In Russian
Huns - Contents
Literature Index
Ogur and Oguz
Western Huns 4th-10th cc.
Western Huns Income In Gold
Eastern Hun Anabasis
Stearns P.N. Zhou Synopsis
E. de la Vaissiere Eastern Huns
Bagley R. Hun archeology in China
Faux D. Kurgan Culture in Scandinavia
Dybo A. Pra-Altaian World
Alan Dateline
Avar Dateline
Besenyo Dateline
Bulgar Dateline
Huns Dateline
Karluk Dateline
Khazar Dateline
Kimak Dateline
Kipchak Dateline
Kyrgyz Dateline
Sabir Dateline
Seyanto Dateline
Caspian Dagestan during epoch of the Great Movement of Peoples
Dagestan Publishing, Makhachkala 1995, ISÂN 5-297-01099-3
Chapters 6-8
Book Contents Chapters 1-2 Chapters 3-5 Chapters 6-8 Chapters 9-11

Posting Foreword

Posting introduction see the contents page.

Poor print quality hurts the accuracy of this posting, but fortunately the contents are not impacted. Page numbers of the original are shown at the beginning of the page in blue. Page breaks in continuous text are indicated by //. Posting notes and explanations, added to the text of the author and not noted specially, are shown in (blue italics) in parentheses and in blue boxes, or highlighted by blue headers.


6. 1. Forming the Hunnic Union

It is interesting that, even knowing the pre-history, the author follows a general trend of the Russian historiography to pretend that there was no pre-history before the Russians emerged, and the narrative starts with a blank sheet.

Comparative analysis of the 4th-5th cc. written sources shows that the written tradition at this period has not yet distinguished the polyethnicity of the Hun's circle nomads in Eastern Caucasus. Only from the mid 5th c. on the sources in that region record various tribes of the Hun circle - (Hailandurks, Huns, Ugors, Saragurs, Onogurs, and from the early 6th c. - Huns-Savirs.

However, in the context of interaction with their neighbors, the inner divisions of the Huns in the 4th-5th cc., and great shocks that reverberated across Hunnic state and counterposed some divisions of Huns against the others are fairly well described, and allow to restore many details.

Byzantine and Syrian writers of the mid-6th c. know Huns-Savirs as numerous people, divided into many tribes. Pseudo-Zacharias, reporting on the ministrant activities of the Bishop Makar among the North Caucasus Huns (529), writes: “... when the rulers of these nations saw something new, they were surprised and delighted with the men, revered them, and each one called them to their side to their tribe and asked to be their teachers” (p. 167 Pseudo-Zacharias.).

The rule is that the less we know, the less we want to know. Curiosity displayed by the Huns indicates their openness to knowledge, and in contrast with the depictions of their sedentary contemporaries, some of whom not only were closed to the new thoughts and concepts, but were actively killing the thoughts and their carriers, the Huns encountered innumerous people in the course of their mobility, and gained knowledge from all their interlocutors of all shades and levels. Respect for unknown knowledge, contrary to the assertions of the closed-minded observers, demonstrates the intellectual capacity rarely perceived, and even rarer appreciated by both contemporaries and modern historians, although in the historical aspect it was a factor many orders of magnitude greater than the mobility, surplus product, and military mastery.

As early as the 7th BC Abaris, a Scythian (“Hyperborean”) sage, was introducing theological thoughts to the ancient Greeks, Pythagoras was among his disciples. It was the mobility that allowed Abaris to reach Greeks, and before he could pass his knowledge to the Greeks, he had to first absorb it with his curiosity and inquisitiveness.

Procopius of Caesarea also notes that the tribe of the Huns- Sabirs “is very numerous, divided as it should be into many //164// independent tribes” (Procopius of Caesarea. II, p. 407). Pointing to the instability of Savirs in military alliances, Agathias doubts whether it is a single nation: “... the same or others, but in any case from that people, sent as allied troops” (Agathias, p. 117).

Already mentioned episode with the Queen Boariks (Hunnic Hatun Boyarkyz. Apparently, the Queen's name was supposed to sound to the Romans as a composite Boa + rex, where -rix stands for Rex = King, and some later days enterprising storytellers truncated her name to Boa) quashing separatist aspirations of the leaders of the Hun tribes (527/528) reflects both the fragmentation of the Savir tribes in the first quarter of the 6th c., and the beginning of forming a union (This is a patented nonsense. Savirs could not have taken over Bactria without strategic and tactical plans, and being united in their execution. The author's notion that dictatorship is more potent than democracy is the only opinion allowed by the dictatorships. The instability of the Savirs brought them a better pay, it was driven by a marketing strategy). Under Boariks' (aka Boarix) rule were 100 thousand Huns - it is a fairly large tribal union. After decisive retribution to her opponents, apparently Boariks subdued their hordes (i.e. the armies). The author writes: “In the same year to the Romans came a woman of the Huns, called Savirs, a barbarian called Boariks, a widow with a hundred thousand Huns. She started ruling in the Hun lands after a death of her husband Valakh. This /Boariks/ captured two kings of the other tribe of the inner Huns, called Stiraks (Stirax) and Glon, conjured by Kavad, the emperor of Persia, to give him military assistance against Romans and crossing her land into /the limits of/ Persia with twenty thousands. She crushed them: one king of theirs, called Stiraks, she captured and sent to Constantinople to the emperor, and killed Glon in battle. Thus, she became an ally and /was/ in peace with //165// the Emperor Justinian” (Theophanes Confessor, p. 50) (Notably, neither Byzantines, nor Persians were able to crush a 20,000strong cavalry without employing nomadic mercenaries, but Boariks was able to do it).

The period immediately after 520 AD was tumultuous for the Dulo dynasty. Details are murky, but after  the death of the Western Huns King “Bolokh” Bulyak-Bolgar Djilki, r. 520-522 (aka “Bolah”,“Valakh”)are known two regents (Ilchibek m., Ilchibika fem.), the widow Boyarkyz (aka Boarix) 522-535, and “Gostun” (aka “Kushtan”)527-528. Boyarkyz was a regent for her son As-Terek, who died in 527, after which arose a double-regnum (or triple-regnum), since we have parallel names of the regent Kushtan ~ Gostun (527-528), and rulers Djambek (527-535), Moger (528), Aiar (Avar, 528-531), Saba-Urgan (Zabergan, Kotrag, 531-535), and unknown Suvar ruler (527-535). Fragmentation ended in 535 when Boyan Chelbir was raised to the throne. Apparently, the Western Wing (Köturgur) and Savirs asserted their independence, and Boyarkyz ~ Boarix commanded Center Wing (Otragur ~ Uturgurs) and Eastern Wing (Utragurs ~ Uturgurs), with a combined strength of 100,000 (troops? families? population?).

The Hatun Boyarkyz (Queen Boarix) story involves more than separatist inclinations. The federalist nature of the Hunnic confederation allows wide autonomy for its members, and in the case of the Caucasian Huns, to the sub-sub-members of the confederation, including collection of their debts and the local enforcement of the contracts, i.e. local punitive campaigns that do not infringe on the global system of alliances. The Hunnic alliance at the time of Kavad (488-531) apparently was with the Romans or Byzantines against Persia, and the agreement had to be observed by all sides and all subdivisions of the sides. The responsibility for observing the treaty fell on the commanders of the wings, the Caucasian Huns had to follow the geopolitical treaties, in this case had to prevent some members of the Savir Union, which belonged to the Eastern Wing, from mercenary assistance to Persia in violation of the treaty. Nevertheless, Savir mercenary troops were enlisted in the Persian army invading Armenia 

The demographical side of the story is quite informative: 20,000 cavalry army under two tribal chiefs indicates a 100,000 population of the presumably secessionist Savir tribes, which in turn implies that the 100,000 Huns at the Boyarkyz command referred not to the size of her confederation, but to the size of the army of her confederation, with the total population of her “Huns” in the order of 500,000 people in the Theophanous Confessor “Chronography”, or 100,000 people if Boyarkyz ruled 100,000 “Huns” and wielded 20,000 troops.

The coincidence of the Boarix late husbands name ~ Walakh or Valakh with the sub-ethnic group called Vlachs ~ Wallakhs ~ Wallachs may be purely incidental, coinciding with the Germanic for “stranger”, but might also derive from the body of the shared Germanic-Türkic ancient lexicon.

In Movses Kalankatuatsi, we see the Huns-Savirs as already formed tribal union at the end 7th c. At that time the Huns-Savirs knew the power of a single leader - the “High-throned Prince Alp Ilitver” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 127). So Movses Kalankatuatsi distinguishes Alp Ilitver among other tribal leaders.

6. 2. Strength and weakness of the Hun king power

It is difficult to determine what was called the supreme ruler of Hun society. The “Armenian geography” quite clearly states that “their King (Savirs - L.G.) was called Hagan, and the Queen, the wife of the Hagan, Hatun” (Armenian geography. II, p. 30). But this term (Kagan), many authors have called the ruler of the Khazars.

The dating of the “Armenian geography” is contested as 5th or 7th c. Notwithstanding the “we don't have a clue” attitude of the author, the entitling of the Savir Khan as Kagan, supported by the entitling of the Savir Queen as Hatun, points to the earlier date, before the formalization of the Khazar and Western Türkic Kaganate leaders as Kagans. Use of the title Kagan in the 7th c. by the Savir leader is questionable, since it could not be tolerated by either Kagan of the Türkic Kaganate, nor the Khazar Kagan. We have an example of 610, when the separatist Kibir Kagan had to renounce his title in submission to the Western Türkic Kagan. In the 7th c. the Western Türkic Kaganate fractioned, producing 3 Kaganates - Bulgarian, Khazarian, and leftover Western, and Savirs were not leaders of either one of them.

In contrast, the 5th c. date is not only non-contradictory, but is illuminating. At around 150 AD Savirs, who at about 130 BC captured Bactria, occupied some significant, though undefined territory west of the Caspian. The conglomeration consisted of numerous tribes, among them Savirs, Kayis, Masguts/Alans, Bulgars, and probably a number of unnamed tribes, headed by a supreme leader entitled Kagan. Probably, the Kagan was not a Savir, or their name would have been known long before the 6th c. Good candidates for the dynastic line would be Kayis and Ases, the two perennially dynastic tribes recognized as Tengri-approved dynasties by the general nomadic population. Already by 330, the original dynastic tribe lost their leadership, and was replaced by a Masgut dynasty. The Masgut dynasty, in turn, lost their dynastic position (but not the dynastic pedigree) to the Savir tribal union, and that is how in the 5th c.the titles of the Kagan and Hatun came to the attention of the “Armenian geography”. Savirs could retain the title till they had to submit to the Western Türkic Kaganate sometime in 580's. That would be the time when the Savir Kagan, grasping to cling to the power, became an Elteber. However, fairly soon the Savir dynasty was relegated to the position of the tribal chief, and an Ashina, the Shad Bulan, became the Elteber. The record of the “Armenian geography”, brazenly discounted by the author, stands as an echo of the past events.

By the 6th c. the devaluation of the title Kagan already set in, there were Great Kagans and Lesser Kagans, but only in the structure of the unified empire, and probably not everywhere. The sequence of events in the Hunnic expansion from their center near Aral Sea would prelude that the Savir Kagan was a Lesser Kagan of the 4th c. Hunnic state.

Theophanes Confessor calls the ruler of the Huns a King (Theophanes Confessor, p. 50). Movses Kalankatuatsi used a wide variety of terms: “King of Huns”, “army commander and the Huns' Great Prince Alp Ilitver”, the “Huns' Great Prince”, “Prince”, “High-throned Prince Alp Ilitver”, “Hun's Prince” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 102, 120-121, 124-125, 127, 129-131, 133). Huns installed a carved wooden cross by the Alp Ilitver house, which Movses Kalankatuatsi calls Royal Palace (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II. C130). Al-Masoudi calls the ruler of the //166// Haidak (Djidan) country a King (al-Masoudi. II, p. 202). Al-Ystahri also calls the ruler of Semender (later a Hun capital) a King (al-Istahri, p. 47).

Apparently, the differences in the terms used by the authors is chronological. For the times of 5th-7th cc., when the “country of Huns” was an independent tribal union, the authors call the ruler of the Huns a King, and in the late 7th c., when the Huns came to the Khazar political dependence, the Great Prince (This obsevation contradicts the initial assertion of the author about her ignorance of the titles, and her dismissing of the historical record on Kagan and Hatun). And the Arab authors of the 10th c., when the power of the Khazars over the subject peoples weakened, also called him a King. Whatever the case, it is clear that power over the Hunnic tribal union in the 7th c. rested in the hands of one man - a representative of the aristocratic family. In the name of the Huns' ruler - Alp Ilitver - have preserved the remnants of the old tribal customs, when a most experienced and respected person was becoming a leader (“Alp” in Türkic languages has the following meanings: “hero”, “strongman”, “colossus, giant” (Sevortian E . B. 1974, p. 139). Possibly, Alp Ilitver reached a high position due to his merits. Movses Kalankatuatsi notes that Alp Ilitver. “excelling by his strength and valor, he became famous during competitions as a winner of the Greek Olympics, distinguishing himself by his strength among all the others...”. (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 127). The author of the “History of the Agvans's country” attributes of the the Huns' Great Prince a variety of epithets: caring, benevolent, noble, pious, virtuous //167// (Movses Kalankatuatsi . II. pp. 124 127, 130).

Movses Kalankatuatsi demonstrated that he is a partial reporter, and his superlatives can't be trusted. First of all Bulan-shad was a son of a Kagan and a member of the ruling family, that alone practically qualified him for nearly any post in the state.The confirmation by the subjects also mattered, but as in any democracy, some methods are more democratic than the others, and the athletic and moral qualities of the candidate could be extolled retrospectively.

Possibly, such high valuation the author awarded the Prince of the Huns was for a major deed in his life - adoption of Christianity and Christianization of the population in the “country of Huns”. The translation of K. Patkanian indicates another advantage of the Great Prince - wealth (Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 199).

Judging from the translation of Sh.V. Smbatian, the title Ilitver the Prince received from the Khazar Hakan “having accomplished many feats of bravery in Turkestan (Khazaria) during (or beside) Khazir Hakan” (Movses Kalankatuatsi, II, p. 127 - 128). The translation of K. Patkanian does not contain such information.

Genealogy of Alp-Ilitver

Alp-Ilitver became known from the work of Movses Kagankatvatsi (Kalankatuatsi), his contemporary from the village Kagankatvat (Kalankatuat), who is credited with writing two volumes of the 3-volume “History of Agvans”. Alp-Ilitvers title was Elteber/İltäbär, in Armenian rendition Ilitver, and that's how he is known in history. Elteber = Tr. El + Teber = land/country + ruler, it stands for viceroy, and is also known as “Sylifa”, pin. Xielifa 翓 线   苏李发?/葛李发?/发表于? (> Salifan) = viceroy. It is a title, not a proper name.

