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Khagan or Qaghan ( otk, 𐰴𐰍𐰣, Kaɣan, mn, Xаан or ᠬᠠᠭᠠᠨ, Khaan, ota, خواقين, Ḫākan, or خان ''Ḫān'', tr, Kağan or ''Hakan'', ug, قاغان, Qaghan) ''Khāqān'', alternatively spelled Kağan, Kagan, Khaghan, Kaghan, Khakan, Khakhan, Xagahn, Qaghan, Chagan, Қан, or Kha'an is a title of
imperial Imperial is that which relates to an empire, emperor, or imperialism. Imperial or The Imperial may also refer to: Places United States * Imperial, California * Imperial, Missouri * Imperial, Nebraska * Imperial, Pennsylvania * Imperial, Texas * ...

imperial
rank in the
Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages ** Turkic alphabets (disambiguation) ** Turkish language, the most widely spoken Turkic language * T ...

Turkic
,
Mongolic
Mongolic
and some other languages, equal to the status of
emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife (empress consort), m ...

emperor
and someone who rules a
khaganate A khaganate or khanate was a political entity ruled by a Khan (title), khan, khagan, khatun, or khanum. This political entity was typically found on the Eurasian Steppe and could be equivalent in status to tribe, tribal chiefdom, principality, m ...
(empire). The female equivalent is
Khatun Khatun ( otk, 𐰴𐰍𐰣, Katun, ota, خاتون, Hatun or قادین ''Kadın'', uz, xotin, fa, خاتون ''khātūn''; Mongolian: , ''khatun'', хатан ''khatan''; ; hi, ख़ातून '; bn, খাতুন; tr, hatun; az, x ...
. It may also be translated as " Khan of Khans", equivalent to
King of Kings King of Kings ( Akkadian: ''šar šarrāni''; Old Persian: ''Xšâyathiya Xšâyathiyânâm'';' Middle Persian: ''šāhān šāh'';' Modern Persian: شاهنشاه, ''Šâhanšâh''; Greek: Βασιλεὺς Βασιλέων, ''Basileùs Ba ...
. In Bulgarian, the title became known as "Kan" (as in the "Nominalia of the Bulgarian Kans"), while in modern Turkic, the title became ''Khaan'' with the "g" sound becoming almost silent or non-existent (i.e. a very light
voiceless velar fricative In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...

voiceless velar fricative
); the ''ğ'' in modern
Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), offi ...

Turkish
''Kağan'' is also silent. Since the
division of the Mongol Empire The division of the Mongol Empire began when Möngke Khan died in 1259 in the siege of Diaoyu Castle with no declared successor, precipitating infighting between members of the Tolui family line for the title of khagan that escalated into the ...
, emperors of the
Yuan dynasty The Yuan dynasty (), officially the Great Yuan (; xng, , , literally "Great Yuan State"), was a successor state Successor is someone who, or something which succeeds or comes after (see success and succession) Film and TV * ''The Succe ...
held the title of Khagan and their successors in Mongolia continued to have the title. ''Kağan, Hakan'' and ''Kaan'',
Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), offi ...

Turkish
equivalents of the title are common
Turkish namesA Turkish name consists of an ''ad'' or an ''isim'' (given name; plural ''adlar'' and ''isimler'') and a ''soyadı'' or ''soyisim'' (surname). Turkish names exist in a "full name" format. While there is only one ''soyadı'' (surname) in the full name ...
in
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia in Western Asia, with a small portion on the Balkans in Southeast Europe. It shares borders with Greece and Bulgaria to the northwest; the B ...

Turkey
. The common western rendering as Great Khan (or Grand Khan), notably in the case of the
Mongol Empire The Mongol Empire of the 13th and 14th centuries was the List of largest empires, largest contiguous land empire in history and the second largest empire by landmass, second only to the British Empire. Originating in Mongolia in East Asia, the ...
, is a translation of ''Yekhe Khagan'' (Great Emperor or Их Хаан).


