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Encyclopedia > Eurasian Avars
Late Avar period
Map showing the location of Avar Khaganate, c. 650 AD.
Map showing the location of Avar Khaganate, c. 650 AD.

The Eurasian Avars were a nomadic people of Eurasia, who appeared in central and eastern Europe in the 6th century. They are known to history as Avars, though the Romans called them "pseudo-Avars." Avar rule persisted over much of the Pannonian plain up to the early 9th century. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 497 pixelsFull resolution (1145 × 711 pixel, file size: 952 KB, MIME type: image/png)Modified version of this map: http://en. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 497 pixelsFull resolution (1145 × 711 pixel, file size: 952 KB, MIME type: image/png)Modified version of this map: http://en. ... Image File history File links Khazar0. ... Image File history File links Khazar0. ... Communities of nomadic people move from place to place, rather than settling down in one location. ... Eurasia Eurasia African-Eurasian aspect of Earth Eurasia is an immense landmass covering about 54,000,000 km² (or about 10. ... World map showing the location of Europe. ... The 6th century is the period from 501 - 600 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian Era. ... The Pannonian Plain is a large plain in Central Europe that remained when the Pliocene Pannonian Sea (see below) dried out. ... As a means of recording the passage of time the 9th century was the century that lasted from 801 to 900. ...

Contents

History

The 6th Century historian Menander Protector noted that the language of the Avars was the same as that of the Huns, appearing as an Altaic Oghuric Turkic branch like modern Chuvash or Turkic Bulgarian and Khazar. It has been argued that their ruling class was related to the presumably Mongolic Zhuan Zhuan (Rouran) [1], although this is questioned (mainly on geographical and chronological grounds )[2], while the majority were part of the Turkic peoples. Nevertheless, historian Walter Pohl asserted in 1998, instancing the detailed attempts made by H. W. Haussig in 1953[3] and K. Czeglèdy in 1983[4] and his own methodological objections[5]: "It is pointless to ask who exactly the forefathers of the European Avars were. We only know that they carried an ancient, very prestigious name (our first hints to it date back to the times of Herodotus); and we may assume that they were a very mixed group of warriors who wanted to escape domination by the Turks."[6] Menander Protector (Greek for one of the imperial bodyguards), Byzantine historian, was born in Constantinople in the middle of the 6th century AD. The little that is known of his life is contained in the account of himself quoted by Suidas. ... The Huns were an early confederation of Central Asian equestrian nomads or semi-nomads. ... Altaic is a proposed language family which includes 66 languages [1] spoken by about 348 million people, mostly in and around Central Asia and northeast Asia. ... Chuvash (Chuvash: Чăвашла, ČăvaÅ¡la, IPA: ; also known as Căvash, Chuwash, Chovash, Chavash or ÇuaÅŸ) is a Turkic language spoken to the west of the Ural Mountains in central Russia. ... Language spoken by the medieval Khazar tribe. ... The Mongolic languages are a group of thirteen languages spoken in Central Asia. ... Rouran (Chinese: ; Wade-Giles: Jou Jan, literally Soft-like), Juan Juan (Chinese: ; pinyin: , literally meaning the Wriggling Insects, a name given by the Toba ruling elites of northern China), or Ruru (Chinese: ; Wade-Giles: Ju Ju, literally meaning Fodder) was the name of a confederation of nomadic tribes on the... This article is about the various peoples speaking one of the Turkic languages. ...