Father - Tun-Yabgu Kagan, the Kagan of the Western Türkic Kaganate, 618–628, of the Ashina tribe, aka Orkhan, killed in 631
Son - Bulan Shad, Crown Prince (Shad) of Tun-Yabgu Kagan, aka Bulu Shad, and aka Alp-Ilitver, his position in the Khazar province. In 631 Bulan Shad lost his status of Crown Prince. The rival Ashina prince, name unknown, assumed a title Kagan over the tribes under his rule north of river Sulak, and became known as Khazar Kagan, his possession between Itil and Sulak is known as Barsilia/Bersilia.
Alp-Ilitver retains position at the Caucasian Huns, proclaims his independence, but soon has to submit to the rival Khazar Kagan, and remains known under his position title, Elteber/Ilitver, i.e. Alp-Ilitver, retaining his Hun “kingdom”, and described in the “History of Agvans”.
Grandchildren - Bulan Shad/Alp-Ilitver had two sons, Khallyg (Heli) and Bahadyr Chebe, and two daughters, which were married out in dynastic marriages, one for the Khazar Kagan, and another for the Alan king Djevanshir. Accordingly, his daughters were Hatuns (Queens) of Khazaria and Alania respectively.
In 646 Ashina prince Khallyg was the Easten Wing Yabgu of the reunited Western Türkic Kaganate, and led a Dulu revolt. In 651 Khallyg captured control of Western Türkic Kaganate, personally killed Kagan Irbis Sheguy Khan, and proclaimed himself Kagan Yshbara Khan. In 659 Western Türkic Kagan Yshbara Khan died, and Western Türkic Kaganate disintegrated.

Power of the Huns' ruler (Elteber/Sylifa) included all areas of the internal and external life of the Hun society (Gmyrya L.B. 1979. pp. 12-13, 1980. pp. 30-31, 1988, p. 114). The King of the Huns initiated wars and often led the troops, held talks with rulers of other states, and concluded alliances with them (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II. pp. 102 - 103, 120). He also tackled important issues such as choosing or changing religions (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II. pp. 127-134).

In Christian terms, which are not very far from Tengriism, religion is individual salvation as a reward for following certain norms and principles, and the key word in this is “individual”, everyone is responsible for their own actions, independently of the rulers, church hierarchy etc. The Elteber of the Huns had as much power to select your religion as a major of your town or a governor of your province. The events clearly demonstrate that all the Elteber could do was to raise the question, and allow people to decide. Any use of force that threatens the individual afterlife is vigorously resisted, and in Türkic societies was perilous for the offender.

Alp Ilitver concentrated in his hands the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Movses Kalankatuatsi describes in detail how was held the trial of senior priests and main sorcerers who refused to accept Christianity and urged people to resist. By an order of Alp Ilitver were summoned residents of the city where the trial was held. The author writes that the court was held with “numerous assembly of people”. Both //168// parties (the Bishop Israil and priests) had an opportunity to speak. First was the Bishop, who in his sermon “severely reprimanded and censured them”. In response speeches, the senior servers of the cult “began reproaching themselves, acknowledging their sins ... and converted to the true faith” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 131).

The traditional operation of the justice system in Türkic societies is well known. The power structure is based on dual exogamy, where the land and people belong to the maternal tribe, and a head of the state is selected from the paternal tribe (in Türkic Kaganate, Ashide and Ashina respectively). A head of the maternal tribe is a Prime Minister (Counsillor) and Supreme Judge, he leads the Counsil of Tribal Chiefs. On affairs of justice, he is a leading authority, the local tribal heads and state appontees (like Elteber) operate as his representatives. He also personally conducts annual visits to localities, to represent the highest level of justice (ambulatory court in British jurisprudence). Local courts are a miniature mirror of the State Court, thus Elteber could call a court meeting, with him serving as Presiding Judge. Movses Kalankatuatsi seems to ascribe to his favorite ruler more authority than he actually wielded. The descendent organization of justice survived to this day in places where the power of absolutism has been checked, like the institute of the jury, roving judges, and tribal counsils in the USA, Germanic countries including Britain and Australia, and, of all places, in Afganistan and Vaziristan.

The Great Prince concentrated in his hands the punitive function. The author writes: “The Prince commanded by his high authority to seize sorcerers and witches, together with the high priests, worshipping the Satan and the devils...”. (Movses Kalankatuatsi “. II, p. 130). With the consent of the Great Prince, Bishop Israil commanded to burn some of the clergy at a stake, and throw the principal priests and sorcerers in chains into dungeon, where they remained for about a month until their trial.

As we see, in the hands of the Huns' Great Prince were concentrated all functions of governance. However, the Hun ruler had to follow the former democracy of the tribal society, and for critical issues sought consent of the aristocracy and tribal leaders. Before turning to the Bishop of Israil, who was ministering for the Huns, with a request to stay as a head of Christianity in the “country of Huns”, he had to win approval of his decision from “all the nobles of his kingdom and naharars” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 131). The author stresses that the decision to ask the Israil was taken by the the “Huns' Great Prince, and all the lords”.

Ammianus Marcellinus (4th c.) pointed out that the Huns discuss together important things (Ammianus Marcellinus. II, p. 238). Favstos Buzand reports that the Maskut King Sanesan, heading the Hunnish troops, having decided to conduct Christianization, canceled it - “The King changed his mind and listened to the words of his troops”, - emphasizes the author (Favstos Buzand, p. 14). Sanesan could not overcome resistance of significant portion of the tribes in the tribal confederacy.

The work of L. Gmyrya carries clear signs of the “old days”, when in the 1960s in Russia was tried a new system of “dictatorship of the proletariat”, the physical destruction of those suspected in “dissent” was generally stopped, and revolvers were replaced with batons dressed in suede. It was OK to think and write, but printing was strictly controlled by the Department of Inner Thought. Thus, we find precious quotations of the famous Türkic scholar Friedrich Engels (from the company of Carl Marx and Friedrich Engels), and disapproving description of the democratic foundations of society which conflict with the genius ideas of the then supreme leadership about the life in this and afterlife worlds. In the latter case, the viceroy Elteber did not follow the traditional constitution of the society, but “had to follow the former democracy” etc. Quite possibly, this phraseology was written in the department of censorship, and the author had to put up with such “corrections”.

In the 7th c. the Caucasian churches were monotheistic, i.e. dissident, and in the eyes of the Roman and Greek Orthodox churches heretical and “Arian” or monophysitic in their lingo. In this regard, the Caucasian church was closer to the monotheistic Tengriizm than to the Roman and Greek Orthodox Churches. But Tengriizm is a religion of individual that does not require church hierarchy, and the Caucasian church was organized in a hierarchical fashion, as a successor to the Church of Jerusalem, the Israil's tough task was invention and destruction of the non-existing hierarchy, and its replacement with “Christian” hierarchy, using the favorite Christian tools of torture, murder, and intimidation.

The “History of the Alvan country” does not have evidence that the person of the Huns' Great Prince was deified. For example, among the Türks, the supreme ruler Djebu-Hakan (Yagbu-Kagan) was identified with the God of Sun. His son, Shat (i.e. Shad), who was leading the armies, swore by the name of his father, saying, “I swear by the Sun of my father Djebu-Hakan” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 89). His own subjects called hin God “Shat” (i.e. Shad) (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 89). The Huns also had deification of the the king Attila's person. Prisk Pannonian reports that the leader of one of the tribes, Akatsirs, subordinated to the Huns' King, his refusal to come to Attila explained by that “it is difficult for a man to appear before the face of the God: for even the solar disk can't be looked at closely, how can someone see the greatest of the gods without harm” (Prisk Pannonian, p. 684).

In Tengriizm the idea of deification is not applicable, and speculation by chroniclers like Movses Kalankatuatsi describe their own mentality, and not the surrounding reality. In the case of the recently conquered Akatsir leader, Akatsirs were independent and self-governing at least for a millennium before the arrival of the Huns, and when summoned to the court of Attila to be executed, his flattery to save his life has nothing to do with the deification. Attila, and Yabgu- Kagan, and Alp Ilitver were officials elected to the office, and could be dismissed in a completely undeified form by their voters. See Zhou Theophoric Names

6. 3. Closest circle of the King


The “History of the Aghvan country” is replete with evidence to support the that Hun society of the 7th c. existed evolved crust of tribal and serving aristocracy. Movses Kalankatuatsi calls nobility Alp Ilitver's coterie (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 127). He attributes to them the nobles - Azats (Trk., Arm. Freemen, with their own troops), Naharars (Arm. Firstborn, used for heads of nobility, heads of territories, and court posts), and Princes (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II. pp. 124-125, 127-134). The author cites names for some members of the aristocracy class, “noble Prince Avchi (Trk. Hunter), who had a title Tarhan”, Alp Ilitver's chambermaid Chatkasar (Chat-Khazar) (Ňţđę. chat = groin, inguinal), lord Itgin (fr Trk. it = dog) from Khursan, whom Movses Kalankatuatsi also calls Princes (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II. pp. 132 - 134). Quite possiby is to assume that in this case we are talking about members of the tribal aristocracy, with whom the the Huns' Great Prince confers in addressing major issues, among whom he finds support for his desired policy, they perform the Great Prince's important assignments in foreign relations of the Huns with other states: so, the Huns' Great Prince sent to the Bishop Israil prince Avchi and Alp Ilitver's chambermaid Chatkasar with his and “country of Huns” nobles' request to stay as a minister at the Huns. The nobleman Itgin and Chatkasar were sent by Alp Ilitver as his emissaries to Armenia and Albania. Avchi in Türkic means “hunter” //171// (Gadlo A.V. 1979, p. 148).

The Tarkhans, according to the researchers, were a military caste composed of nobles (Gadlo A.V. 1979, p. 148; Novoseltsev A.P. 1990. pp. 118-119). Azats (Trk. Freemen) and Naharar could be Tarkhans (Novoseltsev A.P. 1990, p. 118). Compared with Tarkhans, Princes occupied higher position, they were heads of the tribes (Novoseltsev. A.P. 1990, p. 118). The chambermaid Chat Hazr (Chatkasar), according to A.V. Gadlo, was probably a housekeeper of the Great Prince (Gadlo A.V. 1979, p. 148), and the nobleman Itgin from Khursan was a member of the local highland aristocracy, dependent on the Prince of the Huns (Gadlo A.V. 1979. pp. 149-150).

In some unofficial situations, the Grand Prince used for diplomatic missions his closest relatives. So, after yet another military campaign in the Caucasus Albania in 664, “Alp Ilitver sent to Djuansher (aka Javanshir) his brothers with a request for a meeting” (Movses Kalankatuatsi, II, p. 102).

This brief note is supremely loaded. First, in 664 “another military campaign in the Caucasus Albania” could not be aimed at Albania, it was aimed at Arabs, who shortly before, in 651, under Abd Al Rahman defeated the Hunno-Alan army in the battle at Euthrates, and shortly thereafter, say in 652, subjugated Albania, imposing their tribute. In 652 the Arabs already campaigned in the Hunnic territory, attacking Balandjar, and were repulsed by the Hunnic army under newly baked Khazar Kagan Irbis of the newly baked Khazar Kaganate formed in the western provinces of the Western Türkic Kaganate) with a 300,000strong army. In 654 the Arabs again campaigned in the Hunnic territory, and were beaten off again. Albania reverted back to the Huns, but its position was precarious. In 662 in a new assault the Arabs tried to take Derbent from the Huns, forcing the Huns to conduct a liberation war of 664 against the Arab domination. From the sequence of events, it is clear that in the interim period of 652-664, the Arabs were in control of Albania.

Secondly, we know of only one brother of Bulan-Shad, and knowing his antics in the east, it is unlikely that he belonged to the entourage of the Elteber Alp Ilitver. At the same time, the brothers of Alp Ilitver's Hatun traditionally headed and served in the Office of Peime Minister (Ulu Bek, or Ulug Bek, in Hunnic Gulu Bek), and again traditionally they served as diplomatic emissaries of the head of the state, both in Hunnic and Türkic perods. They are likely candidates to be the emissaries to the court of Djuansher (aka Javanshir).

Thirdly, the mission had to propose to establish or renew a dynastic union between Hunnia and Albania. Again, for that purpose were usually sent the highest officials of the state, lending support to the supposition that was sent the Ulu Bek with his second-in command brother. The ethnic affiliation of the maternal clan in unknown, but can be positively stipulated that they belonged to the dynastic Savirs, or Huns-Savirs in the Armenian nomenclature.

Several other authors point to the presence in the 6th c. at the Huns of service nobility. The Syrian source gives the name of the Hun commander as Suniks (Sunix) (Considering the variety of spelling of the name Hun, Suniks is fairly transparent generic exonym “Hun”), who converted to Christianity and fled to Byzantines (Pseudo-Zacharias, p. 162). Byzantine authors give names of the Hun tribal leaders that took part as mercenaries in the operations during the Persian-Byzantine wars over Lazika.

Procopius of Caesarea mentions an episode during siege of the Archeopol by the Persians, when fierce fighting broke out over the body of the Sabir chief (Procopius of Caesarea, II, p. 432). Agathias names Baimah, Kutilzis, Ilager as Savir commanders, under whose leadership in the army of the Byzantines fought a two thousand-strong detachment , and Theophanes Confessor tells of the Hun tribal leaders and Stiraks (Stirax) and Glonis, whose separatist acts were strongly foiled by the Huns-Savirs ruler Boariks (Theophanes Confessor, p. 136).


7. 1. The Huns army

As was shown above, military raids into the agricultural countries of S.Caucasia, taking population into captivity, seizure of cattle and luxury goods were one of the major income sources: in the 4th-7th cc. economy of the Hun society.

L. Gmyrya repeats the banner wording of the Russian political machine since the days when Peter I was organizing empire and its historiography. The predaceous annexationist actions of the Russian state are declared legitimate self-defense, and the defensive measures of the pastoralists for compliance with treaties and protection of their rights, territories, and population are declared to be aggressive militancy. The results speak for themselves - the hapless and peaceful Russia captured a sixth of the world from the nomadic pastoralists, and destroyed most of their people, their livestock, their independence, while losing much of its population not because of the “enemy” in the wars of conquest, but in their own internal genocides.

The producing economy of the nomads was an order of magnitude more productive than the primitive agriculture of Russia and its subjugated principalities and peoples, and therefore marketable surplus product, which determines the income of the population, was many times higher than the agricultural productivity of the economy. Generally, the nomads were not taxed at all. By the standards of the pre-imperial, imperial, and post-imperial Russia, the taxation of the sedentary population by the nomads was purely nominal, and the time required for payment of taxes was negligible (approximately 1 day per year) compared to 2-3 days a week typical for the Russian population from the 15th to the 20th centuries.

Histories of Rome, Byzantine, Russia, etc. are filled with constant and continual internal and external wars, often drawing into the pastoralist population as their mercenary force, and often as the only battle-ready force. The wars of Rome, Byzantine, Russia, China, etc. were exclusively plundering, to seize other people's property, territory and population. By contrast, the mercenaries earned their living by risking life and property. The history-forming propaganda makes a caricature of history and of the propagandists.

The war and organization for the war at the Huns of the North-East Caucasus were “... regular functions of national life” (Engels 1982, p. 189) (Nobody would cite F. Engels on aviation functions, potato farming functions, or kindergarten operation functions, but somehow on Türkic history he is an expert. That tells you something on the credibility of the Russian scholars). Participation in military campaigns was a main duty of the male population of the “country of Huns”. Death on the battlefield was considered to be the only decent way of the man's death. Ammianus Marcellinus noted that the Huns “who survive to an old age and die by natural death are pursued by cruel ridicule as geeks and cowards”. The parents felled in action were the pride of the children (Ammianus Marcellinus. II p. 242) (Is it any different from any other people? Dying fighting for a cause, family pride, and universal military mobilization? Especially in Russia, with its inescapable draft and a cult of war).

