Pannonian Avars

The Pannonian Avars (/ˈævɑːrz/; also known as the Obri in chronicles of Rus, the Abaroi or Varchonitai[2] (Varchonites) or Pseudo-Avars[3] in Byzantine sources) were an alliance of several groups of Eurasian nomads of unknown origins.[4][5][6][7][8][9]

They are probably best known for their invasions and destruction in the Avar–Byzantine wars from 568 to 626.

The name Pannonian Avars (after the area in which they eventually settled) is used to distinguish them from the Avars of the Caucasus, a separate people with whom the Pannonian Avars may or may not have been linked.

They established the Avar Khaganate, which spanned the Pannonian Basin and considerable areas of Central and Eastern Europe from the late 6th to the early 9th century.[10]

Although the name Avar first appeared in the mid-5th century, the Pannonian Avars entered the historical scene in the mid-6th century,[11] on the Pontic-Caspian steppe as a people who wished to escape the rule of the Göktürks.

Coins of the Avars 6th-7th centuries CE imitating Ravenna mint types of Heraclius
Coins of the Avars 6th–7th centuries CE, imitating Ravenna mint types of Heraclius.[1]


Avars and Pseudo-Avars

The earliest clear reference to the Avar ethnonym comes from Priscus the Rhetor (died after 472 AD). Priscus recounts that, c. 463, the Šaragurs, Onogurs and Ogurs were attacked by the Sabirs, who had been attacked by the Avars. In turn, the Avars had been driven off by people fleeing "man-eating griffins" coming from "the ocean" (Priscus Fr 40).[12] Whilst Priscus' accounts provide some information about the ethno-political situation in the Don-Kuban-Volga region after the demise of the Huns, no unequivocal conclusions can be reached. Denis Sinor has argued that whoever the "Avars" referred to by Priscus were, they differed from the Avars who appear a century later, during the time of Justinian (who reigned from 527 to 565).[13]

The next author to discuss the Avars, Menander Protector, appeared during the 6th century, and wrote of Göktürk embassies to Constantinople in 565 and 568 AD. The Turks appeared angry at the Byzantines for having made an alliance with the Avars, whom the Turks saw as their subjects and slaves. Turxanthos, a Turk prince, calls the Avars "Varchonites" and "escaped slaves of the Turks", who numbered "about 20 thousand" (Menander Fr 43).[14]

Many more, but somewhat confusing, details come from Theophylact Simocatta, who wrote c. 629, describing the final two decades of the 6th century. In particular, he claims to quote a triumph letter from the Turk lord Tamgan:

For this very Chagan had in fact outfought the leader of the nation of the Abdeli (I mean indeed, of the Hephthalites, as they are called), conquered him, and assumed the rule of the nation.

Then he . . . enslaved the Avar nation.

But let no one think that we are distorting the history of these times because he supposes that the Avars are those barbarians neighbouring on Europe and Pannonia, and that their arrival was prior to the times of the emperor Maurice. For it is by a misnomer that the barbarians on the Ister have assumed the appellation of Avars; the origin of their race will shortly be revealed.

So, when the Avars had been defeated (for we are returning to the account) some of them made their escape to those who inhabit Taugast. Taugast is a famous city, which is a total of one thousand five hundred miles distant from those who are called Turks, . . . . Others of the Avars, who declined to humbler fortune because of their defeat, came to those who are called Mucri; this nation is the closest neighbour to the men of Taugast;

Then the Chagan embarked on yet another enterprise, and subdued all the Ogur, which is one of the strongest tribes on account of its large population and its armed training for war. These make their habitations in the east, by the course of the river Til, which Turks are accustomed to call Melas. The earliest leaders of this nation were named Var and Chunni; from them some parts of those nations were also accorded their nomenclature, being called Var and Chunni.

Then, while the emperor Justinian was in possession of the royal power, a small section of these Var and Chunni fled from that ancestral tribe and settled in Europe. These named themselves Avars and glorified their leader with the appellation of Chagan. Let us declare, without departing in the least from the truth, how the means of changing their name came to them....

When the Barsils, Onogurs, Sabirs, and other Hun nations in addition to these, saw that a section of those who were still Var and Chunni had fled to their regions, they plunged into extreme panic, since they suspected that the settlers were Avars. For this reason they honoured the fugitives with splendid gifts and supposed that they received from them security in exchange.

Then, after the Var and Chunni saw the well-omened beginning to their flight, they appropriated the ambassadors' error and named themselves Avars: for among the Scythian nations that of the Avars is said to be the most adept tribe. In point of fact even up to our present times the Pseudo-Avars (for it is more correct to refer to them thus) are divided in their ancestry, some bearing the time-honoured name of Var while others are called Chunni....

Avaric - Drinking Bowl - Walters 57565 - Profile
Gold Avar bowl, found in modern Albania.