The Avars were driven westward when the Sassanid Persians – allied with the Göktürks – defeated the Hephthalites in the 550s and the 560s. They entered Europe in the 6th century A.D., subjugating peoples such as the Kutrigur Huns as they went. Their first recorded official contact with the Roman world was in the winter of 558/59, when their embassy arrived in Constantinople and negotiated a treaty by which they were to subdue unruly gentes on behalf of the Empire, and receive payments and rights in return.[7] Having been bought off by the Eastern Emperor Justinian I, they pushed north into Germany (as Attila the Hun had done a century before), eventually reaching as far north as the Baltic. Head of king Shapur II (Sasanian dynasty A.D. 4th century). ... The Göktürks or Kök-Türks were a Turkic people of ancient Central Asia and China. ... Common Era (CE)  Modern (SSR = Soviet Socialist Republic) Afghanistan  Azerbaijan  Bahrain  Iran  Iraq  Tajikistan  Uzbekistan  This box:      The Hephthalites (425 - 557 CE) (Persian: ‎ or هپتالیان) were a people of obscure origin who at certain periods played an important role in the history of Persia and India. ... Centuries: 5th century - 6th century - 7th century Decades: 500s - 510s - 520s - 530s - 540s - 550s - 560s - 570s - 580s - 590s - 600s Years: 550 551 552 553 554 555 556 557 558 559 560 Events and Trends Categories: 550s ... Centuries: 5th century - 6th century - 7th century Decades: 510s - 520s - 530s - 540s - 550s - 560s - 570s - 580s - 590s - 600s - 610s Years: 560 561 562 563 564 565 566 567 568 569 570 Events and Trends The Byzantine conquest of Italy, completed in 560, comes to a premature end with the entrance... World map showing the location of Europe. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Byzantine Empire. ... Map of Constantinople. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Byzantine Empire. ... (Latin: Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus, Greek: Ιουστινιανός;) commonly known as Justinian I, or (among Eastern Orthodox Christians) as Saint Justinian the Great; c. ... Attila (AD 406 - 453), also known as Attila the Hun was Khan of the Hun people from 434 until his death and leader of the Hunnic Empire. ...


Finding the country unsuited to their nomadic lifestyle (and the Franks stern opponents), they turned their attention to the Pannonian plain, which was then being contested by two Germanic tribes, the Lombards and the Gepids. Siding with the Lombards, they destroyed the Gepids in 567 and established a state in the Danube River area. Their harassment soon (ca. 568) forced the Lombards to try their luck in northern Italy, an invasion that marked the last Germanic mass movement in the Migrations Period. Communities of nomadic people move from place to place, rather than settling down in one location. ... This article is about the Frankish people and society. ... The Pannonian Plain is a large plain in Central Europe that remained when the Pliocene Pannonian Sea (see below) dried out. ... The term Germanic tribes (or Teutonic tribes) applies to the ancient Germanic peoples of Europe. ... The Lombards (Latin Langobardi, whence comes the alternative name Longobards found in older English texts), were a Germanic people originally from Northern Europe that entered the late Roman Empire. ... The Gepids (Latin Gepidae) were a Germanic tribe most famous in history for defeating the Huns after the death of Attila. ... The Lombards (Latin Langobardi, whence comes the alternative name Longobards found in older English texts), were a Germanic people originally from Northern Europe that entered the late Roman Empire. ... Events Livva I succeeds Athanagild as king of the Visigoths. ... Length 2,888 km Elevation of the source 1,078 m Average discharge 30 km before Passau: 580 m³/s Vienna: 1,900 m³/s Budapest: 2,350 m³/s just before Delta: 6,500 m³/s Area watershed 817,000 km² Origin Black Forest (Schwarzwald-Baar, Baden- Württemberg... Events April 1 - King Alboin leads the Lombards into Italy; refugees fleeing from them go on to found Venice. ... The German term Völkerwanderung (lit. ...


According to Menander, the Avar leader Bayan (c565 - c600) then commanded 10,000 Kutrigurs to sack Dalmatia in 568, effectively cutting Byzantium's land link with North Italy and the West. By about 580, Bayan had established his supremacy over practically all the various groups of "barbarian" warbands along the Balkan frontier, a monopoly of power that only Attila had briefly enjoyed before him.[8] When the Eastern Roman Empire found itself unable to pay subsidies or hire Avar mercenaries, the Avars took to raiding Roman communities in the Balkans as well. At first, the Byzantines resisted successfully, even crossing the Danube to harass the Avars in their homeland, but the Emperor Maurice's decision to maintain his army camp beyond the Danube throughout the winter instead of returning home as was customary caused the army to revolt (602). The ensuing civil war prompted an opportunistic Persian invasion and gave the Avars a free hand in the now undefended Balkans. An invasion of northern Italy was also attempted in 610. Walter Pohl notes that payments in gold and goods reached the record sum of 200,000 solidi shortly before 626.[9]. Bayan was an Avar khagan between 562 and 602. ... Kutrigurs (Kotrags/Kotzagerek/Kazarig) were an Horde of equestrian nomads that wandered the Eurasian plains during the dark ages. ... Dalmatia, highlighted, on a map of Croatia. ... For other uses, see Attila (disambiguation). ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Byzantine Empire. ... Mercenary (disambiguation). ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... A solidus of Maurikios reign. ... This is a list of civil wars. ... Combatants Roman Republic Roman Empire Eastern Roman Empire Persian Empire projected through Parthian and Sassanid dynasties Commanders Lucullus, Pompey, Crassus, Mark Antony, Trajan, Valerian I, Julian, Justinian I, Belisarius, Heraclius Surena, Shapur I, Shapur II, Kavadh I, Khosrau I, Khosrau II, Shahrbaraz, Rhahzadh The Roman-Persian Wars were a series...


