Khazars established a vast empire in Asia located between the Caspian Sea and Lake Van in the Southeast of Turkey, from the Black Sea to Kiev, present-day capital of Ukraine, and from Aral Sea to Hungary. Khazars laid its foundations in Eastern Europe.
Xazar was derived from the root Qaz– which came from Gaz, the ancient Turkic word derived from the verb Gazamak (i.e. to roam), then it became Qazar (i.e. Gazar) which means roaming person who is not bound to a specific place.
However, they had many names, and the Byzantine Empire in 586 AD mentioned that they were Turkic people; there are further sayings anyway. Because of their large number around the Caspian Sea, it became referred to as Khazar Sea.
Their expansion lasted until the beginning of 10th century where they began to debilitate. Many etymologists have agreed that their language is related to Uyghur, which is among the Turkic languages of Northeastern China, they were described by the Andalusian researcher “Ibn Abed Rabbo” as having a white complexion, black hair and blue eyes.
It was said that they are what remains of the Sabirs and the western Göktürks at the time of their consolidation, and after the fall of Göktürks , they became independent and merged with other Turk tribes in that region. The historian, Al-Masudi, was of the opinion that the Iranians called the Khazars as “the Sabirs”.
In the fifth century, 434 AD, the Khazars were forced to remain subordinated to Atilla, the famous emperor of Hun. The emperor of Byzantium used to send presents to their princes in order to gain their friendliness and to protect them from the Hunnic Empire.
When Atilla knew about it, he killed the princes of the Khazars who accepted the presents. Until his death, The Hunnic Empire collapsed, and the Khazars separated from them making their own rule. They fought bloody and long wars against the Sasanians, despite their reliance on the Byzantines, they were dominant in most of them.
Thus, the Empire of the Khazar was established, which made Khosrow wooing to avoid their evil in the future.
In 626 AD, the Khazars and Heraclius, emperor of Byzantium, reached an agreement; led by Turpan Tarhan, they were able to control northern Azerbaijan and some Armenian regions. In 628 AD, the Khazars could not control Tbilisi, capital of Azerbaijanis due to the snow, but they dominated it the following year.
Despite all these victories, the Khazars remained subordinate to the state of Göktürks in the east, until the latter was divided to Eastern and Western empires and then their state had collapsed.
Therefore, the Khazars became a state of extreme importance that has its own political and military affairs. After the emergence of The Arab state, the Arabs moved eastward in the Sasanian state and in the northern east towards the Byzantine and the Khazar states.
The first confrontation between the Arabs and the Khazars was in 651 – 652 AD, during the reign of the second Caliph.
When the Arab leader, Abd ar-Rahman ibn Rabiah conquered Northern Caucasus achieving an overwhelming victory, clashed with the Khazars and began to seize their lands, taking control over Derbent, arriving to the gates of their capital.
Balanjar. However, when the reinforcements delayed, the Khazars could recapture it. Achieving a big victory over the Arabs; moving their capital to Atil; approaching southward towards Armenia; thus, entering it.
By: Dr. Ali Al-Shuaibi