The most ancient history of Bulgars – 1

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Chapter 7. Beginning of the Almysh reign (895 – 922 AD)

Almysh, before being raised to the throne, prayed in Marduan mosque,by the custom set by Djilki, and then rode into the capital and was raised to the throne by the son of Alabuga Djulut, Bel-Ümart, Askal and Abdallah, the son of Michael Bashtu…

Becoming the Kan of Bulgar, Djafar immediately sent Abdallah to Salar, and he returned with the daughter of Khan, Nushabi and with the Khan promises of friendship. Almysh decided to celebrate the wedding in the city of Mardjan, Nur-Suvar. The Mardjan initially was apprehensive about his brother, and initially refused to recognize him as his Kan, but the arrival of Djafar with the bride thawed the ice of mistrust in his heart…

From Nushabi Almysh had two sons, Yalkau and Mal, and a daughter Zuhra…

That year the Michael carried out a census of the population in the Bulgar and found out that in the country are 190 thousand persons speaking in the Kirghiz and Badjanak dialects of the Sabans, 180 thousand speaking in Arian, 170 thousand speaking in Modjar or Bashkort, and 10 thousand speaking in Hons’ dialects, Burdjan and Serbiy. All speaking in Saban and Burdjan dialects made the quantity of Bulgars… In 14 years a new census revealed already 320 thousand Bulgars…

The only thing that was upsetting to the Kan was the situation in the Kara-Bulgar. Arbat, having learned about the Badjanak intrusion, turned back, but the Hins had already occupied the Saklanian steppe between Sula and Shir and did not let him to the Kara-Bulgar. Then Arbat with his army seized the Duloba or Avaria, where the Bashkorts, under the oppression of Farangs met him as a liberator and proclaimed him the Kan.

The soldiers of Arbat, who had already thoroughly forgotten or at never know the Modjarian language, married the Avarian Bashkorts, and their children began again speaking in the Modjarian language…

The Bek Arslan, aspiring to the unlimited the power, declared, that it is the Khakan, instead of himself, who is secretly serving the Rum and left the Kara-Bulgar without any soldiers before the invasion of the Badjinaks. The Khazars-pagans, indignant of him, with the support of Burdjans and Kaubuys, crushed Iskhak’s encampment and killed Aksak-Timer together with his Jewish mentors.

At the same time, the Bek had enough brains to not take the Khakan’s throne, and to rise to it, for the calm of the close to the Kalgi clan and influential Kumanian biys, the Ishak’s son Bakchuar. He was declared to be a ruler not in accordance with the Türkic customs and, right after it, Arslan reliably hid him from the extraneous eyes, so nobody did not even know, what was the faith of the new Khakan.

This helped the Bek to present himself a friend toward the Moslems, or Christians, or pagans or Jews, depending on the circumstances and made his position and his possession steadier. With the help of the Rumian gold, he managed to bend Badjinaks to the peace with Khazaria, due to what a part of the Kara-Bulgars could return to the Kara-Bulgar and proclaim as the Baltavar the protege of Arslan, biy Ryshtau…

At the same time, the mullah Michael also laboured to strengthen Bulgar, but with entirely other means. He tirelessly spread the light of the true faith in the most remote corners of the state and was organizing schools at the mosques. During the Djilki time he founded 42 mektebs, and later he founded 180 more.

In the last years of his life, he was also engaged in the organization of the Bulgarian monetary court and in the search of the deposits of iron, gold, silver, copper, coal and jewels in the Ural. Abdallah writes, that Michael not once sailed in Chulman and its tributary river Djoz-Uba (“Hundred Rocks”), and even reached the sources of the Djaik and Agidel. In 900 AD Michael Bashtu, who called himself in his dastan ”Shamsi Bashtu”, went on his last trip to the Ural, and during a night storm drowned in Agidel near Yar Chally.

The local pagans under an order of their leader pulled the body of Michael from the water and hanged him up on a high tree, then the biy addressed him with such words: “Oh, the great shaman Bashtu Tintyau! We are hanging you up on a tree so that you reach faster the heavenly Kan Tangra and reincarnate again in our land!”

Suddenly the body of the mullah shuddered, and the pagans heard his voice: ”I go to the court of Tangra and if you will live piously and in friendship, I shall be your intercessor before Him and I shall come back to the land as blessings of the Almighty to those believing in him. But if you will live unjustly and vainly be enemies and kill each other, I shall come to you again as a heavy penalty by Tangra. Then the black clouds will cover the sky also hide the sun, the thunder will reverberate, and lightning will sparkle, the land will shudder and crack, the fields will dry up and become covered with dust, the rivers will mire and turn into bogs, and there will be no joy to you in this and no pardons in the next world!”

