The Khazars
An Overview
Israelite Tribes in Exile

Yair Davidiy

Note: For an outline of somewhat more up-to-date information concerning the Khazars, see our article:
"Chapter Outlines: The Khazars. Tribe 13

The Khazars and Anti-Semites
The Khazars and Karaites
Crimean Tombstones and the Lost Ten Tribes
Biblical Attitude toward Converts in General
Khazar History
The Khazars Convert To Judaism
The Khazars conquer Hungary, Poland, and Austria
The Khazars and the Vikings
The Physical Appearance of the Khazars
The Khazars and Israel
Havila east of the Caspian , the Anglo-Saxons, and Frisians
The Khazars and Scandinavia
The Ruling House of Khazaria Descended from King David!
The Israelite Origins of the Khazars
The Book:"The KHAZARS. Tribe 13"

Research, Recognition, Reconciliation


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New Book: "The Khazars.
Tribe 13


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The Khazars were a powerful people who once ruled over portions of Russia and Eastern Europe. They (or at least many of their leaders), converted to Judaism and were eventually defeated and disappeared. Their descendants were either assimilated amongst the Jews or became Sabbath-keeping and other “divergent” Christians, many (if not most), of whom, migrated to the west and to North America. Other descendants of the Khazars may be scattered throughout the former area of the U.S.S.R. and in different parts of Europe. A knowledge of the Khazars is useful for several reasons. Evidence exists that the Khazars were descended from the Lost Tribes of Israel. There is also proof that they were related to peoples in Western Europe. It follows that evidence connecting the ancestors of some West European groups to Israel is strengthened when cognizance is taken of the Israelite ancestry of their Khazar brothers.

The Khazars and Anti-Semites

Juif Another reason for studying the Khazars is that anti-Semites, and some Assimilationist Jews, claim that the present-day "Ashkenazi" (European) Jewish people came from the Khazars, who they assume were non-Israelite. Anti-Semites use this notion of the Khazars to allege that the Jews are impostors and not true descendants of Israel. Some “Identity” groups also make this allegation. So do the Arabs and other anti-Semites. In the past some Assimilationist Jews used the Khazar idea to claim that since their ancestors were not in Judah at a certain time therefore they were not culpable for whatever the Jews may or may not have done to the Christian Messiah. The background for some of these ideas also concerns the Karaites of Russia. 

Map taken from Koestler, "The Thirteenth Tribe"

The Khazars and Karaites

          The Khazars ruled over many peoples some of whom were also influenced by Hebraising tendencies. In Judaism at that time there were two main streams. There were Rabbinical Jews who parallel the Orthodox Jews of today and who believed in the Bible and in its interpretation according to Oral Tradition. The Oral tradition is justified by the Bible (Deuteronomy ch.17) that commands us (on pain of death) to obey the Sages when in doubt. The Orthodox in their decision were homogeneous (and still are), and consistent in their basic beliefs and practices. They usually managed to reach a consensus regarding the practical application of Biblical injunctions.  Another group were the Karaites who claimed to believe only in Scripture. The Karaites, however, were actually eclectic and widely divergent amongst themselves in their interpretation of Scripture. The Karaite movement in the modern sense may have begun in the region of present-day Iraq but its roots can be traced back to the Samaritans and to the Sadducees and to other sects of former times. Amongst the numerous groups subject to the Khazars were Tartars and Turkish elements and some of these accepted the Karaite form of religion. [IT SHOULD HOWEVER BE REMEMBERED THAT THE JEWISH KHAZARS WERE THEMSELVES ADHERENTS OF THE RABBINICAL FORM.] The Karaites of Russia freely intermarried with the Tartars and spoke a Tartar dialect. Groups of Karaites were found in Lithuania, Southern Russia, the Crimea, and at one stage even in Germany. Under the Czars the Jews were persecuted and the Karaites naturally wished to be exempt from anti-Jewish discrimination. They, therefore, claimed to be descended from the Lost Ten Tribes or from the Khazars. At all events as not related to the Judaeans and as such could not be held responsible for the crucifixion. 

