Kultegin(684-731)– commander of khaganate during the reign of the Second Turkic Khaganatе by Kapagan kagan, Bilge kagan, prominent statesman. The second son of Kutuluk (Elteris) kagan, sibling younger brother of Bilge kagan. His mother was Elbilge katun. His ancestry was Ashina dynasty of Kok Turk.


Kultegin is the second son of the prominent Kutuluk (Elteris) kagan who laid the foundation of the Second Turkic Khaganate, sibling younger brother of Bilge kagan. Founder of the Second Turkic Khaganate Elteris Kutuluk kagan died aproximately in 691. His children Mojilian.

(默棘连 // Mò jí lián, that is Bilge kagan) and Kultegin were still young. It is written in the Turkic records that when Kutuluk kagan passed away, Mojilian was eight years old, and Kultegin was seven years old. Thus, according to the tradition from the ancient times, the younger brother of Kutuluk kagan Bogu Chor (Mocho) sat on the throne. He was inaugurated as “Тaniride bolmysh tanirining ogur Turik bilge kutylyk kagan.” In the Turkic records he was saved as “Kapagan kagan.” In Chinese data he was written as Mocho («Mò chuò»). 

  At the age of seven Kultegin was orphaned by his father and he was on Kapagan kagan’s upbringing. Talented by nature Kultegin quickly matured. About that Bilge kagan wistfully recalled: When father kagan died, the Kultegin was seven years old. To the happiness of Katyn mother Umai, at the age of ten years of Kultegin was called hero. Thus, at the age of 16, he mastered the country and people of uncle kagan [1, 63 p.].

Thе age when Kultegin was ten years old coincides with the beginning or end of 694. After  Kapagan kagan sat on the throne, in 691 he put on the agenda the final conquest of Togyz Ogyz. On this crusade Baz kagan of Togyz Ogyz was killed. His sculpture was made and installed next to the late Kutuluk kagan. The son of Baz kagan and one part of his supporters moved to China, and in the fall months of 693 began to settle in the pasture area of Hesi. But Kapagan kagan did not leave them alone even there. In 694 year Kapagan kagan committed crusade on the border of China, he began ganged to resettle back tribes subordinated to the Kingdom of Tan. The crusade of Kapagan kagan by submission of this part of the Togyz Ogyz was so powerful. After that “Wu Zitian sent an army and forced them [Turkic people] to retreat” [2, 183 p.]. It was written on the Turkic monuments: “At the age of ten my brother Kultegin was called hero.” There are opinions that “calling hero” of Kultegin was related to the heroism he showed in those battles.

In 697 Kapagan kagan subjugated the tribes in the east as Kidans, Tataby, moreover, showing different pressures to the Kingdom of Tang he made them leave the territory Sunmo settled by Kidans, and he took with him resettling Turkic tribes, who till that time separately moved and settled in the territory under the influence of the Kingdom of Tang in the south.

In 698 Kapagan kagan continued further his crusades against the Kingdom of Tan. In the above-mentioned crusade took part Mojilian and Tonykok. Kapagan kagan in this crusade “conquered till the Shandun plain, and almost reaching the sea” returned with victory.

So, the formation of Kultegin “boy hero” and calling him a hero at the age of sixteen was directly connected with such historical events. On the monument of “Bilge kagan” was written: “Together with uncle kagan we crusaded in the front to the Zhasyl river, to the plain Shandun. In the back side we crusaded till the Iron gate. Overall, we crusaded twenty five times, and we fought thirteen times. We destroyed the countries, we vanished khaganates. We made bow heads and bent their knees”, these lines showed that even though Kultegin and Bilge kagan were very young, they participated in all different crusades in the era of Kapagan kagan.  

After stating on the monument “Kultegin” the story about “becoming hero at the age sixteen”, the next event was stated as follows: “We crusaded against Alty bauly sogdak, we destroyed them. Tabgash On tutuk came with five tumen army. We fought, Kultegin attacked infantry. The commanders of On tutuk surrendered with their armed army, we presented the armed army to the kagan. That army was destroyed by us” [1, 63 p.].

