Muqan Qaghan

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Muqan Qaghan;[1] (Old Turkic: Old Turkic letter N1.svgOld Turkic letter G1.svgOld Turkic letter Q.svg Old Turkic letter N1.svgOld Turkic letter Q.svgOld Turkic letter O.svgOld Turkic letter M.svg, Muqan qaγan,[2] Chinese:木桿可汗/木杆可汗, Pinyin: mùgǎn kěhàn, Wade-Giles: mu-kan k'o-han or 木汗可汗, mùhàn kěhàn, mu-han k'o-han, personal name: 阿史那燕都, āshǐnà yàndōu, a-shih-na yen-to) was the second son of Bumin Qaghan and the third khagan of the Göktürks who expanded their khagan and secured the borders against the Hephthalites.

This expansion also pushed against the Avars who were driven toward the Byzantine Empire and the Sassanid Empire and eventually toward the Danube. Other tribes of the Central Asia, such as the eastern Bulgars were also displaced.[3]

Muhan's reign marked the pinnacle of Sogdian cultural influence in the Göktürk Empire. Sogdian culture was transmitted by merchants from Turpan who worked as ambassadors and advisers. The Sogdian language and script were used to govern the empire. The importance of Sogdians cannot be understated in keeping the early Turks safely outside of the Chinese cultural sphere. The Sogdian language and script were used to administer the empire, because it was the only written language in the cities under his control. After his death the title of qaghan passed to his younger brother Tapo. He was said to have red hair and blue eyes.[citation needed]

He expanded the Göktürk Khanate and secured the borders against the last of the Rouran people. He conquered the Töle tribes in the west the Kitans in the east and the Kyrgyz in the north. Thus he expanded his state to all the former Xiong-Nu territory. His uncle Istämi autonomously ruled the far-west region (Kazakh Steppe) in his name. This was the beginning of the east/west division of power. He created an alliance with the Zhou kingdom, by marrying off his daughter, to oppose the Qi kingdom that was sheltering the Rouran.

After Muhan's death the title of khagan passed to his younger brother Taspar. His daughter Empress Ashina was the wife of Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou.

Muqan Qaghan
Preceded by
Issik Qaghan
Khagan of the Turkic Khaganate
Succeeded by
Taspar Qaghan


  1. ^ Gary Seaman, Daniel Marksm, Rulers from the steppe: state formation on the Eurasian periphery, Ethnographics Press, Center for Visual Anthropology, University of Southern California, 1991, ISBN 978-1-878986-01-6, pp. 96–97.
  2. ^ Ethno Cultural Dictionary, TÜRIK BITIG
  3. ^ Bauer, Susan Wise (2010). The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade. W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 238–241. ISBN 978-0-393-05975-5. 

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