in The Levant
The Onoğurs or Oğurs (Όνόγουροι, Οὒρωγοι;
Onογurs, Ογurs; "ten tribes", "tribes"), were Turkic nomadic
equestrians who flourished in the
Pontic-Caspian steppe and the Volga
region between 5th and 7th century, and spoke Oğhuric language.
3 See also
The name Onoğur is most often derived as On-Oğur "ten Oğurs
(tribes)". Modern scholars consider Turkic tribal terms oğuz and
oğur to be derived from Turkic *og/uq, meaning "kinship or being akin
to". The terms initially were not the same, as oq/ogsiz meant
"arrow", while oğul meant "offspring, child, son", oğuš/uğuš
was "tribe, clan", and the verb oğša-/oqša meant "to be like,
Around 463 AD, the Akatziroi and other tribes that had been part of
the Hunnic union were attacked by the Šarağurs, one of the first
Oğuric Turkic tribes that entered the Ponto-Caspian steppes as the
result of migrations set off in Inner Asia. According to Priscus,
in 463 the representatives of Šarağur (Oğhur. šara, "White
Oğhurs"), Oğur and Onoğur came to the Emperor in Constantinople,
and explained they had been driven out of their homeland by the
Sabirs, who had been attacked by the Avars in Inner Asia. This
tangle of events indicates that the Oğuric tribes are related to the
Ting-ling and Tiele people. It is considered they belonged to
the westernmost Tiele tribes, which also included the Uyghurs-Toquz
Oghuz and the Oghuz Turks, and were initially located in Western
Siberia and Kazakhstan.
In early 7th century Theophylaktos Simokattes recorded that certain
Onoğur city Βακάθ was destroyed by an earthquake before his
lifetime. The Sogdian name indicates it was situated in the
vicinity of Iranian Central Asia. The 10th century Movses
Kaghankatvatsi recorded, considered late 4th century, certain Honagur,
"a Hun[nb 1] from the Honk" who raided Persia, which if is related to
the Onoğurs, they were located near
Transcaucasia and Sassanian
Empire. Scholars also relate the Hyōn to this account.
The Oğurs and Onoğurs, in the 6th and 7th century sources, were
mentioned mostly in connection with the Avar and Türks conquest of
Western Eurasia. According to the 6th century Menander Protector,
the "leader of the Οὐγούρων" had the authority of the Türk
Yabgu Khagan in the region of
Kuban River to the lower Don.
Simokattes in the Letter of the Türk Qaγan (Tamgan) to the Emperor
Maurikios recorded a complex notice:
"...the Qağan set off on another undertaking and subjugated all the
Ὀγώρ. This people is (one) of the most powerful because of their
numbers and their training for war in full battle-gear. They have made
their abodes towards the East, whence flows the river Τίλ, which
the Turks have the custom of calling the "Black". The oldest
chieftains of this people are called Οὐάρ and Χουννί."
According to the Qağan, part of those Ouar (Uar) and Khounni (Huns)
who arrived to Eastern Europe were mistook by the Onoğurs, Barsils,
Sabirs and other tribes for the original Avars, and as such the Uar
Huns took advantage of the situation and began call themselves as
the Avars. Simokattes also recounts "when the Ogor, then, were
brought completely to heel, the Qaγan gave over the chief of the
Κὸλχ (Kolx) to the bite of the sword", shows Oğurs
resistance toward Türk authority. Scholars consider if the Til is
Qara Itil (Black Itil) i.e. Volga (Atil/Itil), then the mentioned
Ὀγώρ would be the Oğurs, while if is in Inner Asia, then could
be the Uyghurs.
Getica (551) mentioned that the Hunuguri (believed to be
the Onoğurs) were notable for the marten skin trade. In
the Middle Ages, marten skin was used as a substitute for minted
money. This also indicates they lived near forests and were in
contact with Finno-Ugrian peoples.
The Syriac translation of the Pseudo–Zacharias Rhetor's
Ecclesiastical History (c. 555) in Western Eurasia records the Avnagur
(Aunagur; considered Onoğurs), wngwr (Onoğur), wgr (Oğur),
described in typical phrases reserved for nomads in the ethnographic
literature of the period, as people who "live in tents, earn their
living on the meat of livestock and fish, of wild animals and by their
From the 8th century, the Byzantine sources often mention the Onoğurs
in close connection with the Bulgars.
Agathon (early 8th century)
wrote about the nation of Onoğurs Bulğars. Nikephoros I (early 9th
century) noted that
Kubrat was the lord of the Onoğundurs; his
contemporary Theophanes referred to them as Onoğundur–Bulğars.
Kubrat successfully revolted against the Avars and founded the Old
Great Bulgaria (Magna Bulgaria), also known as
Onoğundur–Bulğars state, or Patria Onoguria in the Ravenna
Constantine VII (mid-10th century) remarked
that the Bulğars formerly called themselves Onoğundurs.
