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Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Turkic Khaganate

Turkic Khaganate

"Celestial Turks were a nomadic confederation of peoples in medieval Inner Asia. Under the leadership of Bumin Qaghan (d. 552) and his sons succeeded the Rouran as the main power in the region and took hold of the lucrative Silk Road trade. 
"Celestial Turks became the new leading element amongst the disparate steppe peoples in Central Asia, after they rebelled against the Rouran Khaganate. Under their leadership, the Turkic Khaganate rapidly expanded to rule huge territories in Central Asia. From 552 to 745, Their leadership bound together the nomadic Turkic tribes into an empire, which eventually collapsed due to a series of dynastic conflicts.
Celestial means "sky" in modern Turkish. According to Chinese sources, the meaning of the word Tūjué was "combat helmet", reportedly because the shape of the Jinshan (Altai Mountains), where they lived, was similar to a combat helmet - hence they called themselves.

Celestial Turks were the first Turkic people known to write their language in a runic script. Life stories of Kul Tigin and Bilge Qaghan, as well as the chancellor Tonyukuk were recorded in the Orkhon inscriptions.
The Khaganate received missionaries from the Buddhists religion, which were incorporated into Tengriism. Later most of the Turks settled in Central Asia, Middle east and Africa adopted the Islamic faith.
 Tengriism is a Central Asian religion that incorporates elements of shamanism, animism, totemism and ancestor worship. In old times, it was the major belief of Turkic peoples (such as the Huns and Xiongnu), Bulgars, Hungarians and Mongols. It focuses around the sky deity Tengri ( Tanrı) and reverence for the sky in general. Majority of Tengrists today live in Northern and Central Asia such as Khakassia and Tuva. "Khukh" and "Tengri" literally mean "blue" and "sky" in Mongolian and modern Mongolians still pray to  "Eternal Blue Sky". Therefore Mongolia is sometimes poetically referred to by Mongolians as the "Land of Eternal Blue Sky".
In modern Turkey Tengriism is known as the Celestial Tanrı ("Sky God") religion, Turkish "Celestial" (sky) and "Tanrı" (God) corresponding to the Mongolian khukh (blue) and Tengri (sky), respectively.
 Khoshoo Tsaidam Monuments are two memorial installations in the Khoshoo Tsaidam region on the western Orkhon River in Mongolia, near Ogii Lake. They were erected by the Celestial Turks in the early 8th century and today are part of the Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape UNESCO world heritage site. They commemorate the brothers Bilge Qaghan (683-734) and Kul-Tegin (684-731), one a politician and the other a military commander. Three smaller memorials, one of which was only recently discovered, are located nearby.
The Celestial Turks have left artifacts and installations all over their domain, from China to Iran. But only in Mongolia have any memorials to kings and other aristocrats been found. The ones in Khoshoo Tsaidam consist of tablets with inscriptions in Chinese and Old Turkic characters. Both monuments are stone slabs originally erected on carved stone turtles within walled enclosures. Bilge Kagan's stone shows a carved ibex (the emblem of Celestial Turks Kagans) and a twisted dragon. In both enclosings, evidence of altars and carved depictions of human couples were found, possibly depicting the respective honorary and his spouse.
The Old Turkic inscriptions on these monuments are the oldest extant attestation of that language.
The inscriptions were discovered by Nikolay Yadrintsev's expedition in 1889, published by Vasily Radlov and deciphered by the Danish philologist Vilhelm Thomsen in 1893.
Mongolian and Turkish archeologists have studied the area and performed excavations since 2000. The site is now protected by fences, with buildings for research work and storage of artifacts.
The inscriptions relate in epic language the legendary origins of the Turks, the golden age of their history, their subjugation by the Chinese, and their liberation by Bilg. 
The Uyghur Khaganate
The Uyghur Khaganate, or, Uyghur Empire or Uighur Khaganate or Toquz Oghuz Country  was a Turkic empire that existed for about a century between the mid 8th and 9th centuries. They were a tribal confederation under the Orkhon Uyghur nobility, referred to by the Chinese as the Jiu Xing ("Nine Clans"), a calque of the name Toquz Oghuz.
In 747, Qutlugh Bilge Köl died, leaving his youngest son, Bayanchur Khan to reign as Khagan El etmish bilge ("State settled, wise"). After building a number of trading outposts with the Chinese, Bayanchur Khan used the profits to build the capital, Ordu Baliq ("City of Court"), and another city, Bai Baliq ("Rich City"), further up the Selenge River. The new khagan then embarked on a series of campaigns to bring all the steppe peoples under his banner. During this time the Empire vastly expanded.
In 758, the Uyghurs turned their attentions to a rival steppe tribe, the Kyrgyz (a Turkic ethnic group found primarily in Kyrgyzstan) to the north. Bayanchur Khan destroyed several of their trading outposts before slaughtering a Kyrgyz army and executing their Khan.
In 759, Bayanchur Khan died after drinking heavily at a celebration. His son Tengri succeeded him as Khagan Qutlugh Tarkhan.
In 762, in alliance with the Tang, Tengri launched a campaign against the Tibetans. He recaptured for the Tang Emperor Daizong the eastern capital Luoyang. Khagan Tengri met with Manichaean priests from Iran while on campaign, and was converted to Manicheism (one of the major Iranian religions, originating in  Persia.) , adopting it as the official religion of the Uyghur Empire in 763. Treaty of Peace and Alliance was concluded with Tang, which had obligation to supply annually in tribute 20,000 rolls of silk to Uyghur Empire, in exchange for 500 selected horses, also Uyghurs who were living in Tang China all were considered as " guests " and freed from payment any taxes and accommodation costs.
In 779 Tengri Bögü incited by Sogdian traders, living in Ordu Baliq, planned an invasion of China to take advantage of the accession of a new Emperor Dezong. Being a Prince Dezong refused to bow to Uyghur Banner in 762 during joint Uyghur-Tang operations against rebels and Tibetans and since then was regarded hostile by Uyghurs. Tengri's uncle, Tun Bagha Tarkhan opposed this plan, fearing it would result in Uyghur assimilation into Chinese culture Bagha Tarkhan led a rebellion against his ruler, beheading him and his closest followers (about 2,000 nobles, among them many Manichaenian priests and Sogdian traders), rebellion supposedly was sponsored by Tang Ambassador in Uyghur Empire. Tun Bagha Tarkhan ascended the throne with title Alp Qutlugh Bilge ("Victorious, glorious, wise") and enforced a new set of laws, which he designed to secure the unity of the khaganate, He also moved against the Kyrgyz once more, finally bringing them under the Uyghur Khaganate's control.
in 840, one of 9 Uyghur ministers, Kulug Bagha, rival of Kurebir, fled to the Kyrgyz tribe and invited them to invade from the north with a force of around 80,000 horsemen. They sacked the Uyghur capital at Ordu Baliq, razing it to the ground. The Kyrgyz captured the Uyghur Khagan, Kürebir (Hesa) and promptly beheaded him. The Kyrgyz went on to destroy other Uyghur cities throughout their empire, burning them to the ground. The last legitimate khagan, Öge, was assassinated in 847, having spent his 6-year reign in fighting the Kyrgyz,the supporters of his rival Ormïzt, a brother of Kürebir, and Tang China boundary troops in Ordos and Shaanxi, which he invaded in 841 . The Kyrgyz invasion destroyed the Uyghur Empire, causing a diaspora of Uyghur people across Central Asia

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