Sacred History - Lost Secrets Of The Ancient World - The Dragon Tree Of Life

Discussion in 'Ancient Archaeology and New Discoveries' started by CULCULCAN, Oct 1, 2014.


    CULCULCAN The Final Synthesis - isbn 978-0-9939480-0-8 Staff Member

    Lost Secrets of the Ancient World




    2010 - A Tel Aviv University team excavating a cave in central Israel said teeth found in the cave are about 400,000 years old and resemble those of other remains of modern man, known scientifically as Homo sapiens, found in Israel. The earliest Homo sapiens remains found until now are half as old. "It's very exciting to come to this conclusion," said archaeologist Avi Gopher, whose team examined the teeth with X-rays and CT scans and dated them according to the layers of earth where they were found. He stressed that further research is needed to solidify the claim. If it does, he says, "this changes the whole picture of evolution." The accepted scientific theory is that Homo sapiens originated in Africa and migrated out of the continent. Gopher said if the remains are definitively linked to modern human's ancestors, it could mean that modern man in fact originated in what is now Israel. Sir Paul Mellars, a prehistory expert at Cambridge University, said the study is reputable, and the find is "important" because remains from that critical time period are scarce, but it is premature to say the remains are human. "Based on the evidence they've sited, it's a very tenuous and frankly rather remote possibility," Mellars said. He said the remains are more likely related to modern man's ancient relatives, the Neanderthals.

    According to today's accepted scientific theories, modern humans and Neanderthals stemmed from a common ancestor who lived in Africa about 700,000 years ago. One group of descendants migrated to Europe and developed into Neanderthals, later becoming extinct. Another group stayed in Africa and evolved into Homo sapiens – modern humans. Teeth are often unreliable indicators of origin, and analyses of skull remains would more definitively identify the species found in the Israeli cave, Mellars said.
    Gopher, the Israeli archaeologist, said he is confident his team will find skulls and bones as they continue their dig. The prehistoric Qesem cave was discovered in 2000, and excavations began in 2004. Researchers Gopher, Ran Barkai and Israel Hershkowitz published their study in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

    Enki's Calendar​

    Scholars have told us that the first civilisation on Earth emerged in a land called Sumer some 6,000 years ago. Recent archaeological findings suggest that the Sumerians may have inherited some of their knowledge from an earlier civilisation that emerged many thousands of years earlier in southern Africa, the cradle of humankind. More than 100,000 years ago, early humans built a stone calendar that precedes all other man-made structures found to date. This discovery is so astounding that it requires a true paradigm shift in our approach to ancient human activity, as it takes us closer to the emergence of the earliest humans on planet Earth.

    This "African Stonehenge", which we call Adam's Calendar, has created for the first time a link to the countless other stone ruins in southern Africa and suggests that these ruins are much older than we thought. The complex that links Waterval Boven, Machadodorp, Carolina and Dullstroom covers an area larger than modern-day Johannesburg and has emerged as the largest and most mysterious ancient city on Earth. The discoveries of petroglyphs of winged discs and carved dolerite statues of giant birds, some resembling the hawk-headed god Horus, suggest that the prototype Sumerian and Egyptian civilisations had their origins in southern Africa thousands of years before they emerged in the north.

    Seven years of research by a group of independent scientists and explorers has delivered what may be the crucial missing elements in our understanding of the lives and development of early modern humans. Their discoveries have been released in the book Adam's Calendar, co-written by this author and Johan Heine (Zulu Planet Publishers, 2008). However, the research has also shown that these stone settlements represent the most mysterious and misunderstood structures found so far. It points to a civilisation that lived and dug for gold in this part of the world for thousands of years. If this is in fact the cradle of humankind, we may be looking at what's left of the workings of the oldest civilisation on Earth.

    Johan Heine manages the largest group of fire-fighters and fleet of firefighting aircraft in Africa. As a pilot, he has been flying over the mountains of Mpumalanga for over 20 years. He instantly took a keen interest in the thousands of strange circular stone ruins that lie scattered throughout this region and he started photographing them. In consulting various so-called experts on their origins, he was informed that these are merely the remains of "cattle kraal" left behind by the Bantu people when they migrated from the north around the 14th century until about the 18th century. But it was an air crash involving one of his crew that brought Johan to discover the mysterious monolithic circle which we now call Adam's Calendar and put the entire mystery of these ancient ruins into perspective.

