Have you ever just followed your Wikipedia nose?
From ancient whales to the Tethys sea and the Cimmerian continent and the Cimmerian Plate, to the mountains thrust up by it's impact with Laurasia. I got to wondering about the peoples who live along that boundary zone. Apparently, the Uighur khaganate historically controlled a large portion of it.
This graphic shows the division of peoples at the time, including the Khazar khaganate. Apparently they kicked some major Muslim ass in the Caucasus Mountains and then officially turned to Judaism. They were very tolerant, apparently, because you could practice Islam in their territory if you liked, and you'd be judged according to Sharia if you did something unlawful. Sviatoslav the First, a Varangian (viking!) Rus, was so impressed with their method of dual-king governance that he adopted it after taking over a portion of their lands in Ukraine. Heh, I knew there were vikings in my ethnic history somewhere!
This is exhausting. Why must learning about something so exciting be so exhausting!?!?! I want to keep reading, but I'm getting eyestrain...