According to the interpretation of Dobrovits and Nechaeva, the Turks insisted that the Avars were only pseudo-Avars, so as to boast that they were the only formidable power in the Eurasian steppe. The Gokturks claimed that the "real Avars" remained loyal subjects of the Turks, farther east.[13][15]

Furthermore, Dobrovits has questioned the authenticity of Theophylact's account. As such, he has argued that Theophylact borrowed information from Menander's accounts of Byzantine-Turk negotiations to meet political needs of his time – i.e. to castigate and deride the Avars during a time of strained political relations between the Byzantines and Avars (coinciding with Emperor Maurice's northern Balkan campaigns).[13]

Uar, Rouran and other Central Asian peoples

According to some scholars the Pannonian Avars originated from a confederation formed in the Aral Sea region, by the Uar, also known as the Var or Warr (who were probably a Uralic people) and the Xūn or Xionites (also known as the Chionitae, Chunni, Hunni, Yun and similar names);[16][17] the Xionites were maybe Iranian or Turkic-speaking or both.[18] A third tribe affiliated previously to the Uar and Xionites, the Hephthalites, had remained in Central and South Asia. In some transliterations, the term Var is rendered Hua, which is an alternate Chinese term for the Hephthalites. (While one of the cities most significant to the Hephthalites was Walwalij or Varvaliz, this may also be an Iranian term for "upper fortress".[19]) The Pannonian Avars were also known by names including Uarkhon or Varchonites – which may have been portmanteau words combining Var and Chunni.

The 18th-century historian Joseph de Guignes postulated a link between the Avars of European history with the proto-Mongolian Rouran (Ruanruan) of Inner Asia based on a coincidence between Tardan Khan's letter to Constantinople and events recorded in Chinese sources, notably the Wei zhi and Wu Bei Zhi.[19] Chinese sources state that Bumin Qaghan (Tumen khan), founder of the Turkic Khaganate, defeated the Rouran, some of whom fled and joined the Western Wei. Later – according to another Chinese source – Muqan Qaghan (Mugan Kehan), Bumin's successor, defeated the Hephthalites (Chinese name: Ya Da) as well as the Turkic Tiele. Superficially these victories over the Tiele, Rouran and Hephthalites echo a narrative in the Theophylact, boasting of Tardan's victories over the Hephthalites, Avars and Oghurs. However, the two series of events are not synonymous: the events of the latter took place during Tardan's rule, c. 580–599, whilst Chinese sources referring to the Turk defeat of the Rouran and other Central Asian peoples occurred 50 years earlier, at the founding of the Turk khanate by Bumen. It is for this reason that the linguist Janos Harmatta rejects the identification of the Avars with the Rouran. According to Edwin G. Pulleyblank, the name Avar is the same as the prestigious name Wuhuan in the Chinese sources.[20]

One theory suggests that some of the Avars were of Tungusic origin.[21]

Steppe empire dynamics and ethnogenesis

Pontic steppe region around 650 AD
The Pontic steppe, c. 650, showing the early territories of the Khazars, Bulgars, and Avars

Contemporary scholars are less inclined to view the tribal groupings mentioned in historical texts as monolithic and long-lived 'nations', but were rather volatile and fluid political formations whose dynamic depended on the sedentary civilizations they bordered as well as internal power struggles within the barbarian lands.

In 2003, Walter Pohl summarized the formation of nomadic empires:[22]

1. Many steppe empires were founded by groups who had been defeated in previous power struggles but had fled from the dominion of the stronger group. The Avars were likely a losing faction previously subordinate to the (legitimate) Ashina clan in the Western Turkic Khaganate, and they fled west of the Dnieper.

2. These groups usually were of mixed origin, and each of its components was part of a previous group.

3. Crucial in the process was the elevation of a khagan, which signified a claim to independent power and an expansionist strategy. This group also needed a new name that would give all of its initial followers a sense of identity.

4. The name for a new group of steppe riders was often taken from a repertoire of prestigious names which did not necessarily denote any direct affiliation to or descent from groups of the same name; in the Early Middle Ages, Huns, Avars, Bulgars, and Ogurs, or names connected with -(o)gur (Kutrigurs, Utigurs, Onogurs, etc.), were most important. In the process of name-giving, both perceptions by outsiders and self-designation played a role. These names were also connected with prestigious traditions that directly expressed political pretensions and programmes, and had to be endorsed by success. In the world of the steppe, where agglomerations of groups were rather fluid, it was vital to know how to deal with a newly-emergent power. The symbolical hierarchy of prestige expressed through names provided some orientation for friend and foe alike.

Such views are mirrored by Csanád Bálint. "The ethnogenesis of early medieval peoples of steppe origin cannot be conceived in a single linear fashion due to their great and constant mobility", with no ethnogenetic "point zero", theoretical "proto-people" or proto-language.[23]

Moreover, Avar identity was strongly linked to Avar political institutions. Groups who rebelled or fled from the Avar realm could never be called "Avars", but were rather termed "Bulgars". Similarly, with the final demise of Avar power in the early 9th century, Avar identity disappeared almost instantaneously.[24]


A genetic analysis in the year 2018 about ancient Avar ruling-class individuals showed a predominantly East-Asian Mongoloid origin.