    Adam's Calendar is positioned along the same 31-degree longitudinal line as Great Zimbabwe and the Great Pyramid of Giza.

    In 2003, Johan spotted the strange monoliths standing upright in the centre of a larger eroded circular structure right on the edge of a high mountain cliff (figure 1). After dealing with the crashed aircraft and recovering the pilot, who was only suffering from a broken arm, Johan returned to investigate the monoliths. He also brought at least five academics to the site in search of explanations—and this is when he found out how amazingly blind "those who will not see" can be. Not one of them could see the true significance of the discovery, claiming that these were just random stones. This was a big blow to his original excitement, but like a true explorer he did not stop there. The site is situated on the edge of what is known as the Transvaal Escarpment, which geologically consists of the Black Reef Quartzite Formation that's rich in gold. (Incidentally, this is where gold prospecting started in the early 1800s.) But the monoliths of Adam's Calendar are all dolerite. The closest vein of dolerite is about a kilometre away from the site. This means that the architects went to a lot of trouble to transport the monoliths, some of which weigh over five tonnes, to the site. The central monolith is carved with such precision as to allow the setting sun to cast a shadow on what we call the "flat calendar stone".

    Johan began to measure and calculate the layout and parameters of the monoliths. Informed by his years of experience in aeronautical science and navigation, he very quickly realised that the circular structure was purposefully designed and aligned with the cardinal points of the Earth as well as the equinoxes and solstices.

    more at link

    2 MYA Homo habilis is thought to be the ancestor of the lankier and more sophisticated, Homo ergaster, which in turn gave rise to the more human appearing species, Homo erectus. There is debate over whether H. habilis is a direct human ancestor, and over how many known fossils are properly attributed to the species.

    see: Homo rudolfensis

    1.8 MYA Homo erectus evolves in Africa . Homo erectus would bear a striking resemblance to modern humans, but had a brain about 74 percent of the size of modern man. Its forehead is less sloping and the teeth are smaller.

    It is believed to be an ancestor of modern humans (with Homo heidelbergensis usually treated as an intermediary step).

    1.75 MYA Dmanisi man/ Homo georgicus (Georgia, Russia), tiny brain came from Africa, with Homo erectus and Homo habilis characteristics. 700 kYA Common genetic ancestor of humans and Neanderthal.

    355 kYA Three 1.5m tall Homo heidelbergensis left footprints in powdery volcanic ash solidified in Italy. Homo heidelbergensis is the common ancestor of both Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens. It is morphologically very similar to Homo erectus but Homo heidelbergensis had a larger brain-case, about 93% the size of that of Homo sapiens. The species was tall, 1.8 m (6 ft.) on average, and more muscular than modern humans.

    195 kYA Omo1, Omo2 (Ethiopia, Omo river) are the earliest Homo sapiens 160 kYA Homo sapiens (Homo sapiens idaltu) in Ethiopia, Awash River, Herto village, practise mortuary rituals and butcher hippos.

    150 kYA Birth of the mitochondrial Eve in Africa. She is the last female ancestor common to all mitochondrial lineages in humans alive today.

    130 kYA FOXP2 (gene associated with the development of speech) appears. 100 kYA The first anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) appear in Africa some time before this, they evolved from Homo heidelbergensis.

    At present estimate, humans have approximately 20,000-25,000 genes and share 98.5% of their DNA with their closest living evolutionary relative, the bonobos.

    Homo sapiens skin is relatively hairless in comparison to other primates. The skin colour of contemporary humans can range from very dark brown to very pale pink. It is geographically stratified and in general correlates with the environmental level of UV. Human skin and hair colour is controlled in part by the MC1R gene. For example, the red hair and pale skin of some Europeans is the result of mutations in MC1R. Human skin has a capacity to darken (sun tanning) in response to UV exposure. Variation in the ability to sun tan is also controlled in part by MC1R.

    90 kYA Modern humans enter Asia via two routes: one north through the Middle East, and another route further south from Ethiopia, via the Red Sea and southern Arabia. Mutation causes skin color changes in order to absorb optimal UV light for different geographical latitudes. Modern "race" formation begins. African populations remain more 'diverse' in their genetic makeup than all other humans, due to only a subset of their population (and therefore only a subset of their diversity) leaving Africa. See: Single-origin hypothesis 74 kYA Supervolcanoic eruption in Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia cause Homo sapien population to crash to 2,000. 6 year nuclear winter, then a 1000 year ice-age.