Etymology

The term is of unknown origin and possibly a loanword from the
Ruanruan language Ruanruan (; also called Rouran) is an unclassified extinct language of Mongolia Mongolia (, Mongolian language, Mongolian: , Mongolian script, Traditional Mongolian: ') is a landlocked country in East Asia. Its area is roughly equivalent ...
. Pulleyblank (1962) first suggested that a Xiongnu title, transcribed as 護于 (
Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is ...
: *''hʷaʔ-hʷaʰ'') might have been behind
Proto-Turkic The Proto-Turkic language is the linguistic reconstruction Linguistic reconstruction is the practice of establishing the features of an unattested ancestor language of one or more given languages. There are two kinds of reconstruction: * Inter ...
*''qaɣan'' ~ *''xaɣan''.Vovin, Alexander (2007). "Once again on the etymology of the title ''qaγan''". ''Studia Etymologica Cracoviensia'', vol. 12
online ressource
According to Vovin (2007, 2010) the term comes from ''qaγan'' (meaning "
emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife (empress consort), m ...

emperor
" or "supreme ruler") and was later used in several languages, especially in Turkic and Mongolic.
Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages ** Turkic alphabets (disambiguation) ** Turkish language, the most widely spoken Turkic language * T ...

Turkic
and
Para-Mongolic The Mongolic languages are a group of languages spoken in Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the region of the European continent between Western Europe and Asia. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the te ...
origin has been suggested by a number of scholars including Ramstedt, Shiratori, Sinor and Doerfer, and was reportedly first used by the
Xianbei The Xianbei (; ) were a Proto-Mongolic Proto-Mongolic is the hypothetical ancestor language of the modern Mongolic languages. It is very close to the Middle Mongol language, the language spoken at the time of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire ...
. While Sinor believes ''qaγan'' or ''qapγan'' is an intensification of ''qan'' just as ''qap-qara'' is an intensification of ''qara'' "black", in Turkic (with the eventual loss of the ''p''), Shiratori rejects a Turkic etymology, instead supporting a Mongolic origin for both ''qan'' and the female form ''qatun''. According to Vovin, the word ''*qa-qan'' "great-qan" (''*qa-'' for "great" or "supreme") is of non-Altaic origin, but instead linked to
Yeniseian The Yeniseian languages (sometimes known as Yeniseic or Yenisei-Ostyak;"Ostyak" is a concept of areal rather than genetic linguistics. In addition to the Yeniseian languages it also includes the Uralic languages The Uralic languages (; some ...
''*qεʔ ~ qaʔ'' "big, great". The origin of ''qan'' itself is harder according to Vovin. He says that the origin for the word ''qan'' is not found in any reconstructed proto-language and was used widely by Turkic, Mongolic, Chinese and Korean people with variations from ''kan, qan, han and hwan.'' A relation exists possibly to the Yeniseian words ''*qʌ:j'' or ''*χʌ:j'' meaning "ruler". It may be impossible to prove the ultimate origin of the title, but Vovin says: "Thus, it seems to be quite likely that the ultimate source of both ''qaγan'' and ''qan'' can be traced back to Xiong-nu and Yeniseian".


History

The title was first seen in a speech between 283 and 289, when the
Xianbei The Xianbei (; ) were a Proto-Mongolic Proto-Mongolic is the hypothetical ancestor language of the modern Mongolic languages. It is very close to the Middle Mongol language, the language spoken at the time of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire ...
chief
Tuyuhun Tuyuhun (; Eastern Han Chinese, LHC: *''tʰɑʔ-jok-guənʔ''; Wade-Giles: ''T'u-yühun''), also known as Azha (Standard Tibetan, Tibetan: ''‘A-zha''), was a dynastic kingdom established by the Nomads, nomadic peoples related to the Xianbei in th ...
tried to escape from his younger stepbrother
Murong Hui Murong Hui (慕容廆), (269–333) Xianbei chief and Duke Xiang of Liaodong, posthumously honored as Prince Wuxuan of Yan. In the Book of Jin, Murong Hui was described as tall, physically strong and having a beautiful appearance. Murong Hu ...
, and began his route from the
Liaodong Peninsula The Liaodong Peninsula (also Liaotung Peninsula, ) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from which it extends ...
to the areas of
Ordos Desert The Ordos Desert () is a desert upright=1.5, alt=see caption, Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") in the United Arab Emirates">Rub'_al_Khali.html" ;"title="Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali">Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khal ...

Ordos Desert
. In the speech one of Murong's generals, Yinalou, addressed him as ''kehan'' (, later ); some sources suggests that Tuyuhun might also have used the title after settling at
Qinghai Lake Qinghai Lake or Ch'inghai Lake, also known by other names, is the largest lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land, apart from any river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usuall ...

