1. General remarks.

2. The Huns’ movement from the Volga to the West and its consequences.

3. Creation of the Hun state.

4. Altynoba — the first ancient Bulgarian state.

History in some sense is a sacred book of the peoples...

N. M. Karamzin.


The material, laid out in previous lectures, allows us to define the initial status, from which we start the study of the initial stage of the ancient Bulgar state.

From the beginning of the first century of our era (between 15 and 47 AD) in the Middle Volga basin, on the territory of modern Samara province, on the banks of the river Kinel was a princedom, Bulyar (initial name Atil). It was established by chieftain Kama-Tarkhan, who came with Utigurs, closely related to Bulgars, from the regions of Mongolia.

By the middle of the 4th c. AD direct descendants of Sumerians settled in the strategically two most important regions of the Caucasus. One group of Bulgars settled in the plains of Northern Dagestan, and another settled in the territory of Caucasian Albania (present Azerbaijan), south of the Derbent pass. The Caucasus Bulgars in those times were called by a general name, Burdjans. Later we will call them Dagestany Bulgars.

The process of disintegration of the Hun state stretched for many centuries and resulted in mass resettlement of Hun peoples or their splinters in the regions of Western Siberia, Kazakhstan, Central Asia, Volga basin, Northern Caucasus, Northern Pontic and Meotida. However, approximately until the 60s of the 4th c., the waves of Hun settlement west of Volga had incidental character.

Since 360 AD the historical fate of the Bulgars was directly connected with Hun peoples, we have, if briefly, to tell the history of Huns from the middle of the 4th c. AD. L.N. Gumilev wrote:

“... The end of an ethnos does not mean physical destruction of itsmembers, but only of a system, abandoning of the tradition and a possibilityfor the remaining individuals to enter the world of the other ethnosystems”(No 196). As an ethnos Huns lived for almost 1,5 thousand years, and then this ethnos fragmented, giving a beginning to new ethnoses or expanding the already existing ethnosystems. A significant part of the Huns was included in the forming Bulgarian ethnosystem.

What information was preserved on this subject in historical sources?

Group of the European sources. Ptolemaus Claudius (bornafter 83 AD, died after 161 AD), the outstanding Alexandria astronomer, mathematician and geographer left descriptions of the Hun peoples, who in the end of the 1st —beginning of the 2nd century were the first to reach the Dnieper.

More detailed information on the Huns was left by Ammianus Marcellinus (4-th c.), Paul Orozy (beginning of the 5 c.), Priskos (5 c.), Jordanes (6 c.). They not only wrote about the Huns’ actions in Europe, about their appearance, but also tried to figure out where they came from and where they lived before.

Group of the Bulgarian sources. The information on the initial stage of the Hun’s campaign west of the Volga, about Bulgarian participation in the Hun’s campaigns, about the process of inclusion of Hun clans and peoples in the Bulgarian ethnosystem is contained in the Gazi Bardjwork “Gazi Bardj tarikhy” (“Annals of Gazi Bardj”) (end of the 20s —middle of the 40s of the 13th c.), in the fragments of the Bulgarian annals published in the Bakhshi Iman book “Djafgar tarikhy, Vol. 1, Collection of Bulgarian annals” (Orenburg, 1993).


The mass resettlement of Hun peoples west of the Volga was connected with the movement of a Hun people (the Hunugurs), in which a clan Bulyar held a prevailing position. In the beginning of the 4th c. the Hunugurs left Tarbagatai region under the leadership of Bulümar (in the Greek sources his name is given in the form Belemer) from the clan Bulyar. At first the Hunugurs wanted to settle down in the Semirechye regions. When it failed, they set out further west, and came to the Middle Volga basin. It happened approximately in 329 AD. At that time the Utigs were left without a ruler. The last ruler of the Bulyar princedom, Djoka-Utig, was killed, together with his sons, in a battle with Scandinavians (1; 11). Therefore, Utigs recognized Bulümar as a ruler. He ruled the Bulyar princedom for 30 years. The winter of 359- 360 was severe, trees split from severe cold, birds were falling in flight. There were no rains in the spring and summer. A hunger began. A loss of cattle resulted in famine. To save his people from death, Bulümar took the Hunugur people to the west of the Volga. Together with the Hunugurs went a part of the Utigs, Khots and Huns, who lived in the Caspian lowland. The Byzantian and Latin historians called them by a collective name Huns. The Huns crossed the Volga in 360 AD (before, it was believed in 350 AD) (2; 270 and 3; 124). The Alans tried to block the Huns in their move to the west. Alans are the ancestors of modern Ossetians, descendents of Kara Saklans (western Saklans, separated from Sinds-Urts in remote times). Alans, led by a prince Boz-Urus used the usual Sarmatian tactics of combat. Their mounted warriors were protected by chain mail armour, and armed with swords. The Alans attached long lances to horse necks with chains. To the strike of the lance it gave the power of a fast running horse. Alans used to break easily an enemy infantry, armed with light bows (3; 124).

Ammianus Marcellinus wrote about the Hun tactics of combat at the end of the 4th c.: “They battle from afar by flying arrows, to which with remarkable skill are attached bone arrowheads as sharp tips, but, having crossed the (separating them from an enemy) distance, they fight hand-to-hand with swords, not thinking at all about themselves. When they see a danger of the enemy blades, they throw nooses which entangle the enemy”(4; 330). If Ammianus Marcellinus compared the approach of the Huns to a snow hurricane in the mountains, historian Jeronimus (5th c.) compared it with a cloud of bees. The onslaught of Huns was so powerful and furious, that the Alans broke and began to retreat to the west in a panic. Other peoples, who lived in the regions of Northern Caucasus, also began to leave with the Alans. Thus began the so-called Great Movement Of The Peoples.