Crimean Tombstones and the
Lost Ten Tribes

           In the Crimea of Southern Russia certain tombstones, etc., were fabricated by a wealthy Karaite scholar named Abraham Firkovitch (1786-1874). These tombstones bear the names of people stating that they are descended from Tribes of Israel exiled by Assyria. Firkovitch claimed that this was evidence that the Karaites in the Crimea had been there before the Jew and were not related to them. Several leading authorities were misled by this evidence and there were those who perhaps wanted to be misled in order to help the Karaites out of their predicament. By agreeing that the Karaites were descended from the Lost Ten Tribes, or from the Khazars, they were helping the Karaites claim that they were not related to the Jews and therefore should not be persecuted as Jews. It worked. The Karaites were exempted by Russian authorities from restrictive measures taken against Jews. [Some sections of the Lost Ten Tribes really had once been in the Crimea and in other areas of southern and eastern Russia. Not all the evidence produced by Firkovitch was necessarily false. The case is still under consideration.] Karaite figures, both under the Russians and under Hitler, strove to prove that they were not racially of Jewish, or Israelite, origin. Some of them were actively anti-Semitic. TO BE CONSIDERED AN ISRAELITE OF WHATEVER TYPE CAN BE DANGEROUS!! In some accounts of the Khazars it is assumed that the Karaites descend from them. This assumption is mistaken and misleading.

Biblical Attitude Toward
Converts in General

           Regarding conversion or simply the genuine acceptance of membership in the Israelite community, Scripture has already spoken, “Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 22:20).
“One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD (Numbers 15:15).
          “And it shall come to pass, that ye shall divide it by lot for an inheritance unto you, and to the strangers that sojourn amongst you, which shall beget children among you: and they shall be unto you as born in the country among the children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel (Ezekiel 47:22).

Map taken from Davidiy, "The Khazars. Tribe 13"
Map designed by Estelle Schutte

Khazar History

          Traditional Jewish and Armenian sources as well as a linguistic study (Baschmakoff, Paris 1937), based on place-names indicated that the Khazars could be connected to Adiabene and its area in the region of Northern Mesopotamia, i.e. to an area to which part of the Lost Ten Tribes had been exiled in 730-720 BCE.
           Arab chroniclers record the Khazars as having been east of the Caspian Sea in the time of Alexander the Great (Dunlop). They also were said to have invaded Armenia in ca.197-217 CE and to have been subjected by the Armenians (Moses of Chorene). The Khazars assisted the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate in 363 CE and managed to conquer Armenia with their ships dominating the Caspian Sea. The Caspian Sea was formerly known as “The Khazar Sea”. The Khazars were also known as “Gazari” and as “Akatzyri” and “Agathyrsoi”. In the past under the name Agathyrsoi they had been variously reported of in Thrace (south-east Europe), in the Pontus (north-east Turkey), in Poland, and towards the far north-eastern edge of the Baltic Sea shore. Servius on Virgil and Scottish sources said that the Picts of Scotland were descended from a portion of the Agathyrsoi who crossed the sea and conquered North Scotland. One branch of the Khazars were known as Sabirs. A group of “Sabarium” together with “Carnutum” had served in Gaul as Roman mercenaries. These have been ascribed both Anglo-Saxon and Central Asian origins (Altheim, GDH vol.1, p.209 ff, vol.4 p.108 ff). They used the runic “Ing” letter as their emblem. This sign is usually associated with the Angles and is of Scandinavian origin.

Map taken from Davidiy, "The Khazars. Tribe 13"
Map designed by Estelle Schutte

           In the period 350-450 CE, the Huns from the area of Mongolia advanced westward conquering other peoples and forcing them to join their forces or flee before them. The Huns swept into Europe. The Anglo-Saxon and related invasions of Britain in the 450s are connected with the Huns aggression. Attila the Hun in ca. 434 CE made the Akartziri (Khazars) his tributaries and appointed his first-born son, Ellac, as king over them. The Akatziri (Khazars), fought as Hun auxiliaries alongside the Black Huns and Alans in Gaul. Upon Attila’s death they returned to the Caucasus area.
           Central Asian and Scythian history can be confusing since there were many different groups, each of which often had several names. The names of one group were sometimes interchanged with that of another due to conquest or assimilation or one group taking over the former territory or status of the other.
          Another portion of the Khazars were the White Ugrians whom the Chinese described as tall, white-skinned, and green-eyed (McGovern p.472). The White Ugrians had been in that part of Scythia once ascribed to the “Hugie” who were in effect the Franks who later settled in France. The White Ugrians ruled over a mixed Turkish and Mongolian group known as the “Black” Ugrians. Another people once confederated with the Khazars were the White Huns who were also known as “Nephtali” and descended from the Naphtali Tribe of Israel. With the break-up of the Hun Empire remnants of the Huns in the east were absorbed by the “Turkish(?)” Juan-juan who became known as the Avars. The name “Avar” or “Abar” had originally been one of the names of the Naphtalite Huns but somehow it became applicable to the Juan-juan who ruled over them.
           As stated, a people in East Scythia known as the Juan-juan had once dominated the Khazars, White Ugrians, and Naphtalite Huns who revolted. In the course of this revolt most of the Naphtalites moved westward eventually reaching Scandinavia and settling in Norway. In the meanwhile the Khazars and White Ugrians defeated the Juan-juan (“Avars”) killing most of them. The remaining Avars were accepted as leaders by the Black Ugrians who previously had been “White Ugrian” vassals. The Black Ugrians henceforth took the name “Avar” upon themselves and migrated to Central Europe, where during the period 550-769 CE, they dominated Hungary, parts of Austria, and parts of Germany. Their kingdom was destroyed by the Frankish Emperor Charlemagne.
          Prior to 582 CE the Bulgars in eastern Scythia had been subject to a branch of the Khazars. They moved to the Volga-Ural region and also to the area of modern Bulgaria. In both places the Khazars were suzerain over them at some stage or other.

