The Book of Wei (魏書) 103 (English)


The Tatars


The Tatars (lit. Ru-ru) (蠕蠕) are the descendants of the Särbi (lit. Dong-hu) (東胡). Their surname is Yügüräk (郁久閭). In the beginning of the end of the Shenyuan, a raider horseman acquired a slave whose hair began at the same level as his eyebrow and did not remember his surname. So, his master called him Moquraq (木骨閭). A person who is “moquraq” has no hair on his head. Moquraq and Yügüräk have a similar sound; therefore, in later times, their descendants made this their clan name. [Because] Moquraq had become strong, he was released from slavery and made a raider. In the time of Emperor Elläg (lit. Mu) (穆), he was convicted of a crime and sentenced to beheading. He fled and hid in the vast desert valleys. He gathered over a hundred fleeing fugitives, taking refuge with the He-tu-lin tribe (紇突鄰 LH *ɣuət-tʰuət-lin). When Moquraq died, his son Küllügay [had already become] an imposing and powerful man. In the beginning, his tribe self-identified as Rou-ran (柔然) and was in service to the state [of Wei]. Afterwards, their descendants became ignorant, like worms, and therefore changed their name to Ru-ru (“wriggling worm”).

In the ninth year (485 C.E.), Yu-cheng (予成) died and his son Törün (豆崘) was established. He called himself Boğatur Qağan, [which in the] Tabğaç (lit. Wei) language meant “persistent.” He self-styled [that year] as the first year of the Tai-ping (peace and security) [era]. Törün was a ruthless [man who] loved to kill. His loyal advisors, Yi Yin and Shi Luo frequently gave him excellent advice. [They] repeatedly advised him to make peace with the state [of Wei] and not [attempt] and invasion of the Central States. Törün was furious. He falsely accused Shi Luo of treason, had him killed, and massacred his three clans. In the eighth month of the 16th year (492 C.E.), Emperor Gao-zu sent the Prince of Yang-ping [Yuan] Yi and the Left Deputy Minister (左僕射) Lu Rui as Totoks (都督). [He also sent] twelve generals including the Army Commander (領軍) Hu-lu Huan (斛律桓) to lead a cavalry of seventy thousand against Törün. From among the core tribes [of the Tatars], A-fu-zhi-luo (阿伏至羅) of the Tägäräk took charge of over a hundred thousand bölüks (落) and went west, where he established himself as a ruler. Törün and his father’s younger brother Anagay (那蓋) chased [after him] from two directions. Törün moved westward from north of Jun-ji Mountain (浚稽) and Anagay left from the Altay Mountains (金山). Törün was repeatedly defeated by A-fu-zhi-luo, while Anagay proved victorious several times...