Hungarians and Europe in the Early Middle Ages: An Introduction to Early Hungarian History 9789633865729

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Hungarians and Europe in the Early Middle Ages: An Introduction to Early Hungarian History

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HUNGARlANS AND EUROPE lN THE EARLY MlDDLEAGES An Introduction to Early Hungarian History by




Central European University Press

First published in Hungarian as A honfoglaló magyar nép in 1996 by Balassi Kiadó, Budapest English edition 1999 by Central European University Press Október 6. utca 12 H-1051 Budapest Hungary 400 West 59th Street New York, NY 10019 USA Translated by Nicholas Bodoczky Maps by DIMAP

© 1996, 1997 by András Róna-Tas English translation © 1999 by Nicholas Bodoczky Distributed in the UK and Western Europe by Plymbridge Distributors Ltd., Estover Road, Plymouth PL6 7PZ, United Kingdom Ali rights reserved. No part ofthis publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval sys­ tem, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the permission ofthe Publisher. ISBN: 978-963-9116-48-1 cloth ISBN 978-963-386-572-9 ebook Library ofCongress Cataloging in Publication Data A CIP catalog record for this book is available upon request

To my parents and grandchildren


PREFACE .........










3 3 5

1.Terminology, methods ........... ...... a) History, proto-history, ancient history ............... b) Peoples, ethnic groups, language, ethnic names, culture, nation . 2.Chronology and chronological assumptions ..... a) The geohistorical eras ................ b) The geobotanical zones ............... e) The Stone and Metal Ages .............. d) Some co-ordinates in world history e) Chronology and continuance ................

....16 ..16 ..17 ..20 ..22 ..23

3.The role ofthe natural sciences in establishing chronology .......... a) The determination ofage .......................... b) The determination oforigin ................. ...... e) The determination of environment ............. ...... d) The determination ofproduction and technology ...

. 24 ..24 ..29 ..29 ..30

4.Other ancillary disciplines in establishing chronology .. a) Numismatics ....................... b) Archaeology ............... ...... e) Linguistics ................

. 30 ....30 . . . . 31 ....32

Notes ......................




II. THE SOURCES 1.The concept of source material . 2. Source criticism ... 3.The written sources . a) Byzantine sources b) Latin sources ...

.43 .43 44 .45 .46 .55

Sources from outside Hungary . Hungarian sources . . . .. .. e) Slavonic sources ...................

. 55 . 58 ..............60

The beginnings of Slavonic literacy . The legends ofCyril and Methodius . Other early Bolghar accounts The Bulghar regal list . .. Ancient Russian chronicles d) Middle lranian sources .. e) Sources by Muslim authors

60 60 61 61 62 .63 ..............64

Sources in Arabic. Sources in Persian f) Syrian sources... g) Armenian sources h) Georgian sources . i) Turkic sources .. j) Tibetan sources .. k) Chinese sources . A briefhistory ofChina .. .. Chinese script.. .. .. . . .. Transcription ofChinese script. Chinese historical sources . . . 1) The Hebrew sources ... 4.The language as a source .. 5.The archaeological sources . 6.Ethnographic sources .... 7.The anthropological sources Notes ..............

. 67 . 73 .74 . 76 . 79 . 80 . 82 . 85 85 86 88 89 ..9 0 ..92 116 140 153 164


Contencs PARTTWO

RELATIVES AND NEIGHBOURS I ll.THE RELATI VES................. 1. Linguistic relationship ........... 2.The Uralic languages and peoples ..... a) The proto-language ............. b) The Samoyedic languages and peoples e) The Ob-Ugrian languages and peoples ..... d) The Permian languages and peoples ...... e) The Volga Finno-Ugrian languages and peoples The Cheremis language and people .. .. .. The Mordvin language and people .. .. .. f) Extinct Finno-Ugrian languages and peoples .......... g) The Balto-Finnic languages and peoples ............ The Finnish language and people ... The Estonian language and people .. Minor Finnic languages and peoples ofthe Baltic Notes ................

1 71 1 71 1 74 1 74 1 77 178 1 79 1 81 1 81 1 82 1 82 1 83 1 83 1 84 1 84 1 85

IV. THE NEIGHBOURS ..............................


1.Early lndo-European languages and peoples ............... a) The beginnings of lndo-European languages and the early migrations b) The Tocharian language and people..... .......... e) The lranian languages and peoples ................. d) The Alani ..................... e) The Ostrogoths of the Crimea ..

187 187 192 195 . 200 . 203

2.The Xiongnu and the Huns .....

. 203

3.The early Turkic peoples....... ....... . a) The emergence of the Oghur peoples and the Avars ...... b) The Sabirs ............................. e) The Ruanruan and the European Avars ....... d) The Turk people in Europe...... ...... e) The Bulghars .....................

. 209 . 209 212 213 21 4 215

21 9 Khuvrat's Bulghar state 220 The Volga Bulghars 227 The Danube Bulghars . . . . . . . 228 f) The Khazars .. g) The Pechenegs ................................... 2 3 4



4.The Slavonic peoples ................ a) The Southern Slavs .............. b) The Alpine and the Western Slavs ...... e) The Slavs of Pannonia, the Moravians and the Slavonic conversion ......... d) The Eastern Slavs and the Rus ofKiev ........ Notes ...................... V.EURASIA IN THE 9TH AND 10TH CENTURIES .

.239 .24-0 .242 .243 . 246 247 251

1.The end ofthe Uighur Empire ......... 2.The Khitai and China .............. 3.The Kharakhanids and the Black Khitai .... 4.The Oghuz and the Seljuk ............ 5.The Khazars and the Rus ............ 6.Byzantium and the Danube Bulghars ..... 7.Rome and the Franks .............. 8.The Avars and Slavs in the Carpathian Basin .. 9.The Carpathian Basin on the eve ofthe Conquest ...

...252 ... 253 . 255 .256 .257 .257 ...259 ... 261 ...263

Notes ............................





. 27 1

1.Ethnic names: characteristics and origins . 2.Turk ................... 3.Onoghur, Ungar, Hungarus, Hungarian 4.Savarti Asfali ............... 5.Bashkir .................. 6.Majgar .................... 7.Magyar .................... 8.Other names ofthe Magyars ........ a) Srythian .................. b) Hun .................... e) Avar ............ d) Other names ...............

. 27 1 . 27 5 .282 .288 .289 .294 . 297

9.A historical summary ............


Notes ............................


308 308 309 309 309



VII.URHEIMATS AND MIGRATION ............................. 315 1.General questions ................................... 315 2.The migrations of the proto-Magyars ........................ 317 3.The migration of the Magyars from the Urals to the Carpathians ......... 319 Notes ........................................... 324 VIII.THE CONQUEST ..................................... 325 1.The Magyars in the Etelköz ..............................325 2.The historical preliminaries of the Conquest ....................330 3.The Conquest .....................................332 Notes ...........................................338 IX.THE MAGYARS IN THE CARPATHIAN BASlN ..................... 339 1.The name of the Magyar tribal confederation ................... .340 2.Political organisation ................................. 341 3.Social structure ....................................354 4.Economy ........................................360 5.Religion, lore, culture .................................364 Notes ...........................................370 X.THE INTEGRATION OF THE MAGYARS WITHIN EUROPE ............... 373 1.The integration of peoples, the 1:}'pes of ethnic change in the Middle Ages .... 373 2.The third integration of the Magyars ........................380 Notes ...........................................383 Xl.SUMMARY OVERVIEW ................................. 385


XII.AN OVERVIEW OF THE STUDY OF ANCIENT HUNGARIAN HISTORY ...........................395 Notes ........................................... 411 XIII.THE LEVEDl QUESTION AND THE EARLIEST HUNGARIAN CHRONICLE ............................... 413 Notes ........................................... 421



XIV.HISTORICAL TRADITIONS, ATTILA AND THE HUNNISH-MAGYAR KINSHIP ....................... 423 Notes ........................................... 427 XV.THE EAST MAGYARS, THE BASHKIRIAN TRIBAL NAMES AND YUGRIA ....................................... 429 Notes ........................................... 436 XVI.THE SZÉKELY RUNIFORM SCRIPT ............................ 437 Notes ...........................................444

APPENDICES BIBLIOGRAPHY ......................................... 447 CHART OF RULERS ....................................... 491 CHRONOLOGICAL INDEX .................................. 495 INDEX OF PROPER NAMES .................................. 515 INDEX OF WORDS, ETHNIC AND TRIBAL NAMES .................... 539 LIST OF MAPS, FIGURES AND PLATES ............................ 561 SOURCES OF MAPS, FIGURES AND PLATES ........................ 565


This book is a modified and extended version ofmy bookA honfoglaló magyar nép [The conquering Magyar people] which appeared in 1996. The first Hungarian edition was out of print within three months, the second edition appeared in early 1997, and the third edition is going into print soon. ln 1974, some sixty scholars joined forces in Szeged to lay the foundations of a new approach to the ancient history of the Hungarians, or 'Magyars', as they call themselves. A five-volume study appeared as a result, entitled Bevezetés a magyar őstörténet kutatásának forrásaiba (Introduction to the sources of Hungarian proto-history), published in Hungarian between 1976 and 1982. The team had very little time to complete the task, and faced great difficulties. The outcome had many shortcomings, only some of which can be mentioned here. The publication lacked overt theoretical foundations, on account of the fact that the period the study was conceived in was still laden with Marxist ideology. Also, the scholarly standards were uneven, for we were unable to win or find the most suitable scholars to write certain chapters. Some of the chapters were not completed in time and had to be covered from second-hand literature. The research group received no financial support whatsoever, and the volumes were eventually published as university text­ books. Nevertheless, despite all of its shortcomings, the work was a great success. The focusing ofthe volumes of the Szeged Proto-History Research Group (Magyar Őstörténeti Munkaközösség) on source materials was not a matter of chance. It was justified to broaden the concept of "source material" and to encompass all data that would contribute to historical reconstruction. N ot only the written sources, but also all linguistic, archaeological and anthropological data had to be considered-the latter with the same rigour as the written sources. We ourselves were astonished by the fact that in the past decades no new sources had been discovered, and the critical evaluation of the known sources had long since been a neglected field. Instead of new critical editions, the literature tended to combine, over and over again, the existing data, often cited inaccurately. A few ofthese combinations were truly ingenious, but most



of them were unprofessional. Therefore, it became very important to collect, select and introduce new sources. It was also clear that the study of these sources had to regain its position in the curricula of the universities. For decades no scholars had been trained in this very difficult field of research. This accounted for the fact, among others, that the work was published as a university textbook. 1 myself began to teach early history and its connected fields in 1974 at the Attila József University of Sciences in Szeged. ln many respects this book was a summary of my lectures. It was, however, addressed to a broader readership, to university students, to teachers of history and to intellectuals interested in the early history of the Eurasiatic continent. The füst part con­ centrates on methodology and the sources. One of the most difficult issues regarding this type of history is that the assessment of the different sources requires different competencies. Evidently, no single scholar has equal com­ petence in all of the different fields. Therefore, the solution to the problem is collaboration. Collaboration, however, must follow a few basic princi­ ples. Firstly, the collaborators must understand the critical methods and basic constraints of each others' fields of research. Secondly, the fewer hypotheses a scientific claim requires, the greater probability and acceptability it has. ln other words, the fewer "asterisked" hypotheses needed, the more probable the result is. Of course, the use of a limited number of well-defined hypotheses is permissible, but one should not confuse hypotheses with facts, and one should certainly never take for granted a hypothetical claim of one related discipline in another related discipline and use that claim to construct another hypothesis. The third principle is that, although one should avoid infertile hyper-criticism, severity of criticism is most needed in those fields where the scantiness of the sources could prompt one to take advantage of obscurity. It is better, perhaps, to confess where present-day knowledge ends, and state openly if one cannot be sure. Open or unsolved questions can help, not hinder, the development of scholarship. Finally, as a fourth principle, it must be accepted that all related disciplines have their own methodologies which must be applied with full severity, without giving in for the other related disciplines' sake. Besides drawing on the research and results of the members of the Szeged Proto-History Research Group, this book also relies on the work of other Hungarian and foreign scholars. This is self-evident-the reason why I nev­ ertheless have to point it out here is because, limited by its genre, this book cannot give an overview of the state of the art, and does not wish to argue with other views. 1 have intentionally neglected to mention authors by name in the main body of the text, for the reason that in various scientific articles and essays, i.e. in works of a different genre, 1 have already presented our debates, as well as the assessment oftheir opinions and arguments-or intend to do so



in future. I am fully aware of opinions differing from my own, and the text should certainly make that clear. I believe that non-Hungarian readers would find most of such discussion uninteresting. However, in the reference sec­ tions after each chapter I have given a brief overview of the literature (more elaborate and different to the same parts in the Hungarian version). Those who are interested in the last few decades of research in Hungary should read Chapter XII. My approach to the research of the early history ofthe Magyars and Eurasia differs from similar, previous undertakings. Firstly, I avoid the term "prehis­ tory" where possible. I give my reasons on p. 4. I have taken a different approach from my colleagues to the Hungarian chronicles written in Latin. The earliest Hungarian chronicle that has come down to us is a work written in the last years of the 12th century, most probably a few years after the Hungarian King Béla III's death in 1196. The anonymous author of this work (called 'Anonymus'), and the authors of the later chronicles, for instance Simon de Kéza or the author of the Chronicon pictum (Illuminated Chronicle) almost certainly drew on earlier works. Nevertheless, these chronicles-the texts of which have come down to us only in later copies-contain the early history ofthe Magyars as it was conceived 300 years after the Conquest. The critical study of the Hungarian chronicles has been undertaken in Hungary, with good results. Nevertheless, in discussing the conquering Magyars and the history ofthe Magyar Conquest, I have taken a new approach vis-a-vis the accepted-yet hardly regular-practice. I find it inadmissible to accept as genuine that portion of a given chronicle which fits the concept in mind. This does not mean that chronicles are useless as sources. At a closer look, they can reveal important elements of truth. lt is the procedure, in my view, that should be reversed. An attempt should be made to reconstruct history with the help of contemporary sources, or with the help of those which are nearest to the events. This approach gives a more meagre history, which then can be collated with the chronicles. The truly authentic portions ofthe later chronicles will be those that are identical with the reconstruction. Those which, at best, do not run counter to it will remain food for thought. Hence the fact that the reader will not find anything in this book which entered historiography from the chronicles only. lt fails to consider many picturesque parts of early Hungarian history recounted in some Hungarian and non-Hungarian hand­ books. lt is one of ancient Hungarian history's peculiarities that it has many un­ written sources, as well as a great many sources written in a number of different languages. The research of language history and of the sources has developed at a great pace in international science, but not, alas, in many fields in Hungary. Due to this, long-obsolete opinions, provably incorrect data, and



results achieved by methods unacceptable today are currently in circulation in Hungary. ln Hungary much of the investigations of the Magyars' early history have been conducted by linguists. This was and is, as we shall see, unavoidable. We cannot fail to consider linguistic facts, such as proper names, even in periods for which we do have written sources. However, the role of linguistics in the reconstruction of the Magyar Conquest has often been exaggerated in the past. The "furor etymologicus" has hampered research heavily. Even if the Turkic etymology of one or another name of a tribe turns out to be correct, it does not mean that the tribesmen necessarily spoke a Turkic language. We must not lose sight of the evidence revealed by the study of proper nouns-that is, the names of peoples and tribes, personal and place names. Provided their reconstruction is correct, they are linguistic facts. ln historical reconstruction, however, they can only be used within limits. This is primarily because proper names do not have a literal meaning, but only a denotative function, which is why their etymology is rather vague. The fact that some kings of the House of Árpád were called András (Andreas, Andrew) does not imply that the House of Árpád had a Greek origin, not even if the mothers of these kings were Greek. However, the Greek origin of the name can be safely established. Yet it remains to be answered how it infiltrated into the Hungarian language, and how the name that originally meant 'man' be­ came a personal name also in Hungarian. Even very early on, popular etymology was at work in many proper names. For instance, lsidorus of Sevilla (565-636) has hundreds ofthese, not to men­ tion the Hungarian Anonymus who, like in many other things, succumbed to the current fashions. People simply cannot accept that proper names have a deictic function only, and will, therefore, assign a "proper" meaning to truly meaningless proper names. We shall see some clear examples later. Naturally, any language is in itself a veritable treasure trove of the history of those professing that language. But still, one must remain strictly critical. The Hungarian words térd 'knee', kar 'arm', and gyomor 'stomach' are of Turkic origin, yet it does not mean that the Magyars were laden with physical defects before they encountered the Turks. ln treating the linguistic sources l have sought to keep ambiguous statements at bay-as in all of the chapters. Hence, the reader will miss many linguistic explanations and rationale cur­ rently in circulation. l have included in the book a methodological introduction to the use of linguistic data for purposes of historical reconstruction. This is more detailed than the treatment of the methodology for using the other source types. Unfortunately, at times, not only linguistics, but archaeology also trans­ gresses its field of authority. ln Hungarian cemeteries, from the 1960s, cre­ mation became more common than interment. This, combined with the oc-



cupation of Hungary in 1945 by the Red Army, could easily lead one to the assumption that the ethnic composition of the Hungarians changed, and a major new population settled in Hungary. The fact is, that no such change occurred. Archaeological sources in themselves cannot function as evidence of ethnohistoric change. Very often, erroneously, archaeological cultures have been identified with ethnic groups. At the same time, archaeology is a dis­ cipline which operates with an ever-increasing number of finds and always with new acquisitions, consequently all new archaeological facts require clar­ ification. For this reason, 1 have devoted special attention to the methods of establishing chronology in archaeology, as well as to other methodological issues related to archaeological finds. However, 1 have neglected to discuss many archaeological cultures whose ethnic identification I could not deem guaranteed. ln this book, 1 considered the ethnic group as the subject of historical changes. ln the methodological chapter I sought to make clear my concept of ethnicity and ethnic history. 1 emphasised that it was never the origin, but rather, the historical change of an ethnic group that was relevant to history. ln this respect I argue with the ethnographic approach taken by the earlier Hungarian schools of cultural anthropology. Descriptions offered by ethnology or comparative cultural anthropology can be used as analogies, in certain cases. 1 have made good use of my earlier field-work among the nomads of Central Asia, especially of the ethnography of the Mongols. However, the use of analogies is restricted. Some customs can change within a very short period of time, while others may remain unchanged for hundreds of years. 1 used such analogies with due caution and only when it was unavoidable. Some of the Hungarian handbooks on early Magyar history do not give account of the broader context of the history of Eastem and Central Europe in the early Middle Ages. Yet many of the handbooks on the early Middle Ages were unable to include the Turks and the Hungarians in general history. Although the focus of my study is the early history of the Magyars, 1 have sought to place their history in the context of their contemporary global history. 1 have dealt with many details of the topics treated in a more general way in this book in several of my papers. 1 shall refer to them only in the notes or the general bibliography. Many of them were published in languages other than Hungarian, and are thus accessible to the non-Hungarian reader. As this book is being published, 1 am writing a monograph discussing Turkic loan words in the Hungarian language, the new results of which I have also used in this book.



I felt I had to discuss some of the topi cs referred to in this book in greater detail. These I placed in Chapters XIII-XVI. I also had to introduce some con­ ventions. I have distinguished the Turkic-speaking Bulghars from the Sla­ vonic-speaking Bolghars by the two variants of the same name, although I might have done it the other way round. I have to dwell here upon a seemingly terminological question. ln Hungar­ ian historiography the events between 885 and 902 are referred to as the honfoglalás, which is a loan-translation of (but not entirely equivalent to) the German Landnahme. ln the English-language literature these same events are in most cases described as the Conques t-although, of course, the historical connotations of the acts of William the Conqueror in 1066 and those of the Magyars in the Carpathian Basin are not the same. The Hungarian term honfoglalás literally means 'the settlement in the fatherland', and is a term fully devoid of connotations suggesting 'taking by force'. Some scholars writing in English have used the term "original settlement", or simply "settle­ ment". However, 'settlement' has connotations which include the 'settlement of a nomadic people', 'to become settled in villages', etc. which, as we shall see, was not exactly the case. It has also been suggested to retain the Hungarian word (as, for instance, the German word Urheimat), in modem English. This would have made the text very awkward to read. Having weighed up the pros and cons I decided to use the accepted terminology ofthe British and American literature-with the caveat that the terminology is never a perfect reflection ofthe actual historical events. However, to distinguish it from other conquests, I have spelt it with a capital 'C'. Finally, I would like to stress that I do not consider this book as a scholar­ ly monograph. Its aim is to inform rather than to argue. Some of the new claims in this book are dealt with in greater detail in Chapters XIII-XV I. The educated European and American reader may be interested who these Magyars are, where they came from, and last but not least, where our knowl­ edge about the formation and early history ofthe Magyars comes from. I sin­ cerely hope that this knowledge will find its way to textbooks and encyclo­ paedias which presently contain much obsolete information about the topics dealt with in this book.


