Last Updated: February 4, 2019
Read about The Jews of Khazaria - the best general-interest book about the Khazars in English
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A new book by Mikhail Zhirohov and David Nicolle,
The Khazars: A Judeo-Turkish Empire on the Steppes, 7th-11th Centuries AD,
was published by Osprey in January 2019. It includes photographs of artifacts and illustrations by Christa Hook and focuses on the military aspects of Khazaria
including their wars with Arabs and the Rus', their weapons such as spears, battleaxes, and swords, their helmets and armor,
and their fortifications made from stone and timber.
I was startled to see the Jewish symbols - including a clearly-defined menorah - on a Khazar warrior's helmet shown in a photo in this book. If those are authentic instead of a modern forger's etchings, this would be a very significant find. I had first seen the helmet in June of 2015 when it was brought to my attention that it was sold at auction at the Ukrainian online auction site Violity. The authors say it was "recently discovered". But I had a suspicion about its authenticity and asked some other Khazar experts; Gennadiy Afanas'yev, Dan Shapira, and Peter Golden agree with my suspicion and believe it is a modern forgery.
Also available from Amazon.ca in Canada and Waterstones in the UK and Booktopia in Australia
"O nakhodke sosuda s graffiti v Mariupole" by Eduard Ye. Kravchenko and V. K. Kul'baka was published in Russian (with an English summary) in the journal Arkheologicheskii al'manakh No. 21 (2010) on pages 386-395. This article describes Khazar-era artifacts found in the city of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine. They include two Arabic dirhams that were used as pendants, mirror fragments, and a pot (shown on the bottom of page 389) that bears two drawn symbols: a Jewish menorah and a plus sign that's interpreted as a Christian cross. The authors believe the potter was neither a Jew nor a Christian but was a pagan who was familiar with these other religions that were practiced in Khazaria at the time. Was the plus sign really not a tamga? Some other authors disagree with the hypothesis that that plus sign was Christian.
Over a thousand years ago, the far east of Europe was ruled by Jewish kings who presided over numerous tribes, including their own tribe: the Turkic Khazars. After their conversion, the Khazar people used Jewish personal names, spoke and wrote in Hebrew, were circumcised, had synagogues and rabbis, studied the Torah and Talmud, and observed Hanukkah, Pesach, and the Sabbath. The Khazars were an advanced civilization with one of the most tolerant societies of the medieval period. It hosted merchants from all over Asia and Europe. On these pages it is hoped that you may learn more about this fascinating culture.
Current Publications for Sale
THE JEWS OF KHAZARIA
WORLD OF THE KHAZARS
IN THE 9th AND 10th CENTURIES
THE KUZARI: IN DEFENSE
OF THE DESPISED FAITH
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