The Cumans (Turkish: kuman / plural kumanlar Hungarian: kun / plural kunok; Greek: Κο(υ)μάνοι, Ko(u)mánoi; Latin: Pallidi, Comani, Cuni, Romanian: cuman / plural cumani, Polish: Połowcy, Plauci (Kumanowie), Russian: Половцы, Polovtsy; Ukrainian: Половці, Polovtsi; Bulgarian: Кумани, Czech: Plavci, Georgian: ყივჩაყი, ყიფჩაღი, German: Falones, Phalagi, Valvi, Valewen, Valani) were a Turkic nomadic people comprising the western branch of the Cuman-Kipchak confederation. After the Mongol invasion (1237), many sought asylum in Hungary and, subsequently, Bulgaria. The Cumans had also settled in Hungary and Bulgaria before the Mongol invasion.
Related to the Pecheneg, they inhabited a shifting area north of the Black Sea and along the Volga River known as Cumania, where the Cuman-Kipchaks meddled in the politics of the Caucasus and the Khwarezm Empire. Many eventually settled to the west of the Black Sea, influencing the politics of Kievan Rus', the Galicia–Volhynia Principality, the Golden Horde Khanate, the Second Bulgarian Empire, Serbia, the Kingdom of Hungary, Moldavia, the Kingdom of Georgia, Abkhazia, the Byzantine Empire, the Empire of Nicaea, the Latin Empire and Wallachia. The Cumans also had a pre-eminent role in the Fourth Crusade. Cuman and Kipchak tribes joined politically to create the Cuman-Kipchak confederation. The Cuman language is attested in some medieval documents and is the best-known of the early Turkic languages. The Codex Cumanicus was a linguistic manual which was written to help Catholic missionaries communicate with the Cuman people.
The Cumans were fierce and formidable nomadic warriors of the Eurasian steppe who exerted an enduring impact on the medieval Balkans. They were numerous, culturally sophisticated and militarily powerful. The basic instrument of Cuman political success was military force, which dominated each of the warring Balkan factions. Groups of the Cumans settled and mingled with the local population in regions of the Balkans. Those Cumans that settled in the Balkans were the founders of three successive Bulgarian dynasties (Asenids, Terterids, and Shishmanids) and the Wallachian dynasty (Basarabids). But in the cases of the Basarab and Asenid dynasties, medieval documents refer to them as Vlach (Romanian) dynasties. They played an active role in the Byzantine Empire, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Second Bulgarian Empire and Serbia, with Cuman immigrants being integrated into each country's elite.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Culture
- 4 Religion
- 5 Codex Cumanicus
- 6 Polovtsian leaders (Khans) (Ruthenian chronicles)
- 7 Legacy
- 8 Gallery
- 9 See also
- 10 Notes
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
The Cumans' name in Russian and German means "yellow", in reference to the color of the Cumans' hair. The Ukrainian word Polovtsy (Пóловці) means "blond", since the old Ukrainian word polovo means "straw". Kuman means "pale yellow" in Turkic. Some authors put forward the idea that the name Polovtsy referred to "men of the field, or of the steppe" (from the Ukrainian word pole: open ground, field), not to be confused with polyane (cf. Greek polis: city). In Slavic languages the word 'polyane' literally means "open ground, field". According to O. Suleymenov polovtsy came from a word for "blue-eyed", since the Serbo-Croatian word plav means "blue": the Eastern Slavic equivalent would take the regular form *polov. The name ‘Kipchak’/’Qipcak’ was not in use amongst the Cumans; ‘Qun’, Quman' was used.
It is difficult to know whether the etymology was actually referring to Cumans or mostly Kipchaks as both tribes had fused together and lived side by side.
The Cumans were called Folban, Vallani/Valwe by Germans. In the German account by Adam of Bremen, and Matthaios of Edessa, the Cumans were referred to as the “Blond Ones”. They were called Kun (Qoun)/Kunok by the Hungarians, and Polovtsy/Polovec (from Old East Slavic "половъ" — yellow) by the Russians — all meaning "blond". It is difficult to know which group historians were referring to when they used the name Kipchak, as they could refer to the Cumans only, the Kipchaks only, or to both together. The two nations joined and lived together (and possibly exchanged weaponry, culture and fused languages), with the Cumans encompassing the western half of the confederation, while the Kipchaks and (assumably) the Kangli/Kankalis (a ruling clan of the Pechenegs) encompassing the eastern half. This confederation and their living together may have made it difficult for historians to write exclusively about either nation.
Some of the clans of the Cuman-Kipchaks were: the Terteroba (Ter'trobichi), Burdjogli, Borchol, Etioba/Ietioba, Kay, Itogli, Kochoba (meaning "Ram Clan"), Urosoba, El'Borili, Kangarogli, Andjogli, Durut, Djartan, Karabirkli, Kotan/Hotan, Kulabaogli, Olelric, Altunopa (meaning "Gold Clan"), Toksobychi, Burchevychi, Ulashevichi (Ulash-oghlu), Chitieevichi, Elobichi, Kolabichi, Etebichi, Yeltunovychi, Yetebychi, Berish, Olperliuve (Olperlu), Emiakovie (Yemek), Phalagi, Olberli, Toksobichi/(Mamluk) Toqsoba (meaning "plump leather bottle" or "9 clans"), Borchol (meaning "pepper sons"; native tribe of a Mamluk sultan), Csertan (meaning "pike"), Olas (meaning "union, federation"), Kor/Kol (meaning "little, few"), Ilunesuk (meaning "little snake") and Koncsog - the latter 7 having settled in Hungary.
The ethnic origins of the Cumanians are uncertain. The Cumans were reported to have blond hair, fair skin and blue eyes (which set them apart from other groups and later puzzled historians), although their anthropological characteristics suggests that their geographical origin might be in Inner-Asia, South-Siberia, or as Istvan Vassary states, east of the large bend of the Yellow River in China. The Roman natural philosopher, Pliny (who lived in the first century A.D), in describing the "Gates of Caucasus" (Derbend), mentions "a fortress, the name of which is Cumania, erected for the purpose of preventing the passage of the innumerable tribes that lay beyond." The writings of al Marwazi (c. 1120) state that the 'Qun' people (as the Cumans were called in Hungary) came from the northern Chinese borders - "the land of Qitay" (possibly during a part of a migration from further east). After leaving the lands of the Khitans, they entered the territory of the Shari/Sari people. It cannot be concluded whether the Cumans conquered the Kipchaks or simply represent the western mass of largely Kipchak-Turkic speaking tribes. A "victim" of the Cuman migration to the west was the Kimek Khanate, which dissolved but then regrouped again under Kipchak-Cuman leadership. Due to this, Kimek tribal elements were represented amongst the Cuman-Kipchaks. The Qun are also mentioned by the Syrian historian Yaqut in The Dictionary of Countries, where he mentions "(The sixth iqlim) begins where the meridian shadow of the equinox is seven, six-tenths, and one-sixth of one-tenth of a foot. Its end exceeds its beginning by only one foot. It begins in the homeland of the Khirkhiz, Kimak, at-Tagazgaz, the lands of the Turkomans, Fārāb, and the country of the Khazars." The Cumans entered the grasslands of the southern Russian steppe in the 11th century and continued to assault the Byzantine Empire, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Principality of Pereyaslavl and Kievan Rus'. The Cumans entry into the area pressed the Oghuz Turks to shift west which in turn caused the Pechenegs to move to the right of the Dnieper River. Cuman and Rus attacks contributed to the Oghuz to depart from the steppes north of the Black Sea. The Cumans first enter the Bugeac (Bessarabia) at some point around 1068-1078. The Cumans launched a joint expedition with the Pechenegs against Adrianople in 1078. During that same year the Cumans were also fighting the Rus'. The Russian Primary Chronicle mentions Yemek Cumans who were active in the region of Volga Bulgaria.
The vast territory of the Cuman-Kipchak realm consisted of loosely connected tribal units who were the dominant military force but were never politically united by a strong central power. The Cuman-Kipchaks never established a state, instead forming a Cuman-Kipchak confederation (Cumania/Desht-i Qipchaq) which stretched from the Danube in the west to Taraz, Kazakhstan in the east. This was possibly due to them facing no prolonged threat before the Mongol invasion, and it may have either prolonged their existence or quickened their destruction. The traveler, John Mandeville, wrote that Cumania "is one of the great kingdoms in the world, but it is not all inhabited. For at one of the parts there is so great cold that no man may dwell there; and in another part there is so great heat that no man may endure it...And the principal city of Comania is clept Sarak [Serai], that is one of the three ways for to go into India. But by that way, ne may not pass no great multitude of people, but if it be in winter. And that passage men clepe the Derbend. The other way is for to go from the city of Turkestan by Persia, and by that way be many journeys by desert. And the third way is that cometh from Comania and then to go by the Great Sea and by the kingdom of Abchaz...After that, the Comanians that were in servage in Egypt, felt themselves that they were of great power, they chose them a soldan amongst them, the which made him to be clept Melechsalan. And in his time entered into the country of the kings of France Saint Louis, and fought with him; and [the soldan] took him and imprisoned him; and this [soldan] was slain by his own servants. And after, they chose another to be soldan, that they clept Tympieman; and he let deliver Saint Louis out of prison for a certain ransom. And after, one of these Comanians reigned, that hight Cachas, and slew Tympieman, for to be soldan; and made him be clept Melechmenes." According to the 12th-century Jewish traveler Petachiah of Regensburg “they have no king, only princes and royal families.”  Cumans interacted with the Rus' principalities, Bulgaria, Byzantine Empire, and the Wallachian states in the Balkans; with Armenia and Kingdom of Georgia (see Kipchaks in Georgia) in the Caucasus; and with the Khwarezm Empire in Central Asia. The Cumans-Kipchaks constituted an important element and were closely associated with the Khwarazmian royal house, via marital alliances. The Cumans were also active in commerce with traders from Central Asia to Venice. The Cumans had a commercial interest in Crimea where they also took tribute from Crimean cities. A major area of commerce was the ancient city of Sudak, which was viewed by Ibn al-Air as the "city of the Qifjaq from which (flow) their material possessions. It is on the Khazar Sea. Ships come to it bearing clothes. The Qifjiqs buy from them and sell them slaves. Burtas furs, beaver, squirrels..." Due to their political dominance, the Cuman language became the lingua franca of the region. Thus the language was adopted by the Karaite Jewish and Crimean Armenian communities, where it was preserved for centuries up to the modern day.