I would like to express how greatly indebted I am to my professors for in­ troducing me to this elaborate field of science. I leamt the basics of Tur­ kology and Hungarian prehistoric research, as well as the methodology, from Julius (Gyula) Németh. The fact that hardly any of his results have withstood the test of time is, paradoxically, a result of his very own work as a scholar and teacher. His studying the formation of the conquering Magyars, and not their origins was decisive, as he thus established the hasis for future attempts. Louis (Lajos) Ligeti greatly expanded the pool of sources, while at the same time introducing significantly more severe critical methods. From István Tálasi, I received the basics in the application of ethnography in his­ torical studies. Gyula Ortutay introduced me to the field of comparative universal folkloristics. Of my many colleagues, whose scientific work and personal assistance was decisive in the course of my work, I shall only mention those who contributed greatly to this book. Their names, in alphabetical order, are: Loránd Benkő, István Bóna, Ildikó Ecsedy, György Györffy, Péter Hajdú, János Harmatta, Gyula Kristó and Gyula László. The bibliography of this book attests to the fact that it was not merely courtesy that persuaded me to mention their names. I would like to remember Jenő Szűcs who, in many respects, effected a turn in the research of ancient Hungarian history, and whose theoretical work is considered significant to this day (see pp. 396-397). Former students ofmine, currently colleagues, also contributed to this work. Éva Csáki, Eszter Lénárt and János Sipos gave immense help in editing and formatting. Being the first educated readers of the book, they made many useful comments. István Zimonyi has compiled a new translation of his se­ lection of Muslim authors. I thank him for making available his then un­ published manuscript. Since then, these texts, translated by Zimonyi and others, have been published in a book edited by Gyula Kristó, containing the written sources ofthe conquest period (Kristó, 1995d). Klára Agyagási helped me find my bearings in contemporary Slavistic literature.



Árp ád Berta and István V ásáry very kindly agreed to read this book from the expert's viewpoint. I would like to take the opportunity to thank them for their invaluable work and their opinions and comments which inspired recon­ sideration. Many of these I was able to incorp orate in the book, but some of them I did not adopt-for lack of space, or because they had not convinced me. I have learnt much from the discussions that followed the publication of my Hungarian book. Two workshops were dedicated to this work, one at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the other at the Attila József University, Szeged. Some of my colleagues gave me their contributions also in a written form, among them István Bóna and Samu Szádeczky-Kardoss. I owe sincere thanks to all of them and I have done my best to correct some mistakes and inaccuracies mentioned by them. Ferenc Makk wrote a lengthy book review (Makk 1997) which gave stimulus for rethinking certain issues. My answer (Róna-Tas 1998e) and his rejoinder (Makk 1998) started a discussion. The preparation of the English version was in fact a re-writing of the original Hungarian, since the expected readers and their background are different from the Hungarians. The English edition offered a possibility to correct some of the mistakes which unavoidably crept into the first two editions. Since 1995 I reached some new results, especially in the study of the history of the Khitans and the Bulghars which I included in the English version. I added a few new subchapters as well. All this was much helped by the Research Prize award­ ed by the Humboldt Foundation in 1995. I offer my sincere thanks to the Georg-August University, Göttingen, to my host Professor Dr. Klaus Röhr­ born and to the Humboldt Foundation for their generosity. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Nicholas Bodoczky, the translator of this book, with whom we worked long months together. The help of Péter Tamási and his team was indispensable in the extremely difficult work of editing the text and the indexes. I was greatly inspired by the fact that the Szeged Proto-History Research Group, which came to life in the process of creating this work, was supported by Domokos Kosáry, the then President of the Hungarian Academy of Sci­ ences, by László Keviczky, Secretary General of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and by Rezső Mészáros, the Rector ofthe Attila JózsefUniversity of Sciences. It is no fault oftheirs, and neither is it a question ofa lack offunds, that the research team was to set out in early 1996 with one member only. May the names of those who, during the past decades, made considerable efforts to prevent this work from coming into being, be conveniently shrouded in obscurity. Szeged, December 1998

The author


All foreign words are transcribed into English, with the exception of those which were originally written in a Latin alphabet. ln almost all cases, the usage found in the English literature has been adopted. Sounds usually transcribed in the scholarly literature as e, s, z are transcribed here as ch, sh, zh respectively. The affricate } is rendered by a simple j. All Chinese names, titles and words are transcribed according to the so­ called pinyin system which is the official Latin transcription in China. Where necessary, the transliteration of the original (non-Chinese) names or words are included, in parentheses. The bibliography includes the scientific transliteration of the names written in non-Latin alphabets, and the index includes the scientific transliteration of the proper names where necessary. The Hungarian names in the book, such as Álmos, Termecsü, Etelköz, etc., are spelt according to the modem Hungarian orthography. For readers unfa­ miliar with Hungarian pronunciation, here is a list of Hungarian sounds with their transcription according to the Intemational Phonetic Alphabet (IPA):


The consonants b, d, f, g, h, k, !, m, n, p, t, v and z are pronounced as in English, but unaspirated; r has an Italian-like trill. Hungarian consonant c cs dz dzs gy j ly

Transcription ts tJ dz d3 dj J J

English (or German) equivalent

gets chip lends jar duke yes yes


Translator's notes

Hungarian consonant ny s sz ty zs




s tj '3

English (or German) equivalent new she sit tumour decision

Vowels a á e é


a: e e: 1





ó ö ő u ú ü ű

:, : fi) jlj :

u u: y y:

hot park bed name sit see com core German Böhmen German schön hook soon German würde German kühn




a) History, proto-history, andent history History is the chronological existence of human societies. Historical science describes social existence above all-but not exclusively-from that view­ point. The existence of human societies and their groups is continuous, which does not imply, however, that the history of a community lacks important or less important events, or that certain communities do not emerge, prosper and decline, or even disappear. Yet the period names used in historical sci­ ence-such as 'antiquity', 'the Middle Ages' or 'the Neolithic Age'-are cat­ egories which serve description, understanding, education and communi­ cation between historians, rather than terms adequately reflecting real changes in history. The primary role of historical science is to reconstruct the stories of socie­ ties. Naturally, myriads of points of view and methods are available in this reconstruction process which will nevertheless always bring about abstraction and the highlighting of significant elements and relations, or those held to be significant. Moreover, reconstruction is always reduction too, for it does not describe every single event, but merely some of them. ln the course of reconstruction, historical science nevertheless seeks to allow for as many conclusions as possible regarding things that it does not and cannot de­ scribe-deductible from the few things that it can describe. A great many viewpoints and methods are available in the reconstruction of history, but because it is impossible to simultaneously take contradicting viewpoints into consideration (only complementing ones), it is expected of a historian to make his own viewpoints or system of viewpoints clear in the introduction of his work. This book focuses on a certain category of people, to be defined below. Above all, it examines how that people was förmed. lt wishes to concentrate research on the formation and transformation of the people, not on origin. To this end, it draws on all the data contained in the sources, and if it becomes unavoidable, it makes up for the lack of sources with close analogies. lt regards the formation of the people as a lengthy his­ torical process, and examines it in the very context of world history which the formation of that people was itself part of. ln the case of the Hungarians,


Methodological introduction and the sources

this means, primarily European, more specifically Central and Eastem Euro­ pean history; one cannot, however, disregard the Eurasian steppe or the non-European parts of the Mediterranean, owing to the fact that the farmer saw major migrations, and the latter the expansion of the Muslim world. Conventionally, history is divided into two large periods. The first period covers the time from which no written sources have come down to us, hence it is only reconstructible with the help of indirect-non-written-sources. This period is conventionally called proto-history. However, the only argu­ ments to support this bipartite division of history seem to be convention and practicality. The historical processes themselves are unlikely to change merely because records are made of them, or of certain elements of them. Further­ more, classifying a phase in the history of a people as proto-history on the grounds that no written records of it exist, will not change the events of the past even if such written sources are later discovered. Naturally, our knowl­ edge about that phase will change, but then, the discovery of non-written sources can also change our knowledge. The reason why this needs to be stressed is because the technical terms "proto-history" (in Hungarian: őstörté­ net) and "Hungarian proto-history" have gained ground in Hungarian histori­ cal science, and even outside the bounds of the science. Far want of better expressions, I myselftend to use them, but they are hardly adequate. Hungar­ ian proto-history is generally held to have ended in the 9th century AD-at a time when other, neighbouring peoples had long since entered their period of written history. The use of technical terms is not, of course, especially important. Still, I agree with those who prefer to say 'ancient Hungarian his­ tory' or 'early Hungarian history', rather than 'Hungarian proto-history' or 'Hungarian prehistory'. The two questions regarding ancient Hungarian history are, then: when did it begin and when did it end? One can now give an answer, beating in mind that this classification is, in effect, auxiliary rather than rudimentary. The closest answers we can get are by clarifying whose history we are talking about, that is, who the subject of this historical process is. But to set some kind of time limit far our discussions befare facusing on the details, we should establish at the outset that the history ofthe Magyars began when they became a people proper. Anything befare that will be considered the prehistory of the Magyars. As the fallowing chapter will point out, that is not a simple question either. Several events can mark the end of the ancient history of the Magyars, one of them being the conquest of the Carpathian Basin, the other the faunding of the Hungarian state. Clearly, the elements of statehood date back to pre-Conquest times, and the Conquest was a major step towards the faunding of a state. It is also clear that, as regards the faunding of state, the coronation of Saint Stephen was, above all, a symbolical and legal act and an



outstanding event in setting up the state, but naturally the development of statehood did not stop there. After explicit and manifold deliberation, one can establish that ancient Hungarian history lasted from the Magyars becoming a people proper to the founding of the Hungarian state, the date of which is associated with the symbolic and legal event ofthe coronation of Saint Stephen in 1000 AD, in fact on the first of January, 100 1.

b) Peoples, ethnic groups, language, ethnic names, culture, nation The use of various concepts and technical terms requires great care. We use words to denote concepts and technical terms: and those words have meaning and usage. Pertaining to the signifier (i.e. the word), meaning is, in effect, none other than the complex entirety of the rules that describe how and to what purpose a word can be employed. This is important to establish, because the same word may be used differently according to the period and the context. Published in 1972, the Dictionary of the Hungarian Language provides five meanings of the word nép 'people', with examples in all cases. The example quoted to illustrate the fourth meaning, 'a large group ofpeople', is hadi nép 'armed group', 'army'. This particular use of the fourth meaning of the word is now obsolete in the Hungarian language, yet it lives on in compounds like népbetegség 'pandemic disease'. One of the most common mistakes in the use of technical terms is to project the modern meaning and the rules of usage of a word back to a period when the concept denoted by that word either did not exist yet, or both word and concept existed, but the word had a different meaning and different rules of usage. Unfortunately, no real distinction is made between the technical terms people and nation . Assuming that the concepts denoted by 'people' and 'nation' were identical in the 11th century, for instance, can bring about major misapprehension. Actually, what we call people today was different then, and what we call nation today did not exist. Social groups, as well as the name of those groups, have a history of their own, yet the two are by no means necessarily identical. Next, let us examine the various uses ofthe word nép 'people' in Hungarian compounds currently in use. Here are some examples: if a statistician takes a population census (népszámlálás), he must provide himself a definition of what he is about to count. If a literary scholar sets out to study Hungarian populist writers (népi írók), he is focusing on something quite different than the expert of economic geography who will delve into the issues of depopu­ lation (elnéptelenedés). When a historian studies the migration of peoples


Metlwdological introduction and the sources

(népvándor lás), he has a quite different notion of people than a psychologist who concerns himself with the problems of popularity (népszerűség). But an ethnographer (néprajzos) is also looking at something different, depending whether he opts for the traditional approach, or takes up a modern one. ln the farmer case he will examine the media of peasant culture, while in the latter he will make his subject communities ofany profession, definable by common customs and culture. Taken from the Hungarian language, the above examples attest to the fact that even the various sciences tend to use terms differently. And as one shifts from the more rigorous sciences to the realm of everyday language, the meaning oftechnical expressions really fades, and the bounda­ ries of usage rules dissolve. What this suggests is that such terms cannot be applied, or they cannot be used to develop theories. The majority of scientific debates are a hopeless drift of words, due to the lack of consensus regarding the concepts and the words denoting concepts. There are two ways to resolve the situation. Either some kind of definition is created which the users of the expression agree on: here and now, in this book, in this science, or at this meeting we define, for instance, the wordpeople thus. Or, alternatively, one may attempt to avoid polysemous words, and introduce a scientific term. lt is undoubtedly more convenient to introduce the Greek word ethnos , although virtually disregarding what the word once meant in Athens, or how the Greeks themselves used it in the time of Alexander the Great. What justifies the latter procedure is that our conclusions will be influenced less by the use of a Greek word than the history, meaning and usage of a proposed word of a present-day language. However, nothing exempts us from defining the meaning we denote ethnos . And once we have defined it, we are free to affirm that we shall be using the word people the same way in this context. The term ethnos and the word people-as a technical term-will hereafter be considered identical. The first will be used in a theoretical context, the other in the narrative sections. Ethnos, or; in context, people, will mean a historically evolved group with a common semiotic system, whose members conscious ly distinguish them­ selves /rom other ethnic entities, and which possesses a permanent selfdes­ ignation. Of all semiotic systems, language is the most important. The reason why ethnos is not defined as being a group with a common language (among others) is not merely because people and language must be distinguished from one another. We shall consider culture, too, as a semiotic system: a system of signs and symbols which the members of the given group use to communicate and to identify each other. Also, there are some exceptional cases when ethnic identity does not presuppose linguistic identity. The semiotic system may include costume which, for instance, reveals not only ethnic belonging, but



also marital and social status. Costume is more than dress/clothing ín that it forms part of such systems. Semiotic systems also include burial customs, greetings, etc. It is easier to see that identical language does not necessarily mean identi­ cal ethnos, although that is preponderantly the case. The Americans and the English, the Spanish-speaking South American lndians and the Spaniards of Spain, or the Germans of Switzerland and ofGermany are evidently different ethnic entities. When several different groups belong to the same ethnos, their different languages notwithstanding, the situation is more complicated. There are two types of such cases. ln the first case, a people shifts from one language to another, retaining its ethnic identity. The French, for instance, fall into this category. The Celtic and Germanic locals were subdued by a goveming stratum of Roman origin. The majority then adopted the language of the minority. Not only did the biological community remain identical, but also many elements ofcustom and culture. The change ofone portion of a semiotic system does not necessarily entail the change of its other parts. Making its way towards the east from the lberian Peninsula, the Jewish community reached the Rhine region in the 10th century. Here it abandoned its native Hebrew tongue to the German dialect characteristic of that region, which naturally features Hebrew elements, some Old French picked up during the joumey, as well as some Slavonic from later on. This Yiddish-speaking community retained its ethnic identity despite the change of language. If the shift oflanguage takes place slowly, in three or four generations, for instance, then the ethnic group can "translocate", through the language shift, all those elements of its formerly common system of signs which were not strictly bound by language, and can thus preserve its name, ethnic identity, and its isolation from the others. ln many cases the language shift is followed by ethnic change, at a slower pace. The Cumanians of Hungary became part of the Hungarian ethnos much slower than they lost their Turkic language. Until very recent times, they have förmed an independent ethnic group within the Hungarian ethnos. Inhabitants of the Mongolian Empire did not attribute significance to the fact that they spoke Turkic and not Mongolian; not only did they call them­ selves Tatars, but also considered their group to have had Mongolian ancestors in their legends of origin. As a prerequisite, they were, to a certain extent, bilingual. This type of bilingualism was more common in the past than it is today. Political loyalty or political mimicry must have brought about such alterations of consciousness which, despite the use of a different language, resulted in an identical semiotic system manifesting itself in common self-


Metlwdological introduction and the sources

confinement and self-designation. Such cases are, however, rare and hardly, if ever, lasting. Among the important characteristics of ethnos or people is the fact that it has a common 'we-consciousness' which sets it apart from the other commu­ nities of a similar order. These we-consciousnesses are, naturally, intermin­ gled or constructed on one another, and hence one may share the we-con­ sciousness of a hamlet, a village, the land, the country or the continent. With ethnic groups, however, this always comes with an ethnic name, a self-desig­ nation which is a permanent characteristic of that community. Permanence is very important, because groups, moreover ethnic groups, can change their self-designation. There are three types of Uighurs living in China today. The so-called Yellow Uighurs, the descendants of the ancient Uighur people, live in the Chinese province of Gansu. One group of theirs preserved its old Turkic language, another group became Mongolianised and currently speaks modern Mongolian. The large population of Uighurs living primarily in China and also, in fewer numbers, in Russian Turkestan adopted this ethnic name as a result of a decision made by the leading members of the local literati. The name of the Turkic-speaking south Siberian Oyrots was changed to Altai by a decree. Identical ethnic name does not necessarily mean identical ethnic content. This point, and ethnic names in general, will be discussed below. Although the most important properties of ethnos are a common semiotic system, common we-consciousness and a permanent self-designation, there are a great many other traits which appear together with groups definable as ethnos. These include, among others, common origin, or the consciousness of common descent. It must be stressed that the consciousness of common descent, i.e. the belief that the community has a common forebear, very rarely reflects actual facts. It originates from the "enlargement" of the family as a key social group. Like a family (the paternal line) is a descendant of one ancestor, likewise common descent plays a role in the identity of the larger units, in for instance the clans, tribes, or the people as a whole. But the larger and more complex the unit is, the vaguer the identity of actual biological descent. However, "in return" the consciousness ofdescent becomes more significant, and this has a legitimising role, i.e. it contributes to community bonding and the establishment of community rights. The consciousness of common descent is always artificial in the sense that it is propagated by the authoritative members of the given community. It is fashioned and passed down within the community by certain groups responsible for sustaining and mediating culture: shamans, priests, chroniclers, bards, i.e. the "mediums" of ancient societies. W hile common descent is not, generally speaking, genuine, the existence, operation and role



of descent consciousness is very much genuine; moreover, it plays an impor­ tant role in the development of ethnic identity. The "forebears" of common descent are real or mythical persons, but are often animals or even plants. The term we use in the latter case is totem. ln the history of ethnos, instances of tracing back to several different common ancestors also often occurs, due to the fact that the logic-or, to borrow Károly Marót's term, the pre-logical reasoning-that prevails in these processes of consciousness is rather unique or, one might say, mythological. This accounts for the fact that the leading strata of the conquering Magyars believed that they were of Attila's progeny, while they concurrently held that the forebear of the ruling Magyar dynasty was a hawk (see Chapter XIV). As it will be pointed out, the descent from Attila is not a historical fact, but rather, a legitimising "reference". Prior to the time of Chingis Khan, the leading strata of a number of nomadic steppe peoples believed they were descended from Attila, just as Christian peoples in the Middle Ages were convinced they were the progeny of the sons or grandsons of Noah while, at the same time, their very own rulers held they were the offspring of Caesar or Charlemagne. The consciousness of common descent of different peoples, however, greatly varied during the ages-partly depending on the characteristics oftheir given cultures. And until the end of the Middle Ages, the belief in a common ancestor was not a prerequisite of ethnic identity, but rather, a frequent con­ comitant. Common land plays an important role in the continuity of an ethnos. Evidently, ifone part ofthe group moves away, or the communication between certain groups of the ethnos is hindered by natural obstacles (such as a large river, or insuperable mountains and forests), the common culture and lan­ guage, that is, the semiotic system, will shatter. Any innovation conceived in one place will not spread over to the isolated group. This process is not irreversible, because the groups can maintain connections and "keep in touch" for some time. This must have happened to the various segregated groups of Magyars prior to the Conquest. Common land is not then a prerequisite of a common ethnos, but ifthe common land ceases to exist, the splintered groups ofthat ethnos will peel off to develop as separate ethnic entities, and eventually differences will outnumber similarities. A common political organisation can also play a role in maintaining the unity of an ethnos, whether it is a tribal confederation, a nomadic empire, or a primaeval state. A political organisation's chiefsignificance can be in form­ ing the common we-consciousness. Underlying the endless fights is always the "them" versus "us" opposition. The fights for hunting and grazing grounds, for trade and levying taxes called for the constant reinforcement-or often alteration--of the consciousness of group identity. At the same time, belong-