This association was previously mirrored in Armenian sources, such as
the Ashkharatsuyts, which refers to the Olxontor Błkar, and the 5th
century History by Movses Khorenatsi, which includes an additional
comment from a 9th-century writer about the colony of the Vłĕndur
Bułkar. Marquart and Golden connected these forms with the Iġndr
(*Uluġundur) of Ibn al-Kalbi (c. 820), the Vnndur (*Wunundur) of
Hudud al-'Alam (982), the Wlndr (*Wulundur) of
century) and Hungarian name for Belgrad Nándor Fejérvár, the nndr
(*Nandur) of Gardīzī (11th century) and *Wununtur in the letter by
the Khazar King Joseph. All the forms show the phonetic changes
typical of later Oğuric (prothetic w-; o- > wo-, u-,
The origin of the
Kutrigurs and Utigurs, who lived in the vicinity of
the Onoğurs and Bulgar, and their mutual relationship is considered
as obscure. Scholars consider unclear how the union between
Bulgars formed, viewing it as a long process in which a
number of different groups were merged. During that time, the
Bulgars may have represented a large confederation of which the
Onoğurs formed one of the core tribes, and remnants of Utigurs,
Kutrigurs among others.
^ The ethnonym of the Huns, like those of Scythians and Türks, became
a generic term for steppe-people (nomads) and invading enemies from
the East, no matter of their actual origin and identity.
^ Marshall Cavendish Corporation (2006). Peoples of Western Asia.
^ Bosworth, Clifford Edmund (2007). Historic Cities of the Islamic
World. p. 280.
^ Borrero, Mauricio (2009). Russia: A Reference Guide from the
Renaissance to the Present. p. 162.
^ Golden 2011, p. 135–145.
^ Golden 2011, p. 23, 237.
^ a b Golden 1992, p. 96.
^ Golden 2012, p. 96.
^ Golden 1992, p. 92–93, 103.
^ Golden 1992, p. 92–93.
^ Golden 1992, p. 92–93, 97.
^ Golden 2011, p. 70.
^ Golden 1992, p. 93–95.
^ Golden 2011, p. 32–33.
^ Golden 2011, p. 138, 141.
^ a b c d e f Golden 2011, p. 141.
^ Beckwith, Christopher I. (2009). Empires of the Silk Road: A History
of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present. Princeton
University Press. p. 99. ISBN 9781400829941. Like the name
Scythian up to the early medieval period, the name Hun became a
generic (usually pejorative) term in subsequent history for any
steppe-warrior people, or even any enemy people, regardless of their
^ Dickens, Mark (2004). Medieval Syriac Historians’ Perceptionsof
the Turks. University of Cambridge. p. 19. Syriac chroniclers
(along with their Arab, Byzantine, Latin, Armenian, and Georgian
counterparts) did not use ethnonyms as specifically as modern scholars
do. As K. Czeglédy notes, "some sources... use the ethnonyms of the
various steppe-peoples, in particular those of the Scythians,
Türks, in the generic sense of 'nomads'".
^ Golden 1992, p. 100–102.
^ a b c d e Golden 2011, p. 142.
^ Golden 1992, p. 109.
^ a b c D. Dimitrov (1987). "Bulgars, Unogundurs, Onogurs, Utigurs,
Kutrigurs". Prabylgarite po severnoto i zapadnoto Chernomorie.
^ Maenchen-Helfen 1973, p. 431.
^ Golden 1992, p. 98.
^ Golden 1992, p. 254.
^ Golden 1992, p. 112.
^ Golden 1992, p. 97.
^ Fiedler 2008, p. 152.
^ Golden 1992, p. 245.
^ Golden 2011, p. 144.
^ a b Golden 1992, p. 102.
^ Golden 2011, p. 239.
^ Golden 1992, p. 99.
^ Golden 2011, p. 140.
^ Golden 1992, p. 244.
^ a b Golden 2011, p. 143.
^ Golden 1992, p. 100, 103.
Maenchen-Helfen, Otto John (1973), The World of the Huns: Studies in
Their History and Culture, University of California Press,
Golden, Peter Benjamin (1992). An introduction to the History of the
Turkic peoples: ethnogenesis and state formation in medieval and early
modern Eurasia and the Middle East. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.
Karatay, Osman (2003). In Search of the Lost Tribe: The Origins and
Making of the Croation Nation. Ayse Demiral.
Fiedler, Uwe (2008). "
Bulgars in the Lower Danube region: A survey of
the archaeological evidence and of the state of current research". In
Curta, Florin; Kovalev, Roman. The Other Europe in the Middle Ages:
Khazars and Cumans. Brill. pp. 151–236.
Golden, Peter B. (2011). Studies on the Peoples and Cultures of the
Eurasian Steppes. Editura Academiei Române; Editura Istros a Muzeului
Brăilei. ISBN 9789732721520.
Golden, Peter B. (2012), Oq and Oğur~Oğuz* (PDF), Turkish and Middle
Eastern Studies, Rutgers University, archived from the original (PDF)