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HomeDatelinesThe most ancient history of Bulgars – 2

The most ancient history of Bulgars – 2

Chapter 12. About the death of Kan Almysh Djafar and reign of his sons (925-943AD)

Larceny, however, was also happening on the other roads, but especially frequently on the Artan-yuly or Gerebe-yul, from the Bulgar to Artan through Djir and Galidj… In 925 AD Ugyr Lachyni himself went for the robbery, and took Djir with a sudden attack. This robbery was so scandalous that Almysh personally, despite the winter cold, went to the Djir to restore order there. With the approach of the Kan, Ugyr fled, leaving a strong force in the city. The governor of Djir, Salman, a son of Karadjar, atoning for his fault of carelessness or, better, trustfulness, did not burden the Djafar djuras of, and recovered Djir himself.

The remains of the garrison escaped from the fortress to the mountain located near the city and decided to fight. However, we did not trouble ourselves with a senseless assault and only surrounded the mountain. The next day they quietly rose to the top and found there the bodies of the frozen Balyns and Galidjians…

On the return way through a dense forest, a huge bear suddenly barged at the Kan, and inflicted to Djafar deep wounds before the guards killed it. Despite the efforts of tabib, Almysh severely bled and died. He was buried in Bulgar in the balik Gülistan, which he himself named in the memory of his favourite daughter…

The ulans raised to the throne Gazan, who was also called Hasan and Kazan (925-930). The reign of this Kan was, as asserted Mohammed-Gali in his ”Hon Kitaby”, ”a real disaster for the country”. Yakub called Gazan holy, though, but more likely that was out of pity for him.

First of all, Gazan began distributing the lands of Serbiy’s and Ar’s Kara-Chirmyshes into a hereditary possession to his djuras. These igenchies began to be called kurmyshes, and their feudatories, in the memory of Gazan, began to be called kazanchies or ulans. When the demands of the ulans grew, the Kan began to distribute to them the Kara-Chirmysh and Chirmysh auls in the Echke Bulgar or Bulyar Yorty, which population still remained heathen (non-Moslem – Translator’s Note).

And he did it with a blessing of Seid Ahmed Bakir (son of Ahmed ibn Fadlan? – Translator’s Note), who became a first adviser and friend of Gazan. Yakub-kazy asserted that Ahmed pedigree was from the house of Barmaki, and that in the 737 AD the Burdjans accepted Islam from the hands of Hammad Barmaki, who was heading a Sultan embassy to the Khazar Khakan (Bardjil – Translator’s Note). A son of Hammad was Yakhiay, his sons were Djafar and Fadlan. Djafar was a Visier of the Sultan Harun ar-Rashid (763-809; the dates are conflicting – Translator’s Note), but he was slandered by envious people and executed.

After his death, his brother Fadlan became an instructor and tutor of the Djafar’s offsprings, and thus the father of Seid Bakir received his name. And the son of Djafar was Hammad, his son was Rashid, his son was Abbas, the father of Fadlan and grandfather of seid Ahmed.

With their cruelty, Gazan and Bakir strongly agitated people. Many igenchies then fled to Bellak. Kan wanted to have them returned, but Balus firmly stated a determination to follow the law against extradition of the Bellakians to anybody, and Gazan pulled back. True, at first he tried to displace the Emir of with the help of the Mardanian biys harmed by the immigrants, but Balus called Badjanaks to his aid, and eventually quenched indignation with a transfer to the biys of a part of the subash tax from the newcomer igenchies. Some biys, however, fled to Gazan, and the Kan satisfied the petitioners with a transfer to Nur-Suvar from Mardan of the Simbirsk district. Balus, in his turn, had to swallow that…

The discontent of the remaining in the Echke Bulgar igenchies grew into a mutiny by Byrak and his son Bel-Subash or Bul. Being a katavyl of the Shepshe, Byrak could not tolerate the persecutions of his former Chirmyshes and together with his son revolted in the summer of the 925 AD. Their request was a return to the laws of Almysh and a removal of Bakir. Byrak himself fortified in Shepshe, and Bel in the Bulyar menzel whose defender he was. However, the Nur-Suvar Ulugbek Askal and the son of Djulut Tatra-Ahmed remained loyal to Gazan.