The pagans shocked by this vision immediately accepted Islam, and the clan Tamta was called in the memory of it Tintyau…

Sent on a search of Michael the son Bel-Ümart Byrak removed the body of the mullah from the tree and brought it to Bolgar, and Abdallah buried his father in the established by him khanaka Deber on the river Deber-su. This khanaka was supported by six villages, that’s why this district received the name “Altysh”. Abdallah assumed functions of the father, and he also was tireless in the field of state affairs…

From Michael remained the book ”Shan kyzy dastany”, presented to Bath – Ugyr by him at the time of raising to a throne. I read it. In it, the words of the old Bulgar dastan about the feats of the three berated elbirs are intertwined with the compositions of Michael himself. Seid Ahmed Bakir found it obscene and forbade it.

However, my father kept a copy of the mullah’s book, a gift of Bek Guzy. Mullah Hasan ibn Iskhak, known for his book ”Collection of surprising stories – a delight for the reader and the listener”, took one of the few copies of the dastan to Khorysdan. From Khorysdan he went to Kashan, where he saw the mullah Mahmud and sang and retold to him the Michael dastan … And it was written in a simple language, that’s why seid Ahmed called Michael “half-educated” person…

The son of Hasan, Sheikh-Ar, left with his uncle Hadji-Ar for education, also served after his father in the Khorysdan “Kyr-Kuba” mosque founded by Michael. In the Batavyl was born his son Hudja, with whom he, when his son was seven years old, went by his father’s way and reached Khorasan. There his son became a famous tabib and received a nickname Khyzyr. When the seid Yakub made a trip to Khorasan, he specially visited him.

Together with him, Khyzyr Hudja sent to Bulgar his son Mamli-Ar, whom Yakub began to reckon as his son… It is interesting, that this kadi did not mention at all the Michael dastan in his work ”History of Bulgar” and rationalized it so: ”I did not see with my eyes a copy of this dastan , and I can not believe the verbal stories”. Meanwhile, at least one script was brought by a Bandja merchant Kalgan from Khorysdan.

He lived 90 years and died in 1120. When he became 85 years old he was asked: ”How did you manage to live to this respectable age?” Kalgan answered: ”Because I never sat in one place”.

Really, he spent all his life on the road, on the trips for the trading affairs to Khorysdan, Karadjar, Bashtu, Saklan, Djalda, Djurash, Azerbaijan… It was told that only time for all his life he did not set out in a due time, because of the illness of his favourite grandson Asan, and this delay was fateful for him.

At that time he was in his home in Bolgar and decided to remain for one more day near the child. As Asan was short of breath, he took him to the garden. The next morning the external baliks of Bolgar were suddenly attacked by the soldiers of Djurgi, and the old man went towards them. He was not afraid of Uruses because he traded with them and expected to prevent bloodshed.

However it was not the Anchian Uruses, but the Balynian and Galidjians, and they without any pity hacked Kalgan to pieces… Friends of the old man, the Anchian merchants loved him for kindness and honesty, and on their own collected donations and indemnified his son Burhanu from the rogue attack of the Balynian. In his turn, the grandson Asan, Barys, donated a lot for the benefit of the Anchian masters and merchants incidentally hurt of the vain attack of Bek Insan on Ryam-Ufa… Asan as though in the memory of his healing, became a known tabib.

The clan of Kalgan, Buharay, traded in honey, wax, furs and slaves. For the merchant Appak, the son of the pious master Abu-Bakr, Kalgan was buying from Kypchaks and Uruses the juvenile captive girls, and he grew them in very good conditions and gave them a fine education, and then sold the charming pupils for huge money to rich clients in the Islamic countries. All girls were called with the owner’s name Appak…

The Buharays were in medicine as a family tradition. So, the son of Balus Subash was a well-known tabib and earned a nickname Otchy though at the same time he was the richest merchant who gave money for the construction of the Bulyar.

In 925 AD right in the citadel of that city, he built a hospital with a drugstore, this is why one gate and the passage from them to the citadel received the name “Otchy”…
In Bashtu he undertook to cure the fatally sick Barys, the son of Ugyr Lachyni, who before was unsuccessfully treated by the Balynian and Rumian doctors.

