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History of the Turkic peoples
History of the Turkic peoples
Pre-14th century
Turkic Khaganate 552–744
  Western Turkic
  Eastern Turkic
Avar Khaganate 564–804
Khazar Khaganate 618–1048
Xueyantuo 628–646
Great Bulgaria 632–668
  Danube Bulgaria
  Volga Bulgaria
Kangar union 659–750
Turgesh Khaganate 699–766
Uyghur Khaganate 744–840
Karluk Yabgu State 756–940
Kara-Khanid Khanate 840–1212
  Western Kara-Khanid
  Eastern Kara-Khanid
Gansu Uyghur Kingdom 848–1036
Kingdom of Qocho 856–1335
Pecheneg Khanates
Kimek Khanate
Oghuz Yabgu State
Ghaznavid Empire 963–1186
Seljuk Empire 1037–1194
  Seljuk Sultanate of Rum
Khwarazmian Empire 1077–1231
Delhi Sultanate 1206–1526
  Mamluk dynasty
  Khilji dynasty
  Tughlaq dynasty
Golden Horde | [1][2][3] 1240s–1502
Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo) 1250–1517
  Bahri dynasty

The Onoğurs or Oğurs (Όνόγουροι, Οὒρωγοι; Onογurs, Ογurs; "ten tribes", "tribes"), were Turkic nomadic equestrians who flourished in the Pontic-Caspian steppe and the Volga region between 5th and 7th century, and spoke Oğhuric language.


The name Onoğur is most often derived as On-Oğur "ten Oğurs (tribes)".[4] Modern scholars consider Turkic tribal terms oğuz and oğur to be derived from Turkic *og/uq, meaning "kinship or being akin to".[5] The terms initially were not the same, as oq/ogsiz meant "arrow",[6] while oğul meant "offspring, child, son", oğuš/uğuš was "tribe, clan", and the verb oğša-/oqša meant "to be like, resemble".[5]


Around 463 AD, the Akatziroi and other tribes that had been part of the Hunnic union were attacked by the Šarağurs, one of the first Oğuric Turkic tribes that entered the Ponto-Caspian steppes as the result of migrations set off in Inner Asia.[7] According to Priscus, in 463 the representatives of Šarağur (Oğhur. šara, "White Oğhurs"), Oğur and Onoğur came to the Emperor in Constantinople,[8] and explained they had been driven out of their homeland by the Sabirs, who had been attacked by the Avars in Inner Asia.[9][10] This tangle of events indicates that the Oğuric tribes are related to the Ting-ling and Tiele people.[11][12] It is considered they belonged to the westernmost Tiele tribes, which also included the Uyghurs-Toquz Oghuz and the Oghuz Turks, and were initially located in Western Siberia and Kazakhstan.[13]

In early 7th century Theophylaktos Simokattes recorded that certain Onoğur city Βακάθ was destroyed by an earthquake before his lifetime.[14] The Sogdian name indicates it was situated in the vicinity of Iranian Central Asia.[14] The 10th century Movses Kaghankatvatsi recorded, considered late 4th century, certain Honagur, "a Hun[nb 1] from the Honk" who raided Persia, which if is related to the Onoğurs, they were located near Transcaucasia and Sassanian Empire.[14] Scholars also relate the Hyōn to this account.[14]

The Oğurs and Onoğurs, in the 6th and 7th century sources, were mentioned mostly in connection with the Avar and Türks conquest of Western Eurasia.[17] According to the 6th century Menander Protector, the "leader of the Οὐγούρων" had the authority of the Türk Yabgu Khagan in the region of Kuban River to the lower Don.[18] Simokattes in the Letter of the Türk Qaγan (Tamgan) to the Emperor Maurikios recorded a complex notice:

"...the Qağan set off on another undertaking and subjugated all the Ὀγώρ. This people is (one) of the most powerful because of their numbers and their training for war in full battle-gear. They have made their abodes towards the East, whence flows the river Τίλ, which the Turks have the custom of calling the "Black". The oldest chieftains of this people are called Οὐάρ and Χουννί."[18]