The research suggests that the Avars were not a homogenous group but a federation of different tribes. Several individuals are genetically related to modern Central Asian and Siberian groups, namely, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Yakuts and Yenisseians. On the other hand there were also several individuals that are closest to modern Han Chinese and Japanese people. One analysed member is closest to modern Armenians and inhabitants of the Caucasus. The analysis concludes that the Rouran theory can not be ruled out and suggests that the origin of the Avars is much more complex than previously thought.[25]

Anthropological evidence

In contemporary art, Avars were sometimes depicted as mounted archers, riding backwards on their horses.[26]

According to mid-20th Century physical anthropologists such as Pál Lipták, human remains from the early Avar (7th century) period had mostly "Europoid" features, while grave goods indicated cultural links to the Eurasian steppe.[27]

Cemeteries dated to the late Avar period (8th century) included many human remains with physical features typical of East Asian people or Eurasians (i.e., people with both East Asian and European ancestry).[28] Remains with East Asian or Eurasian features were found in about one third of the Avar graves from the 8th Century.[29] According to Lipták, 79% of the population of the Danube-Tisza region during the Avar period showed Europoid characteristics.[27] (Lipták used racial terms later deprecated or regarded as obsolete, such as "Mongoloid" for North East Asian and "Turanid" for individuals of mixed ancestry.[30])

Social and tribal structure

Klosz Gyorgy Ozora-Totipuszta
Avar findings from Ozora-Tótipuszta, Hungary

The Pannonian Basin was the centre of the Avar power-base. The Avars re-settled captives from the peripheries of their empire to more central regions. Avar material culture is found south to Macedonia. However, to the east of the Carpathians, there are next to no Avar archaeological finds, suggesting that they lived mainly in the western Balkans. Scholars propose that a highly structured and hierarchical Avar society existed, having complex interactions with other "barbarian" groups. The khagan was the paramount figure, surrounded by a minority of nomadic aristocracy.

A few exceptionally rich burials have been uncovered, confirming that power was limited to the khagan and a close-knit class of "elite warriors". In addition to hoards of gold coins that accompanied the burials, the men were often buried with symbols of rank, such as decorated belts, weapons, stirrups resembling those found in central Asia, as well as their horse. The Avar army was composed from numerous other groups: Slavic, Gepidic and Bulgar military units. There also appeared to have existed semi-independent "client" (predominantly Slavic) tribes which served strategic roles, such as engaging in diversionary attacks and guarding the Avars' western borders abutting the Frankish Empire.

Initially, the Avars and their subjects lived separately, except for Slavic and Germanic women who married Avar men. Eventually, the Germanic and Slavic peoples were included in the Avaric social order and culture, itself Persian-Byzantine in fashion.[31] Scholars have identified a fused, Avar-Slavic culture, characterized by ornaments such as half-moon-shaped earrings, Byzantine-styled buckles, beads, and bracelets with horn-shaped ends.[31] Paul Fouracre notes, "[T]here appears in the seventh century a mixed Slavic-Avar material culture, interpreted as peaceful and harmonious relationships between Avar warriors and Slavic peasants. It is thought possible that at least some of the leaders of the Slavic tribes could have become part of the Avar aristocracy".[32] Apart from the assimilated Gepids, a few graves of west Germanic (Carolingian) peoples have been found in the Avar lands. They perhaps served as mercenaries.[31]

Each year, the Huns [Avars] came to the Slavs, to spend the winter with them; then they took the wives and daughters of the Slavs and slept with them, and among the other mistreatments [already mentioned] the Slavs were also forced to pay levies to the Huns. But the sons of the Huns, who were [then] raised with the wives and daughters of these Wends [Slavs] could not finally endure this oppression anymore and refused obedience to the Huns and began, as already mentioned, a rebellion.

— Chronicle of Fredegar, Book IV, Section 48, written circa 642


The language or languages spoken by the Avars are unknown.[4][6][7][8] Classical philologist Samuel Szadeczky-Kardoss states that most of the Avar words used in contemporaneous Latin or Greek texts appear to have their origins in possibly Mongolian or Turkic languages.[33][34] Other theories propose a Tungusic origin.[35] According to Szadeczky-Kardoss, many of the titles and ranks used by the Pannonian Avars were also used by the Turks, Proto-Bulgars, Uighurs and/or Mongols, including khagan (or kagan), khan, kapkhan, tudun, tarkhan, and khatun.[34] There is also evidence, however, that ruling and subject clans spoke a variety of languages. Proposals by scholars include Caucasian,[6] Iranian,[36] Tungusic,[37][38][39] Hungarian[40] and Turkic.[2][41] A few scholars speculated that Proto-Slavic became the lingua franca of the Avar Khaganate.[42] Historian Gyula László has suggested that the late 9th century Pannonian Avars spoke a variety of Old Hungarian, thereby forming an Avar-Hungarian continuity with then-newly arrived Hungarians.[43]

