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Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 室點密
Simplified Chinese 室点密
Alternative Chinese name
Chinese 瑟帝米
Old Turkic name
Old Turkic Old Turkic letter N1.svgOld Turkic letter G1.svgOld turkic letter Q.png Old Turkic letter I.svgOld Turkic letter M.svgOld Turkic letter T2.svgOld Turkic letter S2.svgOld Turkic letter I.svg
Estemi qaγan

Istämi was the ruler of the western part of the Göktürks, the Western Turkic Khaganate and dominated the Sogdians.[1] He was the yabgu (vassal) of his brother Bumin Qaghan in 553 AD.[2] His son was Tardu.


During his rule Istami established diplomatic relations with the Persian and Byzantine Empires, defeated the Hepthalites, and acted as an elder statesman during the disintegration of the eastern half of the empire. We know a great deal about him from the diplomatic missions of the Byzantine Empire.

As the brother of Tuman he ruled the far-western region of their khanate. His son was Tardu. As a Yabghu, he was autonomous and had de facto sovereignty while officially recognizing the authority of the qaghan. After Khushu’s death he arranged the division of the territory into three realms east, central, and west and distributed them between Jotan, Arslan, and Shetu, respectively.

İstemi and İstemihan are Turkish given names honouring him.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wood, Francis (2002). The Silk Road: Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. pp. 238–239. ISBN 978-0-520-24340-8. 
  2. ^ Michalis N. Michael; Matthias Kappler; Eftihios Gavriel (2009). Archivum Ottomanicum. Mouton. pp. 68, 69. 
Preceded by
Yabgu of the Western Turkic Khaganate
553 - 575
Succeeded by
Tardush Qaghan