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THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA

by Isidore Singer
THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA 6 ifs and their leaders in Persia and the Caucasus. The Persian Jews hoped that the Chazars might succeed in destroying the califs’ country ( Harkavy, in Kohut Memorial Volume, p. 244). The high esteem in which the Chazars were held among the Jews of the Ori-ent may be seen in the application to them— in an Arabic commentary on Isaiah ascribed by some to Saadia, and by others to Benjamin Nahawandi— of Isa. xlviii. 14: “ The Lord hath loved him.” “ This,” says the commentary, “ refers to the Chazars, who will go and destroy Babel”— i. e., Babylonia— a name used to designate the country of the Arabs ( Harkavy, in “ Ha- Maggid,” 1877, p. 357). The chaghans of the Chazars, in their turn, took great interest in and protected their coreligionists, the Jews. When one of the chaghans received in-formation ( c. 921) that the Mohammedans had des-troyed a synagogue in the land of Babung ( accord-ing to Harkavy the market of Camo-mile in Atel is meant), he gave orders that the minaret of the mosque in his capital should be broken off, and the muezzin executed. He declared that he would have destroyed all the mosques in the country had he not been afraid that the Moham-medans would in turn destroy all the synagogues in their lands ( Ibn Fadlan, in Frähn, “ De Chazaris,” p. 18). In the conquest of Hungary by the Magyars ( 889) the Chazars rendered considerable assist-ance. They had, however, settled in Pannonia be-fore the arrival of the Magyars. This is evident from the names of such places as Kozar and Kis- Kozard in the Nógrad, and Great- Kozar and Ráczkozar in the Baranya district ( Karl Szabó, “ Magyar Akademiai Ertesitö,” i. 132, cited by Vambéry in his “ Ursprung der Magyaren,” p. 132; compare Kohn, “ A Zsidók Története Magyarországon”— The Histo-ry of the Jews in Hungary— i. 12 et seq.). Mas‘ udi relates the following particulars concerning the Chazars in connection with Russian invasions of Tabaristan and neighboring countries: “ After the year 300 of the Hegira ( 913– 914), five hundred Russian [ Northmen’s] ships, every one of which had a hundred men on board, came to the estuary of the Don, which opens into the Pontus, and is in com-munication with the river of the Chazars, the Volga. The king of the Chazars keeps a garri-son on this side of the estuary with efficient, warlike equipment to exclude any other power from its passage. The king of the Chazars himself frequently takes the field against them if this garrison is too weak. “ When the Russian vessels reached the fort they sent to the king of the Chazars to ask his permission to pass through his dominions, promising him half the plunder which they might take from the nations who lived on the coast of this sea. He gave them leave. They entered the country, and continuing their voyage up the River Don as far as the river of the Chazars, they went down this river past the town of Atel and entered through its mouth into the sea of the Chazars. They spread over el- Jil, ed- Dailem, Tabaristan, Aboskum, which is the name for the coast of Jordjan, the Naphtha country, and to ward Aderbijan, the town of Ardobil, which is in Aderbijan, and about three days’ journey from the sea. The nations on the coast had no means of repelling the Russians, although they put themselves in a state of defense; for the inhabitants of the coast of this sea are well civilized. When the Russians had secured their booty and captives, they sailed to the mouth of the river of the Chaz-ars and sent messengers with money and spoils to the king, in conformity with the stipulations they had made. The Larissians and other Moslems in the country of the Chazars heard of the attack of the Russians, and they said to their king: ‘ The Rus-sians have invaded the country of our Moslem brothers; they have shed their blood and made their wives and children cap-tives, as they are unable to resist; permit us to oppose them.’ The Moslem army, which numbered about 15,000, took the field and fought for three days. The Russians were put to the sword, many being drowned, and only 5,000 escaping. These were slain by the Burtas and by the Moslems of Targhiz. The Russians did not make a similar attempt after that year” ( Mas‘ udi [ tr. by Sprenger], in “ Historical Encyc.,” pp. 416– 420). Notwithstanding the assertions of Mas‘ udi, the Russians invaded the trans- Caucasian country in 944, but were careful in this expedition to take a different route. This seems to have been the beginning of the downfall of the Chazar kingdom. The Russian Var-angians had firmly established themselves at Kiev, while the powerful dominions of the Chazars had become dangerous to the Byzantine empire, and Constantine Porphyrogenitus, in his instructions on government written for his son, carefully enu-merates the Alans, the Petchenegs, the Uzes, and the Bulgarians as the forces on which he must rely to check the influence of the Chazars. Five