In 626, the Avars and the Persians jointly besieged but failed to capture Constantinople. Following this defeat, the Avars retreated to Pannonia, leaving most of the Balkans in the hands of Slav tribes, with neither Avars nor Byzantines able to reassert control. Most of the Avars' subject peoples became independent, with just Pannonia remaining under direct Avar rule. Events July 2 - In the early morning, Li Shimin, the future Emperor Tang Taizong of China, eliminated two of his brothers, Li Yuanji and the crown prince Li Jiancheng in a coup détat at the Xuanwu Gate in Changan. ... The Persians of Iran (officially named Persia by West until 1935 while still referred to as Persia by some) are an Iranian people who speak Persian (locally named Fârsi by native speakers) and often refer to themselves as ethnic Iranians as well. ... Map of Constantinople. ... The Slavic peoples are the most numerous ethnic and linguistic body of peoples in Europe. ...


By the early 9th century, internal discord and external pressure started to undermine the Avar state. It was finally liquidated during the 810s by the Franks under Charlemagne and the First Bulgarian Empire under Krum. After the fall of the Avar Empire around 800 the name Avar and the self-identified constructed ethnicity it carried disappeared within a single generation. An Avar presence in Pannonia is still certain in 871 but thereafter the name is no longer used by chroniclers: "It simply proved impossible to keep up an Avar identity after Avar institutions and the high claims of their tradition had failed."[10] The Avars are also likely to have merged with Slavs, who had formed new states in the region: the principality of Nitra in the north (later Great Moravia) and the Balaton Principality in the central parts of Pannonia. Their remnants were probably the "Huns" encountered by the invading Magyars in the 10th Century. Their hypothetical descendants, the Szekely (who apparently preserved the Avar Dragon Totem well into the 15th century[citation needed]), were relocated to Transylvania in the 12th century. In the Republic of Hungary there are a number of Avar ruins, mostly burial mounds, that display symbols nearly identical to those of the Caucasian Avars. As a means of recording the passage of time the 9th century was the century that lasted from 801 to 900. ... Centuries: 8th century - 9th century - 10th century Decades: 760s - 770s - 780s - 790s - 800s - 810s - 820s - 830s - 840s - 850s - 860s Years: 810 811 812 813 814 815 816 817 818 819 Trends and events: 814 - Charlemagne dies; transfer of united territory to Louis the Pious. ... This article is about the Frankish people and society. ... A portrait of Charlemagne by Albrecht Dürer that was painted several centuries after Charlemagnes death. ... The First Bulgarian Empire was founded in 681 AD in the lands near the Danube delta and disintegrated in 1018 AD by annexion to the Byzantine Empire. ... Krum (died April 13, 814) was a Khan of Bulgaria, of the Dulo clan, from 802 to 814. ... Position of the Roman province of Pannonia Pannonia is an ancient country bounded north and east by the Danube, conterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia. ... Nitra - City Center Nitra (German: ( ); Hungarian: / Nyitria [archaic]) is a city in western Slovakia (and the fourth largest urban settlement in Slovakia) situated at the foot of Zobor Mountain in the Nitra River valley. ... Great Moravia was an empire existing in Central Europe between 833 and the early 10th century. ... Map of the main part of the Balaton principality (parts of the Dudleb County, of the Ptuj County and the whole former Principality of Etgar are not shown on this map) The Balaton Principality (also called Pannonian or Transdanubian Principality, in Slovak: Blatenské kniežatstvo, in Bulgarian: Blatensko Knezevstvo, in... Total population c. ... The Székely (Szeklers in English, Secui in Romanian) are a Hungarian-speaking ethnic group, historically centered in the Transylvanian town of Székelyudvarhely, (now Odorheiu Secuiesc, Harghita county, Romania). ... Map of Romania with Transylvania in yellow Transylvania (Romanian: or ; Hungarian: ; German: ; Bulgarian: ; Serbian: / or / ) is a historical region in central and western Romania. ...