    60 kYA Birth of Y-chromosomal Adam in Africa (most likely Ethiopia or Sudan . He is the most recent common ancestor from whom all male human Y chromosomes are descended. Y-chromosomal Adam is not the same individual at all points in human history. The most recent comon patrilineal ancestor of humans alive today is different from the one for humans alive a thousand years in the future: as male lines die out, a more recent individual, the Y-mrca of a subtree of the preceding Y-Adam, becomes the new Y-Adam.

    50 kYA Modern humans expand from Asia to Australia(to become today's aborigines) and Europe. Expansion along the coasts happens faster than expansion inland.

    31 kYA Modern humans enter North America from Siberia in numerous waves, some later waves across the Bering land bridge, but early waves probably by island-hopping across the Aleutians. At least two of the first waves had left few or no genetic descendants among Americans by the time Europeans arrived across the Atlantic Ocean. Humans reach Solomons. Humans move into Japan. M343 a genetic marker. This marker is estimated to have originated in an individual male in Africa 30,000 or more years ago and has propigated since then.This genetic marker is carried by most Western Europeans. It is carried by 70% of the entire population of England and 90% of some parts of Spain and Ireland and is also descended from the Cro-Magnon.

    27 kYA Neanderthals die out, leaving Homo sapiens and Homo floresiensis as the only living species of the genus Homo.

    12 kYA Homo floresiensis largely or entirely dies out at around this time due to a volcanic eruption.

    10 kYA Humans reach Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America, the last continental region to be inhabited by humans (excluding Antarctica).


    Gobekli Reptile, 8000 BC

    Gobekli Tepe Constellations

    This is meant to provide a brief analysis to explain the origin of several of the animal figures from the Gobekli Tepe temple site in Turkey, arising about 9000 BC and haralded as the earliest (known) temple of the world. Several of the images yet uncovered represent constellations, the depictions are not all dimensionally accurate, but are stylistic representations of star forms, perhaps with some line of artistic tradition behind it. It is not exactly clear after the initial analysis that all of the stars that are shown are represented within the petro glyphs. A proper and thorough study should work from a map of stars that shows them as they appeared 11,000 years BP in order to lend greater accuracy. In the analysis of the rock depictions that have been uncovered, the first will be referred to as the “Vulture and Scorpion” stone, the second “Boar and Birds” stone, the "Goat and Horse" stone, the"Great Lion", the "Great Fox", the "Lesser Fox", the "Cow, Fox, and Crane" stone.

    The conclusions and presentation here arise purely from my own independent efforts explaining the figures as representing constellations and are not part of the interpretive work of the Gobekli Tepe project team, and also not derived from the work or suggestions of others.

    Further, the main object of the study here is to correlate the figure to the proper star pattern, not to identify the figure represented. If a figure is referred to as a fox or goat it does not imply that it has been properly identified as such by myself, the Gobekli Tepe project team, or anyone else.


    Many reliefs were carved on the pillars, such as foxes, lions, cattle, wild boars, herons, ducks, scorpions, ants and snakes. There were also a number of free-standing sculptures, which probably also represent animals, though it is hard to tell because they are heavily encrusted with lime. There are also a number of carvings cut into the walls, which have not been properly dated so far. It's notable that most of the carvings are of dangerous animals, such as lions, snakes, scorpions and spiders, and relatively few of useful or harmless animals. Various stone tools such as hammers and blades have been found, which resemble similar stone tools found at other nearby sites which have also been dated to roughly 9,000 B.C.
    Agriculture originated in the hills around Göbekli Tepe around 10,000 years ago, not long before the time Göbekli Tepe was covered with earth and abandoned. Einkorn wheat, a precursor of modern wheat grows wild in this region. DNA analysis of modern wheat shows that it's closest to a variety of wild wheat that is currently found in Karadağ, about 20 miles from Göbekli Tepe. Several lines of archeological evidence indicate that this region was where agriculture and the domestication of farm animals first began (dogs had been domesticated earlier, also in this region -- the oldest evidence of domestication is a Natufian grave about 12,000 years old in which an old man was buried with a puppy, near Ein Mallaha in Israel). Other sites in the region show that within 1,000 years of building Göbekli, people in the area had started to corral sheep, cattle and pigs.