In the second half of the 60s - first half of the 70s of the 4th c., the Huns reached the east coast of the Azov sea (then called Meotida) and came to the lowlands of the Don. On the east coast of the Azov sea lived the Sarmatian peoples known as Yazygs and Roxolans. They could not resist the onslaught of the Huns. Utigs and Khots returned to the home of their Cimmerian ancestors.

In 375 or 376 AD the Huns came to the Don. Here they met with the Ostrogoths. Their leader was king Germanarix. The Goths came to Northern Pontic in the second half of the 2nd c. Depending on where they resettled, the German peoples were grouped in “Vest”and “Ost” Goths, i.e. western and eastern Goths. Ostgoths (Ostrogoths) camped between the Dniestr and western bank of the Don, and the Visigoths (Vesegoths) lived in Walacia, Moldova and modern Bessarabia.

Due to an incident (the Hun hunters saw as a deer crossed Kerch straightin a narrow place of 3 - 4 km), Huns crossed the Kerch straight, shallow from the Don silt, to the Crimean peninsula and struck Ostgoths from the rear. The defeated Ostgoths left to the west.


During the movement of the Huns to the west from the Volga, the Bulgars, who lived in the regions of Northern Caucasus and Azerbaijan, joined in. Before that the Bulgars served the Alanian ruler prince Boz-Urus. When the leader of the Huns, Bulümar, raised a banner of a Dulo clan “a red felt ball witha tail of multi-colored stripes on it” (1; 11), Bulgars understood that the closely related Huns are coming, and switched sides.

The senior son of Bulümar, Alyp-bi (Prince Alyp) with a corps of Bulgars and Huns defeated Sadumians (Scandinavians) and forced them to escape to Italy. Then he forded the Danube and routed an 80 000 Byzantian army (1;13). It happened in 378 under Adrianople (Bulgars called it Kan - Dare). Among military trophies also was an imperial crown. Alyp-bi brought this crown to his father. Bulümar put on the crown and proclaimed himself the Khan (King) of the Huns. During a victory feast he died suddenly. Alyp-bi became the Khan. He proclaimed the creation of the Hun state. Her territory reached from the Lower Volga up to the Lower Danube. Part of the Huns joined the Bulgars. As a result, the Bulgars became a numerous people. The main clans of the Bulgars of that time (80s - 90s of the 4th c. AD) were Erdim, Bakil (Boyandur), Seber, Agachir, Kharka, Utig, Kimer (1; 14), who gradually were increasing their influence within the Hun state. When Khan (King) Alyp-bi died, he was buried on a mountain Kuyantau (Kuk - Kuyan), i.e. upland, on which is located the modern city Kiev. On his tomb was installed a huge stone tamga of the clan Dulo. The tamga was called “Baltavar”, i.e. “Lord Of Princes” and looked like a trident. Its + part meant an axe, and U bow (1;14). The baltavar was a sign of royal authority.

The Hun state reached its power under Alyp-bi, grandson of Attila. Attila was a son of Aibat, known in the European sources as Mundzuk, who died in 434 AD. After the death of Aibat his sons Attila and Buda ruled over the Huns. Attila ruled over the Huns living west of the Don, and his brother Bled ruled east of this river. When Buda died in 444 or 445 AD, Attila began to rule over all Huns.

In the description of historian Priscus, who personally saw Attila, he was short of stature, with a broad chest and a large head; his eyes were small, his beard thin and sprinkled with gray; and he had a flat nose and a swarthy complexion (2; 102). So Attila looked in 448. The residence of the ruler of the Huns was then in Pannonia (modern Hungary), where they moved in 405 - 406 AD. The capital was between the rivers Tisza and Temes. Both rivers are left influents of the Danube. The capital was a rather large settlement, which could be compared to a “most expansive city”. It was surrounded by wooden walls made “of shiny boards, whose joints were so accurate that the union of the boards could scarcely be distinguished by close scrutiny” (2; 101). Inside the territory of the settlement was a courtyard surrounded with a huge fence. Here were Attila’s tent and palace. The palace, constructed on a hill and topped by towers, was decorated with carvings.

In 451 Attila set off against the Visigoths from the bank of the Tisza to the bank of the Rhine. The major reason of the campaign: the king of the Visigoths poisoned his wife, Attila’s sister. In the second half of June 451 at the Catalaunian Plains (modern province of Champagne in France) the two most powerful armies of Europe clashed. In Attila’s army, besides Huns, were Bulgars, Ostgoths under the leadership of three brothers (Valamir, Thiudimer, Vidimer), and Gepids under the leadership of Ardaric. The Visigothic king Theodorid and an outstanding commander Aetius led the Roman army. In this army, besides Visigoths and Romans, were Alans.

Attila won the battle. Both sides lost 180 thousand soldiers each. In Europe, there was now no force capable to resist Attila.

In 453 Attila married again. His choice was a girl “of remarkable beauty,named Ildico” (2; 116 - 117). The next day after the wedding the royal attendants suspected some ill and, after a great uproar, broke the doors. There they found Attila dead from a poisoned drink.” (2; 117). By the Hun’s custom men plucked out the hair of their heads and made their faces hideous with deep wounds, so that the renowned warrior might be mourned, not by effeminate wailings and tears, but by the blood of men” (4; 117).

For the burial, Attila's body was transported to the steppe. There was set a silk tent and the body of the deceased was laid there in state. The best horsemen of the Huns rode around in circles. Huns built a memorial kurgan (tumulus), celebrated a memorial feast and buried the body of the powerful leader in the earth. They bound his coffins, the first one with gold, the second one with silver, and the third one with the strength of iron. Gold and the silver coffins symbolized the rout of two empires -Gothic and Roman, and iron – a conquest of the other peoples. In the tomb were laid weapons and breast plates, sparkling with various gems. To hide the site of the tomb, he was buried at night, and those appointed to work were killed. Horsemen stomped the steppe, so that it was impossible to find a burial place. The great king of the Huns, Lord of the bravest tribes”, as was spoken then about him, had forced the Byzantian emperor Theodosius II (died in 450) to pay annual tribute at a rate of 2 thousand golden pounds. Not only Bulgars preserved his memory, but many other peoples also. So, for example, in the “Song of Nibelungs” (German epos) his image is shown under the name Etsel, in the Scandinavian epos it is under the name Atli (4; 304).