And now the monument “Bilge kagan” started that story from the event occurred one year before that. It was written there: “I crusaded to Tangyts at the age of seventeen. I destroyed Tangyt people. I got their dynasty, wives, horses, properties” [1, 103 p.]. 

If that year Bilge kagan was seventeen years old, then it meant that Kultegin was sixteen years old. However, there was nothing mentioned on the monument about what kind of heroism showed Kultegin in that battle. Nevertheless, the above mentioned Kultegin’s “becoming hero at the age of sixteen” must be related directly with this event. Because Kapagan kagan in the above-mentioned crusade was entrusted the task of command to Mojilian and Kultegin. 

Nothing specific about the above mentioned event was preserved in the Chinese sources. However, in the part “Biography of Lu Yuzin” of the book “Xin Tangshu” was written: in 701 the ruler of Tibet (“Fan) with his subordinated people was subjugated to the Kingdom of Tang
 [3, 116 p.]. That was directly related to Bilge kagan’s story “I crusaded to Tangyts at the age of seventeen. I destroyed Tangyt people.” At that time Тangyts settled one part of the modern Gansu Province and Shanxi Province.  

The first heroism of Kultegin was described as follows “At the age of eighteen I crusaded against Alty bauly sogdak. I destroyed their people. Tabgash On tutuk came with five tumen (fifty thousand) army. I fought at Yduk-bas. I destroyed that army there!” [1, 103 p.].  

As it is known from the Chinese sources that crusade began at the end of the summer and at the beginning of the fall of 701. The final result of the war was finished with the victory of Mojilian and Kultegin. On the Turkic monument the Chinese name of “On tutuk” was called Van Shen
 (王诜 // Wáng Shēn). Before that, he performed the duties of dudu (tutuk) in Shyngzhou region. Van Shen died in the battle at the beginning of 702 [4, 356 p.]. This information coincided with the record on the monument of Bilge kagan “At the age of eighteen I crusaded to Alty bauly sogdak”.

For many centuries, turkologists-scholars considered that the «Alty sub sogdaks» associated with the Central Asian sogdaks. Then they found the decision [5, 28 p].  In fact, they were sogdaks who settled the region called in Chinese “Hezui.” During the uprising of Turkic tribes started in 679, these sogdaks who settled mixed with the Turkic tribes, seperated themselves from the Turkic tribes and retained their subjugation to the Kingdom of Tan. The Kingdom of Tang moved them to the region Hezui, and from the south part of Linzhou region (the city Lin-u in the modern Ninsya) created six zhou (administrative zone) called “Lu, Li, Han, Sai, I, Zi” and settled them there. At that time it was called “Luihuzhou” (Six hu zhou). The Turkic people called that region “Alty shub sogdak” (Alty bauly sogdy). After Kapagan kagan sat on the throne, he with the goal of conquest from the Kingdom of Tang  this unusual community, previously existed under Turkic bondage, sent Mojilian and Kultegin to a crusade and they took away this land.

Regarding this on the monument of “Kultegin” was written as follows: “We crusaded against Alty bauly sogdak, we destroyed them. Tabgash On tutuk came with five tumen army. We fought, Kultegin attacked infantry. The commanders of On tutuk surrendered with their armed army, we presented the armed army to the kagan. That army was destroyed by us.” [1, 63 p].

The army ruled by Kultegin and Mojilian destroyed the army with 50 thousand people of Tabgash On tutuk (Van Shen) and then killed him, after they continued their crusade and robbed the districts like Yan, Sya, destroyed the army of the next Chinese commander Han Syzhun, took away the castle Shilin, besieged the city Bingzhou (modern Tayuan city), moreover, they sent the army to nearby areas and attacked them. Only after a month and a half they retreated back.

In the Turkic records was registered one evidence as the next event “At the age twenty Basmyl Ydykut was the people who was subjugated to me. I conquered them because they didn’t send a caravan. …I subdued them”. That event had to be taken place in the year 704. As in early crusades, Kultegin was recognized in that time the main commander of the war.