The Cuman-Kipchaks created a powerful caste of warriors, the Mamluks and the Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo). These Mamluks were from the Cuman clans of Burchevichi (Mamluk:Burch-oghlu), a part of which also settled in Hungary and mentioned as the Borchol; Itoba and Toksobichi (Mamluk:Toqsoba). These three clans were mentioned by Rus' sources, the former two appearing to be part of the "Non Wild" Cumans. The Mamluks were seen as "true lords", with social status above freeborn Egyptian Muslims. The Cuman-Kipchak Qutub-ud-din Aibak was appointed as governor of a part of the realm of Muhammad Ghori. Qutub proclaimed independence after the death of his patron and created the Delhi Sultanate; his line is known as the Mamluk Dynasty due to his origin. A prominent Cuman-Kipchak Sultan of the Mamluk Sultanate was Sultan Baibars, who defeated King Louis IX of France and the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut and the Battle of Elbistan. Mamluks in the Empire retained a particularly strong sense of Cuman identity, to the degree that the biography of Sultan Baibars focused on his birth and early years in Desht-i-Kipchak (“Steppe of the Kipchaks”/Cumania). The historian Dimitri Korobeinikov relates how Baibars’ story sums up the tragic fate of many Cumans after the Battle of Kalka River and the Mongol invasion of Europe. Roman Kovalev states that this story can further be seen as a mechanism for the preservation of a collective memory broadly reflecting a sense of Cuman identity in the Mamluk Sultanate. The creation of this specific warrior class was described as the "mamluk phenomenon" by David Ayalon and was of great political importance. 
Battles in Kievan Rus' and the Balkans
The Cumans first encountered the Rus' in 1055, when they advanced towards the Rus' Pereyaslavl principality but Prince Vsevolod I of Kiev reached an agreement with them thus avoiding a military confrontation. In 1061, however, the Cumans, under the chieftain Sokal, invaded and devastated the Rus' Pereyaslavl principality; this was the beginning of a war that would go on for 175 years. In 1068 at the Battle of the Alta River, the Cumans defeated the armies of the three sons of Yaroslav the Wise, Sviatoslav II of Kiev, and Vsevolod Yaroslavych. After the Cuman victory, they repeatedly invaded Ukraine, devastating the land and taking captives, who became either slaves or were sold at markets in the south. The most vulnerable regions were the Principality of Pereyaslavl, the Principality of Novgorod-Seversk and the Principality of Chernigov. The Cumans initially managed to defeat the Great Prince Vladimir Monomakh of Kievan Rus in 1093 at the Battle of the Stugna River, but they were defeated later by the combined forces of Russian principalities led by Monomakh and forced out of the Rus' borders to the Caucasus. In these battles some Pecheneg and Oghuz groups were liberated from the Cumans and incorporated into the Rus' border-guard system. In 1109 Monomakh launched another raid against the Cumans and captured "1000 tents". In 1111,1113 and 1116 further raids were launched against the Cumans and resulted in the liberation and incorporation of more Pecheneg and Oghuz tribes. During this time the Cumans raided the Byzantine Empire and Volga Bulgaria. Volga Bulgaria was attacked again at a later stage, by Khan Ayepa, father in law of prince Yuri Dolgorukiy, perhaps at the instigation of the prince. The Volga Bulgars in turn poisoned Ayepa "and the other princes; all of them died." Cumans at that time also resettled in the Kingdom of Georgia and were Christianized. There they achieved prominent positions, helped Georgians to stop the advance of Seljuk Turks, and helped make Georgia the most powerful kingdom of the region. After the death of warlike Monomakh in 1125, Cumans returned to the steppe along the Rus' borders. Fighting resumed in 1128. Rus' sources mention that in 1128 Sevinch, son of Khan Boniak, expressed the desire to plant his sword "in the Golden gate of Kiev" as his father had done before him. By 1160 Cuman raids into Rus had become an annual event. These attacks put pressure on Rus' and affected trade routes to the Black Sea and Constantinople, in turn leading Rus' to again attempt action. Offenses were halted during 1166-1169, when Grand prince Andrey Bogolyubsky, son of Khan Ayepa's daughter, took control of Kiev in 1169 and installed Gleb Iur'evich as his puppet. Gleb Iur'evich brought in "Wild" Cumans as well as Oghuz and Berendei units. Later, the princess of the Principality of Chernigov attempted to use Khan Konchek's army against Kievan Rus' and Suzdal. This Chernigov-Cuman alliance suffered a disastrous defeat in 1180; Elrut, Konchek's brother dying in battle. In 1183 Rus' defeated a large Cuman army and cuptured Khan Kobiak (Kobek) as well as his sons and other notables. Subsequent to this Khan Konchek concluded negotiations. Khan Konchek, much like his son Khan Köten preceding the Mongol invasion, was successful in creating a more cohesive force out of the many Cuman groups - he united the western and eastern Cumans-Kipchak tribes. Khan Konchek also changed the old Cuman system of government whereby rulership went to the most senior tribal leader; instead he passed it on to his son Koten. Igor Svyatoslavich, prince of the Principality of Novgorod-Seversk attacked the Cumans in the vicinity of the Kayala river in 1185, but was defeated; this battle being immortalized in the Rus' epic poem The Tale of Igor's Campaign and Alexander Borodin's opera Prince Igor. The dynamic pattern of attacks and counterattacks between Rus' and the Cumans indicates that both the Cumans and the Rus' rarely, if ever, were able to attain the unity needed to deal a fatal blow. The Cuman attacks on Rus' could often have Caucasian and Danubian European implications.
In the Balkans, the Cumans were in contact with all the statal entities, fighting with the Kingdom of Hungary, allied with the Bulgarians of the Second Bulgarian Empire and Vlachs against the Byzantine Empire, and involved in the politics of the fresh Vlach states. The chronicle, Oghuzname (The Oghuz Khan’s Tale), mentions the Cumans fighting what appears to be the Romanians (Ulak) A notable Cuman leader in Europe, Thocomer (Toq-tämir, meaning ‘hardened steel’) was possibly the first to unite the Romanian (Vlach) states from the west and the east of the Olt River. Thocomer's son Basarab I of Wallachia ("Father king" in the Cuman language) is considered the founder and first ruler of the united and independent kingdom of Wallachia. This interpretation corresponds with the general view of the situation of Romania in the 11th century, with the natives living in collections of village communities united in small confederacies, and with powerful chiefs competing to create small kingdoms. Some of these Romanian chiefs paid tribute to the militarily dominant nomadic tribes that surrounded them.
In 1089, Ladislaus I of Hungary defeated the Cumans after they attacked the Kingdom of Hungary. In 1091, the Pechenegs, a semi-nomadic Turkic people of the prairies of southwestern Eurasia, were decisively defeated as an independent force at the Battle of Levounion by the combined forces of a Byzantine army under Emperor Alexios I Komnenos and a Cuman army under Togortok/Tugortak and Bunaq. Attacked again in 1094 by the Cumans, many Pechenegs were again slain. The remnants of the Pechenegs fled to Hungary, as the Cumans themselves would do a few decades later. In 1099, the Cumans were involved in a feud between Coloman, King of Hungary and Volodar of Peremyshl, prince of Przemyśl. King Coloman and his army crossed the Carpathian Mountain and laid siege on Przemyśl, which prompted David Igorevich, one of Volodar Rostislavich's allies, to convince the Cumans, under Khan Boniak, to attack the Hungarians. The Hungarian army was soundly crushed by the Cumans; the Illuminated Chronicle mentions that "rarely did Hungarians suffer such slaughter as in this battle".
In alliance with the Bulgarians and Vlachs, the Cumans are believed to have played a significant role in the Vlach-Bulgar Rebellion led by brothers Asen and Peter of Tarnovo, resulting in victory over Byzantium and the restoration of Bulgaria's independence in 1185. Istvan Vassary states that without the active participation of the Cumans, the Vlakho-Bulgarian rebels could never have gained the upper hand over the Byzantines, and ultimately without the military support of the Cumans, the process of Bulgarian restoration could never have been realised. The Cuman participation in the creation of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1185 and thereafter brought about basic changes in the political and ethnic sphere of Bulgaria and the Balkans. The Cumans were allies in the Bulgarian-Latin Wars with emperor Kaloyan of Bulgaria, who was descended from the Cumans. In 1205, at the Battle of Adrianople (1205), 14,000 Cuman light cavalry contributed to Kaloyan's crushing victory over the Latin Crusaders. Cuman troops continued to be hired throughout the 13th and 14th century by both the Bulgarians and Byzantines.
The Cumans who remained east and south of the Carpathian Mountains established a county named Cumania, which was a strong military base in an area consisting parts of Moldavia and Wallachia. The Hungarian kings claimed supremacy over Cumania - among the nine titles of the Hungarian kings of the Árpád and Anjou dynasties were rex Cumaniae, but few, if any, Cuman leaders recognized their overlordship, pointing to the fact that rex Cumaniae was an allegory title since the kings never fulfilled that role. The Cuman influence in Wallachia and Moldavia was very strong, according to some historians who claim that the earliest Wallachian rulers bore Cuman names (e.g., Tihomir and Bassarab). The Cumans played a crucial role in the formation of Wallachia at the end of the 14th century; many of the first Romanian nobleman were of Cuman descent. The toponymy of the most densely populated regions of Romanian settlement shows strong evidence of Cuman placenames. With a lack of convincing archaeological evidence of a Cuman civilisation, it appears the Cumans were a minority in the local population, but they made up part of the ruling élite in Wallachia.
Basarab I, son of the Wallachian prince Thocomerius of Wallachia obtained independence from Hungary at the beginning of the 14th century. The dynasty was founded by the Cumans, the name meaning "Father King". It is generally believed by historians (Bulgarian and Hungarian, amongst others) that the Bulgarian mediaеval dynasties Asen, Shishman and Terter were Cumanian.
