The Institution of Comitatus among the Turks of Inner Asia

Vladimir Tishin , Nikolai Seregin

Vostok/Oriens '2018, №6

DOI: 10.31857/S086919080002867-0

Using the written sources and archaeological data, the article analyses the problem of an existence of comitatus ‘armed forces, retainers, war bands’ among the Turkic peoples. These tribal groups established a polity in the second half of the sixth century CE that existed until the early eighth century. The authors discuss historical terms mentioned in various written sources than may be possibly identified with the comitatus. According to the authors, one may only conjecture the existence of certain military communities associated with the higher elite. The authors also attract sources to the Uighur and Yenisei Kyrgyz. The military groups of the Turkic elites could be a guard, bodyguards or usual retainers with a wide range of their functions. There is no evidence of their formal organization. Archaeological materials allow one to distinguish only a social strata linked to warfare and defined as “professional warriors” for the sake of convenience.

Keywords: comitatus, Turks, Inner Asia, written sources, archaeological materials, social reconstructions

Pages: С. 47–65

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