The Chalyzians or Khalyzians (Arabic: Khalis, Khwarezmian: Khwalis, Byzantine Greek: Χαλίσιοι, Khalisioi, Magyar: Káliz) were a people mentioned by the 12th-century Byzantine historian John Kinnamos in Halych.

Kinnamos in his epitome twice mentions Khalisioi in the Hungarian army. He first describes them as practising Mosaic law; though whether they were actually Jews is unclear because other editions state that they were Muslims. They were said to have fought against the Byzantine Empire as allies of the tribes of Dalmatia in 1154, during Manuel Comnenus's campaign in the Balkans.

Prior to the years 889–92 some Khalis and Kabars (Kavars) of the Khazar realm had joined the Hungarian (Magyar) federation that had conquered and settled in Hungary. Another group had joined the Pechenegs. Al-Bakri (1014–1094) states that around 1068 A.D. there were considerable numbers of al-Khalis amongst the nomadic Muslim Pechenegs (Hungarian: Besenyő), that lived around the southern steppes of Russia.

He also mentions that the original al-Khalis living within the Khazar realm may have been foreign slaves from Byzantine Constantinople and/or other lands. The Pechenegs gave them the choice of staying in their country, where they could inter-marry or leave for another country of their choice. Anna Komnena in her Alexiad mentions a Pecheneg chief named Khalis.

Abraham Harkavy hypothesized that the Khalyzians were refugees fleeing the destruction of their khaganate by the Kievan Rus in the 960s AD and the Pecheneg influx which followed in the 970s. A contemporary of Harkavy's, the Polish historian August Bielkowski, suggested that the Khalyzians were identical with the tribe known in Russian sources as the Khvalisy; hence they may have been connected to the Arsiya.

The maternal ancestors of the Magyarized Pecheneg clan Aba, to which the Hungarian king Samuel Aba (1041–47) belonged, were according to Hungarian chronicles of Khwarazmian origin (de gente Corosmina, de Corosminis orta).

The Khwarezmian connection

Khwarezm is a city in present-day Uzbekistan, in the former Persian province of Khorasan. Since it was part of the silk road, it was known internationally, and had several different names in several different languages, including Byzantine Greek who called the products of this city "khalisios", which was masculine for "of the city of khalis."

A province of the Lower Volga

The province of Khwalis (Khwali-As) on the lower Volga, was the realm of the trading Eastern Iranians; its twin city Amol/Atil, also called Sariycin/Khamlikh. It was ruled by a governor with the title of Tarkhan As-Tarkhan.

Source: Harvard Ukrainian Studies, Volume II, Number 3, September 1978, p.262 (Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts).

Towns named after the Kaliz

Budakalász (Hungary), Kalász (Hungary/Slovakia), Halych (Ukraine), Kalasë (Albania) and numerous places in Russia (Kalasevo: Respublika Mordoviya), Iran (Kalash Garan: Ostan-e Lorestan), Afghanistan (Kalizeh: Velayat-e Helmand) and Punjab Pakistan (Kalis/Kalas).

See also