Like most other peoples of medieval Eastern Europe, the Cumans put up a resistance against the relentlessly advancing Mongols led by Jebe and Subutai. The Mongols crossed the Caucasus mountains in pursuit of Muhammad II, the shah of the Khwarezmid Empire, and met and defeated the Cumans in Subcaucasia in 1220. The Cuman khans Danylo Kobiakovych and Yurii Konchakovych died in battle, while the other Cumans, commanded by Khan Köten, managed to get aid from the Rus’ princes. As the Mongols were approaching Russia, Khan Köten fled to the court of his son-in-law, Prince Mstislav the Bold of Galich. He warned Mstislav "Today the Mongols have taken our land and tomorrow they will take yours." The Cumans were ignored for almost a year, however, as the Rus' had suffered from their raids for decades. But when news reached Kiev that the Mongols were marching along the Dniester River, the Rus' responded. Mstislav gathered an alliance of princes including Mstislav III of Kiev and Prince Yuri II of Vladimir-Suzdal, who promised support with Khan Köten's Cumans. The Rus' princes then began mustering their armies and moving towards the rendezvous point. The army of the alliance of the Rus' and Cumans numbered around 80,000. The battle took place near Kalka River in 1223 (Battle of Kalka River). Due to confusion and mistakes by the Rus' and Cumans, the battle was lost — the Cumans and Rus' were defeated. The Cumans were allied in this battle with Wallach warriors named Brodnics, led by Ploscanea. Brodnics territory was in the lower parts of the Prut river in modern Romania and Moldova. During the second Mongol invasion of Eastern Europe in 1237 the Cumans were defeated again.
Istvan Vassary states that after the Mongol conquest, "A large-scale westward migration of the Cumans began." In the summer of 1237 the first wave of this Cuman exodus appeared in Bulgaria. The Cumans crossed the Danube, and this time Tsar Ivan Asen II could not tame them, as he had often been able to do earlier; the only possibility left for him was to let them march through Bulgaria in a southerly direction. They proceeded through Thrace as far as Hadrianoupolis and Didymotoichon, plundering and pillaging the towns and the countryside, just as before. The whole of Thrace became, as Akropolites put it, a "Scythian desert."
A direct attack on Cumania came only in 1238, and encountered serious resistance by various Cuman khans. The final blow came in 1241, when the Cuman control over the Pontic steppes ended and the Cuman-Kipchak confedration ceased to exist as a political entity, with the remaining Cuman tribes being dispersed, either becoming subjects and mixing with their Mongol conquerors as part of what was to be known as the Golden Horde (Kipchak Khanate) and Nogai Horde or fleeing to the west, to the Byzantine Empire, the Second Bulgarian Empire, and the Kingdom of Hungary, where they integrated into the elite and became kings and nobles with many privileges. Other Cuman-Kipchak captives were sent to Egypt to be sold as slaves; these slaves would go on to become Mamluks who would attain the rank of Sultan, or hold regional power as emirs or beys. Some of these Cumans, now as Mamluks, would fight the Mongols again at the Battle of Ain Jalut and Battle of Elbistan
Settlement on the Hungarian plain
King Andrew II of Hungary granted the Burzenland region to the Teutonic Knights in 1211, with the purpose of ensuring security of the southeastern borders of his kingdom against the Cumans. The Teuronic Knights campaigned against the Cumans, on behalf of King Andrew, during the years of 1221-1225. However, the Teutonic Knights failed to defeat the Cumans and began to establish a country independent of the King of Hungary. In 1238, after Mongol attacks on Cumania, King Béla IV of Hungary offered refuge to the remainder of the Cuman people under their leader Khan Kuthen (Hungarians spelled his name Kötöny/Köten). Kuthen in turn vowed to convert his 40,000 families to Christianity. King Béla hoped to use the new subjects as auxiliary troops against the Mongols, who were already threatening Hungary. A tense situation erupted when Mongol troops invaded Hungary. The Hungarians, frustrated by their own helplessness, took revenge on the Cumans, whom they accused of being Mongol spies. After a bloody fight, the Hungarians killed Kuthen and his bodyguards. Another source states that during the Mongol invasion of Hungary, after Koten, his family and other Cuman nobles were arrested, Koten realised that he would be handed over to the Mongols so he killed himself and his wives. This enraged the proud Cumans, who left for the Balkans, going on a rampage of destruction "equal to that which Europe had not experienced since the incursions of the Mongols." With the departure of its only ally and most efficient military force, Hungary was now further weakened to attack. After the invasion king Béla IV, now penniless and humiliated after the confiscation of his treasury and loss of three of his border areas, begged the powerful Cumans to return to Hungary and help rebuild the country. In return for their military service, King Béla IV of Hungary invited the Cumans to settle in areas of the Great Plain between the Danube and the Theiss Rivers; this region had become almost uninhabited after the Mongol raids of 1241-1242. The nomads subsequently settled throughout the Great Hungarian Plain, creating two regions incorporating the name Cumania (Kunság in Hungarian), Greater Cumania (Nagykunság) and Little Cumania (Kiskunság).
As the Cumans came into the kingdom the Hungarian nobility suspected that the king intended to use the Cumans to strengthen his royal power at their expense. During the following centuries the Cumans in Hungary were granted rights and privileges, the extent of which depended on the prevailing political situation. Some of these rights survived until the end of the 19th century, although the Cumans had long since assimilated with Hungarians. The Cumans were different in every way to the local population of Hungary — their appearance, attire, and hairstyle set them apart. In 1270 Elizabeth the Cuman, the daughter of a Cuman chieftain Seyhan, became queen of Hungary. Elizabeth ruled during the minority of her son (future king Ladislaus IV of Hungary) in the years of 1272-1277. A struggle took place between her and the noble opposition, which led to her imprisonment by the rebels; but supporters freed her in 1274. During her reign, gifts of precious clothes, land, and other objects were given to the Cumans with the intent to ensure their continued support, and in particular during the civil war between King Béla IV of Hungary and Stephen V of Hungary, when both sides tried to gain Cuman support. During this conflict, in 1264, Bela sent Cuman troops commanded by the chieftain Menk to fight his son Stephen. Elizabeth married King Stephen V of Hungary; they were parents of 6 children. Their son, Ladislaus IV of Hungary became the king of Hungary while her other son, Andrew of Hungary, became Duke of Slavonia. By 1262, Stephen V of Hungary had taken the title of 'Dominus Cumanorum' and became the Cumans' highest judge. After Stephen's enthronement, the Cumans came directly under the power of the king of Hungary and the title of 'Dominus Cumanorum' (judge of the Cumans) had passed to the count palatine, who was the highest official after the king. The Cumans had their own representatives and were exempt from the jurisdiction of county officials.
By the 15th century, the Cumans were permanently settled in Hungary, in villages whose structure corresponded to that of the local population, and they were Christianized. The Cumans did not always ally with the Hungarian kings — they assassinated Ladislaus IV the Cuman, however other sources suggest that certain barons had a role in his murder, thus Ladislaus fell victim to his political enemies. The royal and ecclesiastical authorities incorporated, rather than excluded, the Cumans. The Cumans in Hungary served as light cavalry in the royal army, an obligation since they were granted asylum. Being very fierce and capable warriors (as noted by Istvan Vassary), they had an important role the royal army. The king led them in numerous expeditions against neighbouring countries; most notably they played an important part in the battle between Rudolf of Habsburg and Ottokar II of Bohemia in 1278 — King Ladislaus IV and the Cumans were on Rudolf's side. Hungarian kings relied on the Cumans to counterbalance the growing independent power of the nobility Royal policy towards the Cumans was determined by their military and political importance. The Hungarian kings continuously hoped to use Cuman military support, that being the main reason for the invitation to settle and continued royal favors to them. The kings' main aim was to secure Cuman loyalty by various means, one of them being intermarriage between the Cumans and the Hungarian royal family. Ladislaus IV "the Cuman" (whose mother was Queen Elizabeth the Cuman) was particularly fond of the Cumans and abandoned Hungarian culture and dress for Cuman culture, dress, and hairstyle (he lived with his Cuman entourage). The Cumanians' settlements were destroyed during the Turkish wars in the 16th and 17th centuries. The majority of Cumans were exterminated during the Great Turkish War At the beginning of the 18th century the Cumanian territories were resettled by Hungarian-speaking descendants of the Cumans. In the middle of the 18th century they got their status by becoming free farmers and no longer serfs. Here, the Cumans maintained their autonomy, language, and some ethnic customs well into the modern era. According to Pálóczi's estimation, originally 70-80,000 Cumans settled in Hungary.
Golden Horde and Byzantine mercenaries
The Cumans who remained scattered in the prairie of what is now southwest Russia joined the Golden Horde Khanate, and their descendants became assimilated with local Tatar populations. The cultural heritage of those Cuman-Kipchaks who remained was transferred to the Mongols, whose élite adopted many of the traits, customs, and language of the Cumans and Kipchaks; the Cumans, Kipchaks, and Mongols finally became assimilated through intermarriage and became the Golden Horde. Those Cumans, with the Turko-Mongols, adopted Islam in the second half of the 13th and the first half of the 14th century.
