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The Akatziri or Akatzirs (Greek: Άκατίροι, Άκατζίροι, Akatiroi, Akatziroi;[1] Latin: Acatziri) were a tribe that lived north of the Black Sea, west of Crimea.[2] Their ethnicity is undetermined: the 5th-century historian Priscus describes them as ethnic (ethnos) Scythians, but they are also referred to as Huns (Akatiri Hunni[1]).[3] A theory is that they were a Turkic tribe, their ethnonym connected to Turkic ağaç eri, "woodman".[3] Their name has also been connected to the Agathyrsi.[1] Jordanes (fl. 551) called them a mighty people, not agriculturalists but cattle-breeders and hunters.[3]

Roman emperor Theodosius II (r. 402–450) sent an envoy to the Akatziri trying to detach them from their alliance with the Hunnic ruler Attila (435–453),[4] an effort made to stir up fighting which also ensued.[5] In 447 or 448 the Huns successfully campaigned against the Akatziri.[6] In 448 or 449, as Priscus recounts "Onegesius along with the eldest of Attila's children, had been sent to the Akateri, a Scythian people, whom he was bringing into an alliance with Attila".[7] As the Akatziri tribes and clans were ruled by different leaders, emperor Theodosius II tried with gifts to spread animosity among them, but the gifts were not delivered according to rank, Karadach (Kouridachos), warned and called Attila against fellow leaders.[8] So Attila did, Kardach stayed with his tribe or clan in own territory, while the rest of the Akatziri became subjected to Attila.[8] Attila's son Ellac was installed as ruler of the Akatziri.[6] They were absorbed by the Saragurs in the 460s.[3]

The tradition that they were ancestors of the Khazars is not backed up by any solid evidence.[9]


  1. ^ a b c Robert Gordon Latham (1860). Opuscula. Essays Chiefly Philological and Ethnographical. William & Norgate. pp. 176–.
  2. ^ Blockley 1992, p. 73.
  3. ^ a b c d Sinor 1990, p. 191.
  4. ^ Blockley 1992, p. 65.
  5. ^ Blockley 1992, p. 140.
  6. ^ a b Sinor 1997, p. 336.
  7. ^ Given 2015, p. 55.
  8. ^ a b Given 2015, p. 56.
  9. ^ Kevin Alan Brook (27 September 2006). The Jews of Khazaria. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 10–. ISBN 978-1-4422-0302-0.