Qinghai Lake
in the 3rd century. The
Rouran Khaganate The Rouran Khaganate, also Juan-Juan Khaganate (), was a tribal confederation and later state founded by a people of Proto-Mongolic Proto-Mongolic is the hypothetical ancestor language of the modern Mongolic languages. It is very close to the M ...
(330–555) was the first people to use the titles Khagan and Khan for their emperors, replacing the
Chanyu Chanyu () or Shanyu (), short for Chengli Gutu Chanyu (), was the title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academi ...
of the
Xiongnu The Xiongnu (, ) were a tribal confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty A treaty is a formal ...

Xiongnu
, whom Grousset and others assume to be
Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages ** Turkic alphabets (disambiguation) ** Turkish language, the most widely spoken Turkic language * T ...
. The Rourans were stated to be descendants of the
Donghu people Donghu (; IPA IPA commonly refers to: * India pale ale, a style of beer * International Phonetic Alphabet The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin script Latin ...
, who in turn are assumed to be
proto-Mongols The proto-Mongols emerged from an area that had been inhabited by humans and predecessor hominin The Hominini form a Tribe (biology), taxonomic tribe of the subfamily Homininae ("hominines"). Hominini includes the extant genera ''Homo'' (humans) ...
, or a "non-Altaic" group. The
Avar Khaganate The Pannonian Avars (; also known as the Obri in chronicles of Rus, the Abaroi or Varchonitai
(567–804), who may have included Rouran elements after the
Göktürks The Göktürks, Celestial Turks or Blue Turks ( otk, 𐱅𐰇𐰼𐰰:𐰉𐰆𐰑𐰣, Türük Bodun; zh, 突厥 ''Tūjué''; Wade-Giles: ''T'u-chüeh'') were a nomadic confederation of Turkic peoples in medieval Inner Asia. The Göktürks, ...
crushed the Rouran ruling Mongolia, also used this title. The
Avars Avar(s) or AVAR may refer to: Peoples and states * Avars (Caucasus), a modern Northeast Caucasian-speaking people in the North Caucasus, Dagestan, Russia **Avar language, the modern Northeast Caucasian language spoken by the Avars of the North Ca ...
invaded
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered from largest ...

Europe
, and for over a century ruled the Carpathian region. Westerners Latinized the title "Khagan" into "Gaganus" (in
Historia Francorum Gregory of Tours or Duallegori de Artorx (30 November 538 – 17 November 594 AD) was a Gallo-Roman The term "Gallo-Roman" describes the Romanization (cultural), Romanized culture of Gaul under the rule of the Roman Empire. This was chara ...
), "Cagan" (in the
Annales Fuldenses The ''Annales Fuldenses'' or ''Annals of Fulda'' are East Francia, East Frankish chronicles that cover independently the period from the last years of Louis the Pious (died 840) to shortly after the end of effective Carolingian rule in East Francia ...
), or "Cacano" (in the
Historia Langobardorum The ''History of the Lombards'' or the ''History of the Langobards'' ( la, Historia Langobardorum) is the chief work by Paul the Deacon, written in the late 8th century. This incomplete history in six books was written after 787 and at any rate no ...
).


Mongol Khagans

''
The Secret History of the Mongols ''The Secret History of the Mongols'' ( Traditional Mongolian: ''Mongγol-un niγuča tobčiyan'', Khalkha Mongolian: Монголын нууц товчоо, ''Mongolyn nuuts tovchoo'') is the oldest surviving literary work in the Mongolian l ...
'', written for that very dynasty, clearly distinguishes ''Khagan'' and ''Khan'': only
Genghis Khan ''Chinggis Khaan'' ͡ʃʰiŋɡɪs xaːŋongol script: ''Chinggis Qa(gh)an/ Chinggis Khagan'' , birth_name = Temüjin ; xng, Temüjin, script=Latn; ., name=Temujin , successor = Ögedei Khan , spouse = , issue = , house = Borjigin , ...