After the Battle of Kalka River a large group of 10,000 Cumans invaded Thrace where they pillaged towns that had recently come under the control of the Nicaean Empire. This continued until 1242 when Nicaean emperor John III Doukas Vatatzes, in response to the situation, won their favour with "gifts and diplomacy". Thereafter he succeeded in settling most of them in Anatolia throughout the Meander valley and the region east of Philadelphia. Most of these Cumans enrolled in the army and soon afterwards were baptized. Vatatzes' policy towards the Cumans was distinguished by its enormous scale and relatively successful outcome. Cumans had served as mercenaries in the armies of the Byzantine Empire since the reign of Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1118) and were one of the most important elements of the Byzantine army until the mid-14th century. They served as light cavalry (horse-archers) and as standing troops; those in the central army were collectively called Skythikoi. Other Cumans lived a more dangerous life as highlanders on the fringes of the empire; possibly being involved in a mixture of agriculture and transhumance, acting as a buffer between Nicaean farmers and Turkic nomads. These Cumans were frequently mustered for Byzantine campaigns in Europe. In 1094, during a conflict with Alexius I Komnenos, Constantine Diogenes began a revolt with Cuman help; he laid siege on Adrionaple with a Cuman army. In 1242 they were employed by Vatatzes in his siege of Thessaloniki. In 1256 emperor Theodore II Laskaris left a force of 300 Cumans with the Nicaean governor of Thessaloniki. In 1259, 2000 Cuman light cavalry fought for the Nicaean Empire at the Battle of Pelagonia. Cumans were again involved in 1261, where the majority of the 800 troops under Alexios Strategopoulos that retook Constantinople, were Cumans. Large Cuman contingents were also part of the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos' European campaigns of 1263-1264, 1270-1272 and 1275. Cumans were again employed by emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos in 1292, in his campaign against the Despotate of Epirus. The Cumans, together with Turk mercenaries, terminated the campaign by an unauthorized retreat. In contrast to their light cavalry counterparts, Cuman standing troops appear as a distinct group only once, albeit very significantly. During Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos' election to the regency in 1258, after the consultation of Latin mercenaries, the Cumans present at the court offered their opinion on the matter in "good Greek". This is indicative of the Cumans spending considerable time in the company of Greek speakers. Importance of this Cuman group came from its tendency to foster assimilation (Hellenization) and, through time, the social advancement of its members. An example of this influential group was Sytzigan (known as Syrgiannes after baptism), who before 1290, became Megas Domestikos (Commander-in-Chief of the Army) under Emperor Andronikos II. His, son, Syrgiannes Palaiologos, attained the title of Pinkernes and was a friend of Andronikos III Palaiologos and John Kantakouzenos.
Horses were central to Cuman culture and way of life, and their main activity was animal husbandry. The knight, Robert de Clari, described the Cumans as nomadic warriors who raised horses, sheep, goats, camels, and cattle. They moved north with their herds in summer and returned south in winter. Some of the Cumans led a semi-settled life and took part in trading and farming. They mainly sold and exported animals, mostly horses, and animal products. They attached feeding sacks to the bridles of their horses, allowing them to cover great distances. They could go on campaign with little baggage and carry everything they needed. They wore sheepskin and were armed with composite bows and arrows. They prayed to the first animal they saw in the morning. Like the Bulgars, the Cumans were known to drink blood from their horse (they would cut a vein) when they ran out of water far from an available source. Their traditional diet consisted of soup with millet and meat and included beer, curdled mare’s milk, kumis, and bread (though bread could be rare depending on location).
The fundamental unit of Cuman society was the family, made up of blood relatives. A group of families formed a clan, led by a chief; a group of clans formed a tribe, led by a khan. A typical Cuman clan was named after an object, animal, or a leader of the clan. The names of the leaders of clans or tribes sometimes ended in “apa/aba”. Cuman names were descriptive and represented a personal trait or an idea. Clans lived together in movable settlements named ‘Cuman towers’ by Kievan Rus’ chroniclers.
The Cuman-Kipchak tribes formed sub-confederations governed by charismatic ruling houses – they acted independently of each other and had opposing policies. The territory controlled distinguished each Cuman tribe: the "seashore" Cuman tribes lived in the steppes between the mouths of the Dnieper River and the Dnister River; the "coastal" tribes lived on the coast of the Sea of Azov; the "Dnieper" tribes lived on both banks of the bend in the Dnieper Valley; and the "Don" Cumans lived in the Don River Valley. The Rus' grouped the Cuman-Kipchaks into two categories: the Non Wild Polvcians - 'civilised' Cumans of the western part of the Cuman-Kipchak confederation who had friendly relations with Kieven Rus' and the Wild Polvcians - who formed the eastern part of the confederation and who had hostile relations with Kieven Rus'. As the Cuman-Kipchaks gained more territory, they drove off or dominated many tribes – such as the Oghuz, various Iranian and Finno-Ugrian tribes, Pechenegs, and Slav groups. They also raided the Byzantine Empire and a few times joined the Normans from southern Italy and the Hungarians in doing so. Over the course of time feudalism would take over the traditional social structure of the Cumans, and this led to the changing of identity from kinship to territory-based. Some of the Cumans eventually settled and led sedentary lives involved in agriculture and crafts such as leather and iron working and weapon making. Others became merchants and traded from their towns along the ancient trade routes to regions such as the Orient, Middle East, and Italy.
The Cumans also played the role of middlemen in trade between Byzantium and the East, which passed through the Cuman-controlled ports of Sudak, Surozh, Oziv, and Saksyn. Several land routes between Europe and the Near East ran through Cuman territories: the Zaloznyi, the Solianyi, and the Varangian. Cuman towns — Sharukan, Suhrov/Sugrov, and Balin — appeared in the Donets River Basin; they were also inhabitted by other peoples besides the Cumans. Due to the practice of Cuman towns being named after their khans, town names changed over time - the town of Sharukan appears as Osenev, Sharuk, and Cheshuev. Rock figures called stone babas, which are found throughout southern Ukraine and other areas on the steppes of Russia, were closely connected with the Cuman religious cult of shamanism. The Cumans tolerated all religions, and Islam and Christianity spread quickly among them. As they were close to the Kievan Rus’ principalities, Cuman khans and important families began to slavicize their names — for example, Yaroslav Tomzakovych, Hlib Tyriievych, Yurii Konchakovych, and Danylo Kobiakovych. Ukrainian princely families were often connected by marriage with Cuman khans, lessening wars and conflicts. Sometimes the princes and khans waged joint campaigns; for example, in 1221 they attacked the trading town of Sudak on the Black Sea, which was held by the Seljuk Turks and which interfered with Rus’-Cuman trade.
The Cumans were reported to be handsome people with blond hair, fair skin and blue eyes and desirable women. Cuman women had a high reputation for their beauty amongst the Russian aristocracy. Robert de Clari reported that the Cumans often wore a sleeveless sheepskin vest, usually worn in conjunction with bracers. Underneath the vest was worn a short or long sleeved tunic/tabard, extended to the mid calf, splitting in the front and back between the legs. Men wore trousers and a caftan, each fastened by a belt, which was the traditional costume. The women wore pants as well as dresses, and tunics shorter than those worn by men, sometimes split along the front, back, and sides. Clothes were commonly coloured deep crimson for decoration. Cuman men wore distinguishing conical felt or leather hats, pointy at the top with a broad brim (if made of felt) or a fur trim around the base (if made of leather). The brim of the hat was pointy at the front and upturned on the rear and at the sides. Females also wore conical hats but with a felt top and a cloth veil extending down the back. This veil only covered the back neck and not the hair or face. The men shaved the top of their head, while the rest of the hair was plaited into several braids; they also had prominent moustaches. The women had their hair loose or braided with buns twisting at the side. Both men and women followed a tradition of braiding coloured ribbons into their hair. For footwear, Cuman men and women wore long leather or felt boots with support straps connected to a belt. Both men and women wore cloth or metal arm bands.
When the Cuman-Kipchaks swore oaths it was done with swords in the hands that touched the body of a dog cut in two. The Italian Franciscan monk, traveler and historian John of Plano Carpini says that when the Hungarian prince married married the Cuman princess, ten Cumans swore over a dog cut in half with a sword, that they would defend the Kingdom of Hungary. The Christian writer and historian of the crusades, Jean de Joinville (c.1224-c.1317) mentions that when the Cumans and Byzantines made an alliance, the Cumans made a dog pass between both sides and cut it with a sword, obliging the Byzantines to do the same; the Cumans having said that both they and the Byzantines should be cut in pieces if they failed each other. Joinville also described a Cuman noble's funeral - he was buried seated on a chair whilst his best horse and best sergeant were put in the grave alive. Just before the sergeant was placed in the grave the Cuman leaders gave him a large amount of money to hand back to them when they too came into the other world; a letter of recommendation was also given to the sergeant by the Cuman khan, addressed to the first king of their people. After these proceedings a huge mound was raised above the tomb. Wolves were greatly respected by the Cuman-Kipchaks, and they would sometimes howl along with them in commune. The personal bodyguard of the khan were called Bori (wolf in Turkic). Like other nomadic nations, the Cuman-Kipchaks initiated blood bonds (with the purpose of symbolically cementing a bond) by the drinking or mixing of each other’s blood. Amongst the Cuman-Kipchaks ethnic names often became personal names - this was also practiced amongst the Mongols. This practice involved naming newborns after the names of conquered tribes and people. Names such as ‘Baskord’, ‘Imek’, ‘Kitan' (from the Khitan people), and ‘Urus’ were used by the Cumans. Friar William of Rubruk, a Franciscan traveler who visited the Mongols in 1253-5, provides another account of Cuman customs. He mentions that Cumans built statues for dead notables, facing east and holding a cup (these statues are not to be confused with the balbals, which represent the enemies that were killed by him). He also notes that for richer notables, the Cumans build tombs in the form of houses. Rubruk gives an eyewitness account about a man who had recently died - the Cumans had hung up sixteen horses' hides, in groups of four, between high poles, facing the four points of the compass. The mourners then also placed kumis (fermented mares' milk drink widely drunk in Inner Asia) for the dead man to consume. Other graves had plenty of stones statues placed around them (balbals), four tall ones placed to face the points of the compass.
For many years before the Mongol invasion, the Cuman-Kipchaks were in ambiguous relationships with their neighbours (often through marital and martial alliances) - Kwarizmians, Byzantines, Georgians, and the Rus'; at one time they could be at peace with one, at war with another. The Byzantine Empire hesitated to go to war with the Cuman-Kipchaks north of the Danube River; instead, like the Hungarians, they chose to bribe them. Since Kwarizm had more important enemies, they hired the Cuman-Kipchaks for garrison duty. There were numerous ways the Cuman-Kipchaks could make a living as nomadic warriors. One could partake in questing and raiding with their tribe and subsequently keep the spoils. Another avenue was to seek employment as a mercenary in exchange for the guarantee of loot. One could serve in a garrison, although this caused those Cumans to eventually forget their light cavalry skills and become poor infantry. This was taken full advantage of when the Mongol army destroyed the Cuman-Kipchak garrison in Samarkand. Cuman-Kipchak women fought beside their fellow male warriors. Women were shown great respect and would often ride on a horse or wagon while the men walked.