In the winter of 706 Kapagan kagan sent both Kultegin and Mojilian to the next crusade to Tabgash’s land. That time, as usual, the commander-in-chief was Mojilian, the attacker on the front line was Kultegin.  

According to the Chinese data, the attacking units under the command of Kultegin first attacked the town of the district called Mingsha (鸣沙 // Míng shā). The Kingdom of Tang  sent against them commander by the name Shazha Zhun (沙吒忠义 //Shā zhā Zhōngyì). The origin of a man, who was called in the Turkic records as “Chacha sengun”, came from the baegzhe people descended from Puiu of Korea. At that time, he was considered as one of the prominent commanders of the Kingdom of Tan. 

Regarding the year of that crusade on the monument of “Bilge kagan” was written briefly: “At the age of twenty two I crusaded against Tabgashs. I fought against to eight tumen (eighty thousand) army of Chacha sengun. I destroyed his army there” [1, 103 p.].

The Chinese sources did not give any proper information about this important historical event and the content of the information was not systematic. 

In the section “Biography of the king of Zhong Zong» of the book “Xin Tangshu” was briefly written: “in the 12th month, commander-in-chief of the army Lin Shaja Zhong yifought against the Turks and was defeated in Minsha.”

In the next paragraph of the book “Xin Tangshu” was written: “Mocho attacked the place Minsha. At that time commander-in-chief of the army Lin Shazha Zhong yifought with him, but he was defeated, several tens of thousands of people died on our side” [6,   184 p.]…

In the book «Tang Hui Yao» it was only written that in the 12th month of the second year of the chronicle of Shenlong Mocho (Kapagan kagan) attacked Minsha [7, 94 p.]…

In the book “Zui tanshu” was written: Mocho (Kapagan kagan) attacked again the district Minsha of the region Linzhou. Commander-in-chief of the army Lin Shazha Zhong yi had fought for a long time, the army of the king was defeated. More than 6000 people were killed [2, 194 p.]. 

In the next section of this book was written: in 12th month Mocho (Kapagan kagan)
 attacked again the district Minsha of the region Linzhou. Commander-in-chief of the army Lin Shazha Zhong yi fought against him. The army of the king was defeated; 30000 people were killed
 [2,  7 p.]. 

Regarding that it was announced in the book “Zy ji tun zian”: in the 12th month of the second year of the chronicle of Shenlong the Turk Mocho (Kapagan kagan) attacked Minsha. Commander-in-chief of the army Lin-u Shazha Zhong yi fought against him, and was defeated, 6000 people were killed  [8,  208 p.]. The works like “Tundian” [9,  198 p.] and “Tai pin huan ui zi” announced that more than 6000 people were killed.  

The information given by the Chinese sources are such different. Here the number of killed soldiers of Tabgash’s side must have been at least thirty thousand or more than that. Therefore, Shazha Zhong yi was subjected to a particularly severe punishment after that war. The Kingdom of Tang  took away all his posts, titles.

About that battle the most detailed description was given on the monument of “Kultegin.” As it was showed there, the battle was extremely hard. On the monument “Kultegin” that battle was described as follows:

At his age of twenty-one [Kultegin] fought against Chacha sengun. At the first time he was fighting on a grey horse of Tadykyn-chor. That horse was killed there. At the second time he rode on a grey horse of Yshbara Zhamtor. That horse was killed there. At the third time he fought on a horse of aristocrat Zhigen-silig (zhien-silig). That horse was killed there. On the armor, on the shield were more than one hundred bullet. Not a single bullet hit the face, the head. His attacks were so powerful, understand it Turkic aristocrats! We destroyed that army there [1, 63 p]. 

As we can see, Kultegin that time showed a special heroism in the battle. He went to the enemy line three times in a row. This proved that the battle indicated in the Chinese sources, which ended in the defeat of the famous Chacha sengun, was not so easy, and that they completely destroyed the “eighty thousand” soldiers of the Tabgash army. 