After the funeral of Attila, his sons began a struggle for the inheritance of the father against the subject Germanic tribes. The main and major part of the inheritance was the subject peoples of Huns. It was decided to divide them by lot. This decision caused the indignation of king Ardaric, an ally and adviser of Attila for many years. The indignation grew into enmity. In 453 in Pannonia, near the present river Netava (left influent of Sava), ensued a battle between Huns and their allies, on the one hand, and Gepids on another. The battle lasted a long time. The fate was favorable to Gepids. In the fight, a senior son of Attila Illak (Ellak) was killed, a favorite of the powerful father. Illak’s brothers Tingiz and Bel - Kermek took cover in the military camp and held a defense for two years. However, in 455 they were compelled to negotiate. Gepid king Ardaric agreed to let Tingiz and Bel - Kermek out from the siege, with the Bulgars, but the soldiers of the other peoples had to surrender to captivity.

The Bulgars were famed for the bravery and swiftness of their attacks. They were armed with huge bows with long arrows, red copper knives, nets and ropes.“Bulgars were skilful in throwing at full gallop a noose or a net on the enemy” (6; 77).

Tingiz and Bel-Kermek went with the Bulgars from Pannonia (present Hungary) to the mouth of the Dnieper. However, on the way there they fell in an ambush set by Galidjians (the Norsemen - Scandinavians, belonging to German peoples(5; 42)). Tingiz was killed in fight. To inspire the Bulgars, Bel - Kermek“ordered to raise as a banner a red staff (Tarvils - M.Z.) with a half moon on the pole” (1; 14). Bulgars broke through the encirclement and left to Lower Dnieper.

The events described above resulted in rather essential changes: the new large movement of peoples began, Gepids took the plains of Pannonia on the banks of the Tisza, the territory between the Danube, the river Olt and the Carpathian mountains.

The Hun people Sadagariem settled in Little Scythia (nowadays Dobrudja) and Lower Misia (right banks of Danube, between Danube and Balkan mountains, down to the river Iskyr, the right influent of the Danube). The fourth son of Attila, Ernak with other Hun peoples settled here also.

Two other sons of the Attila, Emnetzur and Ultzindur, led the Ultzindzur and Ultzingur peoples from the territory of the Crimean peninsula to the right bank of Danube. In other words, they broke to the territory of Byzantiumand settled between modern city Vidin and the mouth of the river Olt. In the 6th c. the above peoples were known as Sacromontisii and Fossatisii(2; 120).

Bel-Kermek settled in the Nothern Crimean steppes between the Crimean isthmus and the mouth of the Dnieper (Danapr, the Huns called it Var, and Bulgars - Buri-Chai) with the Bulgars. After securing the territory, Bel - Kermek proclamed the creation of the princedom (Beylik) of Altynoba, i.e. The Golden Headquarters or Golden Camp. It was named in memory of Attila’s siege of Altyn Bash, i.e. Rome (Altyn Bash - Golden Head or Golden Cupolas). Bel - Kermek proclaimed himself a Baltavar. The word “Baltavar”, which before that meant the tamga of the Dulo clan, now began to mean “aleader” (complete translation - “Lord Of Princes”).

Thus, in the second half of the 50s of the 5th c., in the territory between the mouth of the Dnieper and the Crimean isthmus appeared a first state formation of ancient Bulgars, the princedom of Altynoba. Its founder was the third son of Attila, Bel-Kermek.

Soon after the declaration of the creation of the princedom of Altynoba, from Pannonia (from the part between Danube and Lower Sava) came other Hun peoples, Ultzinzurs, Bittugurs and Bardors, who then reunited with the Bulgars.

Thus, after the death of Attila (453), a part of the Huns left for the territory of Italy, another went to the Balkan peninsula, a third remained in Pannonia, on the left bank of Danube. However, at the end of the 50s - the beginning of 60s of the 5th c. many Hun peoples returned to the Northern Pontic, Nothern Meotia and Kuban steppes. The Bulgars settled in the Northern Pontic, and closely related Khots settled in the lower course of Don, Utigs - in the lower and middle course of the Kuban. The Bulgars began to hold a prevailing position in the regions of the Northern Caucasus, Meotia and Northern Pontic. The events of the 60s - 70s of the 5th c. accelerated the movement of the Bulgars in this direction.

In the 60s of the 5th c., when Bel-Kermek was still alive, the Northern Pontic steppes were invaded by Sabir-Huns. Avars drove them out from the regions of Semirechye (1; 15). Avars were a Hunnic people who remained in Mongolia. The Sabir-Huns pushed the other Huns to the regions of Transcaucasia, others were pushed to Northern Dagestan, where they were accepted by Dagestany Bulgars. A third part of Huns was accepted by Bel-Kermek and resettled on the territory of the princedom of Altynoba (1; 15).

The Murdas (Burtas) people living south of the Oka united with Sabirs. Bel- Kermek married a daughter of the Masgut (Bashkurt) ruler.

The successor to Bel-Kermek, his senior son Djurash, nicknamed Masgut, expanded the territorial limits of the Altynoba princedom. In the winter of 498 - 499 he defeated Byzantian troops and retained the left bank of the Danube. For a good service a prince of the Sabirs gave him the territory between the Danube (Sula) and Crimean peninsula (Djalda).

After the death of Djurash, his son Tatra became Baltavar, i.e. the ruler of Bulgars. He became known by his successful campaigns against the Byzantian empire.

During the rule of Tatra's son Boyan-Chelbir, two important events took place which influenced the history of the Bulgars.