    The oldest full-size human statue was found in Balikli Gol near Sanilurfa. - a figure of a man carved from limestone, with obsidian eyes, also about 12,000 years old. Note that this is not the oldest representation of humans. Figurines that are much older have been found, such as the famous "Venus of Willendorf" which is about 25,000 years old, or the "Lion Man" found in the Hohle Fels cave near Ulm in Germany, which may be up to 30,000 years old. But these were only a few inches in size, suitable for nomadic people to carry around with them. Full-sized statues were not meant to be carried around; they were likely placed in permanent structures.


    Oldest Temple in the World
    The antecedents to civilization in this region of the middle east were the Kebaran culture (a nomadic late paleolithic people who lived in the Levant and Sinai around 18,000 to 10,000 BC), and the Natufian culture (a mesolithic hunter-gatherer culture from about 12,500 to 9,500 BC who were unusual in that they built permanent settlements even before the dawn of agriculture). The oldest settlement of Jericho is in fact Natufian. So this region of the middle east was quite advanced for its time, perhaps due to an abundance of natural resources.

    Göbekli Tepe is a site in Turkey, just north of the Syrian border, a bit south of the Euphrates river, and about 15 km northeast of the town Sanilurfa in Turkey. The site is on top of a small hill (Göbekli Tepe means "hill with a navel" or "hill with a belly" in Turkish). The site was examined in the early 1960's by archeologists from the University of Chicago, and the University of Istanbul. It was part of a larger survey of the region, and at the time, it was dismissed as the remains of a medieval monastery. Three decades later, a local shepherd noticed some oddly shaped stones on the ground. The news reached the curators of the local museum in Sanilurfa, about 50 km away, and eventually to the government ministry in charge of antiquities. They contacted the German Archeological Institute in Istanbul. As a consequence, Klaus Schmidt re-examined the site in 1994, and noted that various artifacts found at the site were similar to those found at nearby sites which had been carbon dated to as early as 9,000 B.C. Excavation began the next year, with a German-Turkish team.




    Sumerian Holy Grail: Ritual Cup of Lagash
    The oldest known writings were Sumerian and were written around 2600 B.C. The Epic of Gilgamesh is often credited as the first written work of *fiction*. and it was written around 2150-2000 BC. The Enuma Elish is the Babylonian Creation Story. When the 7 tablets that contain this were first discovered, evidence indicated that it was used as a "ritual", meaning it was recited during a ceremony or celebration. That celebration is now known to be the Akitu festival, or Babylonian new year. This tells of the creation of the world (an act of divine speech), and of Marduk's triumph over Tiamat, and how it relates to him becoming king of the gods. This is followed by an invocation to Marduk by his fifty names.
    Altai (Altay) - "The Golden Mountains" is the mountain land on the south of Siberia still ecologically pure and untouched wild nature, so far. Local people, some of whom are followers of exotic doctrines - pagans (Shamanists), followers of Nicolas Roerikh and Old Believers ("staroveryis a social experience. A number of archeological artefacts (from 1,500,000 BC- Ulala down to the paleolithic reside in the host city of Altai Respublic - Gorno-Altaisk), including rock arts (petroglyphs), Paleolithical sits, numerous burial mounds, stone figures.

    The native population of Altai Mountains (and Altai Republic within Russian Federation, respectively) are Altai people originating in the upper part of Yenisey river;their close relatives are Kyrgyz people in Central Asia. They speak Altai language which belongs to the Turk family of languages. Their way of life derived from the nomads but because they re-settled in forested areas, now they mostly follow the semi-settled traditions, with the main activities of hunting, cattle grazing and agriculture. The rest of population includes Russians and Kazakhs.

    In 1998 The Golden Mountains of Altai were included into UNESCO World Heritage list. The list of objects consists Altaiskiy Natural Reserve, Katun Natural Reserve and the Ukok Plateau Nature Refuge.

    "Golden Mountains"

    Arkaim is an archaeological site situated in the Southern Urals steppe, 8.2 kilometres (5.1 mi) north-to-northwest of Amurskiy, and 2.3 km (1.4 mi) south-to-southeast of Alexandronvskiy, two villages in the Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia, just to the north from the Kazakhstani border. The ancient Ural fortress is called Russian Stonehenge. In addition to streets and buildings ruins scientists found remnants of the water system, metallurgic furnaces, and mines. It is also believed to be one of the strongest anomaly zones in Russia. The site is generally dated to the 17th century BC. Earlier dates, up to the 20th century BC, have been proposed. It was a settlement of the Sintashta-Petrovka culture. Newly found artifacts make the site itself much older; scientists agree on it being at least as old as Troy and the Egyptian pyramids; it dates back to the 4th millennium BC. It is said to be older then Stonehenge (3300 BC).