The Khazars Convert To Judaism

          The Russian-Jewish scholar, Abraham Harcavy (Vilna, 1867), believed that the Khazars had converted to Judaism in about 620 CE.  Other authorities put this event more than a hundred years later. The conversion at first was more or less a secret and was confined to the king and his co-ruling associate prince and to the inner aristocracy. Later most of the Khazars-proper appear to have converted along with some of the Alans and some of the other subject peoples, most of whom however remained pagan, Christian, or Moslem. The conversion was also done in stages (Polak).  At first they accepted a kind of monotheism with Hebraic-type ceremonies. Later they accepted full-fledged Rabbinical Orthodoxy. The first Khazar king to accept Judaism was named Bulan whose name means “unicorn” or “elk” (Altheim, GDH vol.1 p.239). The unicorn was an emblem known from the Sakae region east of the Caspian Sea. The conversion of the Khazars to Judaism was preceded by a Disputation amongst members of different religions. The Jewish poet and philosopher Yehuda HaLevi (1074-1141, Spain) wrote a Classical work in defence of Judaism using this Disputation as a framework. The book is called “The Kuzari”.

The Khazars conquer Hungary,
Poland, and Austria

          In 862 the Khazars conquered Kiev on the Dneiper River. They may even have been the original founders of Kiev. The Khazars also ruled over the Magyar people who at that time appeared in southern Russia. In about 869 a group of Khazars called "Chabars" rebelled against the main body and led their Magyar subjects westward to Hungary where they settled. The Khazars pursued them and subdued them in their new land. The Magyars of Hungary dominated Hungary up to 955 CE. Austrian tradition related that Austria was once ruled by a line of Jewish kings followed by a line of pagan ones, then came Christianity. The time given for these kings (707 bce -227 ce), actually coincides roughly with the period of Celtic dominance in the area and is discussed in the book “Origin” by Yair Davidiy (2002). The names however of these mythical Jewish kings are non-Hebraic. The first of them is described by the Chronicle as a local convert to Judaism. It has therefore been suggested (by Koestler) that Khazar control over the Magyars was responsible for this legend or at least for certain details of it. We would suggest that the bare structure of the legend has an historical basis and is connected with the Celts while some of the subsidiary details (such as the names, etc) were influenced by direct, or indirect, Khazar influence in the area. The two historical sources may have conflated into one.
           A Polish legend says that the Khazars conquered Poland and were led by an “Abraham Pey”. Another legend says that Poland was once ruled by a Jewish king called Abraham Pierkovnik (Polak p.187). The two figures, named Abraham “Pey” or “Pierkovnok” are apparently one and the same. A portion of the Agathyrsi (Khazars) were once in Poland and the said legends may be connected with them. 

