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The Kul Tegin Inscription

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1The Kul Tegin Inscription Empty The Kul Tegin Inscription Fri 1 Apr 2011 - 7:36

Mısıq Qızmetşi


Heavenly being from heaven1, I was seated at this time as the Wise Türk Qaghan.
Hear out my words, my brothers, my sons
and also you: my tribe, my own people;
Shad Pit lords of the south;
Tarqat, Buyruq lords of the north;
Otuz Tatar . . .;
Toquz-Oguz lords and people!
Hear these my words well!
Listen closely!

Eastward to the rising sun,
Southward as far as midday,
Westward to the setting sun,
Northward as far as midnight:
In this land many peoples look to me.
So many people I organized.
They now harbor no evil.
If the Türk Qaghan stays in the Ötüken Heights
The people have no grief.

Eastward I campaigned as far as the Shantung Plain,
I fell just short of the ocean.
Southward I campaigned as far as the Toquz Arsïn,
I fell just short of Tibet.
Westward, crossing the Pearl River, I campaigned as far as the Iron Gates.
Northward I campaigned as far as the land of Yir Bayïrqu.
I sent [men] as far as such places,
Yet there is no better place than the Ötüken Heights.
The place for holding dominion is the Ötüken Heights.
Staying in this place I was equal to the Chinese people
So that they give gold, silver, and silk, countless silks.
The words of the Chinese people are sweet,
their fabrics are soft.
Deceiving with sweet words and soft fabrics,
They would have distant people settle near
And after they have settled near, they plant there their evil knowledge.
They don't allow a good wise man,
A good brave man,
To get ahead.
If a person goes astray, they withhold shelter even to his clan, his people, his kin.
Deceived by their sweet words and soft fabrics,
You Türk people are dead, you Türk people must die!
If you say, ‘I'll settle in the Chogay Heights, on the Tögültün Plain to the south,'
You Türk people will die there.
An evil man suggested such, saying,
If a person is far away, they give bad fabrics to them;
If a person is close by, they give good fabrics to them.
He suggested such.
Taking in this word of a man who knows nothing, you went close
And so many of you died.
If you go to that land, you Türk people are to die.
Staying in the Ötüken Heights, if you direct the convoys and caravans,
there will be no suffering.
If you stay in the Ötüken Heights you are always to hold dominion.
You Türk people consider yourselves sated,
You don't think about being hungry and being full.
If you're ever once full, you don't think about being hungry.
For this reason, unheeding the words of the Qaghan who nourished you,
you went in all directions.
There many of you were destroyed, disappeared,
There the survivors wandered in all directions, wasting away, dying.

Because Heaven was gracious
And because I had fortune
I was seated as Qaghan.
Sitting as Qaghan, I gathered the destitute and needy peoples;
I made the poor people wealthy;
I made the few people many.
Or is there falseness in this my word?
Türk lords and people listen to this!
I have had it inscribed here how you Türk people shall live and hold dominion;
I have had it inscribed here also how you shall go astray and die.
If I have anything to say, I have had it written on this eternal stone.
Look at it and know, present Türk people and lords,
Are the lords who have been obedient up to now to go astray?

I had the eternal stone . . .
. . . I had artists sent from the Chinese Qaghan,
I had them decorate [it], they didn't break my word.
The Chinese Qaghan sent his court artist.
I had an extraordinary tomb built for him,
I had the inside and outside inscribed with extraordinary designs.
I had the stone engraved, I had my words inscribed, according to my heart. . .
. . . including the On Ok and the Persians,
See this and know I had the eternal stone engraved . . .
. . . all the more it is an accessible place,
In such an accessible place I have had the eternal stone engraved, written.
See it and know thus: I have . . . this stone.

The name of the writer of this writing is Prince Yollug.

