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The Book of Wei 103


The Tatars


The Tatars (蠕蠕) are the descendants of the Särbi (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 (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 Küllügey (車鹿會) [had already become] an imposing and powerful man. In the beginning, his tribe self-identified as Naıran (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”).

Although Küllügey had already taken control of his tribe, [they continued to] pay yearly tributes of horses, livestock, and mink fur. In the winter, they migrated to the southern part of the desert, and in the summer, they returned to the northern part of the desert. When Küllügey died, his son Tonuguy (吐奴傀) was established [as the leader of his tribe]. When Tonuguy died, his son Batu (跋提) was established [as the leader of his tribe]. When Batu died, his son Disugay (地粟袁) was established [as the leader of his tribe]. When Disugay died, his tribe was split into two: Belgübat (匹候跋), the eldest son of Disugay, resided in the East with his step-father; and his second son, Öŋgütey (縕紇提), resided in the West.

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 (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 Totoqs (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...

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