Concept

Cumans

Summary
The Cumans or Kumans (kumani; Kumanen; kunok; Połowcy; cumanii; polovtsy; polovtsi) were a Turkic nomadic people from Central Asia comprising the western branch of the Cuman–Kipchak confederation who spoke the Cuman language. They are referred to as Polovtsy in Rus, Cumans in Western and Kipchaks in Eastern sources. Related to the Pecheneg, they inhabited a shifting area north of the Black Sea and along the Volga River known as Cumania, from which the Cuman–Kipchaks meddled in the politics of the Caucasus and the Khwarazmian Empire. The Cumans were fierce and formidable nomadic warriors of the Eurasian Steppe who exerted an enduring influence on the medieval Balkans. They were numerous, culturally sophisticated, and militarily powerful. Many eventually settled west of the Black Sea, influencing the politics of Kievan Rus', the Galicia–Volhynia Principality, the Golden Horde Khanate, the Second Bulgarian Empire, the Kingdom of Serbia, the Kingdom of Hungary, Moldavia, the Kingdom of Georgia, the Byzantine Empire, the Empire of Nicaea, the Latin Empire and Wallachia, with Cuman immigrants becoming integrated into each country's elite. The Cumans also played a prominent role in the Fourth Crusade and in the creation of the Second Bulgarian Empire. Cuman and Kipchak tribes joined politically to create the Cuman–Kipchak confederation. After the Mongol invasion of Kievan Rus' in 1237, many Cumans sought asylum in the Kingdom of Hungary, as many of them had already settled there in the previous decades. The Cumans also played an important role in the Second Bulgarian Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Latin Empire, and the Nicaea Empire's Anatolia. The Cuman language is attested in some medieval documents and is the best-known of the early Turkic languages. The Codex Cumanicus was a linguistic manual written to help Catholic missionaries communicate with the Cuman people. Cuman appears in ancient Roman texts as the name of a fortress or gate.
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