ISSN: 0041-4255
e-ISSN: 2791-6472

Hakan Kırımlı

Keywords: Crimean Khanate, Crimea, Shepherd Gerays, Caucasus


The Chinghiside Geray dynasty was the royal house of the Crimean Khanate. Whether a particular pedigree, the so-called "Shepherd Gerays" (Çoban Geraylar), actually belonged to the Geray dynasty has long been a matter of query. In fact, among the "Shepherd Gerays" were a khan (Âdil Geray Khan) and several Geray sultans (princes) who held significant posts in the khanate. Nevertheless, there has been a common tendency among many of the other or "full-blooded" members of the Geray dynasty to reject any consanguinity with them, alleging that they were "illegitimate offsprings of a shepherd" unworthy of belonging to the Crimean royal house. This notion has been frequently reiterated almost as an axiom in the mainstream historiography of the Crimean Khanate too. A critical reassesment of the source material, particularly the contemporary ones, however, hardly validates these commonplace convictions about the origins and position of the "Shepherd Gerays." One may observe that, though more often than not their "distinctiveness" was underscored, the "Shepherd Gerays" enjoyed almost the same priviliges and titles in line with other Gerays. The present article argues that, in all likelihood, the "Shepherd Gerays" were indeed a collateral branch of the Geray house.