancient Türkic (Orhon, Uigur) languages. The languages of the modern northern Altaian tribes, as was noted, preserved much more features of the ancient Türkic languages than even the Southern Altaian dialects. 129

125 D. G. Messershmidt. Forschimgsreise durch Sibirien 1720-1727. Teil I. Tagebuchaufzeichungen 1721-1722. Berlin, 1962, p. 163.
126 W. Eberchard. Sinologischen Bemerkungen über den Stamm der Kay. Monumenta Serica, XII, 1947, p. 204-223;
Liu Mau-tsai, Ibid., vol. I, p. 124-125, etc.
127 N.A.Baskakov. Altai language, p. 34.
128 S.V.Kiselev. Ancient history of the Southern Siberia. M.-L., 1949.

Not to a lesser degree also should be taken into account the very expressive ethnographical material belonging to the various sides of the material and spiritual culture of the modern Altaians. That is the preservation for many centuries of the ancient Türkic traditions in the fields of culture and daily life. First of all is evident the similarity in economic life. Modern Southern Altaians, like the ancient Türks tribes, had the main occupation of nomadic cattle breeding, in a combination with animal hunting, with subsidiary mainly hoe agriculture, with small crops of barley and millet. It is known (from the archeological excavations) that the ancient Türks dried grass as bunches with which they probably additionally fed in the winter the young of the cattle. Such method of grass preparation for the future was preserved among the Altaians and Tuvinians down to our time. Analogies could be cited in respect to the methods of felt manufacturing, leather and hides production, carpentry. However exist closer parallels in comparison with the ancient Türkic material from the archeological excavations and ancient written sources. Many examples give the comparison of wooden domestic utensils (cups, dishes, etc.). The similarity is so amazing that not always can be distinguish a well preserved object from a kurgan from a recently used sample from the Altaians. The ancient Türks and Altaians identically used for food dried cheese (kurut) from sour milk, made koumiss. Treating somebody with koumiss, the ancient Türks kneeled and sang songs. Precisely the same did the Southern Altaians treating each other with araka. Very many of such comparisons can be cited from various areas of the folk life of the modern tribes.

However especially brightly and completely is preserved the successive historical connection of the Altaians with the Türks of the 6th-8th centuries AD in the religious beliefs and ceremonies, i.e. along the line of the most conservative elements of the culture. In the Altai up to the beginning of the 20th century was preserved the ancient Türkic ceremony of a burial of a diseased, with his harnessed riding horse and various objects of life, under kurgans with stone embankments or within the stone embankments of the ancient kurgans. The shaman beliefs among the Altaians contain the ancient features noted by the Chinese annals among the Türkic (L.Potapov: Tukue) and Tele tribes. Altaians sacrificed to the deities bulls, horses and sheep in a way as it is described in the Chinese sources about the ancient Türks, putting up on poles the hides of the sacrificed animals.

129 N.A.Baskakov. Altai language, p. 29.

Even the names of the deities mentioned in the ancient Türkic inscriptions endured among Altaians: Tengri, Yer-Sug, Umai. The modern Altaians saw them in the same images, with the same functions, as the ancient Türks (for example, the patroness saint of children Umai). The prayers to the Sky known in the written sources since Hunnish time, with the same purposes, were conducted by some Sayano-Altai mountains tribes and nations up to the present. The fathers and grandfathers of the modern generation of Altaians and Tuvinians dedicated to mountains the horses, bulls, sheep (ydyk and yiyk). The mountains where such prayers were held were called ydyk, i.e. by the same name for the sacred mountains in the ancient Türkic inscriptions. Ancient Türks believed that a person should not say his name, to not attract to himself attention of malicious spirits. Same belief also existed among the modern Altaians and Tuvinians. The Chinese annals recite that when a yurt of the Türkic Kagan Shabolio burned down during a hunt, he was so depressed by a bad omen that he soon died. Exactly the same, only few decades ago Altaians and Tuvinians knew that if during a hunt their abode would burn down, it foretells misfortune, etc.

