Friday, September 26, 2008

Lost Capital of Khazars Believed Found

Aerial view of the citadel of Itil, a Silk Road city that served as the Khazar capital, about 800 miles south of Moscow.

(Text below excerpted from AP article) 

A Russian archaeologist says he has found the lost capital of the Khazars, a powerful nation that adopted Judaism as its official religion more than 1,000 years ago, only to disappear leaving little trace of its culture.

The Khazars were a Turkic tribe that roamed the steppes from Northern China to the Black Sea. Between the 7th and 10th centuries they conquered huge swaths of what is now southern Russia and Ukraine, the Caucasus Mountains and Central Asia as far as the Aral Sea.

Dmitry Vasilyev, a professor at Astrakhan State University, said his nine-year excavation near the Caspian Sea has finally unearthed the foundations of a triangular fortress of flamed brick, along with modest yurt-shaped dwellings, and he believes these are part of what was once Itil, the Khazar capital.

Itil, about 800 miles south of Moscow, had a population of up to 60,000 and occupied 0.8 square miles of marshy plains southwest of the Russian Caspian Sea port of Astrakhan, Vasilyev said. "The discovery of the capital of Eastern Europe's first feudal state is of great significance," he told The Associated Press. "We should view it as part of Russian history."

Adopting Judaism for Neutrality

The Khazars' ruling dynasty and nobility converted to Judaism sometime in the 8th or 9th centuries. Vasilyev said the limited number of Jewish religious artifacts such as mezuzas and Stars of David found at other Khazar sites prove that ordinary Khazars preferred traditional beliefs such as shamanism, or newly introduced religions including Islam.

Yevgeny Satanovsky, director of the Middle Eastern Institute in Moscow, said he believes the Khazar elite chose Judaism out of political expediency — to remain independent of neighboring Muslim and Christian states. "They embraced Judaism because they wanted to remain neutral, like Switzerland these days," he said.

Stalin Restricted Study

The study of the Khazar empire was discouraged in the Soviet Union. The dictator Josef Stalin, in particular, detested the idea that a Jewish empire had come before Russia's own. He ordered references to Khazar history removed from textbooks because they "disproved his theory of Russian statehood," Satanovsky said.

Only now are Russian scholars free to explore Khazar culture. The Itil excavations have been sponsored by the Russian-Jewish Congress, a nonprofit organization that supports cultural projects in Russia.

"Khazar studies are just beginning," Satanovsky said.

Click here for the complete Associated Press article.

Excavation of this 11th or 12th Century house in Itil shows the hard-burnt bricks that were restricted to use in the elusive Khazar capital.


ludmil said...

There is a lot anemosities going way back between russian people and jews.The jews were in between rock and hard place in every war or social unrest.They were segregated and were frequently targeted in so call"pogroms".No one can explain this dark under current that run deep in the russian culture than Dr.Peter David Beter/1921-1987 who was an American attorney,political figure and autor with higly controversial claims.He released a series of 80 audio neswsletter tapes between 1975-1982.He was a "Conspirasy obsessed person",but there is always "grain of truth" in those off the wall claims.Here is the transcript of the audio tape regarding the subject of Greg,s posting.You decide what is credible,what is not.

Dr.Peter David Beter The Khazars

The kingdom of the Khazars vanished from the map of the world many centuries ago. Today many people have never even heard of it yet in its day the Khazar kingdom [Khazaria] was a very major power, indeed holding sway over a large empire of subjugated peoples. It had to be reckoned with by the two neighbouring superpowers of that day. To the south and west of Khazaria the Byzantine Empire was in full flower with its Eastern Orthodox Christian civilisation. To the south-east, the Khazar kingdom bordered on the expanding Moslem Empire of the Arab Caliphs. The Khazar's influenced the histories of both of these empires but, far more importantly, the Khazar kingdom occupied what was later to become a southern portion of Russia between the Black and Caspian Seas. As a result, the historical destinies of the Russians and the Khazars became intertwined in ways which have persisted down to the present day.