The last was married to the daughter of tebir Abdallah, but could not hold back from the loyal pressure of the Tamtai biys to whom the Kan allowed collection from the run-away igenchis the Kara-Chirmysh tax. Djakyn, also the son-in-law of the tebir, avoided the temptation to join Byrak completely by an accident: the fleet of Khum which came from Djir managed to occupy, luckily, the founded by him and subjected to him Tukhchi.

It was rumoured that the Kan charged the salchibashy to finish off in any case with the dangerous pretender to the throne, but Khum spared Djakyn as the relative of Abdallah. The matter was that the Djirian biy was full of gratitude to the tebir who saved him, after the raid of Ugyr to Djir, from the anger of Almysh.

Squeezed from two sides by the Nur-Suvarian kazanchis and Tamtain biys, the insurgents surrendered without a fight, not counting a small skirmish at Bulyar. The initiator of this clash was Bel-Subash. His mother was the daughter of Bat-Ugyr Khadicha, from whom he inherited the bogatyr power of Mumin. Bat-Ugyr was not tall, but wide in the shoulders and steel bodied, and precisely the same was Bul. But from the good-natured and constrained Mumin, Bel Subash differed by the unbelievable and almost unstoppable obstinacy and impatience.

His father dreamed that he engaged in the trade or craft, but Bul certainly did not have the patience to be engaged in this most glorious but, at the same time, formidable occupation, and he preferred the service. The inclination to the service was also influenced by his mother, who loved military games and was fearlessly jumping into the bloody duels during the military gatherings. But the rumour about her heavy spear quickly spread all over the country, and those willing to compete with her force and military art were few. It was rumoured that Mumin dreamed all his life of a son, but Allah did not grant one to him, and his dreams came true in his daughter Khadicha, and made her in character similar to men. Byrak won her heart only by overcoming her in a fight.

Bel-Subash refused to surrender to Askal and demanded that his surrender was accepted by Tatra-Mohammed. Unfortunately, Askal refused him even in such a minor matter and, and then Bul alone broke through the lines of the Nur-Suvars to the Shepshe, where he surrendered to Tatra.

Kan would have liked to finish off the obstinate biy, but he and his father were saved by the Tatra-Mohammed’s intercession. Nevertheless the biys, and their people were punished by a prescription to the construction of the Bulyar. In the same year, they built the citadel, but Gazan ordered them to build a new bulwark and to build up the space between it and the citadel.

The “punishment“ also reached Michael. Seeing in each plot the intrigues of Yalkau, the Kan sent him as an ambassador to the Bagdad to the Emir of all Moslems and suggested to make a hadj. Tebir Abdaldah reckoned for the better to leave together with Michael.

The 930 AD, as writes Mohammed-Gali, was a famine year, and by the winter the position of the people became completely intolerable. The tax collectors of the Kan ransacked everywhere and took away the last supplies from the people. The Chirmyshes were completely exhausted on the never-ending construction of the Bulyar, and even the always restrained Byrak reached the last degree of despair and exclaimed: “Oh, Tangra! If you will punish the Kan-torturer, you will show me that the Islamic faith is true, and I shall accept it!” Someone snitched about it, and the biy together with his son, afraid of the execution, fled to the Mountain Side. Here they heard the news about the rising against the Kan of Khadash or Khaddad, the son of Mardan, and immediately supported him by the annihilation of the bilemchis in the district…

Mardan was the son of Djilki and a Murdasian, and the mother of Khaddad was a Burtasian Bika Leklek, therefore he enjoyed the love and trust of our Burtasian Bulgars, and also of the Ulchian Murdases, called Batyshes. And this word came from the Sabanian word meaning “west“, for after the flight from Bulyar the Murdases resettled west of the Sabans…

Khaddad was very proud, and when after the death of Mardan the Bellakian biys asked him to head them, he refused and said: ”If I ever rise to a throne, that would only be the Kan’s throne”. In the autumn of the 930 AD, when the indignation of the people with the reign of Gazan reached a limit, he reckoned it as an opportunity to capture the throne and set out from his station Kubar or Khorysdan to Bolgar. However, he could not cross Idel at the Arbuga because of the actions of the Khum’s fleet and retreated to the Burtas. In the winter Gazan, in turn, moved against him, but Khaddad with his nearest djuras went to Batyshes.

