Post-Attila Huns - myth or reality? Are Bulgarians really Proto-Turkic?
Written by Cyril Milchev
The idea that the Bulgars were Turkic-speaking people comes not from a real examination of records and the empirical lexical material in some of the stone inscriptions but from the interpretation of words in the "Name List of Bulgarian Khans". It is also clear that a part of military titles as "chorguboil", "yabgu" (syubighi, Yuvigi) is also Turkic. But to form a definitive theory about the historic turkic-speach of the Bulgarians, it is necessary to take into account the records, including Arab and medieval historical sources, which very clearly and categorically stated that the Bulgarian and Khazarian languages are similar, but differ from Turkic.
In other words, it is important to clarify the reason for the existence of turkic-speach among the Bulgarian elite and when it originated? If the question could be put this way, one cannot miss the fact that Turkic speech in Bulgarian society originates long after 565 A.D. when the Avars (Turks) and Kutrigures (Huns) founded a common military administration and a new state in Pannonia.
At the same time the Bulgarians (Utigurs) and Savirits (Khazars) fall under the dominion of the Turkic tribes in the area of Azov sea and Caucasus mountain, and that the rule of Turcik kaganate lasted until 629. In the same year Organa and Kubrat - Bulgarian heirs and rulers restore the state of "Old Great Bulgaria" ( acc. to Theophanes, Nikephoros) . This ways it is obvious that the lack of careful examination of the Avar-kutrigur state, founded in Pannonia, known in the annals as Avaria and Hunnia, is the real reason not to be known how and when the Turkic-speaking of Bulgarians originated.
Let us investigate how the hypothesis that Proto-bulgarians were Turks from the Altai Mountains occurred?
This hypothesis has been imposed in the USSR after 1950 and was launched as a dogma in the textbooks in the People's Republic of Bulgaria. In the early twentieth century scientists who studied "Name List of Bulgarian Khans" as Mykola for example, are much more cautious in their conclusions, when they compare unknown words "Name List of Bulgarian Khans" with words from Chuvash language, which is known as not being Turkic at its’ basis.
More importantly, in the period 1920-1950, under the influence of the so called "Japhetic theory" of Nicholas Marr, the origin of Chuvash and Bulgarians had been in general sought in Mesopotamia. As much as it was peculiar the linguistic dogmas of "Japhetic theory" of Marr; it cannot be denied that he favored the topic Bulgarian ethnogenesys and no one in the Soviet Union up until 1950s sought Bulgarians to be considered a Turkic tribe from Altai.
One can conclude that one reason for the Soviet Union after 1950s’ to raise the argument that the Bulgarians are Turks, is the collapse over Marr and his "Japhetic theory", imposed by Stalin himself in a pseudonymous article: “Marxism and Problems of Linguistics - Joseph Stalin's work, most of which was first published June 20, 1950”.
This way the start of annihilation of Marr’s visions and consequently led to total disaster of Bulgarian cause in the scientific society. Next step of Soviet scientist was to banish the idea of tracing Bulgarian and Chuvash languages to Mesopotamian; and contrary to all evidence of the Arab sources, Bulgarian language had been equaled to the language group of the Turks.
Soviet-Russian hypothesis claimed the Bulgarians were Turks of Altai and when Hsiung-nu tribes started the "Great Migration", they dragged along Bulgarians with them up to the Volga river basin. This was for too long the official dogma of the origin of the Bulgarians, and it continues to be repeated to this day. As we know, the Russian-Soviet hypothesis of Huns’ origins is that they are the same people with Hsiung-nu, for which Chinese historians gave information up to the I century AD, then Hsiung-nu were defeated by Sjan-bi tribes /"Xianbi"/.
But what happened in science circles in recent years?
Over the years, archeology developed and showed no migration of Hsiung-nu actually occurred and no artifacts (acc. to S.S. Minyayev, Миняев С.С. Сюнну//Природа, вып.4, 1986.) are discovered to prove a migration towards Europe. Already in 1945 the American scientist Otto Maenchen-Helfen questioned the lack of anthropological and ethnographic proximity between European Huns (IVth / V th century AD) and the inhabitants of the Yellow River and Ordos Hsiong-nu (latest data of them is of Ist century AD).
Arguments of Helfen (The Huns and Hsiung-nu. Vol. 22.; The legend of origine of the Huns. Vol 22; Byzantion, 1945) obviously influenced E. A. Thompson, who in 1948 in his monograph on the Huns denies the continuity of European Huns from Hsiong-nu http://books.google.bg/books?id=k3-yZXnhtZgC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Thompson+Huns&hl=bg&sa=X&ei=6wY2T7zPF4bJswbiqvmsDA&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Thompson%20Huns&f=false.
