A Study of the Ancient Turks Family

A Study of the Ancient Turks Family
Author: Vladimir V. Tishin
Journal: Social Evolution & History. Volume 18, Number 2 / September 2019

DOI: https://doi.org/10.30884/seh/2019.02.06

This article discusses the form of the Ancient Turks family in the context of original source data. The conclusions of the Marxist scholars were mostly artificial and speculative, while in the rest of the scientific world the problem received little attention. Through consideration of the issues under discussion, involving original source data, the author points to a nuclear form of the Ancient Turks family, which is typical of nomadic societies in general.

Vladimir Tishin, Institute of Mongolian, Buddhist, and Tibetan Studies, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences more

The problem of family organization as a social institution of nomadic societies has remained relevant throughout all periods of the study of nomadism. However, the views of scientists on the form of family of nomads had evolved in the context of the enlargement of both the source and methodological bases used for these studies. The family institution in the social life of Inner Asian nomads of the Old Turks Period (the sixth – the tenth centuries AD), and of the Türks in particular1, have not yet become a subject of special research, although they have been touched upon by researchers in the context of various problems of the social history both of the Türks or other nomadic societies.

Under the influence of Marxism, an evolutionary stadial approach to the study of socio-economic relations among nomads was established in historiography, according to which nomadic economic activity and societal structures of nomads were considered on the basis of ideas about the existence of unified scheme of the historical process. Therefore, based on the classic work of Friedrich Engels Der Ursprung der Familie, des Privateigenthums und des Staats, Aleksandr N. Bernshtam argued that the main economic unit among the Türks was a patriarchal family (Bernshtam 1946: 88, 94). This idea was further supported by other Soviet researchers (Abramzon 1951: 152–155; Lashuk 1967: 119; Markov 1976: 79; etc.). Sergei P. Tolstov wrote about ‘large patriarchal families characterized by polygamy, a developed institution of adoption and ... a highly developed clientela’ (Tolstov 1938: 32; 1948: 264).

Sergei G. Klyashtorny also adhered to the traditional idea that ‘the basic cell of production of any nomadic society’, including the Türkic one, was the ‘family household.’ However, he characterized it as being patriarchal (Klyashtorny 2003: 483; etc.). Lev N. Gumilyov believed that the Türks had a pairing family (Gumilyov 1967: 70, 74), although in another passage, discussing the Tiělè 鐡勒 tribes, he wrote about ‘large families’ and about the tranformation of those ‘large families’ into tribes (Ibid.: 61).

In the opinion of Yury A. Zuev, originally ‘the smallest economic unit and the basis of the social structure of the ancient Turks society was a large-family community, whose obligatory attributes were a common dwelling (at an early stage), a common pot, and a patriarch-housekeeper’ (Zuev 1967: 71; 1977: 331). His argument in favor of this was found in sources discussing cattle, which requires stabling, and their presence thus implies a sedentary way of life for the Türks (Idem 1967: 72).

Zuev based this passage on chapter 197 of the Tōng Diǎn 通典 (801) in which he translated the Türkic title Yí kèhán 遺可汗, ‘house kagan’ (Ibid.: 71–72; 1977: 331): Yì yǒu kèhán wèi zài yèhù xiàhuò yǒu jūjiā dàxìng xiāng hū wéi yí kèhán zhě tūjué hū wū wéi yíyán wū kèhán yě 亦有可汗位在葉護下或有居家大姓相呼為遺可 汗者突厥呼屋為遺言屋可汗也 (cited in Taşağıl 2003a: 200 [Tōng Diǎn, ch. 197, p. 1068a, lines 21–23]). The identification of the character yí 遺 as the Turks word äb or äv (‘house’) was proposed in 1958 by Liu Mau-Tsai (1958: 9, 498–499 [Anm. 49]). He translated the passage in the following: ‘Es gab auch Khagane die im Range niedriger standen als der Ye-hu (Yabgu). Es kam auch vor, dass grosse zu haus bleibende, also nicht amtierende Familien sich gegenseitig I Khagan 遺可汗 nannten. Die T'u-küe sagten für den Raum (order das Haus 屋) I [M. ywi\] (alttürkisch- äb~äv). Der Titel bedeutete also Raum- (oder Haus-) Khagan,’ However, this translation was criticized by Zuev who noted the absence of the phrase ‘large families, stayed at home, i.e. did not officiate’ (Zuev 1998: 159; 2002: 289) in the Chinese text. In Zuev's first variant of translation it read ‘...it happens that living in houses (or families, Chin. jiā) in large families call each other “uv-qaγan”; a house is called by the Türks the uv, and that means house qaγan’ (Zuev 1967: 71–72). His later translation of the same text read: ‘There are qaγans of lower rank than yabγu. It happens also that living in families in large genera (originally: rodami) called their head uy-qaγan; a house is called by the Türks the üy; that means house qaγan’ (Zuev 1977: 331). The translation proposed by Vsevolod S. Taskin is still different: ‘There are also qaγans [standing] at a lower position than yèhù, and there are representatives of large families living at home who call each other yí kèhán (qaγan). Tūjué call the house yí, and that denomination means the house qaγan’ (Taskin 1984a: 68, 305 [commentary 46]). Taskin noted that the symbol yí 遺 also could be read like yú 于, connecting it to the Turkic word üy ‘house’, and argued that the phrase yú kèhán was used to describe the head of one's own family or clan (Ibid.: 68, 306 [commentary 46]). However, the form üy has been described in more recent sources as the result of phonetic transformation (see Sevortian 1974: 513–515).