The Khazars and the Vikings

           Around the 700s Viking “Varangians” began to penetrate the interior of Russia. The Varangians were mainly Swedish, though the term (in Russian Chronicles) could also be used to encompass anybody from Scandinavia, as well as Englishmen (E.B. 1955, “Russia”, Vernadsky). Varangians were confederated with the Khazars and may have been the Khazar entity referred to as the Varach’an (Warathan) Huns. The Varangians were variously referred to as “Varegos”, “Barragos”, and “Variag” (Polak p.187, Koestler p.147, Minorsky p.432).  Their name may be derived from the Hebrew “Beriah” [pronounceable as “Veri-a-g”], which name was given to a son of Asher (Genesis 46;17), a son of Ephraim (1-Chronicles 7;23), and a son of Benjamin(1-Chronicles 8;16).
          In ca.800 CE a group of Varangians appeared at the Byzantium court. They called their king “Chakan”. These varangians had orignally come from Sweden and apparently were subjects of the King of Khazaria (ARNE, T. J., Davidiy, "The Khazars. Tribe 13").  The title “Chakan”, or “Cagan”, was originally the Hebrew “COHEN” and means “priest” or “officiate”. [In the Ukraine today the western "h" is still pronounced like a "g"]. More information concerning the Khazars comes from a letter sent some time between 954-961 to Ibn Hasdai who was the Jewish physician and foreign minister to the muslim king of Cordoba in Spain. The letter is from a King Joseph of Khazaria. There are two versions of this letter but both contain important information from early sources. From the letter(s) we learn that: King Joseph was the 13th king of Khazaria; Previously, in the time of the 11th monarch, King Benjamin, all the surrounding kings had been at war against the Khazars except for the King of the Cossacks and the King of the Alans.
          By “King of the Cossacks”, the Don Cossacks are intended. The Don Cossacks were a mixed people amongst whom in historical times were a few isolated families who practiced Judaic customs and some of whom converted to Judaism. These individuals had the notion that they were descended from Dan, son of Israel, after whom the Don River was named (Casdoi). This only applies to a few isolated families amongst the Don Cossacks who on the whole have always been anti-Semitic. The Alans were a people who had lived to the north of the Caspian Sea then moved to the Caucasus area and north of it. Previously in the time of Attila, and before then (i.e. in the 400s CE), a section of the Alans had gone westward. They settled in areas of Gaul, especially in Brittany, and may have inluenced Norman military tactics (Bachrach). There were also groups of Alans amongst the Allemans in Alsace and in Suebia. In addition, the name “Alan” is found in Scotland both as a personal name and as the name of a Tribe in the north. In “The Tribes” the Alans are traced to Elon son of Zebulon.
          The letter continues to relate that the Alan monarch marched against the enemies of the Khazars and routed them. The King of the Alans had rendered assistance since “some of them observed the Torah of the Jews”. King Joseph of Khazaria himself was married to a daughter of the Alan ruler. Bar Hebraeus reported that the Khazars came from the east and settled in “the country of the Alans now called Barsalia” meaning an area on the northern shores of the Black Sea.
          The Khazars proper were a small group who obtained a loose uncertain control over many other nations. The Khazar power was probably always in frequent fluctuation. The Varangians established themselves in and around Kiev where they ruled over the natives. The local inhabitants said that Kiev had been founded by Ku and two of his brothers. These were foreigners (kinsmen of the Khazars), and ruled over the Polanians. The Polonian natives of Kiev told the Varangians that originally “there were three brothers...they built this town and perished. We are sitting [here] and pay tribute to their kinsmen the Khazars.....”  This is interesting since originally Kiev had been known as Sambat as reported by the Emperor of Byzantium, Constantine Porphyrogenitus, who lived at the time and had contact with the Khazars. The term "Sambat" means "Sabbath" and in Rabbinical Tradition via the form "Sambation" is linked to the Lost Ten Tribes. The people of Asgard (from whom descended many of the Scandinavians) had lived in this area. The Varangians at first acknowledged Khazar suzerainty and as mentioned it seems that the Khazar “Huns of Warathan” were Varangian. The Varangians were either also known as the Rus or the Rus were another group whom the Varangians absorbed and who became identified with them. In ca. 912-913 the Varangian Rus with Khazar connivance attacked Muslim and Christian settlements on the shores of the Black sea. When the Varangians were returning from their raids they were attacked by a band of 150,000 non-Khazar muslim and Christian subjects of the Khazar king. The attackers were acting against the will of the Khazar ruler who tried to stop them and sent a message to warn the Varangians against them. The Varangians lost 30,000 men in this encounter which meant the loss of 2/3 of their forces. This incident is symptomatic of the Khazars weakening position. Their kingdom had begun to disintegrate and they were overly dependent on Christian and Muslim mercenaries. Their subjects were asserting themselves. The Khazars were perhaps too liberally-disposed for that age and region. In the meantime amongst the Varangians of Kiev Christianity had been spreading. The Varangians were intermarrying with the Slavs and Slavonic elements were entering Varangian ranks as equals.
          Abraham Polak was a foremost scholar of Khazar history. He wrote an authoritative work ("Khazaria", in Hebrew, Tel Aviv, 1951) about them and considered them in part an offshoot of the Goths. This is supported by archaeological findings. The Khazar center of Itil on the Volga via the Goths who had preceded them inherited the Orenburg Culture which was derived from Assyrian and Iranian sources (ROSTOVTZEFF, M. 1922). According to Polak the Scandinavian element amongst the Varangians was basically pro-Khazar, whereas the Slavonic one was not. The more Christian and Slavonicised the Varangians became the more distance they kept from Khazar alliance. Saksin (Itil) one of the Khazar capitals was attacked by the Varangian-Rus in 962-963 and again by the Turks in 965. After these attacks the steppes became dominated by Turks and Mongolians. Khazaria was never the same after the Rus and Turkish attacks but some degree of partial recovery may have been achieved. Rubruques in the 1200s mentioned a “Civitas Saxorum” (i.e. City of the Saxons), and is presumed to be referring to the Khazar capital of Saksin (Itil). A German record says that in 1410 the Prince of Lithuania attacked lands by the Caspian Sea, “In the place where, as it is known, live the Red Jews”. The expression “Red Jews” is a term employed by medieval Jews and applied to the Lost Tribes of Israel with whom the Khazars appear to have been identified.

