Co-editors: Seán Mac Mathúna • John Heathcote
Consulting editor: Themistocles Hoetis
Field Correspondent: Allen Hougland


The Khazars and the Scythians
Vladimir Pomakov

Scythian web links

The Slavonic antiquity website by Sergei V. Rjabchikov

The Scythians, Sarmatians, Meotians, Russians and Circassians: Interpretation of the Ancient Cultures by Sergei V. Rjabchikov

The Scythians: High-plians drifters

The Real Scythians of Messopotamia

The Scythians

The Horses of the Scythians

Khazar web links


Book Reviews of The Thirteenth Tribe

Review of Arthur Koestler's Book The Thirteenth Tribe by Grace Halsell

The Jews of Khazaria by Kevin Alan Brook

The Medieval Jewish Kingdom of the Khazars, 740-1259 A Resource for Turkic and Jewish History in Russia and Ukraine

The Thirteenth tribe at

An example of Scythian art: The Scythians are the common ancestors of the Indo-European people - including the people of Ireland, where according to the traditions of the Lebor Gabala Erren (Book of the Taking of Ireland), the Irish originated in Scythia and were descendants of a King Feinius Farsaid, a King of Scythia. For more on this check Irish mythology - the legendary descent of the Irish Clans.

Regarding history one of the most profound Bulgarian historians, Dr. Gancho Tzenov, prof. at the University of Berlin in the beginning of 20th century, believed that: (1) history is a positive, inductive science, which is based only on facts, systematized facts and never on assumptions, opinions and speculations. Consequently one must not believe in histories written by victors; (2) large sections of the officially accepted at his time European history of the past 2000 years or so, and particularly that of Eastern Europe, is based on assumptions, opinions and speculations and has nothing in common with the real history of the continent and its human inhabitants. The situation has not changed as of today. There is a lot of evidence supporting this stand of Dr. Tzenov, but I will allow myself to adduce the following few from his works:

1. Herodotus wrote extensively on the Scythians - the common ancestors of most of Indo-European peoples. He noted that this was the name they used to call themselves and that it translates in Greek as Nomads, or "wanderers". This is almost a direct proof that the tribes he describes under the common name of "Scythians" were proto-Slav peoples and that the name was derived from the Slav word "skitati" meaning "wander", "roam" (and thence the derivative word "skiti" - wanderers). Herodotus roughly outlined the territory inhabited by "Scythians": from the German mountains (Schwarzwald) in the west to the Black sea in the east and from the Baltic region in the North to the Mediterranean in the south. This was more or less half the known world at his times. What were the peoples that inhabited the world beyond these boundaries Herodotus did not say. (This was revealed and proven only now, in the 20th century AD, by the archeological findings in West China, Xin-jiang Province, in Mongol-Bouryatia, around lake Baikal, and in the vast lands between the Altai and Hindu Kush mountains. There archeologists excavated scores of mummies of Indo-European race, some of them as old as 5000 years and resembling very closely the peoples abiding the Atlantic coast roughly at the same time. Unfortunately Dr. Tzenov died in 1952). A number of the ancient authors often called the "Scythians" "K(C)eltoscythians", too. Among the "keltoscythian" peoples they mentioned "Gog", "Magog", "Geti", "Masageti", "Cimmerians", etc. (Today's historians regard the "Scythians" as a long extinct people, of whom only legends and some artifacts are left. However, ancient Skitians' gene stock is as alive today as it was 5 or 10 thousand years ago, being passed through Thracians, Illyrians, Dacians, etc., etc., into the present day Slav nations all over Central, Southeast and East Europe, and possibly into some other, unexpected ethnic group.)
Map showing the lands populated by the Scythians - they almost completely correspond with the state of the Khazars. From the The Scythians web site.

2. The legend, as told by Herodotus, have it that all "Scythians" were direct descendants of Hercules who had three sons from a mythical beast whose lower part was snakelike, and whose upper part was one of a hermaphrodite. Of this, let's call it 'marriage', the Hermaphrodite bore three sons: Agatirz, Gelon and Skit. (Readers will probably be aware that Hercules himself has nothing to do with the so-called Greek mythology and the Greek pantheon simply because he was a Thracian God much, much more ancient than the whole gang at Olympus Mountain.)