That battle was indicated in the Chinese sources as “the 12th month of the second year of the chronicle of Shenlong.” That year according to indications coincided with the winter of 706.

Turkic records presented us one additional information. In fact, before the beginning of the mentioned crusade, the Kingdom of Tang  found a common language with Bayyrku and reached an agreement to attack the Turkic Khaganate simultaneously from two southern and northern directions. Kapagan kagan, who received the message about this attempt, sent Kultegin and Mojilian first to the South, then after getting the victory, dividing into two directions, continued the crusade. Bilge kagan continued his crusade to the south of the Chinese land. Kultegin from there headed north to punish Bayyrku, who was the northern allies of Tabgash. On the monument “Kultegin” that event was described as follows: “After that Ulug-erkin of Zher-bayyrku [tribe] was our enemy. We destroyed him completely near the lake Turgi-Zhargun. Ulug-erkin with his some soldiers fled” [1, 63 p].

If we consider this case, it is the second part of the whole crusade. Because when Kultegin went north and defeated Bayyrku, the army led by Bilge kagan continued crusade to the Chinese land, robbed the city Minsha and then “attacked the Yuan and Huei districts.” [7, 94 p.]; “They attacked the region Lun yu, and got more than ten thousand horses from there” [2, 7 p.]. Also “the city Minsha was destroyed and turned into ruins” [8.  4 p.]. These crusades were led by Mojilian, when Kultegin went to a crusade to Bayyrku to the north. 

After that war, began to occur changes in the prevailing conditions with the Kingdom of Tan. Most importantly, the woman king Wu Zitian died and power again passed to the Li dynasty in the Kingdom of Tang  and stability was established in the Royal power. In this regard, the policy of the Kingdom of Tang regarding the Turkic Khaganate had changed. These changes were directed to the power of Kapagan kagan in a disadvantageous direction. In the Horde of the Kingdom of Tan, opinions were expressed not about protection from the Turks as before, but about their subjugation and crusades to their land.

This policy was carried out in three directions: first, the construction in the border areas of the city-fortress, the construction of fortress mounds necessary for defense; second, the аssociation with all political forces against the Turks; third, the crusade to the north.

In this regard, one of the important measures taken was the establishment of political and military alliances with Turgesh, Kyrgyz, Bohai, Shivei (tatars, tataby).

Thus, the Kingdom of Tang abandoned the policy of assisting the aristocrats of the Khan dynasty of the Western Turkic Khaganate established with the country On Okh and began to support the Turgesh ruler Sakal (娑葛 // Suō gé), previously feuding with them. In 709 they recognized as the legitimate authority of Sakal over Turgeshs, and recognized him as “Kagan of On tort Okh.”  As a result, the Kingdom of Tang achieved their goal of bringing Sakal closer to themselves, who had previously been under the influence of the Eastern Turkic Khaganate, and isolating the Kapagan kagan. 

It was in the winter of 709 that the Yenisei Kyrgyz, sending an ambassador to the Kingdom of Tan, established a bilateral political alliance. Among the countries that sent ambassadors to the Kingdom of Tang were the subjects of the Turkic Khaganate in the regions of Manchuria,
 called in Chinese «shivey», and in Turkic records tatabу, etc. The purpose of that “sending of ambassadors” was to create a great political alliance, going beyond the usual sending of an envoy with gifts. 

In 710 the Kingdom of Tang decided that it was high time to crusade against the Eastern Turkic Khaganate. In May of that year the next emperor of the Kingdom of Tang Tan Zhunzun announced his decree about “The decree of the crusade to north.” The main concept of the decree was complete conquest of the Eastern Turkic Khaganate. But a month later in the Horde of the Kingdom of Tang there was another dispute of power, and above mentioned «Decree» was canceled.

The cancellation of the above mentioned plan of the king Tan Zhunzun weakened the strength of the group advocating war in the Kingdom of Tan, of all hard suffered this cancellation allies of the Kingdom.  