The Physical Appearance of the Khazars

          Three different types of Khazar are described by Arab writers who, through trade and diplomacy, had had direct contact with them. The Arab Geographer Istakhri (Koestler p.20) said: “The Khazars do not resemble the Turks. They are black-haired and of two kinds, one called the Kara [i.e. “Black”] - Khazars who are swarthy verging on deep black as if they were a kind of Hindu, and a white kind [Ak-Khazars], who are strikingly handsome”. Note the above description says that both kinds of Khazars had black hair though regarding countenance, etc. one was white and the other very dark.
         Al Maghribi said: “As to the Khazars, they are to the north of the inhabited earth towards the 7th clime, having over their heads the constellation of the plough. Their land is cold and wet, their eyes blue, their hair flowing and predominantly reddish, their bodies large and their natures cold. Their general aspect is wild”. Al-Maghribi is here apparently speaking of another section of the Khazars who lived more to the north. These had “predominantly reddish” hair and blue eyes. It was remarked above that the Khazar White Ugrians were described by the Chinese as red-haired, pale-skinned,and green-eyed. The Tartars of the Crimea nicknamed someone with red-hair "Cusa" meaning Khazar (Polak).
         The Alans who were closely associated with the Khazars were described by the Roman historian Ammianus Marcelinus as being blonde-haired like all the Scythians according to him. Ammianus includes the Agathysoi (Khazars) amongst the Alans. Other sources describe the Khazars as overwhelmingly of European type. From the above it follows that different Khazar and Khazar-linked groups were of different types.

The Khazars and Israel

          A letter from a Khazar subject (known in academic circles as the "Schechter Text" relates a tradition that they were descended from the Tribe of Simeon. Eldad HaDani (ca.850 CE), wrote that they came from Simeon and Menasseh. Other Jewish sources (e.g. Chronicle of Yerachmeel) mention the Tribes of Ephraim and Judah or of Nephtali and Dan though usually it is Simeon and Menasseh. The Cochin Scroll also says that the Khazars were descended from Simeon and Menasseh. At the peak of their history the Khazars controlled the area of the Don and Danaper Rivers and these rivers were referred to in Khazar times as “Sambation” and as “River of Sabt (i.e. “Shabat”), and in Jewish legend both terms are connected with the Lost Ten Tribes. Archaeological evidence has found Greek inscriptions bearing the name Sambation from the Don River region and dating from the pre-Christian era (Yair Davidiy, The Khazars. Tribe 13). The Khazars had emerged from areas to which the Lost Ten Tribes were exiled or had moved to after their exile. The Khazars were related to other groups for whom independent proofs show an Israelite origin and so what is pertinent to them is pertinent also to the Khazars and vice-versa. The Khazars were linked especially with the Tribes of Simeon and Menasseh. They were identical with the Agathyrsi-proper who derived from the Clan of "Jeezer" son of Gilead son of Menasseh (Numbers 26:30). The name transliterated as "Jeezerites" ("Ha-iy-ez-ri" in Hebrew), was probably pronounceable in Ancient Israel as "Ay-(g)a-zar", and the Agathyrsi were also known as "Acatzari", Khazari, and Gazari. This name was influenced by local pronounciation of the term "Caesar", the Khazars being considered the people of the Kagan who under Byzantine influence was referred to as Caesar just as the Ruler of the Russians was later called "Czar" (Polak). Those of the Agathyrsi (Acatzari), who remained in Scythia, eventually formed the nucleus of the Khazar nation.
The Picts of Scotland also came from the Agathyrsi. Amongst the pre-Christian Picts and Scottish existed a taboo on pig meat and on other unclean animals prohibited by the Mosaic code (MacKenzie, see our article: "The Food Taboos of Old Scotland"). Later in Christian times the tradition existed that "Jews", or a "Type of Jew", had settled in Scotland. Similarly the Khazars, before their conversion, had had some kind of notion that they were of Israelite descent and had had some exposure to Mosaic lore. The "Jeezer" (i.e. "Ay-g-azar" of Gilead) origin of the Picts is consistent with the neighboring Caledonians, (with whom the Picts united), being also descended from Gilead and the very name Caledonian is derived from Gilead. Elements (such as those of Gilead) connected with Menasseh dominated Scotland and the west of Britain. From these areas later came an overwhelming proportion of the early British settlers of North America in its beginnings. 