In 1960 Soviet historian L.N.Gumillev criticizes the objections made in the 50s by Otto Maenchen-Helfen, indicating that the origin of European Huns still has not been definitively proven. In his article Gumillev aims to protect the case from 1900, when the Russian scientist Inostrantsev sought the average Asian people Hsiong-nu and European Huns (Huns), to have been of the same ethnicity. Defending Inostrantsev, the founder of Russia's hypothesis of continuity Gumillev being seen as the guru of Russian historical research for Central Asia, perceives himself to be part of a long tradition of Russian science in this region, and claims Soviet Russia to hold the monopoly on historical knowledge of Central Asia. For our view from 21st century, this sounds very obscure as an official scientific position.
In this article Gumillev developed an idea of a single "cavalry dispatch" of Hsiong-nu, who escaped from their foes- the Sjan-bi /"Xianbi"/ tribes and eventually reached Volga river basin, where they took local women and according to the logic of Gumillev they managed to give birth to a new nation – the European Huns.
As it is clear, apart from Soviet Union, already around 1960, in the scientific community arose the hypothesis that there was no "Great Migration" of Hsiong-nu westwards, but what is strange – the idea that Bulgarians were dragged along with Hsiong-nu to Volga did not changed. Let us ask ourselves, who could “take” them to Volga, a single cavalry dispatch?!
It's very interesting how without general review of late ancient annals and chronicles, one can answer the question "Are Bulgarians the Huns we know about in Europe", provided that the answers are actually ridiculous because Hunilogy is the least developed historical discipline in Europe.
German scholars of the nineteenth century and twentieth century just avoid this theme, simply because they do not want a revision to the outdated assumption that “after the fourth century Europe became a Germano-Roman synthesis” which suits them best.
There is no greater challenge for the new historical approach in Bulgaria than to join the "European debate" who actually in the fourth century and in the Vth century created the foundations of Europe and why Hunnic past is recreated in the books only with negativity. What lies behind this one-sided view of modern historians? In the origin of Bulgarians lies a long pledged bomb from our national historians that “Hunnic question has no connection with Bulgarian origins”?
With the end of Attila’s empire of the Huns in 453, it is widely proclaimed by modern historians that it’s the end of the Hunnic state and (some even officially state that after 468, the Huns existed no longer), although Organa is called by Nicephorus in the ninth century "lord of Hun people ", and in the eighth century the chronicle of John Nikkea Kubrat is called "king of the Huns”.
The question “Who were the Huns” is inherently wrong placed looking at the work of most of the modern historians, although it is reported in sixth century by Syrian author Pseudo-Zacharias Ritor (and not only by him) and 13 hunnic tribes were enlisted but neither one of them are the "Huns" (Zachariahof Mitylene, Syriac Chronicle, 1899).
In German history it was “forbidden” to mention that up until 455 Ostrogoths were part of the Hunnic confederation and the same goes, being equally true for Bulgarians (Paul the Deacon wrote in eighth century that Bulgarians attacked the first Langobard ruler and the time of this attack coincides with the Hun invasion of Europe in the fourth century).
Some writers underline that the Huns and Bulgarians are distinguished by a number of late antique historians and they are correct in this observation but because detailed history of the Huns is not yet developed, these authors ignore the fact that post-Attila Huns were actually two tribes – Kutrigurs and Utigurs, and what is more obscure - the so-called "Kutrigurs" are totally forgotten by historical science, given the fact their exploits are so numerous in the records that deserve a separate monograph.
Kutrigurs are also post-Attila Huns and when talking about "Huns and Bulgarians" as two separate ethnic groups, it is not too far sighted to point out who exactly were those so-called Huns...
The official historical dogma imposed in European academic circles, says Huns disappeared after 468; but actually in late antique and medieval chronicles, Huns and Bulgarians are still mentioned up until the rule Asparuh /680/.
How then without a boost in developing of the historical discipline Hunology in Bulgaria /and Europe/ it will be possible to create a methodological approach and a real hypothesis for Bulgarian origins?
It is therefore obvious that in Bulgaria there are no Hunologists, or Khazarologists, nor Avarologists, and consequently not even one Bulgarian scientist had developed a book on the Huns, their origin and post-Attila Huns, although all late antique chronicles underline a linkage between Huns and Bulgarians.
In 1918 a Bulgarian scientist - Zlatarski properly investigated late ancient evidence of post-Attila Kutrigurs and Utigurs; and proved the correct assumption that under the name Utigurs in late antique chronicles of authors such as Procopius, Agatius, Menander, Theophylact - lies the original Bulgarian ethnic substrate.
Undoubted merit of Zlatarski is the indication that the two tribes Kutrigurs and Utigurs (= Bulgarians) together formed the nucleus of 680s’ Asparuh Bulgarian state and his views are widely accepted worldwide.
Therefore, if Zlatarski had talented followers, they would of examine the pre-Hun and Hun past of the tribes of Kutrigurs and Bulgarians, and to their efforts aid would be the great aid of Procopius, who first reported that these are the two key tribes who created the Union of Huns in the fourth century and also that they originate from Cimmerians. Henceforth it is now imperative to examine Kutrigurs, who they were, how they acquired the ethnonym "Kutrigurs", if they were the ones the authors from Caucasus call “ Burdjan, Vnndr, V-n-n-t-r”.