In their travels the Cumans used wagons to transport supplies as well as weapons such as mangonels and ballistas. Light felt tents with a frame consisting of wooden laths could be carried on top of wagons and easily be placed on the ground. The windows of the tents were “grilled” in such a way that it was difficult to see in but easy to see out. As the Cumans became more settled, they constructed forts for defence and settlement purposes. The Cuman-Kipchaks used dung for fires when firewood was not available. The Cumans had very strict rules (taboos) against theft, and thus would, without prohibition, loosen their horses, camels, and livestock (sheep, oxen) without shepherds or guards when they were stationary.
The Cuman calendar was atypical, as it showed neither specific Christian influences nor any trace of the Chinese-Turkic 12 year animal cycle; it appeared to be an archaic system.
Up until the late 11th and early 12th centuries the Cumans fought mainly as light cavalry, later developing heavy cavalry. The main weapons of the Cumans were the recurved and later composite bow, worn on the hip with the quiver, javelin, curved sword (a sabre, less curved then a scimitar), the mace, and a heavy spear for lancing. Due to European influence, some of the later period Cumans wielded war hammers and axes. For defence they used a round or almond shaped shield, short sleeved mail armour, consisting of commonly alternating butted and riveted rows, lamelar (iron or leather), leather cuirass, shoulder spaulders, conical iron helmet with a detachale iron or bronze anthropomorphic face plate (gold for princes and khans), and at times a camail suspended from the helmet, consisting of chain or leather. They also wore elaborate masks in battle, shaped like and worn over the face.
The commonly employed Cuman battle tactic was repeated attacks by light cavalry archers, facing and shooting to the rear of the horse, then a feigned retreat and skilled ambush. To maintain this tactic to optimum efficiency the Cumans kept a large number of reserve horses to replace fatigued ones. The horsemen used oval shaped stirrups and employed a large bridle for their horses. Another important accessory was a small whip attached to the rider’s wrist. Tribal banners were either made of cloth with tribal emblems or dyed horse hair – with more tails signifying greater importance of the warrior or group. Some of the Cumans that moved west were influenced by Western heraldry, and they eventually displayed hybridized European-Cuman heraldry.
They [The Cumans] fought in their habitual manner, learnt from their fathers. They would attack, shoot their arrows and begin to fight with spears. Before long they would turn their attack into flight and induce their enemy to pursue them. Then they would show their faces instead of their backs, like birds cutting through the air, and would fight face to face with their assailants and struggle even more bravely. This they would do several times, and when they gained the upper hand over the Romans [Byzantines], they would stop turning back again. Then they would draw their swords, release an appalling roar, and fall upon the Romans quicker than a thought. They would seize and massacre those who fought bravely and those who behaved cowardly alike."
It is alleged that the Cumans practiced Shamanism and Tengrism. Their belief system comprised animistic and shamanistic elements; they celebrated the cult of ancestors and provided the dead with objects whose lavishness paralleled the recipient's social rank. The Cumans referred to their shamans as Kam. Funerals for important members involved firstly creating a mound, then placing the dead inside, along with various items deemed useful in the afterlife, a horse (like the Bulgars), and sometimes a servant or slave. Cuman divination practices used animals, especially the wolf and dog. The dog “It/Kopec” was sacred to the Cuman-Kipchaks, to the extent that an individual, tribe, or clan would be named after the dog or type of dog. Cumans had shamans who communicated with the spirit world — they were consulted for questions of outcomes. The Cumans in Christian territories were baptised in 1227 by Robert, Archbishop of Esztergom, in a mass baptism in Moldavia on the orders of Bortz Khan, who swore allegiance to King Andrew II of Hungary.
The Codex Cumanicus was a linguistic manual for the Cuman language of the Middle Ages, designed to help Catholic missionaries communicate with the Cumans. It consisted of a Latin-Persian-Cuman glossary and a collection of Cuman texts. It is currently housed in the Biblioteca Marciana, in Venice (Cod. Mar. Lat. DXLIX). Some parts from the Codex's Pater Noster are shown below: Atamız kim köktesiñ. Alğışlı bolsun seniñ atıñ, kelsin seniñ xanlığıñ, bolsun seniñ tilemekiñ – neçikkim kökte, alay [da] yerde. Kündeki ötmegimizni bizge bugün bergil. Dağı yazuqlarımıznı bizge boşatqıl – neçik biz boşatırbiz bizge yaman etkenlerge. Dağı yekniñ sınamaqına bizni quurmağıl. Basa barça yamandan bizni qutxarğıl. Amen!
In English, the text is: Our Father which art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have done us evil. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
In Modern Turkish, the text is: Atamız sen göktesin. Alkışlı olsun senin adın, gelsin senin hanlığın, olsun senin dileğin– nasıl ki gökte, ve yerde. Gündelik ekmeğimizi bize bugün ver. Ve de yazıklarımızdan (suçlarımızdan) bizi bağışla– nasıl biz bağışlarız bize yaman (kötülük) edenleri. Ve de şeytanın sınamasından bizi koru. Tüm yamandan (kötülükten) bizi kurtar. Amin!
|Cuman Language||Modern Turkish||English|
Bizim atamız kim-szing kökte
Bizim atamız ki sensin gökte
Our father who is in the sky
Their language, known from a 13th-century trilingual Cumanian-Latin-Persian dictionary, was a form of Turkic (Kipchak Turkic) and was, until the 14th century, a lingua franca over much of the Eurasian steppes. There was also some Khazar Jewish linguistic influence upon the Cumans - the Cuman words shabat and shabat kun (meaning Saturday) are related to the Hebrew word Shabbat (meaning Sabbath). These Hebrew influences in the language may have resulted from contact or intermarriege between Khazars and some of the Cumans in the mid-11th century.
Polovtsian leaders (Khans) (Ruthenian chronicles)
- Iskal or Eskel (possibly a self-name of a Bulgaric tribe (Nushibi)) who were mentioned by Ahmad ibn Fadlan after visiting Volga region in 921-922. They also were mentioned by Abu Saʿīd Gardēzī in his Zayn al-Akhbār. According to Bernhard Karlgren, Eskels became the Hungarian people Székelys. Yury Zuev thought that Iskal who is mentioned in the Laurentian Codex about the first military encounter of Cumans against the Ruthenians on February 2, 1061, is personification of a tribal name.
- Sharukan/Sharagan (also known as Sharukan the Elder), grand father of Konchak. He was another Polovotsian khan who was victorious against the Ruthenian army of Yaroslavichi at the Alta river (Battle of the Alta River). According to the Novgorod First Chronicle Sharukan was taken as prisoner by Svyatoslav II of Kiev in 1068, while no such information is provided in the Laurentian Codex. In May of 1107 along with Bonyak, Sharukan raided couple of Ruthenian cities (Pereyaslav and Lubny), however already in August of the same year the collective Ruthenian army led by Svyatoslav carried out a devastating defeat to the Cuman Horde forcing Sharukan to flee.
- Bonyak/Maniak, Cuman khan who was actively involved in civil conflicts of Ruthenia. He had a brother Taz who perished at the battle on the Sula River in 1107. Bonyak was last mentioned in 1167 when he was defeated by Oleg of Siveria. Bonyak was a leader of the Cuman tribe Burchevichi that resided in steppes of the East Ukraine between modern cities of Zaporizhia and Donetsk.
- Tugorkan (1028-1096), was mentioned in essays of the Byzantine Empress Anna Komnene along with his compatriot Bonyak. He perished with his son at the battle on the Trubizh River against the Ruthenian army.
- Syrchan, a son of Sharukan. He was a leader of Cuman tribe that lived on the right banks of Siversky Donets. Chronicles mentioned that after the death of Vladimir II Monomakh, grand prince of Kiev, Syrchan sent out an emissary and a singer Orev to Georgia after his brother Atrak/Otrok (who, with 40,000 Cuman troops, was in Georgia at the time), urging him to return. Khan Otrok agreed (giving up the fame and security he had won in Georgia), after smelling eyevshan, the grass of his native steppe. Syrchan was mentioned in the poem of Apollon Maykov (1821-1897) "Eshman".
- Otrok/Atrak, a son of Sharukan and a brother of Syrchan. In 1111 he, along with his brother, withdrew to the Lower Don region after losing a battle against the Ruthenians. There Atrak's horde joined the local Alans. In 1117 his army sacked Sarkel forcing the local Pechenegs and Torkils to flee to Ruthenia. Around the same time Atrak invaded the Northern Caucasus where he entered into conflict with local Circassians pushing them beyond the Kuban River. The conflict was settled by a Georgian King David IV of Georgia who offered military service to Atrak against Seljuks in 1118. David also married the daughter of Atrak - Gurandukht. After withdrawal of Atrak away from the Don region, the Alan's duchy in East Ukraine was liquidated in 1116-17. Atrak returned after the death of Vladimir Monomakh in 1125.
- Khan Konchek/Konchak/Kumcheg (meaning ‘trousers’), grandson of Sharukan, son of Khan Otrok. He united the tribes of the eastern Cumans in the later half of the 12th century, after which in the 1170s and 1180s he launched a number of particularly destructive attacks on the settlements in the Duchy of Kiev, the Principality of Chernigov and the Principality of Pereyaslavl. Konchak gave aid to the princes of the Principality of Novgorod-Seversk in their struggle for control with the other Rus’ princes. Along with Khan Kobiak/Kobek, Khan Konchak was routed on the Khorol River in 1184 during an assault on Kyivan Rus’. In 1185, he defeated the army of Ihor Sviatoslavych, who was taken as a prisoner. Later, Konchak laid siege to Pereiaslav and ravaged the Chernihiv and Kyiv areas. His daughter married prince Vladimir Igorevich of Putivl (Igor’s son). It is hypothesized that Konchek was with the Cumans who helped Riurik Rostislavovich seizure and sack of Kiev in 1202. Khan Konchek is credited with certain technological advancments, such as Greek fire and a special bow that needed 50 men to operate. Konchek was noted by the Rus' to be "greater than all the Cumans". He died in a skirmish that preceded the Battle of Kalka River. The struggle to repel Khan Konchak and his army by Ihor Sviatoslavych and the Rus’ princes is immortalized in the epic The Tale of Igor's Campaign (“Slovo o polku Ihorevi).”
