600-950 AD

By Marc Adda

The Khazars are usually considered to be a Turkic tribe—although their exact origins and racial mix is far from certain and is open to interpretation. Most likely they were of mixed ancestry and the term ‘Khazar’ might well have encompassed a variety of nomadic peoples. The Khazar language appears to have been closely related to early Bulgarian.

The Khazars ruled over a large portion of the Pontic steppe including what would now be the Crimea, parts of southern Russia, the Ukraine and eastward to Khazakhstan and as far south as Georgia. Their territory was gradually eroded by the Rus in the west and by another group of steppe nomads the Cumans in the east. They would eventually be subsumed into the Mongol controlled realm of the Golden Horde.