Oghuz Turks

Oghuz Turks

The Turkmen also known as Oguzes (a linguistic term designating the Western Turkic or Oghuz languages from the Oghur languages) were a historical Turkic tribal confederation conventionally named Oghuz Yabgu State in Central Asia during the early medieval period. The name Oguz is a Common Turkic word for "tribe". The Oguz confederation migrated westard from the Jeti-su area after a conflict with Karluk branch of Uigurs. The founders of the Ottoman Empire were descendants of the Oguz Yabgu State.

In the 9th century, the Oguzes from the Aral steppes drove Bechens from the Emba and Ural River region toward the west. In the 10th century they inhabited the steppe of the rivers Sari-su, Turgai, and Emba to the north of Lake Balkhash of modern day Kazakhstan. A clan of this nation, the Seljuks, embraced Islam and in the 11th century entered Persia, where they founded the Great Seljuk Empire. Similarly, in the 11th century a Tengriist Oghuz clan—referred to as Uzes or Torks in the Russian chronicles—overthrew Pecheneg supremacy in the Russian steppe. Harried by another Turkic horde, the Kipchaks—a branch of the Kimaks of the middle Irtysh or of the Ob—these Oghuz penetrated as far as the lower Danube, crossed it and invaded the Balkans, where they were either crushed or struck down by an outbreak of plague, causing the survivors either to flee or to join the Byzantine imperial forces as mercenaries (1065).

The Oghuz seem to have been related to the Pechenegs, some of whom were clean-shaven and others of whom had small 'goatee' beards. According to the book Attila and the Nomad Hordes, "Like the Kimaks they set up many carved wooden funerary statues surrounded by simple stone balbal monoliths." The authors of the book go on to note that "Those Uzes or Torks who settled along the Russian frontier were gradually Slavicized though they also played a leading role as cavalry in twelfth and early thirteenth century Russian armies where they were known as Black Hats.... Oghuz warriors served in almost all Islamic armies of the Middle East from the eleventh century onwards, in Byzantium from the ninth century, and even in Spain and Morocco." In later centuries, they adapted and applied their own traditions and institutions to the ends of the Islamic world and emerged as empire-builders with a constructive sense of statecraft.

Linguistically, the Oghuz are listed together with the old Kimaks of the middle Yenisei of the Ob, the old Kipchaks who later emigrated to southern Russia, and the modern Kirghiz in one particular Turkic group, distinguished from the rest by the mutation of the initial y sound to j (dj).

"The term 'Oghuz' was gradually supplanted among the Turks themselves by Türkmen, 'Turcoman', from the mid tenth century on, a process which was completed by the beginning of the thirteenth."

"The Ottoman dynasty, who gradually took over Anatolia after the fall of the Seljuks, toward the end of the thirteenth century, led an army that was also predominantly Oghuz."

Read more about Oghuz Turks:  Origins, Social Units, Homeland in Transoxiana, Oghuz and Yörüks, Oghuz Turk Dynasties, Traditional Tribal Organization, Turcoman and Turkmen, Literature

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