When the blue Heaven above and the brown Earth below were created,
Between the two the child of Man was created.
Above the children of Man were seated my ancestor and my Father,
Bumin Qaghan and Istemi Qaghan.
Enthroned, they managed and directed the state and law of the Türk people.
The four directions held many enemies;
Campaigning with the army, they took, they made subject
Many peoples in the four directions.
They made those with heads to bow,
They made those with knees to kneel.
They settled eastward as far as the Qadïrqan Heights,
westward as far as the Iron Gates.
Between these they established the formerly tribeless Blue Türks.
They were wise Qaghans, they were brave Qaghans.
Their councilor, too, must have been wise, must have been brave.
Both their lords and their people were peaceful.
For this reason, it is said, they managed the state thus.
Managing the state, they directed the law.
Thus when they were gone
The mourners and wailers [came]:
From the East where the sun rises, those of the Bükli Desert
The Chinese, Tibetan, Avar, Syriacs, and Kyrgyz,
The Üch Qorïqan, Otuz Tatar, Qïtan, and Tatabi.
Such peoples came, wailed and mourned.
They were such famous Qaghans.
After that their younger brothers must have been Qaghan,
Their sons must have been Qaghan.
After that their younger brothers must not have done like their older brothers,
Their sons must not have done like their fathers.
There must have been an unwise Qaghan,
There must have been a bad Qaghan.
His councilor too, must have been unwise, must have been bad.
Because his lords and people were not peaceful,
And because the Chinese people are deceitful and tricky,
Because they were cunning,
Because they drove a rift between younger and older brothers,
Because they caused the lords and people to slander one another,
The Türk people drove their established state to extinction,
They drove their enthroned Qaghan to extinction.
Sons worthy to be lords became slaves to the Chinese,
Daughters worthy to be ladies became servants.
Türk lords left the name Türk,
The lords in China took up the name Chinese,
They looked to the Chinese Qaghan.
For fifty years they gave labor and strength.
Eastward to the rising sun,
They gave military service as far as [the land of] Bükli Qaghan.
Westward they gave military service as far as the Iron Gate.
They seized country and law on behalf of the Chinese Qaghan.
All the common Türk people spoke thus:
"I was a people with a country,
Now where is my country?
For whom am I now conquering countries?" they said.
"I was a people with a Qaghan,
Now where is my Qaghan?
To what Qaghan am I now giving labor and strength?" they said.
Saying this, they became hostile to the Chinese Qaghan.
Being hostile, they were unable to pull together and organize;
They submitted again.
After they had given such labor and strength, [the Chinese] thought,
"I will kill and exterminate the Türk people," they said.
They were heading to oblivion.
Above, the Heaven of the Türks,
The sacred Earth of the Türks, spoke such a word
Saying, "The Türk people shall not disappear,"
Saying, "They shall be a people."
They held my Uncle, Ilterish,
my Aunt, Ilbilghe Qatun
At the summit of heaven; lifted them up.
Hearing the news that he was to go out [on campaign],
Those in the city went into the hills;
Those in the mountains came down.
Gathering, they were seventy.
Because Heaven had given fortune,
The army of my Uncle the Qaghan was like a wolf,
His enemies were like sheep.
Campaigning eastward and westward
He gathered and collected [men].
In all they were seven hundred.
Seven hundred men,
A people without a state, without a Qaghan,
A people enslaved, confined,
A people who had lost the Türk state,
My Ancestor, my Forefather organized and directed them.
[Then he formed the people of] Tölis and Tardush,
Then he gave them a Yabgu and a Shad.
To the south, the Chinese people were hostile;
To the north, Baz Qaghan and the Tokuz Oguz people were hostile.
The Qïrqïz, Quriqan, and Otuz Tatar,
The Kïtañ and the Tatabi were entirely hostile.
Such people my Uncle, the Qaghan [fought]. . .
He campaigned 47 times,
He fought in 20 battles.
Because Heaven was merciful
He made those with dominion lose their dominion,
He made those with a Qaghan lose their Qaghan,
He made the enemy a vassal.
He made those with knees to kneel,
He made those with heads to bow. . .
He consolidated the state and took flight.
My Father first erected Baz Qaghan as a trophy to the Qaghan.