In case you have never heard of the Khazars, I think I should mention where you can look to learn more about them. In 1976 a book about the Khazars was published by the British writer [a Jew] Arthur Koestler. The book is titled, The thirteenth tribe - The Khazar Empire And Its Heritage. The American publisher is Random House, New York.

History records that the Khazars were derived from a mixture of Mongols, Turks and Fins. As early as the 3rd Century AD, they were identifiable in constant warfare in the areas of Persia and Armenia. Later, in the 5th Century, the Khazars were among the devastating hordes of Attila, the Hun. Around 550 AD, the nomadic Khazars began settling themselves in the area around the northem Caucasus between the Black and Caspian Seas. The Khazar's capital of Itil was established at the mouth of the Volga River where it emptied into the Caspian Sea, in order to control the river traffic. The Khazars then exacted a toll of 10% on any and all cargo which passed Itil on the river. Those who refused were attacked and slaughtered.

With the kingdom finally established in the Caucasus, the Khazars gradually began to create an empire of subjugated peoples. More and more Slavonic tribes, who were peaceful compared with the Khazars, were attacked and conquered. They became part of the Khazar Empire, required to pay tribute continually to the Khazar Kingdom. Tribute by conquered peoples has always been a feature of empires, of course, but not in the fashion of the Khazars. The so-called great empires of the world always gave something in return for the taxes they extracted. Rome, for example, made citizens of those they conquered; and in return for the taxes they levied, they brought civilisation, order and protection against attack from would-be invaders.

But not so in the Khazar Empire. The people who were subject to the Khazars received only one thing in return for their payments of tribute, and that was a shaky promise - the Khazars would refrain from further attacks and pillage so long as the tributes were paid. Therefore, the subjects of the Khazar Empire were nothing more than the victims of the giant protection racket. The Khazar overlords were therefore resented universally and bitterly throughout their domain, but they were also feared because of the merciless way in which they dealt with anyone who stood up to them. And so the Khazar Empire expanded northward to Kiev [Kiev now the capital of UKRAINE, on the Dnieper River. It is Ukraine's largest city and a major port. One of the oldest European cities, it was a commercial centre as early as the 5th century, and became the capital of KIEVAN RUSSIA in the 9th century and westward to include Magyars, the ancestors of modern Hungary.

In about 740AD, a stunning event took place. The Khazars had been under continual pressure from their Byzantine and Moslem neighbours to adopt Christianity or Islam, but the Khazar ruler, called the Khakan, had heard of a third religion called JUDAISM. Apparently for political reasons of independence, the Khakan announced that the Khazars were adopting Judaism as their religion. Overnight an entirely new group of people, the warlike Khazars, suddenly proclaimed themselves Jews - adoptive Jews. The Khazar kingdom began to be described as the 'Kingdom of the Jews' by historians of the day. Succeeding Khazar rulers took Jewish names, and during the late 9th Century the Khazar kingdom became a haven for Jews of other lands.

Meanwhile the brutal Khazar domination over other peoples continued unchanged. But then a new factor appeared on the scene. During the 8th Century there came coursing down the great rivers - the Dnieper, the Don and the Volga - the eastern branch of the Vikings. They were known as the VARANCIANS, or the RUS. Like other Vikings, the Rus were bold adventurers and fierce fighters, but when they tangled with the Khazars, the Rus often ended up paying tribute like everyone else.

In 862 a Rus leader named Rurik founded the city of Novgorod, and the RUSSIAN NATION was born. The Rus Vikings settled among the Slavonic tribes under Khazar domination, and the struggle between Vikings and Khazars changed in character. It became a struggle by the emerging nation of Russia for independence from Khazar oppression.

Over a century after the founding of Russia's first city, another momentous event took place. Russia's leader, Prince Vladimir of Kiev, accepted baptism as a Christian in the year 989. He actively promoted Christianity in Russia, and his memory is revered by Russians today as 'Saint Vladimir;' and so a thousand years ago Russia's tradition as a Christian nation began.