At that time, the Eastern Turkic Khaganate began to concretize its next protective measures and on this basis achieved very great victories.

In 710, Kapagan kagan sent his vassals, tribes such as the tataby in the east, on a crusade against the Kingdom of Tan. 

In 711 he sent tegin Yanzhi as an ambassador to the Kingdom of Tang and held various negotiations. With this, on the one hand sowed discord between the Kingdom of Tang and Kyrgyz, Turgesh and the Kingdom of Tan, and on the other hand was able to stall for time. Taking advantage of that time, he crusaded to Kyrgyz and Turgesh, and defeated them. 

Kapagan kagan began that crusade first from attacking Kyrgyz. Kapagan kagan himself led the crusade. Among the participants of the crusade were the son of Kapagan kagan – Bogu (in Turkic records Inal qaghan // Inal kagan), Mojilian and Kultegin, advisors of the Khaganate such as Apa tarkhan, Boile Baga tarkhan, Tonykok. Turkic monuments described the whole process of the mentioned war.

Feats, which committed in these years Kultegin, in specific findings on the Turkic monument, mentioned as events occurred when Kultegin was 26 years and was described as follows:

«When Kultegin was twenty-six years old we went against Kyrgyz. We walked through a thick layer of snow, went around Коgmen rock, we were chasing Kyrgyz. We fought with their kagan at the rock Sona. Kultegin was riding a white horse of Bayyrku and attacked them. He killed one of their soldiers. Two fighters were stuck on a spear. At that battle white horse of Bayyrku got a belt injury. We killed Kyrgyz’s kagan. We conquered his country. In that year, going around Altyn rock and crossing the river Ertis we crusaded against Turgesh. We were chasing Turgesh people. The Bolchuda army of Turgesh kagan rode like a Blizzard. We fought. Kultegin rode on a grey horse. A grey horse descended [….], he took down two himself. Then we attacked again, and conquered the country of Az-tutuk, who was a commander of Turgesh kagan. We killed their kagan there. We invaded the country. Kara Turgesh people were subordinated to me, came under my leadership. We settled the people in Tabar. We crusaded till the Iron gate through crossing the river Inzhu to conquer the people of Sogdak. Kara Turgesh people were enemies there. We went to Kenres. In our army horses were thin, they did not have any food. Bad man, hero [….]. Great heroattacked us. At that time, we were in a bind and sent Kultegin with a few soldiers. He did a great war. He rode a white, fast horse. Wedefeated the Kara Turgesh people, we conquered them. Then we crusaded [……]»[1, 63-64 pp.]

However, after the end of that crusade, it was noticed that Kapagan kagan began to remove from the military power commanders such as Kultegin and Mojilian, Tonykok. Tonykok seemed to come out of this situation by giving his daughter to Kapagan kagan. But Kultegin and his brother Mojilian lost the possibility of unauthorized control of the army in the crusades as it was before. On the monument “Kultegin” was fully written his heroism at that time.

After that, in the public life of the Eastern Turkic Khaganate, various contradictions were exacerbated, political differences intensified. There was a mass misunderstanding among Togyz Ogyz and Kok Turks.

It was noticed that Togyz Ogyz’s resistance to Turkic authorities first began with the Karluks. “When Kultegin was twenty seven years old, Karluk people were in two minds, but then became enemies. We fought at Tamag-Yduk” [1, 64 p.], this information was the beginning of that misunderstanding. This war with the Karluks did not end there, but it was resumed in 714. It was described as follows: “Kultegin was thirty years old at that war. Riding on his white, fast horse, he attacked severely. He stuck them on a spear. We killed and conquered Karluks” [1, 64 p.].