With the ethnographical material we could illuminate the case in point in much more detail. However, accounting for everything that we already published on that subject, 130 we shall limit with the above, and on the strength of the sources venture to stipulate the following. The Türkic (L.Potapov: Tukue) tribes, constituting a military-political nucleus of the Türkic Kaganate, spread their hegemony and their pasturing routs to Altai, Tuva, and Mongolia, i.e. on the area of Altaian ethnogenesis, undoubtedly intermixed with the ancient ancestors of Altaians, and influenced their ethnic composition. Thus, as a result of the analysis of the ethnonyms, review of the ethnographical materials and other historical sources, the participation of the ancient Türkic (L.Potapov: Tukue) tribes at an early stage of the Altaian ethnogenesis can be held as proven. As it turned out, that pertains both to the Southern, and to the Northern Altaians. If in respect to the Southern Altaians such considerations were already expressed earlier, concerning the Northern Altaians that was not brought up. The Northern Altaians, as we saw, were considered to be linguistically Turkified ethnic mix of the southern Nenetses and Eniseans (Kets).

Our analysis also confirms the presence of the Nenets and Ugrian components in the ethnic substratum of the Northern Altaians, though the Enisei component has not been detected with a sufficiently confidence, though its presence, generally speaking, is possible. A new and as we assert, established by us fact should be recognized the ancient Türkic element in the ethnic base of the Northern Altaians, connected with Tele and Türkic (L.Potapov: Tukue) tribes.

130 L. P.Potapov. 1) Basic problems in study of Altaian peoples in the Soviet historical science. ., 1954 (Reports of the Soviet delegation at 23-rd International congress of Orientalists); 2) Application of a historical ethnographic method to study of monuments of ancient Türkic culture. ., 1956 (Reports of the Soviet delegation at 5th International Congress of anthropologists and ethnographers).

Moreover, some ethnonyms preserved to this day among separate groups of the Northern Altaians, in particular among Kumandy, originate in the earlier periods, for example in the Hunno-Syanbi antiquity. Can hardly be doubted that aborigines in the northern Altai were stationary mountain taiga hunting tribes with culture and daily life adapted to the local natural conditions. But it is also doubtless that a part of the ancient Türkic nomadic cattlemen for some specific historical reasons was compelled to settle in the mountain taiga, to intermix with the aborigines, to acquire from them the taiga hunting lifestyle, and as a consequence to change their ethnographical nature, abandoning traditional features of the nomadic cattle breeding way of life, or keeping them only as vestiges.

Now we shall bring some results to our research on an ethnogenesis of the Southern Altaians. Basing on the analysis of the specific and various historical material considered above, we can assert that the ethnic base of the early ancestors of the Southern Altaians were Türkic-speaking tribes, nomadic cattlemen in the way of life. Their ethnic history continued within a common framework of Türkic-speaking people, though at some stages it experienced an influence of Mongols. That was during the domination period of the Mongolian empire (13th century), then in the Oirat period (17th century). 131 But the Türkic-speaking complex, in which the ethnogenesis of the Southern Altaians was developing, during different historical periods was different, and that is necessary to emphasize. The Tele tribes, who were the earliest historical ancestors of the Southern Altaians, retaining their ethnic base, partially intermixed with the tribes of the ancient Türks-Tukue, and not only during the Türkic Kaganate period, but also during the Uigur Kaganate (744-840), when the Uigurs (also scions of the Tele tribes) destroyed the state of the ancient Türks and established their political domination in the eastern part of the Central Asia (The Russian definition of the Central Asia includes the Middle Asia, so the "eastern part of the Central Asia" includes the eastern part of the Middle Asia - Translator's Note).

A little later (9th-10th centuries), during the so-called "Kirgiz Great Power" (Bartold), the ancestors of Altaians fell into submission to the Enisei Kyrgyzes. The Kirgiz tribes spread their pasturing routs both to territory of modern Tuva, and to the territory of the Mountain Altai and its foothills, about which convincingly testify archeological monuments. 132 In that situation certainly were conditions for ethnic mixture of the ancestors of Altaians with the Enisei Kyrgyzes. About the admixture with Enisei Kyrgyzes testify the materials of the modern Altai language, 133 folklore, and also some ethnonyms (Burut, Detisar). 131

131 L.P.Potapov. Essays on history of Altaians, p. 150, 153.
132 S.V.Kiselyov. Ancient history of the Southern Siberia.

During the same Kirgiz period and a little later (9th-12th centuries) the Türkic-speaking ancestors of the Southern Altaians intermixed with the Kypchak tribes, who were coaching in the basin of Irtysh. It is clearly indicated, as we noted above, not only by the ethnonym Kypchak and ethnographical materials, but especially the linguistic properties. The linguistic data are so expressive that they gave a reason to classify the modern Altaians' language as belonging to the Kypchak group. 134