years after the correspondence between the king of the Chazars and Hasdai ibn Shaprut ( 965), the Russian prince Swyatoslaw made war upon the Chazars, apparently for the possession of Taurida and Taman. The Russians had already freed from the rule of the Chazars a part of the Black Bulgars, and had established a separate Russian duchy under the name of “ Tmutrakan”; but in the Crimean peninsula the Chazars still had possessions, and from the Caucasian side the Russian Tmutrakan suffered from the irruption of the Kossogian and Karbardine princes, who were tributary to the chaghan of the Chazars. The for-tress of Sarkel and the city of Atel were the chief obstacles to Russian predatory expeditions on the Caspian Sea. After a hard fight the Russians con-quered the Chazars. Swyatoslaw destroyed Sarkel, subdued also the tribes of the Kossogians and Yass ( Alans), and so strengthened the position of the Russian Tmutrakan. They destroyed the city of Bulgar, devastated the country of the Burtas, and took possession of Atel and Semender. Four years later the Russians conquered all the Chazarian territory east of the Sea of Azov. Only the Crimean territory of the Chazars remained in their possession until 1016, when they were dispos-sessed by a joint expedition of Russians and Byzantines. The last of the chaghans, George Tzu-la, was taken prisoner; some of the Chazars took refuge in an island of the Caspian, Siahcouye; oth-ers retired to the Caucasus; while many were sent as prisoners of war to Kiev, where a Chazar com-munity had long existed. Many intermingled in the Crimea with the local Jews; the Krimtschaki are probably their descendants— perhaps some of the Subbotniki also (“ Voskhod,” 1891, iv.- vi.). Some went to Hungary, but the great mass of the people remained in their native country. Many members of the Chazarian royal family emigrated to Spain. Un-til the thirteenth century the Crimea was known to European travelers as “ Gazaria,” the Italian form of “ Chazaria.” BIBLIOGRAPHY: I. ‘ Akrish, Kol Mebasser, Constantinople, 1577; Cassel, Der Chazarische Königsbrief, Berlin, 1877; Carmo-ly, in Revue Orientale, i., Brussels, 1841; Chwolson, Ibn- Das-ta Izvyestiya o Chazarakh, Burtasakh, etc., St. Petersburg. Chazars Cheese Jewish Sym-pathies. War with Russians. Decline and Fall of the Chazars.Aac— Apo  | Apo— Ben | Ben— Cha | Cha— Dre | Dre— Goa  | God— Ist  | Ita— Leo  | Leo— Mor | Mor— Phi | Phi— Sam | Sam— Tal  | Tal— Zwe   P  a g   V  ie w Search  | F i n d  | H o m e | I n d e x   P  a g   V  ie w

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THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA 6 ifs and their leaders in Persia and the Caucasus. The Persian Jews hoped that the Chazars might succeed in destroying the califs’ country ( Harkavy, in Kohut Memorial Volume, p. 244). The high esteem in which the Chazars were held among the Jews of the Ori-ent may be seen in the application to them— in an Arabic commentary on Isaiah ascribed by some to Saadia, and by others to Benjamin Nahawandi— of Isa. xlviii. 14: “ The Lord hath loved him.” “ This,” says the commentary, “ refers to the Chazars, who will go and destroy Babel”— i. e., Babylonia— a name used to designate the country of the Arabs ( Harkavy, in “ Ha- Maggid,” 1877, p. 357). The chaghans of the Chazars, in their turn, took great interest in and protected their coreligionists, the Jews. When one of the chaghans received in-formation ( c. 921) that the Mohammedans had des-troyed a synagogue in the land of Babung ( accord-ing to Harkavy the market of Camo-mile in Atel is meant), he gave orders that the minaret of the mosque in his capital should be broken off, and the muezzin executed. He declared that he would have destroyed all the mosques in the country had he not been afraid that the Moham-medans would in turn destroy all the synagogues in their lands ( Ibn Fadlan, in Frähn, “ De Chazaris,” p. 18). In the conquest of Hungary by the Magyars ( 889) the Chazars rendered considerable assist-ance. They had, however, settled in Pannonia be-fore the arrival of the Magyars. This is evident from the names of such places as Kozar and Kis- Kozard in the Nógrad, and Great- Kozar and Ráczkozar in the Baranya district ( Karl Szabó, “ Magyar Akademiai Ertesitö,” i. 132, cited by Vambéry in his “ Ursprung der Magyaren,” p. 132; compare Kohn, “ A Zsidók Története Magyarországon”— The Histo-ry of the Jews in Hungary— i. 12 et seq.). Mas‘ udi relates the following particulars concerning the Chazars in connection with Russian invasions of Tabaristan and neighboring countries: “ After the year 300 of the Hegira ( 913– 914), five hundred Russian [ Northmen’s] ships, every one of which had a hundred men on board, came to the estuary of the Don, which opens into the Pontus, and is in com-munication with the river of the Chazars, the Volga. The king of the Chazars keeps a garri-son on this side of the estuary with efficient, warlike equipment to exclude any other power from its passage. The king of the Chazars himself frequently takes the field