Those, impressed with the magnificence of the clothes and the weapons of the Emir and his soldiers, elected Khaddad the Bek. In the memory of the flight, Khaddad called himself Kachkyn, and his clan began to be called Kachkyn or Khaddad. His capital, built by the sample of the Burtas cities, he called by the name of his last Bulgarian haven, the menzel Khorysdan. And Khaddad Kachkym himself, and his descendants were dangerous to the rulers of the Bulgar and the Rus as the princes of the house of Dulo and, consequently, the pretenders for both thrones, therefore both these and those did not spare any efforts for the complete annihilation of this Bulgarian dynasty.

The inaccessibility of the Batyshes was saving the house of Kachkyn for a long time. However in the 964 AD the Kan took away Barys from them, and in 1088 Kan’s Batyshes also took away from Batysh the Kisan area. At last, in 1112 Bulymer-Karak took Khorysdan by the storm in retaliation for the shelter given by the Kachkyns to the Kumans of Sharykhan, and left to the last descendant of Mardan, to Khaddad-Shamgun only a small part of the Kortdjak. Even earlier, in 1088, Akhad Mosha erected in this district, with a sanction of Batysh-Shamgun, the fortress Moskha, the Then the son of Khaddad-Shamgun, Kuchak, decided to flee to Bulgar and also gained a nickname Kachkyn.

Kuchak had sons Yakham and Aslan from a Saklanian Bika, and the daughter Banat from a Batyshian girl. The Balynian Bek Khan-Türyay married her and had from her son Kinzyaslap. Yakham remained in the service in the Balyn, and Aslan rode off to Bulgar to his uncle, the Saklanian biy Batyru. Here he organized the a business engaging in mining and processing of stone. Aslan chiselled the stone, like the wood, cutting the inscriptions, patterns, plants, animals and people, produced balbals, and they were like alive. When from the wounds, received in the Bolgar during the war of 1164, died the senior son of the Bek Khan-Türyay Kinzyaslap, Khan-Türyay begged Aslan to come and decorate with carved stone the memorial temple of Kinzyaslap near Balyn.

Aslan agreed unwillingly, and only because Kinzyaslap was his nephew… Then he went also to the Bulymer to decorate the main city temple with a stone carving. And his son Jaham, called so in honor of his uncle Jaham, decorated a temple in the Balynian small town Djurgi and in… And his son Abraham, a member of an order “El-Khum“, who was giving big sums for the support of this brotherhood, was killed by ulans near the Bulyar church “Nishan“… Afraid of desecration of the tomb of his father, As, the son of Abraham, allowed me to transfer his remains to Bulymer, from which Aslan once left to the Bulgar…

And the descendants of the two more sons of Khaddad Shamgun, Islam-Batysh and Baytugan lived in the Bulgar. They moved to Bulgar, not tolerating humiliation, and they’re engaged in trade in the northern lands of the State. In the beginning, Batysh traded east from Biysu, on the river Shegor. And that river, in the beginning, was called Ursu. But when he was going there, the other merchants, Shimalchies or Chulmans, began to grin jeeringly to express their doubt in the success of his enterprise.

Then offended Batysh made a bet with them, and in rebuke pledged to bring to Ursu not only himself but also a live cow. And in the Hons’ language, he called the cow “shegor”. Islam generally liked to include in his speech the Hons’ words, purposely demonstrating his erudition, which endeared mullahs for his distinguishing himself from the commoners who were drilling in the medresé the already unclear to the people Hons’ words.

And this custom of the Burdjan mullahs sanctioned seid Bakir, who had the conceit of the Persian grandees for all his life. Kan Yalkau tried to stop this, and has moved from the Bolgar all “Burdjanian” speaking mullahs, but they moved over to the Nur-Suvarand continued to teach in the old fashion. And between the people, the expression “ Burdjan tele” began to mean a distorted speech and therefore the Bulyarians called “ Burdjans“ the Tamtaian or Bashkortian Bulgars who were speaking with the Badjanak accent.