First, the Avars, forced out from Semirechye by the Khazar Türks, came to Northern Caucasus and Nothern Pontic steppes (1; 15). The Sabirs sought Boyan-Chelbir for an alliance. Boyan-Chelbir found an original solution for the situation. He fraternized with the Avar Khagan (emperor) Tubdjak. Boyan-Chelbir named his son Tubdjak, i.e. by the name of the Avar ruler. The Avar ruler took the name Boyan.

Secondly, Bulgars were divided into two groups. The son of Boyan-Chelbir, Atrak, was installed as a ruler of the Dagestany Bulgars (Burdjans). They began to be named Ak-Bulgars, i.e. Eastern Bulgars. “…Bulgars called west “Kara”, east - “Ak”, north - “Kuk”, and south - “Sara” or ”Sary” (1; 16). The Bulgars remaining under the leadership of the Baltavar Boyan-Chelbir began to be called Kara - Bulgars, i.e. Western Bulgars. The Kara - Bulgars became dependent from Avar Khagans. All this took place in the period between 559 and 565 AD.

Accordingly, the princedom (Beylik) of the western Bulgars began to be referred to as Kara-Bulgar, and eastern Bulgars - as Ak-Bulgar (1; 16).

In 590 Boyan-Chelbir died. His son Tubdjak became Baltavar of Kara –Bulgars. He fought on the side of Avars against Byzantines and their Slav subordinates, whom Bulgars called Ulchi (Ulichi, Ulchilar). The Bulgarian Baltavar resettled up to 200 thousand Ulchis on the northern borders of the Kara - Bulgar princedom. They were settled in the region of Carpathian mountains (Bulgars called these mountains Uchuly - “Three Sons”) and on the Dnieper (Burichai) (1; 16). They began to be called Anchi (Anchylar). The word “anchi” meant “frontier guard” or “boundary men”. So, Anchis are the Slavs, resettled by Bulgars in the Carpathians and on Dnieper.

In 605 Baltavar Tubdjak of the Kara-Bulgar died. His senior son Bu-Yurgan became Baltavar of the Kara-Bulgars. His name in the Greek sources is given in the form Organ, and S. Shamsi and I. Izmailov give another form, Uragan, in the book “Volga Bulgaria stories for children” (Kazan, 1995).

Bu-Yurgan (Yurgan is a name of one of Sabirian clans) was a giant and“renowned for such unusual strength, that he was nicknamed Ar-Buga” (1;16), i.e. a giant bull of legendary force. Bu-Yurgan did not remain on the Baltavar throne of the Kara - Bulgar for long. Under an agreement with the Avars, the Kara - Bulgars were obliged to participate in the military campaigns of the Avar Khagan. Soon after Bu-Yurgan obtained the position of Baltavar, the Avar Khagan organized a campaign against Byzantium. When the joined forces of the Avars and Bulgars surrounded one of the Byzantian cities, Avarian Khagan first sent the Anchis to storm, and then Bulgars. However, Byzantines entered reserves into the battle and withstood the Avars. The Khagan accused the Bulgarian Baltavar Bu-Yurgan of this setback. The Khagan removed Bu-Yurgan from the Baltavar position and ordered to set his younger brother Alburi on the throne. This decision had far-reaching consequences.

Literature and note

1. Bakhshi Iman. Djafgar tarikhy. Collection of Bulgarian annals. Vol.1. - Orenburg, 1993.

2. Jordanes. The origin and deeds of the Goths. /Translation, comment E.Ch. Skrjinskoi. - M., 1960.

3. Gumilev L.N. Millennium around Caspian. - M., 1993.

4. Ammianus Marcellinus. History. Vol. III. Book. XXXI.

5. Skrynnikov R.G.. Wars of Ancient Rus. // Historical questions. 11-12.-1995.-Pages24-37.

6. Amedei Tieri. The Huns after Attila. // Homeland Notes. Year seventeenth. Volume XCVIII. - SPb., 1855.

1.1. Huns and ancient Bulgars were similar at a genetic level and were closely related.

1.2. The Bulgars, and peoples closely related to them, for several centuries belonged to the Hun ethnosystem. Later, Huns joined the ancient Bulgarian ethnosystem. This circumstance influenced significantly the history of the Bulgars and resulted in a significant variety within the ancient Bulgarian ethnosystem. As the “ethnosystem” concept is one of the key categories for understanding the ethnic history of the ancestors of the modern Tatar people, the changes that took place in the ancient Bulgarian ethnosystem should be properly understood.

1.3. The history of the Tatar people and the history of all its ancestors are examined by us as a single and integral process of development. In this integral historical process we isolate the basic stages. The essential factor is the statehood of the Tatar people and its ancestors. According to this convention the historical development of Sumerian statehood is considered as an initial stage, Hun statehood as a second, ancient Bulgarian as a third, statehood of the Volga Bulgars - the fourth, the statehood of the Kipchak Kaganate Tatars as a fifth, the statehood of the Kazan Tatars as the sixth stage.

The present phase of study ought to highlight and trace the second and third stages in the existence and development of the statehood of the Tatar people’s historical ancestors.

5. Excerpts from the sources.

5.1. From “Gazi Bardj tarikhy” (“Annals of Gazi Bardj”).When Boyan, the ruler of Imens, living east from the Great Khingan mountain range, died, his sons Laish and Idjik struggled for power. Idjik was defeated and was compelled to leave with his retinue to the southern periphery of Gobi desert. “Here he became a ruler due to the courage of Imens - excellent archers. He subjugated the Kytai Turks. The Imens, led by Idjik, began to move from one Turkic settlement to another... Idjik ordered, by the time of arrival, to have people gathered and to prepare entertainment and tribute. During his stay he made assignments, held court and gave instructions. The tribute were called djien... To live with Türks Imens had to learn their language...

When the Kytai girls grew up, Imens, bringing them up in their own way, took them as wives and called themselves and their children Khons (Huns - M.Z.)...