According to the Qağan, part of those Ouar (Uar) and Khounni (Huns) who arrived to Eastern Europe were mistook by the Onoğurs, Barsils, Sabirs and other tribes for the original Avars, and as such the Uar and Huns took advantage of the situation and began call themselves as the Avars.[19] Simokattes also recounts "when the Ogor, then, were brought completely to heel, the Qaγan gave over the chief of the Κὸλχ (Kolx[18]) to the bite of the sword", shows Oğurs resistance toward Türk authority.[18] Scholars consider if the Til is Qara Itil (Black Itil) ie. Volga (Atil/Itil), then the mentioned Ὀγώρ would be the Oğurs, while if is in Inner Asia, then could be the Uyghurs.[18]

Jordanes in Getica (551) mentioned that the Hunuguri (believed to be the Onoğurs) were notable for the marten skin trade.[20][21][22] In the Middle Ages, marten skin was used as a substitute for minted money.[23][14] This also indicates they lived near forests and were in contact with Finno-Ugrian peoples.[14][24]

The Syriac translation of the PseudoZacharias Rhetor's Ecclesiastical History (c. 555) in Western Eurasia records the Avnagur (Aunagur; considered Onoğurs), wngwr (Onoğur), wgr (Oğur), described in typical phrases reserved for nomads in the ethnographic literature of the period, as people who "live in tents, earn their living on the meat of livestock and fish, of wild animals and by their weapons (plunder)".[20][25]

From the 8th century, the Byzantine sources often mention the Onoğurs in close connection with the Bulgars. Agathon (early 8th century) wrote about the nation of Onoğurs Bulğars. Nikephoros I (early 9th century) noted that Kubrat was the lord of the Onoğundurs; his contemporary Theophanes referred to them as Onoğundur–Bulğars. Kubrat successfully revolted against the Avars and founded the Old Great Bulgaria (Magna Bulgaria[26]), also known as Onoğundur–Bulğars state, or Patria Onoguria in the Ravenna Cosmography.[27][28][20] Constantine VII (mid-10th century) remarked that the Bulğars formerly called themselves Onoğundurs.[29]

This association was previously mirrored in Armenian sources, such as the Ashkharatsuyts, which refers to the Olxontor Błkar, and the 5th century History by Movses Khorenatsi, which includes an additional comment from a 9th-century writer about the colony of the Vłĕndur Bułkar. Marquart and Golden connected these forms with the Iġndr (*Uluġundur) of Ibn al-Kalbi (c. 820), the Vnndur (*Wunundur) of Hudud al-'Alam (982), the Wlndr (*Wulundur) of Al-Masudi (10th century) and Hungarian name for Belgrad Nándor Fejérvár, the nndr (*Nandur) of Gardīzī (11th century) and *Wununtur in the letter by the Khazar King Joseph. All the forms show the phonetic changes typical of later Oğuric (prothetic w-; o- > wo-, u-, *wu-).[29][30]

The origin of the Kutrigurs and Utigurs, who lived in the vicinity of the Onoğurs and Bulgar, and their mutual relationship is considered as obscure.[31][32] Scholars consider unclear how the union between Onoğurs and Bulgars formed, viewing it as a long process in which a number of different groups were merged.[33][34] During that time, the Bulgars may have represented a large confederation of which the Onoğurs formed one of the core tribes,[34] and remnants of Utigurs, Kutrigurs among others.[35]


Main article: Oghur languages

The Oğuric tribes spoke a Turkic language distinct from the Common Turkic. Today is represented only by Chuvash, while the Bulgar and Khazar languages went extinct.[36] The Oğuric languages are also known as "-r Turkic" becuase the end consonant in relevant words is "*r", in contrary to "z" in Common Turkic,[36][37] thus the term Oğur in Oğuric and Oğuz in Common Turkic.[38] Another specific shift is "*l" instead of "š" (*tâl - tâš; stone).[39][38] The linguists have not concluded if they are parallel branches of Proto-Turkic, and which is more archaic.[38]

Denis Sinor, due to such difference, argued that those tribes could not have come from far away lands like Mongolia where is spoken "-z" language.[40] However, in the contrary, there many loanwords in Mongolic from Oğuric, like Mong. ikere, Oğur. *ikir, Hung. iker, Common Turk. ikiz (twins).[38] It is considered they lived in the Mongolian borderlands before the 5th century.[41]

