The advent of a reign of two monarchs of the same gender would present challenges to SCA traditions, regardless of culture. In order to help alleviate some of these challenges, we and our chamberlains have done some research into a specific culture in which such an arrangement was actually normal. As such, we will be basing our reign on the precedents of Khazaria, focusing on about 300 years from 750 to 1050.

The ethnic Khazars were a Turkic people, but Khazaria was a multicultural kingdom which absorbed influences from Byzantium, the Norse (via Kiev, which began as a Khazar city), Judaism (the royalty and some degree of the Khazar nobility converted to Judaism before the kingdom fell!) and Islam. Sitting astride the Silk Road, they had contact with China as well, and archaeological evidence includes dragon motifs. As such, Khazaria is ideal for Hrodir (norse) and Yehudah, who was already a Khazar Jew.

Khazaria was ruled under a dual-king system which evolved gradually, in which a Khagan was the spiritual and cultural leader while the Bek evolved to be the military and administrative leader. In historical practice, the distinction was somewhat akin to that of the Japanese Emperor and Shogun. In SCAdian terms, they map reasonably well to Consort by Right of Inspiration and Sovereign by Right of Arms. We consider this to be sufficiently SCA compatible that we will be using these titles upon our accession: Hrodir Bek and Yehudah Khagan.

Finding good titles for our heirship was tougher, particularly for Yehudah—most of the titles we know of for Khazaria are more on the military side under the Bek than anything that would imply an heir to the Khaganate, even though evidence suggests that both offices became hereditary.

For Yehudah, we’ve decided that Tarkhan (a Khazar word) is probably closest. The Hebrew Yehudah ha-Nasi (the prince) would be inappropriately presumptuous, as there is very famous individual in Jewish history who used and is remembered by that style.

For Hrodir, the Norse style Hrodir Fyrste is preferred. While not used specifically by Khazars, it’s a plausible word to be used by the Norse in Khazaria for someone thought of as a prince..