Mindful of mutinities, Idjik took away to himself all Turkic arms-makers, dressed his people and their horses in iron armor, and forbade Kytais to have battle weapons and wear armor.

Source of information: Bakhshi Iman “Djafgar tarikhy. Vol. 1, Collection of Bulgarian annals” 1680. Orenburg, 1993.

5.2. From “Khon kitaby” (“History of Huns”) Kul Gali.

When in Samar (Sumer - M. Z.)... was a Flood, among Khin Imens flared a struggle for power. Upset by the rivalry, their king... with his retinue left to the west and conquered Turks. The Imenian men -... took Türkic women as wives and consequently their children began to speak in Turkic...So there were Khon people, who, despite the acceptance of the Turkic dialect, kept in purity the Imenian traditions, even such custom as to braid the men’s a hair into plaits.

Source of information: Bakhshi Iman. The same work, page 311.

5.3. From “Khon kitaby” Kul Gali

When the new Khon king Bulümar established in Bulyar the authority of the dynasty, and ordered to call Bulyar Atil, when Bulyarian Bulgars began to also call themselves “Bulyar” in memory of the old service to Khon Khans. By the time of the Bulümar arrival, Bulgars included so many Khon clans that Bulgars took on the Khon language...

The Alan dynasty recklessly refused to recognize the authority of Atil in hope of Sadumean help, and angry Bulümar with majority of Khons, including Bulgars and Modjars, attacked Shir and Kara-Saklan...

A lot of Khon Bulgars, in troubled years, began to enlist in Persia into a profitable service, and the Persians, at their request, settled them in Bulgarian regions of Kaftau. Very soon there were so many Khon Bulgars that these regions began to be called “Khondjaks” (“Khon districts “).

Source of information: Bakhshi Iman “Djafgar tarikhy. Vol. 1, Collection of Bulgarian annals” 1680. Orenburg, 1993, pages 313-314.

5.4. From “Gazi Bardj tarikhy” (“Annals of Gazi Bardj”).

...Kam-Tarkhan., the former commander of Khin-Batyr, became a king of Utigs and subdued all neighboring Ar tribes and Khots. He named the state“Atil”. His descendents ruled there for three hundred years, and when Bulümaror (Bulümbar) came to Bulyar with the Khons, they gave him their state... Bulümar named Atil Bakil or Bulyar...

Source of information: Bakhshi Iman “Djafgar tarikhy. Vol. 1, Collection of Bulgarian annals” 1680. Orenburg, 1993, page 19.

5.5.4. From”Notes on Mongolia composed by monk Iakinf”.

Annually princes gather on New year in the Khan Horde in the temple of ancestors. In the fifth moon they assemble in Lunchen for a sacrifice to ancestors, Sky, Earth and spirits.

In the morning the Khan goes out to bow to the Sun, and in the evenings to bow to the Moon.

Above work, Vol. 1, St.-Petersburg, 1828, page 188.

5.5.5. From “Notes on Mongolia composed by monk Iakinf”. Vol.2. SPb, 1828.

In 15 AD Van-man with a special embassy offered Shanüy to change the name Hunnu to Gunnu (page 34).

Clarifications: 1. Van-man - Chinese emperor. 2. In Chinese,“Hun” is “a malicious slave”, and “Gun” is “a respectful slave”.

8.1. The first state formations in the Volga-Ural region.

8.1.1. According to the preserved Bulgarian legends, in deep antiquity in the Volga - Ural region there existed a primary, and thus primitive, form of statehood under a name Turan. Probably, it was a primitive form of association of the people, some of which believed, that their ancestor came from the spirit of the moon in the form of a wolf, and others believed, that their ancestor was born from the spirit of a huge bull with a name Türk. In otherwords, it was an association of Sinds and Türks. It received its name from the name of Alp-Biki Turan, who patronized wild animals, miners, underground and underwater treasures, islands and mountain lakes.

The capital of the state Turan was Ergi, it was near the site of modern city Ufa. Certainly, the “capital” was not a city or fortress. It was a religious center, i.e. the location of the altar dedicated to Tengre.

When, with an approach of glaciation in the Southern Ural and adjoining steppes, it became cold, most of the people left.

8.1.2. The thawing of the glacier caused a flood in the Volga - Ural region. Let’s call it Uralian flood. Later, after the flood, in this regiona ppeared an association of seven Sindian - Urtsian clans. This associationwas called Idel (ide - seven, el — tribe, people). It wasfounded by Djam-Idjik.

The most powerful ruler was Burtas (683 — 633 BC). During his rule therewere the following most important events.

First, in 653 BC his troops conquered the Near East during the so-called“Burtas war”.

Secondly, before Burtas, Idel women could choose their husbands. Burtas forbade this ancient tradition.

Thirdly, he consolidated the central authority, completely subordinating the leaders of the clans, , i.e. biys. To demonstrate his power of authority above the biys, he forced them to cut their hair. The long hair was a sign of noble origin and “closeness” to God Tengre.

8.1.3. In the period between 15 and 47 AD in the Volga-Ural region there emerged a princedom, Atil. It was founded by Utigs, descendents of Cimmerians. The first ruler of a new dynasty and new princedom state was Kam-Tarkhan.

The political-military center of the princedom was in the territory of modern Samara area, on the place of station Kinel.

8.1.4. Greek and Latin historians writings about Huns

1. Claudius Ptolemy (born after 83 AD, died after 161): the outstanding Alexandria astronomer, mathematician, geographer and historian. In his work “Geography” he wrote: “between the Basternae and the Rhoxolani are the Chuni”.

Latyshev V.V. Reports of the ancient Greek and Latin writers about Scythia and Caucasus, Vol. 1. Greek writers. - St.-Petersburg, 1904. Pages 231-232.

Clarifications: Rhoxolani – Sarmatian people, lived between the Dnieper and the mouth of the Danube.

