History of the Turkic peoples
|Turkic Khaganate 552–744|
|Khazar Khaganate 618–1048|
|Great Bulgaria 632–668|
|Kangar union 659–750|
|Turk Shahi 665–850|
|Turgesh Khaganate 699–766|
|Uyghur Khaganate 744–840|
|Karluk Yabgu State 756–940|
|Kara-Khanid Khanate 840–1212|
|Ganzhou Uyghur Kingdom 848–1036|
|Oghuz Yabgu State
|Ghaznavid Empire 963–1186|
|Seljuk Empire 1037–1194|
|Sultanate of Rum|
|Kerait khanate 11th century–13th century|
|Khwarazmian Empire 1077–1231|
|Naiman Khanate –1204|
|Qarlughid Kingdom 1224–1266|
|Delhi Sultanate 1206–1526|
|Golden Horde |  1240s–1502|
|Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo) 1250–1517|
|Ottoman Empire 1299–1923|
The Onoğurs or Oğurs (Όνόγουροι, Οὒρωγοι; Onογurs, Ογurs; "ten tribes", "tribes"), were Turkic nomadic equestrians who flourished in the Pontic-Caspian steppe and the Volga region between 5th and 7th century, and spoke Oğhuric language.
The name Onoğur is most often derived as On-Oğur "ten Oğurs (tribes)". Modern scholars consider Turkic tribal terms oğuz and oğur to be derived from Turkic *og/uq, meaning "kinship or being akin to". The terms initially were not the same, as oq/ogsiz meant "arrow", while oğul meant "offspring, child, son", oğuš/uğuš was "tribe, clan", and the verb oğša-/oqša meant "to be like, resemble".
Around 463 AD, the Akatziroi and other tribes that had been part of the Hunnic union were attacked by the Šarağurs, one of the first Oğuric Turkic tribes that entered the Ponto-Caspian steppes as the result of migrations set off in Inner Asia. According to Priscus, in 463 the representatives of Šarağur (Oğhur. šara, "White Oğhurs"), Oğur and Onoğur came to the Emperor in Constantinople, and explained they had been driven out of their homeland by the Sabirs, who had been attacked by the Avars in Inner Asia. This tangle of events indicates that the Oğuric tribes are related to the Ting-ling and Tiele people. It is considered they belonged to the westernmost Tiele tribes, which also included the Uyghurs-Toquz Oghuz and the Oghuz Turks, and were initially located in Western Siberia and Kazakhstan.
In early 7th century Theophylaktos Simokattes recorded that certain Onoğur city Βακάθ was destroyed by an earthquake before his lifetime. The Sogdian name indicates it was situated in the vicinity of Iranian Central Asia. The 10th century Movses Kaghankatvatsi recorded, considered late 4th century, certain Honagur, "a Hun[nb 1] from the Honk" who raided Persia, which if is related to the Onoğurs, they were located near Transcaucasia and Sassanian Empire. Scholars also relate the Hyōn to this account.
The Oğurs and Onoğurs, in the 6th and 7th century sources, were mentioned mostly in connection with the Avar and Türks conquest of Western Eurasia. According to the 6th century Menander Protector, the "leader of the Οὐγούρων" had the authority of the Türk Yabgu Khagan in the region of Kuban River to the lower Don. Simokattes in the Letter of the Türk Qaγan (Tamgan) to the Emperor Maurikios recorded a complex notice:
"...the Qağan set off on another undertaking and subjugated all the Ὀγώρ. This people is (one) of the most powerful because of their numbers and their training for war in full battle-gear. They have made their abodes towards the East, whence flows the river Τίλ, which the Turks have the custom of calling the "Black". The oldest chieftains of this people are called Οὐάρ and Χουννί."