Methodological introduction and the sources

ing to one ethnos is not identical, or is not necessarily identical, with belong­ ing to the same political organisation. Nomadic political organisations were powerful forces in fostering ethnic identity: ethnic mimicry can be well observed here, as for instance, in the Mongolian Empire. The power of these nomadic establishments, or Oriental empires, lay in the fact that they would, from time to time, allow ethnic separation. Making fairly steady headway under unchanged circumstances in the long term, the otherwise extremely slow process of ethnic assimilation can be achieved, as a matter offact, by the toleration ofseparation. China or the Ottoman Empire are good examples here. ln the 16th and 17th centuries, the demarcation of the Jewry living under the Ottoman Turkish Empire was much better tolerated than in many European Christian states. The Nobel Prize winning writer Elias Canetti gives a very vivid account of this. The status of the Magyars within the Khazar Empire must have been especially interesting in this respect, because despite the fact that the Magyars maintained manifold ties with the culture of the Khazar Empire, they eventually succeeded in preserving their ethnic identity. Political organisations have yet another role regarding ethnic groups. The "us" versus "them" opposition demands "borders" of some description. "That is where our area ends", "this is up to where we dwell", "this is how far 'our land' extends". These borders are very diverse, and projecting the notion of modern frontier lines back to ancient times would be a great mistake. However, the "management" of geographical space is one of the functions of political organisations. Political organisations play a very important role in separation. The "management" of geographical space, and the staking out of the im­ portant points of space not only occurred at the perpetually debated points of the borders, but also in the choice of the "holy places" of an ethnos and in reinforcing its cult. The holy mountain of the Turks, the Ötüken (in the Hangai mountain range of the Republic of Mongolia) assumed a very important role in the identity of the Turkic people between the 5th and 7th centuries, as at­ tested by early-8th-century ancient Turkic inscriptions. The real or presumed grave of the founder of an empire or religion can also become an important community symbol, an intrinsic part of identity. The grave of Attila, Genghis Khan, or Muhammad can serve concurrently as a symbol of religious and community identity. Naturally, religion or religious beliefs can play a part in the identity of an ethnos. The common identity of people who worship the same divinities or god is also distinguished by the fact that another community adores other gods and performs different rites. Having ascertained that it was not religious difference that made the members of one ethnos form a separate ethnos, likewise it is easy to see that the members ofdifferent religions can nonetheless belong to one ethnos, on account ofthe identicalness oftheir other constituent



semiotic systems. Protestantism and Catholicism did not bring about ethnic segregation among Hungarians, yet the situation with the Orthodox, Catholic and Muslim faiths in the farmer Yugoslavia is quite a different matter. Let us now examine how contemporaneous sources describe the concept of ethnos. ln the winter of 558-559, the Byzantine emperor Justinian tried to persuade the prince of the Turkic Utrigur people to attack the Kutrigur, who posed a threat to Byzantium at that time. The most detailed description of the event was recorded by Menander Protector. The emperor promised the ruler of the Utrigur that, provided he defeated the Kutrigur, he would inherit the money the emperor annually paid the ruler ofthe Kutrigur. However much he would have liked to have maintained ties with Byzantium, the prince of the Utrigur nevertheless refused, arguing that it would be an execrable and improper thing to eliminate the Kutrigur, his relatives who belonged to the same people (phyle), far "they not only speak the same language as we [homoglossoi], and have dwellings [homoskenoi], clothing and a way of life [homoia hrontai stole kai diaite] similar to our own, but they also have the same descent [ksyngeneis]. Yet we shall certainly take away the horses of the Kutrigur far our own use (which Justinian himself had also demanded), to prevent them from riding them in their farays on the Romans". Undoubtedly, what we are witnessing here is a Greek's interpretation ofthe way the Turkic nomads ofthe East European steppe saw the notion ofidentical ethnic group. To the Magyars, who then already lived in a Turkic environment, these re­ lations must have been essentially similar. Over and above the common semiotic system-i.e. language, similar dwellings, clothing and way oflife­ the consciousness of common descent was also important. And even if they were ruled by different chieftains, and they occasionally stole each other's horses, they nevertheless belonged to one ethnos, and to a certain extent they outwardly acted together. Regina, whose scholarly activities are highly significant in connection with the Conquest-period history of the Hungarian people, wrote his Synodalibus causis around 906. ln it, he establishes that the difference between peoples lies in that they differ in origin, morals, language and laws (se discrepan t genere, moribus, lingua, legibus). If, however, we take a look at the names of peoples listed or mentioned by Regina, we find that either he names peoples according to the land where they dwell (austrasii, aquitani, carantani, pan­ nonii), or he returns to the old tribal names (e.g. saxones, baioarii). Actually, in the 10th century the only significant question, which made a difference, was whether a people was Christian (populus christianus), or an enemy ofthe faith, fierce and disgraceful (ferocissima , nefondissima). The language and mor­ als of the latter type were simply classified as barbaric (lingua et moribus barbari), and differentiation between them was not considered worthy of dis-


Methodological introduction and the sources

cussion. Of course, if those barbarian peoples were to become allies, their differences immediately gained significance. There may have been a differ­ ence between the 1 0th-century chroniclers and the 6th-century Greek authors in attitude, but certainly not üí'fundamental principles ! To summarise: the definition of the concept of ethnos used in this book comprises some indispensable elements. These include a common semiotic system, we-consciousness and a permanent self-designation. These are the consti tuent elements . Yet there are various other factors that play an impor­ tant part in the subsistence or decline-i.e. in the life-of an ethnos which, however, are not necessarily preconditions to the identity of a people, and whose absence does not alter the fact that we are talking about an ethnos. These primarily include the consciousness of common descent, common territory, common political organisation and common religion. These are the formative elemen ts . Finally, i t must b e stressed that although ethnos is a general category, its varieties, operational structures and the priority of its elements are, neverthe­ less, highly diverse and variable in space and time. Ethnos is, therefore, a historical category. Consequently, a broader definition can now be given: ethnos-people-is a general category, but in substance historical. Ethnos is that historically förmed aggregate of people which has a common semiotic system; whose members think of themselves as being separate; which possesses a permanent self-designation; and in whose formation the con­ sciousness of common descent, common territory, common political organi­ sation, common religion and other factors can play an important role. The existence of the latter can only help---their absence hinder-the existence of an ethnos. The science concemed with ethnos has a subsidiary discipline which is concemed with the genesis ofpeoples. For a long time in the past, e thnogenesis gave priori ty to the origin of a people, to the detriment of the forma tion of a people. Researching into the origins means focusing on the forebears, while examining the formation of a people involves studying the components and processes. The rather illusive idea underlying research ofthe forebears is that any person or community has an ancestor from which it is descended in a single, direct line. What this suggests is that the ancestor in a patrilineal society is the father, the father's father, etc., and the ancestor of the ethnos, too, can be traced back along similar lines. This approach goes back to the early legal system which regulated the inheritance of property and power by registering patemal descent. But what actually is the situation? Let us take as an example a current­ day Hungarian. He or she has, or had, two parents, four grandparents and eight great-grandparents. Let us suppose, for the sake of simplicity, that four



generations succeed one another in every century, i.e. everyone has a child at the age of 25 . This means forty generations in a thousand years, that is, a millennium ago each individual should have had 240 ancestors. Which is the equivalent of l ,099,5 12,000,000-roughly 1100 billion individuals. Given that the Earth has 4 billion inhabitants today, the above number is 270 times the Earth's population. ln reality, the number of actual ancestors is, naturally, lower-due to the fact that society generally disallows (or, at least, penalises) marriage between second and third cousins, but not between fourth, fifth and remoter cousins. Consequently, the children bom in such marriages may have had the same ancestor-five generations down, for instance. This means that 26 (64), the theoretical number of ancestors, must be reduced by two in the sixth generation, provided the parents were fourth cousins. ln such cases, then, the number ofancestors is not 64, but only 62. This so-called reduction number is not significant in the sixth generation yet, but it increases squarefold, since cousinhood remoter than the fourth degree is rarely recorded, and marriage is not forbidden. The calculation ofthe exact number of ancestors would require social statistics, such as exact childbirth and marriage rates. Six ancestors will be counted if one confines oneself to the patemal line in tracing back one's forebears six generations down, and if there was no reduction, fifty-eight ancestors will have been neglected. That, naturally, leads to major distortions not only biologically, but also culturally. What this means in effect, is that not only every individual has significantly less ancestors than is mathematically possible, but also that all individuals have a large number of common ancestors. This is why ethnogenesis theories today are much more concemed, among others, with when and how a new ethnic group emerged, given the many formative factors. The instance of ethnic formation and decay is extremely diverse. Reinhard Wenskus, for instance, sought to answer why the Chinese Empire assimilated the nomadic peoples and why the Roman Empire did not. According to Wenskus, the imperial identity in the Roman provinces was weaker than the ethnic identity of the "barbarian" nomadic (e.g. Germanic) hordes. Thus, the ethnic identity of the Germanic tribes changed in substance, but nevertheless remained unshaken. As Jenő Szűcs pointed out, the "first wave" of Germans-as well as the Avars, Turks and finally the Magyars who arrived much later-lost (or, in the case ofthe Magyars, preserved) their ethnic identity in different ways. One ofthe most exciting issues in the history ofthe conquering Magyars is why the Magyar people was able to keep its head above water, while other peoples before them in the Carpathian Basin (the Huns, the Gepidae, the Longobardi, the Avars and a great many smaller peoples) simply disappeared. Walter Pohl established three categories of Eastem European ethnogenesis: the Avar, the Bolghar and the Slav types. One may confidently


Methodological introduaion and the so1trces

add the Magyars to his list. The Avars disappeared, the Bulghars yielded to Slavonic influence, and the Slavs themselves failed to achieve a uniform state. The Magyars, however, survived without changing their language, and also they managed to establish a state. This issue will be discussed ín detail ín Chapter X (see pp. 373-383). We must now touch upon the category ofnation. Nation is a relatively recent political category, although its preliminaries go back a long way, and its elements were present ín earlier times. ln the Middle Ages, the crystallisation of the nation began earlier with those peoples whose ethnic and state bounda­ ries roughly coincided. Looking for a date, one can say that the modem nation was created in 179 1 when the French constitution ruled that sovereignty was the nation's own. True, it is customary to talk about the political nation and the cultural nation. Common state establishment is suggested to bind the nation ín the forrner, while culture ín the latter. Although the concept ofthe cultural nation appeared first ín Rousseau and only later ín Herder, it primarily reflected those Gerrnan, Italian and Polish efforts that sought to establish a common state under the pretext of culture. While the political nation is politics materialised, the cultural nation is the politics of materialisation. Clearly, political sovereignty, too, is becoming restricted, and ín today's global world, ín the European Union, or even ín the Benelux states sovereignty is nowhere near unlimited. But even if the substance of sovereignty is undergoing change, it is unlikely that the concept of nation will be significantly affected. But it would be a mistake to project back to the past an unchanged present-day, past or future concept, and to thus term as "nation" such forrnations that did not and could not meet the criteria. Mention was made of culture being a system of signs. We must also refer to archaeological culture. Archaeological culture is not only the collective terrn for certain types of objects, but also for burial and-if observable-set­ tlement customs. lt is usually named after the most important or the first excavated site of a specific type. An archaeological culture has scope ín time and space which newly excavated finds may modify. The succession of archaeological cultures in a given place is important, for it provides for chronological observations. ln many instances, an archaeological culture has, or can have, local varieties, chronological layers of different ages. Whether archaeological cultures can be associated with peoples is a serious problem. Opinions regarding the issue range from full rejection to blind faith. Fallacious reasoning can be extremely detrimental. A person, for whatever reason, believes that such and such people lived ín such and such geographical environment at such and such time. He or she finds that archaeologists have identified a given culture of the same age and locality, which leads to the



assumption that the people he or she happens to be studying may be the vehicle for the archaeological culture in question. ln the next round, the archaeologist takes this identity for granted, and claims without any further proof whatso­ ever that the archaeological culture in question was created by the mentioned people. Then the next scholar, linguist or historian comes along and refers to the fact that "as X archaeologist has pointed out" the archaeological culture in question confirms the existence of the given people. The truth is that, as in many cases, costume and customs may change without the change ofthe people who possess them. Fashion has always had some kind of a role, even if its history did work slightly differently in the past than it does nowadays. lt may be true that burial ceremonies and the related beliefs are extremely hardy, yet it is equally true that fundamental beliefs and customs can change without the transformation of the population. ln many European countries, but foremost in Hungary, interment was superseded by cremation in front of our very eyes, without any migration activity accounting for it whatsoever. Often immigrants will, for many reasons, adopt the costume or burial customs of the locals, but conversely, the locals, too, often adapt to minority immigrants who enjoy a high prestige. ldentifying archaeological cultures with ethnic entities is easiest where the present-day cemeteries of a group of people living in one locality can be traced back in time. Naturally even that is no full guarantee. However, the settling in of a people which introduces a new way oflife, can be very telling. For instance, if an equestrian, nomadic people settles in a local fishing and hunting community, the popula­ tion will definitely change, but next to nothing can be found out about the extent ofthat change. Occasionally, inscriptions inform us about the deceased in a cemetery. For instance, the famous Volga Bulghar epitaphs tel1 us all about the inhabitants of the Volga-Karna region in the 13th and 14th centuries. lt was among these that the ethnic name Magyar appeared. However, the large religions like Christianity and Islam on the one hand unify burial customs, and on the other, they reduce (or often eliminate) the features that imply ethnic difference. Fortunately, where the great religions cropped up, so did liter­ acy-which, given an adequate critical approach, we are left to rely on in identifying peoples.


Metlwdological introduction and the sources

2. CH RON OLOGY AND CHRON OLOGI CAL ASSUMPTI ONS First and foremost we must establish a chronological setting, and name the periods in which the ancient history of the Magyars took place.

a) The geohistorical eras The geohistorical period we shall be concemed with is the most recent one, the Quatemary. lts first epoch was the Pleistocene which began two, or two and half million years ago. The reason why the Pleistocene is important in our context is because it was ín this epoch that mankind evolved. True, it was then Homo sapiensfossilis, or the Neanderthal Man that ínhabíted one part of the Earth. Thís race died out, and was superseded by today's races. Often ín geologícal hístory great parts ofthe Earth were covered ín íce. The most recent glacíal períod, the so-called Würm Períod lasted untíl the end of the Pleisto­ cene, untíl ca. 10 OOO BC. These two events delimít the prehístory oflanguages and peoples. The Neanderthal Man probably had a sígn system of some descríptíon comprísíng sounds, wíth whích he was able to convey hís thoughts, but ít was dífferent ín every respect from later human speech. Also, we must A r c t i c

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f'igure ·1 The southem frontíer of glaciatíon in Eurasia



exclude from the history ofhumanity and ofthe individual peoples, those lands which were covered in ice. The glacial zone in the Würm Period roughly followed the 60th latitude at the Ural Mountains, the 6 1 st between the Ob and the Yenisei head-waters, and the 64th-65th latitude to the east. The Pleistocene was followed by the Holocene or Recent epoch which is traditionally subdivided into the following periods: Date (BC) 1 0000-7500 7000-5000 5000- 500 500---

Period Lower Holocene 1 Lower Holocene 2 Middle Holocene Upper Holocene

Abbreviation HL 1 HL 2 HL 3 HL 4

Climate subarctic boreal Atlantic, subboreal subatlantic

ln the second period of the Lower Holocene the climate of Eurasia began to thaw, which contributed to the emergence of production cultures. As will be pointed out, the formation of the Magyars surprisingly coincided with the Upper-Holocene period, therefore it happened concurrently with a significant change of climate. Naturally, the climates of the different zones of the Earth greatly varied, and this determined both flora and fauna. We must, therefore, briefly discuss the geobotanical zones of Central Eurasia.

b) The geobotanical zones Moving from north to south, the northernmost zone is called the perpetual frost zone. There is no arable land in this area, and it has arctic faunas such as the polar bear, the seal, the walrus, the albatross and the storm petrel. The southem perimeter of the tundra belt is a line that connects areas with a mean July temperature of 1 0 °C. The zone is characterised by long and harsh winters, and cool and short summers. The subsoil is thin and meagre, there are no forests, and the area is covered in long-stemmed vegetation, the tundra. The arctic willow grows here. lts southem regions feature lignified dwarf shrubs and spruce, and other varieties of fir are not uncommon either. lts fauna comprises reindeer, alpine sheep, fox and birds of prey. ln summer other animals move up from the south, and the tundra becomes marshy. The taiga belt is characterised by a very cold winter and a relatively bot summer. lt has arable land which becomes marshy in summer. lts vegetation features taiga or fir whose varieties include the Siberian spruce, the common spruce, the common silver fir, the pine, and the deciduous larch. The only other


Central t aiga

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species that grow, other than firs, are willow and poplar. The northern part of the taiga is called the dark taiga on account of the density of the crowns of the trees which prevent the development of undergrowth. To the south, the bright taiga does have undergrowth. The Amur-Usuri relict is a fascinating area within the taiga. Widespread forest species withdrew here as the glacial period advanced, and spread towards the west as the glacial period ended. The most characteristic animals of this area are furry animals such as the sable, the ermine, the stone marten, the otter, and the beaver, but also the bear, the wolf and the lynx. It is rich in birds, especially water-fowls. The belt of deciduous forests covers the 4-500 kilometre-wide area that begins with the Carpathians, stretches down to the Southem Ural, gradually narrows towards the River Yenisei, and fades away around the Altai Moun­ tains. lts northem region features a vegetation ofmixed forests (willow, poplar, oak, maple, lime, ash and firs), its central region purely deciduous forests, while the southern parts gradually fade into the steppe. Characterised by beech in Europe and poplar in Asia, this belt sustains furry animals, as well as bison and wild boar, and the animals ofthe southern steppe tend to move north here. The zone has arable areas, and it served as the most valuable agricultural land after the clearance of the forests. The temperate grasslands stretch from the Carpathians through the Ukraine to the Central Volga region, and then follow the borderland of Siberia up to the River Yenisei. The steppe is grassland with a black subsoil. The now extinct aurochs and the eohippus used to live here. Today's fauna includes various species of antelope, wolf, fox, ground squirrel, hamster, field mouse and the mole-rat. Large birds of prey are indigenous to all of its regions. This zone is the most suited to nomadic animal husbandry, and it served as the setting for the large migrations. The arid subtropical and tropical zone stretches to the south of the steppe zone. The mean yearly rainfall is extremely low, and the zone features saltwater lakes, waters without outlets, shifting sands, and stone deserts. Very sparse, vegetation here includes various species of thistles, needlegrass and wormwood. The boundaries of the geobotanical zones are not clear-cut, and they tend to shift with changes of climate. The natural environment of peoples living in these borderlands can undergo substantial change as a result of even the slightest climatic change.


Methodological inrroduction and the sources

e) The Stone and Metal Ages The earliest ages were named after the materials and the techniques used in implement-making. ln the remotest age, man used unpolished, chipped stone. Scientifically termed Palaeolithic Age in those regions which come into play regarding the prehistory ofthe Magyars, this age ended in approx. 20 OOO B C . An interim period ensued, characterised by more finely shaped, but still unpolished stone implements: the Mesolithic Age lasted roughly from 20 OOO to 5000 BC. lt was after 5000 BC that the age of polished stone implements, the Neolithic Age began. Of the metals, it was copper that füst entered the world scene, in what is today southem ltaly. It became widespread throughout the Central Ural region, and in the latter half of the millennium in Siberia, too. Used together with stone implements, copperware was widely introduced. lmported from Meso­ potamia through the Caucasus, the füst bronze objects cropped up in the füst half of the 3rd millennium BC. Bronze has been shown to have been produced locally as of the early 2nd millennium only, but then it spread apace: it ap­ peared in the Carpathian Basin between 1900 and 1700 BC, reaching the Ural, today's Khazakhstan and the regions ofCentral Asia, in the mid-millennium. Superseding the various bronze alloys, iron , too, entered the steppe through the Caucasus, records of which date back to the 8th century BC. The new metal rapidly conquered the world from the Black Sea to China. On the tum of the 6th and the 5th centuries BC it made its way up the Altai Mountains to Inner Asia, reaching the Transbaikal areas of Siberia in the 3rd century B C . The ages briefly described above provide a very broad setting which further research may alter slightly. The Neolithic Age is of overriding importance, for it marks the beginning of a production economy. Earlier, gathering, fishing and primitive forms of hunting provided mankind the means of subsistence. This is important with respect to ethnic and linguistic history, because the Neolithic Age saw some fundamental changes. ln the Palaeolithic and Meso­ lithic ages, large territories provided the means of subsistence for very small groups of people. These small groups frequently moved from one locality to another, consequently a durable communication situation could not develop. The development of a permanent-from our point of view, assessable-com­ mon semiotic system and culture in a large community postulates cohabitation based on relatively prolonged interaction. Consequently, any family of lan­ guages and ethnos could only come into being in the Neolithic Age. Naturally, by the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Ages human communication substantially differed from animal communication; nonetheless it lacked one important element which did not appear until the Neolithic Age, namely

Upper Holocene lron


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Figure 3 Climatic, geohistorical, archaeological and language historical periods






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Methodological introduction and the sources

permanence. Accordingly, there is a sharp line (which lasted for centuries, of course) between the Mesolithic and the Neolithic Ages. Even given today's scientific apparatus, we cannot study the pre-Neolithic languages and peoples, due to the fact that all our knowledge and methods pertain to the nascent Neolithic peoples and languages. If a group with a pre-Neolithic culture were to be found somewhere on the globe, this culture would surely be the result of some secondary development. The Neolithic Age began in the river-valley cultures in the 7th-6th millen­ nia, however, it did not come to the areas we are concerned with before the 6th millennium. It is not simply coincidence that the peoples and languages whose ancient history we know most about did not emerge earlier than the 6th or 5th millennium BC. That date can be assigned to the earliest apprehensible periods and proto-languages of the Indo-European and Semitic linguistic communities, as well as to the nascent ancient Indo-European and Semitic peoples which shared features of a permanent structure-in the modern sense. What this chronological boundary means, in effect, is that those ethnogenetic or linguistic relationship theories which seek to encompass periods earlier than the Neolithic Age cannot be considered more than pure speculation and, consequently, cannot be granted scientific credit. Accordingly, neither can the prehistory of the Magyars have begun prior to the Neolithic Age, and even then only in those territories of Eurasia where those nucleus groups are to be found from which the Magyars gradually emerged in the 5th-4th millennia BC. As will be pointed out later, it happens to coincide with the putative period of the Uralic linguistic community. The subsequent major change was brought about by the appearance of bronze, and it is probably not mere chance that the splintering of the Finno­ U grian peoples roughly coincides with that period. The scattering of the Ugrian group which had broken away from the Finno-Ugrian peoples, and the formation of the Magyar people must have been concurrent with iron gaining currency in the first half of the 1st millennium BC.

d) Some co-ordinates in world history Let us next attempt to link the Magyars' prehistory with some well-known dates in world history. The Uralic community of peoples must have begun to splinter about half a millennium after the Indo-European community had broken up. At the time when copper first appeared in Mesopotamia, the more primeval Neolithic forms still existed in the Ural region. That attests to the delay ofthe periphery ofworld history at the time. The formation ofthe Ugrian community, as we have seen, must have been concurrent with the appearance



of copper. That roughly coincides with the age of the Babylonian Empire (Hammurapi, the law-giver, lived in the 18th century BC). The Cretan Culture prospered then; the magnificent Palace of Knossos was erected at that time; and new peoples came into view in Asia Minor, Northem Greece and Northem ltaly. This period coincides with the beginnings of Chinese civilisation when the emperor Huangdi ruled the Yellow River region. The Magyars' independence roughly coincides with the founding of the Roman Republic (504 BC), the nascent Athenian democracy, Cleisthenes of Athens's constitution (507 BC), and Aeschylus's dramas. Having introduced his reforms and committed his thoughts to writing in the form of analecta, the Chinese Kong Fuzi, better known in Europe as Confucius, also lived around then. The dates of the above simultaneous events naturally should not be read verbatim. Our knowledge regarding the dates of the formation ofthe Magyar people is a lot vaguer than would permit linking events to years or even decades. The degree of uncertainty regarding the formation of this people is in the order of centuries.

e) Chronology and continuance Establishing the date, chronology or continuance of two or more events with precise written sources at our disposal is a fairly easy matter. Nevertheless, even in well-recorded cases (the farther back in time we go the scarcer they get) source criticism is extremely important (more about that later). Besides the written sources, however, there are other varieties of sources that contrib­ ute to our endeavours in establishing certain particulars of time. The absolute chronology, i.e. chronology with numerical citation, is natu­ rally always relatíve to the calendar system used by the source. We must not lose sight of the fact that accurate observation and registration of the year, month and day in an astronomical sense is a very recent achievement, although the calendar and year calculations, which rely on them, nevertheless boast traditions going back thousands of years. Only to a certain degree of accuracy can calendars keep up with astronomical events which is why, even today, they occasionally need to be adjusted to astronomical time, by the system of leap-years, for instance. Humanity has used a great many different calendar systems, and without accurate knowledge of these it is impossible to identify any date whatsoever, even in the written sources. However, experts can do the job, given some competent handbooks. The identification ofdate, chronology and continuance without available written sources is significantly harder. There are two ways


Methodological introduction and the sources

to establish dates in such cases. One alternative is absolute, which involves the conversion of a date to our own calendar system, expressed in terms of years. The other alternative is relative. We do not know the date, but we do know a notable event which it came after (post quem dating), or which it preceded (ante quem dating). The actions of an emperor can only be recorded after the emperor has acted (provided we exclude prophesies), but not in every case do we know how many years later the event was recorded. We do not know when the scribe jotted down the event, but we do know when he died. Consequently, his notes most have been written before that. ln many instances we only know that an event cannot have occurred before a known date (ante quem non), or cannot have occurred after it (post quem non). Often, although we are unable to establish the exact date of an event, the decade or century we can. Historical science has other means, besides written sources, to establish absolute or relatíve chronology.