Preparation of future soldiers began at the Huns from early childhood. As evidenced by Ammianus Marcellinus, children “learn from the cradle to tolerate cold, hunger, thirst, young people are taught the art of horseback riding” (Ammianus Marcellinus. II. pp. 237-241) (An isolated family in an open steppe is vulnerable, and the ability to defend is a matter of survival. That is aside from taking Ammianus Marcellinus as a credible ethnological analyst).

The Huns deformed faces of their children //174//, squeezing noses with bandages, as a result of the head was becoming narrow, the face flat, wide, and easily fitting under a helmet. “Thus a mother's love disfigures children born for battle ...”, wrote Sidonius Apollinaris (Sidonius Apollinaris, p. 1090) (Not only Apollinaris Sidonius wrote this nonsense, it was repeated many times over by ignorant chroniclers, and repeated by many more supposedly literate scholars unfamiliar with the subject of cranial deformation they are describing).

Precise data on the army organization among the Huns is absent. Favstos Buzand, describing the consisting of the Huns army of the Maskut (Masgut) king Sanesan, indicates that the army was huge and divided into regiments and units (Favstos Buzand, p. 15). Describing the same structure, Movses Kalankatuatsi writes about the Hun army King Alp Ilitver: “... taking his numerous troops ... armed warriors in armor with their commanders, banners, regiments, armored archers, and armed horsemen covered with chain mail and helmets...” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 185). The Huns had military gear in the form of banners, which likely belonged to each subdivision of the troops (Favstos Buzand, p. 15; Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 185).

The decimal system of organization of the Hunnic and Türkic armies, their division onto 3 wings, and Türkic terminology for the organization of the army is fairly well known. The army of Elteber was a local militia drafted and controlled by the head of the state, which was the Western Hunnic state, and in the period of 6th-10th cc. its successors the Türkic Kagan, Western Türkic Kagan, and Khazar Kagan respectively. With the re-formulation of the states, accordingly were re-formulated their wings, as the center of the state moved westward, its Western Wing at some point was becoming the Eastern Wing.

L.Gmyrya, like many of her predecessors, skips on the analysis of the phenomena she describes: the origin of the armaments reported by the historians. In the militia army, where each warrior brings what he has, each family has to equip its soldier with the armor, weaponry, and munitions. Each family was its own artisan, smith, weapon maker, munition maker, had to procure the proper materials for the armor and munition, and have the technology to manufacture chain mail armor, helmets, weapons, and monitions. The standing, or home army of the state, likely had an armory that supplied its troops with equipment, but that portion of the army was miniscule, numbering in hundreds and not exceeding a few thousands. Similar standing units were likely at the disposal of the local rulers, the Eltebers and tribal heads (Erkins), equipped by a combination of the home-produced arms and master-supplied arms. The bulk of the army was totally self-sufficient. Completely lost in the description is the ability of the lay nomadic cattlemen population to manufacture products that in the sedentary population can only be produced by specialized and highly valued hereditary artisans. The perennial explanation of the sedentary-grown historians that the nomadic armies were equipped by the sedentary artisans is a patented nonsense and does not fit the bill at all: these sedentary artisans were not even able to equip their own sedentary armies. The ordinary cattlemen in the nomadic societies had to produce on a daily basis what in the “civilized” societies was a state of the art, organized and orchestrated by a centralized state.

The ubiquitous observation that the weaponry of mounted nomads is typologically uniform and uniquely distinct on a continental scale and across millenniums did not sink in to elicit a conclusion that they were home-made; the nomads are routinely accused in getting their weaponry from sedentary artisans. That allusion puts the artisans as far-flung as Greece, China, Caucasus, and India into a kind of super-dupers, able to produce for millenniums the uniform equipment of the same makes and models for the nomads that they are not able to make for their own consumption.

It is well-known that various centralized states over millenniums emulated the military organization of the nomadic armies, but they were never able to emulate the autonomy, self-sufficiency, and independence of the nomadic folks. This miracle of the past millenniums still awaits its Homer and Milton Friedman.

The army of the “country of Huns” in the 7th c. was commanded by the king. The king himself often headed the troops in military campaigns, however, he apparently led the most crucial operations. Movses Kalankatuatsi indicates that the the Huns' Great Prince Alp Ilitver, whom he also calls commander, “famous for power, wealth, and bravery in the wars ... reputed amongst all as mighty, and inherited splendid, valiant glory, performing //175// many deeds of courage in the Turkestan (Turkestan at the time included Caucasus and Eastern Europe)..”. (Movses Kalankatuatsi, I, p. 199).

The king perhaps not only headed military operations, but was himself taking part in the battles. Sometimes the command of the troops was given to the heir to the throne, as was during military campaign of the Türks in the years 629/630 in the Caucasus, where the conquest of Albania was delegated to Crown Prince (I.e. to Bulan Shad, the future Elteber Alp Ilitver). The field camp of the King was heavily guarded during military operations (Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 121, 125-126).

Regiments and squadrons in the Hun army were led by military commanders. The Syrian and Byzantine authors of the 6th c. listed some of their names: Suniks, Baimah, Kutilzis, Ilager, Stiraks, Glonis (Pseudo-Zacharias, p. 162; Agathias, p. 88).

During a storm of the city Harran (502) the besieged captured a leader of the Huns, who, according to Yeshu Stylite, “was a famous man and was highly respected by the Persian king...”. (Yeshu Stylite. p 155). To rescue the Hun commander, Persians withdrew the siege of the city. Apparently, the personal honor of the Hun commander was above the success in battle. Even the dead body of a Hun military leader was not left to the enemy. Procopius of Caesarea wrote that during the storm of the city Archeopol (553) for a dead body of the “Sabirs' Chief” broke a strong fight that lasted until dusk” (Procopius of Caesarea. II, p. 432).

According to Favstosa Buzand, the Huns periodically conducted inspections of the troops, apparently in pre-determined locations. The aim of the parades was to count //176// the number of soldiers, apparently, conducted before the next invasion (Choice of lexical semantic is definitely carrying ideological load of official propaganda. “Invasion” campaign is used to describe the enemy, and in the context of this work is not used in the descriptions of raids and conquests of the Arabs, Persians, Byzantines, or Ruses who broke into the Caucasus, but is used to describe the Hunnic army defending their country.)

Favstos Buzand describes one of the parades: “... every person carried a stone and threw it in one place into a pile, so that by the number of stones was possible to determine the number of people ... And wherever they went, they left such marks at the crossroads and on the way” (Favstos Buzand, p. 15).

The authors of the 4th c. note that the Hun army at this period consisted mainly of cavalry (Eusebius Hieronymus, p. 369), and the Huns did not have sufficiently developed foot-fighting skills (Ammianus Marcellinus. II, p. 238, Zosimus, p. 800). The mounted troops were distinguished by excellent schooling and skill. And the data of Movses Kalankatuatsi suggest that in the late 7th c. the Hun army consisted of well-armed, protected by armor infantry and cavalry (Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 184-185).

Nomadic armies are cavalry armies, the infantry is auxiliaries drafted or recruited from the dependent sedentary population. In contrast, even the most powerful empires had very limited and inept cavalry other than nomadic mercenaries, numbering at best in low thousands. That applies to the Chinese, Romans, Persians, Byzantines, and so on. And in contrast, the sedentary militias were notoriously ill-equipped, disorganized, ill-spirited, held in ranks by chains, armed with pitch-forks, etc.

Their military camps the Huns fenced with temporary wooden fortifications, they also used a favorable terrain for the defense (Agathias, p. 117).

On the ability of the troops on military campaigns in the South Caucasus testifies one of the passages in the “History of Alvan country”: “And could not hinder the invasion of an enemy the rocky mountains and stony gorges of unassailable gavars (districts) of Arzak. But our sins made for them light the difficult /route/, and their horses moved along the tops of the mountains without stumbling” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 87).

In the Hun army were translators, who knew the languages of states neighboring with the “country of Huns” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 62).

7. 2. Armament and equipment of the warrior
Fig. 5. Weapon    
1-3 - Palaca-syrt burial 4th-5th cc.,
4-13 - Palaca-syrt settlement 4-6 cc.
1 - Sword, 2-3 - knives,
4-12 - arrowheads,
13 - bow laminate;
1-3 - iron, 4-13 - bone

Armaments of the Hunnic warrior included protective armor, long range weapons, short range weapons, and also siege machinery (Fig. 5).

About armor- protected Hunnic horsemen first mentioned ancient authors - Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus and Apollinaris Sidonius and Renat (Flavius Vegetius Renatus, p. 1080; Apollinaris Sidonius, p. 420). Agathias reports that two thousand of heavily armed Savir soldiers participated in the defense of the Byzantine city Archeopol (555) (Agathias, p. 88). Procopius of Caesarea also indicates that the Hun warriors serving the siege engines wore armor and helmets (Procopius of Caesarea. II, p. 408). Movses Kalankatuatsi gives a detailed weapons description of a Hun warrior: “The Hun armed his high and wide torso in braided armor, covered his huge head with nails fixed to helmet, and his three-inch forehead covered with brass board” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 82). The army of the Hun King, who led a military campaign in 664 against Albania, consisted of “armored archers and armed horsemen, covered with chain mail and helmets...”. (Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 184-185). The Hunnic warriors had good defensive armament - the body was covered with armor or chain mail, helmets protected the head, sometimes helmets were equipped with visors. Some authors cite a story of a Hun warrior who was protected by felt armor, impenetrable by arrows //179// (Movses Khorenatsi, p. 149; Stepanos Taronetsi, p. 45; Vardan the Great, p. 57).

The Hun warrior had melee weaponry of several types. The sources inform that the Huns used maces, swords, spears, and lasso (Favstos Buzand, p. 15; Yeshu Stylite, p. 157, Ammianus Marcellinus. II, p. 238, Pseudo-Zacharias. C 150; Movses Kalankatuatsi . I, p. 82, 119, 134, Procopius of Caesarea, II, p. 420; Movses Khorenatsi, p. 131; Stepanos Taronetsi, p. 41).

The main type of long range weapons of the Hun warriors was a bow. Apollinaris Sidonius says that the bow of the Hun warrior had a special form - “rounded bows” (Sidonius Apollinaris, p. 1090). Procopius of Caesarea tells us that the storm of Archeopol “The Persians and Sabins (Savirs, Subars, Saban is a Bulgarian form of pronunciation), shooting at those standing on the walls a cloud of arrows and spears ... almost achieved that under their pressure the Romans were ready to leave the top of the fortifications” (Procopius of Caesarea. II, p. 420). Information on the use of the battle bow also provides Pseudo-Zacharias (Pseudo-Zacharias, p. 150), and Movses Kalankatuatsi. The latter tells us about a strong impression on the Derbent inhabitants made the storming Hunnic and Türkic archers: “shudder seized the inhabitants, especially seeing precise and strong shooters who rained on them like a strong hail” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 105, 123). report On the use of bows and arrows by the Huns also report al-Kufi, Ibn al-Athir, Vardan the Great //180// (Vardan the Great, p. 46; al-Kufi, p. 10; Ibn al-Athir, p. 15).

As a projectile weapon in the 4th c. Huns used javelins. Apollinaris Sidonius noted a high skill of the Hun warriors in this type of weapon: “... they have terrible and true hands, inflicting with well-aimed spears (meaning javelins - L.G.) imminent death...”. (Sidonius Apollinaris, p. 4091).

The tactical methods of warfare employed by the Hun army were praised by the contemporaries. Huns had equally good skills in long range and melee range fighting. Ammianus Marcellinus noted: “They deserve recognition as excellent warriors, because they are fighting from a distance with arrows ... and closing on the enemy hand to hand, fight with selfless courage with swords, ducking from strikes, they throw arkan (lasso) on the enemy...”. (Ammianus Marcellinus. II, p. 238).

Judging from the data by Ammianus Marcellinus, the Huns did not have skills to siege and storm fortified settlements and towns (Ammianus Marcellinus. II, p. 238). The same also tells Pseudo-Zacharias in the report about the Huns raid to Mesopotamia in 532, “they clobbered those found outside the cities” (Pseudo-Zacharias, p. 160, 164). However, information from other sources indicate that early in the 6th c. Huns participated in siege of well-fortified cities, even located in the hilly terrain, using siege equipment and various //181// technical methods facilitating the storm of fortifications.

This discourse shows the perils of uncritical compiling of the testimonies: the objectives of the campaign predicate and define the encountered methods. A punitive raid is a demonstration of force, intended to bring the opponent to observe the terms of the contract. Its purpose is to inflict enough damage to make it economically harmful to breach the treaty. At the same time the booty must be sufficient to pay the participants of the punitive raid. No special preparations are required, no extra efforts need to be spent to drag the machinery along, the punitive raid may be conducted by the local forces nearest to the perpetrator. No losses are planned, in case of excessive resistance the campaign is called off, the troops retreat, and the diplomacy takes over. A couple of valuable hostages may be sufficient to force the resumption of the contract terms.

A campaign to establish political hierarchy is qualitatively different from a punitive raid, its objective is to obtain a degree of submission and formalize it in a treaty. Accordingly, the plan of the campaign, the forces required, and the preparations involved are different and much more substantial. The opponents' forces must be decimated, main military bases must be destroyed, and control over access routs must be secured to facilitate later enforcement of the treaty. Hence, the campaign requires supply train, machinery, temporary bases, and encircling strategy. The booty must be great enough to pay the participants, and the slow-moving auxiliaries may be required to man the sieges and storms. Unlike the raids, the war theater is limited to keep the bases and the frontline within defensible space. Due to the logistics involved, such campaigns are rare, and are planned well in advance.

A defence campaign is a reaction to a sudden assault. It involves immediate mobilization of short- and long-term forces, tactical evacuations, creation of the defensible front zone, and defense depth. The prime defense objective is to wear out the assailant, keep them cold, hungry, sleepless, alert at all times, and continuously loosing. The superior mobility of the nomadic armies and population serves to benefit them both in attack and in defense, making the task of attacking nomads enormously expensive for any opponent, as was amply demonstrated by the campaign of Darius and later ambitions. Any sedentary state that was not dumb figured out that the only way to defeat the nomads is to enlist the nomads in their force. But that also always backfired, bringing the nomads inside the sedentary state, and eventually capitulating to the nomadic culture, as happened with the Zhou and Han China, Persia, and the Rus and its transformations.

The last type of campaigns is that of conquest. It could be seen as a variation of the dominance campaign, but significant differences make it distinct, the major one is that a compromise treaty is not an objective, the objective is a total control of the conquered territory, and total replacement of the power structure. Given that the nomadic people moved from the Eastern Europe east, west, and south, such campaigns were extremely rare, averaging a few per millennia. The examples of Hungary, Western Huns, and Danube Bulgaria would be excluded, because in such cases one nomadic group supplemented the existing nomadic hierarchy in the territories, replacing the leadership, but retaining the existing population and existing traditions. The greatest example of such campaigns are the population replacement in the Central and Western Europe in the course of the 3rd millennia BC, Zhou China, and Kushan Huns takeover of the India, which brought about cardinal changes in the power structure, economy, social norms and traditions, and complete changeover of the material life and religious etiology.