Genghis Khan
and his ruling descendants are called ''Khagan'', while other rulers are referred to as ''Khan''. The title "Khagan" or "Khaan" most literally translates to "great/supreme ruler" in the Mongol language, and by extension "sovereign", "monarch", "high king", or "emperor". The title can also be expanded with the addition of "Yekhe" (meaning "great" or "grand") to produce "Yekhe Khagan", meaning "Great Emperor". The Mongol Empire began to split politically with the
Toluid Civil War The Toluid Civil War was a war of succession A war of succession or succession war is a war prompted by a Order of succession, succession crisis in which two or more individuals claim the right of successor to a demise of the Crown, deceased ...
during 1260–1264 and the death of Kublai Khan in 1294, but the term ''Ikh Khagan'' (Great Khan, or Emperor) was still used by the emperors of the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), who assumed the role of
Emperor of China Emperor of China, or ''Huángdì'' (), was the Chinese sovereign, monarch of China during the History of China#Imperial China, imperial period of Chinese history. In traditional Chinese political theory, the emperor was considered the Son of Hea ...
, and after the fall of the Yuan in China (1368) it continued to be used during the
Northern Yuan dynasty The Northern Yuan () was a dynastic regime ruled by the Mongols, Mongol Borjigin clan based in the Mongolian Plateau. It operated as a rump state after the collapse of the Yuan dynasty of China in 1368 and lasted until its conquest by the Jurchen ...

Northern Yuan dynasty
in Mongolia homeland. Thus, the Yuan is sometimes referred to as the ''Empire of the Great Khan'', coexisting with the independent Mongol khanates in the west, including the
Chagatai Khanate The Chagatai Khanate, or Chagatai Ulus ( mn, Цагаадайн улс; uz, Chigʻatoy ulusi; ; fa, خانات جغتای), was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that comprised the lands ruled by Chagatai Khan, second son of Genghis Khan ...
and
Golden Horde The Golden Horde ( tt, , , ), self-designated as Ulug Ulus, 'Great State' in Turkic, was originally a Mongols, Mongol and later Turkicized khanate established in the 13th century and originating as the northwestern sector of the Mongol Empire. ...
. Only the
Ilkhanate The Ilkhanate, also spelled Il-khanate ( fa, ایل خانان, ''Ilxānān''), known to the Mongols as ''Hülegü Ulus'' ( mn, Хүлэгийн улс, , ''Hu’legīn Uls'') was a khanate established from the southwestern sector of the Mo ...

Ilkhanate
truly recognized the Yuan's overlordship as allies (though it was effectively autonomous). Because Kublai founded the Yuan, the members of the other branches of the
Borjigin A Borjigin; ; russian: Борджигин, Bordžigin; ; English plural: Borjigins or Borjigid iddle Mongolian plural translit. ''Borǰigit'';''Histoire des campagnes de Gengis Khan'', p. 119. anchu language, Manchu plural? is a member ...
could take part in the election of a new Khagan as the supporters of one or other of the contestants, but they could not enter the contest as candidates themselves. Later Yuan emperors made peace with the three western khanates of the Mongol Empire and were considered as their nominal suzerain. The nominal supremacy, while based on nothing like the same foundations as that of the earlier Khagans (such as the continued border clashes among them), did last for a few decades, until the Yuan dynasty fell in China (1368). After the breakdown of Mongol Empire and the fall of the Yuan dynasty in the mid-14th century, the Mongols turned into a political turmoil.
Dayan Khan Dayan Khan ( mn, Даян Хаан; Mongol script The classical or traditional Mongolian script, also known as the , was the first Mongolian alphabet, writing system created specifically for the Mongolian language, and was the most widespread u ...
(1464–1517/1543) once revived Emperor's authority and recovered its reputation in Mongolia, but with the distribution of his empire among his sons and relatives as fiefs it again caused decentralized rule. The last Khagan of the
Chahars The Chahars ( Khalkha Mongolian: Цахар, Tsahar; ) are a subgroup of Mongols that speak Chakhar Mongolian and predominantly live in southeastern Inner Mongolia, China. The Chahars were originally one of estates of Kublai Khan located around ...