But, due to Islam, one Hons’ word, “shegor“, survived in the North, for he did take the live cow to the Ursu river, and from that time it began to be called Shegor-su… And his son Gusman traded beyond Biysu and therefore received a nickname Shegor, but later for him, it became too constricting there, and he, right after the annexation of the Tubdjak to the State, went further away. Then, in his first trip, Shegor reached the river Idjim (or Ishim) and called his son by its name. And this river Oymekian received the name of the well-known Seberian or Modjarian Khakan Idjim, the father of Bashkort by whose name the Sebers began to be called Bashkorts.

On this river was a favorite encampment of the Oymekian khans, and the legend goes also of Idjim himself, the Kyzyl Yar. The location here is really very picturesque, I saw it with my own eyes when I went to Bug in 1232. And I passed then through Dim, Agidel, which I crossed at the mouth of the Sterlé, Miyas, lake Chubar-kül, fortress Chilyabé, where the iron was mined and where was collected all mined in Urals that was sent to Bandja and Bulyar, through the river Tub which was also called Sob, Sobol and Tubyl…

In the second trip, Gusman even reached the Chulym-su or Chulymash, passing after the Ishim the Artysh by the Sürhot crossing, Oym-su or Yam, by which name began to be called the northern Kyrgyzes, the Baygul above the mouth of the Chulym. We began to call all this way as the Chulym or Chulmysh-yuly, and also the Hon-yuly and Khot-yuly. Idjim in honor of it called his son Chulmysh… And there the merchant found out that from the Chulym by the Baygul-su the Chulmyshes reach to the Seberian people Bayguls, and he went there.

On the way named the rivers and marked them on the birch bark. After the mouth of the Chulym-su Gusman passed the mouth of a small river which he called Katy. He called the following small river by the name of his uncle Bajtugan, the following by the name of the Tamtaian small river Dim, the following Bag for near it he saw a garden in a dream, the following he called Akhan.

Soon after that they met with Baytugan and the Ulugbek of the Bulgarian province Baygul, the Tarkhan Bulüm. Bulüm told him that he already agreed with the Ulugbek Kurgan of the Bulgarian province Tubdjak about the common border of both provinces. It passed from the river Baytugan to the place on the Tubyl between the mouth of the Ishim and the river Tamyan-su, and further it went to the upper flow of the river Asad, called so in memory of the merchant Asad who died here during the reign of Yalkau.

And the descendants of Asad, who even had accompanied Michael on his trips to the East, owned the mining and transportation of the most of the metals and jewels prodiced in Urals. The Asads owned houses in Bulyar, Bolgar and Nur-Suvar, but their main house was menzel Sterlé at the mouth of this river. From here went the roads in all directions.

And the border between the Bulgarian provinces of Ur and Baygul went by the Sobol or Baygul, and then, not reaching the mouth of the Tubyl, also went to the upper flow of the Asad. The eastern border of the Baygul encircled the lower reaches of the river Eni-su and the encampments of the peoples Toyma and Düdi, from here went to the river to which Taz-Umar, the son of Baytugan, gave the moniker Taz, and in which mouth he founded the fortress Menkhaz, from its upper flow it went to the lower reaches of the Katy-su, from them to the Baygul-su.

The place of the meeting was very convenient, and Baytugan instructed to erect a fortress here. As to the meeting place came 50 people of Baytugan and as many of Gusman, it was decided to be called Sürhot (“Hundred Huns”)… And all the road from the Bolgar to Chulym-su takes about three months, but it, though we name it jokingly “Eber-Djeber“, is not so bad, as may seem, for the Oymekian Kyrgyzes, probably, are the most hospitable people in the world, and the stays in their encampments are quite pleasant.

And all way, from the Bolgar to Chulym-su, from the Chulym-su to Sürhot and from the Sürhot to the Bolgar is called a “Far road“.. If they wanted to drive from Sürhot to Bolgar, they would set off from that fortress by Baygul-su to the mouth of the river Honta. The way from it was protected by Sebers-Honchis, and therefore it was so called – Honta. From Honta they went to the menzel Bulym located at the confluence of rivers Bulym and Taud, from there to the menzel Ladj-su at the mouth of river Ladj-Uba.