In the above classification, the Hunnic campaign of 532 was a punitive raid, while the Türkic campaign of 627 and the Khazar campaign of 683 in Azerbaijan were reactive defensive wars.

Procopius of Caesarea appraised the qualitative properties of the siege engines, invented by the Huns: “.. they came up with such a device, which did not occur neither to the Romans, or Persians, nor to anyone since the creation of the world, although in this and the other state have always been, and now is a large number of engineers” (Procopius of Caesarea. II. C 407-408).

In 551 during storming of Petra, the Huns-Savirs for the first time used siege engines of original design. Procopius of Caesarea gives a detailed description of the design features of this kind of siege equipment: “... they braided thick branches, attached them everywhere instead of the logs, covered the machine with hides, they retained the shape of a battering ram, suspending it in the middle on freely moving ropes, as usual, only one beam, pointed and covered with iron like an arrowhead, to rapidly batter them into the walls of the fortifications. And they made this construction lo light ... forty people, who were lifting up the log to swing it and strike the wall, from the inside of the machine, covered with hides, could without difficulty carry this ram on their shoulders” (Procopius of Caesarea. II, p. 408). Main distinction of the battering ram invented by the Huns-Savirs lay in its light weight, which made it portable and was advantageous over other similar types of equipment used in mountainous terrain. The warriors who served the siege engines, //182// had wooden poles with iron hooks on the end, with which were expanded cracks in the fortification walls.

The Hun's siege engines were used during the Persian siege of the Archeopol (551, 553). Apparently, the storm engines of the same design were used by forces of Byzantines, Huns, and Türks during storming of Tbilisi (627) (Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 107). The presence of such storming technology at the Attila Huns also reports Prisk Pannonian. It was used by the Huns in storming a well fortified city Naisse in 441. This is how they were built: “... the logs were lying on wheels for the convenience of their transportation; standing on them people were shooting at the defenders on the parapets, and the people, standing at both ends, were pushing the wheels with their legs and hauled the machine where it was needed, to enable to shoot aiming through windows made in the covers; for in order that standing on the logs men could safely fight, these machines were covered by plaited twig fences with skins and hides protecting from other missiles, and from incendiary missiles, which the enemies were throwing ... also started bringing over the so-called rams. It is also a very large machine: it was a log freely hanging on chains between inclined one to another timbers, and with a sharp tip and covers fixed in the described manner, for safety of the workers. The people pulled the ropes from its rear end in the opposite direction from the object //183// that was to get hit, and then let go, so that the force of impact destroyed the whole impacted part of the wall”. (Prisk Pannonian, p. 677).

Huns could build dams on the rivers to cause flooding in the besieged city. For this purpose, they used “huge inflated burdiuks (bladders), filled with stone and sand...”. (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 80. The “Chronicle” of Pseudo-Zacharias also contains information about the Huns and Persians, in preparation for a siege of the city Maiferkat, “made about it ditches, embankment, and many pits...”. (Pseudo-Zacharias, p. 163).

Prisk Pannonian reports that the Huns were crossing rivers on rafts, which they carried along on the wagons (Prisk Pannonian, p. 684).

7. 3. Battle tactics

For their time, Huns had the best warfare tactics. In the mounted battle the Huns accounted both for the advantages and the limitations of their army, with special attention paid not only on the military capability of the enemy, but also on the psychological condition of their soldiers. To sow panic among the enemy troops, Huns were always taking advantage of surprise attack. Eusebius Hieronymus noted that “they were everywhere, and his unexpected swiftness preventing rumours” (Eusebius Hieronymus, p. 369). Attacking the enemy, the Hun army formed //184// a wedge, hollering a “terrible howling cry”, whose purpose was to stun and frighten enemy soldiers (Ammianus Marcellinus. II, p. 238).

The war cry “Hurray!”, “Urra!”, etc., presently on the on arms of many different nations, in Türkic is called “uran”, and along with the tribal tamga and tribal mascot animal, is distinct for each Türkic tribe; in Europe, it cheered all sides in the WWI and WWII, and the Brits took it around the globe to the places where never stepped a Türkic foot before. “Uran” means “strike”, and the tribal uran is transferred from generation to generation as a most precious possession of the family. In Türkic “Hurray!” means “Strike!”

To botch the enemy lines, to lure them from strategically disadvantageous the Huns position, Huns used the following tactics: the Hun army imitated a disorderly retreat, provoking the troops into a hot pursuit (Ammianus Marcellinus. II, p. 238; Agathias, p. 33). Then the Hun cavalry scattered and with separate detachments, without forming a line of battle, attacked the enemy troops, attacking incesantly in different places until they win (Ammianus Marcellinus. II, p. 238, Claudius Claudian, p. 1055). This tactics of the Hun cavalry battles, as noted Agathias, was also adopted by the Europeans (Agathias, p. 33). The Ephtalite Huns used the same tactics of luring the enemy with a small force (Procopius of Caesarea. 1a. pp. 26-28, 38-42). In 629 Türks successfully used this tactic to defeat Persian troops in Armenia. Here it is in the description of Movses Kalankatuatsi: “Having selected in his army about three thousand strong warriors and appointing the Prince Chorpan-Tarhan to head them... he sent him ahaed to punch him safe passage ... And he without hurry started behind, after furnishing with everything needed the multitude of his troops. Upon arriving in Armenia, the Prince /Head/ of vanguard found out against him is coming the Persian commander, he holed up on the way, curling //185// like a snake, and started to wait for him in ambush”.

The Persian commander threw against the Türkic vanguard a detachment of ten thousand soldiers. “But the enemy - writes Movses Kalankatuatsi, - heard about this even before their arrival, /divided his forces into two parts/, one of which stayed in ambush by the road, while the other stood waiting for them, and as soon as the troops collided, they immediately started fleeing, drawing them into pursuit. Then those /hiding in ambush/ with cries attacked them from all sides, and surrounded them like a flame covering the reeds... /annihilated all of them/ and did not leave anybody who would bring the sad news on the death of so many men” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 92).

The tactics of mobile warfare, impossible for the snail-paced mentality of sedentary peoples, was developed long before the Scythians used it against Darius in the 6th c. BC, and the reason that Chinese did not leave early records of the 16th c. BC Zhou tactics was that not numerous mounted Zhou handedly defeated the proto-Chinese before they learned about pictograph writing. In the literate period, the mobile warfare of the Huns, Türks, and Mongols dominated the Eurasian history until the Modern Age, and in the Modern Age the mobile warfare of Bashkirs decimated Napoleon army during their invasion of Russia. The ethnically Türkic Kutuzov used the proven Scythian/Hunnic/Türkic tactics and Bashkir mercenaries to save the Russian Empire from the world-renown commander's armies. Even in the 20-th c. during the Russian Civil war, the Cossacks fighting on the side of the Bolsheviks against their Imperial oppressors were instrumental in winning the war against Czarist leftovers and forces of Antanta alliance.

With their skills of the distance and close cavalry battles, using advantageous tactics, the Hun troops were achieving considerable success on the battle fields.

With all their millennium-proven tactics, and a long string of victories, the Huns successfully lost the hundred years war. The other side of the tactics, its shortcomings, unfortunately is barely addressed by the author, and thus we know only the positive side of the Hunnic tactics, but are left ignorant of the rest. Unlike the weakly Chinese, who gradually developed a long-term strategy against militarily superior mounted armies, and were consistently implementing it for two millennia, the Türkic leaders, content with their tactical supremacy, have not developed a strategic concept for sustainability until the 20th century.

The weaponry of the Hun warriors was quite progressive for its time. The tactic used by the Huns in the battles in open terrain and in storming of fortified settlements also was up to the requirements of the contemporary art of war. All that established for the Hun warriors a reputation of excellent warriors. The Hunnic fighting techniques, certain types of weapons were adopted by many nations in the early medieval period.

7. 4. Military campaigns and military assistance

Most information about the North-East Caucasus Huns refers to political history, filled with active military operations in the Persian-Byzantine war (6-th c.), Arab-Khazar wars (2 nd half of 7th - 8th cc.), and complicated relationships with Albania, Armenia, and Khazar Kaganate.

The Huns, who occupied lands on the northern borders of the territory dominated by Persia, became a subject of perpetual concern of the Persia, and her opponent in the Caucasus, the Byzantine Empire, not to mention the peoples of Albania, Georgia, and Armenia, on whose shoulders lay a heavy burden of their almost annual raiding campaigns. Depending on the state of the political situation in these countries, were undertaken response robberies in the Hun lands, but the rulers of Persia, Byzantine, and Alania and Armenia mostly preferred to establish alliance with the Huns, using their assistance in the actions of their foreign policy. Several authors repeatedly mentioned the efforts it took Persians to contain the Huns in the Caucasus passes, which they used. Byzantine was paying to Persia a regular reward for guarding the Caucasian passes from the Huns (Prisk Pannonian, p. 696, Yeshu Stylite, p. 131; Pseudo-Zacharias, p. 154). What significance Byzantine gave to the Hunic invasions is demonstrated by the fact that the first clause //187// in the peace treaty concluded in 562 between Byzantine and Persia stated: “... for the Persians not to allow any Unns, nor Alans nor other barbarians to cross into Roman possessions through the gorge called Horutson (Darial Pass), and the Caspian gates” (Menander Byzantine, p. 342).

Huns, depending on the political situation, used Derbent Pass for raids, or if it was inaccessible, the mountains passes less convenient for the riders. Procopius of Caesarea describes in detail the routs of the Huns' raids to the South Caucasus: “The spurs of the Caucasus mountains facing north-west reach Illyria and Thrace, and facing south-east reach the very passes by which living there tribes of the Huns come to the land of the Persians and Romans, one of these passages is called Tzur (Djor, Chor, pessibly from Chur = Trk. Prince, i.e. it was a fortress of the Prince), and the other has the ancient name of Caspian Gates” (Procopius of Caesarea. II, p. 381). “When these Unns attack lands of Persia or Rome through the aforementioned door (Caspian Gates - L.G.), they set out with fresh horses, without any detours, and without encountering any other steep places to the borders of Iberia, except for those that stretch for 50 stadies. But when they turn to other passes, they have to overcome great difficulties and can not use the same horses, because they have to go around by many steep places” (Procopius of Caesarea. Ia: p. 111). Therefore is understandable a Huns' desire to seize the Derbent pass, and the Persian desire to keep it in their hands.

Most of the Huns' campaigns in the S.Caucasus were due to certain allied commitments, tying the Huns once with Byzantine, and another with Persia. Both of these world powers led a long, grueling war for the world domination and related with that struggle for lucrative trade routes, which made the Caucasus a tasty morsel, torn by them to pieces.

Byzantine, realizing the importance of the Hunnic tribes on the north-eastern borders of Persia, did her best to win them over to her side. For this purpose were used bribery, threats, or habitual for Byzantine tool of paid military assistance (L.Gmyraya does not mention the prime tool of Byzantine political domination, the religion and its messengers. The Arabs were not the first geniuses to come up with religious conquests).

Persia, in turn, understood the dangers posed to her by conducting military operations simultaneously on two fronts, against the Huns and against the Byzantine, so she also used all means to attract the Huns in her camp. For this purpose were used mercenaries of the Huns, murder of unacceptable leaders, betrayal of her ally, etc.

The Huns, and then Savars, were on the side, then the other, taking advantage of the political situation within the two powers, and the situation developing on the battlefields. Therefore the characterization of the Byzantine historian given to Savirs seems somewhat subjective: “This people... is very greedy to the wars and to the plunder, likes to live away from home in an alien land, always looking for someone else' property, only for the profit hope for booty //189// joining as a participant in war and dangers now to one, then to another, and turning from friend to foe” (Agathias. pp. 116-117).

By the middle of the 4th c., the time of the reign of the Armenian king Arshak II (345-368), belongs the testimony of Favstos Buzand. that during the renewed war between Persia and Byzantine in Mesopotamia and Armenia, the Huns and Alans were on the side of Armenians against the Persians (Favstos Buzand, p. 113). In the 330s, Huns together with Alans fought on the side of Persia against Armenians.

In 395 the Huns made a grand military campaign to the countries of S.Caucasus and Asia Minor (Eusebius Hieronymus, p. 1030; Yeshu Stylite, p. 131).

Quote from the M. Artamonov book (M.I. Artamonov, 1962, p. 53) about the Huns in the Middle East:
...second record about the Huns in Favst Buzand: he named them together with Alans in the army of the Armenian king Arshak II (345-368), which was directed against the Persians ... 36

...the first undoubted appearance of the Huns in the Caucasus should be related only to 395, when having taken over the southern half of Eastern Europe, they did not risk to move with all their forces further west. That year, according to the information of Prisk Pannonian, which he received from Romulus, the Roman ambassador (with whom he met in the Attila camp in 488), the Hun horde crossed deserted country (steppe) and the lake (Azov Sea), in 15 days crossed the mountains (Caucasus) and entered Media, i.e., the Persian possessions in the S.Caucasus, 37 from which it spread almost all over the Asia Minor. Information about that expedition are preserved in other sources. 38 Thus, the early 6th c. Syrian chronicle of Yeshu Stylite says that in the days of Honorius and Arcadius (395-408), sons of the Theodosius the Great, the whole Syria was in the hands of the Huns. They not only were ruining and plundering the cities, but led away masses of population into slavery 39 (And who were their customers? Persians? Byzantines? Romans?). Late author Bar Gebre (1226-1286), who lived in the 13th c., but used earlier Syrian sources, under reported year 397 that Huns so devastated Syria and Cappadocia that they became deserted 40. Latin writer Jerome was a contemporary and almost witnessed the invasion. During his pilgrimage to the East, “broke out a horde of Huns from the distant Meotis, the land of icy Tanais”. A number of cities in Mesopotamia were subjected to siege, including Antioch. Jerusalem and Tyre were preparing in anticipation of the enemy. “Arabia, Phoenicia, Palestine, and Egypt were captured by fear”. Huns seized a huge number of captives, and because of their “uncontrollable lust for gold” collected a lot of booty 41. According to Prisk Pannonian, the Huns were forced to retreat becqause the Persians have gathered a large force against them. Fearing pursuit, they went by a different road from that they came to S.Caucasia. They passed //53// by the flames rising from underwater cliff, i.e., apparently by the Apsheron peninsula with its oil fountains and the temple of eternal flame, and then on along the western shore of the Caspian Sea. They returned to their country with modest booty, because most of it was taken away by the Medes. Prisk Pannonian also says that the Huns' raid was caused by famine raging in Scythia (Black Sea area), which is quite natural after the devastation caused to that country by the Hunnic invasion, and that the leaders of the numerous Hun army in this campaign were Vasih and Kursih, members of the royal Scythian (Hunnic) clan 42.

