Front Page Titles (by Subject) 8.: THE TURKS — ( P. 185 ) - The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 7
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8.: THE TURKS — ( P. 185 ) - Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 7 
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. J.B. Bury with an Introduction by W.E.H. Lecky (New York: Fred de Fau and Co., 1906), in 12 vols. Vol. 7.
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THE TURKS — (P. 185)
The question of the origin of the Turks has been recently discussed by a Chinese scholar, Mr. E. H. Parker (in the English Historical Review, July, 1896, p. 431 sqq.), on the basis of Chinese sources, with reference to the statements of Greek writers.
(1) The Turks were Hiung-nu. A branch of the Hiung-nu, in the central part of the modern province of Kan-suh, was crushed by the Tungusic Tartars; but Asena fled westward with 500 tents to the territory of the Geougen, and his men were employed by them as iron workers in an iron district. Nearly a hundred years after the flight of Asena, his descendant Notur (before 543) first introduced the word Turk as the name of his folk. The name Türk occurs in the Turkish inscription which was discovered in 1890 by Heikel near Lake Tsaidam in the Valley of the Upper Orchon,1 and it is explained by Chinese writers to mean a helmet — referring to a mountain shaped like a casque.
(2) Seat of the Turkish power in the sixth century; the Golden Mountains. There seems little doubt that (as Mr. Parker has shown) the residence of the Turkish Khans, when they overthrew the power of the Geougen, was near the eastern border of the modern Chinese province of Kan-suh, somewhat north of the Kok-o-nor mountains. Here was the iron district where they worked for the Geougen.
It is always assumed that Ektág in Menander’s account of the earlier embassy of 568 is to be identified with Ektél in his account of the later embassy of 576 (p. 227 and 247, ed. Müller). Of course, the two words are the same and mean “the Golden (White) Mount,” as Menander explains. But do they designate the same mountain? There is considerable difficulty in supposing that they do. The first embassy visits the prince Dizabul in Ektag. The second embassy is also sent to Dizabul, but the envoys find on arriving that Dizabul has just died and that his son Turxanth has succeeded him. It is natural to suppose (as there is no indication to the contrary) that the meeting between Turxanth and the Roman envoys, and the obsequies of Dizabul, took place at Mount Ektag, the residence of Dizabul and Turxanth. After the obsequies Turxanth sent the ambassadors to Turkish potentates who lived farther east or south-east (ἐνδοτέρω), and especially to his relative Tardu who lived at Mount Ektel. This narrative implies that Mount Ektel is a totally different place from Mount Ektag; and the Chinese evidence as to two Golden Mountains is sufficient to remove any scruples we might feel about interpreting Menander’s statements in the most reasonable way. Having identified Ektag with Altai, and distinguished Ektel from Ektag, we can hardly refuse to go further and identify Ektel with the other Kinshan — the residence of the chief khan. At this time, however, the name of the chief khan was Tapur. Tardu has been identified with plausibility, by Mr. Parker, with Tat-t’ou (son of Tumen), who according to Chinese records reigned simultaneously with Shaporo. There is no difficulty in supposing that the residence of Tardu, who was clearly a subordinate khan, was in the neighbourhood of the Southern Golden Mountain and might be described as κατὰ τὸ Ἑκτὲλ δρος.
(3) The succession of Turkish Khans. Tumen, who threw off the yoke of the Geougen, died in 553; was succeeded by his eldest son Isiki, who appears to have reigned only for a few months; and then by his second son Mukan, who completed the annihilation of the Geougen and subdued the Ephthalites. The succession is (see Parker, op. cit.): —
Durli (or Turri) 599
Under the Khan Mukan the Turkish power in its early period seems to have been at its height. He “established a system of government which was practically bounded by Japan and Corea, China and Thibet, Persia and the Eastern Roman Empire.” It appears from Turkish inscriptions that the Turks called the Chinese Tavgas; and it can hardly be questioned that this is the same word as Taugast, a land mentioned by Theophylactus as in the neighbourhood of India. He states that the khan was at peace with Taugast (in the reign of Maurice).
Dizabul (or rather Silzibul) of the Greek sources is of course distinct from Mukan; but I have shown that it is impossible to regard him as a khan subordinate to Mukan, in the face of the statements of Menander (Eng. Hist. Review, July, 1897). There was a split among the Turks, at some time previous to the first embassy described by Menander; and the result was the existence of two supreme khanates. The seat of one was the Northern Golden Mountain (Ektag, Altai); the seat of the other was the Southern Golden Mountain (Ektel, in Kan-suh). During the reign of Justin, Silzibul was chief khan of the northern Turks, Mukan of the southern Turks. (See further: The Turks in the Sixth Century, Eng. Hist. Rev., loc. cit.)
[1 ]This immensely interesting inscription was ingeniously deciphered by Prof. V. Thomsen of Copenhagen; but his decipherment must doubtless be accepted with great reserve. It belongs to the year 732, and was engraved on a stone set up by a Chinese emperor in honour of a Turkish prince. (Thomsen, Inscriptions de l’Orkhon déchiffrées, 1894; Radlov, Arbeiten der Orchon-expedition, 1892; Radlov, Die alt-türkischen Inschriften der Mongolei, 1894-5; E. H. Parker, in the Academy for Dec. 21, 1895.)