The Earliest States of Eastern Europe
DG-2019-2020, 130-157

On the Date of the Letter from Türk Qaghan to the Byzantine Emperor Maurice

V. V. Tishin

The narrative about the letter, sent from the Türk Qaghan to the Emperor Maurice and preserved in the book of the Byzantine historian of the 1st half of the 7th century Theophylact Simocatta (Theoph. Sym. VII. VII. 7–VIII. 11) remains a subject of discussions among researchers for a long time. The dating of the fragment, the time of writing the letter and its authorship, and the event context of the narrative caused many polar points of view. There are different interpretations related to some ethnonyms, toponyms and personal names mentioned in the fragment, and generally covering it’s dating by the period 595–603 A.D. At the same time, most researchers agree that the author of the letter was the person named Dá-tóu 達頭 Qaghan in Chinese sources and known as Τάρδου in the work of Menander the Guardsman.
Among the researchers who specifically dealt with the problem, there are many names. The important studies by H.W. Haussig, K. Czeglédy, L.N. Gumilev, T. Olajos, M. Whitby in recent years were supplemented by conceptual articles by J. Harmatta and É. de La Vaissère. The latter proposed the most original point of view on issues, looking at the source material in a completely innovative way. However, there is no outweighed reason to accept his proposed dating and attribution of authorship of the letter.
The attention of the author of this article is focused on the plot related to the narrative about the internal war among the Türks. However, it is also possible to offer an justification for the dating the fragment of the letter, attracting data of other sources. In first, “The Chronography” of Theophanes Confessor that is also based on other unidentified sources deserves much attention. The author of the article is inclined to trust dates given by Theophanes regarding the period in question. A comparison of these data with the work of Theophylact gives reason to argue that the second appointment of Priscus to command in Thrace, in the context of a narrative about the actions of which the mention about the letter was given, should date back to 597 A.D.
The narrative about the confrontation between the Qaghan, who is the author of the letter and the “tyrant”, which ended in the defeat of the latter, according to the author could be connected with the events that took place in the period not earlier than 593 and not later than 596 A.D. It was Dū-lán 都藍 Qaghan of Eastern Türks, mentioned by Theophylact Simocatta as Τουρούμ and by Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos as Τουροὺν, who decided to strengthen his
power over the independent possessions of other rulers of Türk Dynasty. Dá-tóu 達頭 Qaghan was a person who strengthened his own power, although we do not know where his possession located at that time. The leader was more fortunate and felt his position reliable. He already had contacts with Byzantium earlier, and it was his letter which was sent to emperor Maurice.