When the mother of Barys, the Anatyshian Uldjai, asked him why he was doing it, Subash answered: ”My father grew very rich from the sale of the Rumian things which he bought from Ugyr, and felt that he was obliged to him. Therefore I want to help his son”.
– ”What will be your conditions?” – asked bika with interest.

-” If I cure Barys, he should not accept Christianity”, said Otchy-Subash. He cured Barys and gave him a new name Audan…, and he did not accept Christianity… Reykhan received a fame, besides the other, for the ” Book of thousand grasses” which was a guide for many pharmacists of the Bulgar…

And the son of Asan Buharay, Teklimen, cured of a heavy illness the Bashtu Bek Bat-Aslap, the father of the Khin-Kubar, and for that… he gave a book of the Michael dastan to Appak, and in turn, his son Dayr presented it to the Bek Guz for the return of his property stolen by the burlak (barge hauler – Translator’s Note) Vasyl…

The first ancestor of the Appak house was a master Masud who came to Bolgar from Bagdad together with Abdallah. His son was Bashir, his son was Musa, his son was Atrak, his son was Bashir, married to the daughter of Mohammed Baryn… As is known, the ancestor of Baryns was biy Alabuga. His son was Djulut, his son was Tatra Mohammed, his son was Djulut, his son was Mohammed, the father of Bashir wife. Bashir son was Djulut, his son was Al-Hamad, his son was Ahmed, his son was Abu-Bakr, his son was Appak, his son was Dayr, his son was Tetesh…

Appak justified his trade by the need in which the Masuds fell after the exile from Bulyar by Anbal of Abu-Bakr, and also that he was rescuing the unfortunate slave girls from perishing and poverty. Dayr gave one of them to the Bek of Djurash, and he gave her to the master Nizami from the Azerbaijani Khondjak, founded, as the Gurdjian, by the Hons in service to Persians. This Appak was famous for the wonderful performance of the ”Shan kyzy dastany”, and, certainly, it was she who inspired her husband on retelling the story of the foundation of the Bolgar in his dastan about Iskander…

Nizami was from the clan Gabas, one of its branches that grew poor. The father of the poet tried to separate from his rich relatives and begin an independent jeweller business in Khondjak, but only worsened the position of his family. Nizami tried to improve the business, fought for a long time, but did not succeed in it, and instead gained great glory in another field, in poetry.

Only his son from Appak, Mohammed, succeeded in trading in silk, carpets and ornaments and became respectful in own clan. When he was coming to Bulgar he always visited with us and stayed in Akbikül where the was the caravanserai. It was Mohammed who brought us the manuscript of the dastan of his father. He had a son Sadretdin who also visited with me…

And as the best performer of the Michael dastan was considered Bek Elaur from the Kaubuyian clan Ryshtau. He rode from Gabdulla Chelbir to Tabyl-Katau to install Lachyn Hisami to the Gurdjian throne and was present at his wedding with the local bika Samar.

When the Gurdjian Beks began to sing their songs, Elaur could not hold back and in one breath sang the Michael dastan, making a shock in the souls of the present, And it should be said that only occasionally he helped his extraordinary beautiful voice by accompanying with a dombra, with which he never parted.

And one of present Beks, Nurshad, the son of Visir Ablas from the Gurdjian Khondjak, in admiration be-fraternized with Elaur. Elaur took the name of Nurshad, and Nurshad took the name of his clan Ryshtau and began to be called “Ryshtauly”. Later Nurshad wrote his dastan where he included much from the Michael dastan …

And Almysh took the death of Michael very hard, because it was he who convinced Bat-Ugyr to concede the power to Djafar peacefully and to open the gate of Bolgar, and he also was his mentor. It was Shamsi Bashtu who pointed to the Kan that his Kanate will be so strong as would be his trade. And Djafar applied all his strengths to get in his hands… the Chulman tribes, rich with expensive northern goods, to destroy Khazaria, to capture the trade roads to all countries.

Special attention he paid to the connections with the Bashtu. The Khazars from the city Murdas tried to hinder it, but Mardan soon seized the city, and Arslan, though reluctantly, left in peace the Khorysdan road from the Bolgar to the Bashtu. But he did not cease to make efforts to harm the Bulgar. So, in 911 AD the son of As-Khalib, a Khud loyal to the Khazars, captured Bashtu and released the son of Lachyn, Ugyr, who was detained under guards.

