The Forgotten Diaspora (2)

February 3, 2023 Category: Uncategorized


{1  Perspicacity is a funny thing; as–like a sense of humor–everyone thinks they have it. Those with a staunch, vested interest in certain dogmas will invariably express consternation at unwelcome theories.  That their partiality precludes them from being perspicacious is seen not as problematic; it is seen as a sign of fealty to the cause.  (So far as they are concerned, this is all the MORE reason their perspective should be given weight.)  When our pride is on the line, each of us consistently manages to convince ourselves that we are being sufficiently impartial to warrant consideration.  Alas.  Partiality rarely announces itself as such.  (Biases typically don’t see themselves as biases.  It’s like a defective diagnostics system that is unable to identify its own problems due to its inability to, well, accurately diagnose problems.  This is the real-world repercussion of Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem.)  The fact is that conflicts of interest disqualify someone from being impartial.  Of course, most of us are disinclined to identify ourselves has having such impairments.  We all tend to fashion ourselves as resplendently objective, and so are reticent to recuse ourselves from inquiries in which we have a stake in the outcome.  As luck would have it, the only time one should engage in an inquiry is when one really couldn’t care less–one way or the other–what the verdict ends up being.  When it comes to the present matter, such is the case with me.  Had I vested interests, I would not have felt qualified to hold forth on such a contentious topic.}

{2  Upon scrutiny, the Revisionist Zionist obsession with bloodlines implodes.  In this respect, anti-Semites and Judeo-Supremacists employ the same tortured logic.  That is to say: They are both engaged in bigotry, though pointed in opposite directions.  One side encourages the other to indulge in an analogous conceit.  The ideologies on both sides thrive off of the ensuing brinkmanship.  Nothing bolsters fanaticism more
than trumped-up conflict.  (Those with a siege mentality feed off of those who disagree with them; as even the most reasonable argument is taken as further evidence of their imagined plight.)  And so it goes: An ideologue may be inclined to posit a spurious racial category (in this case, “Jewish”) to either exalt or demean those in that category—depending on whether it is used to designate a (lionized) in-group or a (demonized) out-group.  This is emblematic of the tendentious nature of a tribal mindset.  Such taxonomic gimmickry attests to the virulent antagonism that is emblematic of tribalism. This becomes all the more apparent whenever Reactionaries from opposing sides confront one another.  The only level heads are those who remain above the fray.}

{3  Disclaimer: NONE of the points made in this essay are related to–nor do they in way depend on–the debunked musings of Arthur Koestler.  To recognize the salient history, we needn’t resort to speculations about “lost tribes” or engage in other flights of fancy. His were spurious conjectures that only ended up offering variations on equally-spurious Abrahamic dogmas (see Endnote 5 below).  (For the ACTUAL origins of the [k]Hazars, see Endnotes 9 and 10.)  As the history of scholarship on the topic attests (see the lists provided at the beginning of this monograph), recognition of the [k]Hazarian origins of the Ashkenazim LONG predates Koestler’s book. The present explication has no connection whatsoever to the fanciful–yet entirely specious–theory Koestler proffered in 1976.  In fact, the very next year (1977), when Dan Rottenberg mentioned the [k]Hazarian origins of eastern European Jews in his book, “Finding Our Fathers: A Guidebook to Jewish Genealogy”, he did not see fit to mention Koestler’s asseverations. (This fact alone tells us all we need to know about what is and what isn’t considered serious disquisition on the matter.) Note that right-wing Zionists have been known to engage in similar shenanigans. Most recently, a representative from “Shavei Israel” [Returners of Israel] (a delusive rabbi named Eliyahu Avichail) anointed the Hmar / Mizo people of northeast India the “B’nei Menashe”, thereby designated them the “lost” 13th tribe of Israel. This is, of course, hogwash. (Their actual homeland was a place known as Chin- lung / Khur / Shan, which existed at the nexus of Chinese, Tibetan, and Bengal culture…even as they are now generally considered Indian “Kuki” by the Assamese; and “Chin” by the Burmese).  This is yet another example of a forgotten diaspora–the origins of which have been occluded by a tangle of ethno-centric taxonomies.  As is shown in the present monograph, right-wing Zionists seek to re-write history so as to characterize non-Semitic Jews as descendants of Semitic Jews for entirely ideological reasons.}

{4  Harvard anthropologist, Roland B. Dixon (under the tutelage of Franz Boas) noted the [k]Hazars “spread far and wide to the west and northwest, their modern descendants probably forming the preponderant element among the East European Jews” (ref. “Racial History of Man”, 1923).  Dixon was fixated on the relationship between phenotypic groups and geography–sometimes to a fault. He has been criticized for treating cultures as static and endemic to a given people. (The same defective thinking is found in Revisionist Zionism and other ethno-nationalist ideologies.) The paradigm in which mankind is categorized according to “race” is, of course, highly problematic. Yet the credence of Dixon’s HISTORICAL observation remains.}

{5  It should be noted that there are some cockamamie–and often anti-Semitic–theories surrounding the [k]Hazarian origins of the Ashkenazim. Perspicacity demands that we not allow such zany musings to discount what the actual historical record tells us. Just as criticism of Zionism–and of Israeli government policy–sometimes stems from anti-Semitism (even as much of that criticism is legitimate on its own terms), mention of the [k]Hazarian diaspora sometimes stems from anti-Semitism.  Whenever the topic of the [k]Hazars is broached, those with dubious intentions often seize upon a few cherry-picked facts, then propound a myopic version of history for their own ideological purposes.  The same might be said of anti-Muslim bigots vis a vis the (undeniably) checkered history of Islam.  Most bigots would concede that the moon is not made out of cheese.  Their morally problematic mindset does not undermine the credence of this observation.  As it turns out, the moon really ISN’T made of cheese.  The regrettable incidence of such bad actors in no way undermines the credence of the present thesis. (The nefarious use of certain facts–by bad actors–does not invalidate those facts; as the verity of facts does not depend upon the credibility of any given messenger.) It is unfortunate that this topic has become such an incendiary trigger-point–attracting, as it often does, those with odious motives on both sides of the ideological divide: Revisionist Zionists on the one hand and anti-Semites on the other.  Be that as it may, in assaying such a scenario, it is important to avoid false dichotomies: criticism of one camp does not necessarily put one in the other camp.  For it is possible to recognize BOTH enterprises to be insidious; as each is right-wing in nature, even if pointed in opposite directions. (See Endnote 2 above.)  I hope I have shown here that a good-faith inquiry into ancient history does not require one to wade into these toxic ideological cesspools. This should go without saying. Alas; it needs to be said: The recognition that Ashkenazim do not have Semitic roots in no way entails ill will; nor does it in any way demean Ashkenazi Jews (lest one is bigoted against those with a Turkic background).  In fact, the suggestion that it entails anti-Semitism is ITSELF bigoted–an irony that is lost on apologists for Revisionist Zionism.  Analogously, it does not follow from the fact that the KKK was virulently anti-Catholic that any criticism of Roman Catholicism somehow entails sympathy for WASP supremacy.  Testament to the fact that there is nothing anti-Semitic about plaintively recognizing the Turkic ancestry of the Ashkenazim is the long list of Jewish scholars that advocated the theory.}

{6  Note: This is not to be confused with treating a LACK OF evidence for the counter-claim as (direct) EVIDENCE FOR the thesis.  (After all, absence of evidence is not NECESSARILY evidence of absence.)  Rather, it is simply noticing that if the counter-claim were true, then certain things would almost certainly exist. That NONE of those things exist indicates that it is very unlikely the counter-thesis is true. One thing that we might expect to exist if Ashkenazi Jews had nothing to do with the [k]Hazarian Jews is an attestation by the former–dating from the late 10th century–lamenting what surely would have been seen as a gigantic tragedy.  There would have been some sort of statement along the lines of: “It’s a shame what happened to our [k]Hazarian brethren.  They were a thriving Jewish kingdom; and now they are all gone.”  (Such an eradication would have been a grievous loss; one that all Beth Israel would have mourned… UNLESS…)  Suffice to say: If Ashkenazim were NOT descendants of the [k]Hazars, it would be very easy to make the case.  I dare say that there would be MOUNTAINS of (easy-to-find) evidence that would conclusively show the present thesis to be erroneous.  There is none.  In some cases, a lack of evidence for X (that is: evidence that would almost certainly exist if X were the case) CAN be taken as evidence of not-X. There is NOT ONE piece of countervailing evidence to the present thesis (that I could find).  This absence speaks volumes.  So what can be surmised from Bayesian logic? IF the Ashkenazim were an offshoot of Sephardim, THEN an array of things would be true.  There is no evidence for any of those things.  (Put another way: Were such-and-such the case, we would expect to find CERTAIN THINGS in the historical record; yet we don’t find any of them.)  Ergo it is highly unlikely the Ashkenazim were an offshoot of Sephardim.  I have adumbrated extensive evidence for an alternative explanation; and–after a diligent search–found no evidence to refute it.}

{7  The more renown “Primary Chronicle” (a.k.a. the “Tale of Bygone Years”) by Nestor of Kiev was compiled slightly later (c. 1113; see Endnote 65 below). The focus of such tracts is Christendom. The authors were primarily interested in propounding a gilded Christian legacy. Consequently, events prior to the 11th century were of ancillary historiographical concern for the authors (yet another reminder that it is the victors who write history). The only other account from the region for this period are the “Kartlis Tskhovreba” [Georgian Chronicles]–spec. the ones composed in the 11th century by Leonti Mroveli of Urbnisi. During the Renaissance, there was little incentive for the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe to compile accounts of their [k]Hazarian background–as they had embraced an entirely new identity, and were consequently obliged to assimilate within their Occidental environs. This included the adoption of an Occidental ethos.  In any case, by 1240, the great Mongol general, Subotai had over-run the Eurasian Steppes, bringing it under control of the (Tengri) Mongol Empire. Later still, the region would fall under the dominion of the (Islamic) Kipchak imperium known as the “Altan / Saru [h]Ordu” [Golden Horde], which would control the region until after 1500…when it would fall to the Turkic (“Tatar”) Khanate of Crimea. There would have been little–if any–motivation for ANYONE, at ANY POINT, to trace the (defunct) connections between [k]Hazarian and Ashkenazi legacy. Indeed, the only regime that would have been inclined to do so was the very regime that had been wiped out. (Defunct empires tend not to be in a position to propound their legacy for posterity.) In spite of all this, we now have ample evidence to show what most likely transpired.}

{8  A well-done disquisition on this topic is Shlomo Sand’s “The Invention of the Jewish People” (2009); especially chapter 4, “Realms Of Silence”.  Also reference my essay, “Genesis Of A People”.  For further analysis of the relationship between the Ashkenazim and the [k]Hazars, see the long list of works provided at the beginning of this monograph.}

{9  Note that the Alans were referred to as “Ossetes” by Georgians (meaning they were progenitors of the Ossetians), reminding us of yet another Eastern European people with Turkic forebears. As mentioned: Per the Schechter letter, many of this Turkic tribe were Jewish as well. Linguistically, we find that Old Turkic predates even Classical Arabic. Old Turkic was the language of the forebears of the Gök-turks–as attested in, say, the “Or[k]han” inscriptions in Mongolia from the early 8th century.  Recall that the origins of the [k]Hazars was most likely the Mongolic “Ashina”, who broke away from the Rouran Khaganate in the mid-6th century…and were later driven westward by the Tang dynasty, who ruled China during the relevant time.  Only a limited amount is known about the Ashina—or any of the early Altaic peoples.  Their Faith would have been Tengri-ism; and their language that of the Gök-türks: Kipchak (later “Chagatai”, after merging with Mongolic and other Altaic peoples).  It was c. 650 that a figure named “Irbis” established a distinct [k]Hazarian identity.  He would be followed by Bazir (alt. “Busir”), who’s daughter, Theodora, married the Byzantine Emperor Justinian II. Bazir would be followed by Bihar (alt. “Viharos”), who’s daughter, Tzitzak [Turkic for “Flower”; a.k.a. “Irene of Khazaria”] married Byzantine Emperor Constantine V…who’s son would become Emperor Leo IV “the Khazar”. Such betrothals indicate that there were likely amicable relations between the Byzantines and [k]Hazars during this period. Bihar was khagan during the 730’s; so it is likely that he was the grandfather of Bulan…who was, in turn, a close ancestor of Obadiah. For more on this, see Endnote 10 below.}

{10  Obed-i-Yah (that is: “Obadiah”) was a close descendent of the patriarch of the [k]Hazars, Bulan (who was himself the grandson of Bihar). Bihar was the son of Bazir, who was the son of Irbis (see Endnote 9 above).  Bihar’s consort was the fabled “P-R-S-B-T”, known as Mother of the Khaganate. (It was either Bulan or Obediah who was referred to as “Sabr-i-El” in the Schechter letter.)  Here, we’re concerned with the [k]Hazar kagan, Joseph (see Endnote 39 below).  The patri-lineage of Joseph going back to Obadiah seems to have been as follows: Obed-i-Yah sired Hezek-i-Yah; then to Manasseh to (c)Hanukkah to Isaac to Zebulun to Moses to Manasseh II to Nisi to Aaron to Mena[c]hem to Benjamin to Aaron II, who sired Joseph.  Note that a “Zachariah” seems to have been khagan c. 861 (around the time of Zebulun), so he may have also been involved in this lineage.  (Note that most of these names were designated post hoc—retroactively rendered in Hebrew.  In reality, they would have all been a Turkic or Sogdian onomastic rather than in the more familiar Hebraic version.)  During the late 10th century, Joseph’s son, David would rule a vassal-State to Kievan Rus, which was located on the Taman peninsula. It seems a region of [k]Hazarian sovereignty persisted in the northern Caucuses (possibly along the western bank of the Caspian Sea) into the early 11th century. An abiding [k]Hazar presence is attested by records of a khagan named Georgios of the Tzul, who ended up battling the Byzantines in the Crimea.}

{11  “Crimea” derives from the Mongols’ moniker for the area: “Kyrym”.  Before the arrival of the [k]Hazars, the region was referred to as “Taurika” by the Sarmatians–a moniker then used by the Avars and Pechenegs.}

{12  “Huns” just means “people” in Old Turkic.  Christian Druthmar of Stavelot-Malmedy [Liège] (rendered “Christian von Stablo” in German) was a philologist from Aquitaine who joined the Benedictine Order.  He was most known for his “Expositio in Matthaeum Evangelistam” c. 864.  The relevant statement was: “[Those living] in the Land of Gog and Magog [the Eurasian Steppes] are a Hunnic race and are called ‘Kazari’.  They are circumcised and observe all the laws of Judaism.”  He would have had no incentive to be disingenuous about this fact.}

{13  There is an apocryphal tale of Bulan having convened a debate between representatives of both (Byzantine) Christianity and (Abbasid) Islam so that he could ascertain which of the three major Abrahamic Faiths was most credible. When the debate concluded in a stalemate, he asked each man which of the OTHER (two) Abrahamic Faiths was preferable. Both answered Judaism (by default), thereby persuading Bulan that Judaism probably had the most credence of the three. In terms of geo-political strategy, it was also the most diplomatic option; as it would have incensed the Christians and Muslims the least.  Accounts of the conversion of [k]Hazar leadership involve a Karaite rabbi named Isaac “ha-Sengari”.  Those accounts were attested by the 13th-century Andalusian rabbi, Moses ben Na[c]hman of Girona (a.k.a. “Nachmanides”)…and later by the 15th-century Kabbalist, Shem Tov ben Shem Tov.}

{14  It is worth noting that the [k]Hazars had the distinction of being the only empire to arrest the rapacious Seljuk hegemony during the latter’s most explosive epoch of expansion.  They managed to do this when even the mighty Byzantine and Persian Empires had failed.  (This achievement was not only attributable to their military prowess. Geography also provided a bulwark against incursions–primarily in the form of the Caucuses Mountains between the Black and Caspian Seas.)  One would think this to be a point of pride amongst Beth Israel.  Indeed, this would be a feat to celebrate…but for the fixation on chimerical bloodlines (and the consequent erasure of the [k]Hazars from standard Judaic historiography).  Collective memory is typically ENGINEERED memory…which is as much about invention (remembering what is farcical) as it is about deletion (forgetting anything that doesn’t serve the narrative).  Fabrication and obfuscation are two sides of the same coin. Delusive thinking goes hand-in-hand with blind spots.}

{15  An objection commonly leveled by those who reject the [k]Hazarian ancestry of the Ashkenazim is that the [k]Hazars did not convert to Judaism en masse; that it was only the ruling elite who became Jewish.  This is based on no evidence whatsoever. Moreover, it defies common sense–as anyone knows who understands how rulers and religions (vis a vis their subjects) have tended to work throughout history.  We need only note documentation from the time–especially the sources enumerated here–including Benedictine monk, Christian Druthmar; as well as Ahmad ibn Fadlan and Ibn al-Faqih.}

