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The khazars’ appearance north-west of the Caspian: When?

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Chapter Summary

As early as 555, the name of Khazars appears to have been known to the anonymous author of the geographical excursus in the Syriac adaptation of Zachariah of Mitylene's Church History. But the Khazar expansion southwards only starts a century later. While the Barsils were subjugated and eventually absorbed by the Khazars, this could be only partly the case of a much stronger part of the Bulgarian horde led by Kubrat's son, Asparukh. According to the long version of the Armenian Geography, Asparukh was defeated by the Khazars. The Byzantino-Khazar collaboration begins very soon after the Khazars appear in the Northern Caucasus and the Pontic steppe. For a century and a half, Byzantium had no closer ally than Khazaria. Then, this special relationship broke down and was transformed into an intense hatred. This hatred was entirely due to the Khazars' religious choice.

Keywords: Armenian Geography; Asparukh; Barsils; Byzantino-Khazar collaboration; Khazars; Zachariah of Mitylene



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