As the Cumans ceased to have a state of their own, their legacy as state-makers vanished. While the Cumans were gradually absorbed into Eurasian populations (certain families in Hungary, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Turkey, Romania, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Tatars in Crimea) their trace can still be found in placenames stretching from China to Macedonia. These placenames are the city of Kumanovo in the northeastern Republic of Macedonia; a Slavic village named Kumanichevo in the Kostur (Kastoria) district of Greece, which was changed to Lithia after Greece obtained this territory in the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest; Comăneşti in Romania; Kuman, a city in Xinjiang, China; Kuh-e Kumana, a mountain in Lorestān, Iran; the village of Koman in Iran; Kuman, a small town in Sistan Va Baluchestan, Iran; Polovtsy, a town in Smolenskaya Oblast', Russia; Polovtsy in Mahilyowskaya Volblasts', Belarus; the steppes north of the Caucasus Mountains referred to as Kuban as well as the Kuban River; the village of Kumane in Serbia; the village of Kumanitsa; in the municipality of Ivanjica, Serbia; the municipality of Kuman in the Fier District, Fier County, southwestern Albania; Küman, a village and municipality in the Lerik Rayon of Azerbaijan; Comana in Dobrogea (also Romania); the small village of Kumanite in Bulgaria; Kuman, a town in Qashqadaryo, Uzbekistan; Kuman-san, a mountain peak near Ch'unch'ŏn, Gangwon, South Korea; the town of Kumanlar in Ordu, Turkey; Debrecen in Hungary; the village of Bugac in Hungary, the counties of Bács-Kiskun and Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok as well as the cities Kiskunhalas and Kunszentmiklós in Hungary, the village of Kunmadaras in Greater Cumania, Hungary and the town of Kumanov in Khmel'nyts'ka Oblast', Ukraine. The flower - Kumoniga (melilot) - is also a relic of the Cumans. The Gagauz people are believed by some historians to be descendents of the Cumans.
As the Mongols pushed westward and devastated their state, most of the Cumans fled to Hungary, as well as the Second Bulgarian Empire as they were major military allies. The Cuman participation in the creation of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1185 and thereafter brought about basic changes in the political and ethnic sphere of Bulgaria and the Balkans. Bulgarian Tsar Ivan-Asen II was descended from Cumans and settled them in the southern parts of the country, bordering the Latin Empire and the Thessallonikan Despotate. Those territories are in present-day Turkish Europe, Bulgaria, and the Republic of Macedonia.
The Cumans that settled in Hungary had their own self-government in a territory that bore their name, Kunság, that survived until the 19th century. Two regions — Little Cumania and Greater Cumania — exist in Hungary. The name of the Cumans (Kun) is preserved in county names such as Bács-Kiskun, Kunbaja and Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok and town names such as Kiskunhalas, Kunszentmiklós. The Cumans were organized into four tribes in Hungary: Kolbasz/Olas in upper Cumania around Karcag and the other three in lower Cumania. The Cuman language disappeared from Hungary in the 17th or 18th century, possibly following the Turkish occupation. During the 1740s, when Cuman was no longer spoken, a Cuman version of the Lord's Prayer suddenly surfaced. It was taught in schools in Greater Cumania and Little Cumania until the mid twentieth century, in turn becoming a cornerstone of Cuman identity. In the twentieth century enthusiastic self-styled Cumans collected 'Cuman folklore', which consisted of elements such as a traditional Cuman dance, Cuman characteristics such as pride and staunch Calvinism. This ethnic consciousness also had to do with the legal privileges that was attached on the Cumans' territory. Their 19th-century biographer, Gyárfás István, in 1870 was of the opinion that they originally spoke Hungarian, together with the Iazyges population. Despite this mistake, he has the best overview on the subject concerning details of material used. Cuman influence is also present in the modern Hugarian language, which contain Cuman loanwords. These loanwords show Cuman influence in the areas of horse-breeding, eating, hunting and fighting. In 1918, after the World War I, the Cuman National Council was formed in Hungary, which was an attempt to separate the Kunság region (Greater Cumania and Little Cumania) from the Hungarian state, with the aim of forming a new independent Cuman state in Europe. The Cuman National Council declared the independence of Kunság, and elected its president: count Gedeon Ráday on December 18. However the Council's efforts remained unsuccessful. In 1939, Cuman descendants organized celebrations for the 700th anniversary of their arrival in Hungary, where they emphasized their separate ethnic existence and identity with ceremonial speeches.
Toponyms of the Cuman language origin can be found in some Romanian counties of Vaslui and Galaţi, including the names of both counties. When some of the Cumans moved to Hungary, they brought with them their Komondor dogs. The Komondor breed has been declared one of Hungary’s national treasures, to be preserved and protected from modification. The name Komondor derives from Koman-dor, meaning "Cuman dog".
In the countries where the Cumans were assimilated, family surnames derived from the words for "Cuman" (such as coman or kun, "kuman") are not uncommon. Traces of the Cumans are the Bulgarian surnames Kunev or Kumanov (feminine Kuneva, Kumanova) and Asenov, its Macedonian variants Kunevski, Kumanovski (feminine Kumanovska), the Kazakh surname Kumanov, the widespread Hungarian surname Kun, the Hungarian surname Csertan, the Hungarian surname Kangur - a byname of one of the Mandoky families of Karcag, Hungary and the Greek surname Asan. The names "Coman" in Romania and its derivatives, however, do not appear to have any connection to the medieval Cumans, as it was unrecorded until very recent times and the places with the highest frequency of such names has not produced any archaeological evidence of Cuman settlement. Over time, Cuman culture exerted an influence on the Ceangăi/Hungarian Csangos and Romanian culture in Moldavia, due to the Hungarians in Moldavia socializing and mingling with the Cumans between the 14th and 15th centuries. Hakan Aydemir, a Turkic linguist, states that the ‘ir’ of the Ceangăi/Csangos and Székelys dialect, which means ‘carve’, ‘notch’, as well as the words ‘urk/uruk’ (meaning ‘lasso’, ‘noose’), ‘dszepu (meaning ‘wool’) and ‘korhany’ (meaning ‘small mountain’, ‘hill’) are of Cuman-Kipchak origin. Additionally, the Cumans could have also had some connection with Székelys runes. Several Romanian as well as Hungarian academics believe that a significant Cuman population lived in Moldavia in the 15th century; these Cumans later assimilated into the Romanian population. People in Hungary with the surname Palóc are descended from the Cumans (and possibly Kabars and Pechenegs) - Palóc origintates from the Slavic word Polovets/Polovtsy. Although the Palócs were similar to the Hungarians in origins and culture, they were considered distinct groups by the Turks. The first written record of the word "palóc" as the name of a people appears in the Mezőkövesd register in 1784.
In the Hungarian village of Csengele, on the borders of what is still called Kiskunsag, Little Cumania, an archeological excavation in 1975 revealed the ruins of a medieval church with 38 burials. Several burials had all the characteristics of a Cumanian group: richly jeweled, non-Hungarian, and definitely Cumanian-type costumes; the 12-spiked mace as a weapon; bone girdles; and associated pig bones. In view of the cultural objects and the historical data, the archeologists concluded that the burials were indeed Cumanian from the mid-13th century; hence some of the early settlers in Hungary were from that ethnic group. In 1999 the grave of a high-status Cumanian from the same period was discovered about 50 meters from the church of Csengele; this was the first anthropologically authenticated grave of a Cumanian chieftain in Hungary, and the contents are consistent with the ethnic identity of the excavated remains from the church burials. A separated area of the chieftain grave contained a complete skeleton of a horse.
A genetic study done on Cuman burials in Hungary determined that they had substantially more western Eurasian mitochondrial DNA lineages. In a 2005 study by Erika Bogacsi-Szabo et al. of the mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) of the Cuman nomad population that migrated into the Carpathian basin during the 13th century, six haplogroups were revealed.
"One of these haplogroups belongs to the M lineage (haplogroup D) and is characteristic of Eastern Asia, but this is the second most frequent haplogroup in southern Siberia too. All the other haplogroups (H, V, U, U3, and JT) are West Eurasian, belonging to the N macrohaplogroup. Out of the eleven remains, four samples belonged to haplogroup H, two to haplogroup U, two to haplogroup V, and one each to the JT, U3, and D haplogroups. In comparison to the Cumans, modern Hungarian samples represent 15 haplogroups. All but one is a West Eurasian haplogroup [the remaining one is East Asian (haplogroup F)], but all belong to the N lineage. Four haplogroups (H, V, U*, JT), present in the ancient samples, can also be found in the modern Hungarians, but only for haplogroups H and V were identical haplotypes found. Haplogroups U3 and D occur exclusively in the ancient group, and 11 haplogroups (HV, U4, U5, K, J, J1a, T, T1, T2, W, and F) occur only in the modern Hungarian population. Haplogroup frequency in the modern Hungarian population is similar to other European populations, although haplogroup F is almost absent in continental Europe; therefore the presence of this haplogroup in the modern Hungarian population can reflect some past contribution." "The results suggested that the Cumanians, as seen in the excavation at Csengele, were far from genetic homogeneity. Nevertheless, the grave artifacts are typical of the Cumanian steppe culture; and five of the six skeletons that were complete enough for anthropometric analysis appeared Asian rather than European (Horváth 1978, 2001), including two from the mitochondrial haplogroup H, which is typically European. It is interesting that the only skeleton for which anthropological examination indicated a partly European ancestry was that of the chieftain, whose haplotype is most frequently found in the Balkans."