    Tengri mirrors the Cosmic Cross of the Dragon Precession
    An Ancient Celestial Observatory of Ultimate Accuracy Arkaim¹s constructions are both complicated and sophisticated, but their true purpose and functions are not very obvious. And only when its accurate geometry is discovered in the lay-out is it possible to comprehend the builders' messages. By way of various essential elements of geometry and the dimensions of Arkaim, researchers are directed to precise correspondences with certain parameters of Great Britain's ancient Stonehenge.


    Kingdom of the Khazars

    The ancient Khazar Empire was a major but almost forgotten power in Eastern Europe. In the Dark ages it converted to Judaism. Khazaria was finally wiped out by the forces of Ghengis Khan, but evidence indicates that the Khazars themselves migrated to Poland and formed the cradle of Western Jewry. The standard story of the origin of the Ashkenazis, or East-European Jews, holds that they descended from refugees of Crusade- and Black-Death-time persecutions of Jews from western Germany who sought a new life in Poland. In 1976 Arthur Koestler revived the theory the bulk of the Ashkenazis were the descendants of a turkik tribe (the medieval Khazars). The Khazar Caucasian Jews -- Koestler's "The Thirteenth Tribe" - were later converts which arose in Slavic Lands -- they weren't from the Mid-East. The geographic contours of the jewish Pale of Settlements under Russian imperial rule overlap significantly the contours of the reduced khazarian province after the Mongols (Gazaria).

    Khazars (known also as Chozars, as Khazírs in Armenian and Khwalissas in Russian chronicles), an ancient people who occupied a prominent place among the secondary powers of the Byzantine state-system. In the epic of Firdousi Khazar is the representative name for all the northern foes of Persia, and legendary invasions long before the Christian era are vaguely attributed to them. But the Khazars are an historic figure upon the borderland of Europe and Asia for at least 900 years (AD 190-1100). The epoch of their greatness is from AD 600 to 950. Their home was in the spurs of the Caucasus and along the shores of the Caspian — called by medieval Moslem geographers Bahr-al-Khazar (" sea of the Khazars ").

    They were the Venetians of the Caspian and the Euxine, the organizers of the transit between the two basins, the universal carriers between East and West; and the meeting-place of the commerce of Persia, Byzantium, Armenia, Russia, and the Bulgarians of the middle Volga. The tide of their dominion ebbed and flowed repeatedly, but the normal Khazari may be taken as the territory between the Caucasus, the Volga and the Don, with the outlying province of the Crimea, or Little Khazarh. The southern boundary never greatly altered; it did at times reach the Kur and the Aras, but on that side the Khazars were confronted by Byzantium and Persia, and were for the most part restrained within the passes of the Caucasus. Among the nomadic Ugrians and agricultural Slavs of the north their frontier fluctuated widely, and in its zenith Khazaria extended from the Dnieper to Bolgari upon the Volga, and along the eastern shore of the Caspian to Astarabad.

    There were Khazars and Black Khazars. The Khazars were fair-skinned, black-haired of a remarkable beauty and stature; their women indeed were sought as wives equally at Byzantium and Bagdad; while the Kara (black) were ugly, short, and were reported by the Arabs almost as dark as Indians. The latter were indubitably the Ugrian nomads of the steppe, akin to the Tatar invaders of Europe, who convoyed the caravans of the ruling caste. But the Khazars proper were a civic commercial people, the founders of cities, remarkable for somewhat elaborate political institutions, persistence and for good faith — all qualities foreign to the Hun's character.

    They appear in European history as White Huns (Ephthalites) or White Bulgarians. Owing to climatic causes thi tract they occupied was slowly drying up. They were the outpost> of civilization towards the encroaching desert, and the Tatar nomadism that advanced with it. They held in precarious subjegation the hordes whom the conditions of the climate made it impossible to supplant. They bore the brunt of the great waves of Tatar conquests, and were eventually overwhelmed.

    Amidst this white race of the steppe the Khazars can be first historically distinguished at the end of the 2nd century AD They burst into Armenia in AD 198. They were repulsed and attacked in turn. The pressure of the nomads of the steppe, the quest of plunder or revenge, these seem the only motives of these early expeditions; but in the long struggle between the Roman and Persian empires, of which Armenia was often the battlefield, and eventually the prize, the attitude of the Khazars assumed political importance. Armenia inclined to the civilization and ere long to the Christianity of Rome, whilst her Arsacid princes maintained an inveterate feud with the Sassanids of Persia. It became therefore the policy of the Persian kings to call in the Khazars in every collision with the empire (200-350).