{16  The timing of prominent Jewish figures in the region is very telling—as with Halakhists / Tosafists like Eliezer ben Nathan of Mainz (a.k.a. “Ra’aven”) and his grandson, Eliezer ben Joel “ha-Levi” of Bonn (both from the 12th century).  The point cannot be emphasized enough: Few prominent Judaic figures hailed from the Rhineland prior to the 12th century; and then, all of the sudden, there was a PLETHORA.  What could possibly have happened at that point in history to explain such a sudden influx?}

{17  An oft-touted explanation for the (alleged) disappearance of the [k]Hazarian Jews is the invasion of the Mongols.  In other words: They vanished because they were wiped out.  To take this explanation seriously for more than just a moment betrays an egregious ignorance of history.  Let’s mention the two most obvious reasons.  First: The Mongol conquests occurred in the 13th century–long after the period in question. Second: Mongolian law was extremely tolerant of other Faiths (that is: of any Faith other than their own: Tengri-ism).  The pre-Islamic Mongols NEVER persecuted anyone due to religious or ethnic affiliation.  They only slaughtered those who resisted them, on a city-by-city basis; and only after due warning.  Wiping out an entire people would have made no strategic sense; and the Mongols ONLY razed cities as a military strategy (to make a statement; set an example) or as reprisal for being crossed (retribution for some sort of betrayal).}

{18  We might also note the Jewish exiles that hailed from England.  The first Jewish communities had come to the British Isles along with the Norman incursion c. 1066, during the reign of William the Conquerer. There would eventually be an emigration of Jews FROM England (probably of less than two thousand); but not until over two centuries later. There was the massacre of 150 Jews at York in March of 1190.  But it was not until a century later (July of 1290) that King Edward expelled virtually all Jews from the country. It is difficult to say exactly to where those leaving England–at that particular point in history–ended up dispersing.  Some of them likely ended up in northern Europe: Alsace-Lorraine, Greater Frisia (spec. Gelderland), Hainaut, and–yes–even the Rhineland.  Many Jews were expelled from France in the 1320’s, SOME of whom might have been displaced northeastward.  Then, in the late 1340’s, as a result of the hysteria resulting from the Black Death (and a need to scapegoat someone for the affliction), Jews were banished from various places across Europe.  As it happened, in 1349, the Duke of Guelders (Gelderland) was authorized–by Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV–to allow displaced Jews into his realm.  All this was, of course, long after the relevant period.  By the 14th century, the [k]Hazarian Jews had already been in Eastern Europe for three centuries.} 

{19  This is even more telling when we take into account the existence of the “Amber Road” that was used by a few bold merchants to travel between the northern Balkans and the Baltic region.  If the Jewish people of the eastern Mediterranean basin had been inclined to migrate northward to the Rhineland during the time in question, they theoretically COULD have done so…at least to the extent that they made it over the Balkan (Sharr / Pindus / Pirin / Rila) and lower Carpathian mountains.  But there is no evidence that this occurred.  Who MIGHT have used this route?  Radhanites.}

{20  Regarding the late dating of Romanian sites: The Jewish community at Iasi in Moldavia dates to the 17th century (the first synagogue was built in 1671 in the Jewish quarter known by the Turkic moniker, “Târgu Cucului”).  Regarding the late dating of Bulgarian sites: The ruins of a small synagogue at Philippopolis (the location of present-day Plovdiv) dating from the 3rd century is irrelevant to the salient timeline; as it merely indicates that a small Jewish community briefly existed in Thrace during the Roman Empire.  Some Jews who emigrated from Spain in 1492 (pursuant to the expulsion) ended up settling in Plovdiv, establishing a Jewish quarter that came to be known as “Orta Mezar”.  Others may have settled in Pazardzhik.  The exiled Sephardim may have erected a small synagogue or yeshiva at those sites; but this tells us nothing about Ashkenazi migration patterns.  There may have been small ASHKENAZI communities at Burgas and Karnobat since the beginning of the 17th century; but the first major synagogues in Bulgaria were built at Vidin, Samokov, and Varna in the late 19th century.  The synagogue at Sofia was not built until the beginning of the 20th century.  Also of note: In 1217, pursuant to a charter issued by Magyar (Hungarian) Prince Andras II (of Halych), a contingent of Ashkenazim from Germany settled at Hegyes-halom (“hegyes” is Magyar for “mountainous”; “halom” is Magyar for “hill”).  This invitation was notable because, prior to that, there had never been a Jewish presence there.  Given such dating, it is pure fancy to suppose that a significant number of Jews migrated FROM this region (southeastern Europe) TO northeastern Europe in the 11th and/or 12th century…thereby accounting for the emergence of the Ashkenazim in Lotharingia at that time.  Bear in mind that the oldest synagogues in the world exist at the eastern end of the Mediterranean basin; which means that there were Jews in the area at the time who hypothetically COULD HAVE migrated north.  Yet there was no movement in the direction of the Rhineland…that is: not until AFTER Askhenazim had already become prominent (see Endnote 19 above).  It is clear that between Late Antiquity and the sudden appearance of Jews in Lotharingia, Jews from the eastern end of the Mediterranean basin did not settle anywhere north of Macedonia (that is: nowhere above the Balkan mountains).  Hence those who first appeared in Ashkenaz must have come from either western Europe and/or from the east.  As we have seen, the latter is the most likely explanation for the significant Jewish population-surge that occurred in the vicinity of the Rhineland beginning in the 11th century.}

{21  For much of the Middle Ages, the region encompassing northeastern Gallia and southwestern Germania–referred to as “Austrasia” in Late Antiquity–was generally known as “Lotharingia”.  However, pursuant to the Treaty of Verdun in 843, that realm (at the time, a Carolingian dominion) was divided.  The land west of the River Rhine was thereafter considered part of “Frankish Lorraine”; the land east of the river was dubbed “East Frankia” (which encompassed Saxony, Frankonia, Thuringia, and Bavaria; stretching east to the Elbe river basin).  The former area included what came to be dubbed the “Rheinpfalz” (that is: the “Rhenish Palatinate”) and Alsace-Lorraine.  The latter area corresponded with what had been dubbed “Marca Geronis” [Saxon Eastern March] during the Dark Ages (which included the Margraviates of the Nordgau, Nordmark, Lusatia, and Moravia).  When I refer to the Rhineland (land around the River Rhine), I am using it in the broadest (medieval) sense; and so am referring to this ENTIRE region.  All of THAT constituted only the western end of what later came to be called “Ashkenaz”…which eventually stretched across Prussia into Greater Lithuania…and down to Ruthenia.  As mentioned, Jews as far north as the Baltics and as far south as the Balkans have considered themselves Ashkenazim.  This is attributable, in part, to the immensity of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.  And due to the vast expanse of Tsarist Russia, the “Pale of Settlement” stretched from the Baltic Sea down to the Black Sea—accounting for Jewish communities from Latvia in the north to Volhynia in the south.}

{22  Note that there exists an (uncorroborated) account of a small Jewish community that settled in Bohemia (at Josefov in Prague) as early as the 11th century.  However, a synagogue would not be erected there until the late 13th century–dubbed the “Alt-S[c]hul” [Old School].  This makes sense if the FIRST Jews who came to the area did not end up remaining for long (as they were transient); and only later returned (back eastward, through Bohemia / Moravia, toward Silesia); at which point they settled for the long term.  The first figure of renown in the city was Isaac ben Jacob “ha-Lavan” (late 12th century).  Baruch ben Isaac of Worms was an interesting case, as he was SEPHARDIC.  A student of Isaac ben Samuel of Danpierre, he hailed from either Worms or somewhere in France; yet apparently spent some time in Regensburg.  This shows that, in the late 12th century, some Tosafists did venture into Bavaria.  He did not remain there, however; as he spent the end of his life in Palestine.  There was already an Ashkenazi community in Regensburg by then, as we know from the Rhineland massacres in 1096 (see Endnote 26 below).  The earliest account of the region by Jewish authors are the travelogues of Peta[c]h-i-yah ben Jacob and Judah ben Samuel “ha-(c)Hasid” (each written in the early 13th century, while they were in Regensberg).  The former traveled through (the old) [k]Hazaria, then–via Armenia and Kurdistan–to the Middle East.  What might have compelled him to travel to Palestine via such a circuitous route?  It seems he was interested in seeing the homeland of his ancestors…before ending up in the Holy Land.}

{23  It was around this time (between 985 and 988) that leaders of Kieven Rus (on behalf of Vladimir the Great) composed the “Mandgelis Letter”, in which they refer to “our lord David, the Khazar prince”, who–by that time–had settled on the Taman peninsula (see Endnote 10 above).  Assuming this document is authentic (it was discovered by a Karaite archeologist in the 19th century), it would be very telling. 

We must be cautious in arriving at conclusions, however; especially after the 19th-century Karaite apologist, Abraham Firkovich was accused of citing inauthentic documents.  In any case, it is clear that those in the land north of the Black Sea (known as “Ruthenia” in the Middle Ages) was populated by Slavic peoples who were vassals to the [k]Hazars: the Radmichi and Kryvichi). This persisted until Prince Oleg of Novgorod conquered the land c. 885, at which point they became vassals of the (Varangian) “Rus”.}

{24  An interesting side-note: The Seljuk Turks were founded by an ex-[k]Hazarian military leader named “Seljuk”.  It’s worth considering the geo-political exigencies at the time.  Even the Byzantine Emperor, Basil II “the Bulgar Slayer” could not stave off the Seljuk incursion.  The small kingdom of Vaspura-khan (on the Armenian plateau) would fall c. 1021.  During the emigration from their homeland, had the [k]Hazarian Jews ventured into this era, they would have been annihilated.  (The Armenian historian, Matthew of Edessa, provides a detailed account of this epoch.)  Note, though, that by the time the Jewish traveler, Benjamin of Tudela traveled to the Levant / Mesopotamia over a century later, Seljuk aggression had become appreciably tempered.  As it turned out, all those whom Benjamin encountered (i.e. Seljuks and their subjects) did not exhibit any notable anti-Semitism. For, by that time, Muslims’ main antagonists were the Christian Crusaders.  (It was the Christian Crusaders who engaged in the majority of pogroms against the Jews in the Levant.)  As Benjamin’s travelogues show, Muslims in that region were quite hospitable to Jews during this period.  Be that as it may, there was still the sporadic menace of Christian Crusaders—making incursions into the region—with whom Jews in the region needed to contend.  Admittedly, first-hand testimonials are sparse when it comes to the treatment of Jewish people in the Levant at the time; as the majority of material is provided by the two primary disputants: Christian Crusaders and Seljuk Muslims.  We DO know that Palestinian Jews fought alongside the Muslims (Seljuks) agains the Christian Crusaders (Franks).  The Seljuks were eventually displaced in the Levant by the (partially Kurdish) Ayyubids, then the (predominantly Turkic) Mamluks—both of whom ruled out of Egypt.  There was even an Armenian kingdom in Cilicia.  For the present purposes, the most important perspective is that OF JEWISH PEOPLE (those who were personally there)–as with “Gaon” A[c]hai of Shabha (8th century), “Gaon” Aaron ben Meir of Palestine (10th century), and the aforesaid traveler, Benjamin of Tudela (12th century).  The timing of other relevant events is helpful to note.  In England, the infamous Edict of Expulsion was issued in 1290–long after the pivotal period with which we are presently concerned.  The Mamluk Sultan, Al-Ashraf Khalil ended the (overtly anti-Semitic) Roman Catholic “Kingdom of Jerusalem” once and for all the very next year (1291), thereby rendering the Levant a safer place for Jews.}

{25  What scholars now refer to as “Samaritan Hebrew” was a variation on the Samaritan script, which was itself a variation of Old Aramaic.  Samaritan–along with the Babylonian Aramaic used by the Exilic scribes–was the precursor to Classical (Biblical) Hebrew.  Hence the Torah was originally composed in Babylonian Aramaic; which was followed by Mishnaic Hebrew, then Masoretic Hebrew.  The “block” script with which we are now familiar did not arise until the 1st century A.D. (See Endnote 46 below.) 

The Samaritan script–intermixed with Old Turkic–has been discovered in the [k]Hazarian ruins of Crimea, at “Kaffa” (the current “Phiodosia”, an onomastic variant on the original Greek “Theodosia”), dating from the 9th century.  Clearly, Judaism permeated the entirety of the [k]Hazar Empire.}

{26  Tragically, persecution did end up occurring–starting with the Rhineland massacres of 1096.  (The best sources for this are the chronicles by Solomon ben Samson and Eliezar ben Nathan, both of Mainz, from the 12th century.)  The first we hear of Jews in Regensburg is from accounts of the slaughter of Jews by Roman Catholic zealot, Peter L’Hermite of Amiens, who led a mob against the Jews in the city before embarking on the Crusades himself.  Later, there would be the massacre at Deggendorf (Bavaria) in 1338, a pogrom in Alsace, Toulon, and Strasbourg in the late 1330’s; and then massacres at Basel (January), Strasbourg (February), Erfurt (March), and Mainz (August) in 1349.  Later still, there would be persecution in the northern Caucuses and eastern Ukraine (i.e. what had been the epicenter of [k]Hazaria; known as “Kumania” at the time) by the (Christian) Hetman Cossacks in the 1650’s, pursuant to the Khmelnytsky uprising.  Ironically, it was in the Ottoman Empire–including Palestine–that Jews ended up being the SAFEST (i.e. least persecuted) during this period (starting about 1300, after the Crusades started to abate).  By 1492, when Jews were expelled from Iberia by the Inquisition, sultan Bayazid II offered sanctuary in his domain.  If we are to believe that the Levant was considered the “homeland” of Beth Israel, this migration FARTHER AWAY from it–into an area of increased peril (the oft-anti-Semitic Holy Roman Empire)–would have been quite strange.  For more on this, see Endnote 40 below.}

{27  Regarding “Ai-gül” for “moon-flower”: The use of the Turkic “Ai” for “moon” is telling here considering there was a Hebraic alternative for naming females after the moon: “Yarea[c]h”.  To reiterate: opting for Turkic terms when there were Hebraic—often Biblical—terms readily available would have been rather odd; that is, if not for the present thesis.  (See also Endnote 50 below.)  Another interesting case is the Ashkenazi legend of “dybbük” [demons].  Some contend that the term stems from the Hebrew verb “D-B-K”, meaning “to cling” (because demons “cling” to the people they possess).  This is—to put it mildly—a stretch.  Riffing off of such a lexeme doesn’t make sense anyway, as there was already a Hebrew word for demon: “shed”.  In Turkic folklore, a popular demon was named “Al Ana” [evil mother].  (Nefarious spirits were often characterized as female—as with, say, “Shahmara[n]” in Tatar / Sogdian lore.)  Along the Silk Road, a common term for “demon” was “dev”; while “büke” was an alternate Turkic term for “woman”.  This offers a much more plausible etymology for “dyb-bük[e]”, requiring only an adjustment of the “v” to a “b”.  Lo and behold, another common Turkic female name is “Ai-büke” [moon-woman].}

{28  Reference the research of Israeli geneticist, Eran El-Haik–specifically his work published in the Journal “Frontiers In Genetics” in 2017.  Also note his earlier work published in “Genome Biology and Evolution”.  Modern genetic testing has proven things that some would much rather prefer remain obfuscated.  Upon the analysis of haplo-groups, those who are (predominantly) genetically Ashkenazi discover that they carry a gene-line that traces back to the area around the CASPIAN SEA (i.e. the Pontic Steppes). (See Endnote 29 below.)  Recall that the medieval name for this body of water was the [k]Hazar Sea. In other words, the present thesis is born out by genetic testing; making it close to incontrovertible.  But no matter.  Such genetic evidence is actively suppressed by Revisionist Zionists (see Endnote 30 below).  Not all El-Haik’s conclusions are sound, though; as I address in Endnote 71 below.}

{29  Going back even further in time (to the Bronze Age and earlier), we find this genetic lineage following a migration path indicative of ALL (non-African) homo sapiens: from northeast Africa, through the Levant and Mesopotamia, then Persia (spec. Daylam / Hyrkania, on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea).  Over this vast timeframe, we are not tracing a distinct haplo-group (let alone a tribe that could be discretely identified as proto-Hebrew).  Rather, we are tracing gene-lines (primarily via the Y-chromosome) amidst a myriad of interacting populations over vast epochs.  The timeframe involved in this lineage is far beyond the relevant period for the present inquiry.  Bottom line: Genetic studies that purport to refute the [k]Hazarian ancestry of the Ashkenazim actually do no such thing.  For instance, some tests on mitochondrial DNA have shown that Ashkenazim can be traced back to FOUR WOMEN from about two millennia ago. Where did they live?  Somewhere in the “Near East”…which encompasses Persia, the Caucasus, and–yes–the Pontic Steppes. (See Endnote 30 below.)  This genetic bottleneck, occurring c. 1000, would not exist had Ashkenazim come from Sephardim. (!)  Of course, one can EVENTUALLY trace the Y-chromosome of Ashkenazim to somewhere in the “Middle East” (the Levant and Mesopotamia); but that is the case with virtually ANYONE’S genome outside of (non-Arab) Africans (see Endnote 57 below).  In any case, if we go back far enough, we are all from Africa; a fact that tells us almost nothing about what happened since the Stone Age.}

