Kotzarig, Khozarig, Khazarig, Kozar, or Cozarig (ܟܙܪܝܓ), was the name of a dynasty of Hunno-Bulgar rulers. A name intricately associated with the Land of Kedar, the first Khazarig was, according to Sandilch, a son of Ernakh, after whom the Kozarigur Bulgar-Huns were named. It is likely that Sandilch was referring to Kandik who ruled half of the Bulgars at that time. Ernakh's other son was Utig after whom Sandilch's own Utigur Bulgar-Huns were named. Kozar could mean "Goat-Herder" in Slavonic languages.
According to Bar Hebraeus and the Chronicle of Michael the Syrian, the name was later adopted by one of three brothers (the others being Bulgar and Drogo) who came from the Imaon mountains to rule Hunnish tribes in the East European grasslands in 583. Kotzarig's subjects became known as Khazars. His brother Bulgarios with 10,000 men acquired Dacia from Emperor Maurice (emperor) (582-602). There is a frequently drawn parallel between these three brothers and the three brothers Shchek, Khoriv, and Kii (who founded Kiev in the 6th century) to whom the Khazars are said to be related. The report of Bar Hebraeus could refer to one of four possible events.
- The relocation of the Onogurs in 463. In this situation the brother probably adopted the name as new ruler of Dengizich's Akatziroi whose lands the Onogurs seized under Ernakh's leadership. The events were long before Emperor Maurice but confused with his time because of his support for Patria Onoguria.
- The arrival of the Eurasian Avars in 557. In this eventuality, the Avars would be identified with Kidarite Huns who had sought to escape the Gokturk expansion. Kazrig would be identified with Kandig and Bulgarios could be identified with the Avar Samar Khan who was also leader of the Cotzarigs. Tiberius II Constantine was acting for Justin at the time, so the acquisition of Dacia was not immediate and would have been a hostile take-over (see Maurice's Balkan campaigns).
- The arrival of Gokturk rulers in 569. In this situation, the three brothers would be Uar of Khwarezmia who the Gokturks supported against the Pseudo-Avar Huns who had entered Europe in the previous decade under Kandig. Bulgarios could thus be identified with Sandilch, and Kozarig would have taken his name from the Avar-Hun tribes he established his rule over in the Kuban Steppe.
- Events during Houdbaad's rule of Onoguria as a result of civil war in the Gokturk state.
The name is later given to one of the "sons" of Khagan Kubrat who, following a dispute with his brother Batbayan, established his rule in Bolghar.
In the 630s, 9,000 Cozarigs fled Pannonia to Italy as a result of Khagan Kubrat's war with the Avars.
Finally Menumorut is said to have been friendly towards the Cozarigs in Hungary, but after his time the term Khazar won in popularity.
- "The Three Scythian Brothers: an Extract from the Chronicle of Michael the Great | Mark Dickens". Academia.edu. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2015-02-27.
- "Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500–1250 | European history 450-1000 | Cambridge University Press". Cambridge.org. Retrieved 2015-02-27.
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