Havila east of the Caspian, the Anglo-Saxons, and Frisians

          Another name for the Khazars was “Kwalisse”, or rather in Old Russian the terms “Khazar”, “White Ugrian”, “Kwalisse” were synonymous, though these names actually refer to separate parts of the Khazar confederacy. “Kwalisse” is derived from Persian and means “Man of Kwala”. “Kwala” is another name for  the land of Chorasmia which was east of the Caspian. “Kwala”, or Choresmia, in Hebrew writings (such as those of Eldad HaDani) is referred to as “Havila”. In the History of Holland by Jean Francoise Le Petit (1601), “Havila” was possessed by the three brothers Saxo, Frisso, and Bruno who represented the Saxon, Frissian, and Anglian peoples. [These same three brothers in other Frisian legends are said to have come from the Land of Israel and are to be identified with former inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom, see "The Tribes" by Yair Davidiy]. “Havila”, says Le Petit, was in the “East Indies” near the Eumodian Mountains of which the three brothers were made guardians. According to Ptolemy the “Eumodian Mountains” were the Altai Mountain Range or near it. It follows from the above that “Havila” in effect equalled “Kwala” or Chorasmia. Within the region of Chorasmia-Havila Ptolemy recalled the presence of various Scythian peoples who, in “The Tribes”, are traced to Israelite entities. Examples include the Aspassi (Menasseh of Joseph), the Massaei (Menasseh), Machetegi (Maacha in Menasseh), Suobeni (Jospeh), Samnites (Simeon), Zaratae (Zarathites of Simeon), Namastae (Namuel of Simeon), and so on. It will be noticed that the mentioned groups are predominantly from Menasseh, or from Joseph (father of Menasseh), or from Simeon and the Khazars are recorded as belonging to the Tribes of Simeon and Menasseh. Most of the peoples listed by Ptolemy had migrated westward at the time of the Hun invasions of Europe or before then. Nevertheless, remnants evidently stayed behind and these became part of the peoples comprising the Khazar nations. From this region emerged the Parthians, many of whom converted to Judaism and who may be linked with the Khazars. In their own time the Arsacid rulers of Parthia were accredited Israelite origins. An Arab source (Yakut) (Ben-Zvi p.247),  says: “Isaac son of Abraham was the father of Khazar, and Bazar, and Bursul, and Horesm [i.e. Chorasmia-Havila] and Peel”, - all of which peoples appear to have been members of the Khazar confederation.

The Khazars and Scandinavia

          The Persians considered the Khazars a Scythian people. Herodotus (4;2) said that the Agathyrsoi (Khazars) were brothers to the Royal Scythians and Gelones. The Royal Scythians (Scuthae Basiloi) gave their name to Scandinavia which was known as “Basilia” and “Scatanavia” (Pliny N.H. 37;11). A portion of the Khazars were known as “Basilians” and their land, (by the Danaper River Mouth west of the Crimea in a former Royal Scyth region), as “Bartsula”.  "Basil" in Ancient Mesopotamia was a term applied to the area of Bashan east of the Jordan River and to the north. All this region was once part of the territory of the Israelite Tribes of Menasseh, Reuben, and Gad (cf. Deuteronomy 4:43).
         New archaeological findings indicate strongly that Scandinavia was once ruled by the Huns with whom the Khazars were associated. In addition recent findings show the former presence of a colony of Khazars that once existed in Birka in Central Sweden. These Khazars may have been connected to the early Angles and Saxons. Birka in Sweden was also linked with Hedeby. The Baltic port of Hedeby on the north German coast had been a center of the Angles before they moved to Britain. Hedeby was the place were Sheaf Saxnot, the mythical ancestor of the Anglo-Saxons, first arrived at. Sheaf had come from an unknown land in a boat without oars. He taught his people agriculture and the arts of civilization. Geofrey of Monmouth noted the presence of Picts in Scandinavia and he may have been referring to the Khazars who were also known as Agathyrsi and ancestors to part of the Picts. Danish tradition reported of warfare between the Ancient Danes and the Agathyrsi-Khazars. A Swedish scholar has claimed Khazar intermarriages with the Swedish aristocracy in Sweden.