Ancient Turks, Byzantium, Avars, chronology, diplomacy

Гумилев Л. Н. Великая распря в первом тюркском каганате в свете византийских источников // ВВ. 1961. Т. ХХ. С. 75–89.
Гумилев Л. Н. Биография тюркского хана в «Истории» Феофилакта Симокатты и в действительности // ВВ. 1965. Т. ХХVI. С. 67–76.
Гумилев Л. Н. Древние тюрки. М., 1967.
Зуев Ю. А. Древнетюркская социальная терминология в китайском тексте VIII в. // Вопросы археологии Казахстана. Алматы; М., 1998. Вып. 2. С. 153–161.
Кузенков П. В. «Хронография» Георгия Синкелла — Феофана Исповедника: хронологический аспект // Κανίσκιον: Юбилейный сборник в честь 60-летия проф. И. С. Чичурова. М., 2006. С. 156–168.
36 См. в связи с этим попытки идентификации местности ᾿Ικὰρ: Marquart 1898. S. 190; Haussig 1953. S. 345.
Кузенков П. В.Христианские хронологические системы. История летосчисления в святоотеческой и восточнохристианской традиции. М., 2014.
Қазақстан тарихы туралы қытай деректемелерi. 2-бɵлiм. Алматы, 2006. IV том. Эулеттiк тарихи жылнамалар.
Любарский Я. Н. Феофан Исповедник и источники его «Хронографии» (К вопросу о методах их освоения) // ВВ 1984. Т. XLV (70). С. 72–86.
Пигулевская Н. В. Феофилакт Симокатта и его время // Феофилакт Симокатта. История. М., 1957. С. 9–20.
СДПИС 2 — Свод древнейших письменных известий о славянах. М., 1995. Т. II (ѴІІ–ІХ вв.).
Феофилакт Симокатта. История. М., 1957.
Чичуров И. С. Византийские исторические сочинения: «Хронография» Феофана, «Бревиарий» Никифора: Тексты, перевод, комментарий. М., 1980.
Чичуров И. С. Место «Хронографии» Феофана в ранневизантийской историографической традиции (IV — начало IX в.) // ДГ, 1981 год: Материалы и исследования. М., 1983. С. 5–146.
Bielenstein B. Diplomacy and Trade in the Chinese World, 589–1276. Leiden, 2005.
[Boodberg P. A.] Selected Works of Peter A. Boodberg. Berkeley; Los Angeles, 1979.
Bury J. B. The Chronology of Theophylaktos Simokatta // The English Historical Review. 1888. Vol. III. №. 10. P. 310–315.
Bury J. B. The Turks in the Sixth Century // The English Historical Review. 1897. Vol. XII. №. XLVII. P. 417–426.
Franke O. Geschichte des chinesischen Reiches: eine Darstellung seiner Entstehung, seines Wesens und seiner Entwicklung bis zur neuesten Zeit. B., Leipzig, 1936. II. Band: Der Konfuzianische Staat I. der Aufstieg zur Weltmacht.
Franke O. Geschichte des chinesischen Reiches: eine Darstellung seiner Entstehung, seines Wesens und seiner Entwicklung bis zur neuesten Zeit. B., Leipzig, 1937. III. Band: Anmerkungen, Ergänzungen und Berichtigungen zu Band I und II. Sach- und Namen-verzeichnis.
Higgins M. J. The Persian war of the Emperor Maurice (582–602): A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of the Catholic University of America in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Washington, D.C., 1939.
Chavannes E. Documents sur les Tou-kiue (Turcs) Occidentaux. P., 1903.
Czeglédy K. Nomád népek vándorlása Napkelettől Napnyugatig. Budapest, 1969.
Czeglédy K. From East to West: the Age of Nomadic Migrations in Eurasia // Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi. 1983. T. III. P. 25–125.
Dobrovits M. “They called themselves Avar” — Considering the pseudo-Avar question in the work of Theophylaktos // Ērān ud Anērān: Studies Presented
to Boris Il’ič Maršak on the Occasion of his 70th Birthday. Venezia, 2006. P. 175–184.
Gabain A. (von) [Rez.:] Hans Walther Haussig: Theophylakts Exkurs über die skythischen Völker (Byzantion Bd. XXIII 1953). Brüssel, 1954, S. 275–462, 12 Tafeln, 2 Karten // Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft. 1959. Bd. 109 (n.F. 34). №. 2. S. 435–438.
Grafenauer B. Nekaj vprašanj iz dobe naseljevanja južnih Slovanov // Zgodovinski časopis. 1950. T. IV. S. 23–126.
Grignaschi M. La chute de l’empire hephthalite dans les sources byzantines et perses et le problème des Avar // Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae. 1980. T. XXVIII. Fasc. 1–4. P. 219–248.
Harmatta J. Byzantinoturcica // Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae. 1962. T. X. Fasc. 1–3. S. 131–150.
Harmatta J. The Letter Sent by the Turk Qaγan to the Emperor Mauricius // Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae. 2001. Vol. 41. Pt. 1–2. P. 109–118.
Haussig H. W. Theophylakts Exkurs über die skythischen Völker // Byzantion. 1953. T. XXIII. S. 275–462.