Chahars
,
Ligdan Khan Ligden Khutugtu Khan or Lindan Han () was the last khan of the Northern Yuan dynasty based in the Mongolian Plateau as well as the last in the Borjigin clan of Mongol Khans who ruled the Mongols from Chakhar. His unpopular reign generated vio ...
, died in 1634 while fighting the
Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasty in the History of China#Imperial China, imperial history of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912, wi ...
founded by the
Manchu people The Manchu (; ) are an officially recognized ethnic minority in China and the people from whom Manchuria Manchuria is an exonym and endonym, exonym for a historical and geographic region of Russia and China in Northeast Asia (mostly in N ...
. In contemporary
Mongolian language Mongolian is the official language of Mongolia and both the most widely spoken and best-known member of the Mongolic language family. The number of speakers across all its dialects may be 5.2 million, including the vast majority of the resident ...

Mongolian language
the words "Khaan" and "Khan" have different meanings, while
English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading language of international discourse in the 21st centu ...

English language
usually does not differentiate between them. The title is also used as a generic term for a king or emperor (as эзэн хаан, ''ezen khaan''), as in "Испанийн хаан Хуан Карлос" (''Ispaniin khaan Khuan Karlos'', "king/khaan of Spain Juan Carlos"). The early Khagans of the
Mongol Empire The Mongol Empire of the 13th and 14th centuries was the List of largest empires, largest contiguous land empire in history and the second largest empire by landmass, second only to the British Empire. Originating in Mongolia in East Asia, the ...
were: #
Genghis Khan ''Chinggis Khaan'' ͡ʃʰiŋɡɪs xaːŋongol script: ''Chinggis Qa(gh)an/ Chinggis Khagan'' , birth_name = Temüjin ; xng, Temüjin, script=Latn; ., name=Temujin , successor = Ögedei Khan , spouse = , issue = , house = Borjigin , ...

Genghis Khan
(1206–1227; 21 years) #
Ögedei Khan Ögedei (also Ogodei; mn, Өгэдэй, translit=Ögedei, Mongolian Mongolian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Mongolia, a country in Asia * Mongolian people, or Mongols * Mongolia (1911–24), the government of Mongolia, 1911 ...
(1229–1241; 12 years) #
Güyük Khan Güyük (or Kuyuk; mn, Гүюг хаан, translit=Güyug khaan, xng, '; ''Guìyóu'') (''c''. March 19, 1206 – April 20, 1248) was the third Khagan Khagan or Qaghan ( otk, 𐰴𐰍𐰣, Kaɣan, mn, Xаан or ᠬᠠᠭᠠᠨ, Khaan, ...
(1246–1248; 2 years) #
Möngke Khan Möngke ( mn, ' / Мөнх '; ; 11 January 1209 – 11 August 1259) was the fourth khagan Khagan or Qaghan ( otk, 𐰴𐰍𐰣, Kaɣan, mn, Xаан or ᠬᠠᠭᠠᠨ, Khaan, ota, خواقين, Ḫākan, or خوان ''Ḫān'', tr, ...
(1251–1259; 8 years)


Among Turkic peoples

The title became associated with the Ashina ruling clan of the
Göktürks The Göktürks, Celestial Turks or Blue Turks ( otk, 𐱅𐰇𐰼𐰰:𐰉𐰆𐰑𐰣, Türük Bodun; zh, 突厥 ''Tūjué''; Wade-Giles: ''T'u-chüeh'') were a nomadic confederation of Turkic peoples in medieval Inner Asia. The Göktürks, ...
and their dynastic successors among such peoples as the
Khazars The Khazars; he, כוזרים, Kuzarim; la, Gazari, or ; zh, 突厥曷薩 ; 突厥可薩部 ''Tūjué Kěsà bù'' () were a semi-nomad A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixe ...

Khazars
(cf. the compound military title
Khagan Bek''Khagan Bek'' is the title used by the bek (generalissimo ''Generalissimo'' ( ) is a military rank of the highest degree, superior to field marshal Field marshal (or field-marshal, abbreviated as FM) is the most senior military rank, ordinar ...
). Minor rulers were rather relegated to the lower title of khan. Both Khagan as such and the
Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), offi ...