Consequently, instead of Proto Altaic school books, we could have had already a thick monograph on Kutrigurs and Bulgarian tribes in their ancient past, but also for their late-antiquity history from the fourth century, and their history of 5th century, e.g. what is now known as - history of the Hun Empire.
Undoubtly we should go back to the best European scientists in the first half of the twentieth century ( G. Vernadsky, Runciman, J.B.Bury, J. Marguart, Musset) and accept their extremely important for our history view, that Irnik from the "Name List of Bulgarian Khans" is really Ernak /Ernach/ - the third son of Attila.
If so, Ernak of the kutrigur Dulo dynasty became "the first Bulgarian king" (of 465); the Bulgarians after the collapse of Attila’s Empire (acc. to Paisii) in 484 conquer "Armenia and Media" i.e. Persia – under their ruler / Shahinshah Peroz ( acc. to Yeshua Stylit; Pseudo-Zacharias Ritor, Bar Ebrey, Georgian life book of Shushanik).
"Hunic Empire" at the time of Irnik transformed itself into "Old Great Bulgaria" (Theophanes, Nikephoros) and this country with built towns (Pseudo-Zacharias Ritor), lasted from 465 until 565, when it was raided and conquered by the Turkic tribes of Istemi ... which yoke is ended with the resurrection of irnik’s State by Khan Kubrat in 629.
Therefore, to uncover the truthful history about the origin of Bulgarians it is required to unite areas of knowledge as Cimmerology, Urartulogy, Bosporology, Hunnology, Avarology and Khazarology.
And also let us not forget that the true sources remain Latin, Greek, Syrian, Armenian, Georgian, Arabic, Bulgarian and Khazar records and sources. As a side supporting materials could be used the Russian “skazove”, West German, English and Scandinavian sagas, Bulgarian folk art (especially "Veda slovenah") and critical analysis of the Volga-Bulgarian compilations known as "Jagfar Tarihi".
We have already pointed out how, according to official historians, Huns disappear from existence in 468, and post-Attila Huns were forgotten ... But let us draw your attention to another "official version" to other hunnic associated problem area, under which Persia in 484 was not captured/conquered by the post-Attila Caucasus-dwelling hunnic tribes /Ephtalites -called “The white Huns”/; but was instead concurred, according to contemporary historians by some Ephtalite huns, who dwelled east of Persia.
However, in 503 Kavadh I, the son of Persian ruler Peroz, who owed his throne to the "great army" of Huns, that the king of the Ephtalite huns gave him in 499, managed to attack and conquer the Byzantine cities of Edessa and Amida, taking many prisoners and sending gifts to his fellow - king of Huns. These prisoners, according to Pseudo-Zacharias Ritor and Procopius, were not sent somewhere to the east but in Bosporus / Crimea Peninsula on the North Black sea coast/ That is to demonstrate that the Hun king who defeated Peroz and who later became a benefactor of his son Kavadh I is actually from ... Bosporus / North-West/, rather than somewhere east of Persia.
Apparently it is not a coincidence that at the end of VII century, a chronicle unknown today, but used in the ninth century by Theophanes and Nicephorus calls this Bulgaria - "Old Great Bulgaria”. Apparently the unknown author means an old, ancient state of Bulgaria, not created by Organ and Kubrat at the beginning of VII century.
This country could not be "old" for the unknown author except, obviously, he would mean the State founded by Irnik (465-565), which in the "Name List of Bulgarian Khans" appears as with 100 years of known existence, under the name of Irnik of the DULO clan.
This is not the only "clue" against official historical dogma that states that Huns-Ephtalites do not originate from Caucasus. There are many others as well. Let us not be so moderate or ignorant to ask why "Avitohol" and "Ephtalite" are similar words and may point out Bulgarian connection; given the fact Syrian author Bar Ebrey of 13th century quite directly writes in his chronicle that Peroz had been defeated by the Huns, “who previously took taxes from the Byzantines” and that they attacked him in 484 coming from north-west of Persia.
As to answer the question “How Bulgarians were left without a history” cannot be easily answered before we could go beyond the deep layers of officially imposed in modern European history Hunnophobic perception. Study of the history of Proto Bulgarians is not a question of misled patriotism, but rather a topic of scientific merit and dignity.първоизточник http://history.rodenkrai.com/new/proizhod_na_prabylgarite/kak_bylgarite_ostanaha_bez_istoriq_za_prabylgarite.html
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Cyril Milchev was born 1963 in Karlovo, obtained Philology degree and docturanture in Medievistics. He is an author of 21 books, including novels, philosophy, theological and historical research pieces, Member of “Union of Bulgarian writers” and of the philosophy circle known as “Atelier of phenomenology”. During 2010 Kiril Milchev won a prize of Bulgarian culture ministry for the book entitled “First Bulgarian ruler”. He had been a member of Bulgarian parliament in 39th National parliamentary assembly, member of NDSV political party and his activities included proposals to the assembly of the following acts: “Law against discrimination”, “Law for ombudsman” and “Law for religious rights and regulations”.