    During the 4th century however, the growing power of Persia culminated in the annexation of eastern Armenia. The Khazars, endangered by so powerful a neighbour, passed from under Persian influence into that remote alliance with Byzantium which thenceforth characterized their policy, and they aided Julian in his invasion of Persia (363). Simultaneously with the approach of Persia to the Caucasus the terrible empire of the Huns sprang upon the northern steppes. The Khazars, straitened on every side, remained passive till the danger culminated in the accession of Attila (434). Khazaria became the apanage of his eldest son, and the centre of government amongst the eastern subjects of the Hun (448). Even the iron rule of Attila was preferable to the time of anarchy that succeeded it.

    Upon his death (454) the wild immigration which he had arrested revived. The Khazars and the Sarogours {i.e. White Ogors, possibly the Barsileans of the Volga delta) were swept along in a flood of mixed Tatar peoples which the conquests of the Avars had set in motion. The Khazars and their companions broke through the Persian defences of the Caucasus. They appropriated the territory up to the Kur and the Aras, and roamed at large through Iberia, Georgia and Armenia.

    Throughout the 6th century Khazaria was the mere highway for the wild hordes to whom the Huns had opened the passage into Europe, and the Khazars took refuge (like the Venetians from Attila) amongst the seventy mouths of the Volga. The pressure of the Turks in Asia precipitated the Avars upon the West, The conquering Turks followed in their footsteps (560-580). They beat down all opposition, wrested even Bosporus in the Crimea from the empire, and by the annihilation of the Ephthalites completed the ruin of the White Race of the plains from the Oxus to the Don. The empires of Turks and Avars, however, ran swiftly their barbaric course, and the Khazars arose out of the chaos to more than their ancient renown. They issued from the land of Barsilia and extended their rule over the Bulgarian hordes left masterless by the Turks, compelling the more stubborn to migrate to the Danube (641).

    The agricultural Slavs of the Dnieper and the Oka were reduced to tribute, and before the end of the 7th century the Khazars had annexed the Crimea, had won complete command of the Sea of Azov, and, seizing opon the narrow neck which separates the Volga from the Don, had organized the portage which has continued since an important link in the traffic between Asia and Europe. The alliance with Byzantium was revived. Simultaneously, and no doubt in concert, with the Byzantine campaign against Persia (589), the Khazars had reappeared in Armenia, though it was not till 625 that they appear as Khazars in the Byzantine annals. They are then described as " Turks from the East," a powerful nation which held the coasts of the Caspian and the Euxine, and took tribute of the Viatitsh, the Severians and the Polyane. The khakan, enticed by the promise of an imperial princess, furnished Heradius with 40.000 men for his Persian war, who shared in the victory over Chosroes at Nineveh.

    Meanwhile the Moslem empire had arisen. The Persian empire was struck down (637) and the Moslems poured into Armenia, the khakan, who had defied the summons sent him by the invaders, now aided the Byzantine patrician in the defence of Armenia. The allies were defeated, and the Moslems undertook the subjugation of Khazaria (651). Eighty years of warfare followed, but in the end the Moslems prevailed. The khakan and his chieftains were captured and compelled to embrace Islam (737) and till the decay of the Mahommeaan empire Khazaria with all the other countries of the Caucasus paid an annual tribute of children and of corn (737-861). Nevertheless, though overpowered in the end, the Khazars had protected the plains of Europe from the Mahommcdans, and made the Caucasus the limit of their conquests.

    While yet in their pagan state, the Khazars were exposed at one and the same time to the influences of three religions: Mohammedanism, which pursued its triumphant march from the Arabic Caliphate; Christianity, which was spreading in Byzantium, and Judaism, which, headed by the Exilarchs and Gaons of Babylonia, was centered in the Caliphate, while its ramifications spread all over the Empire of Byzantium and its colonies on the Black Sea. The Arabs and the Byzantines succeeded in converting several groups of the Khazar population to Islam and Christianity, but the lion's share fell to Judaism, for it managed to get hold of the royal dynasty and the ruling classes. The conversion of the Khazars to Judaism, which took place about 740, is described circumstantially in the traditions preserved among the Jews and in the accounts of the medieval Arabic travelers. The King, or Khagan, of the Khazars, by the name of Bulan, arranged a disputation between the advocates of the three religions, to be held in his presence. Both the Mohammedan and the Christian acknowledge the superiority of Judaism to the religion of their antagonist, so Bulan adopted the Jewish religion, and many of the Khazar nobles followed his example.