3 . TH E ROLE OF TH E NATU RAL SCl EN CES 1N ESTABUSH l N G CH RONOLOGY The role of the natural sciences in historical science is increasing apace. ln many cases when examining the genuineness of a historical source, the same natural scientific methods can be applied as in court cases. For instance, paper and ink analysis can be important. There are four areas in which the natural sciences are indispensable for the reconstruction of past ages and the ancient history of the Magyars: (a) deter­ mination of age; (b) determination of origin; (e) determination of environ­ ment; (d) determination ofproduction and technology.

a) The determination of age Archaeologists have methods of their own to determine age, but concurrent with these, they increasingly tend to rely on natural scientific methods. These methods can be grouped twofold. On the one hand, there is a distinction between absolute and relatíve methods of dating, and on the other, between the different branches of natural science whose results history draws on. Consequently, there are, for instance, physical, chemical, botanical, zoologi­ cal, or geological methods. Naturally, this book cannot attempt to give an expert presentation of these, due to the fact that the rapid development of science and the research work of entire professions underlies these methods. We can but briefly refer to the most important ones.



The primary methods of age-dating include those methods that are based on radioactive decay. These are called radiometric methods on account of the fact that radioactive disintegration can be measured with great accuracy. Thus it can be determined when certain substances were absorbed in an archaeologi­ cal find. The most common method is carbon dating, named after the radio­ active C 1 4 isotope of carbon, a product of cosmic radiation. The half-life of carbon- 14 is 5730 years. What this means is that after 5730 years, half ofthe C 1 4 atoms will have decayed into nitrogen- 14. Living plants and animals take up the isotope via carbon-dioxide contained in air. Having penetrated organic tissues, C 1 4 is no longer exposed to cosmic radiation. If later the plant or the animal, or parts ofit (e.g. leather) are buried, comparing their C 1 4 content with the C 1 4 content of a current-day sample ofthe same organic matter will reveal when the isotope was taken up by that organic matter. And because the age of organic matter, as well as the time they were buried, can be determined more or less accurately, the age of the artefact can also be established. The method, which experts have been refining for decades now, has its limits, of course, and its application requires not only expertise-as do all radiometric meth­ ods-but also a critical approach. Having a relatively fast half-life, carbon- 14 is less and less useful as a chronometer in age-dating finds older than 50,000 years. It was once assumed that the magnitude of cosmic radiation at that time was more or less constant. That is unlikely, however, and consequently the error percentage due to the fluctuation ofradiation has to be reduced by other methods. The origin of the carbon infiltrating organic matter also varies. Carbon atoms can enter plants from the soil, animals from other animals or plants or drinking-water, therefore the ratio of carbon isotopes is not neces­ sarily constant. Because the main problem of the C 1 4 method is that the isotope has a relatively fast half-life, science has searched for other radioactive elements, with longer half-lives. Other radiometric methods include the helium method and the lead method. These isotopes feature a considerably longer half-life, therefore, the proportion or ratio of the daughter isotopes of lead and helium (the latter is released in the process of the disintegration of heavy metals) to their respective parent isotopes, can inform us about much earlier ages. The potassium to argon and the rubidium to strontium techniques are used to age-date rock. All other geochronometric methods concem us purely for methodological reasons. The underlying principles of the so-called dendrochronological method or tree-ring dating are quite different. The widths and the tones of colour of the individual tree-rings reflect the rainfall and temperature conditions of the given year, hence there are no identical tree-rings, and adjacent rings form a sharp contrast to one another. However, the tree-ring features ofthe same year


Methodological introduction and the sources

are very similar. First a tree-ring sequence is established from samples taken from living trees. This sequence is extended by the ring sequences of felled trees-some of which were alive at the same time as those living trees from which the first samples were taken. Thus, working one's way backwards, one can go back several thousands of years. Sequoias and redwood-many of which are several thousands of years old-can serve as a control. Dendrology is today capable of establishing the exact age of a fortunately preserved piece of wood, in certain areas, from 8000 years ago. More accurate results are available by applying the carbon method to the lignin and cellulose content of the tree-rings. Wood, however, decays relatively quickly, and consequently archaeological finds rarely have wood remains that can be tested dendrologi­ cally. Also, the climatic conditions of each belt are different, hence the tree-ring standards must give consideration to time and space. The secondary use of a piece of wood can also be misleading: when a crypt, for instance, was built from "second-hand" material, taken from an old building, or another known grave. Notwithstanding these calls for caution, tree-ring dating pro­ vides archaeologists with a wide range of chronological data. Natural scientific techniques are not uncommon in age-dating clay pots or tiles-so frequent among archaeological finds. All objects are continually exposed to ionising radiation. Thermoluminescence dating measures the emis­ sion of light from heated crystals previously exposed to this radiation. At low temperatures objects will emit this radiation instantly (fluorescence), or prolongedly in the fönn of light (phosphorescence). Sensitive devices are capable of measuring the unemitted light energy which can be released by heating (thermoluminescence). Clay objects are fired at high temperatures, therefore immediately after firing they do not preserve light energy (phospho­ rescence). Thus the radiation dose is preserved from the very moment the object was made. The retained light energy can be measured and compared with the results of laboratory irradiation. This highly refined method has its limits and problems. The discrepancies caused by the location-dependent intensity of ionising radiation can be eliminated in many cases with compara­ tive methods. The most skilled forgers, however, can produce an artificial radiation value equivalent to that ofa clay object many thousands ofyears old. Also, the ionising effect of other objects, or possibly the secondary exposure of an object to fire must also be given consideration. Notwithstanding these problems, given due caution and circumspection, the method presents the opportunity to age-date clay objects and other archaeological finds from the same site. There is another method for dating clay pots. The Barth has two magnetic poles-that is general knowledge. The location of these poles changes at a pace which is measurable ín terms ofdecades. Consequently, the direction and



intensity of the magnetic field of the Earth also changes, and these changes can be traced back relatively accurately. The clay used in the making of pottery contains an array of different iron-oxides. Under normal circumstances the magnetic poles of these iron-oxide particles are situated randomly in the clay, hence their outward magnetism is zero, they neutralise one another. W hen, however, the clay is fired at a high temperature (approx. 700 °C) the magnet­ ism of most of the iron-oxide particles becomes aligned with the Earth's magnetic field. The directional character and intensity of the magnetic field existing at the time the pot was last heated up are preserved after it has cooled. Because scientists can describe the past shifts of the Earth's magnetic poles, as well as the change ofthe intensity ofmagnetism, all that is left is to establish how a given location relates to these. A fired clay pot forgotten in the kiln after it was fired is ideal for the purpose, because not only can the vertical position of the object at the time of firing be determined (the shape and the firing traditions are the give-away usually), but also its horizontal axis. Good results can be obtained even if only the vertical axis at the time of firing is known. With clay bricks, however, one can never be sure. Still, archaeomagnetic dating is a fairly accurate method for dating up to approx. 7000 years back. Astronomy can also contribute to absolute dating. Observation ofthe sky at night has always helped Earth dwellers to find their bearings. Not only the large river-valley cultures, but also the nomadic steppe peoples possessed substantial knowledge about the stationary points in the sky. This enabled them to determine directions and arrange their activities according to seasons. These observations have come down to us in written sources, languages and legends. The night sky, however, does not appear the same everywhere and consequently the analysis of archaic astronomical names can provide infor­ mation as to where an ethnic group dwelt at the time it gave a vernacular name to one particular star or constellation. The analysis of the names that a people gives its calendar, the years, days and festive days, can shed light on where that people viewed the sky from; accordingly, these calendrical names yield a wide range of information regarding the migrations, former homelands or cultural connections of the peoples. The twelve-year calendar of the steppe peoples-in which each of the twelve signs of the zodiac stands for one year-is very ancient indeed. It has been conjectured that the word sárkány 'dragon', of Turkic origin, entered the Hungarian language during the use of the Turkic twelve-year calendar. Naturally, the night sky itself is ever-changing, with real events-for instance, solar eclipses, or the appearance of large meteors; and seeming ones-for instance, the change of the Pole Star caused by the movement of the globe's axis. Ifthese were registered in the written sources, we have some important chronological points of reference. Even if they survived in written


Metlwdological introduction and the sources

calendars rooted in plain tradition, they can shed light on the history ofwords, names and cultures. We shall only mention some other absolute age-dating techniques. These include the fluorine, the ultraviolet ray, the neutron activation, and the deri­ vatographic dating methods. Relative chronolo gy seeks to answer other questions, and consequently it has other working methods commonly characterised by the fact that they do not offer an absolute answer to time-related issues. What they do inform us about, however, are the geological, geomorphological, climatological and biological changes-especially the change of the faunal and floral environ­ ment-as well as about the succession ofthese changes. Although a historian is less concerned with the geophysical strata, in many cases the dates of archaeological finds can be identified with full knowledge of the relative position of the different geophysical strata. Likewise, one must not fail to consider the climatic, botanical and zoological changes of an area examined from a historical viewpoint. The desertification of regions, the shifts of their climatic and geobotanical zones can contribute important information to historically significant events, the lack of absolute time notwithstanding. Rivers used to play an important role in the history of peoples, in irrigation, transport, or simply as sources of water. However, they did not always flow where they do today, and the hydrographic network of certain territories must have undergone substantial change. Thus, for instance, the River Karna, which played an important role in the ancient history of the Magyars, originally flowed north, and only as a consequence of the last great glacial period did it turn south and become a tributary ofthe Volga, and through it, ofthe Caspian Lake. The presence of wild and cultivated plants must have been important, economically speaking. The characteristics ofthe flora, however, have under­ gone major changes in the course of the ages. Fortunately, ample amounts of pollen have been excellently conserved. Pollen analysis enables us to recon­ struct the wild and cultivated flora ofan area in a given age. Moreover, it offers some inferential evidence regarding climatic changes, too. But knowledge about the flora and fauna of an early period is not only compelling on account of the interpretation of economic issues and migrations it can afford us, but also because of the ancient plant and animal names which many modern languages have preserved. More about this issue below (see pp. 34, 93, 111, 192).



b) The determination of origin Even in the ancientmost ages, objects would often travel afar. Objects, knowledge, and even the words designating them, journeyed to and from China and Egypt along the Silk Route. But objects wandered in other impor­ tant ways, too. We often need to know where exactly the objects buried in a cemetery were made. That can shed light on the connections of a people, and furthermore, on the locality they moved from. Metal artefacts are particularly suitable for determining where the metal which they are made of has come from. Spectrum analysis can detect such elements in metals which are char­ acteristic only of one particular region, or with luck, one specific mine. This is especially important with early bronze items. With cloth, it can be estab­ lished which components are of animal or of plant origin, and where those raw materials came from. Many different techniques exist for manufacturing glass. Given that we know the specific technique, the origin of a glass object can be determined. Also, for instance, the origin of raw paper material of excavated written documents, can be of importance.

e) The determination of environment The historical determination of the natural environment seeks to answer two questions, namely what kind of economy and way of life did the natural conditions of a given area in a given age provide the means for, and what kind of historical, economic and population-related changes (decrease or increase, migrations) did they bring about. Historical climatology has a key role in the determination of environment. Furthermore, we must distinguish historical climatology, relevant to large regions, from micro-climatology which is concerned with smaller areas. With regard to the history of the Magyars, it is important to consider where they developed their nomadic life style, although the forebears of the Magyars were hardly involved directly in the global process. We will come back to the emergence of nomadism later (see pp. 142-145 and 320). What specific cli­ matic changes played a role in the Magyars' switching from an equestrian-hunter type of economy to being pastoral nomads is quite another matter. Finally, it is of fundamental significance what the climate, phytogeography and zoogeography ofthe Carpathian Basin was like at the time ofthe Conquest. We shall discuss these briefly later (see p. 155). The sciences ofpalaeobotany, concerned with the history of the flora; archaeobotany, researching the history of domesti­ cated plants; palaeozoology , studying the historical changes ofthe fauna; and archaeozoology, concerned with the history of domesticated animals have made significant progress in the past decades.


Methodological introduction and the sources

d) The detennination of production and technology Historians are generally keen to find out for how many people a given area was able to provide the means of subsistence. The reconstruction process is facilitated by knowledge about the efficiency ofthe means ofproduction under the given set ofcircumstances. One can assess carefully, for instance, the depth a specific type of plough tilled the soil, and the size of area it was capable of tilling in a day. The life span of a hamess, or how long a specific weapon was passed down in a family or was kept in enemy hands can also be of some interest. The annual metal needs of a group can be important in many respects-provided they used it for making tools only-as can the quantities ofjewellery they made or bought, as well as the techniques these were made with. Careful study of the Nagyszentmiklós treasure has enabled us to establish how many hands used how many tools in creating the treasure, and whether certain inscriptions could have been made with the same tools as used for the decorative motifs. Thus new knowledge can be obtained about the late Avars-this we shall come back to below (see p. 131).

4. OTH ER AN C1LLARY D1SC1 PU N ES 1 N ESTABUSH1 N G CHRONOLOGY a) Numismatics Coins can provide chronology with much information about the times and places which money in circulation reached. Consequently, numismatics, the study of coins or medals, is an important ancillary discipline to historical sc1ence. The issuing of money was always a monopoly to some degree. The name or image of the issuing ruler or of a deity worshipped by the issuer, or some kind of symbol, served as a reminder of the person who had the coin minted. Coins usually featured inscriptions and tokens. More often than not, these enable us to establish the date the coin was issued. Money was naturally copied, over-struck, used, and forged very early on. Giving these due consid­ eration, coins can be very helpful in establishing chronology. Coins and medals generally only allow for post quem dating, on account of the fact that we have no knowledge about how long they were in circulation for or were hoarded or used for secondary purposes, e.g. as women's jewellery. Generally



speaking, however, coins are in circulation for short periods of time only, simply because the stocks become exhausted. So-called treasure finds are problematic, since they may contain the hoarded coins of treasuries of many decades or even centuries earlier. When an archaeologist finds such treasure, the oldest and the most recent coins can shed light on who hid the money and when. The circumstances of the find must be given special attention. It is perfectly feasible that a coin found in a grave is in no way linked to the age the buried person lived in. Possibly we are looking at a grave robber, and a coin robbed in his youth followed him to his grave. However unlikely it may appear, it has actually happened-possibly due to the workings of the animals in the soil-that a coin has wandered down from one grave into the grave below, presenting researchers with a seemingly insoluble puzzle! Such cases are rare, of course, but the critical assessment of finds must be open to possibilities of every nature. Plate Ili shows the coins unearthed with the famous Conquest-period royal grave of Karos. Two out of the three Arabic coins come from the mint of Esmail ibn Ahmad whose attacks forced the Pechenegs to set out on their wanderings. The coins date to 904-905 AD, and were used as funeral obols. The other coins were issued by the Frankish Louis the Infant (900-9 11). The latter, as well as the third Arabic dirhem are pierced and were used to decorate dress hems.

b) Archaeology Archaeological finds themselves can serve as chronometers. The relatíve age-dating of these (in relation to one another), and absolute dating (with a specific number ofyears given) is one of archaeology's most important fields of interest. Decoration, form, structure and function can all contribute to establishing dates or periods. The more elements an archaeological culture consists of, the more distinctive and isolatable it is, and consequently, the more reliable as regards chronological assumptions. A grave which merely contains a small urn with the ashes of the deceased is less helpful in this respect than a grave which contains the deceased in full military pomp, with accoutrements and every object of his lifetime, or even his domestic animals. Provided, with the help of external means, such graves or groups of graves can be given a chronological setting, researchers will have obtained knowledge about the age of other, identical or quasi-identical types of graves. The relatíve physical position of graves to one another can also help. Any large cemetery will have an inner chronology of its own, for the reason that most cemeteries are used not just for decades, but centuries. However, what archaeologists really want


Methodological introduction and the sources

to know is the chronology of archaeological cultures. Besides the above described methods, archaeology has many other means of testing its finds for chronology. Naturally, it takes into account written sources. The most common problem with this is the same as with the ancient period of Magyar history, namely that the sources rarely, if ever, unambiguously state where exactly a people lives. Consequently, its archaeological identification may be doubtful even if the date of the finds can be established.

e) Linguistics Language can serve as an important source in historical reconstruction. We shall consider the relevant parts of linguistics later (pp. 92-1 1 6), and only focus here on some theoretical and methodological issues. Language is an ever-changing system whose every part and level has a history of its own. What this means is that phonemes, words, the meaning of words, affixes (inflectional or other), grammatical structures, phrasal syntax, etc. have their own history. Linguistic change-language history-has general theories of its own, owing to the fact that many regularities are characteristic of every change of every language, while other regularities pertain to certain languages, or certain parts of speech only. Such regularities form processes which can be traced back. Examples ofthese will be given when the linguistic sources are discussed in Chapter II.4. What generates those changes and how they appear on the surface are issues one must be familiar with. Changes are effected by language usage. Dead languages do not change, unless they are used, as for instance was Latin in the Middle Ages. Usage can bring about many different types of language change. There is a difference between frequently and rarely used words and elements. Interest­ ingly enough, very often it is the most frequently used parts that change more often, but the contrary is equally true: the most frequently used parts remain the most stationary ones. There are several reasons for that. One reason for the stationariness of the most frequently used words-verbs, for instance-is that they assume a major role in communication, and consequently in maintaining linguistic continuity. The chief explanation for why more frequently used words change faster is wear and tear. The more frequently a word is used the greater the probability that a new variant emerges and becomes rooted. Language always has a tendency to economise. If a word is too long, it will wear in the course of usage, but ifit is too short, it hinders communication. Accordingly, monosyl­ labic words stretch out and become longer. One common feature of all languages is that words are preponderantly disyllabic-languages have a



propensity for that. Sounds, too, keep changing, but when the pronunciation of two sounds becomes very similar, understanding becomes difficult. Thus, either the two sounds eventually coincide in the course of their history, or the process of sound change comes to a halt. A state of isolation favours change, for if a word has many derivations, the common stem will be preserved in all of them. Anyone who has learned an Indo-European language-Latin, Eng­ lish, German or Russian-will know that the conjugation of the most fre­ quently used verbs is irregular. Yet irregular verbs are always more scarce than regular ones. Regular verbs form an ever-expanding majority, while the number of irregular verbs remains invariable, or decreases. The present-day Hungarian language has less and less verbs with the -ik ending, and in many cases the less frequently used verbs with this ending no longer follow the conjugation characteristic of this group of verbs. Although all languages are commonly characterised by perpetual change, it is debatable whether the speed oflanguage change is always identical. With those languages whose history we can trace back a long way with the help of written sources, such as Indo-European, Semitic or Chinese, the experience is that the speed of the change of the language and its constituent systems (e.g. sound system, vocabulary, affixes, etc.) is not even. Sometimes the pace of change accelerates, sometimes it greatly slows clown. Many scholars have studied the problem. Changes are usually precipitated by the isolation of groups of speakers. The splinter group will subsequently retain certain features which in the main, unfragmented linguistic community have already been changed, and will thus preserve various ancient elements, so-called archaisms. The present-day languages of the Székely in Transylvania and of the Mol­ davian Hungarians, the Csángó, are examples here. Conversely, the lan­ guage of the isolated group of speakers will undergo changes which proceed at a faster pace than in the larger, undivided group. At the same time, the pace of language change is surprisingly slower among those highly mobile groups of peoples who meet more regularly, like the nomads, for instance. Regional dialects will develop faster in the language of settled peoples. By processes of isolation these dialects may subsequently become independent languages. It is very difficult to draw the line between dialect and "main" language-mu­ tual understanding is a good test, however. The language of nomadic peoples splinters into dialects much more slowly. No doubt, the lack or insignificance of dialects can have many other reasons, such as the interior migrations of groups of peoples, or the high prestige of a ruling group. Which brings us to another important reason that effects language change: prestige. Language learning itself is a process of imitation; a child acquires the language by imitating his or her parents and peers. But language groups, too, will change their language depending on whose language usage they begin