Map taken from Davidiy, "The Khazars. Tribe 13"

Map designed by Estelle Schutte


     The Khazars were once considered ("Jewish Encyclopedia") to have spoken a Finish language as did many Steppe peoples of different origins. There used to exist an opinion that most of the Fins did not enter Finland (from Scythia) until the 700s and 800s CE. Nowadays this notion appears to have been dismissed though there probably is something to it. There may be a connection between the Khazars and the Finish people. The Fins of Finland in the 17th and 18th centuries believed themselves to be descended from the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. The Fins call themselves Suomi (“Shuomi”) which is said to mean “People of the Marshes” or something similar. Nevertheless the name is not dissimilar to that of Simeon (“Shimeon”) in Hebrew, and the Khazars were traditionally descended from Menasseh and Simeon. Existing names are frequently re-interpreted and adapted to fit changing circumstances. The Fins are probably descended from the Iyrcae (or “Turcae”) former neighbours of the Nephtalite Huns. The Iyrcae (White Ugrians) were identified as Khazars in the Russian Chronicle (1100s CE). In our work, “The Tribes” the Finns are traced to the Tribes of Gad, Issachar, and Simeon.

The Ruling House of Khazaria Descended from King David!
       The Arabs reported that the Khazars were ruled by the House of "Ansa" or "Ayshia". This was before their conversion to Judaism. The Parthians and earlier monarchs of Scythia were also ruled by the same lineage.
These names are Arabic variations of the Hebrew "Yishai", as pointed out by Dr. Abraham Polak (1951, p.178).
Yishai in Hebrew is Jesse.
Jesse was the father of David.
"Yishai" (i.e. Jesse) was the father of David (Ruth 4:17) and the expression "Son of Jesse" is a common synonym for David and/or the Lineage of David (e.g. 1-Kings 12:16 2-Chronicles 10:16, 2-Samuel 20:1).

        There were offshoots from the House of David amongst the northern Ten Tribes (as distinct from Judah in the south) even before they were exiled from the Assyrians ("Ephraim. The Gentile Children of Israel"). The rulers of Yadi in southeast Turkey which belonged to Israel at the time had Hebrew names like Gabbar, Bamah, Hayya, Saul. Yadi disappeared together with the northern Ten Tribed Kingdom of Israel. "Yadi" means Judah and was the entity referred to in the Bible:
Hamath was the name of a region as well as a city and here refers to "Yadi".
"Yadi" may well have been ruled over by a minor branch of the Davidic Family.
"Yadi" adjoined and was linked with "Smal" of the Dananu from the Tribe of Dan. The Tribe of Dan had ruled over this area as well as the Isle of Cyprus which the Assyrians called "Ydnna" or "Island of Dan".

inscriptionIn 1994, excavations of Dan of the Galilee led to the finding of an Aramaic inscription was found mentioning a "House of David" in connection with Dan. The inscription is in Aramaean (Syrian) and seems to indicate that this House of David had ruled over Dan shortly before it was attacked.

The Israelite Origins of the Khazars

          We have seen that the “Sambation” was in Khazar territory. The Arabs linked the Khazars with Isaac; and on the whole identified them as "Jews". Their Russian neighbors also referred to the Khazars as "Jews" and their ruler as "King of the Jews". In Gentile terminology all Israelites may be referred to as "Jews". Names of groups in the Khazar area bore Israelite Tribal and clan names; Jewish and Khazar traditions link them with Israel. European references to the Kingdom of the Khazars referred to them as Red (i.e. red-haired) Jews and identified them with the Lost Ten Tribes. The Khazars had familial links with peoples who moved to Western Europe and whom other proofs show to have been of Israelite descent. Also indicative of Hebrew ancestry is the fact that they converted to Judaism despite the hostility expressed to this religion by other peoples in the region. Their conversion was an outcome of already existing traditions of Israelite ancestry and former adherence to the Mosaic Faith.

              The Khazars were mainly the descendants of Jews and of Israelites from the Lost Ten Tribes. We have evidence for this belief.  There were numerous Rabbanical Jews who fled to the Land of the Khazars and settled there. The Land of the Khazars relatively speaking was close to and connected by trade and culture to the former region of Babylonia which had remained a center of Jewish population ever since the time of Nebuchadnezzar. With the Muslim conquest of Mesopotamia, persecutions of the Jews in Byzantium, and general change of circumstances much of Babylonian Jewry moved into the Khazar region.

        It has been claimed that many European Jews are descended from Khazars - this may be, but it has not been proven. If it were so it would strengthen our position rather than weaken it. HOWEVER there is NO evidence. NOT that there is evidence that can be dismissed BUT there is none APART, (perhaps) from the names of a few villages in Poland, and the fanciful imaginations of a few dilettantes. The Khazars emerged into history at a time when Turkic culture was dominant in their area and at one stage were ruled over by Turkic groups. Jews had many contacts with the Khazars and with Turkic peoples and many Jews had dwelt in both the Khazar Kingdom and in the Turkish Empire. If we were to find traces of the Khazars or Turkic-influences in Jewish culture etc it would not necessarily prove anything since such things can be absorbed by historical contact.


