Göktürk petroglyphs from Mongolia (6th to 8th century)
|Ancestral to Turkic population|
|Regions with significant populations|
| Old Turkic |
The Göktürks, Celestial Turks, Blue Turks or Kok Turks (Old Turkic: 𐰜𐰇𐰛:𐱅𐰇𐰼𐰰, Kök Türük; Chinese : 突厥/تُركِئ ; pinyin :Tūjué, Middle Chinese: *duət̚-kʉɐt̚ (türkut), Dungan : Тўҗүә; Khotanese Saka: Ttūrka, Ttrūka; Old Tibetan: Drugu , tatar: kük törek, bashqurt: kük török) were a nomadic confederation of Turkic peoples in medieval Inner Asia. The Göktürks, under the leadership of Bumin Qaghan (d. 552) and his sons, succeeded the Rouran Khaganate as the main power in the region and established the Turkic Khaganate, one of several nomadic dynasties which would shape the future geolocation, culture, and dominant beliefs of Turkic peoples.
Old Turkic is the earliest attested form of Turkic, found in Göktürk and Uyghur inscriptions dating from about the 7th century AD to the 13th century. It is the oldest attested member of the Orkhon branch of Turkic, which is extant in the modern Western Yugur language. However, it is not the ancestor of the language now called Uighur; the contemporaneous ancestor of Uighur to the west is called Middle Turkic.
Traditional Chinese characters are Chinese characters in any character set that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. They are most commonly the characters in the standardized character sets of Taiwan, of Hong Kong and Macau, and in the Kangxi Dictionary. The modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, and have been more or less stable since the 5th century.
Xiao'erjing or Xiao'erjin or Xiaor jin or in its shortened form, Xiaojing, literally meaning "children's script" or "minor script", is the practice of writing Sinitic languages such as Mandarin or the Dungan language in the Perso-Arabic script. It is used on occasion by many ethnic minorities who adhere to the Islamic faith in China, and formerly by their Dungan descendants in Central Asia. Orthography reforms introduced the Latin script and later the Cyrillic script to the Dungan language, which continue to be used today.
Strictly speaking, the common name Göktürk is the Anatolian Turkish form of the ethnonym. The Old Turkic name for the Göktürks was 𐱅𐰇𐰼𐰰 Türük,
Turkish, also referred to as Istanbul Turkish, is the most widely spoken of the Turkic languages, with around ten to fifteen million native speakers in Southeast Europe and sixty to sixty-five million native speakers in Western Asia. Outside Turkey, significant smaller groups of speakers exist in Germany, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Northern Cyprus, Greece, the Caucasus, and other parts of Europe and Central Asia. Cyprus has requested that the European Union add Turkish as an official language, even though Turkey is not a member state.
An ethnonym is a name applied to a given ethnic group. Ethnonyms can be divided into two categories: exonyms and autonyms, or endonyms.
Middle Chinese or the Qieyun system (QYS) is the historical variety of Chinese recorded in the Qieyun, a rime dictionary first published in 601 and followed by several revised and expanded editions. The Swedish linguist Bernard Karlgren believed that the dictionary recorded a speech standard of the capital Chang'an of the Sui and Tang dynasties. However, based on the more recently recovered preface of the Qieyun, most scholars now believe that it records a compromise between northern and southern reading and poetic traditions from the late Northern and Southern dynasties period. This composite system contains important information for the reconstruction of the preceding system of Old Chinese phonology.
Göktürk means "Celestial Turks",or sometimes "Blue Turks" (i.e. because sky blue is associated with celestial realms). This is consistent with "the cult of heavenly ordained rule" which was a recurrent element of Altaic political culture and as such may have been imbibed by the Göktürks from their predecessors in Mongolia. The name of the ruling Ashina clan may derive from the Khotanese Saka term for "deep blue", āššɪna.