The last circumstance, being a very important proof of a large role of the Kypchak tribes in the late medieval ethnic history of the Altaians, perhaps created the only difficulty for the actual substantiation of our concept about the origin of the Altaian ancestors from the ancient Tele tribes, whose language belongs to another linguistic group usually called in the classifications of the Türkic languages a Uigur group. The attribution of the Tele language to the Uigur group of languages is quite natural, for the Uigurs since ancient times belonged to the Tele tribes, and in the 7th century took a predominating place among them. In the Tokuz-Oguz confederation, Uigurs played a leading part. With such combination of the facts, it was difficult to explain why Altaians, whose origin from the ancient Tele tribes is documentarily traced, at the same time speak in the language of the Kypchak group. Attaching to the linguistic facts a paramount value, at some time we formulated our conclusions as follows: "The historical ancestors of the modern Southern Altaians were Kypchak Türkic-speaking tribes. In the Altai, these late Kypchak people intermixed not only with the descendants of other ancient Altai Türkic-speaking tribes of the time of the Türkic Kaganate (Teleses, Turgeshes, and others), but also with the western-Mongolian ethnic elements". 135

At present, the properties of the modern Altaian language do not any more present difficulty for explanation of ethnic parameters in the ethnogenesis of Altaians. That happened due to the fact that lately the Altaian language became a subject of special studies of dialects. Mainly we are obligated to the prof. N.A.Baskakov, who came to a number of interesting conclusions based on the study of the Altaians' language by separate dialects. One of them says: "The ethnic substratum of Altaians are Uigur clans and tribes who later intermixed with Oguzes and Kypchaks". 136

133 2. A.Baskakov. Altai language, p. 29, 34.
134 A.N.Samoilovich. Some additions to  the classification of Turkish  languages. Pgr., 1922.
135 L.P.Potapov. 1) Essays on history of Altaians, p. 149-153; compare: Heroic epos of Altaians, p. 124-130.
136 N.A.Baskakov. Altai language, p. 28.

Certainly, from the point of view of the historical facts reflected mainly in the written sources, speaking about the ancient ethnic substratum of Altaians, it is more correctly to state that they were Tele tribes, from which during the ancient Türkic period descended Uigurs, who headed the first confederation of the Tele tribes, called Tokuz-Oguzes. Within the framework of that confederation doubtlessly occur a mixing of the Tele tribes. Certainly, they also intermixed with the Türks-Tukue, in particular with the Kypchak Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue) of the early Middle Ages, who ruled Uigurs for 50 years, as states the Moyun-chur monument. 137

Recognizing the validity and necessity of the division of the modern Altaians onto two "in essence completely different ethnic groups" of the Southern and Northern Altaians, N.Baskakov summarizes results of their linguistic research as follows: "These two groups, complex in their ethnic composition, differ on a degree of the genetic connection with the ancient Uigur tribes, and on the linguistical relations with the ancient Türkic languages. So, the language of the Northern Altaian tribes preserved much more features of the ancient Türkic languages than the Southern Altaian dialects. At the same time, the language of the Southern Altaians, whose ancestors were in a long bonding coexistence with the Kypchaks, received the Kypchak veneer, while preserving its ancient base common with the ancient Türkic language". 138 Thus, the language of the modern Southern Altaians has ancient Uigur (Tele tribes) base, and its Kypchak features appeared as a result of a long coexistence of the ancestors of the Southern Altaians with the Kypchaks. The written sources in fact establish such coexistence of the ancestors of the Southern Altaians with the Kypchak Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue) in the 6th-8th centuries and later.

So, our research is completed. Coming from the modern ethnic composition of Altaians, we were gradually going down into the depth of the historical past, trying to learn the ancient ethnic components from which grew the Southern and Northern Altaians, to track the main events of their ethnic history. For that, we used a combination of various types of historical sources, and their concurring indications we prize as the most reliable results.

137 S.E.Malov. S.E.Malov, Monuments of ancient Türkic writing of Mongolia and Kirgizia, p. 38.
138 N.A.Baskakov. Altai language, p. 29. Emphasized by us. See also page 34: "South Altai dialects, which ascend to the Oguz, Uigur and ancient Kirgiz languages, under an influence of the Kypchak and Kimak  language had substantially levelled out, and after transformation obtained common features with the modern Kirgiz language, with which they form a single Kirgizo-Kypchak group of languages".

