Bilge Qaghan
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Bilge Qaghan
Bilgä Qa?an
Old Turkic?:
Fourth Qaghan of the Second Turkic Qaghanate
ReignFebruary 717 - 25 November 734
PredecessorInel Qaghan
SuccessorYoll?g Khagan
BornAshina Mojilian

Died25 November 734(734-11-25) (aged 50-51)
SpouseEl Etmish Bilge Khatun
IssueYoll?g Tigin
Tengri Tigin
Princess Daluo
Two unnamed sons
HouseHouse of Ashina
FatherIlterish Khagan
MotherEl Bilga Khatun

Bilgä Qaghan (Old Turkic?:, Bilgä Qa?an; Chinese: ?; pinyin: píji? k?hàn)[1] (683 - 25 November 734) was the Qaghan of the Second Turkic Qaganate. His accomplishments were described in the Orkhon inscriptions.


As was the custom, his personal name and the name after assuming the title Qaghan were different. His personal name was recorded in Chinese characters as (pinyin: Ash?nà Mòjílián). His name after assuming the title was Bilgä Qa?an. (Old Turkic: ‎, Bilgä qa?an,[1]Chinese: ?; pinyin: píji? k?hàn). His official title: ? ‎, Täñ?ritäg ?äñiridä bolmu? Türük Bilgä Qa?an.[2]

Early years

He was born in 683, just in early years of Second Qaghanate. He campaigned alongside his father from early years as a child. He was created as Tardush shad and given command over western wing of empire in 697 by Qapaghan. He managed to annihalate Wei Yuanzhong's army in 701 with his brother. He also reconquered Basmyl tribes in 703. He also subdued Yenisei Kyrgyz forces in 709, after their disobedience had to reconquer and kill their Qaghan in 710. He killed Sakal in his invasion of Turgesh in 711 and had submission from Beshbaliq in 713.

In later years of Qapaghan, he had to fight 4 battles in a year starting from 714, resubduing tribes and nearly was killed in an ambush from Huige forces in 715.[3]


In 716, Qapaghan Qaghan, the second Qaghan, was killed in his campaign against the Toquz Oghuz alliance and his severed head was sent to Chang'an.[4] Although his son Inel Khagan succeeded him, Bilgä's brother Kul Tigin and Tonyukuk carried out a coup d'état against Inel Qaghan. They killed him and made him Bilgä Qaghan.[4] His name literally means "wise king".

He appointed his brother Kul Tigin to be Left Wise Prince, which made second most powerful person in realm. He resubdued Huige in 716. Also appointed his father-in-law Tonyukuk to be Master Strategist.

New reforms and stabilization of regime caused tribes that fled Tujue to come back. Tang chancellor Wang Jun, believing that the Göktürks who surrendered would try to flee back to the Göktürk state, suggested that they be forcibly moved into the heart of the empire to prevent them from doing so. Before Wang's suggestion could be acted upon, however, there was an uprising by the Göktürks who surrendered, under the leadership of Xiedie Sitai (?) and Axilan (). Xue and Wang tried to intercept them and dealt them defeats, but they were able to flee back to the Göktürk state anyway. This defeat led to Xue Ne's retirement.

Religious policy

At some point in his life, he wanted to convert to Buddhism, settle in cities. However, Tonyukuk discouraged him from this, citing Tujue's small numbers and vulnerability to Chinese attack. While Turks' power rested on their mobility, conversion to Buddhism would bring pacifism among population. Therefore, sticking to Tengriism was necessary to survive.[4][5][6]

Later reign

The Bilgä Qaghan monument with inscriptions, Mongolia

In 720, Wang believed that the Pugu () and Xiedie tribes of the region were planning to defect to Eastern Tujue and attack with Eastern Tujue troops. He thus held a feast and invited the chieftains, and, at the feast, massacred them. He then attacked the Pugu and Xiedie tribes in the area, nearly wiping them out. He then proposed a plan to attack Qaghan along with the Baximi, Xi, and Khitan.[4]Emperor Xuanzong also recruited Qapaghan Khagan's sons Bilgä Tigin and Mo Tigin, Yenisei Kyrgyz Qaghan Kutluk Bilgä Qaghan and Huoba Guiren to fight against Tujue. Tonyukuk cunningly launched first attack on Baximi in 721 autumn, completely crushing them. Meanwhile, Bilgä raided Gansu, taking much of the livestock. Later that year Khitans, next year Xi were also crushed.

In 726, his father-in-law and chancellor Tonyukuk died.

In 727, he sent Buyruk Chor (Chinese: /; pinyin: Méilù Chuò) as en emissary to Xuanzong to send 30 horses as gift. He also alarmed him of Me Agtsom's proposal of anti-Tang alliance. This alarm proved to be true when Tibetan general We Tadra Khonglo invaded Tang China in 727, sank Guazhou (, in mordern Gansu), Changle (, in south of mordern Guazhou County), Changmenjun (, in north of mordern Yumen) and Anxi (, mordern Lintan).

On 27 February 731, Kul Tigin died, for which Qaghan mourned and ordered a great funeral ceremony.[7]

In 733, he defeated rebellious Khitan tribes.[1]


Just after sending an emissary to Xuanzong to gain heqin alliance, he was poisoned by Buyruk Chor.[8] He didn't die immediately and he had time to punish the family of Buyruk Chor with death.[4] He died on 25 November 734, his burial ceremony took place on 22 June 735.


He was married to El Etmish Bilge Khatun, Tonyukuk's daughter. He had several issues:


After his death from poisoning, several steles were erected in the capital area by the Orkhon River. These Orkhon inscriptions are the first known texts in the Old Turkic language.


  1. ^ a b c Bilge kagan's Memorial Complex, TÜRIK BITIG
  2. ^ Ethno Cultural Dictionary, TÜRIK BITIG
  3. ^ Ahmet., Ta?a?il, (1995). Gök-Türkler. Atatürk Kültür, Dil, ve Tarih Yüksek Kurumu (Turkey). Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Bas?mevi. ISBN 975161113X. OCLC 33892575.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  4. ^ a b c d e Old Book of Tang, Vol. 194-I
  5. ^ Wenxian Tongkao, 2693a
  6. ^ New Book of Tang, vol 215-II
  7. ^ "Kultegin's Memorial Complex". Retrieved .
  8. ^ Erkin Ekrem, "Sar? Uygurlar?n Kökeni", Modern Türklük Ara?t?rma Dergisi, Vol. 4, No. 3, 2007, p. 175.


Encyclopædia Britannica, Micropaedia, Vol. II, pp. 16-17


External links

Bilgä Qa?an
Preceded by
Inel Khagan
Khagan of the Second Eastern Turkic Khaganate
Succeeded by
Yoll?g Khagan

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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