Gyula László's Avar-Hungarian continuity theory

Gyula László, a Hungarian archaeologist, suggests that late Avars, arriving to the khaganate in 670 in great numbers, lived through the time between the destruction and plunder of the Avar state by the Franks during 791–795 and the arrival of the Magyars in 895. László points out that the settlements of the Hungarians (Magyars) complemented, rather than replaced, those of the Avars. Avars remained on the plough fields, good for agriculture, while Hungarians took the river banks and river flats, suitable for pasturage. He also notes that while the Hungarian graveyards consist of 40–50 graves on average, those of the Avars contain 600–1000. According to these findings, the Avars not only survived the end of the Avar polity but lived in great masses and far outnumbered the Hungarian conquerors of Árpád. He also shows that Hungarians occupied only the centre of the Carpathian basin, but Avars lived in a larger territory. Looking at those territories where only the Avars lived, one only finds Hungarian geographical names, not Slavic or Turkic as would be expected interspersed among them. This is further evidence for the Avar-Hungarian continuity. Names of the Hungarian tribes, chieftains and the words used for the leaders, etc., suggest that at least the leaders of the Hungarian conquerors were Turkic speaking. However, Hungarian is not a Turkic language, rather Finno-Ugric, and so they must have been assimilated by the Avars that outnumbered them and the genetics of today's modern Hungarians is no different than that of neighboring West Slavs as well as western Ukrainians. László's Avar-Hungarian continuity theory also states that the modern Hungarian language descends from that spoken by the Avars rather than the conquering Magyars.[44][45] László's research does suggest, at the very least, that it is likely that any remaining Avars in the Carpathian Basin who resisted Slavic assimilation were absorbed by the invading Magyars and lost their identity.