{30  We might bear in mind that there are no OTHER direct descendants of the [k]Hazars alive today to which we can compare Ashkenazi DNA.  Nobody identifying as such has existed for almost a thousand years.  So it is neither easy to refute or confirm a genetic lineage going back to a medieval Steppe people.  (In the intervening millennium, so much miscegenation—and thus genetic drift—would have occurred that a distinctly [k]Hazarian genome would now be very difficult to identify.)  Another tell-tale sign of Ashkenazi Jews’ NON-European provenance: Their genome exhibits very little Neanderthal DNA.  Here’s the thing: All people who hail from Europe (Celts, Franks, Italic peoples, Germanic peoples, Nordic peoples, Slaves, etc.) have palpable vestiges of the Neanderthal genome.  (Anglo-Saxons probably have more Neanderthal DNA than anyone else.)  This includes Jewish people who come from genetic lines that were in Andalusia, in Occitania, on the Italic Peninsula, and/or on the Baltic Peninsula for over a thousand years (i.e. Sephardim), as they mixed with Europeans.  Haplo-groups that never went through Europe, though, did not (directly) intermix with Neanderthal gene lines; until, that is, the Middle Ages.  Hence the dearth of Neanderthal DNA in the genetic profile of virtually all sub-Saharan Africans, many east Asians, and—yes—most Ashkenazim.  Eran El-Haik of Johns Hopkins University has concluded from an analysis of autosomal DNA that Eastern European Jews did, in fact, have a [k]Hazarian background. (Also see Endnote 57 below.)  Other studies have shown that a not insignificant portion of mitochondrial DNA amongst a sample-set of Ashkenazim (which is not necessarily representative of ALL Ashkenazim) exhibited some European origins; which means that–unsurprisingly–there occurred sporadic miscegenation between [k]Hazars and some Europeans (Gentile and Sephardic) over the course of the last millennium.  (A lot can happen with a gene pool in a thousand years.)  In 2017, when a popular genome website started notifying Ashkenazim that their ancestors came from the region near the Caspian Sea (based on genetic tests demarcating the genealogy of their haplo-group), there was an outcry of indignation from Judeo- Supremacists.  The company was promptly coerced into withholding any further disclosures regarding the [k]Hazarian ancestry of Ashkenazi clients.  (It capitulated under intense pressure from vexed Revisionist Zionists.)  Such duplicity should sound disturbingly familiar: “Your science corroborates a theory that we are hell-bent on repudiating.  So bury it!”  Of course, in reality, the “ancestry” company was not concerned with either supporting or refuting any particular historical theory; it was merely announcing the results of the tests it had been hired to conduct.  Alas, it has become pro-forma in polite circles to repeat the falsehood that genetic tests have DIS-proven the oft-derided “Khazar theory”.  Simply asserting this falsehood with sufficient ardor suffices to curtail all further discussion.  How dare anyone insinuate that any segment of Beth Israel did not originate in “Eretz Israel” (Palestine)?!  The message is clear: “Nothing to see here; so please move on.”  This is a case-study in systematic obfuscation.  As is usually the case, those looking to (aggressively) suppress information–due to ideological commitments–are contemptuous of Truth whenever it ends up being inconvenient.  The concern for abetting an ideological agenda trumps intellectual integrity.  Virtually ALL Ashkenazim who trace their genome back over a millennium will find that their haplo-group primarily originated in the vicinity of the Caspian sea.  Going back MANY millennia (i.e. long before “Hebrews” were an identifiable ethnic group), this will be show to have been via Mesopotamia and Persia (during the Bronze Age).  Going back to the Stone Age, they—like all other homo-sapiens—would find the origins to be in East Africa.  But never mind any of that.  The demand by religious fundamentalists for scientists to “renounce your findings!” has a long history–especially when it undermines key theological dogmas (ref. the Vatican’s treatment of Galileo) or strident claims of ethnic purity (as with, say, delusive proponents of “Nordicism”).  This is just another instance of the same odious thinking.}

{31  Going back further into history, the land that eventually became [k]Hazaria was originally occupied by the Sarmatians and Scythians.  The Krymchaks (i.e. the Jews of Crimea) referred to themselves as “Sral Ballary” (Turkic for “Sons of Israel”, a moniker that was based on a rendering that would have been used by all Tatars).  We know that the Turkic Jewish presence there dates back to the [k]Hazar Empire because there was a synagogue erected at Kaffa (formerly, the Greek “Theodosia”) c. 909.  There are records of a [k]Hazarian presence at the location going back to the 9th century.}

{32  The apocryphal Kalonymos ben Isaac “the Elder” of Speyer is worth mentioning.  He was purportedly the father of the aforesaid Samuel “ha-[c]Hasid” of Speyer…who was himself purportedly the father of the founder of [c]Hassidic Judaism: Judah ben Samuel “ha-[c]Hasid” of Speyer, who is actually more associated with his tenure in Regensburg, Bavaria.  The 13th-century Kabbalist, Eleazar ben Judah of Mainz / Worms (a.k.a. “Ro-Kea[c]h”) was a disciple of Judah Ha-[c]Hasid.  “[c]Hasidei Ashkenaz” (a newfangled version of Jewish mysticism) suddenly emerged in the Rhineland c. 1200–an eventuality that was attested in the works of both Judah ben Samuel “ha-[c]Hasid” and Eleazar “Rokea[c]h”.  Were these men related to the Kalonymos family?  Probably not.  Is it feasible that descendants of the Kalonymos family had moved to the region by the 13th century?  Perhaps.  Are they responsible for “[c]Hasidei Ashkenaz”?  This requires us to suppose that Samuel Ha-[c]Hasid–about whom there is sparse documentation–was really from an Italic background.  This is far fetched; as I show in the Appendix.}

{33  This etymology offers yet another instance of evasion. Revisionist Zionist apologists insist–against all common sense–that this surname is a variation on the Classical Hebrew term for priest, “kohen”; which was itself based on the Babylonian Aramaic “kah[e]na” (alternately rendered “kumra”). It should be obvious that this has nothing to do with the onomastics of “Kagan”. As is commonly known, the surname meaning “priest” was rendered “Coh[e]n”–a surname that was almost exclusively used by Sephardim (not Ashkenazim) until the modern age.  Meanwhile, the origins of “Kahn” are difficult to ascertain–as it could either be a variation on the Hebraic “Kohen” or the Turko-Mongolic “Khan”. Morphologically, the latter is more likely.}

{34  Note that these Turkic names CANNOT be attributed to the presence of the Altan Ordu [alt. “Saru Ordu”; a.k.a. the “Golden Horde”], which was established by Batu Khan of Sarai in the 13th century; as they did not first appear in the region until the 14th century.  The Golden Horde was Kipchak (i.e. Turkic-Mongol; a.k.a. Tatar).  There are four reasons that we can be confident of this non-attributable-ness.  First: Starting with Batu Khan, the regime’s leaders were referred to as “khan”, a Mongolic honorific rather than as the Turkic “Kagan”.  (They were alternately referred to as the Slavic “Tsar” or Persian “Shah”.)  Second: Operating out of the capital city of “Sarai” (near the former [k]Hazarian capital, Atil), their domain only stretched as far west as the Danube; so would not have influenced the Ashkenazim until at least the 14th century.  Third: The Khanate was ISLAMIC.  Any Jews still within their domain would not have been inclined to adopt the nomenclature of their Muslim overlords.  Fourth: The onomastics here predate the Golden Horde by several centuries.  There are other Ashkenazi surnames that have hazy etymologies.  Take, for instance, “Balik” / “Bilak”–a Slavic name meaning “pale”, which may have Magyar (that is: Turkic) origins. For more on this, see Endnote 45 below.}

{35  The edicts issued during the Synod at Troyes in 1078 are now associated with the acronym, “Sh-V-M”, based on the Hebraic monikers for the three predominant Jewish cities in the Rhineland: Shpira, Vrm’sha, and Magentza (Speyer, Worms, and Mainz). The term is typically Anglicized to “ShUM”. Note that this mustn’t be confused with the Synod at Troyes convened in 1160 by the Tosafists, Jacob ben Meir of Ramerupt (a.k.a. “Rabbeinu Tam”) and Joseph ben Meir ben Samuel of Troyes (a.k.a. “Rashbam”), grandsons of Rashi, which led to the issuing of the “Takkanot ShUM”: an attempt to resolve the on-going disagreements in the region between the Sephardim and Ashkenazim. Other attendees of this later Synod included notable figures like Simha of Speyer, Jacob ben Asher of Speyer, Eliezar ben Joel “ha-Levi” of Bonn, and Eleazar “Rokea[c]h” of Regensburg.} 

{36  It is ironic that the Jewish people who are most authentically Semitic are the Mizra[c]him, who are Arab…and currently enjoy the LEAST social status in Beth Israel (as well as in the nation-State of “Israel”). As if to compound the irony, it is for their Arab-ness that they are considered subalterns by many present-day Ashkenazim–who’s origins are primarily NON-Semitic. (Who, then, are the real anti- Semites?!) The only other quasi-Judaic populations that are genuinely Semitic are the Samaritans (as they are the only Abrahamic community to have remained in the Levant since Classical Antiquity).  After the Mizra[c]him (Arab Jews) and Samaritans, it is likely that most Sephardim have a Semitic background.  But then again, NONE of this matters when it comes to Jewish-ness qua religious affiliation, as belief the Abrahamic deity (and–more specifically–a fealty to the Mosaic creed) has nothing to do with bloodlines. To suppose otherwise is to insinuate that Judaism is inherently ethnocentric–nay, racist (see Endnote 5 above).  The present thesis does not entail that Ashkenazim are somehow less Jewish (in the religious sense); it simply points out that their ancestry isn’t Semitic. Only racists fixate on racial categories.  In any case, the purity of bloodlines is an invidious myth.}

{37  This was parlayed into the works of Oswald Spengler…which paved the way for the execrable material of Hans Friedrich Karl Günther, Adolf Josef Lanz von Liebenfels, and Guido von List…which, in turn, inspired Hitler’s “My Jihad” and–soon thereafter–Carl Schmitt’s Manichean diatribe: “The Concept of the Political”. For more on this topic, see my essay on “The Many Faces Of Fascism”.}

{38  It is notable that the “Arrow Cross Party” of Hungary made use of the farcical (Magyar) national origin myth in the same way that Revisionist Zionists make use of the national origin myth of “Eretz Israel” (see my essay: “The Land Of Purple”). As it turns out, ANY ethno-centricity tends to appeal to a farcical ethno-genesis.  Such self-serving farce is an attempt to legitimate  claims of “lebensraum” for the anointed tribe.}

{39  Per Joseph’s correspondence with the caliph of Cordoba, the [k]Hazar Empire worked diligently to attach itself to the legacy of Jewish prophets–doing so by concocting a chimerical genealogy. In his letter, Joseph pin-pointed Noah’s son, Japeth, as the pivotal patriarch. In keeping with the (Judaic) genealogical myth, Joseph designated Japeth’s son, Togarmah as the progenitor of all Turkic peoples. (Meanwhile, his son, Gomer was associated with the Scythians. See Endnote 42.)  He then posited ten sons of Togarmah to account for the major Turkic tribes (as he saw it) at the time: Ujur [Old Uyghur], Tauri [Tirosz], Avar, Uauz [Oghuz], Bizel [Pecheneg], Tarna [possibly the Gök-türks], [k]Hazar, Janur [Zagur], Bulgar, and Sabir.  Note that the Old Uyghurs were a (Tocharian) Orkhon Turkic peoples from Idikut (i.e. Kara-Khoja and Turpan).  They were Manichaean and Buddhist.  They are not to be confused with the modern Uyghurs of Xin-Jiang, who are descendants of the (Karluk) Kara-Khanids; and are Muslim.}

{40  Make no mistake, things were not always hunky-dory for the Jews of France during the 11th century.  King Robert II “the Pious” was notoriously anti-Semitic. So was the Norman potentate, Richard II (who operated out of Rouen).  (Recall that it was in the 11th century that the hegemonic Normans overtook England.)  There is also record of persecution in Limoges (central France).  But here’s the thing: Any Jews who were displaced–or who opted to relocate–at this time did NOT move to the northeast. Records are clear that the Jews of France were in constant contact with their brethren along the Mediterranean basin. Indeed, they had regular mercantile dealings with Palestinian and Maghrebi traders (esp. the Radhanite Jews).  Moreover, there were safe havens in the south of France–most notably at Narbonne in Occitania.  Hence the community known as “Hachmei Provence”.  At the time, eastern Occitania was located within the Burgundian Kingdom of Arles.  It is in THAT direction that the vast majority of European Jews seeking more hospitable environs would have gone.  During this era, some Jews from as far north as Cologne even opted to go SOUTHWARD seeking sanctuary–notably: Asher ben Je[c]hiel in the late 13th century. (See Endnote 18 above.)  Bear in mind: When massacres began in 1096 (pursuant to the launching of the Crusades), they occurred in Germany as much as anywhere else; so “Ashkenaz” at that point would not have been seen as a safe haven. In fact, the first we hear of Jews in Regensburg is from accounts of the infamous Peter L’Hermite of Amiens leading a mob to convert or kill all the Jews in the city c. 1096.  For more on the Rhineland massacres, see Endnote 26 above.}

{41  Hence he was subsequently known as Adalbert of Magdeburg. Funny enough, Adalbert undertook this career path at the behest of Queen Olga of Kiev…who, soon thereafter, was overthrown by the same Slavic conquerer who overthrew the [k]Hazar Empire: Svyatoslav.  A primary source for the Ottonian period in Germany is Thietmar’s Chronicle c. 1018.}

{42  The BIBLICAL moniker “Ashkenaz” was based on the Assyrian term; not vice versa. The Biblical figure was purportedly the son of Gomer (thus the grandson of Japheth, who was–in turn–the son of Noah).  The progeny of Ashkenaz were associated with the Scythians (who were seen as descendants of the kingdoms of the Urartians and Mannaeans). In the Torah, this apocryphal character is mentioned once–in passing–in Genesis (10:3). His name then appears in First Chronicles (1:6) and Jeremiah (51:27).
In medieval Jewish parlance, the term was typically synonymous with THE OTHER. Consequently, no SEMITE–Jewish or otherwise–would have ever been inclined, under any circumstances, to adopt the moniker for an (ethnic) endonym. That is: No Semitic Jew would have ever self-identified as “Ashkenaz”.  For more on this point, see Postscript 2.}

{43  There is an irony here. Up until the post-War era, the majority of those who ardently sought to DENY the [k]Hazar theory were the anti-Semites.  For they did not want to admit that such a great Empire could have been Jewish.  Even more unpalatable was the fact that–for several centuries–Slavic tribes paid tribute to the [k]Hazar imperium. For anti-Semitic Eastern Europeans, the notion that their (Slavic) forebears would have paid tribute to JEWISH rulers—and Turkic people, nevertheless—was unthinkable.  Their bigotry only worked if the target of their contempt were actually Semitic. As it turns out, ethno-centricity in BOTH directions depends on the same farce.  This is a reminder that rejection of the [k]Hazar theory is often based on racism.}

{44  We might also note that, in cases where Jewish Tatar ancestry is posited, it likely corresponds to [k]Hazar ancestry.  In effect, “Tatar” Jewish is often a euphemism for “[k]Hazar” Jewish.  This is the case with the Krymchaks and Karaites in the Crimea, the “Lipka Tatars” in the Baltic region, as well as the “Kazan” Jews who–to this day–live in central Eurasia.  It is worth bearing in mind that there is plenty of racism WITHIN Beth Israel.}

{45  The suffix “-man[n]” was probably the most common for vocational surnames—as with, say, “Zimmerman[n]” for carpenters, “Tuchman[n]” for cloth merchants, or “Hoffman[n]” for property managers.  There were also German vocations ending in “-er”.  Twenty common examples: Buchalter, Schuster, Seiler, Sidler / Schittler, Schreiber, Schneider, Spitzer, Sandler, Kertzer, Kramer, Kessler, Kellner, Zeigler, Zinner, Metzger, Mahler, Nadler, Gerber, Gellner, and Fechter.  Meanwhile, “[Geld]Wechsler” (alt. “Wexler”; “Veksler”) meant money-changer.  These can be contrasted with distinctly Hebraic terms for vocations like Chait (tailor); or even for Coh[e]n (priest).  It was inevitable that, along the way, some of the [k]Hazarian diaspora picked up Old Slavic versions of Hebrew names–as with Rivkin / Riv[k]a instead of the Hebraic “Rebekah” and Rashka instead of “Rachel (see Endnote 50 below).  If a Jewish family with a SEMITIC background opted for the name of a Biblical figure, they would not have been inclined to adopt a version from a completely unrelated culture. (Some Sephardim adopted ethnic names from the Maghreb, Iberia, France, etc.; but none of those names were taken in lieu of the Hebraic version of a Biblical name.)  Of course, a few Ashkenazim adopted surnames related to religious vocations–as with “Rabinowitz” (Germanic) / “Rabinovich” (Slavic) meaning “son of the rabbi”.  But there was an obvious reason that this would have happened from time to time: they were religious Jews.  Interestingly, in some instances, Jewish families eventually adopted GENERAL Germanic lexemes for their surnames–as with “Blitzer” (one who’s fast), “Jaffe” (beautiful), and “S[c]hul-man” (school man; i.e. teacher at a synagogue).  There is also Roz-man / Ros-man [horseman], which would have been a peculiar choice for a family that used to be Sephardic.  Note that not all Ashkenazi surnames ending in “man[n]” are vocational.  Li[e]p-man, for example, means “beloved man”.  And, of course, some Ashkenazim ended up adopting Old Slavic names along the way–as with Tkach (“weaver”), Spivak (“singer”), Slyusar (“locksmith”), Mytnik (“toll collector”), and Kravitz (“tailor”).  The rather generic “Novak” was an Old Slavic term for “new”, and used across all ethnicities.  Interestingly, “Balik” / “Bilak” means “pale”; and may have actually had Magyar origins (see Endnote 104 below).  This is not to say that Ashkenazim didn’t sometimes opt for surnames with Semitic etymologies.  But, interestingly, when that was the case, it was often via SAMARITAN…which is to say that the etymology is traceable directly to Aramaic; meaning it wasn’t distinctly Hebraic.  See Endnote 25 above.}

