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Chapter Summary

The Khazar Empire (ca. 650-ca. 965-969), one of the largest states of medieval Eurasia, extended from the Middle Volga lands in north to the Northern Caucasus and Crimea in the south and from the Ukrainians steppe lands in west to the western borders of present day Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in the east. Khazaria became one of the great trans-Eurasian trading terminals connecting the northern forest zones with Byzantium and the Islamic Caliphate. Courted by both Byzantium and the Islamic Caliphate, the Khazars, in the ninth century, converted to Judaism. After it was overrun by the Rus' and their Turko-nomadic allies, this once powerful Eurasian empire rapidly faded. Nonetheless, numerous fundamental questions regarding the Khazars, their language, history and culture, remain unanswered or in dispute. This is the introductory chapter of the book, which sheds light on this important empire that was so central to the history of its era.

Keywords: Byzantium; Eurasian empire; Islamic Caliphate; Judaism; Khazar Empire



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