The majority of the modern historians place the Huns of Claudius Ptolemy on Dnieper. From the open spaces of the Volga Basin, Caspian lowland, Southern Urals, Western Siberia and Kazakhstan, Huns in several waves invaded the regions of Northern Caucasus, Meotia and Northern Pontic. Probably, Claudius Ptolemy recorded the first wave of the Hun’s movement. In 160 AD the Greek historian Dionysius Periegetes recorded the stay of the Huns in the Caspian lowland steppes.

2. Ammianus Marcellinus (IV c.): witnesses that Huns lived“on this side of Meotian bogs next to the Ice ocean”.

Jordanes. The origin and acts of the Gets. — M.; 1960. Page 268.

Clarifications: Meotian bog is the Azov Sea.

3. Paul Orozy (V c.): writer, poet, born in Spain. He wrote that Huns “were for long time locked up in inaccessible mountains“.

Jordanes. The origin and acts of the Gets. — M.; 1960. Page 268.

Clarifications: the talk is, probably, about Tarbagatai (Tash-tau).

4. Appearance of the Huns.

The Huns were short in stature, quick in bodily movement, alert horsemen, broad shouldered, ready in the use of bow and arrow, and have firm-set necks which are ever erect in pride. They made their foes flee in horror because their swarthy aspect was fearful, beardless, the cheeks of the males cut by deep scars, as after the birth of the boys their chins were burnt by the heated iron.

Jordanes. The origin and acts of the Gets. — M.; 1960. Page 91.

5. Greek and Latin historians about the movement of the Huns.

To the western side of the Volga in 360 (possibly, in 350) crossed peoples whose fate was to open a new page in the history of many peoples of Europe, and to begin an epoch in the world history of “Great Movement of the Peoples”. It was they who “made a movement of peoples in Europe unknown before by its force and extent of the area” (Jordanes. Same work, page269).

What impression made their acts on Europeans?

Ammianus Marcellinus: the Huns appeared in the regions of Northern Caucasus like a “snow storm in the mountains”.

Jeronimus (d. in 420): “ From the extreme Meotian limits burst out swarms... of the Huns, who, flying on fast horses here and there, filled all places with murder and horror”.

Jordanes. Same work, page 188.

The victorious movement of the Huns reminded the movement of a comet. In a short period they went from the Volga to Balkan peninsula, the Hungarian plains, and then to Orlean on the Loire, to Aquila and Milan in Northern Italy (Jordanes.Same work, page 269).

6. Greek and latin historians about Alans.

The Alans were descendents of Masguts (per Herodotus, Massagets). So believed Ammianus Marcellinus. The Bulgars considered the Alans as one of the Masgutclans. Originally, the Alans lived in the area “Tash Alan” (“Stone glade”, present plateau Ustürt). In the 2nd c. BC they lived on the northern shore of the Aral Sea. As evidenced by Josephus Flavius, author of the book “Judean war”, in the beginning of our era the Alans spread into the regions of Northern Caucasus. This information is also confirmed by the message of Lucian (2nd c. AD).

The Greek and Latin historians related the Alans to Scythian peoples. There was a complete similarity between Alans and Scythians in clothing and language, the distinction was only in the length of hair and expression of eyes. Alans wore the hair longer, look was more furious. The Alans frightened enemies with “latent, constrained ferocity of their sight” (Jordanes. Samework, page 276).

As evidenced by Ammianus Marcellinus, Alans originally lived “separated from each other by extensive spaces and they wandered in lowland steppes”.In the 3rd – 4th cc. AD Alans “united under one name and all are summarily called Alans, as their customs and way of life are the same “ (Jordanes.Same work, page 275).

7. Greek and Latin historians about the crossing of the Cimmerian Bosphorus by the Huns.

The Huns did not succeded to break into “Scythian Lands” on the “march”, the steppes of North Pontic. Help came by luck. Some Hun hunters noticed how a deer crossed the Kerch strait waters from Kerch peninsula to Taman peninsula. Following the deer, the hunters crossed to the opposite shore. Returning, they told about the possibility of crossing to that shore. This episode was widely known among the historians and writers of the 4th– 6th cc. So, for example, Zosim (second half of the 5th c.) wrote:

“ I found also such a notice, that Cimmerian Bosphorus (present Kerch strait - M. Z.), shallowed by the silt from Tanais (present river Don -M. Z.), allowed them (Huns - M. Z.) to cross on foot from Asia to Europe“ (Jordanes. Same work, page 271).

Another writer, Sozomen, wrote: “ the way pointed by the deer was slightly covered with water” (Same, page 272).

This fact is also noted in the works of other writers of the 5th-6th cc., Eupany, Procopius, Agathius and Jordanes.

8. Information about the Goths.

In the Northern Pontic the Goths appeared in the second half the 2nd c. AD. Depending on the location of settlement they were subdivided into“Vest”and “Ost” Goths. Their possessions were divided by the river Dniestr. The Goths settled to the east of the Dniestr up to the Don, were called Ostgoths. The Goths living in Walacia, Moldova and modern Bessarabia, were calledVisigoths.

9. Information about Attila (variation of his name: – Atilla).

The most complete information about Attila was left by the Byzantian diplomat and historian Priskos, and also by Jordanes. The Byzantian emperor Theodosius II the Younger (408 - 450 AD) sent Priskos with an embassy to the palace of the Hun king Attila. It happened in 448 AD.

9.1. Appearance of Attila in description of Priskos.

In appearance Attila was short of stature, with a broad chest and alarge head; his eyes were small, his beard thin and sprinkled with gray; and he had a flat nose and a swarthy complexion.

Jordanes. Same work, page 102.

9.2. Description of Attila's residence.

Attila's residence was in Pannonia (Hungary). The Huns entered the territory of Pannonia in 405 - 406 AD. Attila's capital was between the rivers Tisza and Temes, the left influents of the Danube. It could be equated to the “most extensive city”. The territory of the residence was surrounded with a wooden wall made “of shiny boards (Jordanes. Same work, page 101).