See also



  1. ^ CNG Coins
  2. ^ a b Avars at the Encyclopedia of Ukraine
  3. ^ According to Grousset, Empire of the Steppes, page 171,Theophylact Simocatta called them pseudo-Avars because he thought the true Avars were the Rouran.
  4. ^ a b "Avar". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved May 14, 2015. Avar, one of a people of undetermined origin and language...
  5. ^ Frassetto, Michael (1 January 2003). Encyclopedia of Barbarian Europe: Society in Transformation. ABC-CLIO. pp. 54–55. ISBN 978-1576072639. Retrieved 28 May 2015. The exact origins of the Avars remain uncertain...
  6. ^ a b c Waldman, Carl; Mason, Catherine (2006). Encyclopedia of European Peoples. Infobase Publishing. pp. 46–49. ISBN 978-1-4381-2918-1. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  7. ^ a b Beckwith 2009, pp. 390–391: "... the Avars certainly contained peoples belonging to several different ethnolinguistic groups, so that attempts to identify them with one or another specific eastern people are misguided."
  8. ^ a b Kyzlasov 1996, p. 322: "The Juan-Juan state was undoubtedly multi-ethnic, but there is no definite evidence as to their language... Some scholars link the Central Asian Juan-Juan with the Avars who came to Europe in the mid-sixth century. According to widespread but unproven and probably unjustified opinion, the Avars spoke a language of the Mongolic group."
  9. ^ Pritsak (1983, p. 359)
  10. ^ Walter Pohl, Die Awaren: ein Steppenvolk im Mitteleuropa, 567–822 n. Chr, C.H.Beck (2002), ISBN 978-3-406-48969-3, p. 26-29.
  11. ^ Curta, Florin (2006). Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500–1250. Cambridge medieval textbooks. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-81539-0. Retrieved 2009-11-20.
  12. ^ Maenchen-Helfen (1976, p. 436)
  13. ^ a b c Dobrovits (2003)
  14. ^ Whitby (1986, p. 226, footnote 48)
  15. ^ Nechaeva (2011)
  16. ^ Гулямов Я. Г., История орошения Хорезма с древнейших времен до наших дней, Ташкент, 1957.
  17. ^ Муратов Б.А. Аланы, кавары и хиониты в этногенезе башкир//Урал-Алтай: через века в будущее: Материалы Всероссийской научной конференции. Уфа, 27 июня 2008.
  18. ^ Peter B. Golden, 2005 "Turks and Iranians: a cultural sketch", in: Lars Johanson and Christiane Bulut (ed.), Turkic-Iranian Contact Areas: Historical and Linguistic Aspects, Turcologica 62, Wiesbaden, p. 19.
  19. ^ a b Harmatta (2001)
  21. ^ Helimski, E (2004). "Die Sprache(n) der Awaren: Die mandschu-tungusische Alternative". Proceedings of the First International Conference on Manchu-Tungus Studies, Vol. II: 59–72.
  22. ^ Pohl (2003, pp. 477–78)
  23. ^ Balint (2010, p. 150)
  24. ^ Pohl (1998)
  25. ^ Török, Tibor; Zink, Albert; Raskó, István; Pálfi, György; Kustár, Ágnes; Pap, Ildikó; Fóthi, Erzsébet; Nagy, István; Bihari, Péter (2018-10-18). "Mitogenomic data indicate admixture components of Central-Inner Asian and Srubnaya origin in the conquering Hungarians". PLOS ONE. 13 (10): e0205920. Bibcode:2018PLoSO..1305920N. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0205920. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 6193700. PMID 30335830.
  26. ^ Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi, Vol. 4. Otto Harrassowitz, 1984
  27. ^ a b Erzsébet Fóthi, Anthropological conclusions of the study of Roman and Migration periods, Acta Biologica Szegediensis, Volume 44(1–4):87–94, 2000.
  28. ^ "Acta archaeologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae", Magyar Tudományos Akadémia, 1 Jan 1967, Page 86 [1]
  29. ^ Russian Translation Series of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology ... – Page 21 [2]
  30. ^ Lipták, Pál. Recherches anthropologiques sur les ossements avares des environs d'Üllö (1955) – In: Acta archaeologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, vol. 6 (1955), pp. 231–314
  31. ^ a b c History of Transylvania
  32. ^ The New Cambridge Medieval History. Paul Fouracre
  33. ^
  34. ^ a b Szadeczky-Kardoss 1990, p. 221.
  35. ^ "Helimski: Early European Avars were (in part) Tungusic speakers". SARKOBOROS. 2014-09-08. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
  36. ^ Curta, Florin (2004). "The Slavic lingua franca (Linguistic notes of an archaeologist turned historian)". East Central Europe/L'Europe du Centre-Est. 31: 125–148. Retrieved 29 May 2015. By contrast, there is very little evidence that speakers of Slavic had any significant contact with Turkic. As a consequence, and since the latest stratum of loan words in Common Slavic is Iranian in origin, Johanna Nichols advanced the idea that the Avars spoke an Iranian, not a Turkic language.
  37. ^ Futaky, I. (2001). Nyelvtörténeti vizsgálatok a Kárpát-medencei avar-magyar kapcsolatok kérdéséhez. Mongol és mandzsu-tunguz elemek nyelvünkben (in Hungarian). Budapest.
  38. ^ Helimski, Eugene (2000). "Язык(и) аваров: тунгусо-маньчжурский аспект". Folia Orientalia 36 (Festschrift for St. Stachowski) (in Russian). pp. 135–148.
  39. ^ Helimski, Eugene (2000). "On probable Tungus-Manchurian origin of the Buyla inscription from Nagy-Szentmiklós (preliminary communication)". Studia Etymologica Cracoviensia (5): 43–56.
  40. ^ "Kettős honfoglalás". Wikipédia (in Hungarian). 2016-11-12.
  41. ^ Róna-Tas, András (1999-01-01). Hungarians and Europe in the Early Middle Ages: An Introduction to Early Hungarian History. Central European University Press. p. 116. ISBN 9789639116481.
  42. ^ Curta, Florin (2004). "The Slavic lingua franca (Linguistic Notes of an Archeologist Turned Historian)" (PDF). East Central Europe/L'Europe du Centre-Est. 31 (1): 132–148.
  43. ^ "História 1982-01|Digitális Tankönyvtár". (in Hungarian). Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  44. ^ László, Gyula (1978). A "kettős honfoglalás". Budapest, Hungary: Magvető Könyvkiadó.
  45. ^ "Documentary with Gyula László". Duna Television.


  • Beckwith, Christopher I. (16 March 2009). Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691135892. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  • E. Breuer, "Chronological Studies to Early-Medieval Findings at the Danube Region. An Introduction to Byzantine Art at Barbaric Cemeteries." (Tettnang 2005).
  • Curta, Florin (2006). Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500–1250. Cambridge Medieval Textbooks. ISBN 978-0-521-81539-0.
  • Fine, John V. A., Jr (1991). The Early Medieval Balkans; A critical survey from the sixth to the late twelfth century. The University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-08149-3.
  • Bruno Genito & Laszlo Madaras (eds.), (2005) "Archaeological Remains of a Steppe people in the Hungarian Great Plain: The Avarian Cemetery at Öcsöd 59. Final Reports. Naples". ISSN 1824-6117
  • László Makkai & András Mócsy, editors, 2001. History of Transylvania, II.4, "The period of Avar rule"
  • László Gyula: A "kettős honfoglalás" Magvető Könyvkiadó, 1978
  • Documentary with Gyula László in Hungarian, on state television channel Duna.
  • Maenchen-Helfen, Otto (1976). The World of the Huns: Studies in Their History and Culture. University California Press. ISBN 9780520015968.
  • Jarnut, Jorg; Pohl, Walter (2003). Regna and Gentes: The Relationship Between Late Antique and Early Medieval Peoples and Kingdoms in the Transformation of the Roman World. Brill. ISBN 90 04 12524 8.
  • Pohl (1998). "Conceptions of Ethnicity in Early Medieval Studies". In Rosenwein. Debating the Middle Ages: Issues and Readings. Blackwell. ISBN 9781577180081.
  • Kyzlasov, L. R. (1 January 1996). "Northern Nomads". In Litvinsky, B. A. History of Civilizations of Central Asia: The crossroads of civilizations, A.D. 250 to 750. UNESCO. pp. 315–325. ISBN 978-9231032110. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  • Dobrovits, Mihály (2003). ""They called themselves Avar" – Considering the pseudo-Avar question in the work of Theophylaktos". Ērān ud Anērān Webfestschrift Marshak 2003.
  • Pritsak, Omeljan (1982). The Slavs and the Avars. Spoleto.
  • Michael & Mary Whitby (1986). The History of Theophylact Simocatta: An English Translation with Introduction and Notes. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-822799-1.
  • Ekaterina Nechaeva (2011). "The "Runaway" Avars and Late Antique Diplomacy". In Ralph W. Mathisen, Danuta Shanzer. Romans, Barbarians, and the Transformation of the Roman World: Cultural Interaction and the Creation of Identity in Late Antiquity. Ashgate.
  • Janos Harmatta (2001). "The letter sent by the Turk Khagan to the Emperor Mauricius". Acta Archaeologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae. 41: 109–118.
  • Szadeczky-Kardoss, Samuel (1990). "The Avars". In Sinor, Denis. The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia. Vol. 1. Cambridge University Press. p. 221