Metlwdological introduction and the sources

to imitate. Even in the days when printed writing, television and radio did not exist, there were groups whose political, cultural or economic prestige was high and whose speech, pronunciation or vemaculisms the majority of society sought to imitate and master. Linguistic change often started earlier in certain groups of speakers, from where it spread to the other groups. Consequently, it frequently happens that old and new forms coexist in a language. This can come in very handy, because linguistic changes can be used in the chronologi­ cal reconstruction of history, provided one has extensive knowledge of the linguistic change theories and research methods. The so-called biogeographical methodused to be the most common method in the reconstruction of ancient history. Naturally, the distribution of plants and animals can change. Of the cultivated plants, potato and sweet com were imported to Europe after the discovery of America. The names of these plants shed light on their transit route, and also attest to popular linguistic creativity. Both the fruit and the designation narancs 'orange', of Indian origin, entered Hungary and its language by Persian, Arabic and eventually Italian mediation. When eventually a people migrates, the plant and animal names of its former homeland will travel with it, so long as those plants and animals can be found in the environments the people passes through. When, however, the flora and fauna lacks those plants or animals for a long period of time, their names will be forgotten. If subsequently the people encounters them again in the course ofits wanderings, it will coin new words to designate them. Such new names can be borrowed from locals, freshly coined, or förmed from existing plant names, by adding on an adjective, for instance. It is interesting in this respect that, as opposed to all the other Finno-Ugrian languages, the only word in Hungarian collectively designating coniferous trees is fenyő 'fir', while the language boasts a vast array ofnames for deciduous species. This goes to show that, for a long period of time, the Magyars must have lived in a biogeographi­ cal environment which essentially lacked a coniferous flora. A closer look at the other Finno-Ugrian languages reveals that the various conifers have names of their own. Thus, at least four coniferous species can be distinguished in the Uralic languages, namely the spruce fir, the arolla pine, the silver fir, and the larch. However, of the deciduous trees only the elm existed in the proto-language. Therefore, it is the other way round in the Uralic languages: it has one deciduous tree and several coniferous species. Pollen analysis, mentioned above, as well as various other methods have enabled us to reconstruct where and when this mix of trees was characteristic of one particular large area. Rapidly spreading afresh after the last great glacial period, the taiga featured this particular flora in the 6th-5th millennia BC in the Ural region. Rence, the Urheimat of the Uralic peoples and the Uralic languages is thought to have been located there (cf. pp. 93-94).


lntroduction B a r e n ts Sea

Figure 4 Biogeographical features of the Uralic Urheimat This method hitherto enjoyed high popularity. Experiments were made to locate the Urheimats of the Indo-European peoples by examining the names of fish species, a method which the research of the Finno-Ugrian languages adopted. lt transpired, however, that fish and other animal names are too readily transferred to similar, yet taxonomically remote species. For a long


Methodological introduction and the sources

time it was thought that the Hungarian name for 'bee', méh, and the spreading of the melliferous bee could afford some historical assumptions. But, as it transpired, many peoples had no separate name to distinguish 'wild bee' and 'honey bee', yet the biogeographical distribution of the two species differs greatly. The reconstruction of the biogeography of many thousands of years ago has undergone rapid development over the past decades. For instance, today we can draw the northem boundaries of the distribution of k őris 'ash', alma 'apple' and vadszőlő 'woodbine' a lot more precisely. All three Hungar­ ian plant names are of Turkic origin, and we have exact knowledge about where the Magyars must have adopted the words, and where these plants and their names could not be adopted. Naturally, such linguistic evidence is not enough in itself. Alma 'apple' could easily have entered the language through trade, as did narancs 'orange'. As a matter of fact, throughout the world the equivalents of 'apple' originate from the diverse offshoots ofone very ancient name. The Indo-European, Turkic and Hungarian names for 'apple' are distantly related, and the word was known as early as the Hettite language of Asia Minor. The Turkic word is of Indo-European origin (see p. 192). The Turkic equivalents of the Hungarian szőlő 'grape', 'vine' are used to denote woodbine everywhere, yet it seems more probable that, together with bor 'wine' and many other Hungarian vinicultural expressions, the word was adopted north of the Caucasus, near the shores of the Black Sea. Historical and ethnological evidence from Hungarian viniculture attests to this (see pp. 1 1 1 and 1 4 1 ). ln this case, biogeography helps to determine the place rather than the date. However, the Hungarian szőlő typifies a Turkic sound change which cannot be very old, and certainly cannot have occurred prior to the end of the 8th or the early 9th century. Given these facts, the method affords con­ clusions regarding both location and time. Another theory contends that languages have parts whose speed of change is invariable. The glottochronological method was propounded by Swadesh and his team. Swadesh held that the core vocabulary of languages changed at an invariable speed. He collectively termed "core vocabulary" the most important and most frequently used words of a language, and picked from this assortment a hundred words, or rather meanings, which he held to be the most essential. These included words such as 'all', 'and', 'animal', 'ashes', 'at', 'back', 'had', 'bark', 'because', 'belly', 'big', 'hite', 'black', 'blow', 'bone', 'breathe', 'bum', and 'child'. He also set up control lists alongside his basic word lists. He then introduced the rule which he had inferred from the history of the longest observable languages. According to the rule, 14% of the "most fundamental" one hundred words dropped out in a thousand years, or were replaced by new words. As the second millennium passed by, 86% of the leftover 86 words remained. What this means, in effect, is that given a common



language group which features a core vocabulary of one hundred words, and from which younger languages peel off, a thousand years after breaking up, those languages will have preserved 86% of the common word-stock. How­ ever, there is no guarantee that all splinter groups will have "replaced" the same 14 words. The probability must, therefore, be examined ofthe same word dropping out of both languages, or from one or the other only. Swadesh set up a formula which produced the following result: The common "top 100" lists of two languages will share 74% of their words after 1000 years of separation; 55% after 2000 years; 4 1% after 3000 years; 30% after 4000 years; 22% after 5000 years; 16% after 6000 years; and 12% after 7000 years. Conversely, given a 30% identity of the core vocabularies of two related languages today, the above chart tells us that these language speakers sepa­ rated 4000 years ago, that is, their common original language splintered 4000 years ago. The method provoked much interest and debate. Some claimed that it was the C 1 4 method of linguistics. The method was improved, and researchers tested it for several languages. Thus, the separation of the Magyar and Finnic languages, that is, the splintering of the Finno-Ugrian proto-language, was dated 4000-5000 years ago, which surprisingly coincides with earlier results obtained from other methods. Nonetheless, the glottochronological method did not prove to be successful, for two reasons. One is that it is impossible to draw a "top 100" list valid for each and every language. For instance, Swadesh's list included among the first twenty words the English at preposition, on the grounds, reasoned Swadesh, that it was the most common and most fundamental expression denoting location. However, the Finno-Ugrian languages, hence Hungarian, do not have prepositions, and express relations of location with affixes (the Hungarian equivalent of at is the affix -nál). Yet affixes can hardly be included in a vocabulary. The other reason is that Swadesh's definition of core vocabulary tended to confuse the notion of "most frequent" and "most fundamental". Usage frequency varies. By now, we have a great many word occurrence dictionaries which have processed vast bodies of texts. These tel1 us that the equivalent ofthe word 'meat' is among the first five hundred most frequently used words in Spanish, whereas in French, it is merely among the first three


Metlwdological introduction and the sources

thousand. Also, the category "most fundamental" is problematic. Many lan­ guages do not use the conjunctive and for grammatical co-ordination, there­ fore these languages either lack the word altogether, or assign it other functions. And other unforeseen problems arose. ln old German (Gothic ), the word denoting 'man' was originally wafr which Mann superseded by process of secondary change. However, this brought about secondary agreement with the English word man. The same thing happened with the words equivalent to 'true' and 'to wash', both of which are, however, included ín the list. Very often the meanings of the most fundamental words overlap, as, for instance, ín the compounds of the Hungarian words kéz 'hand' and kar 'arm'; seman­ tically speaking,félkezű andfélkarú indistinguishably mean 'one-armed'. The word a scholar will add to the "top 100" list ín such cases will be the one that is best suited for the specific scientific test. No linguist today would use the glottochronological method. Nevertheless, the scientific debate of four dec­ ades has produced much important knowledge about linguistic change in general, the changes of specific languages, and about the usability of change descriptions for chronology. The negative outcome of the debate has also proved to be instructive, inasmuch that it confirmed the speed of linguistic change is never constant, not even ín the seemingly most stationary parts of the core vocabulary. This is hardly surprising. The circumstances are impor­ tant. The drastic changes of history can stimulate language change, more peaceful conditions tend to slow down the process, whereas certain types of life style, such as nomadism, stabilise linguistic change. Although the speed oflanguage change is not invariable, knowledge of the changes can nevertheless help in dating historical events. Here is an example. We know that ín old Finno-Ugrian the initial k- changed to h- ín Hungarian words containing back vowels (for example, ín the Hungarian hab 'foam', had 'army', hagyma 'onion', hal 'fish', haj 'hair', hall 'to hear', h ím 'male', hó 'snow', holló 'raven', húsz 'twenty', húz 'to pull', and many other words). Seeing that ín the majority of Turkic loan words the word-initial k- has remained invariable (such as in kantár 'bridle', kanyaró 'measles', kapu 'gate', karám '(cattle)pen', karvaly 'sparrow-hawk', komló 'hop' (the plant), kóró 'weed', kos 'ram' (the animal), etc.) we are inclined to assume that the Magyars could only have adopted them after the ancient Finno-Ugrian word­ initial k- changed to h-. But for that matter, the adopted Turkic /k/, too, might easily have changed to /h/. Ifwe knew when the shift from k- to h- ended, we would also be able to establish after what date the Magyars and the Turkic lived together. That, however, is very difficult to ascertain. The closest relatives of Hungarian, Vogul and Ostyak, feature similar changes, but not ín every dialect. This strongly suggests that the k > h change in the Ob-Ugrian languages is more recent, and it is independent of the same change ín the



Hungarian language. Further difficulties arise from the fact that there are quite a few Turkic words whose word-initial k- is equivalent to h- in the Hungarian, such as hajó 'boat', homok 'sand', hitvány 'contemptible'. For some time the same group of words was thought to include hattyú 'swan' and hód 'beaver'. Even distinguished scholars thought that these items entered the Hungarian prior to k- becoming h-, on account of a putative period of very early Magyar-Turkic interaction which was followed by another similar period later on. This conjecture could have contributed to establishing relatíve chronology. Unfortunately, however, the Turkic etymology of the words hattyú 'swan' and hód 'beaver' proved to be mistaken. But our loss on one side proved to be a gain on the other; as it transpired, the other words entered the Hungarian from one Turkic language-namely the prevailing language of the Khazar Em­ pire-ín which the same change had also previously occurred. This we know from the fact, among others, that a Khazarian river, for instance, was called Hara siu or Hara siv which in Turkic is Kara sub (or later Kara su), and the title of the Khazar ruler was haghan or hakhan instead of kaghan. The emerging k > h sound shift in the Khazar dialects, as attested by many sources, could not have begun earlier than the late 8th or early 9th century. Thus, in Ibn Fadlan, the Arabic kadzi 'cadi' Uudge) appears in the Khazar form of hazi. Hence, this interaction at least can be dated with linguistic methods. Linguistically speaking, it can be very interesting when a language adopts the same word twice, and the two variants of that word shed light on the two periods ofthe source language. Hungarian is fortunate in this respect, since alongside karvaly 'sparrow-hawk', of Turkic origin, another Hungarian bird name, herjó, which disappeared in the 19th century, happens to be a later variant of the same Turkic word in which the k > h shift had already taken place. Although only a single variant of the above quoted szőlő 'grape', 'vine' entered the Hungarian, gyümölcs 'fruit' evolved from the derivation of the very same Turkic stem, providing a fine parallel for the chronology ofkarvaly and herjó 'sparrow-hawk', gyümölcs 'fruit' and szőlő 'grape', 'vine'.

N OTES 1. Tenninology, methods

It is extremely difficult to translate the Hungarian term őstörténet. The word has a historically conditioned connotation. Literally it can be rendered both as 'the history of the ancestors (ős 'ancestor') and as 'prehistory, the time before history' . ln most cases it denotes the 'ori­ gins', the ' history of the origins' . The term őstörténet was not in favour for a long time, while beginning with the 1 980s it has become a fashion. This is behind the fact that in some cases


Methodological introduction and the sources

I have used proto-history, in others prehistory for translating the Hungarian őstörténet. The issues of ethnicity, people, nation and linguistic relationship, as well as the earlier literature, are discussed in Róna-Tas ( 1 978a) which was an extended version of my dissertation for the DSc degree at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Later I developed my views and they have been summarised in Róna-Tas ( 1 988a), a paper read before the Academy of Rhein-Westphalia; see also Róna-Tas ( 1 989). My views were greatly influenced by the works of Jenő Szűcs who first outlined his ideas in Szűcs ( 1 966). His ideas can be followed in Szűcs ( 1 9 8 1 ) in German, and in Szűcs ( 1 986) in French. His book on the "three historical regions of Europe" had a great impact on Hungarian historical and political thinking. The English version was published in 1 983, the German in 1 990. For his other works see the bibliography. The Hungarian Komoróczy discussed the concept of ethnicity and nation in Komoróczy ( 1 992). Packed with important conclusions, his studies unfortunately disregard the differences between ethnos and nation. See also E. Canetti 's ( 1 977) autobiographical novel. The füli Hungarian trans1ation of Mendander Protector 's text is available in Lukinich ( 1 905, pp. 59--60), which I adopted with minor modifications in Róna-Tas ( 1 989, p. 9 = Róna-Tas 1 995a, p. 1 75). The famous place is also cited by Pohl ( 1 988, p. 2 1 ). The Greek original is available in De Boor's edition Excerpta ( 1 903, pp. 1 70-1 7 1 ). Wenskus ( 1 96 1 ) is a fundamental work in the tieid. H. Wolfram continued the work Wenskus had begun, see, for instance, Wolfram ( 1 979b, 2nd edition 1 980), as well as the publications ofthe Vienna scientific circle, hence Wolfram-Daim ( 1 980); Wolfram- Schwarcz ( 1 985); Friesinger-Daim ( 1 985); Wolfram-Pohl ( 1 990); Friesinger-Daim ( 1 990). For Wolf­ ram 's article on the types of ethnogenesis see Beumann-Schröder ( 1 985, pp. 97- 1 52). For Pohl 's article on the types of ethnogenesis see Wolfram-Pohl ( 1 990, pp. 1 1 3-1 24). For further research consult Entstehung ( 1 985); Girtler ( 1 982). The works of some German scholars ofthis tieid are published in Studien zur Ethnogenese 1-II, 1 985, 1 988. Of the articles published in these volumes, special mention must be made ofthe study ofW.E. Mühlmann (Studien I, 1 985, pp. 9-28); J. Untermann (Studien I, pp. 1 33-1 64) discussed the relations oflanguage and ethnic history. The same publication includes Róna-Tas ( 1 988a, pp. 1 07-1 42 = Róna-Tas 1 995a, pp. 275-3 1 0). Although not fully devoid of ideological constraints, van h chronology were first discussed by Bárczi (1 952, 1 965, 1971 , 1 972). See also Ligeti (1986, pp. 27-28), and Róna-Tas (1 988d) and below (p. 1 06).


1 . TH E CON CEPT OF SOU RCE MATERIAL ln this work the concept of "source material" is broader than usual. This expanded concept was first employed in 1976 in the volumes of the Szeged Proto-History Research Group. We consider as sources, all factual material from which information can be obtained, directly or indirectly, regarding the ancient history of the Magyars. Since written material on the period is relatively scarce, naturally the significance of other sources is greater. Besides written sources we have used language itself as a historical source, and also archaeological research, physical anthropology, ethnography and numerous other scientific methods. This complex or interdisciplinary approach was always utilised in research. One great problem is that the scope of some researchers-due to the rapid "expansion" apparent in these sciences-simply cannot cover all the different source fields. The use of incomplete, old or simply out-of-date results from neighbouring branches of science also poses a threat. Sometimes we experience very specific selections. Among the results of related sciences there is a tendency to withhold those findings which either do not agree or could only with difficulty be reconciled with individual "pet" theories. At other times we can observe that type of indirect proof which is merely mentioned somewhere as a potential hypothesis but which is accepted as proof in another science, and as such, theories are then built on the back of it. After this, the person who put forward the idea as a hypothesis in the first place then quotes the findings of his colleagues as proving his idea. lt is not possible to completely eliminate these difficulties as they go hand in hand with any study of a complex science such as this. Even so, every effort must be made to avoid these pitfalls. This is only possible if one has a good under­ standing of the nature of the sources, and their limitations, and thus in our work we endeavour to speak not only about the evidence provided by the sources but also about the limitations of these sources, and in every case we complete a source critique. Naturally this does not mean that every person, in every case, has to start everything right from the beginning, but a sober critical approach always provides greater safety.


Methodological introduction and the sources

2. SOU RCE CR1T1CISM Every source type and every individual source demands a different critical approach, and there are certain general principles which are equally valid for large source groups. Let us take a simple historical event, for instance the rise to power of a ruler. The event itself occurs in a temporal frame, and it is by no means certain that the entire process will be observed, rather perhaps only highly symbolic events (election, coronation, etc.). The event is recorded, the record passes into the written source, the written source is completed, the author finishes or maybe edits his work, and then later he may even transcribe or enlarge the document. After completion, and sometimes within the lifetime ofthe author and under his supervision, it is copied, the final work is then later still copied again, while later writers take extracts or quote from it. These nine stages describe merely the simplest of cases. It is not uncommon to find corrections, omissions and later additions, etc. made to details in the source. The majority of copies are made long after completion of the original, and thus it is necessary to reconstruct retrospectively the original text from the copies. Occasionally, to decide what exactly was in the original, it is necessary to compare the copies and their provenance. And we are yet to mention forgeries, errors and mistakes, whether intentional or from sheer ignorance. Clearing up all these presumes an understanding not only of the language of the sources but of the writing, the specific orthography and abbreviations as well. Naturally, historians must often rely upon those who professionally edited the sources, because they are simply unable to complete source critiques in every case. However, an effort must be made to use critiques, and if the historian is unable to complete such, it must be clear exactly what problems the source brings with it. Source criticism cannot only enquire into the understanding of the language and writing, the palaeography of the source, but the publisher must be in possession of those facts upon which unclear, problematic aspects can be interpreted and explained. With the advances being made by researchers, science is constantly being enriched by ever newer discoveries, and for this reason source critiques should be continually updated for some time to come, even if the original work was completed in a fully professional manner in its time. Source interpretations must be separated from critiques, and this is true even if the task is not always straightforward. The interpretation of source infor­ mation, of course, influences (or can have an influence on) the critique. However, it is methodologically pertinent to differentiate between critique and interpretation. Unfortunately, one has to note that among the written sources covering ancient Hungarian history there are only very few where the critical analysis

The sources


has been carried out to a satisfactory and modem standard. A notable exception is the publication of the De administrando imperio. Sources can be interpreted in a multitude ofways. ln the sources themselves, the quantity and quality ofinformation directly related to the Magyars, as well as data which can be linked to this topic, are restricted. For the period prior to the Conquest we have sufficient sources relating to the neighbours of the Magyars to be able to reconstruct the history of the area subsequently also settled by the Magyars. ln the following we attempt to sketch out an Eastem European history in which the pre-Conquest Magyars undoubtedly had a part. Thus we have only taken into consideration what the sources have to say about the area bounded by the Eastem European steppe and forested steppe belt, the Ural mountains and river, the region defined by the Caucasus, the Black Sea and the eastem side ofthe Carpathians, and those details relating to the Balkan region. Those sources relating to the state ofthe Carpathian Basin prior to the Conquest, respectively to the Conquest itself, constitute a separate group.