{46  Masoretic Hebrew, which was used during the Dark Ages, retains vestiges of its Middle Aramaic roots.  An illustrative case is that of the “K-Re” and “K-T-B” (typically rendered “Qere” and “Ket[h]iv”), meaning “that which is recited” and “that which is written” in Aramaic.  (Notably: Ashkenazim use a decidedly different rendering: “K-ri Uchesiv”.) Classical Arabic (which has many of the same roots, as it was derived primarily from Syriac) likewise used “i-K-Ra” for the verb “recite”.  After all, that’s the basis for “Koran”: “Recitation”.}

{47  This isn’t to say that Ashkenazi liturgy did not eventually adopt Sephardic material. Indeed, many Ashkenazim now make use of the “Nusakh Sephard”. As might be expected, over the course of the last millennium, there has been extensive cross-pollination within Beth Israel (though there remain some hyper- insular communities–as with the Haredim / Hassidim.}

{48  In his “When Prophecy Fails”, Leon Festinger wrote: “A man with a conviction is a hard man to change.  Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources.  Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.  We have all experienced the futility of trying to change a strong conviction, especially if the convinced person has some investment in his belief. We are familiar with the variety of ingenious defenses with which people protect their convictions, managing to keep them unscathed through the most devastating attacks.  But man’s resourcefulness goes beyond simply protecting a belief.  Suppose an individual believes something with his whole heart.  Suppose further that he has a commitment to this belief, that he has taken irrevocable actions because of it. Finally, suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong: What will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken, but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before. Indeed, he may even show a new fervor about convincing and converting other people to his view.”}

{49  An interesting case is the surname, “Kop[pe]l”, which came to be associated with the Jewish scull-cap (“yarmulke” in Yiddish, which was based on Turkic).  Why?  In Silesian / Polabian, the term “köppel” meant “head”.  Opting for this term would not have made any sense for those who’d been using “Kippah” for centuries.}

{50  Yitzchok Ayzik is a peculiar way to saying Isaac Isaac.  It has distinctly Turkic phonetics; which indicates a vestigial (exogenous) morphology.  There were other instances of non-Semitic versions of Biblical names.  Already mentioned is “A[r]slan” (alt. “Ruslan”), a Turkic term used by some Ashkenazim in lieu of the various Biblical terms for “lion”.  Also note: “Zanvl” (instead of “Shema-El”) for Samuel, Mann[is] (instead of Immanuel”) for “god with us”, and “Zalman” (instead of “Shlomo”) for Solomon—all of which have Turkic features.  “Gabor”, another popular Ashkenazic name, is the Turkic version of “Gabr-i-El”.  Faivish / Fayvush [later rendered “Feivel”] was used instead of something based on the Semitic root “[n]Or” (meaning “bright” / “light” / “shining”).  The Old Turkic term for “bright” is “ya-ruk”, for “light” is “ak”, for “shine” is “balk”, for “fire” is “ot”, and for “flame” is “jal-in”; so the etymology of this name remains somewhat of a mystery.  “Yankl” (instead of “Yakub” / “Yakov” / “Akiva”) for Jacob and “Ziml” (instead of “Shim[e]on”) for Simon may have had more of a Germanic / Slavic phonetic influence.  Meanwhile, the Slavic “Rivka” is used instead of “Rebekah” while “Rashka” is used instead of “Rachel”.  This all seems to have occurred within a roiling linguistic nexus (see Endnote 45 above).  Morphologically, none of these names exhibit Hebraic features.}

{51  Of course, it is understandable that some people might want to be associated with a dell of beautiful flowers. Is it not rather peculiar, though, that–of all valleys–a Jewish people with did not opt for monikers like “Sh[e]felah” or “Berakah” or “Elah” or “Kidron” or “Jezreel” or some other hallowed valley from Abrahamic lore (when seeking to name themselves after a “Ge[i]” / “Emek” / “Amuk”)?  Regarding the lexeme for “valley”, the Germanic “thal” is not a big leap from the Old Turkic “kol”.  For “rose”, the [k]Hazars may have used the Sogdian term, “ward”. So why not the Hebraic “vered” for rose? (Note: “Shosha[n]na” originally meant lily.) After all, the SEPHARDIM used Hebraic terms when speaking of roses / lilies and valleys; and would not have abandoned such terms for Germanic lexemes. Once we consider the NON-Semitic origin of Ashkenazim, this all makes sense.}

{52  When it comes to major Jewish figures in Andalusia NOT going to eastern Europe at this time, Moses ben Maimon ben Joseph of Cordoba (a.k.a. “Maimonides”) was only the tip of the iceberg.  As we’ve seen, there were many others, all of whom indicated an overwhelming trend.  Virtually any notable Sephardic figure living during the relevant period tended to venture elsewhere…if they ventured anywhere at all.  The prevailing migration pattern was NOT from southern / western Europe to Lotharingia.  Pursuant to the Roman Catholic Church’s pogroms (during the Renaissance), the majority of Sephardic Jews fled from western Europe to…North Africa.  Others opted for the eastern end of the Mediterranean basin—especially the Balkan Peninsula: Greece, Dalmatia (Serbia / Croatia / Bosnia), and Bulgaria.  Meticulous records of pre-modern Jewish migration patterns in Europe are rather sparse, as—frankly—the (Christian) authorities didn’t care enough to keep such ethnographic accounts.  What little we know can be found in “The Cambridge History Of Judaism” (ed. William D. Davies and Louis Frankenstein; 1984) and Routledge’s “Medieval Jewish Civilization: An Encyclopedia” (ed. Norman Roth; 2014).  Also see Bernard Bachrach’s “Early Medieval Jewish Policy In Western Europe” (1977) and Alexander Panayotou’s “Jews And Jewish Communities In The Balkans And The Aegean Until The 12th Century” (in “The Jewish-Greek Tradition In Antiquity; And The Byzantine Empire”; 2014).}

{53  File this under “nobody else is doing it, so it may as well be me.”  That said, it can’t be emphasized enough that I am not a professional philologist. NOR am I an expert in Yiddish, or in Old Turkic, or in the culture of medieval Steppe peoples.  Yet… Even I noticed the plethora of (oft-elided) connections adumbrated in the present monograph.  To be clear: I recognize the limits of my knowledge. My own shortcomings are precisely what makes the present disquisition so astonishing. If this can be gleaned EVEN BY ME, then lord knows what might be accomplished by someone with far more insight–and resources–than myself. That said, we must always be wary of charlatans: those who pretend to have more knowledge than they actually have; or who tout fraudulent expertise. We must also be wary of unscrupulous dilettantes: those who blithely hold forth on a subject to which they have not bothered devoting serious investigatory zeal. There is a difference between being audacious yet perspicacious and being provocative yet specious. I have made a concerted effort to emulate the former, and avoid the latter (see Author’s Note). By writing this piece, I hope I have inspired more scholars to look into this fascinating topic.}

{54  The gender-neutral Yiddish title, “Tseno Ureno” was based on the (feminine) Hebraic “[t]Ze’ena[h] u-Re’ena[h]” [alt. “Tzena Urena”], which was originally rendered in the feminine as it was addressed to “Daughters Of Zion” (ref. chapter 3 of the Song of Solomon).  Contrary to revisionist accounts, this tract was not initially written exclusively for women.  The use of the feminine was due to the idiom being employed: “Bat Zion” (as in the opening chapter of the Book of Isaiah, verse 8; as well as in 62:11).  There were, of course, masculine idioms as well—as with, say, “Son[s] of Man” and “Sons of Jacob”.  I discuss the idiomatic treatment of Beth Israel in my essay, “Genesis Of A People”; and the idiomatic treatment of Jerusalem in “City Of The Beloved”.}

{55  Semitic “piyyutim” date back to the apocryphal Palestinian writer, Eleazar ben Kalir of Debir from the 6th century.  Meanwhile, the Semitic “zemirot” (a.k.a. “pesukei dezimra”) also played a significant role in Sephardic liturgy.  All of it was was being written in either the Hebraic Andalusian language (Ladino and Mozarabic) or in medieval Judeo-Arabic…before being translated into Hebrew in the 12th century.  This goes for the allegorical “Musar” literature of the Sephardim at the time.  A prime example is Judah ben Saul ibn Tibbon of Lunel’s Hebrew translation of the “[Book Of Direction To] The Duties Of The Hearts”, originally composed in Judeo-Arabic by Bahya ben Joseph “ibn Pakuda” of Zaragoza.  Meanwhile, Ashkenazim produced their own version, which was in a crude Aramaic.  The question arises: Why would Sephardim, who already had a Hebraic rendering (the “Chovot ha-Levavot”) opt to revert back to a crude Aramaic version?  It makes more sense that the Ashkenazi version was done by a people without a Hebraic background.}

{56  In 1084, Jews fleeing pogroms in Mainz and Worms took refuge in Speyer at the behest of bishop Rüdiger Hu[o]zmann.  (Alas, only twelve years later, in the midst of Crusader hysteria, bishop Emicho of Leiningen led a pogrom against Speyer’s Jewish community.)  The first prominent rabbi in the city was the Tosafist, Isaac ben Asher “ha-Levi” (a.k.a. “Riba”), a pupil of Rashi.  It was not until c. 1100 that Jews built the “Judenhof” [Jewish courtyard] on the “Judengasse” [Jewish lane], which would serve as the agora for their small community.  Speyer’s first synagogue was built c. 1104.}

{57  Note the genetic survey done in 2013 by Martin Richards, an archeo-geneticist from the University of Huddersfield, which corroborated these findings.  The bottom line is this: Ashkenazim are more related to Middle-Eastern haplo-groups than to Europeans. (In other words: Ashkenazim did not come FROM Europe.) This is NOT the case with Sephardim, who had resided in southern Europe (the Iberian Peninsula, Occitania, as well as the Italic and Balkan Peninsulas) since Late Antiquity. Moreover, Ashkenazim have a significantly higher frequency of the R-M17 haplo-group than Sephardim.  Couple this with the “founder effect” of the relevant haplo-group (which is dated to the 1st millennium A.D.) and everything starts to make sense. Another important point: There is almost NOBODY ELSE in the world today that exhibits [k]Hazarian ancestry.  In other words: The [k]Hazars obviously had plenty of descendants; and there is no other group on the planet that accounts for that fact.  In other words: There is no other viable alternative to the present thesis.}

{58  There is conjecture that a small (Sephardic) Jewish community had emerged in Cologne in the 4th century A.D.—at the time, a Roman town in Lower Germania known as “Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium” (named after Emperor Claudius’ wife Agrippina).  (The outpost was originally referred to as “Oppidum Ubiorum”, meaning “Settlement of the Ubii”.)  During Late Antiquity, a Roman Praetorium (governor’s estate) was erected there.  What is this conjecture based upon?  In 321, Emperor Constantine sent a letter to Cologne’s governor in which he assented to Jews serving in the local “curia” (municipal Senate).  This gesture doesn’t mean that there was a major Jewish presence in the Rhineland.  The settlement was overtaken by the Ripuarian Franks in the 460’s; and was thereafter ruled by the Merovingian Franks (when it was part of Austrasia).  In 953, Holy Roman Emperor Otto appointed Bruno of Saxony to be the city’s bishop (when it was part of Lotharingia); and that is when a significant Jewish community in the city was first established.  A good resource for the relevant history of the area is Ruth Gay’s “The Jews Of Germany: A Historical Portrait” (1994).}

{59  The Sephardic writer, Judah “ha-Levi” was from Toledo. His book (rendered in Hebrew as “Sefer ha- K[h]uzari”) was a work of Judaic apologetics written as a parable (see Endnote 84 below). Evidently, this famed Andalusian saw the conversion of the [k]Hazars as an opportunity to articulate his rational for converting to Judaism–which he sardonically dubbed “the despised Faith” in Arabic (“al-Din al-Dhalil”). The book came to be revered throughout Beth Israel–from Andalusia, through Occitania, to Anatolia; down to the Maghreb; and eastward into the Middle East.}

{60  We can only speculate about the thinking of the Ashkenazim who eventually settled in Kiev; as they were surely aware that it had been founded by their forebears (the [k]Hazars) centuries earlier. Did they perceive their arrival as RE-settling what had originally been their ancestors’ city? This prompts another question: Did the [k]Hazarian Jews even LEAVE? Perhaps there was some continuity in their presence; perhaps not. We know from the famed “Kievan letter” (which used Turkic script) that a major Jewish community existed in the city during the 10th century (spec. in the district that was aptly known as “Kozare” at the time; now known as “Podil”). In any case, it’s safe to say that Kiev has been a Jewish city since its inception. The key difference is that, whereas once its Jewish residents identified as [k]Hazars, they later identified as Ashkenazim.  (Also see Endnote 87 below.)}

{61  The same suffix may be involved with the Old Yiddish term for prayer: “davnen” (later modified to “daven”); though exactly what the etymology of that word may have been remains somewhat of a mystery. (It is not Semitic. The suggestion that it is from the Aramaic term for platform, “duchan” is far-fetched.) Meanwhile, “dukh” was adopted by the Kieven Rus as the term for “soul” (though the modern Russian term is “dusha”). Old Turkic alternately used “alka” for “bless”; and “tabun” for “pray”.}

{62  “Esterka” is a variation on the heroic Jewish queen of Persia, “Est[h]er” (who foiled a plot to attack the Israelites).  While it is derived from neither the Syriac term for star (“kawkba”) nor the Old Turkic term for star (“yul-duz”), it IS derived from the Sogdian term for star (“s-t-r-k”); which was itself from the Persian “a-s-t-r” / “s-t-r-a” (ultimately based on the Assyrian “ishtar”).  The familiar Hebrew rendering of the name was likewise based on the Assyrian / Persian; as was the ancient Greek—and later, the Latin and Anglo-Saxon—rendering.  The alternate Hebraic rendering of the queen’s name was “Hadassah”.  No Semitic Jewess who was named after this Biblical figure would have been named “Esterka”.  Clearly, Casimir’s mistress was a Jewish woman who’s name came from a non-Semitic onomastic—which is to say that she did not have a Sephardic background.  When it comes to given names with Biblical significance, such alternate versions were not uncommon among Ashkenazim (see Endnote 50 above).  Had Ashkenazim come from Sephardic forebears, such onomastic disjuncture would not make any sense.  Estarka (who was a champion of Jewish rights in medieval times) is yet another illustration that Ashkenazim had non-Semitic origins.}

{63  The only Jewish figure at the time who seems to have cared about BOTH Hebrew AND Yiddish (as well as Aramaic, Latin, Italian, and German) was a Bavarian grammarian named Elijah [alt. “Elia”] “ha-Ba[c]hur”. But that wasn’t until the 16th century. His renown came from penning the “Bovo Bukh” [alt. “Baba Buche”] c. 1541: an adaptation of a chivalric romance that has no basis in Hebrew lore. ALL of Elia’s work was secular in nature; and he seems to have made it a point to embrace his Ashkenazi identity, even when studying on the Italic peninsula.  Before then, no Hebrew grammarian could be found in Eastern Europe.  Going back to the 10th century, such scholars were primarily found in the Middle East (as with Sa’adia ben Joseph of Faym); on the Iberian peninsula; or on the Barbary Coast (as with Dunash ben Labrat of Fez and the various rabbis at Kairouan like Nissim ben Jacob and [c]Hanan-El ben [c]Hush-i-El).}