External links


Year 632 (DCXXXII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 632 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Antes (people)

The Antes or Antae (Greek: Áνται) were an early Slavic tribal polity which existed in the 6th century lower Danube, on the regions around the Don river (Middle- and Southern Russia) and northwestern Black Sea region (modern-day Moldova and central Ukraine). They are commonly associated with the archaeological Penkovka culture.First mentioned in 518, the Antes invaded the Diocese of Thrace at some point between 533 and 545. Shortly after, they became Byzantine foederati, and were given gold payments and a fort named Turris, somewhere north of the Danube at a strategically important location, so as to prevent hostile barbarians invading Roman lands. Thus, between 545 and the 580s, Antean soldiers fought in various Byzantine campaigns. The Antes were eventually attacked and destroyed by the Pannonian Avars at the beginning of the 7th century.

Avar Khanate

The Avar Khanate (Avar: Awarazul Nutsallhi; Russian: Аварское ханство), also known as Khundzia was a long-lived Muslim state, which controlled mountainous parts of Dagestan (in the North Caucasus) from the early 13th century to the 19th century.


Avaria may refer to:

Avar Khanate of the Caucasian Avars in the Caucasus

Avar Khaganate of the medieval Pannonian Avars in the Pannonian Basin

Avar March

Avaria (genus), a genus of moths


Cunimund (died 567) was the last king of the Gepids, falling in the Lombard–Gepid War (567) against the Lombards and Pannonian Avars.


A Căpcăun is a creature in Romanian folklore, depicted as an ogre who kidnaps children or young ladies (mostly princesses). It represents evil, as do its counterparts Zmeu and the Balaur. The Romanian word appears to have meant "Dog-head" (căp being a form of cap, meaning "head", and căun a derivative of câine, "dog"). According to Romanian folkloric phantasy, the căpcăun has a dog head, sometimes with four eyes, with eyes in the nape, or with four legs, but whose main characteristic is anthropophagy.

The term căpcăun also means "Tatar chieftain" or "Turk chieftain", as well "pagan".

Some linguists consider căpcăun to be an echo of a title or administrative rank, such as kapkan (also kavhan, kaphan, kapgan) used by various Central Asian tribes who invaded Eastern Europe during late antiquity and the medieval era, such as the Pannonian Avars, Bulgars and Pechenegs.

Eurasian Avars

Eurasian Avars may refer to:

Avars (Caucasus), a people from the North East Caucasus

Avar Khanate, Caucasus

Pannonian Avars, a nomadic people who lived on the Eurasian Steppes, before settling in Central Europe

Avar Khaganate, Central Europe

ahir, northern India

Gyula László

Gyula László (Kőhalom, 14 March 1910 – Nagyvárad (today: Oradea) 17 July 1998) was a Hungarian historian, archaeologist and artist.

His main work is the novel theory of "double conquest" of the Carpathian Basin by Hungarians in 5th and 9th century. The essence of the theory is that (Pannonian) Avar culture is similar, or sometimes identical to Hungarian culture, so the conquest in circa 895, confirmed by all historians, must have been essentially a second entrance that followed an earlier, broader, less well documented, Avar invasion. This attempts to reconcile Hungarian chronicles, such as Chronicon Pictum with external chronicles mentioning invasions of Pannonian Avars.