3. The Hercules' first son, called by Herodotus "Aga-tirz", was called by the people that descended from him "KOZAR". The Greek word "Agatirz" means "Goat-hunter" and is again a direct translation of the ethnonym "KOZAR" (goat-keeper or goat-hunter). Later, in the middle ages, in parallel with the changes in the Greek language, the pronunciation of the name of these peoples also changed and become "akatziri", "agatziri" or "agaziri". Something similar happened to the native, proto-Slav, name and it changed from "KOZAR" to "KOZAK" ("cossack"). (In antiquity, as partly in present days, they lived in the Carpathian Mountains, just to the north of the Lower Danube.)

4. In the 6th century AD, the Anonymous Chronograph of Ravenna, in its brief description of the KHAZARS, as one of the major peoples inhabiting Skitia (Scythia), specifies that, in the ancient times, they were called "akatzirs":

"In portione autem Iaphet filii Noae, quam philosophi Europam appellaverunt, sistuntur patriae, id est patria que dicitur Scythia, quae in omnibus cremosa existit. Ponitur ipsa patria litus Oceanum septentrionalem juxta prefatos montes Rimphaeos, quae patria longe lateque spatiosissima esse dinoscitur, item ponitur in locis planiciis longe lateque nimis spatiosissima quae dicitur Chazariae, et usque maior Scythia appellatur, quam Iordanis Cosmographus in modum Fungi scarifum esse dixit, quos Chazaros supra scriptus Iordanis Agaziros vocat per quam Chazarorum patriam plurima transeunt Flumina, inter cetera Fluvius maximus qui dicitur Cuphis. - Ravennati Anonymi Cosmographia ed. M. Pinder et G. Parthey. Berolini, 1860, p. 158 (IV-1)."

(In that part which the philosophers called Europe the fatherland of Iafet, Noah's son was located, i.e. a fatherland named Scythia, which is a wasteland (or abandoned land). This fatherland was located along the coast of the Northern Ocean by the mentioned before Rimphean Mountains and was very big by width and by length. Also, in a place flat, too spacious in length and width is the so called Chazaria, which was constantly called the Big Scythia, about which the geographer Jordanes tells that was in the shape of a mushroom. Those Chazars the above-mentioned Jordanes calls Agazirs. Through this fatherland of the Chazars flow many rivers, of which the largest one is called Cuphis).

5. Thus, for the first time, it was documented that the "KHAZARS" were the same "AGATZIRS", the same ancient Scythian, or Kelto-Scythian tribe "AGA-TIRZ", or as they called themselves in Herodotus time, "KOZARS". (Therefore, all this about the Khazars being Turkic, or Turkic-Caucasian (!) tribe was pure nonsense. The very term "Turkic-Aryan" is impossible and is in itself a transcendent folly. The Khazars, or KOZARs, or KOZAKS (COSSACKS) as they called themselves in more recent times, were one of the most ancient European peoples, the remnants of which, after Stalin's very successful attempt at their extermination, still inhabit today's Ukraina and Russia.)

6. What West-European historians (and most of East-European ones as well) call The Great Migration of Peoples in the early Middle Ages - between 4th and 7th AD - implying that huge masses of people from the depth of Asia, predominantly of Turkic origin, rushed into Europe and turned everything on their way into ruins, is to a very large extent dramatic fiction, myth, fabrication. What actually took place in the above period (and even as early as by the end of the 3rd century AD) was the dislocation and transposition of the different Scythian (Skitian if we would prefer the correct form) peoples within their vast European range. This tremendous movement of human masses was due to a large extent to overpopulation of their traditional home territories where the life supporting resources have become more or less exhausted. Thus the northern, Baltic Skitians (for instance the notorious Goths!) moved south, displacing those living in the more southern latitudes, who in turn pushed their neighbours further south. Similarly, there were movements along the parallel, like the one performed by the tribes of Huns. They left their homeland around Azov sea (Meothida) and moved westwards displacing, but mostly conquering their cousins, the Kozars and a few more of the Danube Valley Skitian peoples.