Turkish
form Hakan, with the specification in
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
''al-Barrayn wa al-Bahrayn'' (meaning literally "of both lands and both seas"), or rather fully in
Ottoman Turkish Ottoman Turkish ( ota, لِسانِ عُثمانى, , ; tr, Osmanlı Türkçesi) was the standardized register (sociolinguistics), register of the Turkish language used in the Ottoman Empire (14th to 20th centuries CE). It borrowed extensively, ...
''Hakan ül-Berreyn vel-Bahreyn'', were among the titles in the official full style of the Great Sultan (and later Caliph) of the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th a ...
, reflecting the historical legitimation of the dynasty's rule as political successor to various conquered (often Islamised) states. (The title began: Sultan Hân N.N.,
Padishah Padishah ('Master King'; from Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Irania ...
, ''Hünkar'', Sovereign of the House of Osman,
Sultan of Sultans Sultan of Sultans is the literal English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventual ...
, Khan of Khans, Commander of the Faithful and Successor of the Prophet of the Lord of the Universe; next followed a series of specifically "regional" titles, starting with Protector of the Holy Cities of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem.) "Khagan" is the second title of
Safavid Safavid Iran or Safavid Persia (), also referred to as the Safavid Empire, '. was one of the greatest Iranian peoples, Iranian empires after the 7th-century Muslim conquest of Persia, ruled from 1501 to 1736 by the Safavid dynasty. It is often c ...
and
Qajar Qajar Iran (), also referred to as Qajar Persia, the Qajar Empire, '. officially the Sublime State of Iran ( fa, دولت علیّه ایران ') and also known then as the Guarded Domains of Iran ( fa, ممالک محروسه ایران '), ...
shahs (kings) of Iran. For example, Agha Muhammad Khan Qajar, Fath Ali Shah and other Qajar shahs used this title. The nickname of Shah Ismail and other Safavid shahs is ''Kagan-i Suleyman shan'' (Khagan with the glory of Solomon).


Ottoman Empire

Ottoman rulers, after the 14th century, used only two titles "shah" and "khan" until end of the empire. Sultans like
Mehmed the Conqueror Mehmed II ( ota, محمد ثانى, translit=Meḥmed-i sānī; tr, II. Mehmed, ; 30 March 14323 May 1481), commonly known as Mehmed the Conqueror ( ota, ابو الفتح, Ebū'l-Fetḥ, lit=The Father of Conquest; tr, Fatih Sultan Mehmed), ...

Mehmed the Conqueror
and
Suleiman the Magnificent Suleiman I ( ota, سليمان اول, Süleyman-ı Evvel; tr, I. Süleyman; 6 November 14946 September 1566), commonly known as Suleiman the Magnificent in the West and Suleiman the Lawgiver ( ota, قانونى سلطان سليمان, Ḳān ...

Suleiman the Magnificent
used the title "Khagan of the two seas". Yazıcıoğlu Ali, in early 15th century, traced 's genealogy to
Oghuz Khagan Oghuz Khagan or Oghuz Khan ( tk, Oguz Han; tr, Oğuz Kağan; Azerbaijani language, Azerbaijani: Oğuz Xan or Oğuz Xaqan) is a legendary Khan (title), khan of the Turkic peoples. Some Turkic cultures use the Dastan, legend of Oghuz Khan to descr ...
, the mythical ancestors of Western Turks, through his senior grandson of his senior son, so giving the Ottoman sultans primacy among Turkish monarchs. Though it was not entirely an imitation of
Genghis Khan ''Chinggis Khaan'' ͡ʃʰiŋɡɪs xaːŋongol script: ''Chinggis Qa(gh)an/ Chinggis Khagan'' , birth_name = Temüjin ; xng, Temüjin, script=Latn; ., name=Temujin , successor = Ögedei Khan , spouse = , issue = , house = Borjigin , ...

Genghis Khan
id doctrine, the Oghuz claim to sovereignty followed the same pattern.
Bayezid I Bayezid I ( ota, بايزيد اول, tr, I. Bayezid, nicknamed Yıldırım, ota, یلدیرم, "Lightning, Thunderbolt", often "Bajazet"; – 8 March 1403) was the List of sultans of the Ottoman Empire, Ottoman Sultan from 1389 to 1402. He was ...
advanced this claim against
Timur Timur ; chg, ''Aqsaq Temür'', 'Timur the Lame') or as ''Sahib-i-Qiran'' ( 'Lord of the Auspicious Conjunction'), his epithet. ( chg, ''Temür'', 'Iron'; 9 April 133617–19 February 1405), later Timūr Gurkānī ( chg, ''Temür Kür ...