Over the state my Father was seated as Qaghan.
Seated as Qaghan, my Father once again organized the Türk people, fed them.
The poor [he made rich,
The few he made numerous.]
When my Father was seated as Qaghan I was myself Shad over the Tardush people.
Together with my Father, the Qaghan,
We campaigned eastward as far as the Yellow River and the Shantung Plain,
We campaigned westward as far as the Iron Gate.
Crossing the Kögmen [mountains,]
[we campaigned as far as the land of the Qïrqïz.]
In all, we campaigned 30 times,
We fought 13 battles.
We made those with dominion to lose their dominion,
We made those with a Qaghan to lose their Qaghan,
We made those with knees to kneel,
We made those with heads to bow.
[The people of] Türgis Qaghan were our Türks,
Because [they were unwise], and because they strayed from us,
Their Qaghan died; their councilor and lords also died.
The On-Ok people saw suffering.
Saying "The land which our ancestor, our forefather seized
Should not be without a master,"
We organized and formed the Az people . . .

There was Bars Beg. We gave the Qaghanate to this one,
We gave him my sister as a princess.
He led himself astray. Their Qaghan died
Their people became slaves and servants.
Saying, "The land and water of the Kögmen
Shall not be without a master,"
We [came to] form the Az and Qïrqïz people. [We fought . . .]
Again we gave . . .
Eastward beyond the Qadïrqan Heights we settled such people,
We organized such people.
It was then that the slaves had slaves,
[It was then that the servants had servants.
It was then that the younger brother did not know his older brother,
It was then that the son did not know his father.]
It was then that our dominion and state was so consolidated and organized.

Türk and Oguz lords and people, listen!
If the Sky above does not crush you,
If the Earth below does not give way,
Who will be able to destroy the Türk people, dominion, and state?
Türk people, regret! Repent!
Because you were unruly, you went led yourself astray and introduced evil
To the wise Qaghan, who had nourished you,
To your good people, who had come and gone [freely].
Whence came armored troops who scattered you and carried you off?
Whence came the cavalry who routed you and carried you off?
The people left the sacred Ötüken Heights
Those who would go east left,
Those who would go west left.
Your blood flowed like water,
Your bones reached to the mountains.
Sons worthy to be lords became slaves,
Daughters worthy to be ladies became servants.
Because you were foolish, [because you were evil,
My Father, the Qaghan, took flight.]

I first erected the Qïrghïz qaghan as a trophy.
Saying, "May the name and fame of the Türk people not disappear,"
Heaven, which had lifted up my Uncle as Qaghan and my Aunt as Qatun;
Saying "May the name and fame of the Türk people not disappear,"
the Heaven that gives dominion, that Heaven must have seated myself as Qaghan.
I wasn't seated above any prosperous people:
No food inside,
No coat outside,
It was a bad and evil people over whom I was seated.

My brother Prince Kül and I took counsel with each other, saying,
"May the name and fame of the people whom our Uncle and Father gathered not disappear,"
On behalf of the Türk people
I didn't sleep during the night,
I didn't sit down during the day.
Together with my brother Prince Kül,
Together with two Shads,
I gathered [people] to the verge of death.
Gathering [people] in this way,
I didn't make the united people like fire and water.
When I [myself was seated as Qaghan,]
The people who had scattered [in all directions]
Came back on the verge of death, naked and on foot.
Saying, ‘I would nourish the people,'
[I campaigned] with a great army twelve times
Northward towards the Oghuz people,
Eastward towards the Kitan and Tatabi,
Southward toward the Chinese,
[I fought there . . .]