37 Â.Â. Ëŕňűřĺâ. ŃĘ, 1, ńňđ. 830—831.
38 Ôčëîńňîđăčé. Öĺđęîâíŕ˙ čńňîđč˙, XI, 8 (Â.Â. Ëŕňűřĺâ. ŃĘ, I, ńňđ. 742); Ńîęđŕň Öĺđęîâíŕ˙ čńňîđč˙, VIII, 1; Ńîçîěĺí. Öĺđęîâíŕ˙ čńňîđč˙, VI, 1. (Pg. 67, 1861).
39 Í.Â. Ďčăóëĺâńęŕ˙ Ńčđčéńęčĺ čńňî÷íčęč, ńňđ. 39—40.
40 Ňŕě ćĺ, ńňđ. 39.
41 Ňŕě ćĺ, ńňđ. 40.
42 Â.Â. Ëŕňűřĺâ. ŃĘ, I, ńňđ. 830—831.
37 V.V. Latyshev. SK, I, pp. 830-831.
38 Philostorgius the Arian. Ecclesiastical History, XI, 8 (V.V. Latyshev. SK, I, p. 742), Socrates Ecclesiastical History, VIII, 1; Sozomen. Ecclesiastical History, VI, 1. (Pg. 67, 1861).
39 N.V. Pigulevskaya Syrian sources, p. 39-40.
40 Ibid, p. 39.
41 Ibid, p. 40.
42 V.V. Latyshev. SK, I, pp. 830-831.

Up until the middle of the 5th c. the sources do not have information about the Huns' campaigns in the S.Caucasus. Nevertheless, some records of Egishe (aka Yeghishe, Elishe, Eliseus) (5th c.) allow to believe that Huns-Hailandurs periodically harassed Persians with plundering raids (Egishe, p. 31). Egishe record belonged to the reign of the Persian shah Iezdigerd II (439-457).

In 450, when in the Persian Armenia rose an anti-Persian popular uprising, led by Prince Vardan, Armenians and Albanians called in the Caspian Savirs as their allies (Egishe, p. 79-80; Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 88). Apparently, Savirs hesitated, sorting out the situation. Upon learning of the capture of Derbent by the rebels “Unns ... came to the place of battle and //190// affirming with their own eyes the feats performed by the Christian army of Vartan, did not hesitate to swear an alliance...”. (Egishe. pp. 79-80).

The Persians, who took the strategically important Derbent pass (510-627), were undesirable neighbors for the Savirs. Seeing the success of the rebels, Savirs took their side. Apparently, during the whole time when Armenia was gripped by a guerrilla war against the Persians, Savirs were true to the agreement with Armenia. Egishe reports that the Huns did not accede to persuasion of the marzpan (viceroy) Vasak Suny (aka Süny, after a tribe Sünik, N-E of lake Sevan, i.e. geographical location and homophony with the ethnonym Hun point to the Hunnic ancestry of the tribe Süni) to betray rebels, and “continually harassed the king of Persia” (Egishe, p. 92). To make the fight with the army of Vardan more successful, Vasak Suny had to shut the Djor pass, having called for help upon many mountain tribes (Egishe, p. 92). Huns-Savirs did not participate in the decisive Avarai battle (451) between the Armenian rebels and the Persian troops (Egishe, p. 116; Sebeos. pp. 54-55), although the Armenians “were sending messenger after a messenger to the Huns, agitated them, were inflaming their troops, reminded them of the union they have vowed to the Armenians...”. (Egishe, p. 116). Some researchers believe that Savirs either were late to the battle (M.I. Artamonov, 1962, p. 58), or were not able to pass through the Derbent pass captured by Vasak Suny (Kudryavtsev A.A. 1976, p. 78; 1979, p. 38). We believe that this is far from the truth. The same Egishe notes that “most of the Huns listened with pleasure to the peaceful appeals of Armenians” (Egishe, p. 116).

Seeing that the situation in the Caucasus has changed //191// in favor of the Persians (Albania, Iberia, and several other lands defected Armenians), Savirs chose neutrality in such crucial for Armenia time. However, some part of the Huns supported the Persians. Egishe, listing the auxiliary troops of the Persians, recruited from among the Caucasian peoples, also names among them the Huns. After the defeat of the Armenians, seeing that Persia was weakened by fight against Kidarites in the east and Armenians in the north of her possessions, Savirs invaded Persian possessions without hindrance, returning “with rich booty and many captives”. It is unlikely that the campaign was staged as a proof of Savir's alliance with the Armenians, as thought Erishe (And whose account is challenged by a modern palm-reading scholar).

Using the power struggle that erupted in the Persian kingdom after the death of Yezdigerd II (457) between his sons (Dyakonov M. 1961, p. 276), the Albanian people have rose against Persians (460-462). Savirs, bribed by Peroz (459-484), broke alliance with the Trans-Caucasian peoples, and, as indicated by the sources, fought the rebels for a year (461) (Egishe, p. 170; Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 11).

In the early 6th c. Huns are found as Byzantine allies. Procopius of Caesarea mentions a Hun Amvazuk (aka Ambazuk, which V.I.Abaev in his interpretation of the Zelenchuk Inscription classed name Anbalan as “not attested, but sounding very Ossetic” name, and positively not Türkic. In Türkic, “Bazik” is stout, powerful, and Ambazuk ~ “Embazyk” is most stout, powerful; accordingly, “bülün” is warrior, and Anbalan ~ “Embülün” is the most warrior, no wonder it is not attested in Ossetic), who controlled Derbent, as a friend Emperor Anastasius ( 491-518) (Procopius of Caesarea, 1a, p. 112-113).

In the 502 the relations between Byzantine and Persia were strained again, which grew into a war of 502-506. In the hostilities during August-September //192// of 502 the Huns fought on the side of the Persians. They besieged and plundered a city Fedosiopol in Armenia, together with the Persians, Kudishaye (?), and Armenians tried to take cities Apadna, Edessa, and Harran (Yeshu Stylite, p. 148, 153, 155). During storm of Harran, the besieged captured a Huns' leader. The Persian king Kavad promised the Harranits to lift the siege of the city for the release of the noble Hun. The residents bought off the Persians not only with the prisoner, to him were added “a herd of hundred and fifty sheep, and other things” (Yeshu Stylite, p. 155). The Hun troops, together with the Persians and Arabs, took part in the repeat and unsuccessful attempt to take Edessa (Yeshu Stylite, p. 157). Apparently, the Byzantine Empire made several efforts to bring Huns to their side. Procopius of Caesarea under 504 reported that the “hostile Unns invaded Persia. Kavad returned to his land with his whole army, and fought in the northern regions of his state a long war with the Unns.” (Procopius of Caesarea. 1a, p. 101). The Persians drove the Huns from Derbent, and concluded an alliance with them, pledging to pay a tax (Procopius of Caesarea. 1a, p. 116) (Apparently, the strategic goal of the Huns, vigorously resisted by the Persians, was to make Persia a Hunnic dependency and establish regular tribute, a la China, Roman Empire and Byzantine. This objective, obscured by detailed accounts of the contemporaries about tactical events, puts in perspective the Hunnic campaigns starting with the show of force in 395. The Hunnic Persian tactics exactly parallels the Hunnic Chinese and the Hunnic Roman tactics. The model of the objective was the heqin treaty with the Han China, the treaty known under a 2nd c. BC Chinese name, but the oldest records of which belong to the Zhou of the 16th c. BC). Emperor Anastasius, seeking to dismantle the unfavorable to the Byzantine alliance between Persians and Huns, promised Huns to pay a greater tax. Bargaining with Persians for better condition of the alliance, in 513 Huns undertook a raid in their lands (Pseudo-Zacharias, p. 150). The Persians promised to meet the Huns's requirements to increase taxes. To conclude a new agreement “400 men of the Hun's //193// leaders” remained in the camp of the Persians, while the Huns relinquished their army.

The Persians treacherously violated the agreement and “prepared for a war against the Huns who scattered, and against those four hundred that remained, and against those that were with them” (Pseudo-Zacharias, p. 150). The Huns succeeded to withstand a battle, and they raided the Persian land in revenge for the treachery.

In 515 is known a Huns-Savirs attack on Armenia and Asia Minor (M.I. Artamonov, 1962, p. 70). Apparently, the same campaign is described by Theophanes Confessor for the year 516: “This year, the Huns, called Savirs crossed the Caspian Gates, raided Armenia, sacking Cappadocia, Pontus, and Galatia, and almost reached Euhaita (modern Turkish village Beyözü)” (Theophanes Confessor, p. 49) (“In this year the Huns known as Saber passed through the Caspian Gates and overran Armenia, plundering Cappadocia, Galatia, and Pontos, so that they almost reached Euchaita”; this falls on the time of Baltavar (Elteber, İltäbär, Yiltawar, Yiltavar, Yiltever) Tatras reign in Altynoba, 505-545).

 Under 522 (520/1) Theophanes Confessor says that Byzantine, restarting a war against Persia, was seeking an alliance with the Huns by bribing their king Ziligd (Zilgbi) with rich gifts. Ziligd (Zilgbi), without breaking alliance with the Byzantines, sent to aid the Persians 20 thousand-strong Hun force (Theophanes Confessor, p. 50) The Byzantine emperor Justin (518-527), using a long-proven policy of “divide and rule”, delated to the Persians about the Hun-Byzantine alliance. Kavad cracked down on Ziligd (Zilgbi) and crushed a detachment of the Hun warriors.

Quote from Theophanes Confessor about this episode:
“ln this year, one when a war broke out between Romans and Persians, Justin dispatched envoys and gifts to Zilgbi, king of the Huns, 2 who made a pact of alliance with the emperor against the Persians, [swearing] by his ancestral oaths. Kouades likewise sent [emissaries] to him and Zilgbi made a pact with him, too. When Justin learned of this, he was exceedingly displeased. Zilgbi went over to the Persians with twenty thousand men to make war on the Romans. In making peace overtures Justin revealed to Kouades, emperor of the Persians, in a letter purportedly devoted to some other matter, that Zilgbi had sworn oaths of alliance with the Romans, had received many gifts, and intended to betray the Persians. It is necessary, he added, that we, as brothers, become friends and are not made the sport of these dogs. Kouades asked Zilgbi in private whether he had been set against the Persians after receiving gifts from the Romans. He replied, Yes. So Kouades killed him in anger and during the night sent a body of Persians which destroyed his host, since he suspected that they had come to him treacherously.3 As many as were able to escape returned to their homeland.”
2 Zilgbi was probably a Sabir Hun. In 515 the Sabiri had invaded and devastated the Pontic provinces and Cappadocia (cf. AM 6008 = 515.The Sabiri had settled north of the Caucasian range between the Euxine and the Caspian. The guarding of the Caspian Gates (= Darial Gorge) necessarily played an important part in Byzantine, Persian, Lazic, and Iberian relations. See Vasiliev, Justin I, 316, Prok. BP i. 10. Hence the importance to both Byzantines and Persians of winning over tribes in this region.”

The episode demonstrates that the fight for supremacy in the Middle East was not two-sided, as the conventional Westarn historiography is depicting, but three-sided, and both Persians and Byzantines were mindful of the Hunnic dominance. Both sides were paying annual tribute to the Huns, and the Huns had their own “divide and rule” policy aimed at weakening both their tributors. In the power struggle within their triangle, the foes Persians and Byzantines were in a virtual alliance against the Huns, united by a common danger.

The episode demonstrates that with the death of Attla, the Huns as a world power did not disappear, as the conventional Western historiography is depicting, but the orientation of their political activity shifted from the Central European theater, which was spearheaded by Attila, to the Middle Eastern theater, and in place of the Germanic tribes in their politics the Huns reverted to the alliance with their Ephtalite kins, coordinating their efforts against Persia.

Under 527/528 Theophanes Confessor reported about Byzantine ally the Savir ruler Boariks. At that time (527-532) the military activities of Byzantine and Persia in the S.Caucasus were renewed.

The Persians skillfully //194// used infighting among the Hun nobility. Kavad managed to bring to his side two kings of other Hunnic tribes located further into the inner lands, by the names of Stiraks and Glonis. But more powerful ruler Boariks defeated in a battle a 20,000strong force of the Persian allies, killing Glonis and sending Stiraks in chains to the king in Constantinople...”. (Theophanes Confessor, p. 137).

To the end of hostilities the Huns remained in alliance with the Persians. In 531, the Persians sent to the Byzantine Armenia an army of allied Persamens (?), Sunites (Residents of Sunik? Considering the veriety of spelling of the name Hun, Suniks is fairly transparent generic exonym “Hun”), among them was also the 3,000strong unit of the Huns-Savirs (Procopius of Caesarea. 1a, p. 180). The following year, 532, in preparation for a siege of the Maiferkat, Persians recruited Huns. Circumstances were unfortunate for the Persians: cold, rain and mud made conducting siege works impossible. In addition, the king Kavad died, and Persians were quick to conclude a truce with Byzantines. At that time “came the Huns, a large number of people recruited by the Persians” (Pseudo-Zacharias, p. 163). Using favorable conditions - rise of political in-fighting in the Byzantine Empire that ended up with the Nika riots (History of the Byzantine Empire. 1967, p. 284), Savirs unimpeded moved to Mesopotamia, a dominion of Byzantine, “and no one resisted them and did not cause any harm” ( Pseudo-Zacharias. pp. 163-164). Having plundered and destroyed unfortified settlements and temples, they reached Antioch. Only on the return way a Dux of Maiferkat Bes attacked one of //195// Savir units, “captured about 500 horses and a lot of booty”, and a Dux of the castle Kitariz “routed about four hundred of their men and seized their pack animals” (Pseudo-Zacharias. pp. 163-164).

Up to the 550 the Huns-Savirs are not heard of, although in those years (540-545) went on active military actions between Persia and Byzantine (History of the Byzantine Empire. 1967. pp. 331-333).

In the middle of the 6th. c broke a new Persian-Byzantine war over Lazika (550-555). The Laz King Gubaz concluded an alliance with the Alans and Savirs “who committed for three kentenars (kentenarion = 100 lbs. of gold) not only to protect the Laz land from the any ruin, but to empty Iberia so that Persians would not be able to come there” (Procopius of Caesarea. 16, p. 231).

In 551 Byzantines undertook a decisive storming of the city Petra, with participation of a small group of Savirs with three leaders (Procopius of Caesarea. II, p. 407). Applied by the Byzantines on steep slopes of Petra light storm engines invented by Savirs played a decisive role in storming of the fortress. It was taken, its fortifications were razed.

In the same year (551) the Persians, having lost Petra, stormed Archeopol. To the aid of the Persian army came 12,000 Savirs, but the Persian general Mermerois, fearing a betrayal of the Huns, left four thousand at the city Archeopol, the others, “richly rewarding with money, let go home” (Procopius of Caesarea. II, p. 417).

On the //196// order of the Persians Savirs built many lightweight battering rams, because Archeopol was located in the mountainous terrain.

By the end of the 552-553 winter, Persians concluded with Byzantines a brief truce, and immediately began preparing to attack Lazika. Enlisting a large number of Huns-Savirs, in 553 Persians moved against Lazika, bringing along elephants (Procopius of Caesarea. II, p. 432). The Persian army, led by Mermerois, tried to storm the city Archeopol again, but failed once again. Procopius of Caesarea reports that during pursuit of the retreating Persians, the Romans killed a “chief of Sabirs”, for whom broke out a strong fight that lasted until dusk (If befitting burial is necessary for a successful afterlife of a deceased, and comrades-in-arms risk their lives to ensure peace beyond the grave for the fallen, what would be the reaction when the whole people is forced to abandon the future reincarnation).