Sky blue is the name of a colour that resembles the colour of the unclouded sky at noon (azure) reflecting off a metallic surface. The entry for "sky-blue" in Murray's New English Dictionary (1919) reports a first sighting of the term in the article on "silver" in Ephraim Chambers's Cyclopaedia of 1728. However, many writers had used the term "sky blue" to name a colour before Chambers. For example, we find "sky blue" in A Collection of Voyages and Travels, vol. 2, p. 322, where John Nieuhoff describes certain flowers: "they are of a lovely sky blue colour, and yellow in the middle". The sense of this colour may have been first used in 1585 in a book by Nicolas de Nicolay where he stated "the tulbant of the merchant must be skie coloured".
The sky often has important religious significance. Many religions, both polytheistic and monotheistic, have deities associated with the sky.
The Ashina, also known as Asen, Asena, or Açina, were a tribe and the ruling dynasty of the ancient Turkic peoples. It rose to prominence in the mid-6th century when the leader, Bumin Qaghan, revolted against the Rouran Khaganate. The two main branches of the family, one descended from Bumin and the other from his brother Istämi, ruled over the eastern and western parts of the Göktürk confederation, respectively.
According to American Heritage Dictionary the word Türk meant "strong" in Old Turkic.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (AHD) is an American dictionary of English published by Boston publisher Houghton Mifflin, the first edition of which appeared in 1969. Its creation was spurred by the controversy over the perceived permissiveness of the Webster's Third New International Dictionary. The third edition had more than 350,000 entries and meanings.
The Göktürk rulers originated from the Ashina clan, who were first attested to 439. The Book of Sui reports that in that year, on October 18, the Tuoba ruler Emperor Taiwu of Northern Wei overthrew Juqu Mujian of the Northern Liang in eastern Gansu,whence 500 Ashina families fled northwest to the Rouran Khaganate in the vicinity of Gaochang.
The Book of Sui is the official history of the Sui dynasty. It ranks among the official Twenty-Four Histories of imperial China. It was commissioned by Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty, and written by a team of prominent scholars, including Yan Shigu, Kong Yingda, and Zhangsun Wuji, with Wei Zheng as the lead author. It was completed in 636 AD.
The Tuoba also known as the Taugast or Tabgach, was a Xianbei clan in ancient China.
Emperor Taiwu of Northern Wei, personal name Tuoba Tao (拓拔燾), nickname Bili (佛貍), was an emperor of Northern Wei. He was generally regarded as a capable ruler, and during his reign, Northern Wei roughly doubled in size and united all of northern China, thus ending the Sixteen Kingdoms period and, together with the southern dynasty Liu Song, started the Southern and Northern Dynasties period of Chinese history. He was a devout Taoist, under the influence of his prime minister Cui Hao, and in 444, at Cui Hao's suggestion and believing that Buddhists had supported the rebellion of Gai Wu (蓋吳), he ordered the abolition of Buddhism, at the penalty of death. This was the first of the Three Disasters of Wu for Chinese Buddhism. Late in his reign, his reign began to be cruel, and his people were also worn out by his incessant wars against Liu Song. In 452, he was assassinated by his eunuch Zong Ai, who put his son Tuoba Yu on the throne but then assassinated Tuoba Yu as well. The other officials overthrew Zong and put Emperor Taiwu's grandson Tuoba Jun on the throne as Emperor Wencheng.
According to the Book of Zhou and the History of the Northern Dynasties , the Ashina clan was a component of the Xiongnu confederation,but this is contested. According to the Book of Sui and the Tongdian , they were "mixed Hu (barbarians)" (雜胡) from Pingliang. According to the New Book of Tang , the Ashina were related to the northern tribes of the Xiongnu, in particular they were of Tiele tribe by ancestral lineage.
The Book of Zhou records the official history of the Chinese/Xianbei ruled Western Wei and Northern Zhou dynasties, and ranks among the official Twenty-Four Histories of imperial China. Compiled by the Tang Dynasty historian Linghu Defen, the work was completed in 636 CE and consists of 50 chapters, some of which have been lost and replaced from other sources.