The Oğuric tribes are often connected with the Hungarians, whose ethnonym is usually derived from Onoğurs (< (H)ungars).[42] The Hungarians were a mixed Finno-Ugric and Turkic union with strong Oğuric-Bulgar and Khazar influence.[43][44] Hungarian language has many borrowings from Turkic and Oğuric languages,[45] example Hung. tenger, Oğur. *tengir, Common Turk. tengiz (sea),[38] Hung. gyũrũ, Oğur. jürük, Common Turk. yüzük (ring),[46] and terms of equestrian culture (horse), nyereg (saddle), fék (bridle), ostor (whip).[47] A number of Hungarian loanwords were borrowed before the 9th century, shown by sz- (< Oğ. ś-) rather than Common Turk. gy- (< Oğ. ǰ-): example Hung. szél, Oğur. *śäl, Chuv. śil, Common Turk. yel (wind), Hung. szűcs (tailor), Hung. szőllő (grapes).[46]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The ethnonym of the Huns, like those of Scythians and Türks, became a generic term for steppe-people (nomads) and invading enemies from the East, no matter of their actual origin and identity.[15][16]


  1. ^ Marshall Cavendish Corporation (2006). Peoples of Western Asia. p. 364. 
  2. ^ Bosworth, Clifford Edmund (2007). Historic Cities of the Islamic World. p. 280. 
  3. ^ Borrero, Mauricio (2009). Russia: A Reference Guide from the Renaissance to the Present. p. 162. 
  4. ^ Golden 2011, p. 23, 237.
  5. ^ a b Golden 1992, p. 96.
  6. ^ Golden 2012, p. 96.
  7. ^ Golden 1992, p. 92–93, 103.
  8. ^ Golden 1992, p. 92–93.
  9. ^ Golden 1992, p. 92–93, 97.
  10. ^ Golden 2011, p. 70.
  11. ^ Golden 1992, p. 93–95.
  12. ^ Golden 2011, p. 32–33.
  13. ^ Golden 2011, p. 138, 141.
  14. ^ a b c d e f Golden 2011, p. 141.
  15. ^ Beckwith, Christopher I. (2009). Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present. Princeton University Press. p. 99. ISBN 9781400829941. Like the name Scythian up to the early medieval period, the name Hun became a generic (usually pejorative) term in subsequent history for any steppe-warrior people, or even any enemy people, regardless of their actual identity. 
  16. ^ Dickens, Mark (2004). Medieval Syriac Historians’ Perceptionsof the Turks. University of Cambridge. p. 19. Syriac chroniclers (along with their Arab, Byzantine, Latin, Armenian, and Georgian counterparts) did not use ethnonyms as specifically as modern scholars do. As K. Czeglédy notes, "some sources... use the ethnonyms of the various steppe-peoples, in particular those of the Scythians, Huns and Türks, in the generic sense of 'nomads'". 
  17. ^ Golden 1992, p. 100–102.
  18. ^ a b c d e Golden 2011, p. 142.
  19. ^ Golden 1992, p. 109.
  20. ^ a b c D. Dimitrov (1987). "Bulgars, Unogundurs, Onogurs, Utigurs, Kutrigurs". Prabylgarite po severnoto i zapadnoto Chernomorie. kroraina.com (Varna). 
  21. ^ Maenchen-Helfen 1973, p. 431.
  22. ^ Golden 1992, p. 98.
  23. ^ Golden 1992, p. 254.
  24. ^ Golden 1992, p. 112.
  25. ^ Golden 1992, p. 97.
  26. ^ Fiedler 2008, p. 152.
  27. ^ Golden 1992, p. 245.
  28. ^ Golden 2011, p. 144.
  29. ^ a b Golden 1992, p. 102.
  30. ^ Golden 2011, p. 239.
  31. ^ Golden 1992, p. 99.
  32. ^ Golden 2011, p. 140.
  33. ^ Golden 1992, p. 244.
  34. ^ a b Golden 2011, p. 143.
  35. ^ Golden 1992, p. 100, 103.
  36. ^ a b Golden 1992, p. 95–96.
  37. ^ Karatay 2003, p. 20.
  38. ^ a b c d e Golden 2011, p. 30.
  39. ^ Golden 1992, p. 20.
  40. ^ Golden 2011, p. 29.
  41. ^ Golden 2011, p. 31.
  42. ^ Golden 1992, p. 102–103.
  43. ^ Golden 1992, p. 262.
  44. ^ Golden 2011, p. 333.
  45. ^ Golden 1992, p. 259–260.
  46. ^ a b Golden 2011, p. 164.
  47. ^ Golden 1992, p. 259.