{64  A good example of an ethnonym that many forget is an exonym is “Greek[s]”, which was based on the Roman term for them: “Graeci”.  Their endonym was “Hellenes”.  (After all, the name of their nation is not “Greece”; it’s the Hellenic Republic.)  Meanwhile, the ancient Greeks referred to the Italic peoples as “Tyrrhenians”, even as the latter referred to themselves “Rasenna”.  We now refer to such pre-Roman people as “Etruscans”.  Meanwhile, white Americans were inclined to refer to Native Americans as “Indians” into the 21st century—a misnomer that began with Christopher Columbus’ geographical misapprehensions in 1492.  This is a reminder that ethnonyms often depend on perspective; and that one ethnicity’s favored taxonomy does not necessarily tell the whole story.  Once an ethnonym catches on, we tend to lose track of whether it is an exonym or an endonym; and we often don’t even care.  Onomastics are typically self-serving, and so elide any perspective that is not gratifyingly ethno-centric.}

{65  In the Old Slavic “Tales of Bygone Years” (a.k.a. the “Primary Chronicle”) from c. 1113, a Jewish man is amicably portrayed in a tale (about the conversion tale of Vladimir “the Great” of Novgorod in the 980’s). We are told that he is a [k]Hazar. It is very telling that it was a [k]Hazar who was selected to represent the Jewish people rather than a Sephardic Jew. If the Ashkenazim at the time had been thought of a break-away group from the Sephardim of Europe, this reference would not have made any sense.}

{66  An alternate Turkic word for carpet was “kiviz” / “kigiz”.  The Slavic suffix, “-nik” was used in intriguing ways by Ashkenazim.  For instance, “Selz-nik” was a person associated with the Selz River in Swabia (in the southern Rhineland).  But, as with “Kilim-nik”, we encounter other roots from the Eurasian Steppes—as with “Okhot-nik” (one who hunts) and “Kukuruz-nik” (one who works with grain).}

{67  The Slavs would not retain the old [k]Hazar lands forever. In the 13th century, the entire region would be over-run and held by the (Kipchak) Golden Horde (lead by Batu Khan, the son of Genghis’ son, Jochi), which established a Turkic-Mongol “Ulug Ulus” (Turkic for “Great State”) operating out of the capital, Sarai (a city founded on the Akhtuba River by Batu Khan). This temporarily brought Tengri-ism back to the region; though the Khanate would start to convert to Islam under Batu Khan’s great-grandson, Tode Mongke Khan. The Islamization of that empire would be completed under Uz Beg Khan when he took power c. 1313. Pursuant to the fragmentation of the Khanate (into the White and Blue Hordes), the Slavs would begin to take back the region in the late 14th century. The former [k]Hazar capital, Atil was rebuilt as “Saksin-Bolgar”. Sarai would eventually be razed by the Islamic tyrant, Timur of Kesh (for its sacrilege); never again to be rebuilt.}

{68  In the Middle Ages, the Turkic (spec. Kipchak) term for a woman’s head scarf was “oramal” (probably derived from Sogdian). The general term in Old Turkic was “bash-lik” [head item]. Other Turkic (spec. Kipchak) words for cloth wrapping were “jaw-lik” / “jag-lik” / “yag-lik” and “yagliga”. It’s anyone’s guess what the [k]Hazars might have called a woman’s head scarf. It is possible that it shared an etymology with (the Chuvash) “tukhya”…which is what would have led to (the Yiddish) “tikhl”. What we do know is that, at the time, the Jews of western Europe were using either “mitpa[c]hat” (Hebrew) or “pe’ar” (Ladino and Zarfatic), indicating that Ashkenazim did not have Sephardic provenance.} 

{69  Wexler (erroneously) supposes that Old Yiddish has predominantly Slavic roots (spec. Sorbian / Polabian).  During the westward migration, it is unsurprising that the [k]Hazarian diaspora accrued a smattering of Slavic memes along the way—of which there are still traces in Yiddishkeit to the present day. As Wexler points out, we find vestiges of Slavic (both pagan and Christian) elements in early Ashkenazi culture: memetic residue that would make no sense had the Ashkenazim originated in western Europe (i.e. from a Sephardic background). But it doesn’t follow that this (Slavic) residue accounts for the linguistic origins of Yiddish, let alone for the (geographical) origins of the earliest speakers of Yiddish. Another hint: Yiddish includes definite and indefinite articles, which tend not to exist in Slavic languages, yet DO exist in both Germanic and Turkic languages. (All this might be contrasted to Bulgar: a Turkic language that took on a distinctly Slavic character.) In focusing on the sporadic Slavic influences found in Ashkenazi culture, Wexler touches upon something important: an accretion of Slavic memes that would not make sense had Ashkenazim originally hailed from western Europe. It only makes sense had their arrival in Lotharingia (spec. the Rhineland) involved a couple centuries of slow, steady migration through Slavic lands…from a place that was NOT characterized by Sephardic (read: Talmudic) heritage. This would have occurred at a time the community was undergoing some sort of ethnic metamorphosis, and thus gradually appropriating novel cultural elements (language, tidbits of folklore, etc.) along the way.  That is not something Sephardim arriving in Eastern Europe would have done…while ensuring that they erased all traces of their Talmudic heritage in the process!}

{70  Zarfatic / Shuadit (effectively, Judaized Old French that incorporated a small amount of Hebrew vernacular) was typically written in an Occitanian version of Hebraic script known as “Solitreo”.  Tellingly, vowel sounds were handled using Masoretic (spec. Tiberian) nomenclature.  This creole language clearly emerged within the Talmudic / Tosafist tradition.  It was most famously used by Moses “ha-Darshan” of Narbonne and Solomon ben Isaac of Troyes (a.k.a. “Rashi”) in the 11th century.  Only later did the Sephardic version of Hebraic script inspire the “cursive” script that was eventually adopted by the Ashkenazim. That adoption did not occur until the late 13th century (as attested by the “Dokus Horant”), which belies the supposition that the Ashkenazim had been using Hebraic script all along. Even then, it was quite clear that Ashkenazi lore—while Judaic—did not emerge within the Talmudic tradition.}

{71  While Eran El-Haik offers some valuable insights regarding the genetic origins of Ashkenazi Jews, he erroneously supposes that the Ashkenazim and Ottoman Turks have a shared provenance. This would entail the origins of Old Yiddish was concomitant with Turk-ISH: an Oghuz language that was brought to Anatolia by the Seljuk Turks in the 11th century…via a route that was well south of the Eurasian Steppes. (Ottoman Turks did not adopt the Persian “Nastaliq” script until the 14th century.)  Oddly, El-Haik conjectures that the salient linguistic line originated in Persia; and at some point migrated westward (across Persia and Mesopotamia) and THEN northward via Anatolia and Thrace and/or the Balkan Peninsula…all the way up to the Rhineland.  There’s a problem with this theory. In order to connect all Turkic substrates back to a common source, one needs to go back to the 9th century to find their common ancestor, Old Turkic—as found in, say, the “Irk Bitig”.  This would have been the language of the Gök-Türks, who were involved with trade along the Silk Road (and whose tongue was influenced by Sogdian).  There are no palpable vestiges of Sogdian in Ottoman Turk-ISH. The propagation of the Oghuz line of Turkic seems to have shed any Sogdian influences. This line never made it north of the Caucuses Mountains, and only made it as far as the Balkan Peninsula—that is: no farther north or west. More to the point, the Oghuz GENETIC lineage had no bearing on the [k]Hazarian Diaspora (or vice versa). For the [k]Hazars, the salient line of Old Turkic was Old Uyghur, which—due to their involvement with commerce along the Silk Road—WAS influenced by Sogdian; and occurred across the Eurasian Steppes.  (That branch of Old Turkic—i.e. Karluk—was first promulgated by the Kara-Khanids; and used Old Uyghur script.)  This accounted for a distinct (Old Uyghur) genealogy.  The Old Uyghur linguistic line led to the Kipchak family of languages, which involved the various Tatar / Oghuric tongues (of which the [k]Hazarian language was a part). This line had nothing to do with Seljuk hegemony, which accounted for the Oghuz line that propagated farther to the south (and eventually led to Ottoman “Turkish”).  So as we assay Yiddish for Turkic roots, it is the the Old Uyghur (read: Kipchak) line that is salient.  The Ottoman Turks had unrelated provenance.}

{72  Operating out of Novgorod, the Grand Princes of Kiev were Greek Orthodox Christian; they were not considered part of the Holy Roman Empire.  Meanwhile, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was not brought into the Roman Catholic fold until 1386 with the Union of Krevo, whereby it was united with the Kingdom Of Poland.  Note: Also in the 11th century, the Count of Flanders (Baldwin V) invited Jews from northern France to settle in his domain—specifically: in the bustling mercantile cities of Ypres, Bruges, Ghent, and Louvain / Leuven (Brabant).  They were Sephardim, not Ashkenazim.  His gracious invitation had nothing to do with the influx of Jews into the Rhineland, who’s progeny would be the Ashkenazim.}

{73  It might be noted that things did not go well for ANY of the Turkic peoples in the late 10th century, as Svyatoslav conquered not just the [k]Hazars, but the Alans and Bulgars as well. The Pechenegs managed to maintain prominence until things took a downward turn during the reign Vladimir the Great; and they were defunct by the reign of Yaroslav the Wise. It was only much farther east that the Kipchaks, Kumans, Karluks, and Uyghurs managed to maintain a presence…until, that is, the Mongol conquests at the beginning of the 13th century.}

{74  Paradoxically, proponents of today’s fascistic Hungarian “Jobbik” movement fetishize Turan-ism (a mythic identity) even as they think of their Magyar forebears as pristinely Occidental (to wit: Roman Catholic).  This is another case of obfuscation (viz. bloodlines) for religious purposes. Confabulated heritage, it turns out, is a universal phenomenon whenever ethno-centricity is afoot (see my essay, “Genesis Of A People”).} 

{75  “Lah-yish” is often rendered “Layish”.  Meanwhile, “labi” / “lebiyah” have been used for old lion / lioness; while “kefir” for lion cub.} 

{76  Farther to the east, the Chuvash peoples (who descended from [upper] Volga Bulgars, and were originally Tengri-ist) speak Oghuric to the present day.  (This shares roots with both the—now extinct—Old Bulgar, Avar, Sabir, and [k]Hazar tongues.)  Their cultural transition was primarily the result of Timurid and Samanid (Muslim) hegemony.  (Meanwhile, it was the Seljuks who brought the Oghuz branch of Turkic language to Anatolia, eventually leading to Ottoman “Turkish”; leaving the modern “Turkmen” tongue in the homeland back east.)  The Bashkirs remained in the Ural region of Badzhgard. Meanwhile, the Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Khakas, Tatar, and Tuvan peoples of the Eurasian Steppes descended from the Kipchaks (with Karluk influences), and were more of a Turkic-Mongolic mix.  Most of those communities transitioned to Islam from Tengri-ism during the Timurid and Samanid era. (Even farther east, Yakut / Sak[h]a communities still practice Tengri-ism, as–dwelling on the Siberian tundra–they were not as influenced by either Christendom or Dar al-Islam.)  The Kara-Khanids (heavily influenced by the Kumens and Pechenegs) accounted for the Karluk linguistic lineage—which yielded Chagatai…and eventually led to the modern Uzbek tongue.}

{77  The “Shul[c]han Arukh” was a distillation of Karo’s magnum opus, the “Bet[h] Yosef” [House of Joseph], which he composed in the 1550’s.  That was, in turn, based on the “Arba’ah Turim” [Four Columns] by Jacob ben Asher ben Je[c]h-i-El, who was born in Cologne c. 1269, yet pursued his career in Toledo, Andalusia.} 

{78  Interesting disparities remained within the Ashkenazi community.  For example, most Ashkenazim recite the “Nusa[c]h Ashkenaz”; yet Hassidim opted—ironically—to adopt the “Nusa[c]h Sefarad” so as to distinguish themselves from other Ashkenazim.  The idea was to use a version of the prayer that better reflected the Talmudic tradition.}

{79  Who may have used this route?  Naturally, SOME merchants that used the Silk Road had destinations in Eastern Europe.  This likely included the Radhanites.  So prior to the [k]Hazarian Diaspora, were there ANY Jewish people that ventured into Eastern Europe?  Perhaps.  Passing mention of Radhanite Jews using trade routes in Eastern Europe can be found in accounts by Yehuda ben Meir of Mainz (from the early 11th century) and by Eliezer ben Nathan of Mainz [a.k.a. “Ra’aven”] (from the 12th century). These passages do NOT refer to fellow Sephardim. The accounts seem to be acknowledgement of, well, OTHER Jewish people that were engaged in trade. They were likely referencing the same (Radhanite) Jewish merchants that the Persian chronicler, Ibn Khordadbeh of Khorasan had mentioned in his “Book of Roads and Kingdoms” c. 900.  And, of course, [k]Hazars were regularly trading with the (Hellenic) Byzantines and Slavic peoples of eastern Europe.}

{80  This historiographic boondoggle required that most of the founders of the modern nation-State of “Israel” occlude their non-Semitic heritage.  After all, they deign to rationalize an ETHNO-State in Palestine based on purported bloodlines…traceable all the way back to Abraham’s grandson, Jacob (a.k.a. “Yisra-El”).  This preterition involves obfuscation as well as confabulation. And so it goes: Right-wing Zionists who are Ashkenazi are forced to elide their non-Semitic LINGUISTIC heritage while positing chimerical bloodlines (and fabricating national origin myths). It is not for nothing that the founders of this new ethno- State eschewed Yiddish; as they wanted to bolster their Semitic bona fides. Establishing a new-fangled Semitic language was a surefire way to do this. Hence the development of modern Hebrew in the late 19th century—a measure that served to further obfuscate the Ashkenazim’s actual origins, while serving as an affirmation of farcical Semitic origins. For more on this, see my essay on “The Land Of Purple”.}

{81  The Tosafist, Meir ben Baruch of Worms was also a student of Rashi. While he may have eventually taken his career to Rothenburg (in Bavaria), he studied in Paris and Würzburg. He was known as the greatest Jewish leader of “Zarfat” [France]; so was clearly not Ashkenazi. The common moniker “Meir of Rothenburg” is thus misleading.}

{82  Some say the “Riaz” was born in Bohemia. This is questionable. Growing up, he was the student of the famed Tosafist, Samson ben Samson “ha-Sar” of Coucy, in northern France (along with Moses ben Jacob “Mikkotsi”)…who was himself the student of Isaac ben Samuel “the Elder” of Ramerupt / Dampierre (a.k.a. “Ri ha-Zaken”)…who was, in turn, the student of Rashi’s grandson, Jacob ben Meir of Ramerupt (a.k.a. “Rabbeinu Tam”). The first synagogue in Bohemia was a Gothic structure built in Prague c. 1270…by Ashkenazim. The “Riaz” came to be most associated with Vienna; hence he is often (misleadingly) referred to as “Isaac ben Moses of Vienna”.}

{83  The “Samuel Book” was a kind of fan-fiction regarding the Biblical tale of Saul and David. It was likely inspired by the Rhinelandic “Rhyming Bible” of the early 12th century. Tellingly, it was composed using the “Hildebrand stanza” format popular in Germanic folklore (as found in, say, the “Nibelungenlied” c. 1200)…rather than exhibiting any of the signature discursive features of Mishnaic / Masoretic literature: the hallmark of Tosafot. The question, then, is: Would Sephardim have been inclined to compose material on Judaic lore in Germanic verse, eschewing styles that–for centuries–had been indicative of the hallowed Talmudic tradition?}

{84  Tellingly, it was one of Al-Fasi’s students, Judah “ha-Levi” of Toledo [alt. Tudela], who found the need to write about—you guessed it—the [k]Hazars. (!) His “Sefer ha-Kuzari” was composed c. 1140—long after the fall of the [k]Hazar Empire. Nevertheless, he found the need to speculate as to how it came to be that these Turkic Jews came to embrace Judaism. He opted for the apocryphal tale of the [k]Hazarian king meeting with representatives of the three Abrahamic religions; eventually deciding upon the Faith that the Muslim and Christian most preferred after their own.}

{85  Kalmykia is for starters. How often do we hear about archeological digs in Dagestan? Astrakhan? How many people today travel the Volga River? Kazan is still there, though—thanks to the Cossacks, then the Soviets—its ancient Turkic history is largely veiled. How about the Don River?  (“Don” derives from “Danu”: the Sarmatian / Scythian word for “river”.)  There’s Azov, which used to be known as “Tmutarakan” under the (Slavic) Kieven Rus…which had been the [k]Hazar city of Tamantar-khan (known as “Azak” by the Kipchaks). Prior to that, it had been an (Akatziri) Hunnic hub, which was built on the site of the Sarmatian / Scythian “Hermonassa”. Before that, it was an Iron Age Greek colony known as “Tanais”. The city’s name changes—from one epoch to the next—reveal a buried history. (The Azov Museum of History, Archaeology, and Paleontology has almost no artifacts from the relevant period.) And what about the founding of Ryazan—attributed to ancestors of the Mari and/or Mordvins (spec. the Moksha and Erzya people)?  Alas, they are Turkic; so this doesn’t fit into the preferred narrative.  In sum: To glean new insights, more than just archeological digging is needed.}

