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The Göktürks, Celestial Turks, Blue Turks or Kok Turks (Old Turkic: 𐱅𐰇𐰼𐰰:𐰜𐰇𐰛 Kök Türük Şablon:Zh, Khotanese Saka Ttūrka, Ttrūka,Şablon:Sfn Old Tibetan DruguŞablon:Sfn), were a nomadic confederation of Turkic peoples in medieval Inner Asia. The Göktürks, under the leadership of Bumin Qaghan (d. 552) and his sons, succeeded the Rouran Khaganate as the main power in the region and established the Turkic Khaganate, one of several nomadic dynasties which would shape the future geolocation, culture, and dominant beliefs of Turkic peoples.


Strictly speaking, the common name Göktürk is the Anatolian Turkish form of the ethnonym. The Old Turkic name for the Göktürks was 𐱅𐰇𐰼𐰰 Türük,<ref name="KulteginMC">Kultegin's Memorial Complex, Türik Bitig Orkhon inscriptions</ref><ref name="BilgeKaganMC">Bilge Kagan's Memorial Complex, Türik Bitig</ref> 𐱅𐰇𐰼𐰰:𐰜𐰇𐰛 Kök Türük,<ref name="KulteginMC"/><ref name="BilgeKaganMC"/> or 10px10px10px10px Türk.<ref name="TonyukukMC">Tonyukuk's Memorial Complex, Türik Bitig Bain Tsokto inscriptions</ref> They were known in Middle Chinese historical sources as the tɦutkyatŞablon:Sfn (Şablon:Zh). According to Chinese sources, the meaning of the word Tujue was "combat helmet" (Şablon:Zh), reportedly because the shape of the Altai Mountains where they lived, was similar to a combat helmet.<ref name="Zhou50">Linghu Defen et al., Book of Zhou, Vol. 50. Şablon:Zh icon</ref><ref name="Sui84">Wei Zheng et al., Book of Sui, Vol. 84. Şablon:Zh icon</ref><ref name="Northern99">Li Yanshou (李延寿), History of the Northern Dynasties, Vol. 99. Şablon:Zh icon</ref>

Göktürk means "Celestial Turks",Şablon:Sfn or sometimes "Blue Turks" (i.e. because sky blue is associated with celestial realms). This is consistent with "the cult of heavenly ordained rule" which was a recurrent element of Altaic political culture and as such may have been imbibed by the Göktürks from their predecessors in Mongolia.<ref>Wink 64.</ref> The name of the ruling Ashina clan may derive from the Khotanese Saka term for "deep blue", āššɪna.Şablon:Sfn

The word Türk meant "strong" in Old Turkic.<ref>Şablon:Cite web</ref>


The Göktürk rulers originated from the Ashina clan, who were first attested to 439. The Book of Sui reports that in that year, on October 18, the Tuoba ruler Emperor Taiwu of Northern Wei overthrew Juqu Mujian of the Northern Liang in eastern Gansu,<ref>Wei Shou, Book of Wei, Vol. 4-I. Şablon:Zh icon</ref><ref>Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian, Vol. 123. Şablon:Zh icon</ref><ref>永和七年 (太延五年) 九月丙戌 Academia Sinica Şablon:Zh icon</ref> whence 500 Ashina families fled northwest to the Rouran Khaganate in the vicinity of Gaochang.<ref name="Sui84"/><ref>Christian, p. 249.</ref> Peter Benjamin Golden points out the possibility that the khaghans of the Turkic Khaganate, the Ashina, were themselves originally Indo-Europeans (possibly Iranian peoples) who later adopted the Turkic language but continued to use titles from their earlier Indo-European languages.<ref>Peter B. Golden, An Introduction to the History of the Turkic Peoples, O. Harrassowitz, 1992, p. 121-122</ref> German Turkologist W.-E. Scharlipp points out that many common terms in Turkic are Iranian in origin.<ref>„(...) Über die Ethnogenese dieses Stammes ist viel gerätselt worden. Auffallend ist, dass viele zentrale Begriffe iranischen Ursprungs sind. Dies betrifft fast alle Titel (...). Einige Gelehrte wollen auch die Eigenbezeichnung türk auf einen iranischen Ursprung zurückführen und ihn mit dem Wort „Turan“, der persischen Bezeichnung für das Land jeneseits des Oxus, in Verbindung bringen.“ Wolfgang-Ekkehard Scharlipp in Die frühen Türken in Zentralasien, p. 18</ref>