The History of the Northern Dynasties (Běishǐ) is one of the official Chinese historical works in the Twenty-Four Histories canon. The text contains 100 volumes and covers the period from 386 to 618, the histories of Northern Wei, Western Wei, Eastern Wei, Northern Zhou, Northern Qi, and Sui dynasty. Like the History of the Southern Dynasties, the book was started by Li Dashi and compiled from texts of the Book of Wei and Book of Zhou. Following his death, Li Yanshou (李延寿), son of Li Dashi, completed the work on the book between 643 and 659. Unlike most of the rest of the Twenty-Four Histories, this work was not commissioned by the state.
The Xiongnu were a tribal confederation of nomadic peoples who, according to ancient Chinese sources, inhabited the eastern Eurasian Steppe from the 3rd century BC to the late 1st century AD. Chinese sources report that Modu Chanyu, the supreme leader after 209 BC, founded the Xiongnu Empire.
Chinese sources linked the Hu on their northern borders to the Xiongnu just as Graeco-Roman historiographers called the Pannonian Avars, Huns and Hungarians "Scythians". Such archaizing was a common literary topos, implying similar geographic origins and nomadic lifestyle but not direct filiation. [ page needed ]
As part of the heterogeneous Rouran Khaganate, the Türks lived for generations north of the Altai Mountains, where they 'engaged in metal working for the Rouran'.According to Denis Sinor, the rise to power of the Ashina clan represented an 'internal revolution' in the Rouran Khaganate rather than an external conquest.
According to Charles Holcombe, the early Tujue population was rather heterogeneous and many of the names of Türk rulers, including the two founding members, are not even Turkic.This is supported by evidence from the Orkhon inscriptions, which include several non-Turkic lexemes, possibly representing Uralic or Yeniseian words. Peter Benjamin Golden points out that the khaghans of the Turkic Khaganate, the Ashina, who were of an undetermined ethnic origin, adopted Iranian and Tokharian titles. German Turkologist W.-E. Scharlipp points out that many common terms in Turkic are Iranian in origin.
The Göktürks reached their peak in late 6th century and began to invade the Sui Dynasty of China. However, the war ended due to the division of Turkic nobles and their civil war for the throne of Khagan. With the support of Emperor Wen of Sui, Jami Qayan won the competition. However, the Göktürk empire was divided to Eastern and Western empires. Weakened by the civil war, Jami Qayan declared allegiance to Sui Dynasty.When Sui began to decline, Shibi Khah began to assault its territory and even surrounded Emperor Yang of Sui in Siege of Yanmen (615 AD) with 100,000 cavalry troops. After the collapse of Sui dynasty, the Göktürks intervened in the ensuing Chinese civil wars, providing support to the northeastern rebel Liu Heita against the rising Tang in 622 and 623. Liu enjoyed a long string of success but was finally routed by Li Shimin and other Tang generals and executed. The Tang dynasty was then established.
Although Göktürk Khaganate once provided support to the Tang Dynasty in the early period of Chinese civil war, the conflicts between the Göktürks and Tang finally broke out when Tang was gradually reuniting China. Göktürk began to attack and raid the northern border of the Tang Empire and once marched their main force to Chang'an, the capital of Tang. Having not recovered from the civil war, the Tang briefly had to pay tribute to Göktürk nobles.Allied with tribes against the Göktürk Khaganate, the Tang defeated the main force of Göktürk army in Battle of Yinshan four years later and captured Illig Qaghan in 630 AD. With the submission of Turkic tribes, the Tang conquered the Mongolian Plateau.
After hard court debate, Emperor Taizong decided to pardon the Göktürk nobles and offered them the positions of imperial guards.However, the plan ended in an assassination plan of the emperor. On May 19, 639 Ashina Jiesheshuai and his tribesmen directly assaulted Emperor Taizong of Tang at Jiucheng Palace (九 成 宮, in present-day Linyou County, Baoji, Shaanxi). However, they did not succeed and fled to the north, but were caught by pursuers near the Wei River and were killed. Ashina Hexiangu was exiled to Lingbiao. After the unsuccessful raid of Ashina Jiesheshuai, on August 13, 639 Taizong installed Qilibi Khan and ordered the settled Turkic people to follow him north of the Yellow River to settle between the Great Wall of China and the Gobi Desert. However, many Göktürk generals still remained loyal in service to the Tang Empire.