    In the ninth and tenth centuries, the kingdom of the Khazars, governed by rulers professing the Jewish faith, attained to outward power and inner prosperity. The accounts of the Arabic writers of that period throw an interesting light on the inner life of the Khazars, which was marked by religious tolerance. The king of the Khazars and the governing classes professed the Jewish religion. Among the lower classes the three monotheistic religions were all represented, and in addition a considerable number of pagans still survived. In spite of the fact that royalty and nobility professed Judaism, the principle of religious equality was never violated.

    In the interval between the decline of the Mahommedan rmpîre and the rise of Russia the Khazars reached the zenith of their power. The merchants of Byzantium, Armenia and Bagdad met in the markets of Itil (whither since the raids of the Mahommcdans the capital had been transferred from Scmendcr), and traded for the wax, furs, leather and honey that came down the Volga. So important was this traffic held at Constantinople that, when the portage to the Don was endangered by the irruption of a fresh horde of Turks (the Petchenegs), the emperor Theophilus himself despatched the materials and the workmen to build for the Khazars a fortress impregnable to their forays (834). Famous as the one stone structure ¡s in that stoneless region, the post became known far and wide amongst the hordes of the steppe as Sar-kel or the White Abode. Merchants from every nation found protection and good faith in the Khazar cities. The Jews, expelled from Constantinople, sought a home amongst them, developed the Khazar trade, and contended with Mahommcdans and Christians for t he theological allegiance of the Pagan people. The dynasty accepted Judaism (c. 740), but there was equal tolerance for all. and each man was held amenable to the authorized code and to the official judges of his own faith.

    At the Byzantine court the khakan was held in high honor. The emperor Justinian Rhinotmetus took refuge with him during his exile and married his daughter (702). Justinian's rival Vardanes in turn sought an asylum in Khazaria, and in Leo IV. Í775) the grandson of a Khazar sovereign ascended the Byzantine throne. Khazar troops were amongst the bodyguard of the imperial court; they fought for Leo VI. against Simeon of Bulgaria ; and the khakan was honoured in diplomatic intercourse with the seal of three solidi, which marked him as a potentate of the first rank, above even the pope and the Carolingian monarch.

    It was, however, from a power that Constantine did not consider that the overthrow of the Khazars came. The arrival of the Varangians amidst the scattered Slavs (862) had united them into a nation. The advance of the Petchenege from the East gave the Russians their opportunity. Before the onset of those fierce invaders the precarious suzerainty of the khakan broke up. By calling in the Uzes, the Khazars did indeed dislodge the Petchcnegs from the position they had seized yi the heart ofthe kingdom between the Volga and the Don, but only to drive them inwards to the Dnieper. The Hungarians, severed from theirkindredand theirruters. migrated to the Carpathians, whilst Oleg. the Russ prince of Kiev, passed through the Slav tribes of the Dnieper basin with the cry "Pay nothing to the Khazars" (884).

    The kingdom dwindled rapidly to its ancient limits between the Caucasus, the Volga and the Don, while the Russian traders of Novgorod and Kiev supplanted the Khazars as the carriers between Constantinople and the North. When Ibn Fadian visited Khazaria forty years later, Itil was even yet a great city, with baths and market-places and thirty mosques, but there was no domestic product nor manufacture; the kingdom depended solely upon the now precarious transit dues, and administration was in the hands of a major domus also called khakan.

    Slavonian tribes, who had been united under the leadership of Bussian princes, not only threw off the yoke of the Khazars, whose vassals they were, but also succeeded in invading and finally destroying their center at the mouth of the Volga. At the assault of Swiatoslav of Kiev the rotten fabric crumbled into dust. His troops were equally at home on land and water. Sarkel, Itil and Scmender surrendered to him (965-969). He pushed his conquests to the Caucasus, established Russian colonies upon the Sea of Azov, devastated the Khazar territories on the Ityl, and, penetrating to the heart of the country, dislodged the Khazars from the Caspian region.