{86  Were there SEPHARDIC names that had been influenced by their surroundings? Of course.  It was inevitable that Sephardic nomenclature would come to exhibit SOME parity with the indigenous language.  It comes a no surprise that some Sephardim adopted EXTANT toponyms: Gibraltarian (Benady and Cardozo), Portuguese (Spinoza, Amaral, and Feijoo), Iberian Galician (Coronel and Touro), Castilian Spanish (Cayetano, Pardo, Toledano, and Cordov[er]o), Basque (Mena), French (Benveniste, La Calle, and Gabay), Italian (Galante, Oliveira, Lombrozo, Mortara, and Senigaglia), Berber (Shitrit), Arabic (Abergel, Abu-Lafia, and Al-Hadeff), and even Greek (Todros).  Meanwhile, “Zarfati” simply meant “from France”. But such onomastic appropriation did not occur nearly to the degree that we find with Ashkenazim.  In most cases, the surname already existed (as a Gentile surname); and was simply adopted to fit in–as with, say, “Salvador”: the Iberian term for savior / messiah.  The oldest Sephardic families of Andalusia were palpably Hebraic: “Ab[a]-Rabban-El” [Father(s) of the Teacher(s) of God; often rendered “Abravanel”] and “Abu-Ab” [Father(s) of the Father(s)].  The etymology of such surnames often involved Arabic onomastics—as with Palacci / Palaggi [alt. “Pallache”], an offshoot of the Abu-l’Afi[y]a] family. Ashkenazi toponyms, on the other hand, are largely sui generis.  It is likely that, at various points in the last two millennia, Sephardic families sought to (marginally) assimilate into the ambient culture; and, in some cases, to blend in (to be more accepted by their fellow countrymen).  But at no point did any Sephardic community completely jettison the Hebraic elements of its vernacular.  Early Ashkenazi onomastics, on the contrary, exhibited no Hebraic vestiges whatsoever—something that is almost inconceivable had they recently been Sephardic.  Semiotic schemes do not just disappear; and nomenclature does not vanish overnight.}

{87  It is uncertain what the city on the shores of the northern Dnieper River might have been called by the [k]Hazars. “Podil” (a distinctly Turkic onomastic) may have been the original moniker.  A later Tatar name for the city was “Man-kermen” (“man” was Turkic for “great” and “kermen” was the Turkic for “city”; the latter stemming from the same lexeme as “karim”, which was Turkic for “fortress” / “strength”: the etymological basis for “Crimea”).  The city seems to have been referred to as “Kiy-əv” [later rendered “Kiyyov” / “Kiyyob” / “Keyibe”] by its (Turkic) Jewish residents through much of the Middle Ages.  This seems to have been based on the Turkic words for riverbank (“Kui”) and settlement (“Ev”).  That name was rendered “Kiwa” in Old Slavic, “Kio[a]va” in Greek, “Cuieva” in Latin, and “Kuyaba” in medieval Arabic.  (Because of the Byzantines, Greek was a prevalent onomastic convention, as illustrated by the use of the suffix “-pol” for many cities in the region.) “Kiev” soon became the Slavic moniker for the city; and was used by the Varangians (i.e. the Kieven Rus) going back to the 10th century (when they first conquered the territory; seizing it from the [k]Hazars).  According to local legend, the name derives from the hero, “Kii” [alt. “Kyi”], a character in the “Tale Of Bygone Years” c. 1113 (ref. the Kievan Chronicle c. 1200).  Being, as it was, entirely apocryphal, this Slavic origin story served to obfuscate the Turkic etymology of the city’s name (“riverbank settlement”), so as to burnish the Varangian / Rurikid legacy.  (While “-evo” / “-ovo” was sometimes appended to city names in Kieven Rus, “-ev” / “-ov” was generally not; that is, barring instances where it was not a suffix—as with Rostov, Pleskov, and Rzhev. So “Kyi-ev” doesn’t make sense etymologically.)  From the Turkic moniker, the city’s name eventually came to be rendered “Kyiv” in the modern Ruthenian language (a.k.a. “Ukrainian”).  That would come to be used as the official pronunciation pursuant to the dissolution of the Soviet block c. 1991.  To reiterate: The city was originally [k]Hazarian; though it was located within the realm of Polans, Severians, and Drevlyans (Slavic tribes).  When it was taken over by the Kievan Rus (Varangians) in the 920’s by the Rurikid Grand Prince, Igor the Old, it became part of “Ruthenia”, which was later annexed by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (later the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) in the 14th century…along with “Bela[ya]-Rus” (i.e. White Ruthenia).  Thus the ethnographic history of the city is quite complex.  For more on this topic, see J. Brutzkus’ “The Khazar Origin Of Ancient Kiev” in the Slavonic And East European Review (American series); vol. 3, May 1944.  For more on the region that is now known as “Ukraine”, see Endnote 88 below.}

{88  During the Iron Age, what is now “Ukraine” was dominated by the Cimmerians. During Classical and Late Antiquity, it was the land of the Sarmatians (an offshoot of the Scythians).  During the Middle Ages, the region west of the Dnieper River was primarily Ruthenian (the Slavic progenitors of ethnic Ukrainians) with some Turkic presence (Avars, Bulgars, and Magyars; as well as some Alans).  It was thus generally referred to as “Ruthenia”, which was simply the Romanized version of the Hellenic “Ros[s]ia” (used by the Byzantines), meaning “land of the Rus”.  The Ruthenian tongue served as the linguistic basis for Belarusian, Rusyn, and contemporary Ukrainian.  What we now refer to as “Ukrainian” is effectively a creole language that developed from the tongue of the Kieven Rus in the midst of Polish influences (and beyond the influence of Old Church Slavonic).  It is colloquially referred to as “Surzhyk”.  Meanwhile, the region east of the Dnieper River was predominantly Turkic (Kumen-Kipchak; primarily Alan, Pecheneg, and [k]Hazar), with a smattering of Slavic peoples in the vicinity of Kiev (Polans, Severians, and Drevlyans; with the Vyatichi farther to the north and the Tivertsi farther to the south).  The original ethnography was followed by a massive infusion of Slavic / Varangian peoples pursuant to the hegemony of the Kieven Rus in the 10th century.  (The best sources for this epoch are the Galician-Volhynian and Kievan Chronicles.)  During the 14th thru 18th centuries, the region was considered part of the “Dikoia Pole” [Wild Fields] by the Polish-Lithuanian rulers (during the Grand Duchy of Lithuania); and then “Novo Rossia” [New Russia] by the Tsars (during the Pale of Settlement).  (“Ros[s]ia” had become the standard toponym for “land of the Rus”.)  All the while, the entire region was still being referred to as “Casari” [Land of the Khazars] into the 18th century. (!)  Vestiges of the Kumen-Kipchak presence remained in the east (spec. the Donbass and Crimea)—accounting for the people who came to be known as the “Crimean Tatars”.  Farther east were the Circassian Tatars.  Farther to the north, the “Lipka” Tatars dwelled in Greater Lithuania; and many ended up speaking the medieval Ruthenian language.  In the present monograph, the most salient section of Ruthenia was “Halych-Volyn” (Galicia-Volhynia) and Podolia (“Po-Dol” meant “along the valley” in Old Slavic); as that was where many shtetels (Ashkenazi settlements) were eventually established.  (This was in the southern-most part of what came to be known as “the Pale of Settlement” during Tzarist rule.)  The toponym, “[o]U-krai-na” (Old Slavic for “borderland” / “frontier region”) was coined in the late 16th century by the Polish-Lithuanian rulers—likely due to the territory’s position between their realm and the Tatar realm.  This onomastic was then adopted by the (Hetman) Cossacks.  “Ukrainian” emerged as an ethnonym for the generation preceding the First World War—as “Ukraina” had transplanted the toponym “Malaya Ros[s]ia” [Little Russia] for Ruthenia.  Thus the Ruthenian language went from being referred to as “Rus-ska [mova]” to “Ukrain-ska [mova]” (or “prosta mova”).  As an official geo-political entity, “Ukraina” was a Soviet construct established following the Bolshevik Revolution (ref. the First Universal of the Ukrainian Central Rada c. 1917).  In 1918, at the conclusion of the First World War, it was briefly a sovereign nation-State under the rule of the Cossack Hetmans (who—in an odd twist—asserted a distinct Ukrainian identity, in contradistinction to the Bolsheviks).  Like most imperial demarcations, this “republika” was ill-conceived given the ethnographic exigencies at the time; and has caused ethnic strife ever since (see Endnote 89 below).}

{89  Pursuant to the dissolution of the Soviet bloc in 1991, “Ukraina” became a sovereign nation—with ethnic Ukrainians largely in the north and west; ethnic Russians largely in the south and east.  This arrangement eventually proved to be a recipe for ethnic conflict, as seething resentments abided within both groups.  Ethnic Ukrainians recalled the Holodomor (genocide via engineered famine) perpetrated by Stalin in 1932-33.  Meanwhile, ethnic Russians recalled the Nazi collaborationists amongst ethnic Ukrainians a decade later—of which fascistic elements persist to the present day. Note the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (spec. the Bandera faction), and its military arm, the UPA (vestiges of which are the Azov Battalion and “Galician” paramilitary).  As is often the case, racial animus travels in both directions.  In the region, such antipathy has not been limited to ethnic Ukrainians vis a vis ethnic Russians; it has also been between Slavic and Turkic peoples; and—during the 15th thru 19th centuries—between Cossacks and, well, just about anyone with whom they decided to sow enmity (Jews, Poles, Tatars, etc.) at any given juncture.  This is a reminder that national borders do not necessarily represent the will of the ethnic groups contained within them.  It is also a reminder that ethnic identities can be quite amorphous.}

{90  Tellingly, Hasdai ibn Shaprut was employed at the court of the (Umayyad) caliph of Cordoba on behalf of the (Saxon) Holy Roman Emperor, Otto The Great…who, as it turned out, hailed from East Frankia (that is: what came to be known as “Ashkenaz”). Surely, if he had been of the same people as these Eurasian Jews, Hasdai would have not been so intrigued by them; and been so eager to learn about them. At the time he was writing, there was–of course–no separate Jewish group known as “Ashkenazim”. In Europe, there were only Sephardim—whether Andalusian, Alsatian, Occitanian, Italian, or anything else. There were no accepted labels yet for Turkic Jews; as there was no need that was yet apparent. But, as we’ve seen, the taxonomy would soon evolve. There must have been a reason that Hasdai was so concerned with the Jewish people from lands to the east. They were, indeed, quite foreign to him; and he was clearly fascinated with them—what with their non-Talmudic brand of Judaism and their foreign ways.  Also in the 10th century, the Persian geographer, Ahmad ibn Rustah of Isfahan made mention of the [k]Hazars.  And—peculiarly—a “khagan” associated with the (Varangian) “Rus” was referred to in the (Farighunid) Persian book, “Hudud al-Alam” [Boundaries Of The World] c. 982.  Neither of those documents provides much helpful information about the [k]Hazarian diaspora.  This is a reminder that much work remains to be done on the subject—namely: reviewing documents from the Viking Age that pertain to the goings on of Eastern Europe and the Pontic Steppes. A geographic and demographic (specifically: ethnographic) assessment of Turkic movements during the High Middle Ages would be a good start. That might be followed by a survey of shtetels that were established across Eastern Europe during the Late Middle Ages and—within the Pale of Settlement—into the Early Modern Period. An area that needs much more investigation is the origins of the “Lipka” Tatars: Turkic peoples who dwelled within the realm of the Turkic-Mongol “Ulug Ulus” (a.k.a. the “Golden Horde”), which overlapped with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (later: the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth). (“Lipka” was the Turkic name for Greater Lithuania.) This segment of Turkic peoples share origins with the Turkic peoples of Kazan and of the Crimea. Here’s the catch: Their presence in Eastern Europe PRECEDED that of the Ulug Ulus (which was not established until the 13th century). Many practiced Karaite Judaism (and were thus known as “Karaim”)—a Faith that certainly did not come from Jochi Khan or his sons, Orda and Batu (all of whom were Tengri-ist), nor of Berke (the other son, who eventually converted to Islam) . Alas, little is known about this ethnic group prior to the Mongol invasions. (They were likely of the [k]Hazarian diaspora.) We know that Turkic peoples eventually settled in “Tatar-skaya Slabada” (near present-day Minsk) c. 1428. Some of them were absorbed into the “szlachta” (Polish-Lithuanian nobility). Others remained peasants. And most eventually converted to Islam. The oldest document about them is the “Risale-yi Tatar-i Leh” [Message About Tatars Of Poland], composed by a (Muslim) Lipka Tatar for Ottoman sultan, Suleyman the Magnificent during a visit in Constantinople c. 1557. The Kieven Rus referred to Kumans, Kipchaks, AND [k]Hazars (collectively known as “Tatars”) as “Polovtsy”, revealing that they saw them as members of a singular ethnic group.  (They even referred to [k]Hazaria as the “Polovtsian” Steppes.)  It’s worth noting that many “Polovtsy” were Jewish.  To this day, Lipka Tatars have surnames ending in “-owicz” / “-ewicz”: a Slavic suffix that is common amongst Ashkenazim.  For more on these onomastic quirks, see Endnote 64 above.}

{91  Some of what makes the philology here so complicated is the need to factor in the Mongol invasions, and the subsequent fragmentation of the Mongol empire into various Turkic-Mongol khanates / khaganates—specifically the “Ulug Ulus” (a.k.a. “Golden Horde”) in Eastern Europe, which preceded the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Circumstances PRIOR TO the Mongol invasions (i.e. the period with which we are concerned) are difficult to discern, given the scant historical (ethnographic) record; not to mention attenuated incentives to look into the matter. Salient etymologies are obfuscated due to extensive ethnic displacement and ethnic mixing—as well as changing geo-political exigencies—from epoch to epoch. (In addition to all this, myriad national origin myths—propounded by those seeking to burnish their own ethnic legacy—muddy the waters.) It’s worth bearing in mind that the “Crimean Tatars” share ancestry with the Karaim of Greater Lithuania—as illustrated by the Karaites of Trakai, who flourished after the Magdeburger Rights were issued by Emperor Otto in the 10th century.}

{92  This Oghuric branch (which would have led to the languages of the Eurasian Steppes, including the language of the [k]Hazars) is not to be confused with the Oghuz branch of Turkic.  The latter was brought to Anatolia and the southeastern edge of Europe—via Persia and Mesopotamia—by the Seljuks (yielding Azeri, Gagauz, and Ottoman Turkish); even as it remains in its modern form (Turkmen) in central Asia. When it comes to Old Turkic, such extensive linguistic ramification makes it difficult to believe that Old Uyghur (a Karluk language) and Yiddish (a Germanic language) share some of the same ancient influences (originating with the Gök-Türks, when it became an offshoot of Sogdian).  But the fact is that languages merge and ramify over the centuries, depending on the geo-political exigencies at any given juncture.  Another great illustration of a startling linguistic confluence is Bactrian: the lingua franca of the Kushan Empire. Who could imagine that a people located in ancient Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nepal spoke a language that melded Hellenic (Koine Greek), Semitic (Syriac / Manichaean), and Persian (Parthian / Sogdian)?  Meanwhile, we might note that Transylvanian (in southeastern Europe) and Brazilian Portuguese (in South America) have the same parent tongue: Vulgar Latin.)  Yet another major branch of Old Turkic remained in the Far East, primarily as a result of the Kara-Khanids (who’s tongue served as the basis for the ensuing Karluk branch).  That was the origin-point of the Oghuz divergence.  The language now exists in the region as “Turkmen”. The Karluk branch led to Old Uyghur (which influenced the development of Mongolian), Khorezmian (the basis for Chagatai, which eventually became Uzbek and the modern “Uyghur” tongue now prevalent in the Tarim Basin), and Khitan (the lingua franca of the western Liao Kingdom). Another branch of Common Turkic remained in eastern Siberia—accounting for Yakut / Sakha, Tuvan, Khakas, and Old Uyghur…as well as the various Altaic and Tungusic dialects farther east, which combined with medieval Chinese and indigenous tongues to influence the development of Korean and Japanese. (!)  Such mass proliferation—and such diverse ramification—should give us pause; as it shows how widespread the influence of Old Turkic really was. Before it was taken to Eastern Europe by the Tatars (the Oghuric branch) and to Anatolia by the Sejluks (the Oghuz branch), Turkic had established a presence in Tang China. By the time the [k]Hazarian diaspora ended up in Eastern Europe, the tongue of the Kara-Khitai had influenced the tongue used by both the Liao (Khitan) and Manchurian (Jurchen) regimes. Understandably, today’s Manchu tend not to emphasize their Gök-Turk heritage going back to the 6th century. It is unfortunate that so many are inclined to elide their Turkic provenance.}