According to the Book of Zhou and the History of the Northern Dynasties, the Ashina clan was a component of the Xiongnu confederation,<ref name="Zhou50"/><ref name="Northern99"/> but this connection is disputed,<ref name="Christian2">Christian, p. 249</ref> and according to the Book of Sui and the Tongdian, they were "mixed Hu (barbarians)" (Şablon:Linktext) from Pingliang.<ref name="Sui84"/><ref name="Tong197">杜佑, 《通典》, 北京: 中華書局出版, (Du You, Tongdian, Vol.197), 辺防13 北狄4 突厥上, 1988, ISBN 7-101-00258-7, p. 5401. Şablon:Zh icon</ref> Indeed, Chinese sources linked the Hu on their northern borders to the Xiongnu just as Graeco-Roman historiographers called the Pannonian Avars, Huns and Hungarians "Scythians". Such archaizing was a common literary topos, and implied similar geographic origins and nomadic lifestyle but not direct filiation.Şablon:SfnŞablon:Page needed

As part of the heterogeneous Rouran Khaganate, the Türks lived for generations north of the Altai Mountains, where they 'engaged in metal working for the Rouran'.<ref name="Sui84"/><ref name="Zizhi159">Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian, Vol. 159. Şablon:Zh icon</ref> According to Denis Sinor, the rise to power of the Ashina clan represented an 'internal revolution' in the Rouran Khaganate rather than an external conquest.Şablon:Sfn According to Charles Holcombe, the early Tujue population was rather heterogeneous and many of the names of Türk rulers, including the two founding members, are not even Turkic.Şablon:Sfn This is supported by evidence from the Orkhon inscriptions, which include several non-Turkic lexemes, possibly representing Finno-Ugric or Samoyedic words.Şablon:Sfn

Eastern Turks under the Jimi system

On May 19, 639<ref>貞觀十三年 四月戊寅 Academia Sinica Şablon:Zh icon</ref> Ashina Jiesheshuai and his tribesmen assaulted Emperor Taizong of Tang at Jiucheng Palace (Şablon:Linktext, in present-day Linyou County, Baoji, Shaanxi). However, they did not succeed and fled to the north, but were caught by pursuers near the Wei River and were killed. Ashina Hexiangu was exiled to Lingbiao.<ref name="Zizhi195">Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian, Vol. 195. Şablon:Zh icon</ref> After the unsuccessful raid of Ashina Jiesheshuai, on August 13, 639<ref>貞觀十三年 七月庚戌 Academia Sinica Şablon:Zh icon</ref> Taizong installed Qilibi Khan and ordered the settled Turkic people to follow him north of the Yellow River to settle between the Great Wall of China and the Gobi Desert.<ref>Ouyang Xiu et al., New Book of Tang, Vol. 215-I.</ref>

In 679, Ashide Wenfu and Ashide Fengzhi, who were Turkic leaders of the Chanyu Protectorate (單于大都護府), declared Ashina Nishufu as qaghan and revolted against the Tang dynasty.<ref name="Zizhi202">Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian, Vol. 202 Şablon:Zh icon</ref> In 680, Pei Xingjian defeated Ashina Nishufu and his army. Ashina Nishufu was killed by his men.<ref name="Zizhi202"/> Ashide Wenfu made Ashina Funian a qaghan and again revolted against the Tang dynasty.<ref name="Zizhi202"/> Ashide Wenfu and Ashina Funian surrendered to Pei Xingjian. On December 5, 681<ref>開耀元年 十月乙酉 Academia Sinica Şablon:Zh icon</ref> 54 Göktürks including Ashide Wenfu and Ashina Funian were publicly executed in the Eastern Market of Chang'an.<ref name="Zizhi202"/> In 682, Ilterish Qaghan and Tonyukuk revolted and occupied Heisha Castle (northwest of present-day Hohhot, Inner Mongolia) with the remnants of Ashina Funian's men.<ref>Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian, Vol. 203 Şablon:Zh icon</ref>



See also

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Şablon:Göktürks Şablon:Turkic topics

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