In 679, Ashide Wenfu and Ashide Fengzhi, who were Turkic leaders of the Chanyu Protectorate (單于大都護府), declared Ashina Nishufu as qaghan and revolted against the Tang dynasty.In 680, Pei Xingjian defeated Ashina Nishufu and his army. Ashina Nishufu was killed by his men. Ashide Wenfu made Ashina Funian a qaghan and again revolted against the Tang dynasty. Ashide Wenfu and Ashina Funian surrendered to Pei Xingjian. On December 5, 681 54 Göktürks including Ashide Wenfu and Ashina Funian were publicly executed in the Eastern Market of Chang'an. In 682, Ilterish Qaghan and Tonyukuk revolted and occupied Heisha Castle (northwest of present-day Hohhot, Inner Mongolia) with the remnants of Ashina Funian's men. The restored Göktürk Khaganate intervened in the war between Tang and Khitan tribes. However, after the death of Bilge Qaghan, Göktürk could no longer subjugate other Turk tribes in grassland. In 744, allied with Tang Dynasty, the Uyghur Khaganate defeated the last Göktürk Khaganate and controlled the Mongolian Plateau.
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Bumin Qaghan or Illig Qaghan was the founder of the Turkic Khaganate. He was the eldest son of Ashina Tuwu. He was the chieftain of the Turks under the sovereignty of Rouran Khaganate. He is also mentioned as "Tumen" of the Rouran Khaganate.
The Rouran Khaganate, Ruanruan, Ruru, or Tantan was the name of a state of uncertain origin ,, although it is commonly believed that its people were descended from the Xianbei. The Rouran are noted for being the first people to use the title of "khan" or "khagan". The Rouran Khaganate lasted from the late 4th century until the middle 6th century when they were defeated by a Göktürk rebellion which subsequently led to the rise of the Turks in world history. The Rouran may have fled west after that and became the Pannonian Avars, however this is a contested theory among historians. The Göktürks chased after these "Avars" into the Byzantine Empire and referred to them as "Varconites" who were escaped slaves of the Türks. However they also claimed that these were not "true Avars", who remained in the east as subjects of the Türks, while the ones in the west were only "pseudo-Avars".
Ilterish Khaghan was the founder of the Second Turkic Khaganate.
Muqan Qaghan; was the second son of Bumin Qaghan and the third khagan of the Göktürks who expanded their khaganate and secured the borders against the Hephthalites.
Yami Qaghan(Old Turkic: 𐰖𐰢𐰃𐰴𐰍𐰣, Jаmï qaγan, Chinese: 啓民可汗, 啟民可汗/启民可汗, Modern Chinese: : Qǐmín Kěhàn, : Ch'i-min K'o-han, Middle Chinese: [kʰiei˥mi̯en˩ kʰɑ˥ɣɑn˩˥]), personal name: Ashina Jankan, at one point known as Tolis Qaghan and after was the first qaghan of the Eastern Turkic Khaganate.
ChuluoKhagan was the khagan of the Eastern Turkic Khaganate, and second son of Yami Qaghan.He succeeded his elder brother Shibi and ruled for 18 months.
Illig Qaghan, later Tang posthumous title Prince Huang of Guiyi (歸義荒王/归义荒王), was the last qaghan of the Eastern Turkic Khaganate.
Empress Ashina (551–582) was an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. She was the daughter of Göktürk's Muqan Qaghan, and her husband was Emperor Wu.
The Xueyantuo (薛延陀) (Seyanto, Se-yanto, Se-Yanto) or Syr-Tardush were an ancient Tiele Turkic people and Turkic khanate in central/northern Asia who were at one point vassals of the Gokturks, later aligning with China's Tang Dynasty against the Eastern Gokturks. The Xueyanto homeland is near the Selenga River/Xueyanhe River (薛延河江/偰輦河江), so their tribe's name is Seyanto/Xueyantuo (薛延陀), Chinese Han characters underwent considerable changes according to changes in Chinese dynasties, so the tribe is variously known as Xueyantuo, Xueyanhe, Xienianhe, Seyanto, Selenga, Selyanha, etc.