Tele, Teles, and Türks

In respect to our results and conclusions we again need to turn to the N.A. Aristov's well-known work where he declared about the Southern Altaians, "that Teleuts and Telenguts or Telengits, as Chui people call themselves, are the same people, and moreover the true name of these people is apparently Tele, and the prefix of the Mongolian plural "ut" (or "gut") was attached to the name Tele only during the reign of the western Mongols over Altaians". 139 And further: "Teles is a name of a tribe, separate from Tele, because from the Mongolian from it would come Telesut and Telesgut, instead of Teleut and Telengut. Probably they are the remains of the Turks-Tukue". 140 Hence, the conclusion with which we arrived from the analysis of various sources about the Tele tribes as the earliest historical ancestors of the Southern Altaians, has already been stipulated more than half a century ago by N.A.Aristov, and it is not new. That is certainly so. However, not pretending to the novelty of our conclusion, we have reasons to believe that we came to such views not by  a witty guess, but as a result of a long, hard work, due to which the N.Aristov's hypothesis is now scientifically totally justified.

Altai kiji

It is obvious that during research we uncovered a number of new answers for the origin of both groups of Altaians separately, and as a whole. For example, we determined the ethnic composition of the Altai-kiji group, which coalesced in the Altai of various Teleut, Telengit, Teles and Tuva seoks after the fall of the Dzungaria in the second half of the 18th century. The historical analysis demonstrated that by the ethnic origin a part of these seoks (Tele, Mundus, Bailagas, and others) comprising 29.6% descended from ancient Türkic Tele tribes, another part (Todosh, Chapty, Ochy) comprising 22.2% descended from the Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue) tribes, and the third (Irkit, Purut, Kyrgyz) descended from the medieval Enisei Kyrgyzes (12%), with Naimans (10.4%), Keraits, and others.

Northern Altaians

Among the Northern Altaians also was uncovered the role played in their ethnic history by the ancient Türkic people of the Tele and  Türkic (L.Potapov: Tukue) tribes. The ethnographical facts attest that in the ethnogenesis of the Northern Altaians participated ethnic people related by their culture and daily life with the modern Ob Ugrs, mainly Hanty. 141 This conclusion is corroborated by the anthropological studies, and also by some materials from the Altaian linguistics. 142

139 N.A.Aristov is obviously mistaken, attributing the name Telengut to the western Mongols (Choros, Oirats). We saw above that the ethnonym Telengut, like Tele, appears in the "Secret Legend" at the beginning of the 13th century (i.e. before the advance of the western Mongols into Dzungaria and Sayano-Altai)
140 Here, the author is also mistaken, believing that Teleses come from the Türks (L.Potapov: Tukue), and does not realize that in Türkic languages the affix "s" is an (ancient, probably before the Eastern-European pra-Germanics and pra-Türks split) plural formant.
141 These details were published in 1953 in the book "Essays on history of Altaians", p. 153-155.
142 A.I.Yarho. Altai-Sayan Türks. Abakan, 1947, p. 124-125;
G.F.Debets. Paleoanthropology of the USSR. M.-L., 1948, p. 129-130;
N.A.Baskakov. Altai language. ., 1958, p. 34.

Also note that for the first time was given attention to the ethnic elements during the period of the medieval Mongolian states, known from the famous written sources ("Secret Legend", Rashid-ad-din annals). These people are Naimans, Merkits, Keraits, Gunkaits, Kypchaks, and others. These large tribal groups and nations lived in the mountain ranges of Altai, Sayan, Khangai , and adjoining areas located, for example, on the northern side of the Gobi, or in the steppes of the Irtysh basin, which belong to the zone of the Desht-i-Kypchak steppes. Under impacts of the turbulent political events, typical for the Mongolian period, these groups of tribes and nations frequently changed their locations, sometimes appearing far outside of the territory of these ranges. In the process, they not only splintered and diverged, but also intermixed and interbred among themselves and with other ethnic groups. All of them to some extent were involved in the formation of the new Türkic-speaking nations (Kazakhs, Kirgizes, nomadic Uzbeks, Bashkirs, Turks, and others), going in the huge territory during the emergence and disintegration of such states as Djuchi Ulus (Golden Horde, Kipchak Khanate), Nogai, Uzbek, Sheibanid and Siberian Khanates, and others. That is why the same ethnic elements, retaining their ethnonyms as the names of separate tribal subdivisions, appeared in the ethnic compositions of the modern Kazakhs and Kirgizes, nomadic Uzbeks and Bashkirs, and others. Altaians also participated in that process, especially the southern Altaians (Teleuts, Teleses, Telengits). That is indicated by their respective ethnonyms enduring among them, now appearing as the names of the seok clans. In addition to the Naiman and Kypchak seoks, which were already repeatedly discussed above, these are the Altai descendants of the medieval Keraits represented by the members of the Tongjoan seok among the Southern Altaians and by the members of the Tong seok among the Northern Altaians, in particular among the Kumandy. In the name of these seoks endured the ethnonym of Tunkaits, who were a branch of the Keraits. 143 The same can be stated about the seok Almat among the Telengits, because the medieval Almats (Albats) belonged to the Keraits. 144 And is pertinent to recall that at the end of the 17th century a group of Keraits lived along the lower course of the river Abakan, and belonged to the Altyr ulus of the Enisei Kyrgyzes, with a center located near Uibat river. 145 This group of the Keraits, hence, was a part of the nearest historical ancestors of the modern Khakases, and one of the yasak-paying volosts in the Kuznetsk province had a name Keret. 146