Some claim that the Avars were the first tribe to introduce the stirrup to Europe. However, the subject is under debate and other candidates for the importers include the Huns. Haniwa horse statuette, complete with saddle and stirrups, 6th century, Kofun period, Japan. ... World map showing the location of Europe. ... The Huns were an early confederation of Central Asian equestrian nomads or semi-nomads. ...


Anthropological origins

There are several popular points of origin suggested for the Avar peoples:

Perhaps a suitable synthesis of these ideas may be that they were originally inhabitants of Khwarezmia, and had thus influence in all three areas. If the Avars were ever a distinct ethnic group, that distinction does not seem to have survived their centuries in Europe. Being an 'Avar' seems to have meant being part of the Avar state (in a similar way that being 'Roman' ceased to have any ethnic meaning). Honorary guard of Mongolia. ... The Turkic people are any of various peoples whose members speak languages in the Turkic family of languages. ... The Great Wall in the winter The Great Wall of China (Traditional Chinese: ; Simplified Chinese: , pinyin: Wànlǐ Chángchéng; literally The long wall of 10,000 Li (里)¹) is a Chinese fortification built from the 5th century BC until the beginning of the 17th century, in order to protect... Rouran (Chinese: ; Wade-Giles: Jou Jan, literally Soft-like), Juan Juan (Chinese: ; Hanyu Pinyin: , literally meaning the Wriggling Insects, a name given by the Toba ruling elites of northern China), or Ruru (Chinese: ; Wade-Giles: Ju Ju, literally meaning Fodder) also known as Tan Tan (Chinese: ; Wade-Giles: Tan Tan... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Caucasus Mountains. ... The Alarodian languages are a proposed language family that encompasses two language families of the Caucasus: Northeast or Dagestan (sometimes called Avar or Lezgian which are also the names of its most major members) and North-central or Vaynakh (which includes Chechen and Ingush), as well as the extinct Hurro_Urartian... The Hindu Kush or Hindukush (هندوکش in Persian) is a mountain range in Afghanistan as well as in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. ... For other places with the same name, see Kabul (disambiguation). ... Rouran (Chinese: ; Wade-Giles: Jou Jan, literally Soft-like), Juan Juan (Chinese: ; pinyin: , literally meaning the Wriggling Insects, a name given by the Toba ruling elites of northern China), or Ruru (Chinese: ; Wade-Giles: Ju Ju, literally meaning Fodder) was the name of a confederation of nomadic tribes on the... Uar, Chinese: ; pinyin: Huá (for Chinese etymology see Huá (滑)), was the self designation used by the dominant ethnicity in a confederation known to the Chinese as the Yanda (嚈噠) and to the west as the Hephthalites. ... The Hephthalites, also known as White Huns, were a nomadic people who lived across northern China, Central Asia, and northern India in the fourth through sixth centuries. ... Syr Darya (also known as Syrdarya or Sirdaryo) is a river in Central Asia. ... Categories: Lakes of Kazakhstan | Rift lakes | Stub ... The Central Asian steppe has been the home of Iranian nomadic tribes for centuries. ... Khwarezmia (also with various alternate spellings, including Chorasmia and Khorezm) was a state located on what was then the coast of the Aral Sea, including modern Karakalpakstan across the Ust-Urt plateau and perhaps extending to as far west as the eastern shores of the North Caspian Sea. ... Nomadic Empires, sometimes also called Steppe Empires, Central or Inner Asian Empires, are the empires erected by the bow wielding, horse riding, Eurasian nomads, from Classical Antiquity (Scythia) to the Early Modern era (Dzungars). ...


The Romans were persuaded by the Caucasian Turks that their northern neighbours were only "pseudo-Avars", who should properly be called 'Varchonites' (War-Huns), representing respectiving the War (Chinese Huol-Hu) element and a Hunnic majority (Hsiung-nu). Contemporary Byzantine sources present these Varchonites as being former slaves, who fled from their masters the Turks (i.e. the real Avars), and who started to "call themselves Avars", so as to secure their position as foederati of the Romans.[13] (see also Caucasian Avars). Modern scholars have seen these two groups as representing the War or Var. These matters are still highly contentious. Byzantine Empire at its greatest extent c. ... Uar, Chinese: ; pinyin: Huá (for Chinese etymology see Huá (滑)), was the self designation used by the dominant ethnicity in a confederation known to the Chinese as the Yanda (嚈噠) and to the west as the Hephthalites. ... Xiongnu (匈奴; meaning Xiongs slaves, Xiong being a Chinese transliteration of a national name but also meaning savage/raucous/ferocious, however some argued that the two words are both transliteration, in this case the sense of slaves does not exist) was the term given by the Chinese to... The Buxton Memorial Fountain, celebrating the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire in 1834, London. ... Avars or Caucasian Avars are a modern people of Caucasus, mainly of Dagestan, in which they are the predominant group. ...