In 555 Persians again were about to storm the city Archeopol. When he learned that near the walls of the city has loged a two thousand-strong Savirs detachment allied with Byzantine, led by “Baimah, Kutilzis and Alager, their most famous people”, Persians sent a detachment of three thousand Dolimnits (?) to destroy Savirs (Agathias, p. 88). Although the attack on the fortified with palisade camp of the Huns-Savirs was unexpected, Huns managed to win, using a tactics of ambush. The Persian army also had detachments of Savirs (Agathias, p. 116). Agathias guesses that these were troops of different Savir tribes. Agathias also has a story on how Byzantines destroyed a half-thousand Savir unit that loged in a fortified camp (Agathias, p. 117).

After a defeat at Phasis, //197// Persians concluded a truce (with Byzantine) that by 562 grew into a peace treaty for 50 years. Byzantine pledged to pay to the Persians each year more than 400 Libre (pounds, approx. 400 g/lb) of gold to protect Caucasus passages, and Persia had a duty not to let the Huns and Alans through the passages (Menander Byzantine, p. 342).

Having concluded peace, Persia could now battle their eastern and northern enemies (Ephtalites and Savirs). In 563-567 Persians run successful military actions against Ephtalites, to about the same time belongs the defeat of Savir tribes who residing in the S.Caucasus by Khosrow Anushirvan (M.I. Artamonov, 1962, p. 126). Reinforcing fortifications of Derbent, Khosrow impeded penetration by Savirs in the land of Persian dominions.

In 571 in Armenia broke out a rebellion against Sassanid rule. The rebels asked Byzantine Empire for help, the latter did not hesitate to intervene, which initiated yet another Byzantine-Persaud war of 572-591. Menander Byzantines informs that Savirs sided in these events (572) against Armenians, while Kolkhs, Avasgs (Abkhazia), and Alans helped the Armenians (Menander Byzantine, p. 494). Having entered Albania in 575, Byzantines, intending to subdue residing there Savirs and Albans, took hostages from among them, “...when they left, Savirs immediately freed themselves from the Roman domination. The Roman generals (Kurs and Theodor) came back to Albania, and forced Savirs and Alvans to move to this side of the river Cyrus (Kura) and henceforth remain in Roman //198// country” (Menander Byzantine, p. 411-412).

In 576 in Byzantine arrived embassy of Caucasian Savirs and Alans. Emperor Tiberius (578-582) promised Savirs and Alans more favorable terms of alliance than the Persian terms. Apparently, the messengers, hesitated, so that the emperor had to resort to threats. He told them that to those who would join him voluntarily he would be benevolent, and those who would not join him will be subordinated to his power” (Menander Byzantine, p. 416).

In 578, Savirs were in the army of the Byzantine emperor, baffled by the appearing of the Persian twenty thousand-strong cavalry, “... Sarakins (Saracens?) and Savirs ... together with the Roman generals debated how to cross the mountainous country...”. (Menander Byzantine, p. 437).

Apparently, to the events of the 572-591 war belongs the Sebeos message about a strong detachment of the Huns being in 20,000strong Persian army marching to Armenia soon after uprising of 571-572. (Sebeos, p. 31).

Thus, the debate about what foreign policy orientation, Persian or Byzantine, was preferable to Savirs, is irrelevant. In their foreign policy the Savir rulers always were considering complexity of the international situation and in particular, the internal status and international state of two main rivals in the Caucasus, Persia and Byzantine.

Up to 664, the sources do not contain any data about foreign policy acts of the North Caucasus Huns. The main //199// danger from the north threatening S.Caucasus countries in the first half of the 7th c. becomes the Western Türkic Kaganate. In the first quarter of the 7th c. the sources record almost annual Türkic raids to Albania and Iberia (Movses Kalankatuatsi. I. pp. 103-104, 121). In the Türkic campaigns, according to some researchers, also took part dependent tribes of Onogurs, Ugros (Gadlo A.V. 1979, p. 135). Apparently, the ethnonym “Türk” overlapped in the sources a number of other dependent tribes, including the Huns-Savirs.

Peculiarly, the Huns' transition from significant and widely referred to enemy and friend to inglorious non-entity hidden under an umbrella term Türk did not find place in this study, leaving a gaping hole in the continuity of the subject. We have a Western Hunnic Era lasting from about 160 AD to about 560 AD, and a Türkic Era lasting from about 552 AD to about 740 AD, and a void in-between.

Under 662 is known unsuccessful invasion of Khazars through Derbent in Albania. About participation of the Huns in it is not known.

Under 664 Movses Kalankatuatsi tells of invasion into Albania of the “King of Huns” troops (Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 153). Movses Kalankatuatsi also calls the “King of Huns” a “King of Turkestan”. Maybe the subject is the Huns' Great Prince Alp Ilitver, since later, describing the virtues of Alp Iletver (i.e. Ilitver), Movses Kalankatuatsi particularly mentions that he “has shown many feats of bravery in Turkestan” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 199). The Huns' numerous troops led away captured population and herds of cattle. The Hun ruler offered peace to the Prince of Albania Djuansher (636-669), which was concluded after brief negotiations. The peace was sealed by marriage of Djuansher with the daughter of “King of Huns”, to confirm the friendship the Huns ruler returned to Albanians the loot and captives (Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 154).

Standard terms of vassalage between the Türkic nomads and others:

1. Direct military participation in the suzerain's campaigns with a right for booty for the participant, or a monetary compensation for non-participation;
2. Nominal tribute, depending on the wealth or occupation of the population, like a pelt and two-pence from a household based on approved census for forest-dwelling Rus subjects;
3. A marriage of a vassal or his son to a daughter of the suzerain, which gave him a status of a head of the family as the vassal's father-in-law, a very special position in Türkic societies, which also included a right of the father-in-law to raise his male grandkids.

The Huns were interested in good neighborly relations with //200// neighboring countries, because levying tribute from the dependent population is more a stable and more profitable stream of income than annual military campaigns that consume efforts, time and lives.

Five years later Djuansher was killed, Albanian throne was taken by his brother Varaz-Trdat (669-699). Armenian historians tend to associate the foray of 669 by the ruler of the HunsAlp-Ilitver to Albania with an act of revenge for the murder of his ally, and probably a relative. It is possible that the murder of Djuansher served as one of the reasons for the Hun campaign, but apparently the main reason was the desire of Alp Ilitver to remind the new ruler of Albania of their rights to her, received during Djuansher (This comment is outrageous, the killing of the son-in-law, the husband of his daughter, and the father of his grandkids is slighted, and instead sinister greed and ambitions are suggested). “Having gathered a large number of people and livestock from the country, and taking the loot (Alp Ilitver - L.G.) drove all that to captivity” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 186). Having robbed Albania, Alp Ilitver “stopped in the fields of Lbinia (?)”, apparently waiting to see what effect his action will bear upon the new ruler. Movses Kalankatuatsi writes that Varaz-Trdat “was very distressed and did not know what to do”. Catholicos Ilizar, initiating talks with the Huns, expressed to Alp-Ilitver “faithful obedience and love that felt toward him as for a beloved brother” Varaz-Trdat (Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 186). The role of “helpers and protectors of powers that be” of the Albanian ruler apparently suited the Huns, and they agreed to peace. The new situation had put Albania in dependence of the Huns. But apparently, the Huns' forays into Albania continued //201// in the subsequent years.

Relations between the Caucasian Huns and their neighboring principalities develop in the local theater, and are much a reflection of the global events as seen by the local observers. The 6th c. started with a rise of the Western Türkic Kaganate, which asserted its control over Türkic-populated areas in the Eastern Europe and Caucasus, including the states of Azeristan and Albania. Its rise culminated with confrontation with the semi-independent Persian proxies in the war of 626. However, the central power of the Western Türkic Kaganate collapsed immediately after that, leaving a power vacuum in the Eastern Europe and Caucasus, and leading to the rise of the independent Bulgaria, and 25 years later to independent Khazaria. After the collapse of the Western Türkic Kaganate in 630, the Persia temporarily reasserted it control over its old client states in the S.Caucasia, but that too was short-lived. The Arab conquest of Persia led to the end of the Sassanid Empire in 644, allowing independent local relations in the Caucasus to come to the front, but soon the Arabs started asserting their control over the Persian old client states in the S.Caucasia. Both the Byzantine and the Western Türkic Kaganate retreated from the Caucasus theater, leaving two major powers, the Arab Caliphate and the (now Khazarian) Kaganate fighting for the control of the Caucasus. That confrontation oscillated back and forth for more then a century, severely changing demographical and political map of the Caucasus. Not much of the local interplay received its reflection in the historical works, leaving much to deduce to correlate the local events with the underlying developments.

In 664, Huns lived within and outside of Albania, and sedentary Albanians, through the administration of their King Djuansher were paying taxes (or annual tribute) to the Elteber of the Huns. A failure to render payment, after some diplomatic squabble, stirred a collection campaign perceived as a sequestration raid, to fill in the arrears. The Huns, and other pastoral tribes within Albania, were not assessed any taxes, and likely were receiving their portion of collections as a party to the contract and for participation in its enforcement . At the same time, Albania was paying, or was supposed to be paying, their assessment to the Arabs. The double obligations were draining the country, and the compact of 664 was to re-ally with the Huns to protect Albania from the Arabs, as it was during the reign of the King Sanesan, when Masguts and Huns were united.

The turning point for the Savir Huns was the loss of Varachan in 737 to the Caliphate forces under command of Marwan. After that, the dispersed Savir Huns lost their identity in the Caucasus, and for a long while become faceless Khazars, only to reappear in the Slavic annals under the name Severyans, and in the Bulgarian history as a component of the Bulgars under the names Suvar and Saban.

Discussing with the Princes and Catholicos Ilizar the need for a new alliance with the Huns, the ruler of Albania pointed to the difficult situation the country was in: on the one hand, it was taxed with tribute by the “Tajiks” (Arabs), and on the other hand it was suffering annual raids by the Huns. Therefore, in 682 Albania was forced to reaffirm its alliance with the Huns with a new peace treaty, one of its condition was reinforcement of the family ties between the rulers, and adoption of Christianity by the Huns. To achieve the latter condition, in 682 to the Huns was sent an embassy headed by Bishop Israil.

The author leaves out connection between religion, alliance, and dynastic marriage. Long before Alp-Ilitver, and long after him, the dynastic alliances were religion-free, i.e. the wives were taken from numerous peoples irrespective of religion. Even with the later era of religious intolerance, accommodations, if any, were made within a family and on a personal basis. Moreover, with the Türkic traditional religious tolerance, any religion was greeted with respect. Obviously, Albanians were in a bind and needed a treaty to improve their condition, the Huns had an upper hand and did not have to yield to any demands, and especially to such an outrageous demand as the intrusion on the sacred freedom of religion and innate personal convictions of every person in their country. The further studies may not resolve the problem for shortage of written accounts, but that does not make sensible a senseless account, and does not warrant to turn a blind eye to the historical puzzle.

In 684, the Khazars conducted one of grandest campaigns in the Caucasus. Having devastated a number of areas, seizing booty and captives, Khazars returned to the Caspian Sea area. In battles with the Khazars were killed the ruler of Armenia Gregory Mamikonian, Albanian and Georgian Princes (Ghevond, p. 10). It is not known whether Alp Ilitver's Huns were taking part in this campaign, two years earlier they were receiving with honors the mission of Israil. Movses Kalankatuatsi does not mention this campaign, however, the author of the “History of the Alvan country” hurriedly reports on the Prince of the Huns fate after adoption of Christianity: “he showed to the Khazar Khan many feats of bravery in Turkestan. He gained his love and had to give him his daughter in marriage...”. (Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 199).

In the modern translation of the source the meaning of this //202// extract for some reason is translated differently: “...He has earned a gallant great name, accomplished many feats of bravery in Turkestan during Hakan of Khazars, he earned a love of Hakan, who gave him his daughter in marriage. And he also was awarded the rank of Ilituership (Eltebership) and glorified in all three countries...”. (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II. pp. 127-128).

It is known that the newly minted Khazar Kagan was assembling his realm using numerous dynastic marriages, rather than using his arms, a method amply demonstrated in its efficiency by the Saudi dynasty in the 18th c. On his death, his harem was inherited by his successor. Bahadyr Chebe, the son of Elteber Bulan Shad and grandson of Tun-Yabgu Kagan, is a likely candidate for the position of the Elteber in 682, one of his sisters was a wife of the Khazar Kagan, another sister was a wife of the Alan King Djevanshir, and his daughter would be a natural dynastic match for the new generations of the Khazar Kagans from the rival Ashina clan. A reciprocal marriage to the daughter of the Khazar Kagan from a blood-unrelated line is also quite possible.

The tight and intricate dynastic bonds in the Caucasus and elsewhere, frequently neglected by the historians conditioned to disregard family bonds in favor of personal and imperial ambitions emblematic for the modern states, played a far greater role in shaping history than was accounted for in the later historical reconstructions full of anachronic supposals.

The last citation of M.Kagankatvatsi is a positive testimony that Alp Ilitver is a title of a position, Alp is Alp is “Great”, Ilitver is a distortion of “Elteber”, and Alp Ilitver is a rendition of Great Elteber, so the title Great Prince is its direct translation to Armenian. In the Oguz and Eastern Hun languages the “Great” is expressed with Ulu/Ulug/Uluγ, known from many titles like the Timurid Ulug Bek, and Eastern Hunnic in Chinese transcription 谷蠡 Yuli in Yuli Yui = Great Yui. The word Alp with the meaning Great is also documented in the Celtic language; according to Servius the European mountain range Alps carries a Celtic name of pre-IE root, Alp was used to denote “any high, snow-capped mountain”. This little spec of evidence corroborates the circum-Mediterranian route of Celtic pastoralists, who brought the word along from the N.Pontic to Spain in the 4th millennium BC.. The word Alp with the meaning Great also provides another speck of corroborating evidence that the Central and Eastern Europe were populated by the Türkic-speaking tribes before the spread of the IE languages in Europe.

It is generally assumed that the religious reform in the “land of Huns”, conducted with the consent of the Great Prince Alp Ilitver, displeased the Khazar Kagan. Alp Ilitver, as a vassal of the Khazar Hakan, amending for his guilt, had to give his daughter in marriage to the Hakan and participate in some joint military operations, demonstrating his loyalty.

We visualize a somewhat different version of the events after adoption of Christianity by the Huns. The Khazar campaign in S.Caucasia in 684 was an act that demonstrated the right of Khazaria in the S.Caucasus. To the “country of Huns” it had no direct connection, the Caspian Huns could not participate in the campaign (This premise is completely unacceptable, this is equivalent to an immediate death sentence. Refusal of the Russian Far Eastern Military District to participate in the war against Japan? What a strange idea. Fortunately, it has nothing to do with the analysis). The reform of 682 was not interrupted by the Khazar campaign of 684, Movses Kalankatuatsi as one of the Huns' Great Prince virtues notes that “in many places, he was erecting churches and multiplied honors of the God's priests” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 128). Apparently, the Alp-Ilitver spread Christianity throughout the “land of Huns”, and thus was “glorified in all three countries”, - emphasizes the author of “History of Alvan country”. The Christian missionary in the “country of Huns”, Bishop Israil probably touched with Christianization //203// some Khazar areas also, because in the third book Mavses Kashankatuatsi, telling about the tragic fate of Israil, notes as his achievement that he converted “many of the Khazir and Hun provinces to Christianity” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 148).

