Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

On the Process of Sedentarization of Volga Bulgars

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

On the Process of Sedentarization of Volga Bulgars

Article excerpt


The relevance of the study is determined by the need to create a more complete picture of the conversion of the nomadic peoples of Eurasian steppes, namely, the Volga Bulgars living in VIII-X centuries, to a strict sedentarization while statehood was being formed and new religion - Islam was being spread. The objective of the article is to analyze the available sources, enabling to specify the chronological framework of sedentarization of Bulgars, which at the end of IX - beginning of X centuries resulted in the emergence of stationary settlements, including cities. The multidisciplinary approach to the problem is the leading one in this article. It involves synthesis of data provided by a number of sciences in order to obtain complete information. The article presents the results of the analysis of written sources contained in the works of Oriental authors dated back to X century, archaeological and numismatic materials. The article submissions may be worthwhile in studies conducted by scholars researching Bulgars and scientists involved in researching the general issues of the history of nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples of medieval Eurasia.

Keywords: Volga Bulgars, sedentarization, stationary settlements, early city farming

1. Introduction

Volga Bulgaria of the X - the first third of the XIII century is one of the earliest state formations of North-Eastern Europe with a predominantly Turkic-speaking population. Russian historians got interested in it in the XVIII century (Huzin, 2001). The middle of the last century is known as the start of a rapid advancement of the Bulgarian archeology and research on the whole, The results long-lasting researches related to material and spiritual culture, economic, social, political and cultural life of the Volga Bulgaria, including the problems of interaction of the Bulgars with neighboring Finno-Ugric, Turkic peoples, Kievan Rus and the ancient kingdoms, Eastern and Western are comprehensively reflected in the second volume of the seven-volume " Stories Tatars " (History of the Tartars, 2006).

Unfortunately, earlier stages in the history of the Bulgars, relating to the period of their migration from the Eastern European steppes to the Middle Volga in the VIII-IX centuries are still poorly understood due to the lack of the sources. The researches were focused on early formation of an ethnic basis of its population based on materials of pagan burial grounds (Kazakov, 1992). Settler materials remained undetected or incorrectly assessed, which contributed to the opinion among researchers about nomadic nature of the economy and lifestyle of the Bulgars before state was formed. Moreover, in recent decades, archaeologists of Ulyanovsk and Samara discovered the traces of early settlement with a thin cultural layer and a small amount of finds, marking the beginning of nomadic lifestyle of Bulgars in the pre-state period of their history (Matveyev, 1997). However, despite the obvious evidence of the sedentarization process of the population in VIII century, the attempts to bring the chronological framework of early Bulgar period of the 60s of X early XI centuries are being taken (Kazakov, 1982, 2008).

It must be noted that in our historiography the period ("pre-state, pagan nomadic"), which began with the arrival of the Bulgars in the Middle Volga in the late VII - beginning of VIII centuries which resulted in state formation in IX-X centuries, as well as an official adoption of Islam in the year 922 is called Early Bulgarian. The emergence of the first cities and rural settlements in the Bulgarian state are dated back to the beginning or the first quarter of the tenth century according to the available sources.

The attempts made by a number of researchers (Kazakov, 2000; Rudenko, 2007; Starostin, 1999; Begovatov 2006) to present the tenth century Volga Bulgaria as a country with a predominantly pagan and nomadic population contradicts the sources. …

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