According to the monument “Kultegin”, in 715 when Kultegin was thirty one years old they fought with Az. It was written on the monument that “The people of Az were killed there” and then was added «when uncle kagan’s people were in turmoil, when the people and the country split into two, we fought against the Izgil people. … Izgil рeople was destroyed, the people of Togyz Ogyz was my people. They were punished by Tengri, the Land and became enemies. We fought against them five times in one year….» [1, 64 p.]. All this indicates that there was widespread rebellion of Togyz Ogyz, who was as a part of the Turkic Khaganate, against the power of Khaganate. Monument described completely that event: «when uncle kagan’s people were in turmoil, when the people and the country split into two», «the people of Togyz Ogyz was my people. They were punished by Tengri, the Land and became enemies». 

The enmity of Togyz Ogyz with his kagan and the political instability that took place in the Kһaganate gave excellent opportunities to the Kingdom of Tan.  

Thus, in the spring of 716, the Kingdom of Tang ascended to the Turkic Khaganate in three directions. The army in the central direction led by commander-in-chief Xue Ne (薛讷 // Xuē Nè) encountered stiff resistance from the Turks and then negotiated and established a “peaceful kinship.” And in the historical data about the western direction led by Yang Jingshu not persisted specific findings, so perhaps he, too, was defeated. Only the third direction – the eastern direction of the army under the leadership of Zhang Zhi-Yun (张知运 // ZhāngZhīyùn) made a successful crusade. Since in the army of Zhan Zhi-Yun there were the Tibetan soldiers subjugated to the Kingdom of Tan. During the crusade commander-in-chief Zhn Zhi-Yun sent to the front line the division of Tibetan Gong Ren (弓仁// Gōng Rén). With the help of a mounted detachment formed of Tibetans, they sought Turkic land and together with Togyz Ogyz troops could destroy the Turkic Khaganate from the inside.  

In 716 Kapagan kagan died in the crusade. After Kapagan kagan’s death his son Bogu
 kagan (Inal kagan) sat on his throne and became Bogu kagan. There is information about that, after coming to the throne, Bogu kagan inaugurated his sibling brother Mo tegin as Tolish shad, and inaugurated Ashina Bilge tegin as Tardush shad [ 12, 986 p.]. Based on that information it must be mentioned that he began to remove from the power Kutuluk’s two sons Kultegin and

When Kapagan kagan died Kultegin was on the crusade against Kyrgyz. However, having returned form Kyrgyz’s land with victory, Kultegin gathered his supporters and killed Bogu kagan, his brothers and relatives, and inaugurated Mojilian as “Bilge kagan”, who officiated Tolis shad in the era of Kapagan kagan. Kultegin was the left hand shad and commander-in-chief of the Khaganate.  

That time in the battle of the Horde Kultegin killed almost all the supporters of the Bogu kagan (Inal kagan), who had just sat on the throne of the Khaganate, and Kapagan kagan. From the descendants of Kapagan kagan survived only his son Mo Tegin and daughter, who was married to the aristocrat Ashide Mimi, and fled to China. From previous supporters of Kapagan kagan survived Bilge Tonykok. Since he was a father in law of Bilge kagan. Although Тonykok was saved, һe was pursued for some time, and around 719 he was restored to the title of “Boylа Baga Tarkhan.” 

According to tradition, the throne of the Khaganate preserved two different hereditary series: «if the father died, the son inherits» and «if the elder brother died, the younger brother inherits». In the system of Khan’s inheritance of the Eastern Turkic Khaganate, an ancient tradition was established, according to which the heir to the throne rules the Eastern part of the country, continuing from antiquity. The ruler of the eastern part of the Khaganate was called – «Tolish shad» (sometimes Tolish khan). According to this legal rule, in which the heir to the throne was the ruling Tolish shad of the Eastern wing of the Khaganate, in case of the death of the kagan on the appointment of his brother or son, there was not much controversy. Since whoever the kagan appoints as Tolish shad or Tolish Khan of the Eastern side during his lifetime, that person as the heir to the throne will undoubtedly be proclaimed as kagan.   

In this regard, there is no reason to say that Kultegin that time violated the basic law. Since Kapagan kagan proclaimed Mojilian as «tardush shad” before that. In accordance with this, the actions of Kultegin were legitimate when he put on the throne of the Kһaganate his brother Mojilian, who had the position of «tardush shad», and proclaimed him as «Bilge kagan».