Timur
, who denigrated the Ottoman lineage.


Chinese Khagans

Emperor Taizong of Tang Emperor Taizong of Tang (28January 59810July 649), previously Prince of Qin, personal name Li Shimin, was the second emperor of the Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled fr ...
was crowned
Tian KehanKhan of Heaven or Tian Kehan, Celestial Khagan, Tengri Khan () was a title addressed to Emperor Taizong of Tang Emperor Taizong of Tang (28January 59810July 649), previously Prince of Qin, personal name Li Shimin, was the second emperor of th ...
, or "heavenly Khagan" after defeating the Tujue (
Göktürks The Göktürks, Celestial Turks or Blue Turks ( otk, 𐱅𐰇𐰼𐰰:𐰉𐰆𐰑𐰣, Türük Bodun; zh, 突厥 ''Tūjué''; Wade-Giles: ''T'u-chüeh'') were a nomadic confederation of Turkic peoples in medieval Inner Asia. The Göktürks, ...
). A later letter sent by the Tang court to the
Yenisei Kirghiz The Yenisei Kyrgyz ( otk, 𐰶𐰃𐰺𐰴𐰕:𐰉𐰆𐰑𐰣, Qïrqïz bodun), were an ancient Turkic people who dwelled along the upper Yenisei River in the southern portion of the Minusinsk Depression from the 3rd century BCE to the 13th c ...
Qaghan explained that "the peoples of the northwest" had requested Tang Taizong to become the "Heavenly Qaghan". The
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. H ...
Chinese Emperors were recognized as Khagans of the Turks at least from 665 to 705; moreover, two appeal letters from the Turkic hybrid rulers, Ashina Qutluγ Ton Tardu in 727, the Yabgu of
Tokharistan Tokharistan (formed from "Tokhara" and the suffix ''-stan'' meaning "place of" in Persian) is an ancient Early Middle Ages The Early Middle Ages or Early Medieval Period, sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, is typically regarded by histor ...
, and Yina Tudun Qule in 741, the king of
Tashkent Tashkent (, ; rus, Ташкент, Tashkent, tɐʂˈkʲent), or Toshkent (; uz, Toshkent//, ), and also historically known as Chaach ( fa, چاچ), is the capital and largest city of Uzbekistan, as well as the most populous city in Central ...
, addressing
Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Emperor Xuanzong of Tang (; 8 September 685 – 3 May 762), also commonly known as Emperor Ming of Tang or Illustrious August, personal name Li Longji, was the seventh emperor of the Tang dynasty in China, reigning from 713 to 756 CE. His reign ...
as Tian Kehan during the
Umayyad The Umayyad Caliphate (661–750 CE; , ; ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْأُمَوِيَّة, al-Khilāfah al-ʾUmawīyah) was the second of the four major caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. The caliphate was ruled by the U ...
expansion.Xue, pp. 674–675.


Among the Slavs

In the early 10th century, the
Rus' people 312px, upright=2.2, Map showing the major Varangian trade routes: the Volga trade route (in red) and Trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks, the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks (in purple). Sufficiently controlling strongholds ...
employed the title of ''kagan'' (or ''qaghan''), reported by the Persian geographer
Ahmad ibn Rustah Ahmad ibn Rustah Isfahani ( fa, احمد ابن رسته اصفهانی ''Aḥmad ibn Rusta Iṣfahānī''), more commonly known as Ibn Rustah (, also spelled ''Ibn Rusta'' and ''Ibn Ruste''), was a tenth-century Persian explorer and geographer bo ...
, who wrote between 903 and 913. It is believed that the tradition endured in the eleventh century, as the
metropolitan bishop , Ruthenian-Ukrainian metropolitan, noble, and cultural figure Image:Metropolitan of Moscow Makariy Nevskiy.jpg, upMacarius (Nevsky), Macarius II, Metropolitan of Moscow (in office: 1912–1917). In the Russian Orthodox Church a white klobuk is dis ...
of
Kiev Kyiv ( uk, Київ) or Kiev . is the capital and most populous city of Ukraine. It is in north-central Ukraine along the Dnieper, Dnieper River. As of 1 January 2021 its population was 2,962,180 making Kyiv the List of European cities by po ...

