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Some observations on the economy of the Khazar Khaganate

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Chapter Summary

When the Khazar economy has been examined, scholars tend to focus upon Khazaria's role as an intermediary in the great Viking-age trade of the Islamic world with northern Russia and the Baltic. This chapter demonstrates that the economy of Khazaria was far from artificial. The term "economy of Khazaria" is employed rather than the more traditional "Khazar economy" in order to emphasize the fact that the economy of the khaganate encompassed the economies of all the dependent peoples and was not confined to just that of the dominant Khazars. It also demonstrates that the Khazar khaganate had a diversified mixture of pastoralism, agriculture, foraging, and craft production. No single survival strategy dominated Khazaria. Rather, the strength and durability of the khaganate can be attributed to its diversified economic base. The chapter discusses several selected regions and analyses some key aspects of Khazaria's foreign trade.

Keywords: diversified economic base; foreign trade; Islamic world; Khazar economy; Khazar Khaganate; pastoralism; Viking-age trade



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