Pei Ju (547-627), birth name Pei Shiju, courtesy name Hongda, formally Duke Jing of Anyi, was a statesman who lived in the Sui and Tang dynasties, briefly serving as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Gaozu of Tang. He was praised by traditional Chinese historians for his ability and lack of corruption, but blamed for flattering Emperor Yang of Sui and practically directly contributing to Sui's downfall by encouraging many external military campaigns that drained Sui's resources. Modern historians have questioned these assessments: Arthur F. Wright labelled the latter judgement in the Zizhi tongjian a "particularly blatant piece of editorializing" and "absurd ... beyond doubt".
Heshana Qaghan or Heshana Khagan (Chinese: 曷娑那可汗, : hésuōnà kěhàn, : ho-so-na k'o-han, Middle Chinese [ɣɑt.sɑ˥˩nɑ˩ kʰɑ˥ɣɑn˩˥] or 曷薩那可汗/曷萨那可汗, hésànà kěhàn, ho-sa-na k'o-han; at one point known as Chuluo Khagan and, personal name Ashina Daman - was the second khagan of the Western Turkic Khaganate. He was the son of Niri Qaghan.
The Eastern Turkic Khaganate was a Turkic khaganate formed as a result of the internecine wars in the beginning of the 7th century after the Göktürk Khaganate had splintered into two polities – Eastern and Western. Finally, the Eastern Turkic power was absorbed by the Chinese Tang Empire.
Tong Yabghu Qaghan was khagan of the Western Turkic Khaganate from 618 to 628 AD. His name is usually translated as "Tiger Yabgu" in Old Turkic. Another interpretation of his name is "sufficiency" or "completeness".
Qapaghan Qaghan or Qapghan Qaghan was the second Khaghan of the Second Turkic Khaganate during Wu Zetian's reign and was the younger brother of the first kaghan, Ilterish Qaghan.
The Turkic Khaganate or Göktürk Khaganate was a khaganate established by the Ashina clan of the Göktürks in medieval Inner Asia. Under the leadership of Bumin Qaghan and his sons, the Ashina succeeded the Rouran Khaganate as the hegemonic power of the Mongolian Plateau and rapidly expanded their territories in Central Asia. Initially the Khaganate would use Sogdian in official and numismatic functions. It was the first Turkic state to use the name Türk politically and is known for the first written record of any Turkic language in history.
Kurshad or Ashina Jiesheshuai was a member of the Ashina clan of the Eastern Turkic Khaganate and general (Zhonglangjiang) of the Tang dynasty.
The Tiele, also transliterated as Chile, Gaoche, or Tele, were a confederation of nine tribes living to the north of China and in Central Asia, emerging after the disintegration of the confederacy of the Xiongnu. Chinese sources associate them with the earlier Dingling. The Tiele were a collection of tribes of mostly Turkic ethnic origins.
The Tang campaigns against the Western Turks, known as the Western Tujue in Chinese sources, were a series of military campaigns conducted during the Tang dynasty of China against the Western Turkic Khaganate in the 7th century AD. Early military conflicts were a result of the Tang interventions in the rivalry between the Western and Eastern Turks in order to weaken both. Under Emperor Taizong, campaigns were dispatched in the Western Regions against Gaochang in 640, Karasahr in 644 and 648, and Kucha in 648.
Pei Xingjian, courtesy name Shouyue was a Tang dynasty general and politician. He was best known for his victory over the Khan of Western Turkic Khaganate Ashina Duzhi. He was also responsible for escorting the Sasanian Persian king-in-exile Narsieh to Persia which was occupied by Arab conquerors. He dedicated most of his life to dealing with Turkic tribes in the Anxi Protectorate.