Salahbi, loyal to the Bulgar, barely escaped to Djir, but the head of the Anchians Barys, the son of Djun, and Djakyn, the son of Arbat, were taken captives. Khud took Barys as a translator in his attack to Azerbaijan and Persia, and Djakyn was sold to the Khwaresmian merchants. During the fight, Barys managed to run away from the Galidjians, and then he wandered for some time. Fortunately, the people of the Baghdad Bek Nasyr, who wanted to go to Almysh still in the 906 AD, and in the 911 AD was already appointed the head of the Sultan Great Embassy to the Bulgar, picked him up, because their ruler ordered them to help any Bulgar out of his sympathy to the Bulgar. Then they also found Djakyn…

After the barbaric raid on the Islamic territories Khud returned to Itil, but here fell under a sudden attack of the Oguzes and fled up the Idel… The Türkmens, in the beginning, were the allies of the Khakanate, and in the 912 AD, at the request of Arslan and together with Khazars, they attacked Bulgar. They managed to take Sulcha, or “Seldjuk” in the Oguzian, and to capture there the children of Almysh from Nushabi, the son Mal and daughter Zuhra.

It came about by the fault of Gazan, the son of Djafar, sent with the army to the help of the city and intentionally held up on the way. However, when the Khan of Uzes Salar rushed to the Bolgar, leaving the captured under a guard of the Khazarian prince Jusuf, he was suddenly attacked by Byrak, the son of Bel-Ümart.

Byrak flew down from the forest with a battle cry ”Urma!” and soon turned the enemies into a haphazardly running herd. The Türkmens outpoured back to Sulcha and there learned that the city fell under an attack of the Arbugains of the Mardjan. The cowardly Jusuf at the first sounds of the fight fled with all booty to Itil, and his twin brother Alan decided to fight and was taken prisoner.

Salar also tried to change the course of the war, but was completely defeated. His son Alpamysh was taken prisoner by Byrak and Djulut and received in the memory of this a nickname “Seldjuk”. Salar himself with the other son Tahir went to Itil and demanded Arslan to return Zuhra (for since before her birth she was engaged to Tahir) and Mal (for exchange for Alpamysh).

The Bek refused, saying that it is necessary for him first to exchange the captured Alan, and then the Türkmens attacked Itil. Tahir managed to free Zuhra, but at a crossing of the Idel Khud killed him and captured the princess. Salar attacked the Galidjians, and those found for the better to go to Bashtu through Bolgar. The Khud Anatysh was very self-confident, for he had 5 thousand finely armed soldiers, but Salahbi with his ships already waited for him at Bolgar. Only one of Khud’s ship managed to break through to Djir, the others were either sunk or berthed to the shore…

In total on bank stepped about 3 thousand Sadimians and the Galidjian Balynian, and ours had quite a hassle before all the enemies were stomped over, and the neck of the wounded Khud caught in the arkan of Byrak. 

Almysh extradited Khud to the Bershudian Bek, and Byrak hanged him on a tree near his quarters on the river Dyau-Shir with the words: ”Serve, the most brave, to our God Tangra and let him revive you anew but in our land!”

It Ugyrconsidered a great honor, for the Bulgars burned the unworthy opponents on the Hons’ custom… Byrak gave his son the name Anatysh in memory of Khud. Then the remains of the Sadimian Bek fell under the tree and began to be revered by the Chirmyshes, who were making sacrifices near them before setting out for the war. And the tree and this place received the name ”Khud Imen”…

Finishing at the Bolgar with the enemy, Salahbi immediately with the help of the Anchians seized Bashtu and took in the Anatyshian wife, the widow of Khud. At that time she asked: ”Where was killed my husband?” Salahbi answered, that it was in the Bulgarian ravine, wherein the end was driven and shot with arrows the Khud’s troops. Really, with the Khud’s army was finished in the Bu-elga ravine, which was named still by Djilki in the memory about the Bashtu ravine Bu-chai behind which was located the zirat…

Arslan with the help of the Khinian Badjinaks knocked out Ryshtau from the Khorysdan and installed Ugyr in the head of the Kara-Bulgar Beylik. But Salahbi at once went to the Khorysdan with a part of the Kaubuys who joined him and kicked Ugyr out. Then the latter made a new encampment, east of Khorysdan , and called it Khursa.

The Badjanaks called it “Kura”… Also here, in the Kara-Bulgarian batavyl Khorysdan , Salahbi celebrated a wedding with Uldjai, for he decided that the name of the local river Süüm-Idel was suitable for this purpose and that with it he would pay his respects to the Kan Almysh. So ended this war, called “Iron-Bannered”, for it began with the plunder of the Bulgarian caravans by the Khazars on the road Khorys-yuly.