According to Zuev, after the Türks had transitioned to a nomadic lifestyle, an ‘autonomization’ of individual families occurred within the community, and this process contributed to its disintegration, but not the loss of ties between those small families. As a result of this process, the commonality of the community economy was violated, the large-family community, being incompatible in its classical form with a nomadic economy, began to transform into a patronymy (Zuev 1967: 80–83, 194). In the patriarchal large-family community, the reckoning of both maternal and paternal kinship was preserved due to the significant role women played in the nomadic economy, or the specificity of relations between clan-tribal groups. The patriarchal type of a family did not have the chance to become entrenched, because of the changing conditions of the economy and the features of social ties (Ibid.: 83–84).

One of the arguments in favor of the changing Türks economy hypothesis, according to Zuev, is the emergence among them of a new type of dwelling namely, the yurt (käräkü; Rus. yurta) (Ibid.: 77–79). He considers the qiónglú 穹廬 mentioned in Chinese sources to be a description of large yurts, remnants from times when huts had been the main type of dwelling (Ibid.: 74–75, 76). Zuev refers to information on the nomadic peoples of earlier eras or cites data from the Tàipíng huányǔ jì 太平寰宇記 on Qïrqïz (Xiájiásī 黠戛斯) people who were described as ‘having a common house, one bed, one blanket’ (Kyuner 1961: 60). However, the early qiónglú 穹廬 (literally ‘domed hut’) during the period of the Xiōngnú 匈奴 was a domed wicker hut with a felt roof covering (Weinstein 1976: 46; 1993: 45–50; Weinstein and Kryukov 1976: 146–147; Kryukov 1988: 234 (note 2); Kryukov and Kurylev 2000: 10–11).2

Based on written, archaeological and imaginative sources, Soviet ethnologists concluded that the invention of the yurt with a collapsible lattice frame for the walls belonged to the first millennium AD and it was associated with the Türks (Weinstein 1976: 46; 1991: 50, 54–55; Kryukov, Malyavin, and Sofronov 1984: 140–143; Kryukov and Kurylev 2000: 10–17). This may also be indirectly evidenced by the mention of the word käräkü which was recorded in the Bilgä Qaghan inscription (Şirin User 2009: 72–74), describing a lattice supporting a felt covering of a yurt (Clauson 1972: 744). The fact that the Türks' dwellings could be disassembled and transported can be indirectly gleaned from a passage of the Suí shū 隋書 about Shìwéi 室韋 tribes (Taskin 1984a: 136). At the same time, in certain forest-rich regions, as Leonid R. Kyzlassov tried to show, stationary octagonal wooden yurts were also used (Kyzlassov 1960: 66–67, 74; 1969: 46). This does not contradict the written sources on the presence of cattle in the herds of Türks (Bernshtam 1946: 41, 68, 71; Zuev 1967: 60, 72, 85).

Saul M. Abramzon, following up on the idea of a patriarchal community transforming into family-related units consisted of small families (Abramzon 1951; 1970: 64–69, 72–73; 1973: 297–303; 1990: 228, 453 [note 1]). He specifically examined the issue of the family forms among the Türks and agreed with Zuev's arguments, noting only that the processes described by him were characteristic of the earlier periods, while the ‘autonomization’ mentioned by Zuev should be properly understood as a disintegration of the patriarchal family and formation of family-related groups. Abramzon disagreed with Zuev's both opinions that the community transformed into patronymy, and that patronymy was the necessary form of community if small families were the basic roaming unit (Abramzon 1973: 301). Abramzon concluded that the conversion from the old lifestyle with dominant large family-communities to the new one in the middle of the first millennium AD, meant a gradual strengthening of the small family (Ibid.: 303–304).