On the territory of the settlement was a court, surrounded by a vast fencing. The tent and palace of Attila were in this court yard.

The palace was located on a hill and was topped by towers, it was decorated with carvings.

9.3. Fragment of speech of Attila.

In the second half of June 451 on Catalaunian Plains (modern province Champagne in France) took place the most famous battle of the early Middle Ages. In fatal fight joined the two most powerful armies of that time. Attila commanded one army. In it, besides Huns, were, Ostgoths, Gepids and a multitude of other peoples led by their leaders. The king of Visigoths Theodorid and the outstanding commander Aetius (Etius) led the other army. In the army, besides Visigoths and Romans, were Alans.

The battle began about nine o’clock in the morning. The Visigoths seized a prevailing mound and hills. Attempts of the Huns to eject them from there ended in failure. Then Attila addressed his native Hunugur soldiers. Finishing his speech, he said: “No spear shall harm those who are sure to live; and those who are sure to die Fate overtakes even in peace. And finally, why should Fortune have made the Huns victorious over so many nations, unless it were to prepare them for the joy of this conflict. Who was it revealed to our sires the path through the Maeotian swamp, for so many ages a closed secret? Who, moreover, made armed men yield to you, when you were as yet unarmed? Even a mass of federated nations could not endure the sight of the Huns. I am not deceived in the issue; here is the field so many victories have promised us. I shall hurl the first spear at the foe. If any can stand at rest while Attila fights, he is a dead man.”

Jordanes. The origin and acts of the Gets. — M.; 1960. Pages 106- 107.

Clarifications: Attila reminded his tribesmen of the Hunugur's migration in 360 - 375 under the leadership of Bulümar (Belemer), to the coast of the Meotian Sea, their ancestral Cimmerian territory. To attention come Attila's words that the path across the Azov sea (Meotida) for many centuries remained “closed and secret“. In other words, Huns wanted very much, but could not, return to the ancestral home.

9.4. The Hun's funeral song at Attila's funeral.

The best horsemen of the entire tribe of the Huns performed the following funeral song: “The chief of the Huns, King Attila, born of his sire Mundiuch, lord of the bravest tribes, sole possessor of the Scythian and German realms —powers unknown before— captured cities and terrified both empires of the Roman world and, appeased by their prayers, took annual tribute to save the rest from plunder. And when he had accomplished all this by the favor of fortune, he fell, not by wound of the foe, nor by treachery of friends, but in the midst of his nation at peace, happy in his joy and without sense of pain. Who can rate this as death, when none believes it calls for vengeance?”.

Jordanes. The origin and deeds of the Goths. - M.; 1960. Page 117.

9.5. Testament of eyewitnesses about the battle at the Catalaunian Plains (June 451).

“Hand to hand they clashed in battle, and the fight grew fierce, confused, monstrous, unrelenting – a fight whose like no ancient time has ever recorded. There such deeds were done that a brave man who missed this marvelous spectacle could not hope to see anything so wonderful all his life long. For, if we may believe our elders, a brook flowing between low banks through the plain was greatly increased by blood from the wounds of the slain. It was not flooded by showers, as brooks usually rise, but was swollen by a strange stream and turned into a torrent by the increase of blood. Those whose wounds drove them to slake their parching thirst drank water mingled with gore. In their wretched plight they were forced to drink what they thought was the blood they had poured from their own wounds”.

Jordanes. Same work. Page 107.

9.6. Information about Avars.

The Avars (in the Chinese sources they are known as Juan-Juan) were routed by the Turks in the period between 551 and 555 AD. The Avars, living in 20 thousand wagons, ran to the west and in 558 reached the Northern Caucasus. They attacked Uturgurs (Utigs), Barsils, and Sabirs, and defeated them. The Avar Khaganate, created by them, existed until the middle of the 7th century.

Source of information. Djafarov Yu.R. Huns and Azerbaijan. Baku,1985.

9.7. Brief conclusions

From the beginning of the 60s of the 4th c. to the middle of the 50s of the 5th c. the Huns dominated the endless steppes from the Lower Volga to the Lower Danube. The Avars came to replace them. Avars had different capabilities and opportunities for domination. From the 20s of the 7th c. the domination in Meotian and Pontic steppes passes to Bulgars. The following were the major milestones in this development.

9.7.1. In 360 the Huns, and peoples closely related to them, under a leadership of Bulümar (Belemer), crossed the Volga from the east to the west. The “Great Movement Of The Peoples” began.

9.7.2. Descendants of Cimmerians came to the west together with the Huns, namely: Khots (Kuturgurs) from Tobol (Western Siberia) and Utigs (Utugurs, Uturgurs) from the regions of Volga Basin (centred on the banks of the river Kinel). The Greek and Latin historians viewed Utugurs and Kuturgurs as Hun-Bulgarian peoples.

9.7.3. Together with the Huns left for the west Bulgars from Albania (present Azerbaijan), and also from Djurash (present Northern Dagestan).

9.7.4. In the 70s of the 4th c. in the endless steppe from the Lower Volga to the Lower Danube emerged the Hun state. Its founder was Alyp-bi, i.e. Prince of Alps, the senior son of Bulümar. The Hun state achieved the height of its power in the middle of the 5th century during the rule of Attila.

9.7.5. After the death of Attila (453) most of the Huns left Pannonia (Hungary). The Hungur people, dominating among Huns, settled in the Northern Pontic, Uturgurs - in Northern Meotida, the Kuturgurs - in Eastern Meotida, and Bulgars from Albania and Djurash themselves inhabited the land between the mouth of Buri-Chai (Dnieper) and the mountain part of Djalda (Crimea).

9.7.6. In 455, a Bulgarian princedom, Altynoba, was formed in the Lower Dnieper and the steppe part of the Crimean peninsula. Its founder was the third son of Attila, Bel - Kermek.. He took a title, “Baltavar”- “Lord of Princes”.

