Old Turkic Titles in the Period before the Turkic Qaghanate

The time of occurrence on the historical arena of Old Turkic titles and terms, as well as their registration in written sources, is one of the most topical problems, not only of the history of the Turkic Qaghanate (552–744 AD), but also of all the Turkic peoples. As it is known in Chinese chronicles “Shi Ji” and “Han Shu” in connection with the state union of Xiong-nu (Asian Huns, Hsiung-nu) there were recorded titles and terms related to the 2nd century BC, many of which had been interpreted by scholars on the Old Turkic basis.

However, the circle of supporters of this viewpoint is not so wide. This is largely due to insufficient reasoning adduced by some scholars on this subject, as well as owing to the discussion still ongoing in scientific circles about the linguistic affiliation of Xiong-nu. Some scholars also interpret on the basis of the Old Turkic language the names (more exactly, the titles and epithets) of the Huns and other tribal organizations related to them by the common origin, recorded in Byzantine and Western European (Latin-language) sources from the 5th and 6th centuries BC. At the same time, in relation to this point of view, we can observe a relation similar to the abovementioned. A similar trend is observed for the names and titles of the rulers of Xian-bi and Ruan-Ruan (Avars) mentioned in the Chinese chronicles. Lack of detailed data in the abovementioned sources and one-sided approaches in solving this problem became the main obstacle to the fact that the point of view of the Turkic origin of titles, which were used in the state associations of the Xiong-nu (Asian Huns), Huns, Xian-bi and other ethnic groups in the era before the Turkic Qaghanate, had not been taken seriously by scholars, in particular, by Western researchers. Thus, the only point of dominant view in the scientific community was the opinion that the Old Turkic titles appeared on the historical scene particularly in the period of the Turkic Qaghanate.

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