However, in his later works Zuev would change his mind. As early as 1998, he translated the above-mentioned fragment of Tōng Diǎn 通典 similar to the translation of Taskin (Zuev 1998: 155; 2002: 289).3 He noted that the translation of the symbol jiā 家 meaning a small unit like ‘family’ was excluded, because that symbol was often used in a figurative sense, describing, for example, peoples belonging to one state. At the same time, the yí kèhán 遺可汗 was elevated to the same position as yabγu (Ibid.: 159; 2002: 290). Zuev based this interpretation on data from Abū’l-Ğāzī, translating an Arabic sentence as ‘there is a ruler (törä) in each il,’ and wrote: ‘Turks characterize such state as “at the head of the house is the black khan” (öy bašïγa qara han) meaning in every house a common man becomes a khan, each house has its own khan’ (Kononov 1958: 48 and 68). Therefore, Zuev considered the title yí kèhán 遺可汗 unrelated both to the room, and the monogamous family, and the patriarchal family, but as it was ‘at the dawn of the Turks history’ the title of a domain (udel) ruler (Zuev 1998: 160).4 However, in his last fundamental work the scholar definitely talked about the patriarchal family with surviving elements of maternal clans based on the collective ownership of land and the means of production, alongside matrilocal marriage (Idem 2002: 167–168).

Similar interpretations can be found in Chinese historiography. In particular, Cài Hóngshēng 蔡鸿生 argued that the patriarchal family had been ‘the smallest economic unit of Türkic nomadic society in the sixth – eigth centuries,’ based on the use of the terms zhàng 帳 ‘tent’ and hù 戶 ‘household,’ ‘family’ in the sources related to the Türks and Chinese people, respectively (cited in Zuev 1967: 79). Lín Gàn 林干 considered the Türk family as part of a scheme according to which Türk society was a transient stage between a primitive and a slave society (Lin Gan 2000: 362–363).

According to Ecsedy Ildikó, the smallest economic unit of the Türks was the extended family, denoted in Chinese sources by the term zhàng 帳 ‘tent’ (Ecsedy 1972: 251). Several other researhers agreed with similar interpretation (Clauson 1962: 11; Krader 1963: 185; Kwanten 1979: 42–43). Omeljan Pritsak estimated the number of people in one household to be around 5–7 people (Pritsak 1983: 360). Louis Bazin, however, described that the unit of Turco-Mongol nomads as ‘famille étendue, de type patriarchal’ (Bazin 2000: 1104).

There has been some debate on this topic in Turkish historiography. Sadri Maksudi (Arsal), the author of a prominent work on Turks law considered the traditional Turks family as patriarchal (Maksudi Arsal 2002: 270). Abdülkâdir İnan drew attention to the high status of women in the social life of the Türks, and the fact that qaγans and yabγu had their own quarters leading to the conclusion that the patriarchal family (ataerki (pederşahi) aile) was the dominant unit among the Türks. At the same time, there were tribes that had maintained their ‘ancient customs’ (ilkel âdetleri). This was mainly caused by their living environments (İnan 1948: 136–137). Working in Turkey, Hungarian scholar Rásonyi László also believed that the basic unit of Turks nomadic society was the monogamous large patriarchal family (Rásonyi 1971: 56–57). Meanwhile, İbrahim Kafesoğlu, in his seminal work, furthered the novel idea that only a small family close to the extended one had existed among the Turks nomads because it would be impossible for a large family to exist under the conditions of a nomadic economy (Kafesoğlu 1997: 220).

The idea of a large family can be found in the work of Doğan Avcioğlu (Avcioğlu 1978: 235). Mahmut Arslan drew attention to the importance of the principle of collective kinship, taking into consideration the results of both Maksudi (Arsal) and Kafesoğlu in his analysis of the family institutions of the nomadic Turks, in an attempt to combine both of these ideas. He described a large family (geniş aile) headed by a householder (Pater familia), which existed de jure (hukuken) only, and included a number of small families. Therefore, Arslan offered rejecting of the definition of ‘small family’ (küçük aile) in the case of the nomads (Arslan 1984: 37–38). The importance of this work lies only in its demonstration of the lack of argumentation in the expressed declaratively ideas of Kafesoğlu. Nevertheless, the constructions of Arslan himself were speculative.

