Bilge Kağan (684 – 734) was one of the most powerful emperors of the Göktürk Empire.

This article is all about the ‘Heads’ statue on Fethiye Kordon.

Bilge Kağan (684 – 734)

 

Bilge Kağan was one of the most powerful emperors of the Göktürk Empire.

The Göktürks were originally the Ashina tribe who came from an area of western China now known as Xinjiang.

They went on to rule a huge empire covering western China, North Asia and Eastern Europe as far west as the northern shores of the Black Sea.

They were the first people to use the word ‘Turk’ as a political name.

Bilge Kağan’s name literally translates as ‘wise chieftain’.

He took over leadership in 716 jointly with his brother Kul Tigin – though the latter didn’t warrant inclusion in the ‘heads statue’.

The two brothers asserted that the state could not be ruled only by fighting and bravery but also required its leaders to demonstrate wisdom.

Bilge’s achievements are known from the Orkhon inscriptions – 8th century inscriptions discovered in the Orkhon valley in Mongolia in 1889 by a Russian archaeological expedition.

They are the earliest known texts in the Old Turkic language.

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