On that river once got lost a merchant Ladj-bay, a father of a trader Asad, and he almost went by it to the river Kuk-Suzbay, instead of going by the river Suzbay. And both rivers received the names of Kush father, a first biy of Honchies, who brought the Hon’s areas Bershud and Ur under control of the Bulgarian Kan Djilki. The Hon’s guides misunderstood Ladj and did not take him to the correct Suzbay. In memory of that incident the Honchis biy Mal named the river after Ladj.

And from the menzel Ladj they went to the menzel Suzbay on the river Suzbay, from it to the menzel Tura on the river Tura, from it to the menzel Tagyl on the river Tagyl, founded by Mal’s son biy Tagay. From Tagyl they went to Chilbya-su where was menzel Kungur, which in the Hons’ language meant ”Lodging Court”. And from there they finally went to Bolgar by Chulman and Agidel.

From Sürhot they also went to the Mankhaz, and from there to the river Eni-su where live peoples Düdi and Toyma. And the biys of the Düdi and Toyma Kasan and Kulyan visited Gabdulla Chelbir and even fought against Syp-Bulat. They told that behind their land there is a huge forest territory Dingez. It received this name because behind it there is a boundless sea on which banks live the kin tribesmen of the Hons, the Imens. The Biys said that for them to go to this sea is closer than to the Bolgar, but that way is incredibly difficult and to go that way risk only a few and seldom.

Besides that, their people do not aspire to go there because Imens after the departure of the Hons were enslaved by the severe people Menkul and therefore are in the pettiest condition. This tribe earlier worshipped a kind multi-armed deity “Menkul“, and therefore was pious and received its name. But then they accepted Christianity and became spiteful. And they also said that it was a big luck that they submit to the Bulgar or, in their language, Var, for the Menkuls are afraid of the Bulgars and consequently do not cross the Dingez forest…

And when I read and heard all this, alongside with the stories about the fights for the throne, I was always amazed by how a small skirmish in Echke-Bulgar has reflected on the condition of all of the our enormous State from the Kumyk to the Düdi. And in the winter of the 930 AD the destiny of the Kaganate was decided in a minuscule collision of a handful of the subashes and kazanchis in the district of Ulem where came Gazan from the Burtas to punish Byrak and his son. The seizures and violence of the Khan’s ulans agitated all against them without any exceptions. The last straw was the permission by the Kan to the majority of his ulans to ravage the rebellious district.

It was heedless and caused a general indignation. Learning that Gazan with a few djuras settled down in an aul nearby of the insurgents’ camp, Bul left his sanctuary and attacked the Kan at night. Visiting that The insurgents were extraordinary loyal to their leader because he declared them to be subashes. They ruthlessly hacked down the ulans, taken by surprise, and decapitated Gazan himself before Bel could stop them. From that time this aul, and then also the city began to be called Shongyt…

Receiving news about it, Michael, who was already in the Bandja, went to the Bolgar and was immediately raised to the throne. Abdallah took the post of the Vizier, and suggested to the Kan to return to the legislation of Almysh and to avoid collisions with the Bulgars-igenchies. Yalkau took this advice but also preferred to not quarrel with the kazanchis. Under his order all ingichis of the Inner Bulgaria were proclaimed the subashes, from whom some had to pay taxes to the state, and others for the support of the 20 thousand djuras of the three Bulyar provinces.

With that, the occupied by the Serbiy and Arian heathen ingichis in the Nur-Suvarian and Bulgarian lands on the Mountain Side were transferred to the kazanchis in a hereditary possession. Only some parts of the Mountain Bulgaria, seized by the Bulgarian ingichis, were proclaimed the subashes’ and Chirmysh’s areas. To the indignant kazanchis of the Echke Bulgar the Kan announced that in case of their resistance to the reform he would leave them one to one with ingichis, and they had to subordinate. Yalkau forgave Bul and appointed him a katavyl of the Bulyar fortress, which he built together with his father, as Byrak soon died after accepting Islam and a name Amir.