Vladimir's conversion also brought Russia into alliance with Byzantium. The Byzantine rulers had always feared the Khazars, and the Russians were still struggling to free themselves. And so in the year 1016, combined Russian and Byzantine forces attacked the Khazar kingdom. The Khazar kingdom was shattered, and the kingdom of the Khazars fell into decline. Eventually most of the Khazar Jews migrated to other areas. Many of them wound up in eastern Europe, where they mingled and intermarried with other Jews. Like the Semitic Jews some 1000 years earlier, the Khazar Jews became dispersed. The kingdom of the Khazars was no more.

As the Khazars moved and lived amongst the Jewish people, the Khazar Jews passed on a distinct heritage from generation to generation. One element of the Khazar Jew heritage is a militant form of ZIONISM. In the view of Khazar Jews, the land occupied by ancient Israel is to be retaken - not by a miracle but by armed force. This is what is meant by Zionism today, and this is the force that created the nation which calls itself Israel today. The other major ingredient of the Khazar Jew heritage is hatred for Christianity, and for the Russian people as the champions of the Christian faith. Christianity is viewed as the force that caused the ancient so-called Kingdom of the Jews; the Khazar kingdom [Khazarial] to collapse. Having dominated much of what is present-day Russia, the Khazar Jews still want to re-establish that domination - and for a millennium they have been trying continually to do just that.

In 1917 the Khazar Jews passed a major milestone towards the creation of their own state in Palestine. The same year they also created the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. There followed a Christian holocaust, the likes of which the world has never seen. The Khazar Jews were once again in control of Russia after more than 900 years, and they set about the task of destroying the Russian Christians - over 100-million of them, at the same time over 20-million religious Jews also died at the hands of the Khazar Jews. This is what the Russian Christians were up against in their 60-year struggle to overthrow the atheistic Bolsheviks, but they finally succeeded in their overthrow program, and now the 1000-year-old war between the Russian Christians and the Khazar Jews is reaching a climax.

On August 19, 1979, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum died in New York. He died in the morning, and was buried the same afternoon. Very short notice, and yet 100,000 Jewish men arrived in time for the funeral. It is hard to imagine how many more hundreds of thousands could not arrive on such short notice. A month later, September 18, his followers placed a memorial tribute by way of a paid advertisement in the "New York Times," and clearly it spoke for many Jews. Among other things it said, quote:

"He was the undisputed leader of all Jews everywhere who had not been infected by Zionism;" and also, quote: "With a courage all too rare in our time, he called the Zionist state 'a work of Satan, a sacrilege, and a blasphemy.' The shedding of blood for the sake of the Zionist state was abhorrent to him."

These words were spoken by Orthodox Jews mourning for their fallen leader. And the new Christian rulers of Russia would agree, for they too regard the Zionist state of Israel as a counterfeit, a cruel and dangerous hoax for Christians and Jews alike. The Khazar state called the "Kingdom of the Jews" [Khazaria] a thousand years ago was a parasite, living on the tribute from conquered peoples. Likewise today, Israel depends for its survival on a never-ending flow of support from outside. Left unchecked, the Russians believe that the Khazar Jews will destroy Christianity by means of Zionism; so Russia's Christian rulers are on the offensive against their enemies of a thousand years - the Khazars.

We Americans who call ourselves Christians have not cared enough to open our eyes to try to save our own country, or to defend our faith. So our land has become the battle-ground of the Christian Russians and their deadly enemies - the Bolsheviks and the Zionists. And like it or not we are caught up in this all-out war.

(Source: Dr Peter David Beter's Audio Letter #50. Transcribed by Amber Clark and published in the Wisconsin Report, October 25, 1979).

Gregory LeFever said...

There's an awful lot to digest there, Ludmil. I think your recommendation is a wise one: for people to read it and decide for themselves the accuracy of Dr. Beter's claims.

But whether Dr. Beter is right or wrong in his claims about the Khazars, the Zionists and the situation today, it's clear that the same distrusts, dislikes and even hatreds continue unabated through nearly 2,000 years.