Thomas S. Noonan

Last updated

Thomas Schaub Noonan (January 20, 1938 – June 15, 2001) was an American historian, Slavicist and anthropologist who specialized in early Russian history and Eurasian nomad cultures.


Educated at Indiana University, Noonan was, for many years, a Professor of History at the University of Minnesota. He was the author of dozens of books and articles and one of the leading authorities on the development of the Kievan Rus and the Khazar Khaganate. Noonan placed a great deal of importance on numismatics in understanding economic and social trends. He was the mentor of numerous scholars and leading historians. In 2001 many of his colleagues honored him by publishing the first of a multivolume collection of articles under the title "Festschrift in Honor of Thomas S. Noonan," which was edited by Roman K. Kovalev and Heidi M. Sherman. The second volume appeared in 2005.

Noonan died of cancer in 2001.

Selected bibliography

Kievan Rus and early Russia

Khazar studies

Further reading

Related Research Articles

Khazars Historical semi-nomadic Turkic ethnic group

The Khazars were a semi-nomadic Turkic people that in the late 6th century CE established a major commercial empire covering the southeastern section of modern European Russia, southern Ukraine, Crimea and Kazakhstan. They created what for its duration was the most powerful polity to emerge from the break-up of the Western Turkic Khaganate. Astride a major artery of commerce between Eastern Europe and Southwestern Asia, Khazaria became one of the foremost trading empires of the medieval world, commanding the western marches of the Silk Road and playing a key commercial role as a crossroad between China, the Middle East and Kievan Rus'. For some three centuries the Khazars dominated the vast area extending from the Volga-Don steppes to the eastern Crimea and the northern Caucasus.

Sviatoslav I Grand Prince of Kiev (943-972)

Sviatoslav I Igorevich, also spelled Svyatoslav, was a Grand Prince of Kiev famous for his persistent campaigns in the east and south, which precipitated the collapse of two great powers of Eastern Europe, Khazaria and the First Bulgarian Empire. He also conquered numerous East Slavic tribes, defeated the Alans and attacked the Volga Bulgars, and at times was allied with the Pechenegs and Magyars.

Atil, literally meaning "Big River", was the capital of Khazaria from the middle of the 8th century until the end of the 10th century. The word is also a Turkic name for the Volga River.

Grand Prince of Kiev was the title of the prince of Kiev (Kyiv) and the ruler of Kievan Rus' from the 10th to 13th centuries. In the 13th century, Kiev became an appanage principality first of the Grand Prince of Vladimir and the Golden Horde governors, and later was taken over by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Pechenegs Extinct Turkic people

The Pechenegs or Patzinaks were a semi-nomadic Turkic ethnic people from Central Asia speaking the Pecheneg language which belonged to the Oghuz branch of the Turkic language family.


Tmutarakan was a medieval Kievan Rus' principality and trading town that controlled the Cimmerian Bosporus, the passage from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov, between the late 10th and 11th centuries. Its site was the ancient Greek colony of Hermonassa founded in the mid 6th century BCE, by Mytilene (Lesbos), situated on the Taman peninsula, in the present-day Krasnodar Krai of Russia, roughly opposite Kerch. The Khazar fortress of Tamantarkhan was built on the site in the 7th century, and became known as Tmutarakan when it came under Kievan Rus control.

Torkils were a Turkic tribe of the Middle Ages, of Oghuz origins. The Torkils, alongsides Kipchak (Berendei), and also such tribes as Ulichi, Pechenegs, etc., formed the Chornye Klobuki, semi-nomadic tribes who fought as border guards for various princes of Kievan Rus,.

Trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks Medieval trade route between Scandinavia and the Eastern Roman Empire.

The trade route from the Varangians to the Romans was a medieval trade route that connected Scandinavia, Kievan Rus' and the Eastern Roman Empire. The route allowed merchants along its length to establish a direct prosperous trade with the Empire, and prompted some of them to settle in the territories of present-day Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. The majority of the route comprised a long-distance waterway, including the Baltic Sea, several rivers flowing into the Baltic Sea, and rivers of the Dnieper river system, with portages on the drainage divides. An alternative route was along the Dniestr river with stops on the Western shore of Black Sea. These more specific sub-routes are sometimes referred to as the Dnieper trade route and Dniestr trade route, respectively.

Omeljan Pritsak

Omeljan Yósypovych Pritsak was the first Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard University and the founder and first director (1973–1989) of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute.

Yarmaqs were silver coins minted in the Khazar Khaganate and other Turkic polities in medieval Eurasia. Ar- or yar- evolved from the verb "to cut longitudinally, to split", Turkish verb is also co-originating with the Old Turkic word ır- or yır- which means the same. The name is similar to Mongolian language word "yaarmag" meaning "market," especially outdoor ones that sell wide variety of goods.

Arab–Khazar wars Series of wars between the Arabs and Khazars over control of the Caucasus

The Arab–Khazar wars were a series of conflicts fought between the armies of the Khazar Khaganate and the Rashidun, Umayyad, and Abbasid caliphates and their respective vassals. Historians usually distinguish two major periods of conflict, the First Arab–Khazar War and Second Arab–Khazar War, but the Arab–Khazar military confrontation also involved sporadic raids and isolated clashes from the middle of the 7th century to the end of the 8th century.