In the 680's. the “country of Huns” conducted an independent internal and foreign policy, and its ruler Alp Ilitver was glorified in Armenia, Albania, and Iberia by the adoption of Christianity and ceased the raids on the countries of the S.Caucasus, as was promised in his letters to the upper spiritual and secular rulers of Armenia “Because if he (Israil - LB) would be among us, and we would all have one faith, then the raids of the troops of /our/ savage peoples into your country will cease” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 133).

As for the marriage of the Hun princess to the Khazar Kagan, that was an ordinary event, according to the established tradition or for political purposes (so did the rulers of Persia, Albania, Arab Caliphate, and of the Khazaria).

7. 5. Caspian Huns and the Arab-Khazar wars

Above, we addressed key stages of the Arab-Khazar wars in the Caspian region. Here, concluding description of the “country of Huns” political history, shall be emphasized that the Arab expansion to the Caspian Dagestan was a tragic milestone in the history of the Caspian Dagestan peoples.

Reference to Arab-Khazar wars before the time of Khazar Kaganate (est. 650) is a misnomer, a backward projection by the Arab later historians. The war was Arab-Savir, or Arab-Hunnic in terms of this work, its theater was limited to the lands of the Caspian Huns-Savirs, and the resisting army was Hun-Savir army. The author uncritically follows the conditional Arab nomenclature.

The main //204// blow of the Arab army power bore the people of the “country of Huns”. Their territory from the beginning of the 8th c. to the 740's. was subjected to almost ceaseless devastation, loss of economic centers were ruined, economy was being destroyed, women and children were massacred or taken away as slaves, were taken away valuables. In all likelihood, the “country of Huns” fell into the political dependence of Khazars after the Arab raids. The “land of Huns” in the fight against Arabs acted as an ally of the Khazars, as one of the major forces in the Caspian area capable to resist the onslaught of the Arab expansion.

The following is a listing of milestones in the Arab-Khazar wars. .Researchers attribute the first appearance of Arab troops in Derbent by 642/643. In 652/653 Arabs tried to take Balanjar, their forces were defeated, one of the campaign leaders was killed. In 692-693 the Arab ruler of Armenia Mahmet II, who invaded Albania, occupied Derbent, but could not hold it (Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 259; Ghevond, p. 12). What forces opposed the Arabs at the walls of Derbent is not stated.

At about 510 Derbent was controlled by a Hun called Anbazuk. At about the same time control of Derbent passed to Persians; the Persians controlled it for 120 years during the reigns of Kavad (r. 488–531), Khosrow I (r. 531-579), Hormizd IV (579-590), and Khosrow II (590-628). The Türkic-Persian war of 626 (aka Third Perso-Türkic War) drove Persians out with taking of Derbent by the Türkic Kaganate in 627, likely restoring the Hunnic control. In the interim period of 630-644, Persians were not in a position to challenge Huns, and in 654 Derbent was captured but unlikely retained by the Arabs, who had to re-take it again in 693. This allows to conclude that in two centuries between 510 and 692 Derbent was controlled by the Persians for about 120 years, and held by the Huns for 70 years, and they continued holding it after 693. Thus, Mahmet II had to take Derbent from the Huns, and then again Marwan had to capture it from the Huns in 708, and then again Maslama failed to take Derbent from the Huns in 713. Finally, on the fifth attempt, in 727 the Arabs took abandoned by the Huns Derbent. By that time, Türks manned and controlled the Caliphate army, and were on the way to taking over the Arab Caliphate.

In the 8th c. followed a number of Arab raids into the Caspian Dagestan. In 708/709 the Arab leader Marwan (Marwan ibn Muhammad, later Caliph Marwan II) captured Derbent. After a year (710/711) Khazars marched through Derbent (naturally, held by their Huns) into northern Albania (Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 260). In the 713/714 the Arabs, led by Maslama, besieged Derbent for three months. The city was guarded by the Hun troops, the Arabs defeated them invaded the “country of Huns”, and laid siege to the Hun's city Targu” (713/714 ).

Only Ghevond gives the name //205// of this city, although Movses Kalankatuatsi also tells about consequences of this campaign for the Arabs (Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 261). Huns turned for help to the Khazars, whose intervention was decisive. The Arabs lifted the siege of the city, fearing a total disaster. Maslama had to flee, leaving behind his train and harem (Ghevond, p. 28).

In 722/723 took place a battle of the Arab forces led by Jarrah with the Khazars on the river Ar-Rana, where they defeated Khazars, at that time Arabs took Balanjar and Vabandar, and Haidak was ransacked.

In 727/728 the Arab commander Maslama entered into abandoned by their residents cities Derbent, Balanjar, and Semandar (Semender).

In 733/734 Maslama captured Haidak. In 735 he took Balanjar.

In 737/738 the Arab leader Marwan, jointly with the Armenian Prince Ashot, captured the capital of the “country of Huns” Varachan (Belenjer), the Khazar capital Al-Baida (Itil), probably was also taken Samandar (Semender). At the same time, Marwan conducted a military operation in Haidak.

All subsequent events of the Arab-Khazar wars in the 8th c. are associated with the foreign policy of the Khazar Kaganate, which played an important role in the Arab-Byzantine rivalry in the Caucasus. The ethnonym “Khazars”, as was shown above, covers all ethnic diversity of the North-Eastern Caucasus. Under the name of Khazar in the eastern and Byzantine authors are apparently hiding many Türkic-speaking and local tribes, including the Huns of the Dagestan.

8. Subjects of the “Great Prince” of the Huns

8. 1. Commoners


It was was noted above that the inner circle of the the “Huns' Great Prince”, consisted of nobility and people in service. The “History of Alvan country” also contains some information about the rest of the population, the commoners. They included ordinary citizens and residents of the villages in the “country of Huns”.

Very little information was provided about social status of the free population. Movses Kalankatuatsi cites a number of facts showing that free inhabitants in the cities of the “country of Huns” participated in important events inside the community, in particular, in such crucial events as religious reform of 682. Movses Kalankatuatsi, describing the events at the end of the 7th c. in the “country of Huns” that led to the adoption of Christianity, talks three times about the townspeople of Varachan (Belenjer), the Hun capital. Bishop Israil in the days of (Lenten ?) fasting “was received by the citizens with great love, they were glad to have him and paid their respects”... (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II. pp. 124). “ To listen to the Bishop sermons gathered nobles, Azats (Trk., Arm. Freemen, with their own troops) and Ramiks (Cavalrymen, Footmen, infantry)” //207// (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 125). The author designates Ramiks as “crowd”.

The trial, staged over the priests and main sorcerers, went on at the town square in presence of all residents; according to Movses Kalankatuatsi - “in front of numerous assembly of people” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 131).

These citations, of course, can't be sufficient to illuminate the status of the ordinary free people, but we can see that people were not ignored by the “Prince of Huns” in deciding important issues such as change of religion.

The “change of religion” is totally out of context, the state religion can't be changed where none exist, and everyone is free to pursue any religion or none at all. The issue was to convert from a free society to a society bound to a state-mandated, single alien religion, a concept totally unknown and foreign to Türkic society.

Some part of the ordinary people spoke against the religious reform of the “Great Prince”, and supported the ministers of the pagan cults (Instead of “ministers”, a more appropriate term in the narrative would probably be “advocates”). Movses Kalankatuatsi reports that when it was decided to destroy one of the main symbols of the old religion of the Huns, the sacred oak, the “... witches and sorcerers, the witches and priests, with the common people, came to the Prince of the Huns and chiefs of the country, howling and beating their breasts, and shouted with loud voice: “What do you think, how dare you, how can you do what our enemy is telling you, the enemy of our gods - to cut down that tree” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 128). According to the description, the commoners expressed to the “Great Prince” a strong protest. And apparently, to them related the threat of Alp Ilitver: “And anyone in my country will stick to paganism and would secretly sacrifice to the idols, I will destroy and deliver to the sword ” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II. C 132).

The main duty of the ordinary male population was participation in military campaigns, which were organized about once a year, sometimes more. It is no accident that the author of “History of Alvan country”, describing the events that took place in Varachan (Belenjer) in connection with the religious reform, sometimes equates the concept of “people” and “numerous warriors” or the “numerous royal army” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 127, 130 .)

The spin and misunderstanding do serious damage to the valuable observations about Hunnic social life. The distortions introduced by primitive serf mentality of the ancient chronicler are overlaid by doctrinal vision and imposed biases of the modern analyst. The picture drawn by the chronicler, and the interpretations given by the author are obviously saturated with misguided internal contraventions. A little background and understanding gleaned from other sources would be helpful in reading the facts.

The chronicler describes a democratic society akin to the Greek city-states and King Arthur social order. The post of Elteber has little in common with the status of the Armenian King, which serves as a model for the chronicler's perception, and with the organization of the modern Soviet society that existed at the time of the author's work. The post of Elteber is an appointment by the head of the state conditioned on the approval and acceptance by the citizen population, much like the modern presidential appointment subject to the approval by Congress or Parliament. In today's language, the jurisdiction of the Elteber is of a chair in a local Parliament, with dictatorial powers limited by the consent of the ruled. The supreme head of the state carries symbolic religious functions, leading public prayers to the God Almighty in daily and calendar rituals, and without being endowed with any religious hierarchical powers. The local head of the province, Elteber, performs the same function within his jurisdiction, also without any religious hierarchical powers. The heads of local communities, tribes, pasturing routes, villages, etc., down to the individual family, lead prayers in their locales. The function of the prayer leader has little in common with the function of the clergy in Christian Church, or with the ideological leaders in the former Soviet Union, who undertook to be representatives of the higher power to the subject folks, representing Almighty or Communist ideas, being a medium between the masses and Almighty or Communist ideas, and being law-givers on behalf of the Almighty or Communist ideas, the Tengrian prayer leaders of all ranks were ordinary laymen in respect to the Almighty; while in the organized Christianity the clergy sits on the God's side of the fence, and the laymen lay on the folk side of the fence; in Tengriism all humans are on the folk side of the fence, and only the Almighty alone is on the Almighty side of the fence.

Understanding the social and religious organization of the Hunnic society allows to fit the pieces of the chronicler's mosaic into a wholesome picture. The Elteber of the Huns had as much authority to impose state religion as the today's Governor of Quebec has to mandate a state Buddhism, and the popular reaction for any religious imposition in the Hunnia is not at all different from the reaction the Quebecois would have on imposition of a state Buddhism. The idea that Elteber could conduct mass execution of Tengriists in the fashion of the Christian clergy could only exist in the inflamed imagination of a missionary cleric. Quite the opposite, the Elteber, like the Kagan, were gavel-holders serving at the pleasure of the people, and could be stripped of their position, together with their life, upon the decision of the tribal representatives.

The Early Armenian Church was a Monophysite Church, and it was never beaten into complete conformance with the Trinity concept. It originated by syncretization of the monotheistic Tengriism with the monotheistic Christianity of the Early Jerusalem Church, before the amendments of the Constantine's Nicaea (325), Chalcedon (451), and Third Constantinople (681) Councils. By tradition, the Armenian Church still carries the Tengriist practices, with lay people involved in the council discussions and service at the altar, gender equality expressed as ordination of women as deaconesses and admitting girls to the altar. During its history, the Armenian Church was awarded with many derogatory epithets by other Christian hierarchies, the earliest was Paulinist after the 269 Synod of Antioch, and Monophysite by the Roman and Greek Orthodox Churches. Etiologically, the Armenian Church was closer to Tengriism than to Trinitarian Churches, and that was the teaching the Bishop Israil tried to impose on the Tengriist Huns. In the Bishop Israil's eyes, Tengriism was just another hierarchical institution, hence the oft repeated language of “wizards and sorcerers, witches, and priests”, which only existed in his exalted imagination.

8. 2. Population of the controlled territories


Tax collection from population of neighboring countries which fell in dependency to Huns was an important source of income for the “country of Huns”. We rate the population of the dependent territories to a category of semi-dependent, as opposed to the ordinary free people of the “country of Huns”. The sources do not have clear data on the status of semi-dependent population. We believe that to the category of semi-dependent can be attributed populations of the dependent or temporarily occupied by the Huns countries of Albania and Armenia, which were subject to various taxes and levies. Türks claimed some countries of South Caucasus. Djebu-Hakan's (Yagbu-Kagan) son Crown Prince Shat (Shad = Prince) said that “... My father received in possession these three countries - Aluank, Lpink, and Chor for forever” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 89).

The “Great Prince” Alp Ilitver also demanded //209// from the Albanian rulers a complete political and economic subordination (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II. pp. 102-103, 120-121). To 629 belongs the message that Türks levied population of Albania with heavy exactions - “appointed inspector over artisans who possessed the skills of mining gold, smelting silver, iron and copper, and also the trade routes and the fisheries of the great rivers Kura and Araks (Arax). The whole tribute he demanded from everybody /demanded/ a tetradrachm according to the census of the Persian Empire” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 91). The whole subject population was taxed a tetradrachm, and the artisans of precious metals and iron, and also the merchants paid an additional tax. Withholding tax from subordinated territories was preferable to organization of military campaigns, but apparently the countries of S.Caucasus tried to get rid of the heavy tribute, and new forays had to prove the right to these countries.

Leaving aside the unspecified customs duties and VAT tax, the number provided gives an objective means to assess the general taxation. A tetradrachm was 16 g, or about one half an ounce of silver, or about $4/year from a household in 2000 currency. Accounted in gold, it is 0.6 g, or 1/50th ounce of gold, or $8/year per year per household in 2000 currency. That was the census of the Persian taxation during 120 years of the Persian domination, and the Western Türkic Kaganate took over the Persian taxes. It is unlikely that Persians could assess the nomadic cattlemen, so the taxing position of the pastoral tribes likely did not change. Comparing with the levels of taxation elsewhere during the last millennium, the Hunnic taxes were miniscule both in absolute and in relative terms.

8. 3. Slaves


The sources contain little information on the slave population in the Hun society. It is known that during the raids on the S.Caucasus the Huns carried off local population into captivity (Egishe, p. 116; Pseudo-Zacharias, p. 166; Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 102-103, 120-121). The “King of Huns”, having concluded a peace treaty with the Armenian Prince Djuansher, returned to the last 1200 prisoners captured //210// by the Huns only in a course of one raid to Armenia.

The sources do not provide an answer as to how the captives were used in the Hunic economy, is known that the entire population was not taken prisoner. Into slavery were taken people with professional skills, and children and women (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II, p. 86, 90, al-Kufi, p. 32, 35). Movses Kalankatuatsi notes that boys older than 15 years were not taken into captivity, they were killed. Slave population was replenished not only by the captives, they were also acquired on the slave markets. Pseudo-Zacharias, citing facts from the life of the Huns in the beginning of the 6th c. refers to the testimony of Iskhanan Reishain, apparently a priest, and Thomas the tanner, who initially were captured by the Persians, and then sold to the Huns. The captives have lived amongst the Huns for 34 years. What kind of work they did is unknown. But apparently, the position of slaves was not very bad, because they “took in wives, produced children there” (Pseudo-Zacharias. pp. 165-166).The pinion of N.V. Pigulevskaya that this fact testifies to the high use of slavery in the “Hunnia” and its natural growth (Pigulevskaya N.V. 1941, p. 86), is not convincing, since the sources do not allow to judge that with certainty. Perhaps, a part of the slave population was becoming a property of the Hun warriors, participants in military campaigns, and was used for chores in individual families. Movses Kalankatuatsi, describing the events of 669, when Albania was conquered by the Türks, reported that despite //211// an order of the Türkic Prince to release prisoners, the soldiers hid them, not scared of “severe punishment”. Only after an intervention of the dignitaries who “started to check the canvas and tents”, pulling young people “hidden under belongings or among livestock”, the prisoners were released (Movses Kalankatuatsi. II. pp. 90-91).