7. The Danube was generally the northern state border of the Roman Empire. Skitians inhabiting the lands on its right-hand riverside were subjects to the Roman Emperor. Skitians living on the river left-hand riverside were more or less "free" and were frequently called "barbarians" by their cousins and by other peoples living within the borders of the Empire. However, the Empire tried to exact tribute from them, too and in more than one way had made itself hated and non-welcomed by the free Skits. This obviously was one of the most important reasons to have many Skitian tribes united in the first half of the 5th century AD under the scepter of one of their kings in order to govern themselves in the way that would suit them best. It so happen that that king was called Attila (a Romanized form of a traditional and popular in the past Bolgarian name - Tilko). There are many ancient authors who wrote that the Huns were part of the Skitians (Claudius Ptolemeus, Philostorgius, Zosimus, etc.) and had nothing to do with the Turkic tribes. One of the most important of them was the Roman military leader Priscus. He was sent to Attila on a state mission by the Emperor and upon his return to Rome presented an extensive report on his visit to the "King of Skitians", although once or twice in his report he calls his hosts Huns, too. Prokopius identified the Huns with the mythical Cimmerians and Masageths, the same Skitian people that defeated ultimately the Persian Czar Cyrus. (Where from, then, did such a crazy notion came to some learned heads of historians, that the Huns were Asiatic, Turkic, undersized, bowlegged, stinking half-humans, drinkers of raw mare-milk and little short of being man-eaters, who threw the cultured, noble Roman citizens - who indulged in gladiatorial skirmishes in the circuses - in horror? The best advice to this scholars would be to have them read again and again the Priscus' report and make up for themselves a true picture of what the Huns were!).

8. (Now, Huns and Kozars (Khazars) were very close relatives, if not one and the same people. Both Huns and Khazars, or the part of the Danube Skitians they were, formed together with other Skitian tribes the Bolgarian people, state and nation south of the Danube. It is very possible that when Kozars/Khazars started leaving their homeland because of the overpopulation, they moved in more than one direction: i.e. while part of them went south, crossed the Danube and entered Mysia and Thracia, where they mixed with their kinsmen there, another part may had moved eastwards towards the plains between the Black and Caspian seas and mixed with the Skitians inhabiting those lands, may be as far south as the Caucasus Mountains. Probably it was in this way that the tale of the Volga-Kama Bulgaria was born. It is possible that some of them may have been converted to Judaism by the mountain Jews from Caucasus, but the notion that almost the whole of the contemporary Jewry, particularly the Jews from Russia, Poland, the Baltic States - the East Europe in general - originated from the Kozars/Khazars is right away improbable. Jews of definitely Semitic origin have lived in Bulgaria for at least 1000 years. They arrive here in greater numbers after they were driven away from Spain by the end of 15th century AD. Most of the Ashkenazim Jews settled in Bulgaria by the end of 19th century AD, when the country was already liberated from the Otoman rule, but no doubt there were many who had come to live here while the country was still within the Otoman Empire. As a whole Ashkenazim Jews were richer and of higher may be social status than the Sepharadim ones but one can hardly doubt in their Semitic origin.)

9. There is considerable evidence that the "famous" writing - the travel notes - of the Arab traveler Ibn Fazlan (or Fadlan? - 9th or 10th century AD?), on which all of the later Arabic "historical works" on Volga Bolgars, Khazars, etc. were based, has never been found in its original form - only copies of copies of copies! The careful analysis of these 'travel notes' reveals that he had simply cribbed almost everything from Priscus report on his visit to Attila in the first half of 5th century AD.

It is understandable when politicians want to have such a history that will serve in the best possible way their political goals and interests. It is understandable when victors in a war want to present the story of this war in such a way as to show themselves in the best possible light, not the least to cover the multitude of atrocities they have consciously and intentionally committed. However, all this has nothing to do with History as a Science. It should be the First and Most Important Obligation of all those vociferous advocates of justice, truth, etc. to have first of all THE WHOLE OF THE HISTORICAL TRUTH, irrespective of the effect this could have on the current or future politics. Now, here is indeed an impossible thing to achieve, isn't it!

Vladimir Pomakov is a writer from Bulgaria. He can be contacted c/o Flame the e-mail address above.