Turkic migration refers to the spread of Turkic tribes and Turkic languages across Eurasia and between the 6th and 11th centuries. In the 6th century, the Göktürks overthrew the Rouran Khaganate in what is now Mongolia and expanded in all directions, spreading Turkic culture throughout the Eurasian steppes. Although Göktürk empires came to an end in the 8th century, they were succeeded by numerous Turkic empires such as the Uyghur Khaganate, Kara-Khanid Khanate, Khazars, and the Cumans. Some Turks eventually settled down into a sedentary society such as the Qocho and Ganzhou Uyghurs. The Seljuq dynasty settled in Anatolia starting in the 11th century, resulting in permanent Turkic settlement and presence there. Modern nations with large Turkic populations include Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, and Turkic populations also exist within other nations, such as Chuvashia, Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, the Crimean Tatars, the Uyghurs in China, and the Sakha Republic Siberia.

Jonathan Shepard is a British historian specialising in early medieval Russia, the Caucasus, and the Byzantine Empire. He is regarded as a leading authority in Byzantine studies and on the Kievan Rus. He specialises in diplomatic and archaeological history of the early Kievan period. Shepard received his doctorate in 1973 from Oxford University and was a lecturer in Russian History at the University of Cambridge. Among other works, he is co-author of The Emergence of Rus 750–1200 (1996), and editor of The Cambridge History of the Byzantine Empire (2008).

Caspian expeditions of the Rus Caspian Sea expeditions carried out by the Rus between the 9th and 11th centuries

The Caspian expeditions of the Rus' were military raids undertaken by the Rus' between 864 and 1041 on the Caspian Sea shores, of what are nowadays Iran, Dagestan, and Azerbaijan. Initially, the Rus' appeared in Serkland in the 9th century traveling as merchants along the Volga trade route, selling furs, honey, and slaves. The first small-scale Viking raids took place in the late 9th and early 10th century. The Rus' undertook the first large-scale expedition in 913; having arrived on 500 ships, they pillaged in the Gorgan region, in the territory of present-day Iran, and more to the west, in Gilan and Mazandaran, taking slaves and goods. On their return, the northern raiders were attacked and defeated by the Khazars in the Volga Delta, and those who escaped were killed by the local tribes on the middle Volga.

Volga trade route Historical trade route that connected Northern Europe with the Caspian Sea

In the Middle Ages, the Volga trade route connected Northern Europe and Northwestern Russia with the Caspian Sea and the Sasanian Empire, via the Volga River. The Rus used this route to trade with Muslim countries on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea, sometimes penetrating as far as Baghdad. The powerful Volga Bulgars formed a seminomadic confederation and traded through the Volga river with Viking people of Rus' and Scandinavia and with the southern Byzantine Empire Furthermore, Volga Bulgaria, with its two cities Bulgar and Suvar east of what is today Moscow, traded with Russians and the fur-selling Ugrians. Chess was introduced to Old Russia via the Caspian-Volga trade routes from Persia and Arabic lands.

Pax Khazarica is a historiographical term, modeled after the original phrase Pax Romana, applied to the period during which the Khazar Khaganate dominated the Pontic steppe and the Caucasus Mountains. During this period, Khazar dominion over vital trans-Eurasian trade routes facilitated travel and trade between Europe and Asia by such groups as the Radhanites and the early Rus. The originator of the term is unknown but it was in use by scholars as early as the nineteenth century.

Rus Khaganate Hypothetical former country

The Rus' Khaganate, also Russkiy Kaganate, is the name applied by some modern historians to a hypothetical polity postulated to have existed during a poorly documented period in the history of Eastern Europe, roughly the late-8th-century and early-to-mid-9th-century AD.

Kievan Rus Federation of East Slavic and Finnic tribes in Eastern and Northern Europe from 879 to 1240

Kievan Rus' or Kyivan Rus', was a loose federation of East Slavic and Finno-Ugric peoples in Eastern and Northern Europe from the late 9th to the mid-13th century, under the reign of the Rurik dynasty, founded by the Varangian prince Rurik. The modern nations of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine all claim Kievan Rus' as their cultural ancestors, with Belarus and Russia deriving their names from it. The Rurik dynasty would continue to rule parts of Rus' until the 16th century with the Tsardom of Russia. At its greatest extent, in the mid-11th century, it stretched from the White Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south and from the headwaters of the Vistula in the west to the Taman Peninsula in the east, uniting the majority of East Slavic tribes.

The Saragurs or Saraguri was a Eurasian Oghur (Turkic) nomadic tribe mentioned in the 5th and 6th centuries. They may be the Sulujie mentioned in the Chinese Book of Sui. They originated from Western Siberia and the Kazakh steppes, from where they were displaced north of the Caucasus by the Sabirs.

Thomas Theodore Allsen was an American historian specializing in Mongolian studies.