The forces of the Khazaria in this war were finally broken, and the sun of its might began to quickly droop to the sunset… But fate did not let Almysh use the fruits of the victory. The disgrace of his ulans who run in a fight with Khud, and also his attempt, contrary to the advice of Michael, to force the introduction of the true faith, have shaken the feeling of respect to him and the fear of him inside the state. Soon after the victories the biys, who have felt their strength and the vulnerability of the Kan, gathered in Bulyar and dictated to the Kan the following conditions:

– The Kan stops forcing the heathens to accept Islam;
– The Kan recognizes the hereditary rights of Byrak to the Bershud, Askal to the Esegel, Mardjan to the Арbuga and Djulut to the Nur-Suvar;
– The Kan takes from this possession a strictly defined tribute and has no other rights on anything there;
– The Kan has no right to appear in this possession without a permission of their biys, alone or with an army, and confers with them through his ambassadors to them;
– Biys of the four possession does not give the Kan soldiers other than on their free will and, in case of a joint with the Kan or their own undertaking, have contractual shares of the spoils with him…

Almysh, though gnashed his teeth, was nevertheless compelled to accept these conditions for the sake of saving the State from disintegration. Later he admitted to Abdallah: ”When I, after the death of Michael, managed for the first time to replace without a flurry the biys in the Beyliks and to convince the significant part of the Bershudian Chirmyshes to accept the Islam, then I thought that my Kan’s power consolidated once and for all. However later the inaccuracy of this opinion came to light, and it was necessary to recall again the wise precepts of Bashtu”.

Abdallah could not at the time to help the Kan with advice, for in no way he could pass from Khourasan to Bulgar. At last, he decided to sail across the Bulgarian sea to the mouth of Djaik and then reach the pastures of the Mardjanian Badjinaks. But Salar was already waiting in the delta, hoping to exchange Abdallah for Mal, and after that Mal for Alpamysh. The Türkmens seized the tebir and brought him to Itil to Arslan, who swore to promise to make the exchange required by Khan.

However, having received in his hands Abdallah, the Bek impudently refused to Salar. The fearlessness of Arslan was driven by him accepting the vassalage of the Samanids and expecting their help. And true, when angered Salar tried to assault Khazaria, his own pastures were attacked by the Khorasanian Türkmens. The Khan at once grew quieter, and when Almysh married Alpamysh to the daughter of an Arbuganian merchant Kutlug and released him from captivity without any conditions, he swore to give a life for the Kan of Bulgars.

And Kutlug was the founder of the Bellakian trading house “Illak” engaged in the processing and sale of the best leather footwear and other leather merchandise. The raw material for the manufacture he had to obtain in Badjanakian, Türkmenian, Bashkortian and Kypchak pastures, and consequently he willingly accepted the Kan’s offer to give his daughter for the son of the Oguz Khan…

Almysh also could not help Mal, his favourite son and successor, from the captivity. Hasan, passionately desiring to seize the throne, wrote to Mal in Itil that his father wanted to execute him for the defeat in Sulcha, and the prince was frightened by this false news and refused to leave Khazaria, to the pleasure of Arslan.

The Bek always tried to have at hand as many princes as possible for his cunning games. Abdallah asserts that he once summoned the young Alan and Jusuf and told them: ”you are twin brother, and I can replace you on the throne unnoticeably for everybody, and generally do with you whatever I like. So serve me loyally, or at the best, you may decay alive in zindan”.

It is said that the Bek also thought about installing Mal to the Khazarian throne, but, obviously, the death or some other circumstances prevented him from carrying it out…

The main problem of Arslan after the “Iron-Bannered” war was ransoming Alan, whom the Bek did not want to exchange for the unreliable and treacherous Jusuf. In the 918 AD, when the position of Almysh became absolutely bad, the Kan exchanged Alan for the tebir Abdallah, whose advice he needed.

The son of Michael in a few months improved the situation. He persuaded Djafar to give for Askal the younger daughter of Gülbi and to transfer Nur-Suvar to his son Michael, who was a favourite of Mardjan. Djulut, transferred with his people to Bolgar, received a nickname “Tursuz” and established there a new balik Baryndjar. The tebir coaxed this respected Baryn by giving him his daughter to marry his son Tatru.

Blessed by Abdallah, they lived very happily, pleasing the parents, and called their son Michael in honour of the tebir father. With all this Shamsi Teberzi softened the position of the biys toward the Kan and forced to become obedient to the father one more and the most dangerous stubborn character, Gazan Hasan. This prince was in close contact with Samanid (Samani) and in the struggle for the throne relied on their help.

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