The study concluded that the mitochondrial motifs of Cumans from Csengele show the genetic admixtures with other populations rather than the ultimate genetic origins of the founders of Cuman culture. The study further mentioned, "This may be the result of the habits of the Cumanian nomads. Horsemen of the steppes formed a political unit that was independent from their maternal descent or their language and became members of a tribal confederation. According to legends, Cumanians frequently carried off women from raided territories. So the maternal lineages of a large part of the group would reflect the maternal lineage of those populations that had geographic connection with Cumanians during their migrations. Nevertheless, the Asian mitochondrial haplotype in sample Cu26 may still reflect the Asian origins of the Cumanians of Csengele. However, by the time the Cumanians left the Trans-Carpathian steppes and settled in Hungary, they had acquired several more westerly genetic elements, probably from the Slavic, Finno-Ugric, and Turkic-speaking peoples who inhabited the regions north of the Black and Caspian Seas." The results from the Cuman samples were plotted on a graph with other Eurasian populations, showing the genetic distances between them. The Eurasian populations were divided into two distinct clusters. One cluster contaied all the Eastern and Central Asian populations and can be divided into two subclusters; one subcluster includes mainly Eastern Asian populations (Buryat, Korean and Kirghiz Lowland populations), and the other subcluster harbors mainly Central Asian populations (Mongolian, Kazakh, Kirghiz Highland and Uyghur populations). The second cluster contained the European populations. Inside the second cluster, based on HVS I motifs, a clear structure was not detectable, but almost all European populations, including the modern Hungarians, assembled in one section with small distances between each other. Cumans were outside this section; they were found to be above the abscissa of the graph - this is the population from the second cluster, which is closest to the East-Central Asian cluster. Considering genetic distances, Cumans (of Csengele) are nearest to the Finnish, Komi and Turkish populations.
The Cumans appear in Rus' culture in the Rus' epic poem The Tale of Igor's Campaign and are the military enemies of the Rus' in Alexander Borodin's opera Prince Igor, which features a set of Polovtsian Dances.
The name Cuman is the name of several villages in Turkey, such as Kumanlar, including the Black Sea region. The indigenous people in the Altai Republic, Kumandins (Kumandy), are descended from the Cumans.
Kunkereszt ("Cuman cross") in Belez, periphery of Magyarcsanád, Hungary
Cuman prairie art, as exhibited in Dnipropetrovsk
- Famous or notable Cumans, or people of Cuman descent, in history
- The Cuman Tsaritsa of Bulgaria
- Roman Catholic Diocese of Cumania
- Kumandins - a branch of the Cumans that still exists up to this day, in Siberia
- Terter clan
- Delhi Sultanate - Qutb ad-Din Aibeg, founder of the Delhi sultanate, was a Cuman; redeemed from slavery by Afghan shakh Mahmud Ghuri, he became his governor in Delhi and proclaimed independence after the death of his patron.
- Igor Svyatoslavich
- Crimean Tatars
- Komnenos dynasty
- Komnina (Kozani), Greece
- Turkic peoples
- Turkic languages
- Battle of the Kalka River
- Mongol invasion of Rus
- David IV of Georgia
- Tatar invasions
- Crimean Karaites, an ethnic group possibly with Cuman origins
- Battle of the Stugna River
- Battle of Levounion
- List of Tatar and Mongol raids against Rus'
- Mongol invasion of Europe
- History of Romania
- Crimean Karaites, an ethnic group with possible Cuman origins
- Bács-Kiskun County
- Cuman language
- Crimean Tatar language - possibly similar to the Cuman language
- Béla IV of Hungary
- Romania in the Early Middle Ages
- Stephen V of Hungary
- Foundation of Wallachia
- Battle of Adrianople (1205)
- Constantine Euphorbenos Katakalon
- Terter dynasty
- Basarab I of Wallachia
- Origin of the Romanians
- Anna of Hungary (1260–1281)
- Yaropolk II of Kiev
- Darman and Kudelin - Bulgarians of Cuman origin
- Elizabeth of Sicily, Queen of Hungary (Trouble with Cumans)
- Elizabeth of Hungary, Queen of Serbia -one of the older children of King Stephen V of Hungary and his wife Elizabeth the Cuman
- Kumani Supporters Ultras group from Macedonia
- Shishman of Vidin (Shishman dynasty of the Second Bulgarian Empire is most probably of Cuman origin)
- Roman the Great - he waged two successful campaigns against the Cumans
- Ladislaus IV of Hungary - he was also known as King Ladislas the Cuman, son of Elizabeth the Cuman
- History of Transylvania
- Asen dynasty - dynasty of the Second Bulgarian Empire. Historians claim a Bulgarian, Romanian or Cuman origin
- Loewenthal, Rudolf (1957). The Turkic Languages and Literature of Central Asia: A Bibliography. Mouton. Retrieved 2008-03-23.
- Encyclopædia Britannica Online - Cuman
- Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, p. 563
- H. B. Paksoy, Central Asian Monuments, p.31.
- Robert Lee Wolff: "The 'Second Bulgarian Empire.' Its Origin and History to 1204" Speculum, Volume 24, Issue 2 (April 1949), 179; "Thereafter, the influx of Pechenegs and Cumans turned Bulgaria into a battleground between Byzantium and these Turkish tribes..."
- Bartusis, Mark C., The Late Byzantine Army: Arms and Society, 1204-1453, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992), 26; "Around 1239 a large group of Cumans--a Turkic people of the steppes...."
- Spinei, Victor (2009). The Romanians and the Turkic nomads north of the Danube Delta from the tenth to the mid-thirteenth century. Leiden: Brill. p. 116.
- "Cuman (people)". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
- "Mitochondrial-DNA-of-ancient-Cumanians". Goliath.ecnext.com. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
- István Vásáry (2005) Cumans and Tatars, Cambridge University Press, pg 2
- The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia, Volume 1, Denis Sinor, pg 283
- "Cumans". Encyclopediaofukraine.com. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
- István Vásáry, Cumans and Tatars Oriental Military in the Pre-Ottoman Balkans 1185-1365, Cambridge University Press, 2005, p.7.
- István Vásáry (2005) Cumans and Tatars, Cambridge University Press.
- David Nicolle, V Shpakovsky, Kalka River 1223: Genghis Khan's Mongols Invade Russia, p.7.
- Spinei, The Romanians and the Turkic Nomads, p. 186.
- W.B. Bartlett, The Mongols: From Genghis Khan to Tamerlane (2012), p.116.
- Michael Prawdin, The Mongol Empire: Its Rise and Legacy (2009), pp.212-15.
- David Nicolle, V Shpakovsky, Kalka River 1223: Genghis Khan's Mongols Invade Russia, p.13.
- István Vásáry (2005) Cumans and Tatars, Cambridge University Press, p. 2
- Laurențiu Rădvan, At Europe's Borders: Medieval Towns in the Romanian Principalities, BRILL, 2010, p. 129
- The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia, Volume 1, Denis Sinor, pg 279.
- Ion Grumeza, The Roots of Balkanization: Eastern Europe C.E. 500-1500 (2010), p.51.
- Peter Krüger, Ethnicity and nationalism: case studies in their intrinsic tension and political dynamics, p.32.
- For example: "Bazarab infidelis Olacus noster", "Basarab Olacus et filii eiusdem", "Bazarab filium Thocomerius scismaticum olachis nostris". http://www.arcanum.hu/mol/lpext.dll/fejer/152e/153a/1654?fn=document-frame.htm&f=templates&2.0
- Stephenson, Paul. Byzantium's Balkan Frontier: A Political Study of the Northern Balkans, 900-1204, Cambridge University Press, 2000
- David Nicolle, Angus McBride, Hungary and the fall of Eastern Europe 1000-1568, Osprey Publishing, 1988, p. 43
- Ignjatić, Zdravko (2005). ESSE English-Serbian Serbian-English Dictionary and Grammar. Belgrade, Serbia: Institute for Foreign Languages. p. 1033. ISBN 867147122-5.
- István Vásáry (2005) Cumans and Tatars, Cambridge University Press, p. 6
- . István Vásáry (2005) Cumans and Tatars, Cambridge University Press, p. 6
- Dragosani-Brantingham, Justin (2011-10-19) . "An Illustrated Introduction to the Kipchak Turks". kipchak.com. Archived from the original on 2013-09-30. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
- Kinship in the Altaic World (ed. by Elena Vladimirovna Boĭkova, R. B. Rybakov, 2006).
- The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia, Volume 1, Denis Sinor, pg 280, 511
- H. B. Paksoy, Central Asian Monuments, p.30.
- Ion Grumeza, The Roots of Balkanization: Eastern Europe C.E. 500-1500 (2010), p.36.
- Bulgarian Folk Customs, Mercia MacDermott, pg 27
- Paloczi Horvath 1998, 2001.
- István Vásáry, Cumans and Tatars Oriental Military in the Pre-Ottoman Balkans 1185-1365, Cambridge University Press, 2005.
- Pliny the Elder, The Natural History of Pliny Volume 2,p.21.
- Yaqut, Kitab mu'jam al-budan, p.31.
- The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia, Volume 1 (2008), Denis Sinor, pg 283
- Peter Golden, An Introduction to the History of the Turkic Peoples. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1992, 277
- John Mandeville, The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, ch 6, 27
- H. B. Paksoy, Central Asian Monuments, p.31.
- Columbia Encyclopedia
- H. B. Paksoy, Central Asian Monuments, p.31.
- Perry, Glenn E. (2004). The History of Egypt. ABC-CLIO. pp. 51–52. ISBN 9780313058424.
- The state at war in South Asia By Pradeep Barua, pg. 29
- Bruce R. Gordon. "Nomads of the Steppe". My.raex.com. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
- “The” Other Europe in the Middle Ages: Avars, Bulgars, Khazars and Cumans, edited by Florin Curta, Roman Kovalev, pg 9
- Ayalon, David (1979). The Mamlūk military society. Variorum Reprints. ISBN 978-0-86078-049-6.
- Janet Martin, Medieval Russia, 980-1584 (1993), pp.48-49.
- "Cumans". Encyclopediaofukraine.com. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
- The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia, Volume 1 (2008), Denis Sinor, pg 240
- David Nicolle, V Shpakovsky, Kalka River 1223: Genghis Khan's Mongols Invade Russia, p.21, 22.