According to the Qağan, part of those Ouar (Uar) and Khounni (Huns) who arrived to Eastern Europe were mistook by the Onoğurs, Barsils, Sabirs and other tribes for the original Avars, and as such the Uar and Huns took advantage of the situation and began call themselves as the Avars. Simokattes also recounts "when the Ogor, then, were brought completely to heel, the Qaγan gave over the chief of the Κὸλχ (Kolx) to the bite of the sword", shows Oğurs resistance toward Türk authority. Scholars consider if the Til is Qara Itil (Black Itil) i.e. Volga (Atil/Itil), then the mentioned Ὀγώρ would be the Oğurs, while if is in Inner Asia, then could be the Uyghurs.
Jordanes in Getica (551) mentioned that the Hunuguri (believed to be the Onoğurs) were notable for the marten skin trade. In the Middle Ages, marten skin was used as a substitute for minted money. This also indicates they lived near forests and were in contact with Finno-Ugrian peoples.
The Syriac translation of the Pseudo–Zacharias Rhetor's Ecclesiastical History (c. 555) in Western Eurasia records the Avnagur (Aunagur; considered Onoğurs), wngwr (Onoğur), wgr (Oğur), described in typical phrases reserved for nomads in the ethnographic literature of the period, as people who "live in tents, earn their living on the meat of livestock and fish, of wild animals and by their weapons (plunder)".
From the 8th century, the Byzantine sources often mention the Onoğurs in close connection with the Bulgars. Agathon (early 8th century) wrote about the nation of Onoğurs Bulğars. Nikephoros I (early 9th century) noted that Kubrat was the lord of the Onoğundurs; his contemporary Theophanes referred to them as Onoğundur–Bulğars. Kubrat successfully revolted against the Avars and founded the Old Great Bulgaria (Magna Bulgaria), also known as Onoğundur–Bulğars state, or Patria Onoguria in the Ravenna Cosmography. Constantine VII (mid-10th century) remarked that the Bulğars formerly called themselves Onoğundurs.
This association was previously mirrored in Armenian sources, such as the Ashkharatsuyts, which refers to the Olxontor Błkar, and the 5th century History by Movses Khorenatsi, which includes an additional comment from a 9th-century writer about the colony of the Vłĕndur Bułkar. Marquart and Golden connected these forms with the Iġndr (*Uluġundur) of Ibn al-Kalbi (c. 820), the Vnndur (*Wunundur) of Hudud al-'Alam (982), the Wlndr (*Wulundur) of Al-Masudi (10th century) and Hungarian name for Belgrad Nándor Fejérvár, the nndr (*Nandur) of Gardīzī (11th century) and *Wununtur in the letter by the Khazar King Joseph. All the forms show the phonetic changes typical of later Oğuric (prothetic w-; o- > wo-, u-, *wu-).
The origin of the Kutrigurs and Utigurs, who lived in the vicinity of the Onoğurs and Bulgar, and their mutual relationship is considered as obscure. Scholars consider unclear how the union between Onoğurs and Bulgars formed, viewing it as a long process in which a number of different groups were merged. During that time, the Bulgars may have represented a large confederation of which the Onoğurs formed one of the core tribes, and remnants of Utigurs, Kutrigurs among others.
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Like the name Scythian up to the early medieval period, the name Hun became a generic (usually pejorative) term in subsequent history for any steppe-warrior people, or even any enemy people, regardless of their actual identity.
- Dickens, Mark (2004). Medieval Syriac Historians’ Perceptionsof the Turks. University of Cambridge. p. 19.
Syriac chroniclers (along with their Arab, Byzantine, Latin, Armenian, and Georgian counterparts) did not use ethnonyms as specifically as modern scholars do. As K. Czeglédy notes, "some sources... use the ethnonyms of the various steppe-peoples, in particular those of the Scythians, Huns and Türks, in the generic sense of 'nomads'".
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- Golden, Peter Benjamin (1992). An introduction to the History of the Turkic peoples: ethnogenesis and state formation in medieval and early modern Eurasia and the Middle East. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. ISBN 9783447032742.
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- Golden, Peter B. (2012), Oq and Oğur~Oğuz* (PDF), Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies, Rutgers University, archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-04-19