Rod Ashin and the ancient Türks

June 19, 2019311 full reads4 min.463 views . Unique page visitors.311 full reads , 67 %. Users who read to the end.4 min. Average time to read the post.

At the dawn of the early Middle Ages, Central Asia became a seething cauldron in which various tribes and peoples formed. Nomadic states succeeded each other one after another. Some of them were durable, and some collapsed as quickly as they formed. But all of them had characteristic features that influenced the course of history not only of the Central Asian region, but also of Eurasia as a whole. These features were militancy in relation to neighboring tribes and states. But especially this hostility was manifested towards the Chinese states of that period (nomads constantly waged wars with the Chinese). As a result of the aggressive policies of the Ashin Turks, many tribes were forced to migrate to different regions. As a result of their conquests, the Avars – immigrants from Asia fled to Europe. Following the Avars in 567, the Volga was forced by the troops of the Turkic Kaganate, headed by Istemi (the ruler of the western wing of the Kaganate), and pursued the Avar. In 568, the Turkic troops conquered the tribes that roamed in the Caspian steppes and the tribe of Uturgurs.

But before describing the subsequent events, it is necessary to clarify: who were the Turks led by Istemi. The Türks who arrived in Europe in 567, not long before that were able to conquer all of Central Asia and inflict a series of military defeats on the states of Northern China. Since then, in my opinion, the Ashin Turks have become the most dangerous opponents for the Chinese of the early Middle Ages. These few people managed to create a huge empire that controlled a large part of the Great Silk Road, originating in China and going further west: to Iran and Byzantium (Eastern Roman Empire). Thus, the ancient Türks were the first people to receive huge benefits for the transit of goods moving along the Great Silk Road (Chinese silk was considered the most expensive product of that time).

The ancient Turks not only created their empire, they managed to formulate their ideology, which was opposed to the ideology of the Chinese. In turn, the Chinese saw in the Turks their irreconcilable enemies, whom they sought to destroy repeatedly, thereby putting an end to the hearth from which the flames of war spread to their states. To begin with, it must be clarified that the modern Turkic peoples and the ancient Turks of Ashin are different peoples. Turkic peoples is a term introduced in relation to peoples speaking similar languages ​​belonging to the Turkic group of the Altai language family. Moreover, some modern Turkic peoples by their origin are not necessarily descendants of one people – a common ancestor. Among them there are peoples who adopted the Turkic language as a spoken language, which became their native language, but by origin (genetics) they (peoples) are closer to the Indo-Europeans. Thus, the ancient Türks are a people that existed in the era of the early Middle Ages, by whose name neighboring peoples began to be called tribes and peoples close to the ancient Türks in language and culture. Ancient Turks entered the arena of world history under the rule of the Ashin clan. Subsequently, representatives of this kind ruled many states for centuries. According to L.N. Gumilev, the word “Ashina” consists of two parts: the Mongolian “shono”, meaning “wolf” and the Chinese prefix of respect – “A”, that is, “Ashina” means “noble wolf”. In the Chinese dynasty chronicles Zhou shu, Bei shi and Sui shu, two legends about the origin of the Ashin clan are reproduced. According to the first legend, the ancestors of the Ashin clan were the branch of the “house of the Huns from the Western Region to the West” (that is, the power of the Huns in Europe). Ashina lived on the banks of a large swamp (Bei Shi and Sui Shu on the right bank of the “West Sea”) and were exterminated by a neighboring tribe. Only a ten-year-old boy survived, to whom the enemies chopped off his arms and legs, and threw him to die in a grassy swamp. The dying boy was found by a she-wolf, who fed and healed him, and thereby saved his life. Soon, the enemies found out that the wolf had saved the crippled boy they had left. Upon returning, they killed the surviving boy. The she-wolf, fleeing north of the Turfan oasis to the mountains of the Tien Shan, escaping. There, hiding in a cave, she gave birth and nurtured ten sons, whose father was the boy she saved. Having matured, her sons married girls from the Turfan oasis. Children born from these marriages took the generic names of their wives. One of the wolf’s sons bore the name of Ashin, his family was named after him. From the descendants of the ten sons of the she-wolf, a tribe was formed, whose leader was Ashina. Over time, the number of births increased to several hundred. After some time, a descendant of Ashin named Arslan-shad (the shad in the ancient Turkic title meant the heir-prince) moved his tribe from the Turfan oasis to Altai. In Altai, the descendants of a she-wolf from the Ashin clan become subjects of the Juan (the military alliance known as the Juan Khaganate, “kaganate” is equivalent to an empire). In Altai, the Ashin clan mined and processed iron for the Juan-Juan, thus paying tribute. Ashin’s descendant named Arslan-shad (the shad in the ancient Turkic title meant the heir-prince) moved his tribe from the Turfan oasis to Altai. In Altai, the descendants of a she-wolf from the Ashin clan become subjects of the Juan (the military alliance known as the Juan Khaganate, “kaganate” is equivalent to an empire). In Altai, the Ashin clan mined and processed iron for the Juan-Juan, thus paying tribute. Ashin’s descendant named Arslan-shad (the shad in the ancient Turkic title meant the heir-prince) moved his tribe from the Turfan oasis to Altai. In Altai, the descendants of a she-wolf from the Ashin clan become subjects of the Juan (the military alliance known as the Juan Khaganate, “kaganate” is equivalent to an empire). In Altai, the Ashin clan mined and processed iron for the Juan-Juan, thus paying tribute.