Kiev
in the
Kievan Rus' Kievan Rus' ( orv, , Rusĭ, or , , "Rus' land") or Kyivan Rus', was a loose federation of East Slavs, East Slavic, Galindians, Baltic and Finnic peoples in Eastern Europe, Eastern and Northern Europe from the late 9th to the mid-13th century, ...
,
Hilarion of Kiev Hilarion or Ilarion (russian: Иларион, uk, Іларіон, be, Іларыён) was the first non- Greek Metropolitan of Kiev and all Rus in Medieval Kievan Rus ( Ruthenia). He held the metropolitan post before or during the ongoing 11th c ...
, calls both
grand prince Grand prince or great prince (feminine: grand princess or great princess) ( la, magnus princeps; Greek: ''megas archon ''Archon'' ( gr, ἄρχων, árchōn, plural: ἄρχοντες, ''árchontes'') is a Greek word that means "ruler", frequ ...
Vladimir I of Kiev Vladimir Sviatoslavich ( orv, Володимѣръ Свѧтославичь, ''Volodiměrъ Svętoslavičь''; ''Uladzimir'', russian: Владимир ''Vladimir'', uk, Володимир ''Volodymyr''. See Vladimir (name) Vladimir (russi ...
(978–1015) and grand prince
Yaroslav the Wise Yaroslav the Wise or Yaroslav I; russian: Ярослав Мудрый, ; uk, Ярослав Мудрий; non, Jarizleifr Valdamarsson; la, Iaroslaus Sapiens. (c. 978 – 20 February 1054) was the Grand Prince of Kiev from 1019 until his death. ...

Yaroslav the Wise
(1019–1054) by the title of ''kagan'', while a graffito on the walls of Saint Sophia's Cathedral gives the same title to the son of Iaroslav, grand prince
Sviatoslav II of Kiev Sviatoslav II Iaroslavich or Sviatoslav II Yaroslavich ( orv, Ст҃ославь Ӕрославичь; Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic ...
(1073–1076).


See also

* (for use as a given name), also spelled ''Khakhan'' or ''Khaqan'' *
Mongolian nobility The Mongolian nobility ( mn, язгууртан сурвалжтан; ''yazgurtan survaljtan'') arose between the 10th and 12th centuries, became prominent in the 13th century, and essentially governed Pan-Mongolism, Mongolia until the early 20th ce ...
*
Khan (title) Khan ''khan/qan''; tr, han; Azerbaijani Azerbaijani may refer to: * Something of, or related to Azerbaijan * Azerbaijanis * Azerbaijani language See also * Azerbaijan (disambiguation) * Azeri (disambiguation) * Azerbaijani cuisine * Cultur ...
*
Beg KhanBeg Khan is a concatenation of '' Baig'', and '' Khan'' titles originally used in Central Asia and the Middle East to indicate nobility or high rank. It is used as part of the name or title by the following: * Öz Beg Khan, the longest-reigning ...
*
Khaganate A khaganate or khanate was a political entity ruled by a Khan (title), khan, khagan, khatun, or khanum. This political entity was typically found on the Eurasian Steppe and could be equivalent in status to tribe, tribal chiefdom, principality, m ...
* Ibn Khaqan (disambiguation) *Kohen *Tughra


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

* Fairbank, John King. ''The Cambridge History of China ''. Cambridge University Press, 1978.
''web page''
* Grousset, René. (1970). ''The Empire of the Steppes: a History of Central Asia''. Translated by Naomi Walford. Rutgers University Press. New Brunswick, New Jersey, U.S.A.Third Paperback printing, 1991. (casebound); (pbk). * Whittow, Mark. ''The Making of Byzantium, 600–1025'', University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, 1996. * Xue, Zongzheng (1992). ''A History of Turks''. Beijing: Chinese Social Sciences Press. . * Zhou, Weizhou [1985] (2006). ''A History of Tuyuhun''. Guilin: Guangxi Normal University Press. .


Further reading

* {{cite encyclopedia , title = KHAGAN , last = de la Vaissière , first = Étienne , author-link = Étienne de la Vaissière , url = http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/khagan , encyclopedia = Encyclopaedia Iranica , year = 2017 Titles Ottoman titles Heads of state Khazar titles Royal titles Noble titles Lists of khans Titles of national or ethnic leadership Mongolian nobility Chinese royal titles Titles of the Göktürks