3 . TH E WRlITTN SOU RCES The brief outline of written sources is presented according to the language of the source, and if necessary, within this subdivided according to the type of writing. ln the survey of sources, we generally do not go back earlier than the 5th, and in some cases the 6th century BC. The works ofearly writers frequently alluded to such sources which possibly could be related to the Magyars or their predecessors, but from our point ofview these can be disregarded. The Yürka people mentioned by Herodotus (d. 425 BC) are generally related to the Ugor people and the ancestors of the Magyars on account of the similar sound of the names and their location. Behind the names of peoples mentioned in different steppe descriptions, others claim to see the Magyars or peoples related to the Magyars. We will not deal with these matters here. However, it is important to mention Ptolemy who lived in ancient Alexandria and who put together a collection of maps from earlier work by Marinos of Tyros compiled between 107 and 114 AD, bringing them together in an eight-volume cosmog­ raphy. The collection was completed between 15 1 and 178 AD, and although there is no direct Magyar connection, the name ofthe Finnish people appears here for the first time. The Ptolemy work served as a hasis for later geographi­ cal works, and the Arabs also adopted it. Although the structure and the descriptive principles of the original work were slowly modified, it still fundamentally defined geographical studies right through to the end of the Middle Ages, and as such, also those works which are important from our


Methodological introduction and the sources

point of view. The other early sources are only important because in many cases quotations taken from them colour, but of course also corrupt, works by later writers.

a) Byzantine sources The Byzantine Empire was established on the hasis of Roman law, in a Greek-speaking area and professing Christianity as a state religion. Dual rule of the Greek-Roman Empire lasted for some time. After the downfall of the West Roman Empire (476), Byzantium became fully independent. ln 740 it halted the advancing Arabs, but it lost Ravenna in 75 1. ln 843 the civil war between the iconoclasts and iconodules (the Iconoclastic Controversy) was finally terminated, a struggle which had considerably weakened the Byzantine Empire. The year 867 marked the break from the Roman Church (for details see pp. 257-260), although the date of official rupture was 1054. Leo the Wise took to the throne in 886, and the Byzantine Empire underwent a resurgence. The southem shore ofthe Black Sea, today's Anatolia, and the Balkans to the Danube were under the sphere of influence of Byzantium. lmportant trading towns were located in the Crimean Peninsula under Byzantine rule. To the east, the empire bordered on Sasanian Persia, and between these two worlds lived such peoples as the Armenians, Georgians and Syrians. Efficient protec­ tion of the Byzantine Empire's northem borders and trade routes demanded information about happenings in the steppe. Frequently, protection meant forming an alliance with one group or people against another. ln order to do this it was necessary to have a good grasp of the history, power relations, location, military strength and tactics of these peoples. The most important genres in Byzantine historical literature are written works covering the history of the empire, ecclesiastical historical works and route itineraries. But we also find historical references in such genres as courtly verses praising the emperors, the panegyrics. Byzantine works were written in Middle Greek. By this time the reading of characters and character clusters had deviated from that ofthe classical Greek period. At the same time, however, writers with a predilection for the use of contemporary syntax and grammar employed classical rules as well, and these were all mixed in numerous works (see Figure 7 on page 50). To present an example ofjust the sort ofvariable results a single source can provide, it is worth taking a brief look at the work entitled The Governing of Empire. Among those sources that the author, Emperor Constantine V II Porphyro­ genitus (9 13-959), used were original texts, reports, accounts and already completed summaries which were extracted for him. These were transcribed

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The sources


and copied for the emperor, who generally dictated or sometimes wrote himselfusing these sources. Thus were those parts completed which were then originally brought together in two works with the titles On Peoples and On Provinces . These works, may have been completed around 945, but immedi­ ately afterwards the emperor re-edited the whole work, and the final version was only ready by around 952. The court scribe, or scribes, then made copies ofthe work. These have been lost, but a new copy was made around 979. This was lost too, but some time between 1 059 and 1 08 1 yet another copy was made, and luckily this has survived. Currently it is stored in Paris. Among its many readers there were those who added their own remarks, those who made corrections, and those who made notes in the margin ofthe codex. Occasional unknown or indecipherable words were supplemented or corrected. Two copies were made of the Paris document. There are notes and corrections which date írom before the copies were made, while others date írom later. A copy stored in the Vatican was completed in 1 509, and one in Modena between 1 560 and 1 568. Not long after the Vatican manuscript was completed, a new copy of it was made between 1 509 and 1 529. The work was first published by Meursius in 1 6 1 1 on the hasis of the Vatican manuscript, and then in 1 7 1 1 by Bandur, who knew the Paris manuscript and was able to read those parts which are unreadable today. Bekker 's 1 840 edition is based on Bandur 's text. The critical edition of the text by Moravcsik and Jenkins is based on an understanding of this background to the material, and it endeavoured to reconstruct the most accurate picture possible of the original text. Assistance was provided by the fact that The Governing of Empire contains quotations írom earlier written works. Among these, we know of some which derive írom other textual traditions, and thus it is possible to establish how copies were made during the imperial age. But naturally, some parts of The Governing of Empire írom around 952 were ofa quite variable quality, there are parts edited precisely and parts negligently, some with a great deal of attention and others with less care. ln approaching such a text, there are two extremes. The excessive critic cannot, in the end, accept any parts of the work as authentic. On the other hand the nai"ve reader considers every letter, every assertion noted down, as the absolute truth. At the same time it is notjust a matter offinding a middle way, but rather to back up reasoned criticism with philological argument. We should not blithely correct the text as we please, but then again we cannot accept it as fact carved in stone and completely unalterable. The basic principle remains the principle of the least possible change. Any alteration must always be in harmony with the entire work, its spirit and details, and furthermore with those facts deriving írom other sources.


Methodological introduction and the sources

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Gibraltar). ln 732, the European powers under the leadership of Charles Martel halted the Muslim Arab invasion at the gates of Poitiers. On the eastem front, a coalition of forces headed by Chinese generals stopped the Arabs at the River Talas east ofthe Lake Aral in 75 1. The Khazars halted the incursion of Arabs across the Caucasus, and they were unable to take Byzantium. ln 750 a new dynasty, the Abbasids, came to rule the Arab state. The seat ofthe empire was shifted to Baghdad, and with Persian assistance it was completely reorganised. The direction of the empire's military, political and indeed cultural affairs quickly fell into the hands of the Persians who in the meantime had been completely converted to Islam. Harun al-Rasid (786-809) ruled during the


The sources

second culminating point in the history of the Arab Empire. He is known in the tales of The Thousand and One Nights . The Arabs adopted many elements of Greek culture and translated many of their works. Arab culture built on Hellenistic, Persian and Indian elements reached its apogee in the 10th century. It is in this environment that we must seek those sources containing references to the conquering Magyars and neighbouring peoples. ln using Arab written sources, attention has to be paid to the fact that Semitic-origin writing originally completely ignored vowels; the meaning was carried solely by the consonants. Arabic writing has several consonant marks which have no equivalents in non-Semitic languages, while it does not have separate letters for a few such sounds of the non-Semitic languages. Certain letters can only be differentiated by one or several points placed below or above the character, furthermore these diacritical points are frequently omitted in scripts. The reading of Arabic words generally causes no problem, but when foreign words or names have to be transcribed, this not only opens up the opportunity for mistakes, but the scribe will often try to modify the transcription in favour of a similarly constructed word already existing in Arabic. Sources in Arabic Geographers. "Greek" and "Persian" approaches to the world are mixed in Arabic geographical literature; some schools further developed the mapping method of Ptolemy, adding new discoveries, while other writers arranged the world according to the points of the compass alone. The efficient goveming ofthe Arabian empire, which had unexpectedly grown so huge, also demanded that geographical knowledge be constantly updated and expanded. ln this, key roles were played by traders and ministers who diligently reported to Baghdad on their journeys, and if not in person, then to someone else who was on his way to Baghdad. lt is no wonder that the favourite genre and at the same time the most recurrent book title of the age was The Book of Routes and King­ doms (Kitab al-masaliq val-mamaliq). The maps came complete with cap­ tions which could be extended with new information. The Arabs, too, did not recognise author's rights, and thus they frequently copied each other's work without due recognition. However, in many cases it is possible to pinpoint the author of a particular piece of information. From the 12th century primary geographical literature ended, but at the same time there was an upsurge in grand lexicons and the compilation of collected works, and this was impor-


Metlwdological introduction and the sources

tant because in many cases only these preserved the contents of much earlier works. Al-Khwarezmi, who was bom in the town of Khwarezm and died around 847, wrote addenda and explanations to a map ofthe world by Ptolemy. ln the explanations he concemed himself with Eastem Europe. Likewise in the middle of the 9th century al-Jarmi, on his retum home from imprisonment in Byzantium, completed a work on the Byzantine Empire and its neighbours. Although the work was subsequently lost, there are many extracts. Similarly Har un ibn Yahya languished in jail in Byzantium around 900. His work de­ scribing the Byzantine Empire and its peoples, as well as his own joumeys, only survived in quotations used by other authors, including lbn Rusta. The caliph's confidant lbn Hordadzbeh, founder of The Book of Routes and Kingdoms genre, died in 911. He is usually mentioned as the minister of post, but in truth his mission was probably to obtain intelligence about military and trading routes. His first known collections were compiled between 846 and 847, and he revised the work between 885 and 886. He kept numerous route reports, among them one on Central Asia, the Report on the Route of Salam the Interpreter from before 847. The work oflbn Hordadzbeh förmed the ha­ sis for Arab geographical studies at the end of the 9th century. The earliest surviving manuscript of the work dates from before the 12th century. Al-Yakubi (d. 897), lbn al-Fakih (9th century), Kudama (died ca. 958) and others contributed to these foundations with new material. We must deal with Ibn Fadlan in slightly more detail, since he is particularly important for an appreciation of Muslim sources dealing with the history of the conquering Magyars. Without wishing to touch here on questions ( dis­ cussed later in more detail) of Bulghar-Turkic history relating to the history ofthe conquering Magyars, we must mention what is absolutely necessary for an understanding of the political-historical background to the joumey of lbn Fadlan. At the beginning of the 10th century, significant groups of Bulghars seeking to escape Khazar rule and centralised pressure lived around the area defined by the rivers Volga-Kama-Cheremshan. The increasingly inde­ pendent Bulghar ruler, while organising neighbouring tribes, still remained nominally a Khazar subject. The control of Volga trade as well as the key position of being ruler of trade routes, primarily to Khwarezm, east of the Slavonic territories, significantly contributed to economic strengthening. ln this situation, the caliph in Baghdad represented a natural ally for the Bulghar ruler in opposition to the Khazars with its leading strata of the Jewish faith. For this reason, he requested in a letter the support of, and an alliance with, Baghdad. It was proposed that the caliph despatch a person who could teach the Bulghar ruler the word of Allah, lslamic law, and it was also suggested that a mosque and mihrab be built for him in order to help him in converting

Tlze sources


the whole country. Further assistance was requested by the Bulghars in con­ structing fortresses and castles to defend themselves against opposing kings. It is clear from extracts from the letter that in exchange for conversion to Islam, military assistance would be provided, also for defence against the Khazars. lnterestingly enough, the Bulghar ruler's letter was actually taken to the caliph by a Khazar, al-Hazari, obviously a member of the Khazar rul­ er's opposition who had escaped to the Volga Bulghars. ln response, caliph Al-Muqtadir (908-932) commissioned a delegation to make arrangements. The costs were covered by the income from an estate near Khwarezm which had recently been confiscated by the state from a fabulously wealthy treasurer who had fallen out of favour. The caliph's delegation comprised four persons: the leader Sausan al-Rasi, Tegin al-Turki, Bars al-Saqlabi and lbn Fadlan, that is there were two Turks, of whom Fadlan referred to one as just "the Turkic" (al-Turki), the other being a Volga Bulghar. ln this text the name Saqaliba , generally signifying the Slavs, always means the Volga Bulghars. The dele­ gation left Baghdad on 2 April 92 1, and travelled only indirectly to the Volga Bulghars. There were two reasons for this. One was, obviously, to avoid the Khazars, the other that they had to pick up money in Khwarezm. ln all likelihood there was in addition a third reason for this roundabout route. At that time, Khwarezm bordered on the ruling Samanid dynasty's centre of Bukhara, and to a certain extent it was dependent on it. The Samanids, formally vassals to the caliph of Baghdad, had earlier also attempted to convert heathen Turkic tribespeople living beyond the Khazar Empire to the Islamic faith, and thus to extend the Arab alliance. It is likely that Khwarezm and Bukhara thus played an important role even then in the conversion of the Volga Bulghars. On arrival in Bukhara, lbn Fadlan and his companions immediately went to al-Jayhani, minister of the local ruler, "Baghdad govemor" Nasr ibn Ahmad. ln his diary, lbn Fadlan only referred to al-Jayhani as "the respected elder". Jayhani arranged a servant and accommodation for them, and gave instruc­ tions that all their wishes be met. Por a variety of reasons, lbn Fadlan and his companions remained in Bukhara longer than originally planned, and as he wrote, by the 28th day they were highly impatient, fearing that the onset of winter would obstruct their further passage. From our aspect the relevance is that at this time Jayhani was an old man, and the travellers were together with him in Bukhara for nearly a month. Because there were several Jayhani's, the source under the name Jayhani is probably not the work of one single Jayhani, still it is clear that here we are talking about Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Jayhani, whose son took over his ministerial post in 937. This Jayhani died in 94 1, and his grandchild became minister in 976. It is highly likely that he then completed his grandfather's work. At any rate Ibn Fadlan and his fellow travellers spent long enough in Bukhara to allow Jayhani to


Methodological introduction and the sources

question them. The Jayhani report on these meetings contains parts that Ibn Fadlan could not have known then. Unfortunately we do not know what route Ibn Fadlan took on his return to Baghdad, but it is unlikely that he took any other than the one he came on. Even though it is true to say that lbn Fadlan's travel record ends with a description of the Khazar Empire, it was probab ly written from information supplied by his companion al-Hazari, and not from persona! experience. Naturally it is necessary to note that one of the members of the mission in Bukhara was a Volga Bulghar, and Jayhani could have received a lot of information from him as well. ln any case, one thing is certain and that is that material on Jayhani's report comprised many parts, and some of his sources were contemporary. Jayhani's other known close source, which we can actually trace was al-Balhi. Balbi died in 934, leaving a detailed geographical work of which nothing remains, although the larger part is preserved in extracts by Istahri and Jbn Hauqal . Balbi and Jayhani had such a close persona! relationship that Balbi sent slave girls to his friend. Another writer, Abu Du /aj, recorded in 943 that as an emissary, he travelled through Turkic, Persian and Armenian territories, and collected information. Of his two route itineraries, the one conceming the Turks is not reliable, being full of secondary and sometimes inaccurate information. However, he did write that he travelled on the orders of Jayhani, and thus this Jayhani can only be the son (d. 94 1), as the first Jayhani-the "respected elder" in the time of lbn Fadlan-was unlikely to be still living (although it cannot be ruled out). As we have seen above, Ibn Fadlan travelled from Bukhara to Khwarezm, from where via the land of the Pechenegs and the Bashkiris he arrived in the land ofthe Volga Bulghars. For a long time the work of lbn Fadlan was only known from extracts in the great geographical dictionary by Yakut. Then, in Mashhad in Afghanistan, a more complete manuscript was discovered in 1923, and a photocopy was made for Herzfeld for the first time. A second photocopy was arranged in 1935 for the Soviet Academy. The text was then published-partly independently of each other-in the Soviet Union by Kovalevsky (at that time without his name, but under the name of the editor Krachkovsky) and in Bonn by Zeki Validi Togan in 1939. A photocopy was also made for Ligeti who travelled to Afghanistan in 1936. This document is kept in Budapest. Facsimiles ofthis copy (complete with notes) were publish­ ed by Károly Czeglédy in 1950. Of course, the Mashhad document is also not original, but an abbreviated, in many places corrupted and relatively late, copy. We know this because works by Ahmad Tusi and Najib Hamadani who lived in the 12th century, and the work ofAmin Razi written in 1593 all quote freely from lbn Fadlan's work, while they also contain parts which cannot be found in the dictionary of Yakut or the Mashhad manuscript. Yakut made a note that he worked from several Ibn Fadlan manuscripts. The Mashhad manuscript

The sources


is not complete, and i t certainly lacks the end, thus i t i s only possible to reconstruct the original with the help of the later copies and the Yakut dictionary. As we have seen above, questions conceming the Jayhani source critique have not been fully resolved. The dates of Ibn Rusta, another important Arab writer, are similarly disputed. Only the last volume of his seven-volume work survived. ln it there are parts which correspond to the Jayhani work, and for this reason many date the work later than the second decade of the 10th century. According to others, the work dates from before 913, and was possibly written in 903. The reasons they give are so-called ex silentio, referring to certain events which occurred after these dates and are missing from the work. Countering the opinion that Ibn Rusta could use the Jayhani work only after the second decade of the 10th century comes the response that the quoted sections originate not from Jayhani, but from an earlier source or sources used by Jayhani. The current state of the debate favours those who reason that Ibn Rusta's work is later rather than earlier. The Persian writer Gardizi-we speak of him in more detail below-also used Jayhani's work, as did the Persian work Hudüd al-iilam written in 982/983, the 11 th-century al-Bakri, Marvazi from around 1120, the 13th-cen­ tury Aufi, and Sukrullah writing in Persian in 1456. The latter's work was translated into the Turkic language, respectively revised, and some details appear in these Turkic versions, the originals ofwhich have not yet been found, in the text of later mediators. The accomplishments of al-Balhi were continued by al-Istahri who lived in the 1 0th century, and who, after spending many years in Baghdad, eventu­ ally died in Samarkand. There were two versions of his work. The first was translated into Persian before 933, while the second version dates from around 951. Ibn Hauqal, who joined Istahri in Baghdad, eventually becoming his follower, travelled extensively throughout the then known Islamic world and in bordering regions between 943 and 973. His work was written before 987, complementing the Balhi-Istahri work with his own findings. Ibn Hauqal also noted that on his travels he took with him the works of Hordadzbeh, Jayhani and Kudama, and made notes on the spot directly into their manuscripts. Muqaddasi or Maqdisi (known as "the Jerusalemite"; the Arabic name of the town is al-Quds, hence al-Muqaddas), the last important representative of the Balhi school, who enriched the geographical documents with much new information, probably died some time around the year 1000. While the above-mentioned were travellers or inhabitants of the Muslim east, al-Bakri (d. 1094) never left the Muslim state established on the Iberian Peninsula, Umayyad Andalusia. It is surprising just how well he knew early


Methodological introduction and the sources

geographical literature, or in any case he took extracts from numerous earlier writers. Extracts taken from Jayhani's work are shorter than those taken by lbn Rusta, but he selected information about other Eastem European peoples the like ofwhich cannot be found elsewhere. More detail is provided later (see pp. 29 1-293) aboutAbu Hamid al-Garnati who travelled in Hungary between 1150 and 1153, and died in Damascus in 1170. It is necessary to briefly introduce ldrisi, who lived and wrote in Sicily, and who died around 1165. Commissioned by Roger 11, ruler of Sicily, he wrote a book on the world as it was then perceived. Known as The Book ofRoger, this is a particularly important work in which contemporary Hungary appeared, although the writer had used the works of several earlier authors. We have already referred to the geographical dictionary by Yakut (d. 1229). ln his work, completed in 1224, individual places and peoples appeared under the place names in Arabic alphabetic order. When talking about places and peoples he quoted the works of earlier authors, named them, and generally conscientiously copied extracts. But there is also information collected by the author himself, for instance on the Hungarians. Although he gave the correct pronunciation beside the place names, that is the author wrote down the vowels, this is of little use because the written forms were generally gathered from other books and manuscripts. After Yakut, Arabic geographical studies do not, in practice, contain any­ thing new for us. Certain writers had access to early documents since lost, while others influenced European literature because they were recognised and translated early on, such as Abul Fida (d. 1331). Historians. Insofar as Arab geographers wrote about the geography of the Islamic world, the aim of Arab historians was to preserve the history of the Islamic conquests. As such, much was naturally written about the peoples of Eastem Europe. One of the earliest writers was al-Baladhuri whose work, History of the Muslim Conquests, was completed in 892, just before his death. Completed in 872, the World History of al- Yakubi is almost contemporary. This world history describes, among others, the known history of non-Arabic peoples, including the Turkic, covering the period from the Jewish patriarchs to the time of Muhammad. Al-Tabari (d. 923) wrote a summary ofworld history up until Muhammad, and from then he changed to an annalistic form of presentation. Many parts ofthe original are lost, the work is known through copies, while several writers continued Tabari's labour. The works ofthe l Oth-century al-Dinavari and the


The sources

Syrian Agapius writing in Arabic are significant because of their references to the Khazars. However, the historian al-Masudi, who died in Cairo around 956, is far more important than those authors already mentioned. He wrote an abridged history of Islam complete with a thorough geographical introduction. The work was originally entitled The Book of Gold Fields and Precious Stone Mines, and was written between 943 and 947. He also created several other works, among them the extant Book of Warning and Correction, in which, not long before his death, he endeavoured to bring some order to his historical-geographical understanding. Al-Biruni, bom in Khwarezm in 973, included ancient historical informa­ tion in his important work which also contained much that was new. The works of Spanish Arab historians contain indirect information relating to the conquering Magyars. We have already seen the broad geographical knowledge of the Andalusian al-Bakri. A local Arab centre of historiography had been established in Cordova even before the 10th century, the focus of which, naturally enough, was events in the Iberian Peninsula, but many authors also covered other parts ofthe Islamic world. Unfortunately, this rich and well preserved literature remains to this very day well-nigh unstudied. Without doubt, of all the writers Ibn Hayyan takes a particularly distinguished place. Some are of the opinion that he was the author of a 60-volume grand work, one part of which is the Muqtabas (Muqtabis, Extract), the fifth volume of which was published in 1979. The publication was based on the only known manuscript (which is certainly a copy) kept in Rabat, Morocco. Ibn Hayyan also wrote about the spread of Islam with particular attention to the Iberian Peninsula. The work was completed just before the author died in 1 076. He employed numerous earlier works, from one of which he took records of the Magyar raids into Spain in 942. When mentioning the Magyars he used the word Turk to explain who they were, inserting some information on the Magyars and the names of the seven Magyar chieftains. These names were seriously damaged in the course of repeated copying; deciphering will require the help of the Muqtabas source itself or other copies. Sources in Persian Within the Abbasid Caliphate the larger provinces became increasingly inde­ pendent, while still formally recognising the authority of Baghdad, the Arab centre. The Gaznavid family in Persia was one such semi-independent dy­ nasty. With the expansion of power of the Persian local ruling stratum, the cultivation of Persian language literature also began.