9.7.7. The Sabirs arrived in 468 to the regions of Northern Caucusus and Northern Pontic. They were a very ancient people. The Sabirs lived between lakes Balkhash and Issyk-kul. They were expelled by Avars from there. The Avars were one of the last “splinters” of the Hunnic clans who remained some time in Mongolia. The Huns founded a political-military alliance with the Bulgars. Some of them joined the Bulgars of the Altynoba princedom, others joined the Bulgars of Transcaucasian Albania and Djurash (Northern Dagestan).

9.7.8. During the rule of Bel – Kermek’s son Masgut, the territory of the princedom of Altynoba extended to the mouth of the Danube.

9.7.9. During the rule of Bel – Kermek’s great-grandson Boyan-Chelbir, Khazars arrived to the regions of Northern Caucusus, driven by Avars from the territory between lakes Balkhash and Issyk-kul. The Sabirs joined the Bulgars of the Princedom of Altynoba.

9.7.10. Soon, closely following behind the Avars, came the Khazars. The joint forces of Altynoba Bulgars, Sabans and Avars did not let the Khazars to the western bank of Dnieper. The retreating Khazars took a part of Altynoba Bulgars, led by the son of Boyan-Chelbir, Atrak.

9.7.11. The Khazars permitted Atrak’s Bulgars to create a princedom under the name Burdjan in Djurash (Northern Dagestan). In due course the Dagestany Bulgars began to be called by a common name Burdjans. The Bulgars of the Altynoba Princedom began to be called Kara Bulgars,i.e. Western Bulgars, and Bulgars of the Burdjan Princedom - Ak Bulgars.

9.7.12. The ruler of Altynoba princedom Boyan-Chelbir died in 605. He left an expansive princedom to his son Bu-Yurgan (in the Byzantian sources- Organ): the border in the north passed on the line of the modern cities of Kharkov and Kiev, in the south - by northern slope of the Tausus mountains (Crimean peninsula), in the east - by the western bank of the Don, in the west- by the mouth of the Danube.

This was the situation on the eve of the emergence of the Great Bulgarian state. 13 - 14 years remained until its formation.

Translated by Norm KISAMOV.


Historically, three different groups of Bulgarians have influenced Russian history; the Kuban Bulgarians, the Volga Bulgarians and the Balkan Bulgarians. The first references to a people known as Bulgars or Bulgarians are from the 5th c., and these sources indicate that the first Bulgarians (the Great Bulgarians), were a Turkic people (also called Onogurs) inhabiting the steppes between the Kuban river and the Sea of Azov (Great Bulgaria). In the mid-7th c., the Great Bulgarians broke up into smaller groups, as mentioned above. The Kuban Bulgarians remained in this steppe region, and were assimilated by Magyars and other groups by the 11th c. Another group headed north, settled south of the confluence of the Kama and Volga rivers, and became known as the Volga Bulgarians. These Bulgars adopted Islam and established the first Muslim state on the territory of present-day CIS (in the early 10th c).

From the Mongol invasion to the destruction of the Kazan Khanate in the 1550s, the Volga Bulgarians were slowly assimilated into other groups, and thus played a role in the ethnogenesis of Tatars, Bashkirs and Chuvash. The third group is the one which came to settle in present-day Bulgaria, and is known as the Balkan (or Slavic) Bulgarians. This group stayed in the Black Sea region until the 7th c., when Great Bulgaria broke up. They moved west and south under Khan Asparuch, and later carved out a powerful state in the former Roman/Byzantine provinces of Moesia and Thrace. They brought Slavic settlers in the region under their sway, and gradually they assimilated. By the 10th c., the old Turkic Bulgarian language had been replaced by the new Slavonic Bulgarian.

Official Christianization began in the last half of the 9th c., under Khan Boris. He chose the Byzantine Orthodoxy, and received Slavonic liturgy and literary language from the exiled Byzantine Moravian mission of Cyril and Methodius. The Christianized first Bulgarian empire flourished in competition with the Byzantian empire until it was absorbed by the latter in the 11th c. It reemerged as an empire in the 13th c. (the second Bulgarian empire), but fell to the Turks in the late 14th c.

There were extensive contacts between Bulgaria and Kievan Rus', much thanks to the common religion and literary language (church Slavonic). Many Bulgarians came to Russia in the wake of wars or as churchmen or translators. After the fall of the second Bulgarian empire, significant numbers of Bulgarians migrated to Russia and contributed to a monastic and literary revival, known as "the second South Slav influence".

During the period of Ottoman rule, from the 14th through the 19th c., Bulgarian emigration to Russia continued. Religious and lingustic ties were an important background factor behind this migration. Other important factors were the growth of a Balkan merchant class (Greeks, Bulgarians and other Balkan peoples) and the Russo-Turkish wars of the 18th and 19th c. Many joined voluntary military units in support of the Russians. After Turkish successes, many of them fled to Russia together with regular refugees of war.

The Russo-Turkish war of 1876-78 brought autonomy to most of the territory of today's Bulgaria, which eventually achieved its full independence in 1908. Close ties between Bulgaria and Russia continued, and the Bulgarian national awakening in the 19th c. was in fact partly fostered by Bulgarians in Russia and by Russian Slavophiles. And as Russia received important cultural impulses from Bulgaria in earlier times, so the emerging Bulgarian state looked to Russia for ecclesiastical and educational support. This was how many Bulgarian students came to Russia from the 1850s onwards, where many of them became influenced by radical Russian intelligentsia, especially populism and Marxism.

Russia and Bulgaria were enemies in World War I, with Bulgaria on the loser's side and Russia pulling out of the war because of the Revolution in 1917. The 1917 events inspired a revolutionary movement in Bulgaria as well, where an attempted revolution failed in 1923. Thousands of Bulgarian communists were exiled as a consequence, and many ended up in present-day Ukraine, and some in Russia.

Translated by Norm KISAMOV

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