Mess about Yddish and Crimean Goths
- Some words on gotho-khazar relations and jewish diaspora in Crimea in VIII-X cc AD.
Since the second half of seventh century when Khazars appeared at the Crimean peninsula, they
gradually advanced from Bospor to the west. This process was described from archaeological
point of wiev by Ph. D. Igor Avenirovich Baranov in his study "Tavrika v epohu rannego
srednevekovja" (Tavrica in early medieval epoch- Crimean variant of Saltov-Mayak culture).
The map of saltovian "ail" - temporary nomadic settlements in Crimea supplied with Baranov's
monography clearly shows that areas inhabited by christian alano-gothic population (South-West
and South Coast) and khazarian bulgars (Centre and East, especially Kerch peninsula) did not
intersect. As in this period was of certain weakness for Byzantium, khasars succeded to conquer
some gothic Klimatai at the South Littoral and in middle flow of rivers Belbek, Kacha, Alma,
Crisis broke out by the end of eighth century, when Khazars had captured Doros-Mangup. As a
result Christian population of Gothia revolted in 787 year AD under leadership of bishop St.
John the Gothic. The leaders of rebels were the local iconolatrian party, which was in an
opposition to official iconoclastic doctrine dominating in Kherson and at the most territory of
Byzantine influence. In such conditions anti-Khazar reconquest was condemned to fail, because
there were no hope to get Byzantine support to the rebellion with anti-government motto. For the
details you must turn tu vita of St. John (Canonized by Orthodox Church).
I'd like stress that local population was not extreamly hostile to nomadic invaders - in Crimea
started christianisation of bulgars. In places where they settled soon spacious basilicae emerged
(Tepsen', Bakla etc). Presence of Saltovian culture in Dori country tends to infinitesimal - rare
(not to say unic) occasional finds of typical saltovian cermics on settlements and pieces of belt
garniture in catacumb cemetries. I know only two real saltovian traces here. First fortification A
VIII on Chamnu-burun (Mangup-Theodoro) wich was rebuild using original saltovian techics -
masonry is laid directly on the ground (like whitestone fortresses on Don) even with tamga-
shaped signs on blocs. Second is branding-iron set with analogous signs found at Mangup
plateau in treasure-complex with two pairs of characteristic saltovian stirrups. No doubt in both
cases we see evidences of khazarian harrison. Technique of masonry at Suren fortress on Belbek
bears some specific features and its attribution is disputable.
So, look at this Crimean khazars - nomadic bulgars in the stage of sedentarization and slightly
christianized. When Thema of Klimates was established and greek and gothic troops (one
molibdobule from Chersonesos mentioned TAGMA GOTHIKON) kicked out khasarian
administration fron Crimea is it credible that they migrated to West? To the contrary - exists
many arguments that thay joined local ethnogenesis.
May be there was some jewish communities in this time acting as medium?. Very intriguing!
No traces. Peut etre only at Bosporus or Cherson. For what reason they must be speaking gothic?
Crimean Goths at this time seemed very similar to Tolkiens Rohirrim - not wealthy but brave
land of halfnomadic cattle- and hors-breeders covered with dense net of shelters and fortresses.
Doros-Mangup - being the capital for this time even had not been covered by soil. Fortified
perimeter of bare rock surface at the top of mountain 583 m in height surrounded by precipices
up to 70 m on the long and steep slopes covered by crushed stone. In the centre of plateau single
fundamental building - enormous basilica build by Justinian I. Terrible cold wind in winter,
burnig heat and duzzling scorching limestone in summer. Ballistarii, gothic warrors with
artificially deformed sculls armed with long swords, heavy spears and complex bows of hunnic
type as the only human beings seeng for months. We meet very high percentage of sceletons
with traces of battle injuries ( anthropologist - criminalist Leonid Ponomarjov even made
special exposition in Crimean medicine institute for traumatologists).
Where can we find more suitable place for establishing jewish colony?
Single known important marketplace - Parthenit between Byzantine fortresses Aluston (now
Alushta) and Gorzubitae (now Gurzuf) was the center of anti-khazar revolt. Exactly here St. John
found monastery of St. Apostles Peter and Paul an here he will late been burried. There for
centures stayed center of Gothic episcopy (survived to XIX century). So Parthenite also not fits.
There is some myths about Karaites as a descendants of jewis khazars in Crimea. As far as it
connected with Goths in next posting I will send a report at XIII Congress of Jewis Studies in
Jerusalem by head of Mangup expedition Alexander Herzen.