Later on the thought of Kafesoğlu was accepted by a significant number of researchers (Donuk 1982; Taşağıl 2003b; etc.).

At present, most scholars believe that it is the nuclear family of four, five, or sometimes six to eight members that forms the elementary taxonomic unit of nomadic society (Khazanov 1975: 73–76; 2002: 227–231; Shalkhakov 1983; Tortika, Mikheev, and Kortiev 1994: 54; etc.), in particular, of the Türks (Türkdoğan 1992: 29; Güler 1992: 62; Eröz and Güler 1998: 49–50; Zhumaganbetov 2003: 126, 331; Batsüren 2009: 166) and Yenisei Qïrqïz (Ugdyzhekov 2000: 14–15).

Meanwhile, the adherents of the Marxist approach still exist. In particular, Dmitry G. Savinov in his studies of the ancient Turks family in general, referred to Yenisei runic epitaphs while arguing that a ‘large undivided (patriarchal) family was generally characteristic of nomadic societies’ (Savinov 2013: 282).

However, the following facts evidence in favor of the dominance of the nuclear family among the Türks.

Firstly, as Zuev noted, a passage of the Xīn Táng shū 新唐書 described the son of Tài-zōng 太宗. He was fond of the Türks' lifestyle and organized games with his comrades, in which he ordered a group of five people to form a ‘horde’ of one tent (qióng-lú 穹廬) denoted in the source with the symbol luò 落 (Zuev 1967: 78–79; see Liu Mau-Tsai 1958: 283). In the early Chinese sources the symbol luò 落 marked a ‘tent’ in descriptions of nomadic people, while the Chinese family had been denoted by the symbol hù 戶 ‘household’ (Duman 1970: 45 (note 25); Taskin 1984b: 15).5 Lyudmila A. Borovkova considered that luò 落 consisted of ‘only five people’ (Borovkova 1992: 67, 168 (note 1)). According to the Zhōu shū 周書, the Tiě-lè 鐵勒 people, when the Türkic qaγan invaded them in 546, were in a number of 50 thousand tents (luò 落) (Borovkova 1992: 94). In the corresponding fragment in Suí shū 隋書 and Běi shǐ 北史 the symbol jiā 家 is used.6 The latter means ‘a family’, ‘a household’, ‘a dynasty’, etc. (Oshanin 1984: 840). Secondly, approximately the same number of members of families can be calculated from statistical data on the nomadic subjects of the Táng 唐 Empire. For the Türks and other steppe families included in Jiù Táng shū 舊唐書 the average calculated number is 4.22 people, while for the tribes inhabiting the Altai territory, it is 7.5 people (Zuev 1967: 81–82).

Therefore we can find no reason to assume that the basic Türkic family unit was a large one, rather than a standard nuclear one. However, there is another question – that of the nomadic polygamy.

It should be noted that there is no direct evidence of this phenomenon among the Türks in written sources. It was Bernshtam who furthered the original idea that nomad wives were allocated to different yurts, each associated with independent camp (Bernshtam 1946: 94). This phenomenon is known not only among the Mongols, but, for example, also among the Kazakhs (Andreev 1998: 64; Levshin 1996: 338) and Altaians (Dyrenkova 1926: 255). Bernshtam believed this practice reflected the territorial distribution of general patriarchal household of a clan (originally: rod) to the number of family households, each of which was headed by a woman who managed them indirectly for the head of the clan (rod) (Bernshtam 1946: 94–98). Therefore, each of the yurts was a small unit of the common household owned by one man, being the head of a clan. The phenomenon was of extreme practical importance in light of the instability of the nomadic economy. The distribution of livestock across different sections of a family's economic territory facilitated the care of large numbers of livestock (cf. Tolybekov 1971: 536) and, additionally, increased the chances of saving livestock in the case of local disasters (cf. Potapov 1975: 123).

Therefore, the term aγïl, mentioned in the Suji inscription (line 5) should be translated neither as ‘a tent’, ‘cote’, nor as ‘a pinfold’ etc., but as ‘a camp’, or ‘a settlement’ like the Mongolian ayil (Klyashtorny 1959: 163; Pritsak 1981: 13). The memoriant of the Inscription was proud of both the ten ‘settlements’ (aγïl), being interpreted as quarters or camps, and a number of livestock yïlqï (Suji Inscription, line 5). It is possible the term should be interpreted similarly in the passage of Ïrq Bitig (fr. 47), which contains the phrase aγïlïŋta yïlqïŋ bolzun (‘Let there be livestock in your quarter!’).