Then - may Heaven be gracious! -
Because I have fortune,
Because I have my fate,
I nourished to life the people who were to die:
I made the naked people to have a coat
And the poor people to be rich
I made the few people numerous.
[I made them better than those with important rulers] and important states.
In the four directions I made many peoples subject, I made them peaceful.
Many looked to me, giving labor and strength.

Having gathered such a state, my brother Prince Kül himself became absent.
When my Father the Qaghan took flight, my brother Prince Kül was seven years old.
For the glory of my Umay-like Mother, my brother Prince Kül was granted his adult name.

When he was sixteen, my Uncle the Qaghan gathered his dominion and state in this way:
We campaigned against the settlements of the six branches of Soghdians; we destroyed them.
The Chinese Governor Ong [came with an army of] fifty [thousand and we fought together.]
Prince Kül charged on foot.
He seized Governor Ong's brother-in-law with his armor on
and took him to the Qaghan with his armor on.
We annihilated that army there.

When he was twenty-one, we fought with General Shacha.
First of all, [he attacked riding] Tadïq Chor's gray [horse;
that horse] died [there.]
Secondly he attacked riding Ïshbara Yamtar's gray horse;
that horse died there.
Thirdly he attacked riding Yigen Silig Beg's barded bay horse;
that horse died there.
More than a hundred arrows struck his armor and tunic,
[Not] one touched his face and head.
Türk lords, you know they touched . . .
We destroyed those Soghdians there.
After than, the Great Irkin of Yir Bayirqu was hostile
We routed them and destroyed them at Lake Türgi Yargun.
The Great Irkin fled with a few men.
When Prince Kül was [twenty-six], we campaigned against the Qïrqïz.
Breaking through snow as deep as a lance, we crossed the Kögmen Heights,
We fell upon the Qïrqïz people sleeping.
We fought with their Qaghan on the Songa Heights.
Prince Külcharged riding Bayïrqu's white stallion.
He struck one man with an arrow,
He lanced two men through the thighs.
On that attack, he broke the haunches of Bayïrqu's white stallion.
We killed the Qïrqïz Qaghan, we took his dominion.
In that year we went against the Türgis,
Passing over the Altun Heights and crossing the Irtish River.
We fell upon the Türgis people sleeping.
The Türgis Qaghan's army came like fire and storm at Bolchu.
We fought.
Prince Kül first of all charged riding a white-headed [? bashgu] gray horse.
The white-headed gray horse . . .
. . . he had seized . . .
. . . two of them he had taken.
Then going in again he himself seized the Buyruq of the Türgis Qaghan,
The governor of the Az.
The we killed their Qaghan, we took their dominion.
Many of the Qara Türgis submitted.
We settled that people at Tabar.
Saying, ‘I will organize the Soghdian people,'
We crossed the Syr Darya and campaigned as far as the Iron Gates.
After that the Qara Türgis people who had become hostile
Went towards Kengris.
Our army's horses were gaunt, their food was gone.
An evil man . . .
A brave mad had attacked us.
Feeling regret at such a time, we sent forward Prince Kül and a few men.
They say that he fought a great battle,
That he charged riding Aq Salchi's white horse,
That he killed the Qara Türgis people there,
That he took them.
Going again . . .

He fought with . . . and with Qoshu Tutuq;
He killed many men.
He captured much of their camp and property
Without leaving anything behind
When Prince Kül was 27 and Qarluq people became hostile,
Coming and going as they pleased.
We fought at Tamag-Iduq Bash.
Prince Kül was 30 years old at this battle.
He charged riding Alp Salchi's white horse,
He speared two men through the thigh.
We killed the Qarluq; we took them.
The Az people became hostile,
We fought at Qara Köl
He charged riding Alp Salchi's white horse.
He seized the governor-general of the Az people;
The Az people were annihilated there.
When the state of my uncle the Qaghan became weak,
When the people's state split,
We fought with the Izgil people.
Prince Kül[charged] riding Alp Salchi's white horse.
That horse fell there.
The Izgil people died.

