Deceased Person

– 0724


Who was Tonyukuk?

Tonyukuk was the baga-tarkhan of four Göktürk khagans, the best known of whom is Bilge Khan.

The name is spelled as t-o-ň-uq-uq in the Old Turkic script, variously interpreted as Tunuquq, Tonuquq, Tuj-uquq, Tony Yuguq, Tujun-oq, Tojuquq, with a number of suggestions for its etymology.

He played a major role in the politics of the Turkic tribes and the establishment and assertion of the Göktürk state against the Chinese Tang Dynasty. Tonyukuk first served the Tang Empire, then joined the Göktürk rebellion against the empire. Tonyukuk was a "guardian of Türk values" and rejected Taoism and Buddhism as unsuitable to a people of warriors, advising the Turks to "follow the water and the grass" to avoid annexation by the Chinese Empire, as they numbered "less than a hundredth part of the Chinese". He was one of the Turkic commanders during the battle on the Tola River against the Uyghurs, and led the Göktürk campaigns against the Kirgiz Khanate in 708-709 and against the Turgesh Khanate and Arab Qalifate in 711-712. After Qaghan Qapaghan's death, he did not support Kultegin and Bilge in their struggle against the power of Qapaghan's sons. When they emerged victorious, he was discharged from ruling the khanate. Subsequently, however, Bilge decided to rehabilitate him.

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on July 23, 2013


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