Lombard–Gepid War (567)

In 566, Lombard king Alboin concluded a treaty with the Pannonian Avars, to whom he promised the Gepids' land if they defeated them. The Gepids were destroyed by the Avars and Lombards in 567. Gepid King Cunimund was killed by Alboin himself. The Avars subsequently occupied "Gepidia", forming the Avar Khaganate. The Byzantine Emperor intervened and took control of Sirmium (now Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia), also giving refuge to Gepid leader Usdibad, although the rest of Gepidia was taken by the Avars. Gepid military strength was significantly reduced; according to H. Schutz (2001) many of them joined Lombard ranks, while the rest took to Constantinople (the Byzantine Empire). According to R. Collins (2010) the remnants were absorbed either by the Avars or Lombards. Although later Lombard sources claim they had a central role in this war, it is clear from contemporary Byzantine sources that the Avars had the principal role. The Gepids disappeared and the Avars took their place as a Byzantine threat. The Lombards disliked their new neighbours and decided to leave for Italy, forming the Kingdom of the Lombards.According to Lombard Benedictine scribe Paul the Deacon (720s–799), Cunimund's daughter Rosamund, who was taken hostage by the Lombards and taken by Alboin as his wife, suffered from his cruelty. He forced her to drink from the skull of her dead father (which he carried around his belt), inviting her "to drink merrily with her father".

Penkovka culture

The Penkovka culture is an archaeological culture Ukraine spanning Moldova and reaching into Romania. Its western boundary is usually taken to at the middle Prut and Dniester rivers, where contact with the Korchak culture occurs. Its bearers are commonly identified as the Antes people of 6th-century Byzantine historiography.The core of the culture seems to be in Left-bank Ukraine, especially along the Sula, Seim, Psel, Donets and Oril rivers, but its territory extends to Right-bank Ukraine, and Penkovka pottery is also found in eastern and southern Romania, where it co-exists with wheel-made pottery of late Roman derivation; and is referred to as the Ipotesti–Candesti culture by Romanian archaeologists. Penkovka-type pottery has even been found in Byzantine forts in the north-eastern Balkans. "Nomadic" style wheel-made pottery (called Pastyrske or Saltovo ware) also occurs in the Ukrainian Penkovka sites as well as in the lower Danube and Bulgaria, but is most commonly found within the Saltovo-Mayaki culture, associated with Bulgars, Khazars and Alans.Hand-made Penkovka pottery is distinguished from Prague-Korchak types on the basis of its biconical profile and tendency for out-turned rims. However, Florin Curta has argued that there can be no simple relationship between the type of ceramic vessel and the ethnicity of groups which consumed them. E. Teodor performed a detailed analysis of ceramic vessels in 6th century southeastern Europe, and discovered a complex picture which cannot be reduced to 2 or 3 broad 'archaeological cultures', as each microregion and even individual site shows idisyncrasies in their ceramic profile and degree of connectivity to other regions of 'Slavic Europe'.Penkovka settlements tended to be located on the terraces of rivers- usually arranged in a linear fashion. Buildings were usually square-shaped, post-hole constructs dug into the ground, and were equipped with an oven in the corners. There are also rounded buildings, otherwise not found in other Slavic territories, which have been associated with a nomadic influence. However, they are different from traditional tent-like nomadic yurts. Settlements tended to be abandoned after a period of habitation and were often re-occupied years later, reflective of the itinerant form of agriculture practiced by the populace. Two fortified sites are known from the Penkovka region - Seliste and Pastyrske. The latter has been excavated in detail, and appears to have been an Iron Age fortification which was also occupied in early Medieval times. Measuring 25 ha, it included numerous settlement buildings as well as evidence of specialised industrial activity. Szmoniewski argues that "Pastyrs’ke may have also been a political power center, the seat of a ruler with territorial authority".Two forms of burials are found north of the Black Sea in the 6th and 7th centuries. Poorly furnished cremation burials, either inside urns or into shallow pits, are concentrated in the forest-steppe zone; whilst more elaborately equipped inhumations are found in the open steppe. Traditionally, the latter are attributed to "Turkic" nomads whilst the cremation burials were a typically Slavic rite. However, a straightforward ethnic attribution has been questioned - as the pottery and metalwork (see below) found in the 'nomadic' inhumations shows clear analogies to that found in 'Slavic' settlements in the forest-zone. Thus Curta has argued that the inhumation burials represented a marker of social distinction of chiefs and 'big men' from the forest-zone settlements.Another set of cultural elements often attributed to the Antes are numerous hoards of silver and gold ornaments dated to the 7th century, and are variously called "Antian antiquites" or the Martynovka culture. Scholars have debated to whom the Martynovka elements belonged to since the late 19th century; as A. Spitsyn attributed them to the Slavic Antes, whilst J. Harmatta rather attributed them to Turkic groups, specifically the Kutrigurs. The situation was clarified when Curta's analysis revealed that early in the 7th century, such metalwork appears in hoards deposited in the forest-steppe, whilst later assemblages appear as interment gifts in 'nomadic burials'. Thus, again, rather than simplistic ethnic explanations, Curta's analysis suggests that the pattern of ornament consumption varied with time and was related to social status and gender: i.e. earlier in the 6th century, elites displayed status by burying hoards of silver in the forest-steppe, whilst later there was more aggressive posturing and status display in the form of richly furnished male warrior graves, no doubt related to the competition for supremacy on the north Black Sea region between Pannonian Avars, Bulgars, Khazars and Western Gokturks. The metalwork betrays a variety of influences - especially the world of the steppe nomad which in turn showed Caucasian, Byzantine, and Sassanian inspiration. Yet other elements showed affinities with the 'Balto-Slavic' world of the forests of Eastern Europe.Overall, the equation of the Penkovka culture and Martynovka hoards with the Antes is problematic, as such cultural features exist into the 8th century, long after the Antes were defeated by the Avars in 602 AD and ceased to exist as an independent tribal polity. Such diffuse styles cannot be directly linked to any single people, but rather reflect a myriad of peoples who existed in the Black Sea region from 450–750 AD, including Antes, Kutrigurs and Bulgars.