Situation in the Caucasus is consistent with the descriptions of slavery in Europe and within and around China. The Hunnic society in particular, and the Türkic societies in general did not practice slavery. Societies based on pastoralism do not lend themselves to a forced labor, since little manpower is required to tender huge herds, mobile transport is in abundance around any would be slaves, and families isolated during greater portion of the year least of all need internal enemies. Only when the Türks came into power over sedentary peoples, like China, India, Persia, and Caliphates, with long-established tradition of slavery, had the Türks adjust their traditions to the local conditions.

The subject of captives can't be confused with the subject of forced labor. The captives were a part of the booty, they had monetary value, first of all as ransom, and were subject to fair division between the participants of the campaigns. Those captives who could not be ransomed or sold to the sedentary consumers as slaves were given means for subsistence, offered resettlement within the Türkic states, or were let go. The general attitude to the human captives was the same as to the animal captives, they were chattel that needed tendering and care, and the best disposition was to convert chattel into money before returning home.

The division of the booty was always under keen observation, and deviations from fair division were perilous for the leaders. We do not have reports on inner conflict between participating tribes, apparently the division was as a rule consensual, but in few cases we know of the supreme commander losing his position and life because of excessive greed that offended his troops.

Traditionally, every warrior had a right to keep the booty he gained personally, that tradition was consistently recorded starting from Herodotus for the Scythians, and continued in the records through the following millennia. The rules of engagement and division of the booty were well-established, marauding was proscribed and severely punished.

At no point in history the Türkic societies had a law enforcement apparatus. In the steppes, the prisons were non-existent. Chinese chroniclers reported that in contrast with China, at any time the Huns or the Türks had no more than few prisoners under guard. The justice was meted quickly, and resolved on the spot. It is given that without a state-enforced system, and a set of laws related to slavery, the system of slavery can't exist. The Türkic societies completely lacked such a system.

The subject of captives can't be confused with the subject of dependent tribes. History knows numerous examples when dependent people, including Türkic people, were forcefully relocated in mass. Such cases clearly demonstrate that some dependents were handled as chattel, with all care appropriate for chattel relocation. Not only Chinese and Persians were moving huge masses of people into designated areas, Bulgars, for example, moved 200,000 Slavs to the Dnieper belt, to serve a border belt to separate Bulgars from Avars. Avars also moved a similar multitude of Slavic people into northern Greece and Peloponnese. To the same category belongs the resettlement of the runaway Chinese and Romans, strategically resettled in the Hunnic and Türkic possessions. These settlements tended to be sedentary islands within the nomadic states.

8. 4. Family and marriage


Family and marriage are an important indicator of social development. Information about family and marriage in the Hunnic society is meager, but still it gives some idea about this important aspect of the Huns' life.

Written sources do not have information on the Huns' size and number of families. However, drawing analogies and indirect evidence, we can come to some conclusions. A.M. Khazanov, having analyzed data of the written sources, ethnography, and archeology, came to a conclusion that small family dominated among the nomads of the Eurasian steppes (Khazanov A.M. 1975, p. 76). Theophanes Confessor said that the ruler Boariks at the beginning of the 6th c. under her authority had 100 000 Huns-Savirs. Based on the A.M. Khazanov's data on the nomad family size from 2 to 11 people, the average figure is 6 people. This results that under the rule of Boariks were approximately 16, 700 families (Another averaged factor is 5.1 person/family).

Records on the form of the Savir marriage we find in Movses Kalankatuatsi. He writes: “They (Savirs - L.G.) took in marriage the father's wife; they have two brothers with one wife, and they also took different wives” (Movses Kalankatuatsi. I, p. 194).

Judging from the words of Movses Kalankatuatsi, we observe at the Huns a well-expressed levirate custom, when a widow could marry a brother or a son of her late husband, born of another woman. It seems to us that M.I. Artamonov is erroneous in his belief that at the Huns was widespread polygamy and polyandry (M.I. Artamonov, 1962, p. 189).

The Huns had monogamy with a custom of levirate. The levirate custom was practiced widely in many nomadic societies (Khazanov. A.M. 1975, p. 81), in Dagestan it survived to ethnographic modernity (Gadjiyeva C. Sh.1959, p. 250; Ihilov M. 1961, p. 222 ; Kurbanov K.E.1974, p. 133; Alimova B.M. 1977, p. 9).

A.M. Khazanov describes three possible reasons that contributed to sustainability of the levirate: inheritance of the wife as a part of property of the deceased; the need to support and educate children as continuation of the line of the deceased (Khazanov, A.M. 1975, p. 82). But these factors can be reduced to one, economic. The levirate custom went into effect under precarious economic situation of the deceased's family. The relatives (children, brothers) without their own family saw it as their duty to improve the situation in such cases by marrying the widow and adopting her children.

Movses Kalankatuatsi draws attention to the levirate as an unusual phenomenon and then reports like on a commonplace monogamy of Savirs: “... and also take different wives”. The custom of the levirate survived in the Northeast Caucasus Hun society as a relict phenomenon (In human non-Homo Soveticus language that means that it has deep roots). The Chinese historian Sima Qian (145-87 BC), the author of “Historical notes”, recorded this custom in the State of the Hun Shanyu: “... after death of the father, take stepmothers in wives, after death of the elder or younger brother they marry their wives...”. (Klyashtorny S.G. 1983, p. 171). Possibly, the polygamy was practiced in the Huns' royal family. Attila, for example, had many wives, but permanently lived with only one (Prisk Pannonian, p. 684).

The position of women in the Hun society also can not be clearly described because of a small number of the written records.

The subject of sexual freedom, glossed over by the author totally out of context in the Section 11.2, Chapter 11, p.264 , belongs to the section on status of women in the Hunnic society. Sexual freedom is inseparable from the subject of the status of women, sexual oppression is one of the main tools in the arsenal of enforcing gender inequality, and a hallmark that distinguished Türkic societies from the male-dominated IE culture. The traditional Türkic culture allowed complete sexual gender equality, it allowed both sexes unrestricted sex before marriage, and precluded extra-marital sex after marriage. We have numerous ethnological descriptions of the sexual freedom for the Türkic period, spotty references for the Hunnic period, and largely anecdotal and distorted descriptions for the Scythians written by the authors conditioned to gender oppression , which separately and together produce a fairly accurate picture of the Türkic pre-Islamic and pre-Christian gender equality. Ironically, the best and most detailed descriptions that reached us came from the authors with male-dominating mentality, they were describing what shocked them the most.

The traces of gender equality are still with us, in spite of the millennia-long religious campaign against it the Europe is meridionally divided into North-Western part where pre-martial sex is accepted norm, and South-Eastern half where pre-martial sex is a prerogative of the males only.

Ethnologically, the sexual equality in the Türkic society is just one symptom of the traditional gender equality, where the maternal clan is a legal owner of the state, territory, and its people, and the equality is resting on the economic hierarchy where traditional socio-economic system predominates, and the politics and war are subordinated to it.

Based on the records of Theophanes Confessor, who said that the Huns-Savirs were ruled by a “... barbarian named Boariks, a widow, under whose authority were hundred thousand Huns, she ruled them in the Huns' countries after the death of her husband, Valakh (Bolakh, Wallach, etc)” (Theophanes Confessor. C . 50), we can assume that such high position Boariks achieved by extraordinary circumstances - the absence of direct male line offsprings or minor age of her son. Is known a fact, when the Khazars were ruled by Parsbit, the mother of the deceased Kagan (Provably, Pars-Bika, an ethnically Persian wife) (Ghevond, p. 71). Apparently, there also a decisive role played //214// an absence of direct heirs to Kagan.

The author follows in the footsteps of other uninformed writers from male-dominated IE culture, confusing the issue. Kagan is an elected position, elected from a qualified class of candidates following a lateral succession order. The lateral succession order must be well familiar to the author, because that was the succession system in the early Rus. Under that system, there is generally an oversupply of candidates. The Queen (Hatun) takes control in her hands during interim period before the elections, which she can extend until forced to call the elections, or as an Ichibek (fem. Ichibika), an appointed Regent for a minor until he is formally raised to the throne.

M.I. Artamonov suggests that the name of the commander Tormach, whom Parsbit sent to a campaign in Armenia, should be understood a son of the Kagan (M.I. Artamonov, 1962. pp. 211-212). However, there are no direct or indirect indications of the author about that. Judging from the accounts of Theophanes Confessor and Ghevond, for these authors the rule of women is not uncommon, both explain that by the natural causes - a death of her husband or son. Whatever the cause, to talk about high position of women in the Savir society is no reasons. The mere fact that a woman is inherited as an integral part of the deceased's estate speaks for itself. And in the detailed description of the Bishop Isrzil mission to “Hunnia” of Movses Kalankatuatsi we do not find a report that women participated in any major public affairs.

A deeper look into sources would readily substantiate a really high position of women in the Türkic pre-Islamic and pre-Christian societies.

Al-Kufi left a detailed description of the Khazar wedding custom. This is how the author describes a marriage of the Arab commander to the daughter of Khazar King: “... he sent to Hakan, the king of Khazars by the name Ta'atur, people who asked for his daughter for Yazid. She was called Hatun. Khazar King agreed. Yazid ibn Usaid married her, paying for her 100,000 dirhams (ca 300 kg of silver). Hatun solemnly left from the Khazar country to the country of Islam. With her followed 10 thousand from among her Khazar relatives, 4,000 excellent mares, a thousand mules, a thousand slaves, 10 thousand small-height camels of Khazaria breed, a thousand camels of Türks breed, each of them was two-humped, //215// 20 thousand heads of sheep, 10 covered wagons with doors, inlaid with gold and silver plates, paved inside with sable and adorned in silks, 20 wagons loaded with gold and silver things and utensils, and more”.

The author continues: “After arrival of the Khazar King daughter and multitude of her goods in the country of Islam, she lodged near the gate of Barda (aka Partav)... and then sent to Yazid a man to tell him: “Send me Muslim women, who would explain to me the essence of Islam and would read me the Koran. And when learn it, I'll be yours”. When Hatun has learned Islam and studied the Koran, they brought from her a sword and dagger, and Yazid ibn Usayd realized that she had allowed him to enter to her. He came to her at her permission, and she was at that time nicely made-up and generously decorated with jewels” (Al-Kufi. pp. 62-63). Here we see the custom of paying dowry for the bride, custom of a bride wedding convoy consisting of the bride relatives, the dowry consisting of slaves, cattle and utensils, and the echoes of some ancient custom of the bride handing arms to the groom.

The Attila Huns in the mid-5th c. had a custom to offer guests “beautiful women for a company in accordance with Scythian custom of honor” (Prisk Pannonian, p. 684).

Unfortunately, the following discourse on religion compiles an eclectic mix of prejudices, remnants of state official Russian Orthodox propaganda, Soviet official atheistic, anti-religious, and anti-clerical propaganda, biased perceptions of the ancient sources, and personal theological ignorance. None of the experts understands the dual etiology of Tengriism that can be summarized as follows.

The Heavenly World, which is called Heavens (Tengri in Türkic), consists of a Creator (Tengri) and his eternal (or immortal) helpers (Alps in Türkic), called angels in Christianity and Islam, and alluded to in Judaism. All Alp angels are a product of Creation, and like the Saints in Catholicism, have their departments: Department of Visible World (Yer-Su), Department of Underworld (Erlik), Department of Benevolent Deities and Spirits (Umai, with traces of attributes of the Great Goddess), Department of Earth (Yer), Department of Water (Su), Department of Fire (Ut-Ana, Mother Fire), Department of Sun (Koyash), Department of Moon (Ai), Department of Thunder and Lightning (responsible for punishment of earthlings), Department of Wind, and a few others. The offices of the Heavenly Department Head angels were on the Earth, associated with some prominent landmarks, and their abode was in Heaven. Like Tengri, they exist only in spiritual form, and can't be depicted in any material appearance.

The Earthly World, called Yer-Su, is populated by the material earthly beings equipped with immaterial Soul (Kut). Everything has its Kut, and the Kut can be paid reverence, mollified, or made a deal with. On departure of the humans to the other world it is the Kut that goes on a travel, while the material body remains in the Earthly World. Human Kuts are immortal, they recycle in a cycle of reincarnation. The normal course of events is with the Kut returning to the Tengri upon death, to be sent back to the Earth in a new embodiment. The practical outcome of the eternity of the Kut is the absence of fear of the death, which is only a brief intermission before reincarnation. Kut resides in the body, and under special circumstances may temporarily leave and return to the body. Under very rare special circumstances the Kut may get lost on the way, and the body remains dead. The abnormal course of events is for evil people who, instead of returning to the Heaven, fall into the Erlik's Underworld, to remain there forever. there is no appreciable difference between the Greek Hades and Tengriist Erlik. In the Earthly World, all humans are equal, in respect to Tengri nobody has an advantage, everybody is rank and file independently of their social status. And such phenomena as clergy, in whatever shape and form, does not exist.

Some people master the mystery of spiritual travel, they can send their Kut on a mission, and safely regain their Kut on its return. These people are called Kam, in the recent past a circulation gained the term Shaman. For an observer like Bishop Israil or M.Kagankatvatsi, the Kam rituals resemble the rituals of their religions, and they interpret Kams as priestly operatives. Nothing can be further from the truth. The art of the Kams is entirely earthly affair, they are held as rule-breakers and some kind of very needed, but unholy professionals. Kams are explicitly excluded from the Tengriis religious services as unclean people. But when you want to get the latest news from your departed uncle, Kams are the vehicle of communications. Their Kut can fly away to meet the Kut of your uncle, and bring a message from him. But to call anybody's religion “cult”, use the loaded with attitudes term “pagan”, equate the magic of Kams with religion, or to concentrate on the outward appearance of rituals and call it religion is unprofessional. Reciting opinions of Christian missionaries and Islamic observers as experts on the Türkic religion may be suitable for historiography, but for history it is laughable.

The degree of disfigurement is manifested by the sequence of narration, Tengri is placed at the bottom, behind all other distractions. In the analysis of Christianity, the equivalent would be to place the Christ after addressing church construction, listing of patron saints, incense and torch processions, and folk traditions absorbed by the Christian Church. However, that could also be a tactical move, to annoy and blunt the attention of the censors

Book Contents Chapters 1-2 Chapters 3-5 Chapters 6-8 Chapters 9-11
In Russian
Huns - Contents
Literature Index
Ogur and Oguz
Western Huns 4th-10th cc.
Western Huns Income In Gold
Eastern Hun Anabasis
Stearns P.N. Zhou Synopsis
E. de la Vaissiere Eastern Huns
Bagley R. Hun archeology in China
Faux D. Kurgan Culture in Scandinavia
Dybo A. Pra-Altaian World
Alan Dateline
Avar Dateline
Besenyo Dateline
Bulgar Dateline
Huns Dateline
Karluk Dateline
Khazar Dateline
Kimak Dateline
Kipchak Dateline
Kyrgyz Dateline
Sabir Dateline
Seyanto Dateline
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