This historical event was written in the Chinese records as follows:

«After that Mocho crusaded ba-e-gu of [a part of] «togyz taipa», fought against them near the river Dele, ba-e-gu was defeated completely. [admiring the victory] Mocho with his army were carelessly passing through the forest, when people of ba-e-gu, who survived from the war, suddenly attacked them from one side, and chopped off his head. Then ba-e-gu delivered his head to the king’s capital by the king’s ambassador Hao Linziuan, who went to the barbarian’s place» [6, 187 p.].

Bilge kagan Mojilian was called “little shad” before. He was kind by nature and said «I do not deserve» and offered his throne to Kultegin, only after Kultegin hesitated to sit on the throne, Mojilian became a kagan, it was in the 4-year by chronicle of Kaiyuan (That is, in 716). When he sat on the throne, he appointed Kultegin as his left hand and gave the military affairs to him. At the time Mocho died, Kultegin completely destroyed his viziers. Then only because Tonykok’s daughter Pofu «Säbäg» was Mojilian’s wife, Tonykok was not killed, he was just removed from office and returned to his family. After the Turgesh kagan Sulu proclaimed himself Kagan, and when  provocations between the Turkic tribes increased, Mojilian summoned Tunuigu and asked him for advice on state affairs. At that time the age of Tonykok was above seventy, he was respected by his people, and they were afraid of him [6, 188 p.]. 

After Kapagan kagan died, although Kultegin took power of Khaganate into his own hands and killed the son of Kapagan kagan who came to power along with his other children and proclaimed his brother kagan, he held a great feast in honor of Kapagan kagan and celebrated it internationally. At his memorial service, people came from countries near and far abroad and commiserated over his death. To date, the monument, put in the name of Kapagan kagan, has not been found, but in the content of monuments in honor of Kultegin, Bilge kagan and Tonykok was given an objective assessment of the historical place of Kapagan kagan.

In 717, Bilge Kagan sent an ambassador to the Kingdom of Tang and expressed his desire to establish “peace.”  

In 718, the Turks attacked the defense army in the northern border zone of the Kingdom of Tang – Da-u and the military post of Hen-ye and attacked separately the Karluks and Tataby subordinated to the Kingdom of Tan.

That year the Kingdom of Tang began to appoint posts to the Turgesh’s ruler Sulu. At that very time Bilge kagan also married his daughter to the Turgesh’s kagan and he took Sulu’s daughter to his son and became a matchmaker. In order to eliminate the Turkic Khaganate, the Kingdom of Tang planned to conduct a joint crusade with the countries like Basmyl, Kyrgyz, Kidan, Tataby. In this difficult period Bilge kagan and Tonykok still needed the advice of a sage. Thus they appealed to the mind of Tonykok. They restored Тonykok’s former position and returned һim to the degree of sage of the Khaganate.

 In 719 the Kingdom of Tang in order to destroy the Turkic Khaganate continued attempts on Bilge kagan and the people under his leadership. They gave the title “Zhongshun kagan” (honest kagan) to the Turgesh’s kagan Sulu. Then the Chinese commander Wang Jun (王晙 // Wáng Jùn) planned to attack with Basmyl and Tataby from two sides to the Turkic Khaganate.

Bilge kagan and Kultegin first conquered the Basmyls in the vicinity of Besbalyk, who were the first to go to an agreed place. They crusaded the area Hesi from that place, and plundered cities and settlements, seized the horses necessary for military service, and destroyed the military potential of the kingdom. Another plan of the Kingdom of Tan, whose goal was the destruction of the Turkic Кhaganate ended in failure. That victory magnified and strengthened the foundation of the Khaganate.   

In 720 the capacity of the Second Turkic Khaganate in the Kapagan kagan era was restored. The Turkic Khaganate sent an ambassador to Tibet and they formed an Alliance against the Kingdom of Tan. In addition, they turned against the Kingdom of Tang countries like Kidan, Tataby and organized an attack to China against. Moreover, they organized the fighting of “alty sub sogdak” against the Kingdom of Tan.