Haussig H. W. Awaren, Shuan-Shuan und Hephtaliten // Handbuch der Orientalistik. Leiden; Köln, 1966. 1. Abt. Der Nahe und der Mittlere Osten. Bd. V. Altaistik. Abschnitt 5. Geschichte Mittelasiens. S. 106–122.
History of the Langobards by Paul the Deacon. Philadelphia, 1907.
Ivanov S. A. The Avar-Byzantine wars of the late sixth century as depicted by Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos: A new source? // Зборник радова Византолошког института. 2013. T. L/1. С. 123–148.
Kafesoğlu İ. Türk Milli Kültürü. 4. Вk. Istanbul, 1997.
Kaplan M. Les Hommes et la terre à Byzance du VIe au XIe siècle: Propriété et exploitation du sol. P., 1992.
Kardaras G. Byzantium and the Avars, 6th–9th c. A.D.: Political, diplomatic and cultural relations. Leiden, 2018.
Klaproth J. Mémoires relatifs a l’Asie: contenant des recherches historiques, géographiques et philologiques sur les peuples de l’Orient. P., 1826. T. II.
L’Hiftoire ecclésiastique de Nicéphore fils de Calliste Xantouplois, traduicte nouvellement du latin en françois de nouveau corrigée et mise en meilleur françois qu’auparavant par deux Docteurs de la Faculté de Théologie à Paris. P., 1578.
La Vaissère É., de. Maurice et le qaghan: à propos de la disgression de Théophylacte Simocatta sur les Turcs // Revue des études byzantines. 2010. Vol. 68. № 1. P. 219–224.
La Vaissère É., de. İlk Türk Hakanlıklarının Tarihi Üzerine Yeni Bilgiler // Ötüken’den İstanbul’a Türkçenin 1290 Yılı (720–2010), 3–5 Aralik 2010, İstanbul: Bildiriler / From Ötüken to İstanbul, 1290 Years of Turkish (720–2010), 3th — 5th December 2010, Istanbul: Papers. İstanbul, 2011. S. 233–240.
La Vaissère É., de. Theophylact’s Turkish Exkurs revisited // De Samarcande à Istanbul: étapes orientales. Hommages à Pierre Chuvin — II. P., 2015. P. 91–102.
Liu Mau-Tsai. Die chinesischen Nachrichten zur Geschichte der Ost-Türken (T’u-küe). Wiesbaden, 1958. I–II. Buch.
Markwart J. Wehrot und Arang Untersuchungen zur mythischen und geschichtlichen Landeskunde von Ostiran. Leiden, 1938.
Marquart J. Historische Glossen zu den alttürkischen Inschriften // Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes. 1898. Bd. XII. S. 157–200.
Marquart J. Ērānšahr nach der Geographie des Ps. Moses Xorenac‘i. Mit historisch-kritischem Kommentar und historischen und topographischen Excursen. Berlin, 1901.
Marquart J. Die Nichtslawischen (Altbulgarischen) Ausdrücke in der Bulgarischen Fürstenliste // T’oung Pao. 1910. Ser. II. T. 11. P. 649–680.
Moravcsik Gy. Byzantinoturcica. 3. Aufl. Leiden, 1983. Bd. I. Die byzantinischen Quellen der Geschichte der Türkvölker. (a).
Moravcsik Gy. Byzantinoturcica. 3. Aufl. Leiden, 1983. Bd. II. Sprachreste der Turkvolker in den byzantinischen Quellen. (b).
Neville L. Guide to Byzantine Historical Writing. Cambridge, 2018.
Olajos T. Les sources de Théophylacte Simocatta historien. Leiden; N.Y.; København; Köln, 1988.
Ôsawa T. Aspects of the relationship between the ancient Turks and Sogdians — Based on a stone statue with Sogdian inscription in Xinjiang // Ērān ud Anērān: Studies Presented to Boris Il’ič Maršak on the Occasion of his 70th Birthday. Venezia, 2006. P. 471–504.
Parker E.H. The Early Turks — Part III (From the PEI SHI and SUI SHU, Continued) // The China Review, or notes & queries on the Far East. 1900. Vol. 25. № 2. P. 69–79.
Pelliot P. L’origine du nom de “Chine” // T’oung Pao, Second Series. 1912. Vol. XIII. №. 5. P. 727–742.
Pohl W. The Avars. A Steppe Empire in Central Europe, 567–822. Ithaca; L., 2018.
Pulleyblank E.G. A Lexicon of Reconstructed Pronunciation in Early Middle Chinese, Late Middle Chinese, and Early Mandarin. Vancouver, 1991.
Sinor D. The Establishment and Dissolution of the Türk Empire // The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia: From Earliest Times to the Rise of the Mongols. Cambridge, 1990. Vol. 1. P. 285–316.
Taşağıl A. Gök-Türkler I. 2. bk. Ankara, 2003.
Theophanis Chronographia. Lipsiae, 1883. Vol. 1: Textum graecum continens.
Theophylacti Simocattae Historiae. Leipzig, 1887.
Whitby L. M. The Great Chronographer and Theophanes // Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies. 1982/83. Vol. 8(1). P. 1–20.
Whitby L. M. Theophanes’ Chronicle Source for the Reigns of Justin II, Tiberius and Maurice (A.D. 565–602) // Byzantion. 1983. Bd. LIII. Fasc. 1. P. 312–345.
Whitby M. The Emperor Maurice and His Historian: Theophylact Simocatta on Persian and Balkan Warfare. Oxford, 1988.
Цэнь Чжун-мянь 岑仲勉. Ту-цзюэ цзи ши 突厥集史. Пекин, 1958.