Methodological introduction and the sources

The Regions of the World (Hudíid al-iilam) is a geographical work by an unknown author. lt is likely, however, that the author lived in Northem Afghanistan, and according to the dedication in the work it could have been completed for one of the local feudal dynasties in 982/983. The only known copy dates from 1258. Gardizi lived in the Gaznavid court in the 11th century. His work, The Book of the Embell is hment of the Reports, written between 1050 and 1052, contains both a history ofPersia and the histories ofneighbouring peoples. The sections relating to the Turkic peoples refer in part to a so-called Pseudo lbn Muqqafa and partly to Jayhani or Hordadzbeh. However, the author used a Jayhani manuscript which differed from that used by Ibn Rusta. Of the two known manuscripts, the earlier is a l 6th-l 7th-century copy, while the other dates from the 18th century. The Persian language was employed by ever more writers from the 12th century, among them a great many historians. They did not have any direct information relating to the Magyars prior to the Conquest, and what little they did have on the early Turkic peoples can be traced back to earlier works. One such example is the faithful chronicler of steppe history, Juzjani, who com­ pleted his work in 1260. In fact with the Mongol period Juvaini (d. 1283) and Ras hid ud-Din ( d. 1318) represented a new historians' school; their works are important for Mongol-era names ofthe Magyars.

f) Syrian sources A group of Syrian people living on the fringes of Byzantium and Persia spoke an old language related to the Semitic language family. The survival of the community is largely put down to the fact that the western group of Syrians professed Monophysite Jacobite Christianity, and the eastem community Nestorian Christianity. The significance of this is that although their groups, one under the sway of Byzantium-centred on Edessa-and the other under the protection of the Persians-centred on Nisibis-engaged in intemecine warfare, at the same time they played a sort ofmediatory role between the two great cultures. Their significant ecclesiastical historical literature contains a wealth of detail. Scripts were recorded in a version of Aramaic-Semitic, so-called Estrangelo ("rounded") Syrian writing, and of the two further developed forms of Estrangelo the western Jacobites used Serto and the eastem Syrians Nestorian. A smaller sect, the Melkites, used Arabic, allowing them to act as mediators with the Arabic-language world. Some of their groups, such as the Maronites, still play a significant role in Lebanon to this very day.

The sources


Legends woven around the eastem military campaigns of Alexander the Great spread throughout the east, even reaching the Mongols. Contemporary geographical and historical elements were introduced into local variants ofthe legends, which were noted down as well. Thus, we find references to the steppes in the Alexander the Great Syri an Legends. ln the same way ethno­ graphic elements creep into so-called doomsday literature, in the chapter on the peoples of Gog and Magog. The Syrian revision of the ecclesiastical history by Zakarias, bishop of Mitilen, and originally written in Greek, is an important work from the aspect of steppe history. The work deals with the period between 450 and 5 18. A Syrian geographical appendix (not to be found in the original) was added, and thus it is usually referred to as Pseudo Zakarias' work. Textual evidence indicates that the appendix was completed in 555, and it lists the peoples lív­ ing beyond the Caucasus, that is north of the Caucasus. Although the only surviving copies date from around 600, and there is some doubt as to the credibility of the data, as far as more recent information goes, like the form ofthe name of the Khazar people recently discovered from Turkic sources, it does have some authenticity. But a word of caution: some parts of the older data can be traced back to Byzantine sources, e.g. Priskos. The Syrians started writing ch ronicles in the first half of the 6th century. These chronicles frequently copied each other, or new insertions were made into old texts. There are references to the Huns in early Syrian chronicles, while later chronicles mention the appearance ofthe Avars and the Turks. It is particularly worth highlighting the chronicle of Michael of Syria completed in 1199, a detailed history of the western Syrian (Jacobi te) church. Events recorded in this great historical work comprising 21 volumes are presented in three parallel columns: world history, ecclesiastical history, and natural events. For some time the text was only known in Arab translation, written in Armenian­ and Syrian script, but later a Syrian language and Syrian script version was found in the monastery at Edessa. Even though the world history section is mostly a compilation, it still preserves much information on the history ofthe steppes which cannot be found in any other surviving material. Bar Hebraeus (d. 1286), son of a doctor born into a Jewish family but converted to the Christian faith, became leader of one of the groups of Jacobites. The earlier sections ofhis great historical work are a slightly revised version of the Michael of Syria World History Column. Hebraeus himself wrote the section on events after 1199. Its significance lies in the Arabic translation which he completed. This Arabic translation has much to offer in resolving certain problems ofsource criticism and reading. He also used other


Methodological introduction and the sources

sources in preparing the Arabic translation. ln addition he wrote an ecclesias­ tical history. The History of Saints and Mar tyrs contains the lives of several saints.

g) Armenian sources The beginning of the history of the people speaking the Armenian lan­ guage-an independent Indo-European language branch-is traceable to the first millennium BC. The state founded by tribes who had migrated into the site ofthe ancient Urartu culture soon came up against the Greeks and Iranian peoples, but it always managed to preserve its distinct cultural, and in many cases political, independence. Christianity became a state religion in Armenia in 30 1 AD. Around 400, the Armenians established their own alphabet using elements of Semitic writing strongly influenced by the system of Greek literacy, and began translating the Bible into Armenian. The majority of the great works of Greek culture were translated into Armenian from the 5th century. Parallel with this development, independent Armenian literature was bom as well. Scribes in the royal court, in monasteries and in the palaces of the aristocracy began noting events and glorifying the past, leading to the creation of Armenian chronicles. This heroic chronicle tradition recorded for posterity the wars against the Persians and the barbarian peoples, and such historical information was also included in works recording the lives of the saints of the Armenian church. Around 640 Armenia was invaded by the Arabs, and although the state then became a suzerain it managed to preserve its religious and cultural identity. Armenia suffered greatly during the Arab-Khazar wars which spilled over into its territory, and thus we find a great deal of information relating to this period in the chronicles. The Bagratid dynasty, which had been helped to power by the Arabs, consolidated its position in 885, and in recognition of this, the Byzantine emperor sent a crown in 886. Armenian historical literature went through a golden age in the 10th century. The Bagratid Kingdom collapsed in 1045, having become victim of the Byzantine-Seljuk war. So started the mass migration of Armenians. A new Armenian Kingdom was founded in 1080 around the southeastem shore of today's Turkey, in the former province of Cilicia. The dominant dialects in this new state were west Armenian. The Armenian alphabet and orthography are relatively conservative. The characters have eastem and western Armenian readings. The eastem is closer to old Armenian. The overwhelming majority of Armenian literature today is available only in not older than 12th-century copy form.

B I a e k

S e a








Lake Tu0




• Edessa





PE f? s l "1

U rartu Armenia


Byzantine Armenia Cilicia (little Armenia) Greater Armenia Republic of Armenia and Karabagh

Figure 10 The Armenian Empire


Methodological introduction and the sources

Early Armenian chronicles survived only in copied formats transcribed many times, but we do find some references to the Huns and the Ephthalites. The great historical work History of Armenia, conventionally attributed to Movses Horenaci (Moses of Horene), was completed in the 440s, leading many to presume that the author lived in the 5th century. The oldest extant manuscript fragment dates from not earlier than the 1 0th century, and it is highly likely that it was copied many times, supplemented, and had anachro­ nistic interpolations. It is particularly disturbing to find references to later northern peoples in legendary histories, e.g. the Vlendur Bulkars, who are placed into the Arsak I era, that is the 2nd century BC. Armenian additions to the basic geographical work of Ptolemy were also started in the 7th century. Because earlier it was believed to be the work of Horenaci, it is commonly termed the Geography by Pseudo Movses Horenaci. More recently, Ananias of Shirak has been suggested as the author. The work was revised many times, but the basic editing dates from before the Arab invasion, perhaps around 640. The work includes a later intrapolation on the peoples of the north-that is those living north of the Caucasus-making it one of the most important sources on the history ofEastern Europe, and within this the history of the Khazars and Magyars from the 6th-7th centuries. There are more than fifty known manuscripts of the work in existence, but of the extended versions it appears that the most useful is a manuscript dating from the 1 5th century. The identity of an author who wrote a chronicle around 687, patterned on earlier such forms, has remained unknown, but the last part mentions a few events from the contemporary period. The earliest known manuscript dates from the 1 0th century. A work commonly referred to as the Sebeos was compiled from many separate parts. The earliest surviving manuscript dates from 1 672, but unfor­ tunately this preserved at best mere fragments of the complete work of the author, who probably lived in the 7th century. At the same time, other works were also copied into early manuscripts, such as an extract of a 10th-century work prepared in the 15th-16th centuries. Despite this, important 6th-7th-cen­ tury steppe history has been preserved, and it remains an important source for the history of the Khazars. Levond (died ca. 790) probably finished his work shortly before his death. The work deals with the history of Armenia between 732 and 789. A signifi­ cant part (a theological dispute between the Byzantine emperor and the caliph) is a later interpolation. The only manuscript of the work was prepared in the 1 3th century. It ranks as an important source on the Arab-Khazar wars which devastated Armenia.


Tlze sources

The so-called History of Albania, probably completed in the 10th century but with l l th-12th-century interpolations, should be seen as a history of Caucasian Albania. The name of the writer is uncertain, some refer to him under the name Movses Kalankatvaci (originating from Kalankatuyk), and others as Dashuranci (originating from Dashuran). The work can also be considered an important source for steppe and Khazar history. Later Armenian ecclesiastical and historical literature is only worth exam­ ining for its extracts and quotes preserved from earlier works.

h) Georgian sources There is no affinity between the several different languages found in the Caucasus today. However, the so-called Kartvelian language group is particu­ larly noticeable in this diverse group, of which Georgian is the most recog­ nised, although Mingrelian-Laz and Svan also belong here. The first Georgian state grouping the ancient inhabitants of the Caucasus was established at the end of the 3rd century (although there had been earlier moves in this direction). Then at the beginning of the 4th century, parallel with the Armenians, the state became Christian. During the 7th century it also fell under Arab rule. The Georgian branch of the Bagratid dynasty proclaimed independence in 930. ln the 12th century this small kingdom experienced its first golden age, a period which was brought to an abrupt end by the Mongols. Georgian writing also originates from a branch of Aramaic of the Semitic family of alphabets, although the Greek alphabet also played a role in its formation. The oldest material dates from the 5th century, when the Bible was translated into Georgian and the first inscriptions were recorded. Translations aside, the first original Georgian manuscripts recorded the lives of Georgian martyrs and saints. These documents were later copied and supplemented with subsequent events relating to the saints or places connected with them. ln the course of writing these hagiographies, a great deal of information on the neighbouring peoples was included, for instance on the Khazars, and the Arab-Khazar wars were also mentioned. The work The Mar tyrdom of Abo, dating from around the end of the 8th century provides us with important historical source information on contemporary Georgia and its neighbouring peoples. The Georgian Chronicle, the Kart/is chovreba (the e and the h are pro­ nounced separately), a history ofKartlis, that is, Georgia, was compiled from numerous earlier historical works. The first ten volumes cover the history of Georgia from its earliest times to the 14th century. The first chapters were written with the help of early chronicles, thus the 11 th-century works by Leonti


Methodological introduction and tlze sources

Mroveli and Juanser cover history from the füst stages to the 5th century, and from the 5th to the 8th century respectively. The section on 8th- to 9th-century history was written by an unknown author, and it is here that we can find much on those peoples who lived to the north ofthe Caucasus and in the Caucasian mountains, as well as on the Arab-Khazar wars. The earliest known and surviving version ofthe chronicle was edited in the 15th century. There is also an Armenian translation of the chronicle dating from between 1279 and 1311.

i) Turkic sources After defeating the Ruanruans around 552, the Turks founded the First Turk Khaghanate. Withinjust a few years the empire was master ofthe entire steppe. After 556, the Turkic peoples ofthe Eastern European steppe were also under the empire's domination, and it then opened contacts with Persia and the Byzantine Empire. Around 630, internal and external warfare gradually undermined the tribal confederations, leading to a split into the western and eastern Turk empires. After 680 the eastern Turks, subjugated by the Chinese, revolted and established the Second Turk Khaghanate. This was brought to an end in the 740s by a tribal confederation led by the Uighurs. The Uighurs, headed by an alliance ofthe Nine Oghuz (Tokhuz Oghuz) tribal union, quickly rose to become rulers of today's Mongolia and the eastern steppes. Uighur rule was in its tum broken in 840 by the Khirghiz. The focal point of the Uighurs was shifted to later Turkestan. Three smaller states were created, of which Turfan and Gansu rose to prominence. Khirghiz hegemony on the steppe was shattered by the arrival ofthe Khara-Khitai around 1112. The chancellery ofthe eastern territories ofthe First Turk Khaghanate was in Sogdian hands, and as an inscription from Bughut (between 572 and 580) attests, Sogdian language and writing were employed. A section of 6th-cen­ tury Sogdian coins and objects can be directly linked to the Turks. During the second half of the 7th century a new form of script using carving techniques spread across the entire steppe region. We will come back to the western, that is the Eastern European, versions later. The Turkic language replaced Sogdian during the Second Turk Khaghanate, and a runiform script created to meet the demands of the Turkic language was introduced in place of Sogdian writing. This writing quickly spread and became dominant throughout the eastern half of the steppe, although Sogdian writing and language were reverted to on occasions. At the end of the 10th century other forms of writing overshadowed the Turkic alphabet. The majority of Turkic runiform script is to be found in inscriptions carved into stone, but we also

The sources


know of texts being written on paper, scratched onto objects or engraved onto coins. We now know of nearly 300 objects displaying Turkic runiform inscriptions. These are usually divided into seven geographical groups: 1. the area around Lake Baikal and the River Lena; 2. the area around the River Yenisei; 3 . the area of the Republic of Mongolia; 4. the area around the Altai Mountains; 5. Eastem Turkestan and the Dunhuang caves; 6. Khirghizistan and Khazakhstan; 7. Ferghana, the Altai Mountains and North Tokharistan. Contrary to earlier opinions which believed that the inscriptions of groups 2 and 4 were the earliest, today we are certain that the oldest inscriptions come from group 3 . The monumental inscriptions of the Second Turk Khaghanate and the Uighur Khaghanate are to be found here. Some thirty inscriptions have been found on the territory of the Republic of Mongolia. Among them the most important (which can be dated) are: Inscriptions of the First Turk Khaghanate: 1 . Köli chor or Ihe Höshütü inscription 720-725 ; 2. Ongi inscription, 720 or 732; 3 . Ihe Ashete inscription, 724; 4. Minister Tonyukhukh inscription, 726; 5. Köl Tegin (prince) inscription, 732; 6. Bilge Khaghan inscription, 73 5 . Inscriptions of the Uighur Khaghanate: 1 . Taihir or Hoitu Tamir ten inscriptions, the seventh 735, the others between 744 and 756; 2. Tez II inscription, 750; 3 . Terh inscription, 753-754; 4. Moyin chor or Shine usu inscription, 759-760; 5. Sevrei sumun inscription, 763 ; 6. Kharabalghasun I inscription, 8 1 0 or 82 1 ; 7. Suj inscription, 840. Some of the other Mongolian inscriptions can only be dated far more generally, and in some cases they cannot yet be ascribed any date at all, but none can be later than the middle of the 9th century. The Köl Tegin and Bilge


Methodological introduction and the sources

Khaghan inscriptions are twin inscriptions containing partly identical texts, and are to be found standing by the River Orkhon, which is why these inscriptions, and indeed sometimes the whole group, are commonly called the Orkhon inscriptions. These inscriptions date from some two hundred years before the Magyar Conquest. They stand in the eastem part of the steppe where to the west the Magyars lived in close contact with the Turkic peoples. The majority of the inscriptions serve as memorials to the [-ns] > [-ne]). Kilenc 'nine' is the number 'outside' ten, (the number before ten), while harminc 'thirty' is equal to három t íz ' three tens'. Meanwhile, the numera! nyolc 'eight' has merely taken an analogical phonetic ending. lt seems likely that the order of numerals in today's Hungar­ ian may have taken its final shape at this time. At the same time, the emerging of voiced plosives (/b/, /g/ and /dl) in word initial position occurred solely in the Permian languages and Hungarian, while nasal consonants preceding other consonants disappeared, thus effecting the following changes in the Permian languages and Hungarian: Inti > !dl, /mp/ > /b/, /nk/ > /g/, and /nch/ > /j/. For example, the word agyar 'tusk' harks back to the form *onychara of the Finno-Ugric age. From this came the Ancient Permian *vojer (in today's Zyrian *vodzer, in Votyak vajer), and so too in Hungarian ojar, and thence to the modem form agyar, while the closest linguistic relatives, the Voguls,

The sources


have anjer , and the Ostyaks anzhar , thus preserving the nasal consonant. These mutations may of course have occurred entirely independently of each other, and also took place in other linguistic families. All the same, it does appear that, at least in this case, we are dealing with what amounts to a regional linguistic phenomenon, in other words a phenomenon which occurred simul­ taneously over a large area and among peoples speaking a variety oflanguages. This is known as an area! phenomenon. As we have indicated in the above, while in the Old Iranian period-i.e. between 800 BC and 300-200 BC-scarcely any lranian loan words can be found in Hungarian, at the same time some surprising signs point to increased Iranian contact with the speakers of the Ancient Permian languages. Indeed, the stock of lranian loan words in the Permian languages begins to swell considerably at this time. Speakers of the shared ancestral language of the Zyrians and Votyaks adopted about five times as many Old Iranian words as the ancestors of Ugrian language speakers did. This indicates that the Per­ mians came somewhere between the Hungarians' ancestors and the Iranians, or in other words, we must suppose an advance of the Iranian peoples which brought significant groups of Iranians into the vicinity of Permian language speakers, but which did not take them into the territories of Hungarians' ancestors. This much the language has to say as a historical source of information regarding the period at hand. The second half ofthe Ancient Hungarian period again saw increasingly significant contacts with the lranian peoples. This time also saw the beginning of Turkic-Hungarian communication. To make clear how this process can be conceived in terms of the history of the Hungarian language, we will use here a schematic model. ln the diagram, the letter C represents every possible consonant in the given language, while the letter V represents every possible vowel. The Greek letter gamma [y] represents a voiced spirant consonant, such as the Hungarian /hl pronounced as voiced. The Greek letter eta [11] symbolises the sound which we find on the end of the Hungarian words harang 'bell', borong 'be sorrowful/cloud over', and láng ' flame', where we pronounce a sound somewhere between /n/ and /n + g/, as opposed, say, to our word lángos 'a large, savoury fried doughnut', where the /n/ and the /g/ are pronounced separately. The raised v signifies that a vowel is more closed, i.e. an /o/ becoming /u/, or an /ö/ becoming /ü/, etc., at the same time being spoken shorter. This short, closed vowel has now disappeared from the end of words in Hungarian (for instance: hodu > had 'army/war').