Rouran Khaganate

The Rouran Khaganate (Chinese: 柔然; pinyin: Róurán), Ruanruan (Chinese: 蠕蠕; pinyin: Ruǎnruǎn/Rúrú; Wade–Giles: Juan-juan/Ju-ju), Ruru (Chinese: 茹茹; pinyin: Rúrú; Wade–Giles: Ju-ju), or Tantan (Chinese: 檀檀; pinyin: Tántán) was the name of a state of uncertain origin (Proto-Mongols, Turkic, or non-Altaic), from the late 4th century until the middle 6th century.

Rouran is a Classical Chinese transcription of the endonym of the confederacy. Ruanruan and Ruru remained in usage despite being derogatory. They derived from orders given by the Emperor Taiwu of Northern Wei, who waged war against the Rouran and intended to intimidate the confederacy. According to René Grousset, Ju-juan – an alternate Chinese name for the Rouran – was a "disparaging pun" derived from Juan-Juan: "unpleasantly wriggling insects".The power of the Rouran was broken in 555 by an alliance of Göktürks, the states of Northern Qi and Northern Zhou, and tribes in Central Asia.

It is occasionally hypothesized that the Rouran are identical with the Pannonian Avars – also known by names such as Varchonites and "Pseudo Avars" – who invaded the territory of modern Hungary around the 6th century.

Soko Grad (Sokobanja)

Soko Grad (Serbian Cyrillic: Соко Град), also known as Sokolac, is a medieval city and fortress 2 km east of the spa town of Sokobanja, Serbia. The fortress was declared a Monument of Culture of Great Importance in 1982, and it is protected by Republic of Serbia.


Tumgan (Turkshad, Turksanf, Ta'n han, Turxanthos, Turxath) was a shad (governor prince) of the Turkic Empire (also called Göktürk) in the late 6th century. According to Edward Gibbon his name may be a title rather than a proper name.

Tungusic peoples

Tungusic peoples are the indigenous peoples who speak Tungusic languages. They inhabit Eastern Siberia and Northeast China.

During the 17th century, the Tsardom of Russia was expanding east across Siberia, and into Tungusic-speaking lands, ending with the 1689 Treaty of Nerchinsk. The first published description of a Tungusic people to reach beyond Russia into the rest of Europe was by the Dutch traveler Isaac Massa in 1612. He passed along information from Russian reports after his stay in Moscow.


The Uar or Warr were possibly Ugric people, that lived in the Aral Sea region during the 1st millennium CE.


Usdibad (Latin: Usdibadus, Uzdibaldus; fl. 566–567) was a Gepid military commander (dux) and fugitive that received refuge by Byzantine Emperor Justin II (r. 565–574) during the Lombard–Gepid War (567).

In 566, Lombard king Alboin concluded a treaty with the Pannonian Avars, to whom he promised the Gepids' land in case they won over them. The Gepids were destroyed by the Avars and Lombards in 567. Gepid king Cunimund was killed by Alboin himself. The Avars now occupied "Gepidia", forming the Avar Khaganate. The Byzantine Emperor intervened and took control of Sirmium (now Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia), also giving refuge to Gepid leader Usdibad, but the rest of Gepidia was taken by the Avars. According to István Bóna, Usdibad was probably a secret rival of Cunimund, and crossed the Sava to the Byzantines after the defeat.


Vojnomir or Vonomir I was a Slavic military commander in Frankish service. The Royal Frankish Annals makes mention of a Wonomyrus Sclavus (Vojnomir the Slav) active in 795. Eric of Friuli, sent Vojnomir with his army into Pannonia, between the Danube and Tisza, where they pillaged the Avars' dominions. According to Milko Kos they were not met with serious Avar resistance, and they conquered many forts. The next year the Avars were defeated and Frankish power was extended further east, to the central Danube. Vojnomir's leading position in the campaign has been presumed as very possible with regard to the textual analysis of Annales regni Francorum.His origin and social position are not mentioned in any contemporary medieval source. His identity has been the subject of several hypotheses; that he was a prince or duke that held lands in either Slavonia, Carniola or Friuli, according to different hypotheses.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.