143 Rashid-ad-din, Ibid., vol. 1, Book 1, p. 94, 125.
144 Ibid., p. 129.
145 Manuscript from G.Miller portofolio named "Description of Krasnoyarsk district of the Enisei province in its present state in the beginning of the 1735". Stored in TSGADA, portofolio 526, part  2, leaf. 12 reverse.
146 Also compare USSR Acad. of Sciences archive, f. 21, list 5, No 152. Manuscript "Kuznetsk cities suplement, composed in the Kuznetsk office... ".

The Merkit descendants in the ethnic composition of Altaians can be seen in the presence of the seoks under the same name among the Southern Altaians and Teleuts. 147

Thus, the Southern and Northern Altaians in the ethnic relation are fairly amalgamated. However the Southern and Northern Altaians have different admixtures. The ancient Türkic people is a substratum of the ethnic composition of the Southern Altaians. Some of them belong to even more ancient period and are connected with Hunno-Syanbi ethnic people. In this Türkic ethnic complex the leading part was played by the tribes belonging to the Tele group, among whom especially accurately are traced Telengits-Telenguts-Teleuts.

But the ancient Türkic components were also included in part among the Northern Altaians, whose ethnic substratum is marked by a large variety (ancient Türkic, Ugric, Nenets and apparently Ket elements) (The Ket inheritance remains apparent, or rather transparent, because L.Potapov did not detect any traces of it - Translator's Note). The historical ancestors of the Northern Altaians were strongly influenced and intermixed with the ancient Türkic peoples. It is reflected in the language of of the modern Northern Altaians where, by the N.A.Baskakov's research, were preserved more features of the ancient Türkic languages (ancient Türkic, Uigur) than among the Southern Altaians.

The presence of the ancient Türkic components testifies to a great antiquity of the ethnic history of Altaians, when their ethnic composition was formed. This process continued during periods observed in the historical sources in the territory on the northern side of the Gobi, in the Khangai and Sayano-Altai (including Mongolian Altai) uplands and adjoining areas. The territories of the modern Mongolian People's Republic, Tuva and Mountain Altai were certainly included in this ethnogenetical area of the Altaians and Mongols.

A very essential stage of the Altai (mainly Southern Altai) ethnogenesis in a Middle Ages was connected with Kypchak, and then also with Mongolian ethnic elements. Later, some Altaian tribes, especially Teleuts, wer involved in wide-ranging ethnogenesis process in the 15th-16th centuries in a number of uluses formed at splintering of the Kypchak Khanate (L.Potapov: Djuchi ulus) that eventually ended up with such modern nations as Kazakhs, Kirgizes, partially Uzbeks, etc. The studying of this process in respect to Altaians remains utterly inadequate. A detailed research of it undoubtedly is one of the serious tasks in the history of Altaians.

147 Descendants of Keraits and Merkits also joined the groups of the southern Kirgiz (Osh) Teleses (S.M.Abramson. Ethnogenesis of Kirgizes according to ethnography, p. 37).

<= Title Part <= Part 1 <= Part 2 Part 3
In Russian
Contents Alataians
Besenyos, Ogur and Oguz
Alans and Ases
  Alan Dateline
Avar Dateline
Besenyo Dateline
Bulgar Dateline
Huns Dateline
Karluk Dateline
Kimak Dateline
Kipchak Dateline
Khazar Dateline
Kyrgyz Dateline
Sabir Dateline
7/16/09 TürkicWorld