Out of respect for the father Bel-Subash also accepted Islam and a name Nuretdin. He quickly finished the task and in the old age mislead his children with the story about the origin of the name “Bulyar“ from his name… So wrote Mohammed-Gali from the words of the Bek Gazan, a descendant of Bul…

Abdallah, pleased with the reforms, devoted to the Kan his dastan “Kisekbash“ which began to be also called ”Kisekbash Kitaby”. And Bakir, as wrote the tebir, treated Michael with undisguised animosity and consequently from everywhere to the seid flowed kazanchis with complaints. In spite of the fact that the Kan ordered all Bulgars-alpars (knights) to cut off their hairbraides in punishment for the death of Gazan and severely suppressed the Serbiyan and Arian insurgents who joined Bel and pronounced as guilty of Hasan’s death, nevertheless Ahmed ibn Fadlan declared him the ”Khan of the pagans” and at a secret assembly called the kazanchis to install as the head of the state a more worthy person.

Rumours went that he would not mind to sit on the throne his own son Nasyr or himself, and even ordered to mint coins with the name of his clan Barmak. The son of Askal, Kermek, informed on it to Michael, and that immediately came to the Nur-Suvar together with the troops of the Bek Amir. Running into on the bridge with one of the kazanchis, the son of Djulut, Ahmed, who did not want to yield the way, Bel-Subash ttrew him in to the moat and instilled horror in the hearts of all grandees. The ulan became lame after that incident and became to be called Aksak-Ahmed. Michael entered the mosque “Nur“ mounted on his horse.

The seid exclaimed that the Kan should immediately leave the mosque and when he refused, struck his horse with a whip. Bul, with the Bulyar’s djuras who were hating the kazanchis, immediately tied the seid and, under an order of Yalkau, threw him in zindan, in a horse harness, in punishment for the insult of the horse. There the ill-fated Bakir was contemptuously fed with hay, and he died soon. The Kan exiled to the Razi-Suba a part of the Nur-Suvarian merchants who supported the seid, and the Mardanians began to call mockingly this city a Suvar.

Internal affairs did not allow Michael to be attentive to external affairs, and (Khazar Khakan) Modjar managed to install Mal, a son of Almysh, as a Bek of Kara-Bulgar instead of Ryshtau, who was loyal to Bulgaria. However, after that, a son of Abdallah Mamli visited Khorysdan, and swayed Mal to the side of the Kan. Threatening to surround Khazaria on two sides, the old Abdallah extracted from (Khazar Khakan) Modjar a consent to pay tribute to the Bulgar, and to accept his son Mamli as an ambassador of the Kan.

This disturbed the Khorasan emirs, who were aspiring to bring the Khazaria into their hands. To annoy the Samanids, the Baltavar demanded from them termination of the collection of customs duties from the Bulgarian merchants, and when the request was refused, ordered to collect the same from the Khwarezmians…

In 943 AD Michael sent the Djirian Ulugbek Khum with a fleet against the Gurgjans , and in this campaign we ravaged the Itil and Alaberde. But the Kan did not wait long enough for the return of the fleet, falling a gull to his love for the feasts. Mamli, who has continued the ”Khazar Tarihi” of his father Abdallah, noted that Yalkau participated in all falk games and recreations. In November he was coming to see the plucking of the geese. In December he with the guys stormed the ice ”Maiden city” in which on the defense were forty girls led by their “Khanness“, and even fought in the duels.

In the nauruz he celebrated kargatuy, in the April sabantuy, after the sowing chillek. In djien he jumped into the water and played with girls as a teenager. In the August yangyr botkasy he lead the sacrifice of a white bull, was the first to eat the white fish and again finished in the poured water with the girls. In the autumn after the reaping of the crop, were paid the main taxes, the Kan organized the kyzlar echkene near the Bolgar in honor of the tributes brought him by the organizers of the weddings.

And in 943 AD, slightly drunk on such a kyzlar echkene, Yalkau decided to participate in a race. In a full gallop, his horse stumbled, and the Kan fell and smashed to death. Why it happened were different opinions. Some said it was because the Kan rode a white sacrificial horse which he did not sacrifice in djien because of the pity to it. The others said it was because Michael ordered to torture to death the seid Bakir in a horse harness.

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