    The Khazars withdrew to their possessions on the Black Sea, and established themselves in particular on the Crimean Peninsula, which for a long time retained the name of Khazaria. The principality of Tmutarakan, founded by his grandson Mstislav (988), replaced the kingdom of Khazaria, the last trace of which was extinguished by a joint expedition of Russians and Byzantines (1016). A remnant of the nation took refuge in an island of the Caspian (Siahcouye); others retired to the Caucasus; part emigrated to the district of Kasakhi in Georgia, and appear for the first time joining with Georgia in her successful effort to throw off the yoke of the Seljuk Turks (1089).

    The greatly reduced Khazar kingdom in Tauris, the survival of a mighty empire, was able to hold its own for nearly half a century, until in the eleventh century it fell a prey to the Russians and Byzantines (1016). The last of the khakans, George, Tzula, was taken prisoner. But the name is thought to survive in Kadzaria, the Georgian title for Mingrclia, and in Kadzaro, the Turkish word for the Lazis. Till the 13th century the Crimea was known to European travellers as Gazaria; the "ramparts of the Khazars" are still distinguished in the Ukraine; and the record of their dominion survives in the names of Kazarck, Kazaritshi, Kazarinovod, Kozar-owka, Kuzari, and perhaps in Kazan.

    The relatives of the last khagan fled, according to tradition, to their coreligionists in Spain. The Khazar nation was scattered, and was subsequently lost among the other nations. By one account the remnants of the Khazars in the Crimea who professed Judaism were merged with the native Jews, consisting partly of Eabbanites and partly of Karaites. In this way the ancient Jewish settlements on the Crimean Peninsula suddenly received a large increase. At the same time the influx of Jewish immigrants, who, together with the Greeks, moved from Byzantium towards the northern shores of the Black Sea, continued as theretofore, the greater part of these immigrants consisting of Karaites, who were found in large numbers in the Byzantine Empire.

    The ruins of a lost Jewish city that vanished 700 years ago have been found, it has been claimed.

    By Ben Leach 10:10AM BST 24 Sep 2008 The city, Itil, was the capital of the Khazars, a powerful nation that adopted Judaism as its official religion more than 1,000 years ago, only to disappear, leaving little trace of its culture.

    It was mentioned in medieval travellers' accounts but Soviet dictator Josef Stalin banned any research into the city and the Khazars, fearing it would prove Russia was descended from a Jewish state.

    The city made a fortune from trade but its prosperity declined and in the 14th century it was flooded by the Caspian Sea.

    Now a nine-year dig has unearthed the city including the foundations of a fortress, according to archeologists at Russia's Astrakhan State University.

    One of the archeologists, Dmitry Vasilyev, said: "This is a hugely important discovery. We can now shed light on one of the most intriguing mysteries of that period - how the Khazars actually lived.

    "We know very little about the Khazars - about their traditions, their funerary rites, their culture."

    At their height, the Khazars, a semi-nomadic Turkic people, controlled much of what is now southern Russia, western Kazakhstan, eastern Ukraine, Azerbaijan and large parts of Russia's North Caucasus region.

    The capital is referred to as Itil in Arab chronicles but Vasilyev said the word may actually have been used to refer to the Volga River on which the city was founded or to the surrounding river delta region.

    Itil was said to be a multi-ethnic place with houses of worship and judges for Christians, Jews, Muslims and pagans. Its remains have until now never been identified.

    Yevgeny Satanovsky, director of the Middle Eastern Institute in Moscow, said he believes the Khazar elite chose Judaism out of political expediency – to remain independent of neighboring Muslim and Christian states. "They embraced Judaism because they wanted to remain neutral, like Switzerland these days," he said.

    The study of the Khazar empire was discouraged in the Soviet Union. Stalin detested the idea that a Jewish empire had come before Russia's own. He ordered references to Khazar history removed from textbooks because they "disproved his theory of Russian statehood," Mr Satanovsky added.

    Archaeologists have been excavating in the area for the past nine years but have only now collected enough material evidence to back their thesis, including the remains of an ancient brick fortress.

    "Within the fortress, we have found huts similar to yurts, which are characteristics of Khazar cities.... The fortress had a triangular shape and was made with bricks. It's another argument that this was no ordinary city."

    Around 10 university archaeologists and some 50 students took part in excavations in the region this summer, which are partly financed by the Jewish University in Moscow and the Russian Jewish Congress.
    (c) 2013-2014, Iona Miller, All Rights Reserved, Sangreality Trust; GenIsis Genealogy

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