{93  For insights into the likely influence of the tongues of the Silk Road (spec. Sogdian) on the formation of Old Yiddish, see Persian geographer, Ibn Khordadbeh’s magnum opus: “Book Of Roads And Kingdoms” (c. 870).  For more on the participation of Jewish people on the Silk Road during the relevant period, see Louis Isaac Rabinowitz’s “Jewish Merchant Adventurers: A Study Of The Radhanites” (1948), Shlomo Sand’s “The Invention Of The Jewish People” (2009), and Peter Frankopan’s “The Silk Roads” (2015). In assaying how Yiddish came to be, it’s worth noting: It was not uncommon for migrant groups into the region-in-question to combine their endogenous tongue with the prevailing (Germanic) tongue. For instance, the Sorbians / Lusatians adopted a hybridization of Old Slavic (medieval Slovene) and Old High German (Althochdeutsch), yielding Wendish. A similar linguistic hybridization occurred with formation of the Pomeranian / Kashubian tongue. Meanwhile, Silesian emerged at the nexus of Bavarian (Altbairisch), Bohemian / Moravian (Old Czech), and the language of the Polans (Old Polish).  During the Middle Ages, such melding is how MOST languages formed (as with, say, Catalan and Romansh within the Latin sphere). Had the Ashkenazim been Semitic, they would have done what the rest of world Jewry did: Develop a hybridization of HEBREW and the local language. They didn’t; which tells us that they did not have Sephardic provenance.}

{94  Mojzesz’s family originally hailed from Regensburg, Bavaria. Tellingly, his given name (“Moses”) was rendered in a Slavic (“Mojzesz”) rather than in the traditional Hebraic form (“Moshe”). Nobody with a Sephardic background would have done that with a Biblical name. This onomastic quirk indicates that he was probably from the [k]Hazarian diaspora. Once more, we look at vernacular and onomastics and ask not merely “What would Turkic Jews have probably done?” but, more pointedly: “What would Sephardic Jews have most likely NOT have done?”} 

{95  At the time, the Jewish merchants traveling through Pr[z]emyshl were not from western Europe. We know this because of how the Jewish people in that eastern region were referred to by Sephardic commentators of the time—notably: Ibrahim ibn Yaqub and Shlomo Yitzchaki (a.k.a. “Rashi”), who’s commentaries were composed in Zarfatic. Such merchants were clearly NOT seen as fellow Sephardim; as references to them used the phrasing of alterity. If not Sephardic, and if not from western Europe, then who were their ancestors; and from whence did all of those Jewish merchants hail?}

{96  Rabbeinu Tam’s father (the renowned Tosafist, Meir ben Samuel of Ramerupt) studied in Lorraine under two men who hailed from Lotharingia during the pre-Ashkenazic era: Isaac ben Asher “Ha-Levi” of Speyer (a.k.a. “Riba”) and Eliezer ben Isaac “ha-Gadol” of Mainz. These men were not progenitors of the Ashkenazim who came to the Rhineland. Like Rashi, they were Sephardim who taught in the area prior to the arrival of the [k]Hazarian diaspora. Tellingly, Jacob ben Meir ended his career in Troyes; as, by that time, Turkic Jews would have established a prominent presence in the Rhineland. As discussed, Rhineland Sephardim of the era were displaced once the Ashkenazim asserted a major presence. Every major Jewish figure in the region at that time corroborates this ethnographic migration pattern (see Endnote 52 above).}

{97  Shneur Zalman was purportedly a descendent of Judah Loew ben Bezalel of Prague (a.k.a. the “Maharal”), himself purportedly a descendent of Judah Leib “the Elder”.  (Note that those two ancestors—each named Judah—opted for different NON-Hebraic monikers.  Both “loew” and “leib” are Germanic; the Hebraic term for “lion” was “Ar[-Yah]”; and for “beloved”, it was “David”.)  As it happened, Shneur Zalman’s “[c]Habad” movement created tension amongst the Ashkenazim of the time—precipitating a schism WITHIN the wider Ashkenazi society (that is: between the new Hassidic community and more traditional followers of Elijah ben Solomon Zalman of Vilna).  As with many cynosures in Beth Israel, proponents of the new movement concocted a genealogy that connected their hero to the fabled Dividic line.  They did so by claiming that Judah Leib “the Elder” (who was Ashkenazi) was somehow a descendent of the 11th-century Talmudic scholar, Samuel ibn Nagrillah of Merida (who was Sephardic).  The latter taught in Cordoba and Malaga; and was touted as having descended from the House of David.  (We are expected to believe that he had solid documentation of patri-lineage going back two millennia.)  Even if we grant that unlikely scenario, there is no evidence that this early 16th-century rabbi in Bohemia was a descendent of that early 11th-century rabbi in Andalusia.  Other historiographers are even more ambitious; and just skip over Samuel ibn Nagrillah altogether, going straight back to the famed “gaon”, Hai ben Sherira ben Hanina of Pumbedita in Mesopotamia…who, by the way, was not known to have sired any children.  For more on this topic, see Endnote 98 below.  I address the fanciful genealogy of the fabled “Kalonymos” family in the Appendix.}

{98  Such genealogical shenanigans are commonplace in Abrahamic circles—a matter I address in my essay, “Genesis Of A People”.  Leaders of the Franks traced their bloodlines to Jesus of Nazareth (via the Merovingians, then Carolingians).  Meanwhile, virtually every Arab Muslim leader in history has claimed some sort of lineage back to Mohammed of Mecca—a difficult task, as he had no surviving sons or siblings; and only one biological daughter (Fatimah), through whom Ali ibn Abi Talib purportedly sired offspring.  As Sunnis tend not to be super-fans of Ali, this makes for a rather fraught proposition.  And in Judaic circles, we encounter the same dubious lineages with regard to the hallowed Dividic line; as well as with the fabled lineage of “Kohen-im” (i.e. Levites).}

{99  Such ethnic inter-mixture involved not just memes, but genes. In other words, it was not just a matter of cultural blending; it was a matter of miscegenation as well. This makes both legacies and ancestries more convoluted than some may like to admit (esp. those with an ethno-centric mindset).  So, yes, Romanians and Moldavians also have Turkic forebears; as Turkic peoples were in the hills of Transylvania and the plains of Pannonia (the Carpathian basin) for many centuries.  (Wallachia was referred to in Turkic as “Bog-dan [i]Vlak” in the late 14th century, with the first term meaning “god-given” or “gift of god”.)  Alas, the obdurate assertion of ethnic identity today often elides the actual origins of those ethnicities; as everyone likes to fancy an ethnic purity—going back to the beginning of the universe—amongst their own people; a purity that does not exist (see Endnote 98 above).  This makes it difficult to even broach the topic with those whose entire worldview is predicated on an ethno-centric view of the world; and an unsullied, gilded heritage for themselves.  For more on this topic, see my essay, “Genesis of a People”.} 

{100  This matter warrants further investigation. In assaying the earliest instances of Ashkenazi culture, scholars might look for vestiges of what are now understood to be Chuvash, Bashkir, Sabir, Nakh, and Kalmyk folk legends. The key is to distill certain elements of Ashkenazi folklore—abstracting from that which was (eventually) incorporated from the [h]Aggadah after the fact. This area of study was pioneered by Joseph Jacobs. The “catch” is that he worked primarily from later material—as found in, say, the “Maasebüch[er]”. Finding residual traces of Turkic folklore in the earliest Ashkenazic material is no easy task, as few are well-versed in both Old Turkic and Old Yiddish. Moreover, there has been very limited inter-disciplinary scholarship that takes into account BOTH Tatar and Ashkenazi history.  Alas, the vast majority of those who study Ashkenazi folklore focus solely on the modern period—as is the case with, say, Itzik Gottesman at the University of Texas.  Meanwhile, those who specialize in medieval Turkic peoples (e.g. Kagan Arik at the University of Chicago) tend not to be well-versed in Ashkenazi culture.  There has heretofore been little incentive for cross-over research.}

{101  No [k]Hazarian documents?  Where does that leave us?  Well, if we’re honest, we need to proceed agnostically…until, that is, further discoveries are made.  A lot more archeology needs to be done in the northern Caucuses—particularly off the northwest coast of the Caspian Sea (from Astrakhan to Dagestan); as well as along the Don and Volga rivers (esp. at Samosdelka and S[h]arkil).  The countryside of Kalmykia ALSO probably offers a wealth of archeological treasures waiting to be discovered—waiting, that is, ever since the arrival of the Varangians over a millennium ago.  This is a tall order.  Today’s Chechens are not exactly known for their groundbreaking archeological discoveries.  (Try explaining to a Chechen that you want to do excavations in his back yard in an attempt to uncover the origin of the Ashkenazi Jews.)  An indication of the obstacles before us: The present denizens of North Caucasia are reticent to acknowledge that the modern Avars were defending the land from Russian incursion long before they were.  For archeological investigation, other areas of interest would include Kuban and the Donbas, as well as the present-day oblasts of Volgo-grad and Ros-tov.  My hunch is that buried somewhere in this vast region of verdant meadows, lush groves, and rolling hills is a cache of long-forgotten [k]Hazarian documents which contain some extremely useful information.  Such an endeavor wouldn’t merely be about procuring a better understanding of the [k]Hazars; it would also help to reveal heretofore unknown parallels between [k]Hazarian customs (between the 7th and 10th centuries) and the earliest Ashkenazi customs (between the 11th and 14th centuries).  With a bit of linguistic forensics, it would also reveal any relationship between Old Turkic and Old Yiddish (see Endnote 102 below).  Moreover, it would afford the opportunity to look for evidence AGAINST the present thesis…thereby disproving it, should it turn out to be erroneous.  (For example, a document might be found where the [k]Hazars spoke of the Ashkenazim as a foreign people; or Ashkenazim spoke of their Sephardic ancestors.)  Such an enterprise would involve getting the likes of Itzik Gottesman and Kagan Arik (that is: specialists in their respective fields) to the same table.  Alas. Interdisciplinary work between university departments is often dismissed; and sometimes even shunned.  Those seeking tenure and/or grants would much prefer not to rock any boats, and risk being ostracized by the academic kingmakers who are wed to orthodoxy.  So here we are.} 

{102  It’s worth reviewing what we know of the Old Turkic lexicon.  A dozen examples: “gök” (sky), “yulduz” (star), “künesh” (sun), “ai” (moon), “su[v]” (water / river), “köl” (lake), “töpu” (hill), “tag” (mountain), “yürek” (heart), “bilig” (wisdom / knowledge), “at” (horse), and “kishi” (person).  These were not necessarily identical to the lexemes used by the [k]Hazars; for when we look at the modern Turkic tongues that are likely to most resemble [k]Hazarian (Chuvash, Bashkir, and Kumyk), the words are sometimes different.  (Unfortunately, the Sabirs no longer exist.)  This illustrates how much the various Turkic languages underwent ramification over the past millennium (see Endnote 92 above).  In its original incarnation (that is: as it was used by the Gök-Turks in the Orkhon Valley), Old Turkic stopped being spoken in the 13th century, pursuant to the Mongol conquests—when it was transplanted by the potpourri of Karluk and Kipchak offshoots (e.g. Chagatai), as well as by Mongolian.  Old Turkic script became obsolete after the collapse of the [k]Hazar Empire. (The Magyars continued to use a variant of Turkic runes until c. 1000, when King Stephen converted to Christianity and adopted the Roman alphabet.)  This was simply a stage in what was an on-going process.  Indeed, Old Turkic was ITSELF a mutation—stemming from Bactrian and Sogdian (which were themselves hybrids of Syriac and Middle Persian).  (Genetically, the confluence of ancient Persian and Turkic peoples goes back to the Dahaeans: progenitors of the Aparni, Saka / Cimmerians / Scythians, and Sogdians.)  So tracking the genealogy of the [k]Hazarian tongue forward to Old Yiddish (a process that occurred a thousand years ago, and involved significant Germanic—and even some Slavic—influences) is a formidable task.  It not only entails conducting in-depth linguistic forensics regarding the myriad variants of Old Turkic; it entails abstracting ENTIRELY from Germanic influences on the tongue spoken by the earliest Ashkenazim…as well as from the Hebrew lexemes that were eventually incorporated into the Yiddish vernacular long after the fact (i.e. in the past five or six centuries).  Such linguistic forensics could be conducted only by the rare philologist specializing in BOTH the history of the peoples of the Eurasian Steppes AND the Jewish people of Eastern Europe (see Endnote 103 below).  A good place to start is Karl Reichl’s “Turkic Oral Epic Poetry” in the Routledge Revivals series.} 

{103  Such linguistic forensics would involve far more than just philology; it would involve an understanding of fluctuating geopolitics over the course of centuries—shifting ethnographies, the changing of sovereign domains, the melding of linguas franca, etc. The task would be formidable largely because of the blind spots. Imagine trying to trace modern (Parisian) French back to Classical Latin without ever having ever seen a single document in the common tongue of the (west) Romans; thereby being forced to discern vestiges of Vulgar Latin in the “langues d’oïl”…while, of course, abstracting from the influence of indigenous Gaulish and of Old High German during the period of Frankish rule (both of which contributed to the formation of French). Or imagine trying to identify parities between modern English and Old French without having any material in the latter; so only being able to go off of traces of Norman in contemporary English vernacular. In doing so, one would need to abstract from any and all influences of the North Sea Germanic languages (Old English, Old Norse, Old Frisian, and Old Saxon) on the formation of modern English over the course of the last millennium. One would thus be limited to isolating the language of the Franks in Neustria a thousand years ago (Norman), and seeing how THAT might provide clues to its Gallic antecedents.} 

{104  Another indication that Germanic terms were adopted in a haphazard fashion is the occurrence of mondegreens in Ashkenazi onomastics.  This is likely what happened with the surname “Katz[e]” (which is simply German for “cat”).  It was not, as some suggest, an acronym from “Kohen Zedek [alt. Zadok]” (meaning Priest of Righteousness).  Rather, it was a mondegreen for “Chatti”—a Germanic tribe related to the Batavians, originally from Saxony, who likely resided in the Rhineland at the time.  (By that point, they would have adopted a Frankish identity, and re-branded themselves “Chattuarii”.)  We know this to be the case, as the surname, “Katzenberg” neither means “hill of cats” nor “hill of righteous priests”.  The use of the suffix “-berg” (hill) in Ashkenazi onomastics typically made sense—as with, say, “Rosen-berg” (rose hill) or “Grün-berg” (green hill).  The surname “Katzen-berg” was likely adopted by Ashkenazim who’d become acquainted with the Chatti and other descendants of the Batavians.  We also find some peculiar lexical combinations with some Ashkenazi surnames—as with Hirsch-lag, which combines the Germanic term for “deer” with the peculiar suffix “-lag”…a morpheme that may have been a variant of the German term for “laying” (“legen”) or possibly from the Old Turkic term for warm (“yilig”).  Nobody’s really sure. “Zeitlin” combines “Zeitl” (German for lately) with the Slavic suffix “-in”.  Meanwhile, “Lit[t]-man[n]” combines the Slavic “Lit” (used in Lit- o-vel, Lit-o-bor, Lit-o-mir, Lit-o-slav) with the familiar Germanic suffix.  And “Zuch-man[n]” combines the Slavic term for “resourceful” with that suffix…though “zuch” might have come from either the Germanic “zucht” (pertaining to cultivation / harvesting; i.e. farming) or “zug” (an agrarian term that seems to have had Uralic origins).  The Jews who created such surnames were clearly neither Germanic nor Slavic.  They were cobbling together disparate lexical bits and pieces from exogenous sources to create novel surnames—that is: to forge a new ethnic identity via an ad hoc onomastic.  To suppose that Sephardim would have done this strains credulity.}

{105  Another possibility is that the [k]Hazars were influenced by the Christian kingdom immediately to their south.  The Sarir Kingdom was in Dagestan from c. 500 to the 12th century; and was an ally with the [k]Hazar Empire (until, that is, they defected; and allied with the Alans, who were adversaries of the [k]Hazars).  Little is known about the Sarir people, but they seem to have been some combination of Persian, Syriac, and indigenous [Vai-]Nakh / Adyghe (a.k.a. “Circassians”); and would have been conversant in the tongues of the Silk Road: Sogdian, Syriac, and Common Turkic.  They likely adopted their Abrahamic creed from the ancient Georgians; and—in their common dealings with the [k]Hazars over the centuries—would have exposed the them to Abrahamic lore; though in which ways is anyone’s guess.  Since the Sarir people were vassals of the [k]Hazars, any memetic transference (involving selected elements of the Mosaic creed) would have been on [k]Hazarian terms.}

{106  Today’s Uyghurs speak MODERN Uyghur—a hybrid of Mongol-Turkic from the Chagatai epoch, which originated as Karluk under the Kara-Khanids.  Their tongue is NOT from Old Uyghur, which was the language of the Orkhon Uyghur Khaganate operating out of Ötüken (later Ordu-Balik; now Kara-Balghas[un]).}

{107  This comment is extremely revealing.  Nobody was more of a stickler for facts than Isaac Asimov—a man who likely commanded more knowledge than anyone who has ever walked the face of the Earth.  And few people were more renown for debunking myths than he.  So if the theory of the Ashkenazim’s [k]Hazarian origins had been erroneous, he would have been the first to point that out.}