The skeletons found in European Avar graves show heterogeneity, including some Asiatic features, and sometimes contain objects displaying Jewish influences. The reasons for the latter peculiarity are disputed. Some historians link it to the cultures of the Caucasus region, where the Turkish Khazars are supposed to have adopted Judaism as a way of remaining neutral between the Christian Byzantines and the Muslim Caliphate to the south. Others trace it back to 5th Century Khwarezmia, where a form of Mosaic Law was supposedly practised. Typical Mongoloid Skull A portrait of the Mongol ruler Genghis Khan; the Mongolians, for which the term Mongoloid was named after, are an example of the prototype Northern Mongoloid. ... The word Jew ( Hebrew: יהודי) is used in a wide number of ways, but generally refers to a follower of the Jewish faith, a child of a Jewish mother, or someone of Jewish descent with a connection to Jewish culture or ethnicity and often a combination... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Caucasus Mountains. ... The Khazars (Hebrew Kuzari כוזרי Kuzarim כוזרים; Turkish Hazar Hazarlar; Russian Хазарин Хазары; Tatar sing Xäzär Xäzärlär; Crimean Tatar: ; Greek Χαζάροι/Χάζαροι; Persianخزر khazar; Latin Gazari or Cosri) were a semi-nomadic Turkic people from Central Asia, many of whom converted to Judaism. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Byzantine Empire is the term conventionally used to describe the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages, centered at its capital in Constantinople. ... Distribution of Islam per country. ... A caliphate (from the Arabic خلافة or khilāfah), is the Islamic form of government representing the political unity and leadership of the Muslim world. ... Khwarezmia (also with various alternate spellings, including Chorasmia and Khorezm) was a state located on what was then the coast of the Aral Sea, including modern Karakalpakstan across the Ust-Urt plateau and perhaps extending to as far west as the eastern shores of the North Caspian Sea. ...


Literature

  • E. Breuer "Chronological Studies to Early-Medieval Findings at the Danube Region. An Introduction to Byzantine Art at Barbaric Cemeteries." (Tettnang 2005)
  • Lászlo Makkai and András Mócsy, editors, 2001. History of Transylvania, II.4 "The period of Avar rule"

Sources and notes

  1. ^ K.H. Menges, "Altaic people", Encyclopaedia Iranica, v, p. 908-912, Online Edition (LINK)
  2. ^ E. H. Parker: "A Thousand Years of the Tartars", ISBN-10: 0710307462; ISBN-13: 978-0710307460.
  3. ^ H. W. Haussig, "Theophylakts Exkurs über die skythischen Völker" Byzantion 23 (1953) pp 275-436.
  4. ^ K. Czeglèdy, "From East to West" Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi 3 (1983) pp 25-126.
  5. ^ in Die Awaren (1988) and in "Verlaufsformen der Ethnogenese: Awaren und Bulgaren," Typen der Ethnogenese, ed. H. Wolfram and W. Pohl, vol. I, (1990) pp. 113-24.
  6. ^ Walter Pohl, "Conceptions of Ethnicity in Early Medieval Studies" Debating the Middle Ages: Issues and Readings, ed. Lester K. Little and Barbara H. Rosenwein, (Blackwell), 1998, pp 13-24) p. 18 (On-line text).
  7. ^ Pohl 1998:18
  8. ^ Pohl 1998:18.
  9. ^ Walter Pohl, Die Awaren (Munich) 1988.
  10. ^ Pohl 1998:19.
  11. ^ A Brief History of Population
  12. ^ Avars
  13. ^ Mihály Dobrovits: "They called themselves Avar" - Considering the pseudo-Avar question in the work of Theophylaktos [1]

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Menander Protector wrote that the language of the Avars is the same as that of the Huns, but they wear long braids with ribbons in it in two braids, a habit which they borrowed from the Turks.
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