The word äb was used in Old Turks runic writing monuments with a wide range of meanings (Tuna 1988: 66–67), primarily in the sense of ‘tent’, or ‘house’ (Clauson 1972: 3–4). The Suji Inscription (line 6) contains the phrase äblädim oγulïmïn ‘I gave houses (tents) to my sons.’ Recent debate focuses on the interpretation of the second lexeme as baγladïm (continuing the phrase on the next line). This, however, only revises the understanding of the action object. Following this, the daughters of the memoriant received tents (Şirin User 2009: 110–111). The existence of phrases containing the word äb in the Mogoin Šine Usu Inscription in three different fragments in a row (Eastern side, lines 29, 30, 31) clearly demonstrates that the word means both the stationary stands in general and those of individual families, or even the movable households (Tuna 1988: 66; Klyashtorny 2010: 57, 64–65). Therefore, it is clear that the word äb denoted the smallest economic unit of a nomadic society, being a tent or yurt, i.e. one household (cf. Gabain 1949: 38; Ögel 1971: 133).8

In relation to this issue, we like to point to the term qunčuy ‘wife’ in the Yenisei inscriptions, which in some cases was preceded by the word quy-da (Kormushin 2008: 258–261), i.e. ‘in the house.’9 The term quy originated from the Chinese guī 閨 ‘women apartment’ (Clauson 1972: 674). Tuncer Baykara argued that quy were stationary stands (Baykara 1995: 25–26, 28–29). In epitaphs the word qunčuy often precedes the word oγul ‘children, sons’ in the common syntactic structure (Kormushin 2008: 261–262). For instance, in the Öök Turan Inscription (Ye 3, line 1) qujda qunčuj-ïm preceded to öz-dä oγlï-m, meaning in that context ‘my own sons.’ Osman Fikri Sertkaya and Igor V. Kormushin linked the determinative özdä to the group that includes qunčuy and determinative quyda, having noticed that öz oγlï had been denoted as offspring of the quyda qunčuy (Sertkaya 1995: 71; Kormushin 1997: 193–194; cf. Bernshtam 1946: 92).

Some epitaphs also mention the word äbči (Kormushin 1997: 146; 2008: 263–264). In the Bayan Köl Inscription we find the combination öz äbči qunčuy-ïmqa (Ye 100, line 1), this being the only case where these words have been found together (Kormushin 1997: 252) giving reason to assume the Turks word äb replaced the Chinese synomym quy. As Kormushin believes, being derivative from the word äb the term äbči eventually acquired a new meaning, transforming from determinative to objective: ‘housewife’, ‘housekeeper’ > ‘wife’ > ‘woman’ in general (Kormushin 2008: 263).

These data can be correlated with the ethnographically registered nomadic custom of including a tent in a dowry (Andreev 1998: 62–63; Levshin 1996: 335, 338; Grodekov 1889: 47). The Kazakhs, meanwhile had a practice of allocating a widow a tent if she did not want to marry again and preferred to stay with her father (Grodekov 1889: 52–53).

A description of the Turks custom of contributing one's daughter for the injury of somebody's eye can be found in Chinese sources. If one had no daughter one ought to contribute some of his wife's property. The Suí shū 隋書 [ch. 84, p. 3b] says: shāngrén mùzhě cháng zhī yǐ nǚ wú nǚ zé shū fù cái 傷人目者償之以女無女則 輸婦財. Evgeny I. Kychanov believed the Türks equated women with property because they ‘went to pay for some criminal offenses,’ He based this opinion on his interpretation of the phrase fù cái 婦財 as ‘wife and property’ (Kychanov 2010: 131), though he did not dispute Nikita Ya. Bichurin's translation of ‘wife's property’ (Bichurin 1950: 230). Several variants have been offered by other scholars: ‘sa propre femme’ (Visdelou 1779: 127), ‘femme et ses richesses’ (Julien 1864: 352), ‘wife or the other property’ (Parker 1900: 166, 171), ‘seine Frau und seine Vermögen’ (Liu Mau-Tsai 1958: 42), ‘bir äyeldiñ qunyn töledi’ (Ezhenkhanuly and Ozhan 2006: 67) and the most original, based on the Tōng Diǎn 通典 (ch. 197, here the symbol cái 財 is absent) ‘kadınla veya kadınsız karşılığını öder’ (Taşağıl 2003a: 98 and a Chinese text in s. 200). The symbol fù 婦 ‘(married) woman’, ‘wife’ can be considered as a grammatically unformed attributive of the word cái 財 ‘wealth’, ‘property’, and in such case the functional word zhī 之 lost. The phenomenon mentioned has been known since the Late Old Chinese period (Yakhontov 1965: 104; Sofronov 2007: 180). These arguments give additional reason to assume that a tent was a part of a dowry.