According to the second legend, the Ashin clan came from the tribe of So (possibly one of the Syanbi tribes). The head of the Co tribe, named Abanbu, had seventeen brothers, one of whom was named “the son of a she-wolf” by the name of Izhinishidu. The tribe of Co was defeated by the enemies “because of their own stupidity.” The surviving birth is scattered. Izhinishidu possessed supernatural powers, thanks to which, his family was in the most favorable position. One of his sons became the “white swan” and the founder of the ancient Kyrgyz tribe, whose possessions were between the rivers Abakan and Upper Yenisei. The third son ruled the Zhujie River. The eldest son, Izhinishida, was called Nodulu Shad, who ruled by his own family and lived in the Jiangsi Zhujeshi. The clan of the former ruler of the tribe So Abanbu, defeated before this, as indicated above, by neighbors, joined the clan of Nodulu-shad. Nodulu Shad had ten wives; their sons bore the generic names of their mothers. The son of the youngest wife was called Ashin. After the death of Nodulu-shad, his sons decided that the most dexterous and strongest of them would become the ruler, which was Ashina, who took the name Arslan-shad (Arslan in Turkic means a lion). Arslan-shad was succeeded by Tuu (either a son or a nephew), and Tuu was succeeded by Bumyn (the eldest son of Tuu), who founded the state of the Ashin Turks. The second legend is explained by N.A. Aristov, who compared the tribe “Co” legends with the genus “Co” among the Kumandy – the North Altai tribe on the river. He linked the first son with the Swan tribe, the Ku-Kizhi, and the second with the Kyrgyz, who lived between Abakan and the Yenisei. According to S.G. Klyashtorny, the above legends go back to the same archetype and describe the same events with varying degrees of detail, reproduced by Chinese chroniclers and most likely are different versions of the same legend. Thus, the common in two versions of the legend about the origin of the Ashin clan is that they are descendants of the she-wolf, that the ancestors of the Ashin clan were defeated by enemies. The survivors fled from the places of their original residence and about the initial ten-clan composition of Ashin, with each genus being named after the wives. Arslan Shad also appears in both versions, apparently playing an outstanding role in the history of the Ashin clan. The survivors fled from the places of their original residence and about the initial ten-clan composition of Ashin, with each genus being named after the wives. Arslan Shad also appears in both versions, apparently playing an outstanding role in the history of the Ashin clan. The survivors fled from the places of their original residence and about the initial ten-clan composition of Ashin, with each genus being named after the wives. Arslan Shad also appears in both versions, apparently playing an outstanding role in the history of the Ashin clan.

In the Chinese chronicle of Tang Shu, the following story of the origin of the Ashin clan is narrated: among the tribes defeated by the Tabasians when they conquered northern China, there were “five hundred families” of Ashin. These “five hundred families” were formed “from a mixture of different genera” (according to LN Gumilyov, the Ashin clan included both representatives of the Syanbi clans (Pramongols) and the Hunnic clans (Pratürkic) who lived in the western part of Shaanxi, conquered in the VI century among the Chinese by the Huns and Syanbians. Ashina were subjects of the Hunnic prince Mugan, who owned Hesi (an area west of Ordos, between the bend of the Yellow River and Nanshan). In 439, the Tabasians (the Syanbi people) defeated the Huns and captured Hesi, annexing this area to the Wei empire. After this, Prince “Ashina with five hundred families fled to the Zhuzhans and, settling on the southern side of the Altai Mountains, mined iron for the Zhuzhans. ” Initially, Ashina spoke among themselves in the Syanbi language, as evidenced by the titles adopted by them: Khan, Kagan, Bagatur and so on. Also, the appearance of representatives of the genus Ashin was Mongoloid. In favor of the Syanbi (Pramongolian) origin of the Ashin clan according to L.N. Gumilev says “the difference between them (within the Ashin clan), which can be traced back to the 7th century, as a division into black and white bones, as evidenced by the heredity of positions among the aristocracy and the prohibition of” noble “girls to marry a young man from the people” (that is Syanbi part of the tribe, headed by the Ashin clan, mixed with the Praturk part of the subjects of the Ashin clan). After moving to Altai, Ashina found themselves among the peoples who spoke Praturk languages. In consequence of this, after some time (about a hundred years), representatives of the genus switched to the Praturk language. Soon, Ashina took a dominant position among the surrounding pre-Turkic tribes. Their “subjects” began to be called Turks, which means “strong.”

In 542, the Ashin Turks were led by Bumyn. In 545, the ambassador of the Chinese emperor named Tai-Tsu arrived at Bumyin’s headquarters, who ruled the Wei empire. Tai Tsu was looking for an ally in the fight against the Juan Khaganate. As a result of negotiations, an alliance was concluded between the Ashin Turks in the person of Bumyn and the Wei empire. It was in 545 that the state of the Ashin Turks was recognized in the international arena. The formation of the Turkic Kaganate began.

The materials for this article are taken from open sources and are the property of their respective owners.

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