The Toquz Oguz people were my own people.
Because the Sky and Earth were disturbed, they became hostile.
We fought five times in one year:
First of all we fought at Togu Baliq
Prince Kül charged riding his pale horse.
He speared six men.
He sabred a seventh man in close combat.
Secondly we fought with the Ädiz at Qush-Algaq
Prince Kül charged riding his pale red-brown horse and speared a man
And chased and struck nine men.
The Ädiz people died there.
The third instance we fought with the Oguz
Prince Kül charged riding his pale horse and he speared
He speared their man and took their state.
Fourth we fought at the head of the Chush.
The Türk people were shaky-footed,
They were about to come to harm.
Prince Kül put the attacking army to flight
And we followed up and killed a Tongra hero and ten men
At the memorial of Prince Tonga.
Fifth, we fought with the Oguz at Äzginti Qadiz.
Prince Kül charged riding his pale red-brown horse.
He speared two men and thrust them into the mud.
That army died there
We wintered at Amga Qorgan and in the spring
We campaigned against the Oguz.
With Prince Külin charge of the camp, we marched.
The hostile Oguz fell on the camp.
Riding his white orphan horse,
Prince Kül speared nine men.
He did not give up the camp.
My mother, the Qatun, along with my in-laws, my elder sisters,
My daughters-in-law, my princesses -
As much as they would have survived, they would have become slaves;
You who would have died would have been left lying in the campsite and on the road.
If not for Prince Kül, you would all have died!

My brother Prince Kül became absent.
I longed for him.
My seeing eyes became as blind,
My thinking mind as dumb.
I longed for him.
Heaven fixes the time; children of men, we are all to die.
Thus I longed for him:
Restraining tears that might come to my eye,
Turning back wails that might come to my heart,
I longed for him.
Saying "Ruined will be the eyes and brows of my people:
of the two Shads along with my younger brothers, my son, my nobles,"
I longed for him.

As mourners and wailers the Qïtan and Tatabï people came, led by General Udar;
From the Chinese Qaghan came Isiyi Likäng,
He brought a myriad of treasure, gold, and silver without shortage;
From the Tibetan Qaghan a minister came;
From the Sogdian, Persian, and Bukharan people in the West where the sun sets
Came Änik Sängün and Ogul Tarqan;
From my son of the On Oq, Türgis Qaghan, the seal keeper Maqarach came,
The wise Oguz seal keeper came;
From the Qïrqiz Qaghan came Tardush Inanchu Chor.
To build the tomb, arrange the images, and set up the inscription stone
Came the nephew of the Chinese Qaghan, General Chang.

Prince Kül took flight on the 17th day of the Year of the Sheep.
On the 27th day of the ninth month we entombed him.
We finished the tomb, images, and inscription stone in the Year of the Monkey,
On the 27th day of the seventh month.
Prince Kül was 47 years old . . .
Governor Tuygut brought such an artist . . .

I, Yollug Tegin, nephew of Kül Tegin, wrote this writing, this inscription.
I, Yollug Tegin sat for 20 days and wrote on this stone, this wall.
You were a better provider than your dear children and descendants.
You took flight. In heaven as in life . . .

The deposition of Kül Tegin's gold and silver,
his goods and property, his 4[000] horses Tuygut . . .
. . .My lord the prince upward to heaven . . .
. . .I inscribed this stone. Prince Yollug.

The Soghds rose in the west.
Since my brother Prince Kül . . .
. . . since he gave his labor and strength,
I was seated as the Wise Türk Qaghan, looking after my brother Prince Kül.
I gave him the title Inenchu Apa Yargan Tarqan. I made him praiseworthy.


2The Kul Tegin Inscription Empty Assertion of copyright Tue 28 Apr 2020 - 10:05



Dear colleague,
This is my translation of the Kul Tegin inscription. You do not have permission to reproduce it here. Please remove this post. Thank you.

Stefan Kamola
Assistant Professor of History
Eastern Connecticut State University

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