There is no room in this article to analyze other aspects of family institution (the institution of kalym, elements of matrilocality, the legal status of wives and captured women, inheritance systems, etc.) although there is a need for these. However, the data presented here provides convincing evidence in favor of the nuclear type of Türks family, and the exceptional practical nature of the phenomenon of polygamy.


* This study has been supported by the mega-grant of the Government of Russian Federation (# № 14.W03.31.0016) ‘Dynamics of peoples and empires in Inner Asia.’

1 The orthographic form Türk is used in the paper to describe the tribal group that dominated Inner Asia during the period from the second half of the sixth century to the first half of the eighth century AD. At the same time, the definition Ancient Turks is used for the description of all Turkic-speaking people that lived in the region during the defined period, while their language is denoted by a common term Old Turks. The word Turk / Turkic describes all of the peoples of the linguistic group.

2 Edwin G. Pulleyblank, assuming that this designation could be the borrowing of a foreign word, admited that its Early Han transcription being khi̯uŋ-li̯o indicated it is a Turks origin more than a Mongolian one. However, it is impossible to say anything concrete (Pulleyblank 1986: 32).

3 Also compare his later translation in Zuev 2002: 212.

4 Cf. in the work of Claude Visdelou: ‘Ils donnoient quelquefois le titre de Khan aux Lieutenans des Che-hou, Ils appelloient aufli par honneur les Chefs des grandes familles Ouei-khan, ou Khan de maifon, car Ouei ou Yi dans cette Langue, fignifioit maifon, ou famille’ (Visdelou 1779: 126).

Also compare the translation of Ahmet Taşağıl based on the Tōng diǎn 通典, which mistakenly considered the expression ‘Onun altında Ye-hu (Yabgu) vardır’ in conjuction with the previously described title fùlín kèhán 附鄰可汗. He then wrote: ‘Bazen belirli bir yerde ikâmet eden ailelerin büyük soyadlıları, karşıklı olarak kendi içlerinden kagan seçerlerdi. Gök-Türkler, onu İ-yen-wu diye çağırırlar’ (Taşağıl 2003a: 97).

Here is also his translation of similar passage from the Cè fǔ yuán guī 冊府元龜:

‘Kaganlığın altında yabguluk vardır. Ya da ikâmet eden ailelerin büyük soyadlıları kendilerinin İ Kağan ilân ederler.

Gök-Türkler buna İ-yen-wu Kagan derler’ (Taşağıl 2003a: 114).

5 Cf.: ‘this word is loosely used, but it evidently means a tent, with the animals, &c., belonging to it’ (Parker 1899: 121, 126 note 26).

6 In the other place of Běi shǐ 北史 it is also luò 落 (Parker 1900: 163, 164, 168 note 80, 171). For the different translation of those fragments see Bichurin 1828: 110; Julien 1864: 350; Parker 1900: 163, 171 (first mention in Běi shǐ 北史); Liu Mau-Tsai 1958: 7 (Anm. 25); Ezhenkhanuly and Ozhan 2006: 66.

7 Cf. variants of the translation Zhōu shū 周書 and Běi shǐ 北史 in Julien 1864: 329; Parker 1899: 121, 126 (note 26); 1900: 164; Liu Mau-Tsai 1958, 7, 492 (Anm. 25); Taşağıl 2003a: 17; Ezhenkhanuly and Ozhan 2006: 121; Kara 2015: 548 (dipnot 37)).

8 The remarkable fact is that Stanislav A. Ugdyzhekov came to a similar conclusion basing on the data on Yenisei Qïrqïz (Ugdyzhekov 2000: 15).

9 Bernshtam interpreted the combination quyda qunčuy as ‘harem’ (Bernshtam 1946: 50). According to Ugdyzhekov, there were noble women ‘having an opportunity to have special women's apartments’ (Ugdyzhekov 2000: 17).


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