- Matila Costiescu Ghyka, A documented chronology of Roumanian history from pre-historic times to the present day, B. H. Blackwell, ltd., 1941, p. 57
- Makk, Ferenc (1989). The Árpáds and the Comneni: Political Relations between Hungary and Byzantium in the 12th century (Translated by György Novák). Akadémiai Kiadó. p. 13. ISBN 963-05-5268-X.
- The Hungarian Illuminated Chronicle (ch. 145.104), p. 132.
- The meaning of "Vlach" in this case was the subject of fierce dispute in the late 19th and 20th centuries (see also Kaloyan of Bulgaria).
- As mentioned in the Robert de Clari Chronicle.
- In his History of the Byzantine Empire (ISBN 978-0-299-80925-6, 1935), Russian historian A. A. Vasiliev concluded in this matter, "The liberating movement of the second half of the 12th century in the Balkans was originated and vigorously prosecuted by the Wallachians, ancestors of the Romanians of today; it was joined by the Bulgarians, and to some extent by the Cumans from beyond the Danube."
- Ion Grumeza, The Roots of Balkanization: Eastern Europe C.E. 500-1500 (2010), p.55.
- Martyn C. Rady, Nobility, Land and Service in Medieval Hungary, Palgrave Macmillan, 2000, p. 90
- David Nicolle, V Shpakovsky, Kalka River 1223: Genghis Khan's Mongols Invade Russia, p.51.
- István Vásáry, Cumans and Tatars Oriental Military in the Pre-Ottoman Balkans 1185-1365, Cambridge University Press, 2005
- István Vásáry, Cumans and Tatars Oriental Military in the Pre-Ottoman Balkans 1185-1365, Cambridge University Press, 2005, pg 81.
- Florin Curta, Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500-1250, p.409.
- Erik Hildinger, Warriors Of The Steppe: Military History Of Central Asia, 500 Bc To 1700 Ad, p.1344
- Richard Bodley Scott, Eternal Empire: The Ottomans at War, p.30.
- Carl Waldman, Catherine Mason, Encyclopedia of European Peoples, p.189.
- David Nicolle, V Shpakovsky, Kalka River 1223: Genghis Khan's Mongols Invade Russia, p.22.
- Roger Finch, Christianity among the Cumans, p.5.
- Ion Grumeza, The Roots of Balkanization: Eastern Europe C.E. 500-1500 (2010), p.37.
- Peter F. Sugar, Péter Hanák, Tibor Frank, A History of Hungary, p.26.
- Horvath 2001
- Peter Linehan, Janet L. Nelson,The Medieval World, p80
- [(Hungarian) Kristó, Gyula; Makk, Ferenc (1996). Az Árpád-ház uralkodói [Rulers of the House of Árpád]. I.P.C. Könyvek. ISBN 963-7930-97-3], p.268.
- Klaniczay, Gábor (2002). Holy Rulers and Blessed Princes: Dynastic Cults in Medieval Central Europe. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-42018-0.], p.439.
- István Vásáry (2005) Cumans and Tatars, Cambridge University Press, p.99.
- Július Bartl, Slovak History: Chronology & Lexicon, p.1290.
- Peter Linehan, Janet L. Nelson,The Medieval World, p82
- András Pálóczi-Horváth, Pechenegs, Cumans, Iasians: steppe peoples in medieval Hungary, p.55.
- András Pálóczi-Horváth, Pechenegs, Cumans, Iasians: steppe peoples in medieval Hungary, p.82.
- Peter Linehan, Janet L. Nelson,The Medieval World, p81
- Linehan, Peter; Nelson, Janet Laughland, eds. (2003). The medieval world. Routledge Worlds Series 10. Routledge. pp. 82–83. ISBN 978-0-415-30234-0.
- Szakaly 2000.
- Meszaros 2000.
- Lango 2000a.
- Nóra Berend, At the gate of Christendom: Jews, Muslims, and "pagans" in medieval Hungary, c. 1000 - c. 1300, Cambridge University Press, 2001, p. 72
- Byzantine Armies AD 1118-1461, p.23, Ian Heath, 1995, Osprey Publishing, ISBN 978-1-85532-347-6
- Mark C. Bartusis, The Late Byzantine Army: Arms and Society, 1204-1453, p.27.
- Mark C. Bartusis, The Late Byzantine Army: Arms and Society, 1204-1453, p.26.
- George Childs Kohn, Dictionary of Wars, p.84.
- Mark C. Bartusis, The Late Byzantine Army: Arms and Society, 1204-1453, p.26, 27.
- As mentioned in Robert de Clari's chronicle.
- Ovidiu Pecican Troia Venetia Roma
- "Cumans". Encyclopediaofukraine.com. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
- David Nicolle, V Shpakovsky, Kalka River 1223: Genghis Khan's Mongols Invade Russia, p.13.
- Ion Grumeza, The Roots of Balkanization: Eastern Europe C.E. 500-1500 (2010), p.36.
- David Nicholle, Attila and the Nomad Hordes. London: Osprey Publishing, 1990, 32, 52
- Vladimir Nabokov, Song of Igor’s Campaign. New York: Vintage Books, 1960, 111
- David Nicolle, V Shpakovsky, Kalka River 1223: Genghis Khan's Mongols Invade Russia, p.19.
- Julian Baldick, Animal and Shaman: Ancient Religions of Central Asia, p.53.
- István Vásáry (2005) Cumans and Tatars, Cambridge University Press, p. 28
- Peter B.Golden, “Cumanica IV: The Qipchaq Tribes, “ Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi, v. IX (1997), 107
- The Devil’s Horsemen, James Chambers, New York: Atheneum, 1979
- David Nicholle, Attila and the Nomad Hordes. London: Osprey Publishing, 1990, 52
- H. B. Paksoy, Central Asian Monuments, p.51.
- István Vásáry, Cumans and Tatars Oriental Military in the Pre-Ottoman Balkans 1185-1365, Cambridge University Press, 2005, 55-56.
- Horváth (1989), p. 48.
- Yule and Cordier 1916
- "Manta - Big finds from small businesses". Goliath.ecnext.com. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
- The Jews of Khazaria, Kevin Alan Brook, pg 181
- Bonyak at the Great Soviet Encyclopedia.
- The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia, Volume 1, Denis Sinor, pg 281
- Nóra Berend, At the gate of Christendom: Jews, Muslims, and "pagans" in medieval Hungary, c. 1000 - c. 1300, Cambridge University Press, 2001, p. 265
- Nora Berend, At the Gate of Christendom: Jews, Muslims and 'Pagans' in Medieval Hungary , p.265.
- A. Gergely András: Kun etnoregionális kisvárosi sajátosságok? MTA POLITIKAI TUDOMÁNYOK INTÉZETE, ETNOREGIONÁLIS KUTATÓKÖZPONT, MTA PTI Etnoregionális Kutatóközpont Munkafüzetek 4. (Hungarian Academy of Sciences)[mek.oszk.hu/10600/10674/10674.doc]
- "32/2004. (IV. 19.) OGY határozat". Hungarian Parliament. 2004. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
- István Vásáry, Cumans and Tatars: Oriental Military in the Pre-Ottoman Balkans, 1185–1365, p.40.
- Spinei, Victor. The Cuman Bishopric - Genesis and Evolution. in The Other Europe: Avars, Bulgars, Khazars and Cumans. Edited by Florin Curta and Roman Kovalev. Brill Publishing. 2008. p. 64
- Language Shift among the Moldavian Csángós, Vilmos Tánczos, pg 156|
- Andrew Bell-Fialkoff, The Role of Migration in the History of the Eurasian Steppe: Sedentary Civilization vs. 'Barbarian' and Nomad, Palgrave Macmillan, 2000, p. 247
- Horvath 1978; Kovacs 1971; Sandor 1959.
- "Mitochondrial DNA of ancient Cumanians: culturally Asian steppe nomadic immigrants with substantially more western Eurasian mitochondrial DNA lineages". Hum. Biol. 77 (5): 639–62. October 2005. doi:10.1353/hub.2006.0007. PMID 16596944.
- Bogacsi-Szabo, Erika; Kalmar, Tibor; Csanyi, Bernadett; Tomory, Gyongyver; Czibula, Agnes, et al. (October 2005). "Mitochondrial DNA of Ancient Cumanians: Culturally Asian Steppe Nomadic Immigrants with Substantially More Western Eurasian Mitochondrial DNA Lineages". Human Biology (Detroit, MI, USA: Wayne State University Press) 77 (5): 639–662. doi:10.1353/hub.2006.0007. ISSN 0018-7143. LCCN 31029123. OCLC 1752384. Retrieved 2014-03-01. (subscription required (. ))
- Bogácsi-Szabó, Erika (2006). Population genetic and diagnostic mitochondrial DNA and autosomal marker analyses of ancient bones excavated in Hungary and modern samples (Thesis). Szeged, Hungary: University of Szeged. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
- Potapov L. P., Ibid, p. 58
- Pritsak O., "Stammesnamen und Titulaturen der altaischen Volker. Ural-Altaische JahrMcher", Bd. 24, 1952, Sect. 1–2, pp. 49–104
- Potapov L.P., Ibid, p. 59
- (Russian) Golubovsky Peter V. (1884) Pechenegs, Torks and Cumans before the invasion of the Tatars. History of the South Russian steppes in the 9th-13th Centuries (Печенеги, Торки и Половцы до нашествия татар. История южно-русских степей IX—XIII вв.) at Runivers.ru in DjVu format.
- (Russian) Golubovsky Peter V. (1889) Cumans in Hungary. Historical essay (Половцы в Венгрии. Исторический очерк) at Runivers.ru in DjVu format.
- István Vásáry (2005) "Cumans and Tatars", Cambridge University Press.
- Gyárfás István: A Jászkunok Története
- Györffy György: A Codex Cumanicus mai kérdései
- Györffy György: A magyarság keleti elemei
- Hunfalvy: Etnographia
- Perfecky (translator): Galician-Volhynian Chronicle
- Stephenson, Paul. Byzantium's Balkan Frontier: A Political Study of the Northern Balkans, 900-1204, Cambridge University Press, 2000
- Mitochondrial DNA of ancient Cumanians: culturally Asian steppe nomadic immigrants with substantially more western Eurasian mitochondrial DNA lineages
- Map of migration
- Cuman Royal House