{108  Would we know if there WAS some kind of schism?  Well, as it happens, history furnishes us with an example.  Lo and behold: There was a great schism at the exact same time (with another religion).  And we know A LOT about it—as one might expect when something like that occurs.  In 1054, European Christianity officially divided into two realms: Papism in the west and Orthodoxy in the east.  (To this day, both consider themselves “Catholic”.)  Granted, the dispute was not only doctrinal in nature; as the former was Roman (Frankish and Latin based) while the latter was Byzantine (Slavic and Greek based).  This rift had a long history.  Recall that Emperor Diocletian had divided the Empire—for administrative purposes—into two halves along cultural lines c. 300 (amidst his pogroms against Manichaeans and Christians), thereby amplifying this disparity.  So the seeds for division were already planted in the Early Middle Ages.  By the 11th century, the primary issue was fealty to the Vatican—a development that was well-documented throughout Christendom.  It’s only natural that there was extensive documentation, as a massive religious community BIFURCATED.  How could it NOT be discussed—at length—by those involved?  By contrast, there was not a peep about any such schism in Beth Israel.  For the “Ashkenazim broke away from the Sephardim” theory to hold any water, there would need to be some sort of mention of such a break-away…by SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE, AT SOME POINT.  There was NONE.  For those interested in relevant feuds within Christendom during this pivotal time, the one between (Frankish) Emperor Charlemagne and (Byzantine) Empress Irene c. 800 is a fascinating one.  Also note the Photian Controversy in 863…and the acrimony that ensued…onward through the Crusaders’ sacking of Constantinople in April 1204, where they massacred thousands of Orthodox Christian civilians.  Clearly, that high degree of hostility did not exist between Sephardim and Ashkenazim.  There seems to have only been a moderate degree of alterity.  Had there been some sort of schismatic event, there surely would have been some resentment on the part of both parties.  No such sentiment was forthcoming.  There was only some suspicion, as one might expect, when the Turkic Jews appeared in Eastern Europe.}

{109  Most ancient languages that are now extinct simply morphed into subsequent incarnations.  They were thus stages within this or that linguistic lineage.  But sometimes a linguistic terminus occurs.  It is no secret that languages can die out even as the people who speak them survive.  Consider what happened to the languages of the region stretching from the Balkans up to the Carpathian mountains.  Almost no traces remain of Illyrian, Thracian, or Dacian…except, perhaps, for sparse vestiges in Bulgarian, Albanian, and Romanian.  It’s not that the Illyrians, Thracians, and Dacians VANISHED.  Due to medieval geo-politics, their identities changed…along with the languages they spoke.  Be that as it may, it would be odd for today’s Serbs / Croats (effectively, the modern incarnation of Dalmatians) and Albanians (effectively, the modern incarnation of the Ardiaeans) to insist that they weren’t somehow the descendants of Illyrians…or for modern Bulgarians (effectively, the modern incarnation of Steppe Bulgars) to insist that they weren’t somehow descendants of Thracians…or for Romanians (effectively, the modern incarnation of Wallachians) to insist that they weren’t somehow descendants of Dacians.}

{110  Where are the Zoroastrians now?  They used to account for the entirety of Persia; now, they are scattered to the four winds—from Zanzibar to India.  (Freddie Mercury’s family was from the Swahili Coast.  For the past century, India’s biggest philanthropists have been the Tata family.)  Where are the Armenians now?  They used to be prevalent in eastern Anatolia (around Lake Van); now, they primarily reside in the lower Caucuses, having established their own nation-State there (barring Artsakh, which Stalin partitioned off for Azerbaijan).  We might also ask: Where are the Roma now?  The Hmong?  The Hmar / Kuki?  Of course, not ALL ethnic minorities are displaced from their homeland.  The Sikhs are still in Punjab; the Yazidis are still (barely) in northern Mesopotamia; the Kurds are still in, well, Kurdistan; and the Druze are still in the northern Levant.  Such communities often have their own diaspora—as with the Armenians, some of whom ventured into the upper Caucuses; and—later—Los Angeles, California.}

{111  Though Hungarian is now characterized as more of a Slavic language, its Magyar roots are, of course, Uralic (see Endnote 112 below).  Other Uralic languages (those in the Baltic region: Finnish, Estonian, and Karelian) began forming much earlier—in pre-Turkic times (as a proto-Balto-Finnic tongue that had migrated from the Ural region).  The indigenous precursors to languages like Mari, Sami, and Suomi (postulated as variants of “Finno-Permic”) melded with Old Norse during the Middle Ages.  This hybridization was largely due to the hegemony of the Danes and Swedes into the Baltic region during the Livonian Crusades.  Slavic infusions had already occurred during the epoch of Varangians, with the hegemony of the Kieven Rus—a process that would continue into the modern age under Tzarist Russia.  It’s no surprise, then, that Finnish is now more associated with Scandinavia than with its distant origins in the Eurasian Steppes.}

{112  The Hungarians (qua Magyars) began as the Khanty-Mansi (a.k.a. “Voguls”): a Turkic people closely related to the Bashkirs; as they shared Kara-Yakupovo origins.  In the Early Middle Ages, they—along with myriad other Tatars—migrated westward from the Ural region into eastern Europe.  They made it all the way to the Carpathian Basin (a region known as Pannonia at the time); and later asserted a novel identity under the Arpad dynasty c. 855.  The kingdom transitioned to Christianity c. 1000 under the “Nagy-Fejedelem” [Grand Prince], Vajk (who was re-christened “Istvan” [Stephen]: the Christianized name that had been taken by his father).  That transition occurred pursuant to Stephen’s alliance with the (Germanic) Ottonians in the north (solidified with his betrothal to the Ottonian princess, Gisele of Bavaria; sister of the future Holy Roman Emperor, Henry II).  While the (Frankish / Saxon) Ottonians were Roman Catholic (going back to the Carolingians), the tongue of the Magyars would have thereafter been transformed by the prevalence of Old Church Slavonic—liturgical language of the Eastern Empire—in their discourse.  A notable Turkic onomastic that remained in the Magyar lexicon was “Kalman”, which the reader might recognize as the original surname of the Rothschilds (see Postscript 1).  Stephen was the son of Geza, who’s mother was a [k]Hazar princess.}

{113  The small set of Bukharan Jews—who ended up settling between the Syr Darya and Amu Darya at some point in the Middle Ages—were not originally Turkic.  They seem to have originated in the vicinity of Merv, migrating eastward from the northeastern edge of Persia—through Khwarazm (an oasis region on the edge of the Kyzyl-kum desert) and into the Fergana Valley—for reasons that are difficult to ascertain.  Some seem to have made it as far east as Samarkand and Balkh.  Small Jewish communities had resided in Persia as early the Parthian period, likely in Daylam / Hyrkania.  (In the 3rd century A.D., Sassanid “shah” Shapur had a friendly relationship with the “amora”, Samuel bar Abba of Nehardea, showing that the Persian rulers were on good terms with Jews i their domain.)  This northeastward route was not unknown to world history—as attested by the Hellenization of Bactrian culture and the Syriac influences of Sogdian culture (throughout Late Antiquity).  The movement of Persians into that region actually dates back to the Iron-Age “Dahaeans”.  It is likely that the movement of Persian Jews toward Bukhara may have been related to the activity of Radhanite merchants along the Silk Road, in conjunction with the movement of the Sogdians, Mishars / Nizhgars, and Burtas.}

{114  Note that, even in their aggressive expansion out of Khorasan, the hegemonic Seljuks (who spoke Oghuz Turkic) did not bother venturing north of the Aral Sea (that is: north of Khwarazm) to meddle in the affairs of the Yabgu (who were also Oghuz)…or bother confronting any of the Kumen-Kipchak tribes that remained from the heyday of the Kangar Union…let alone risk an encounter the hostile Kara-Khanids farther to the northeast.  Bottom line: The territory east of [k]Hazaria was not an enticing place to venture for, well, ANYONE.  Note that the Seljuks were not inclined to venture due eastward either; as, closer to the Hindu Kush, the Ghaznavids were a potent force.  So WESTWARD they eventually went, through Persia, across northern Mesopotamia, into Anatolia…bringing the Oghuz Turkic tongue with them.  Hence the predominant language in modern Anatolia: Turkish.}

{115  Semiotic pertinence does not always track with linguistic inheritance, as the significance of memes can change as they migrate from one cultural milieu to another.  Find this befuddling?  Consider the term, “democracy”: an adaptation of the Greek “demo-kratia, which was derived from “demos kratos” [rule by the people], an ideation that emerged in ancient Athens.  Neither English nor German–nor any of the Romance languages–have much of a Hellenic linguistic basis; yet the variations on the lexeme (and the concept) were adopted nevertheless; primarily due to superficial ideological affinities.  In the modern world, those who use this term are not necessarily Greek, nor do they necessarily seek to uphold any kind of Hellenistic legacy.  Oftentimes, they are not even interested in, well, ACTUAL democracy.  It’s a buzz-term that has become largely disconnected from its etymology.  In other words: The linguistic inheritance became untethered from the semiotic pertinence—an eventuality most flagrantly illustrated by the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.}

{116  As it happened, one of the great Ashkenazi rabbis of the era died that fateful year (1492).  Jacob Margolioth of Nuremberg had maintained an excellent relationship with the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick III—who had gone so far as to consult the rabbi for advice on matters involving the Jewish communities in his domain.  Indeed, it was Frederick III who chartered the “Judengasse” [Jewish Lane] in Frankfurt. (!)  This indicates that, until then, Germany was relatively hospitable to Jews (pace the Duke of Bavaria, Albert IV).  Jacob passed away in Worms precisely when the worst of the pogroms were about to be underway.  For more on this, see Endnote 26 above.}

{117  Further work needs to be done on the vestiges of Turkic culture that lingered for centuries in Ashkenazic culture.  One might start with Routledge Revivals’ “Turkic Oral Epic Poetry” by Karl Reichl.  Make no mistake: Identifying residual traces of [k]Hazarian heritage in Yiddishkeit is sure to be a thankless task, as it will likely render one persona non grata in Reactionary circles.  So be it.  Bold scholarship is undeterred by obdurate proponents of the status quo.}

{118  To keep these numbers in perspective: As a result of the pogroms of the late 15th and early 16th centuries, there were fewer than a million Jews in all of Europe—probably far fewer—by the end of the 16th century.  That’s six centuries after the [k]Hazarian diaspora would have begun: a displacement that would have involved tens—or even hundreds—of thousands.  Demographically, the impact of this amount of Turkic Jews arriving in Eastern Europe would not have been trivial.}

{119  The other notable figure in Occitania at the time (the late 11th century) was Isaac ben Merwan.  He would be followed by his famed pupils, Meshullam ben Jacob of Lunel and Moses ben Joseph [ben Merwan] of Narbonne…and then the latter’s famed pupil, Abraham ben Isaac of Narbonne.  Later, there was Abraham ben David of Narbonne (father of Issac the Blind) and his famed pupil, Abraham ben Nathan of Lunel.  As mentioned, the Hachmei Provence was most known for Merwan “ha-Levi” and Moses ha-Darshan (11th century) as well as Abraham ben David and Isaac the Blind (12th century).}

{120  It’s worth noting that the elision of Turkic ancestry was not unique to the Ashkenazim. The Mamluks ruled Egypt, the Levant, and the Hijaz for about three centuries (from the early 13th century to the early 16th century); and had been a prominent ethnic group in the region since the 12th century (under the Kurdish / Ayyubid ruler, Salah ad-Din; a.k.a. “Saladin”). They were Turkic (Kipchak, Cumen, and Oghuz); yet today, few Arabs from that region (spec. those with Mamluk ancestry) openly speak of their Turkic blood.}

{121  Consider a Wayne University paper from 2013 entitled: “No Evidence from Genome-Wide Data of a Khazar Origin for the Ashkenazi Jews” (published in vol. 85 of the university’s “Human Biology”).  The authors openly concede: “Because the Khazar population has left no obvious modern descendants that could enable a clear test for a contribution to Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, the Khazar hypothesis has been difficult to examine using genetics.”  They add that “because only limited genetic data have been available from the Caucasus region, and because these data have been concentrated in populations that are genetically close to populations from the Middle East, the attribution of any signal of Ashkenazi-Caucasus genetic similarity to Khazar ancestry rather than shared ancestral Middle Eastern ancestry has been problematic.”  Here’s the problem: They gathered their samples from CURRENT denizens of the area of the former [k]Hazaria (“the region historically associated with the Khazar Khaganate,” as they put it).  They then declare that they found little parity with Ashkenazi samples.  OF COURSE they didn’t find parity.  They were taking samples FROM THE WRONG PEOPLE.  Myriad ethnic groups have been in that region (the Pontic Steppes, the Caucuses) in the intervening thousand-plus years.  The researchers should have limited their sample to those who are KNOWN to have most likely descended from the [k]Hazars—like the Kumyks, Kalmyks, Bashkirs, and Sabirs.  Also: Is there some inter-mixture of some European DNA in TODAY’S Ashkenazi genome?  Of course there is.  There has been miscegenation with both European Jews AND gentiles in the thousand years SINCE.  The question is: What did the genome look like PRIOR TO such miscegenation—that is: a millennium ago?  The authors fail to consider this elementary point.}

{122  The honorific “Tzar” [alt. “Tsar”; sometimes rendered “Czar” / “Csar”] was first used by the Bulgars in the late 7th century, as a more Slavic rendering of the Latin “Caesar” (the title that had been used for Roman emperors since Gaius Octavius c. 27 B.C.)  It was not used as an official title until the late 10th century, when it was adopted by the Armenian “Kometopuli” dynasty of the first Bulgarian Empire.  Later, the term was adopted by Michael Yaro-slavich of Tver (ruler of the Kieven Rus) at the beginning of the 14th century; as an onomastic way to differentiate himself from the “Khans” of the Golden Horde.  It was also adopted by Stefan Dushan in 1345 (in lieu of the Byzantine honorific, “basileus”) when he became ruler of the Serbs, Albanians, Bulgars, Macedonians, and Greeks.  The first official use of “Tzar” by Russians was by the despot, Ivan IV Vasilyevich (known to history as “Ivan the Terrible”) in 1547, whereupon he re-branded the Rurikid dynasty. When I use the term here, I am simply referring to the rulers of Kieven Rus (which eventually became the Grand Duchy of Moscow).}

{123  Svyato-slav Igorevich [Holy-Glory, son of Igor] was ultimately the ruler who conquered the [k]Hazar Empire.  Regarding the origins of what we now call the “Russians”, we need to go back to the Varangians—a Nordic peoples who merged with the ancient Slavs (primarily, the Drevlians).  Their first dynasty was Rurikid.  Notable was the ruler, Oleg “the Wise” of Novgorod who first made inroads into the [k]Hazarian settlement of Kiev (ref. the Schechter Letter; also see the Endnote 87).  Located as it was on the Dnieper River, it was on a key trading route from the Baltic region (i.e. the principality of Novgorod) down to the Black Sea.  Oleg conquered Smolensk, at the northern end of the river, c. 882.  Soon thereafter, Kiev—farther down river—would be overtaken.  And less than a century later (in the late 960’s), the [k]Hazarian imperium in the north Caucuses would fall.  The Pechenegs (from the far east) were subsequently able to surge into the former [k]Hazaria—sweeping across the Pontic Steppes, eventually reaching the Dnieper River.  It was there, in 972, that they ambushed Svyatoslav and killed him.  Soon thereafter, Vladimir “the Great” of Novgorod anointed himself Grand Prince of Kiev (that is: as ruler of the Kievan Rus).  Strategically, his wives were Scandinavian, Bohemian, and Macedonian (that is: Nordic, Slavic, and Hellenic).  It was the marriage to the last (Byzantine princess Anna Porphyrogenita) that prompted his conversion to Christianity c. 989.  By the turn of the millennium, what had formerly been [k]Hazara was being Christianized.  The pagans (largely Tengri-ists) were being converted, while many of the [k]Hazarian Jews (esp. those who did not end up converting to Christianity) were displaced westward.  This transformation occurred on into the 11th century.  While the ruler, Yaro-slav [Fierce Glory] “the Wise” had his hands full subduing the Pechenegs, the [k]Hazarian diaspora migrated into Eastern Europe.}

{124  For more on the Sephardic ideal known as “Adab”, see Maria Rosa Menocal’s “The Ornament Of The World”.  For more on the disjuncture between Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jewry, see Jose Faur’s “In The Shadow Of History”.  That the right-wing incarnation of Zionism emerged primarily amongst the Ashkenazim is explicable due to a variety of factors.  First and foremost was the need for Jews in Eastern Europe to find refuge during the Third Reich.  Historically, the Ashkenazim have been far more parochial, while the Sephardim have been more cosmopolitan.  Moreover, by the 20th century, the Sephardim—while Semitic—had engaged in almost two thousand years of miscegenation with Arabs, Berbers, and other ethnic groups around the Mediterranean Basin: a problem for those who prioritized racial purity.  With the Palestinians seen as the new adversary to Beth Israel, the thinking of Revisionist Zionists was: Hey, at least they didn’t have ARAB heritage mixed in with their own. (The irony, of course, was that Ashkenazim had an EVEN LESS Semitic ancestry than the Sephardim.)}

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