        There are no definite names, no real family traditions that are certain, no customs, no words, not anything at all that can provide us with a firm connection between the European Jews and the Khazars whom some people claim they are descended from.
        A few nineteenth-century Assimilated Hungarian Jews claimed to be descended from Khazars (considered then to be a Magyar Hungarian-type people) because that would make them next-of-kin to their Gentile Hungarian neighbors but they had no proof or not even any real evidence. Being related to the Magyars in the eyes of Hungarian nationalists at the time may have added to national or personal status!
        TSo-called "Identity" People who dedicate energy and time to "proving" (in their minds) that the Jews are Khazars etc are actually enemies of Identity truth. They are knowing or unknowing agents of anti-semitic interests that are also against the "Anglo-Saxon" existence. They are enemies of America and of all that is good. The epithets they are apply to others mostly suit themselves.
        Much Additional EVIDENCE strengthens the case that the Khazars were of Israelite descent in so far as the proofs in question show that the Khazars really did consider themselves on the whole to be of Israelite origin and so were regarded by most Jewish authorities who were familiar with them as well as the testimony of their neighbors. The evidence in question consists of Hebraic sources and much historical evidence some of which has not previously been available in English. There are also new findings now available in the religious, archaeological, mythological, and linguistic fields. This is presented in a new book by Yair Davidiy, "The Khazars. Tribe 13".

"The Khazars. Tribe 13" is discussed in the following articles:
The Book:
"The Khazars. Tribe 13"
"Chapter Outlines: The Khazars. Tribe 13

To Hear a Talk giving an outline of our new book,
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"The Khazars. Tribe 13" discusses the information provided above in more detail together with much much more. This work consists of 416 pages of valuable and highly interesting information.
The Khazars came from four different regions, and were known as Hebrews and as Israelites. The ancestral heroes of the Scandinavian and of the Anglo-Saxons were Khazars. Khazar settlements existed in Scandinavia and in Scotland.
The Khazars were a great but unappreciated people.
For more details, go to:
"The Khazars. Tribe 13"

God bless you, O Seekers of the Truth, Yair Davidiy

See Also the following Brit-Am articles:
"The Khazars. Tribe 13"
"Chapter Outlines: The Khazars. Tribe 13
Brit-Am Answers to Queries: Khazars
Edward (Ephraim) Hirsch: "The Khazars are coming"

Altheim, Franz. “Geschichte Der Hunnen”, Berlin 1962.
ARNE, T. J. "La Suede et L'Orient", Upsal, 1914.
Articles in Encyclopedia Brittanica, Encyclopedia Judaica, Universal Jewish
Encyclopedia, The Jewish Encyclopedia,
Bachrach, B.S. “A History of the Alans in the West”, U.S.A., 1973
Baschmakoff, A. “Cinquante Siecles D’Evolution Ethnique Autour de la Mer Noir”,  Paris 1937
Ben-Zvi, Isaac. “The Exiled and the Redeemed”, London, 1958.
Boba, Imre “Nomads, Northmen and Slavs. Eastern Europe in the Ninth Century”, 1967, The Hague.
Casdoi, Zvi. “The Tribes of Jacob and the Preserved of Israel” (Hebrew), Haifa, 1926
Casdoi, Zvi. “HaMitYahadim” (Hebrew), Haifa, 1928
Davidiy, Yair. “The Tribes”, “Ephraim”, “Lost Israelite Identity”,"The Khazars. Tribe 13".
Dunlop, D.M. “The History of the Jewish Khazars”, New Jersey, U.S.A., 1951.
Golden, Peter B. “Khazar Studies”, Budapest, 1980
Henning, W.B. “A Farewell to the Khazars of the Aq-Aqataran”, BSOAS, 1952, pp.501ff
McGovern, W. MacKenzie, Donald A.. “Scottish Folk-Lore  and Folk-Life. Studies in Race, Culture, and Tradition”, U.K., 1935.
Minorsky, V. “Hudud al-Alam”. “The Regions of the World”, A  Persian Geography 372 A.H. -982 A.d. Translated and Explained by V. Minorsky, edited by CE Bosworth, London, 1970.
Montgomery, “The Early Empires of Central Asia”, New York, 1939.
Koestler,  Arthur. “The Thirteenth Tribe. The Khazar Empire and Its Heritage”, New York, 1967.
Polak, Abraham. “Kazaria” (Hebrew), Tel-Aviv, Israel, 1951.
ROSTOVTZEFF, M. "Iranians and Greeks in South Russia", Oxford 1922.
Vernadsky, George. “The Origins of Russia”, 1959, Oxford, U.K.
Vernadsky, George. “Ancient Russia”, Yale, U.S.A., 1943.
See also the Bibliography in Davidiy, Yair. "The Khazars. Tribe 13", Jerusalem, Israel, 2008.


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