against them if this garrison is too weak. “ When the Russian vessels reached the fort they sent to the king of the Chazars to ask his permission to pass through his dominions, promising him half the plunder which they might take from the nations who lived on the coast of this sea. He gave them leave. They entered the country, and continuing their voyage up the River Don as far as the river of the Chazars, they went down this river past the town of Atel and entered through its mouth into the sea of the Chazars. They spread over el- Jil, ed- Dailem, Tabaristan, Aboskum, which is the name for the coast of Jordjan, the Naphtha country, and to ward Aderbijan, the town of Ardobil, which is in Aderbijan, and about three days’ journey from the sea. The nations on the coast had no means of repelling the Russians, although they put themselves in a state of defense; for the inhabitants of the coast of this sea are well civilized. When the Russians had secured their booty and captives, they sailed to the mouth of the river of the Chaz-ars and sent messengers with money and spoils to the king, in conformity with the stipulations they had made. The Larissians and other Moslems in the country of the Chazars heard of the attack of the Russians, and they said to their king: ‘ The Rus-sians have invaded the country of our Moslem brothers; they have shed their blood and made their wives and children cap-tives, as they are unable to resist; permit us to oppose them.’ The Moslem army, which numbered about 15,000, took the field and fought for three days. The Russians were put to the sword, many being drowned, and only 5,000 escaping. These were slain by the Burtas and by the Moslems of Targhiz. The Russians did not make a similar attempt after that year” ( Mas‘ udi [ tr. by Sprenger], in “ Historical Encyc.,” pp. 416– 420). Notwithstanding the assertions of Mas‘ udi, the Russians invaded the trans- Caucasian country in 944, but were careful in this expedition to take a different route. This seems to have been the beginning of the downfall of the Chazar kingdom. The Russian Var-angians had firmly established themselves at Kiev, while the powerful dominions of the Chazars had become dangerous to the Byzantine empire, and Constantine Porphyrogenitus, in his instructions on government written for his son, carefully enu-merates the Alans, the Petchenegs, the Uzes, and the Bulgarians as the forces on which he must rely to check the influence of the Chazars. Five years after the correspondence between the king of the Chazars and Hasdai ibn Shaprut ( 965), the Russian prince Swyatoslaw made war upon the Chazars, apparently for the possession of Taurida and Taman. The Russians had already freed from the rule of the Chazars a part of the Black Bulgars, and had established a separate Russian duchy under the name of “ Tmutrakan”; but in the Crimean peninsula the Chazars still had possessions, and from the Caucasian side the Russian Tmutrakan suffered from the irruption of the Kossogian and Karbardine princes, who were tributary to the chaghan of the Chazars. The for-tress of Sarkel and the city of Atel were the chief obstacles to Russian predatory expeditions on the Caspian Sea. After a hard fight the Russians con-quered the Chazars. Swyatoslaw destroyed Sarkel, subdued also the tribes of the Kossogians and Yass ( Alans), and so strengthened the position of the Russian Tmutrakan. They destroyed the city of Bulgar, devastated the country of the Burtas, and took possession of Atel and Semender. Four years later the Russians conquered all the Chazarian territory east of the Sea of Azov. Only the Crimean territory of the Chazars remained in their possession until 1016, when they were dispos-sessed by a joint expedition of Russians and Byzantines. The last of the chaghans, George Tzu-la, was taken prisoner; some of the Chazars took refuge in an island of the Caspian, Siahcouye; oth-ers retired to the Caucasus; while many were sent as prisoners of war to Kiev, where a Chazar com-munity had long existed. Many intermingled in the Crimea with the local Jews; the Krimtschaki are probably their descendants— perhaps some of the Subbotniki also (“ Voskhod,” 1891, iv.- vi.). Some went to Hungary, but the great mass of the people remained in their native country. Many members of the Chazarian royal family emigrated to Spain. Un-til the thirteenth century the Crimea was known to European travelers as “ Gazaria,” the Italian form of “ Chazaria.” BIBLIOGRAPHY: I. ‘ Akrish, Kol Mebasser, Constantinople, 1577; Cassel, Der Chazarische Königsbrief, Berlin, 1877; Carmo-ly, in Revue Orientale, i., Brussels, 1841; Chwolson, Ibn- Das-ta Izvyestiya o Chazarakh, Burtasakh, etc., St. Petersburg. Chazars Cheese Jewish Sym-pathies. War with Russians. Decline and Fall of the Chazars. Aac— Apo | Apo— Ben | Ben— Cha | Cha— Dre | Dre— Goa | God— Ist | Ita— Leo | Leo— Mor | Mor— Phi | Phi— Sam | Sam— Tal | Tal— Zwe < < P a g e > > < < V ie w >> Search | F i n d | H o m e | I n d e x < < P a g e > > < < V ie w >>
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