By sending Van Zun, he calmed the Alty sub sogdaks. The Kingdom of Tang took various steps to appease the resistance of the Kidans and Tataby.

In 721 year lasted uprising Altу sub sogdak led by Kang Laibinom, commander of the Kingdom of Tang Wanzung committed another approach against them.

Thus, the Turkic Khaganate achieved great success in regional geopolitics. In this regard, the neighboring Kingdom of Tang changed its intentions about the assassination attempt and abandoned its bad thoughts about the Turkic Khaganate. In 721 the Kingdom of Tang came to a compromise with the Khaganate.  

In 722 Bilge kagan crusaded Kidans. Uprising of Altу sub sogdak led by Kang Laibin was lasted, the Kingdom of Tang  went to the next crusade against them. In order to conquer the Turgesh Khaganate, the Kingdom of Tang married the daughter of the Turkic nobility subordinated to the Kingdom of Tang Ashina Huaidao to Sulu kagan as a kunchui.

In 724, Bilge kagan demanded that the Kingdom of Tang hand over one of the princesses of the Royal dynasty, so that both countries would become matchmakers. 

In 725, the Kingdom of Tang sent an invitation to the Eastern Turkic Khaganate and invited them to participate in the pilgrimage ceremony of king Zui anzun to the sacred mountain Taishan. Bilge kagan sent his ambassadors to the Kingdom of Tan. 

In 727, the Tibetan ruler wrote a letter to Вilge kagan with a proposal to jointly make
 a crusade to the Kingdom of Tan. Bilge kagan delivered this letter to the Kingdom of Tan. The Kingdom of Tang and the Eastern Turkic Khaganate began trading on the defensive fortresses of the border.

In 729, Togyz Ogyz tribes such as uigur, zibi, izgil, hun, who had previously been subject to the Kingdom of Tang and settled in the grazing areas of Hesi land, killed the dudu of the Liangzhou region of Van Zun and submitted to the Eastern Turkic Khaganate. 

In 730 tribes in the east such as Tataby, Kidan rebelled against the Kingdom of Tang and they were subjugated to the Eastern Turkic Khaganate.

Kultegin died in February of 731 at the age of 47.

When Kultegin passed away, it seemed a huge wall of the Khaganate fell. The great Steppe grieved, the people left behind sang memorial songs about him. Ambassadors from all over the world came and honored Kultegin’s memory. People established a large monument writing on it the history of the country.  


Kultegin fought with the internal and external enemies of the Khaganate from his youth until his death. Even his heroism at a young age played a huge role in preserving the country in the era of the Kapagan kagan. And his courage in the era of his brother Bilge kagan proved to be a solid foundation for achieving an unprecedented level of the Khaganate. He spent his entire adult life on the saddle of a horse for the unity of the Turkic Khaganate, the integrity of the land and the future of the country. Working hard like that “crusaded in the front to the Zhasyl river, to the plain Shandun. In the back side crusaded till the Iron gate. Destroyed the countries, vanished khaganates of the enemies of Empire. Made bow heads and bent knees.” When Bilge kagan appreciated the contribution of Kultegin, he wrote: “In order not to fade the glory of the country, which our fathers, our brothers created, I did not sleep at night, I did not sit during the day for the sake of the Turkic people. Together with my brother Kultegin, we created the country with two shads”; “If there weren’t Kultegin, it would be difficult for everyone.”


Kultegin is a holy place, the location is in the Arkhangai district of Mongolia, the Khashat valley, in the area of Koshe-Caidam on the right bank of the Orkhon River.  

On May 18, 2001, a copy of the written monument to Kultegin was awarded to the Eurasian National University.

On November 4, 2016, the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan put into circulation a silver coin “Kultegin” with a face value of 500 tenge, with “proof” quality from coins of the “Treasure of the Steppe” series.


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Figure 2.Monument of Kultegin

Figure3.Print of the Chinese part of the Kultegin’s monument