Methodological introduction and the sources

Formation of guttural word finals in Hungarian Period Finno-Ugrian 0 Category I CVKVKV CVKVCV CV11VKV CV11VCV

Ancient Hungarian 2 3


> >

Old Middle Hungarian Hungarian 4 5


















Category II CVKV








CVh v











CVh v



Examples: 1. PFU *piikke > fiikke >fii� > fe:k i > fék 'halter' 2. PFU *pWJke > fWJge >fog! > fogi > fog- 'to grasp' 3. PFU *yoka > yogo > yog-' > yoh u >jó (in its farmer sense of 'river', e.g. in the latter part of the river names Sajó, Hejő) 4. PFU *piir]ii > fiige > fage > fah i > fej/fő 'head'/'main' These examples of course stand in for other words as well. Thus as far as the configuration of phonetic sounds within the word is concemed, the word mancha , which in the late Ancient Hungarian period became maja (and later magy of magyar 'Hungarian'), belongs under the second example. We can see, then, that two subperiods can be distinguished within Ancient Hungarian (see columns 2 and 3 of the above diagram), and one of these, the period numbered 2, we shall classify as early, while the other period, numbered 3, we shall classify as late Ancient Hungarian. We have observed that words adopted from both Middle Iranian and Old Turkic entered the language in the third period in the diagram, i.e. in the late Ancient Hungarian period. The fact that the Ancient Hungarian, Old Turkic and Middle Iranian periods are here revealed as contemporaneous should not bother anyone, since these chrono­ logical designations are connected to different periods within each language's history, and there would be no point, merely for the sake of consistency, in

The sources


altering designations which are already accepted in Hungarian, Turkic and Iranian linguistic science respectively. However, for the sake of easy compa­ rability, we have presented these periods in a table (see Figure 3 on p. 2 1). As the Iranian-derived word kincs 'treasure' and Turkic-derived kantár 'bridle' or kender 'hemp' demonstrate, these words entered the Hungarian language after the cluster /nch/ became /j/, and Inti became /d/. That is, ifthey had entered earlier they would have taken part in the above linguistic proc­ esses, and would be spelt in today's Hungarian as *ki}, *kadár and *keder, respectively. We have arrived, therefore, at the second, later phase of the Ancient Hungarian period (see the column marked 3 in the above diagram). We do not know precisely when it may have begun, but we have found that it was after Hungarian-Permian contacts began. From the Iranian point ofview, given that the Middle Iranian period began in the 2nd century BC, we can locate this period to after the 2nd century BC. From the Turkic point of view, meanwhile, the chronology of this time cannot yet be supported by written evidence, and thus we must briefly present here the set of linguistic tools which can help us to establish a Turkic linguistic chronology. We will retum afterwards to the question of precisely when Old Turkic borrowed words may have entered Hungarian. The question of an Altaic linguistic affini ty at this point is unavoidable. Certain scholars believe that the Turkic languages make up one branch of the Altaic family oflanguages. According to this view, the Turkic language began an independent life of its own having split from the other Altaic languages. The Altaic family also contains, besides the Turkic languages, the Mongolian and Manchu-Tunguzian linguistic subfamilies. Renewed attempts have been made to include Korean and Japanese in the sphere oflanguages with an Altaie linguistic affinity, but such theories, although proclaimed loudly, are still only at a very elementary stage. Various arguments supporting relationships within the Altaic linguistic family tend to collide with hard historical facts. It is indisputable that there is a great deal of early regular correspondence between the Turkic, the Mongolian and the Manchu-Tunguzian languages. The question, however, is to what can these correspondences be attributed? After all, the fact of their antiquity and regular correspondence remains valid whether these languages are actually related, or whether the correspondences are merely the consequence of early contacts among the respective peoples. Let us examine two examples. ln the Turkic family, the word meaning 'ox' is spoken in most languages as ök üz, or some standard linguistic variant of this. However, in Chuvash, the minor language spoken in the vicinity ofthe River Volga, we find a form of the word derived from the earlier form of ökür . Meanwhile, among names given to various peoples, the name Oghuz was used simultaneously


Methodological introduction and the sources

with the name Oghur, in other words in one group of the Turkic languages the word ended in /z/, while in the other it ended in /r/. On this evidence, it has become the custom to refer to the Turkic languages either as z-Turkic, Oghuz or common Turkic ; or r-Turkic, Oghur, or sometimes Chuvash or Bulghar­ Turkic. ln addition, we find the farm üker in Mongolian (or hüker in Middle Mongolian). Two explanations are possible. On the one hand, we begin with the view that the /r/ is the original final of these words, which opens up two possible chains of development. The first is that the farm ökür is an ancient Altaic farm, which became üker in Mongolian and ökür in Turkic, the latter then changing from ökür to öküz in the majority ofTurkic languages. It is also conceivable that ökür is the ancient Turkic farm, which was then borrowed by Mongolian. The second explanation is that the öküz farm is the elder of the two. ln this case, however, only one chain ofdevelopment is possible, namely that Mongolian (and Hungarian) borrowed this word from a Turkic language in which the /z/ > /r/ transfarmation had already taken place. Thus, there are in fact a total of three possible explanations: Altaic r

Turkic r Mongolian r



Turkic z Turkic r


Turkic r ➔ Mongolian r

1� Turkic r

Turkic z


Turkic z > Turkic r ➔ Mongolian r



Turkic z Turkic r

Debate over this question has been raging far almost one hundred years, during which time a great deal of minor details have been clarified. It would appear that in recent times explanation Ili has finally proven most able to withstand the criticisms of general linguistics and language history. Debate only seems to revolve around whether the /z/ or the /r/ is the original. This is to say that in Turkic there exists another /r/, faund, far example, in such common Turkic words as kara 'black' or er 'man'. These words contain an /r/, and nowhere a /z/, in all Turkic languages. The argument is thus based around what the original state of the language was: whether it was when the /z/:/r/ phonemic opposition existed; or if it was when there was only an /r/, which in certain words subsequently became a /z/, and in others remained an /r/. Although researchers have attempted to avoid answering this question by postulating the existence of two kinds of/r/, there is no evidence or likelihood of this, nor any parallel in other languages. At the same time, from a meth­ odological point of view this is irrelevant, since if the original oppositions of two types of/r/ had disappeared in the Oghur or Chuvash languages, this would

Tlze sources


still mean that this was a secondary, or later change, since an originally existing opposition would have ceased to exist. According to this view, then, there originally existed a /z/:/r/ phonemic opposition in the Turkic languages, which disappeared from the Oghur sub­ group of Turkic languages. It was subsequent to this process that the Mon­ golians, and later the Hungarians began to borrow words from this language. We must therefore attempt to determine exactly when this /z/:/r/ dichotomy disappeared from the Oghur languages. A suitable example to help us here may be the Turkic word for 'stirrup'. The stirrup is not a particularly ancient innovation, and however inconceivable it may seem, neither the Romans nor the Huns were familiar with them. The stirrup was originally a simple loop of leather, which merely helped the rider climb onto the horse's back. However, once horsemen began to use such loops on both flanks of the horse, cavalry warfare was revolutionised, as it thus enabled the rider to rise up in the saddle and tum around to fire arrows at his pursuers. Leather loops were soon replaced by metal stirrups which at first imitated the shape of the leather loops. This made combat still easier for the horseman, facilitating the use of the sword and lance. The appearance of stirrups can be dated relatively accurately. A number of examples of metal stirrups have been found in Eastem Asia dating from the 3rd century AD, and they can be seen both in Chinese il­ lustrations and graves from this time onward. They were introduced into Europe by the Avars. We must, however, take into consideration that the antecedent of the metal stirrup, the leather stirrup, may have preceded the metal version by several hundred years. Weighing up the entire body of data, we cannot date the appearance of the stirrup to earlier than a few centuries before the birth of Christ. The stirrup has the same name in every language of the Turkic family, but with an /r/ in accordance with the rules of r-Turkic, and with a /z/ in z-Turkic (taking the respective forms ofirenge, and izenge or üzengü). On the one hand, this means that the branching off of the various Turkic languages occurred after the appearance of the stirrup, and on the other hand it indicates that the much-debated phonetic change may also have occurred only after the appear­ ance ofthe stirrup, i.e. in the last centuries BC, since the word meaning stirrup was involved in this process of change. We can of course no longer posit the existence of a still uniform Altaic proto-language at this time. Consequently, explanation I can be ruled out for historical reasons. From a historical aspect, explanations II and III would also mean that the Chuvash- or Oghur-type languages evolved in the centuries before Christ. At the same time, as we have seen above, out of general linguistic considerations, we must assume that the /z/:/r/ dichotomy disappeared from the Oghur languages. This chronology is


Metlwdological introduction and the sources

supported by other data. Thus the earliest Turkic loan words in the Samoyed language must have entered the then still uniform common Samoyedic before the separation of the Samoyedic languages, in other words in the centuries around the birth of Christ. Among these there are words which already bear the r-Turkic form. lt was at this time that the bulk ofr-Turkic forms may also have entered the Mongolian language. This view is also supported by the existence of early Tocharian loan words in the Turkic language, around which a lively debate has flared up ín recent times. All this must be clarified because the overwhelming majority ofloan words which entered the Hungarian language in the Ancient Hungarian period were of r-Turkic or Chuvash-type Turkic origin. Moreover, this could only have happened after the Oghur-type languages had separated from the other Turkic languages, around or shortly after the birth of Christ. This thus serves to confirm two independent linguistic sources, namely the words adopted from the Middle Iranian and Chuvash-type Old Turkic, which may both have entered the Hungarian language only ín the early centuries after Christ's birth, or ín terms of the history of the Hungarian language, during the later Ancient Hungarian period. ln this way, we have of course merely obtained a date after which (post quem) contacts may have been established. We must further look into the question ofwhether linguistic data can be isolated which might indicate when and where the Hungarian language adopted these words. The current convention is to differentiate between the following Middle Iranian languages: ( 1) Western Middle Iranian or Middle Persian (southwest­ ern) and Parthian (northwestern); (2) Eastem Middle Iranian, including Khotanese Saka, Bactrian, Sogdian, Khwarezmian and Alanian. With the exception ofAlanian, we know ofself-penned texts in each ofthese languages. The last three have significance as far as the history ofthe Hungarian language is concemed. Of these, a particularly important role is played by the Alanian language, of which several dialects may have existed. The Jász (Jazygian) people who migrated to Hungary spoke one dialect of the Alanian language, and continued to speak it even as late as the 15th century, as we can see from a Hungarian Jász glossary. At the same time, a very close relatíve is the Caucasian language of the Ossets, of which the two main dialects are Iron and Digor. A very helpful contribution to the historical investigation of the conquering Hungarians is provided by the words borrowed from Turkic, which, as has long been recognised by Hungarian scholarship, have done much to assist the exploration of details and major interrelationships. With regard to the Turkic loan words in the Hungarian language, the question to ask is how much can

The sources


these help to determine where and for how long the Hungarians dwelt prior to the Conquest, what was the nature oftheir social and political structure and culture, with which Turkic peoples did they come into contact, and what kind of conditions did they find in the Carpathian Basin. The Turkic words in the Hungarian language are usually divided into three main groups: words adopted before the Conquest, those borrowed from immigrants following the Conquest, and those taken from Ottoman Turkish. Words which entered the language during the Turkish occupation ( 16th-17th centuries) we may set aside here, as they do not help to clarify questions relating to the conquering Hungarians. The languages of the Cuman, Pecheneg and Uzian groups which migrated to Hungary are of greater interest. On the one hand, they are important sources regarding the language of the Turkic peoples who lived east of the Carpathians, while on the other hand knowledge of them may be essential in singling out the borrowed words of the pre-Con­ quest period. ln many cases, unfortunately, there are no criteria that reveal whether a Turkic loan word belongs to the first or the second period. ln the case of the words borrowed from Turkic before the Conquest, chronological queries also arise: such as when did Turkic-Hungarian contacts begin, what periods can we divide this era into, where the adoption of words might have occurred, whether we can isolate the language of the Turkic groups which attached themselves to the Hungarians or not, and if it can be successfully determined whether a Turkic language was spoken in the Carpathian Basin at the time of the Conquest. Linguistic criteria can be divided into three principal groups. The first group contains criteria which unequivocally point to a Chuvash-type language. ln the second category, we may include criteria which point only indirectly to Chuvash origin. There are characteristic features which occur in some words alongside unequivocal Chuvash criteria, thus indirectly indicating a Chuvash type, but which of themselves are typical not only of the Chuvash language, but of other Turkic languages as well. Finally, the third group includes those words which, while displaying none of the above criteria, nevertheless possess chronological criteria which unequivocally show that they cannot be Turkic loan words adopted after the Conquest, or which in terms of linguistic geography are so widespread among the Turkic languages as to make it probable that they were adopted from a Turkic language of Chuvash type. There are currently around 450 borrowed words belonging to the pre-Con­ quest or pre-Ottoman categories. These 450 words are of course not of equal value as far as the reliability oftheir etymology is concemed. We shall mention here only those words of a certain or very probable Turkic origin, which also assist us in our historical reconstruction.


Methodological introduction and the sources

Unequivocal Chuvash criteria can be found in the following types ofwords: 1. Where in common Turkic there is a /z/, we find an /r/ in Hungarian: borjú 'calf' < burgu, f- *buragu, cf. Eastem Old Turkic (abbreviated henceforward as: EOT) buzagu, (/rj/ < /rg/ being a Hungarian change). 2. Where in common Turkic there is an /sh/, we find an /1/ in Hungarian: kölyök 'kid', 'young animal' < kölek, f- *kölek, cf. EOT köshek (/ly/ < /1/ being a Hungarian change). 3. Where in common Turkic there is an /s/ before an /i/, we find an /sh/ in Hungarian: serke /sherke/ 'nit' < sirke f- *sirke, cf. EOT sirke. 4. Where in common Turkic there is an /s/ located before a long /á/, we find an /sh/ in Hungarian: sár /shar/ 'mud' < *siar f- *siar < *sar, cf. EOT sáz. 5. Where in common Turkic there is a /y/, we find an /s/ in Hungarian: szél /sél/ 'wind' f- sél, cf. EOT yél. 6. Where in common Turkic there is a /ki at the end ofa word, this is dropped in Hungarian: gyűr ű 'ring' B&f±D19PJ±f>J001i -i

H�,t�o �

�}>� •:�'01 JA






4\ p 11

1 12


s Figure 20 Inscriptions of the Nagyszentmiklós treasure I ( 1-6)

The sources



) ��q


Et)1 >1







tí� .-to


Figure 2 1 Inscriptions of the Nagyszentmiklós treasure 11 (7- 14) and the tent ( 15)

6. .ff �

. �1{9' ������--








�JJ»'W�,�i€iif� ��1

______ 8V1 J )\/\>'j� \l\'> M �� �') \ 'Í2] \ xvz � ) J �, 1 YYW' )\ %>1 � 52 .51 � /(/ 'le l(f "' ., �� 1i3



U ltf '10 31 38 YI' ;J& :,S 3'1 J3


�őD l. »�>1 ' i V1 >� ')l/1>�') l 1 J

?>:· )··�(·-�

· .� . ,. , .,· , ·._ - .





1X Q 1





2S '°1


25 2�





ó1 'D 31 t ) l ' I � ) 1

Figure 22 lnscriptions of the four sides of the Szarvas needle-case and their reconstruction




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:.:, ;: :::..

;::; �

The sources


to that of the runiform inscription revealed in the other important find of the period, the treasure of Nagyszentmiklós. During a fresh examination of the earlier find material, it emerged that runiform inscriptions can be found on other needle-cases and various other objects. The late Avar period cemetery of Szarvas which gave us the bone case also produced another inscription on a belt-end. The treasure of Nagyszentmiklós is a gold hoard of 23 buried objects, whose age and origin have remained uncertain since its discovery in 1799. The objects originate from a variety of periods, and several objects have cop­ ies in the hoard. The treasure includes a Greek-language inscription in Greek characters, as well as a non-Greek inscription using Greek letters, and a number of runiform inscriptions. Among the runiform inscriptions, there are a number which occur several times. A total of 14 types of inscription can be distinguished, together with a sketch depicting nomadic tents. One particular inscription appears five times, while two others each feature twice. Based on analogies with the above-mentioned bone needle-case inscription of Szarvas, whose date of origin can be established comparatively accurately, we are now able to date the inscriptions from the Nagyszentmiklós hoard to the second half of the 8th century. The most recent survey of the treasure has succeeded in establishing not only the chronological relationship between the individual objects, but also the phases of alteration carried out on these same objects. Perhaps the most important finding is that the inscriptions were scratched onto the objects at a comparatively late date, while the clasps to be found on a number of the objects, which would have enabled them to be suspended from a belt, are also of later origin, as indeed are the handles of several drinking vessels. Distinc­ tions have been made between the earlier and later attachment of such clasps. The craftsman who carried out the attachment of clasps paid no regard to the sole engraved inscription to be found among the objects. A cross also appears on one of the objects, and in this we have been able to distinguish the various phases of the treasure's transformation. However, in some cases it can be proved that the object and its inscription are of the same age. Those inscrip­ tions which are repeated on several occasions are also contemporaneous. ln any event, the history of the treasure includes a "Christian" phase, a "runi­ form" phase, and a third phase during which alterations were made to the objects so that they could be hung from belts. From the non-Greek-language inscription which uses Greek letters, two names and titles can clearly be read: Buyla zoapan and Butaul zoapan. The title of zoapan is written unusually, on one occasion with an Omega, and on the other with an Omikron. The two personal names are without doubt Turkic, but the language of the inscription, as with the language of the runiform

1 32

Methodological introduction and the sou rces


1 cm

Figure 23 Hair pin, Przemysl

inscriptions, has so far not been satisfactorily deciphered. 1t is very probable that they are in a Turkic language, but the inscriptions are too short, and we have no bilingual inscriptions at our disposal. For this reason, attempts to decipher the inscriptions have so far proved inconclusive. Much is certain, however, that both the Szarvas and the Nagyszentmiklós inscriptions were written in the language of one ofthe peoples ofthe late Avar period, and that this people employed a form ofwriting that did not use Roman characters. lt was a writing used by a people whose local leaders had Turkic names and bore Slavic titles. This constitutes a substantial step forward as regards the identi­ fication of the peoples of the late Avar period. The runiform inscriptions, in respect of type, belong to the family of Eastem European runiform writing. Archaeological finds containing Eastem European runiform writings have multiplied considerably over recent decades. These finds can be divided into the following geographical groups: ( 1) the Northem Caucasus and River Ku­ ban region; (2) the territory of the Volga and Don rivers; (3) the region of Dobruja; (4) Eastern Bulgharia; and (5) the Carpathian Basin. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of over one hundred inscriptions have not been reliably published. All are very short, and we know of only two inscriptions longer than that on the Szarvas needle-case, and even these contain only a few characters more (Elista, Mayak), while there exist no inscriptions in two lan­ guages. lt is certain that we are dealing here with several local variants of one script, and it is a striking fact that this alphabet appeared in the land ofthe Khazars and the Onoghur-Bulghars. Not long ago in Siberia, where Eastern Turkic inscriptions can be found, three inscriptions were discovered which are not a part of the already deciphered and well-known body of Eastern Turkic inscriptions, but which belong to the above-mentioned Eastern European type ofwriting. These writings are important from several aspects with regard to the conquering Magyars. On the one hand, the greater part of finds have come to

The sources


light in territories which had, or may have had, some connection with the conquering Magyars. On the other hand, to this day the origin of runiform inscriptions found in the Székely region (of eastem Transylvania) has re­ mained unresolved (see Chapter XVI for details). A significant breakthrough was the discovery of a runiform inscription from the Conquest period on a bone-covered quiver opening that emerged from excavations at Homokmégy­ Halom near Kalocsa (southem Hungary), which added a new link to the chain of inquiry. ln Hungarian, both the verb ír 'write' and the noun betű 'letter (of the alphabet)' are of Turkic origin, and it is just possible that the Magyars adopted this version ofruniform writing in Turkic, probably Onoghur-Khazar, surroundings, just as they did the majority ofthe borrowed words. The Székely runiform script, however, contains characters of Greek origin as communi­ cated through Slavic, and we are now better able to explain the problem of its origin in the light of new archaeological finds (see Chapter XV I). The rich supply of archaeological material from the late Avar period gradually began to dry up in the 9th century as it became mixed with Slavic and Frankish material. lt appears, however, that at least in certain regions, a localised archaeological culture of the closing part of the Avar period became established for a short time, and lived to see in the Magyar conquerors. One typical feature ofthis culture was the secondary utilisation of objects from the late Avar period, as can also be observed in a number of graves from the Conquest period. We must probably reckon on the presence of Slavic peoples as early as the beginnings of the Avar Empire. Still, the task ofisolating archaeological finds pertaining to the Slavs meets with not inconsiderable difficulties. The gener­ ally held view is that, as opposed to the Avars' skeletal form of burial, the cremation of the dead and subsequent burial of ashes in ums is indicative of a Slavic-type settlement. This form of burial, however, by its nature leaves little trace, and thus the smaller number of finds and paucity of grave goods may actually be a consequence of this particular burial practice. A separate chapter should be devoted to the excavations carried out in Zalavár (at the southwest end of Lake Balaton in western Hungary) and its environs. The castle complex found here survived to see the Magyar Conquest, and saw further extensions during the era of Árp ád. lts foundations were in all probability laid for Pribina between 840 and the consecration ofthe church in 850. Debate is constantly raging regarding the attachment to a particular ethnic group of those who lived around Zalavár and the objects which they left behind. Historically speaking, the presence of both southem and northem (Moravian) elements can be expected. ln any event, the majority of this population were among those who settled in around the year 840, and their range of influence certainly cannot have been as great as that of other Slavic


Methodological introduction and the sources

groups which by then were undoubtedly common elsewhere in the Carpathian Basin. More or less simultaneously with the Conquest came the appearance of a culture which came to be known as the culture of Biyelo-Brdo, after a settle­ ment in the old county of Verőce beside the River Danube. Common among the finds from this location are S-ended hair bands, while the burial customs are of several types. Grave goods, however, are very meagre indeed. Pre­ viously the entire culture had been regarded as a legacy of the Slavs, but is now thought of as comprising the burial sites of common Magyars. Following all these archaeological antecedents, the Magyars appeared, leaving behind them an entirely characteristic, easily distinguishable archae­ ological legacy. Archaeological evidence of the conquering Magyars does not cease immediately upon the founding ofthe state of Saint Stephen, and graves from as late as the 6th and 7th decades of the 11th century have been excavated which, although dated by coins from the age of Árpád, preserve in one way or another the characteristics of archaeological finds of the Conquest period. From this time on, however, this type ofburial site rapidly disappeared, giving way everywhere to the practice of Christian burial without grave goods. These graves thus contain material evidence from a period of some 180 years in length. It is worthwhile making special mention of the graves of marauding Magyars, or at least those with coins looted, acquired or received during the period of the Magyar raids on Western Europe. At the same time, it is sur­ prising that practically no foreign objects have been found in these graves. Metal articles were in all probability melted down. What, then, are the historical questions which are answered, or might be answered by this rich and thoroughly processed body of archaeological data from the Conquest period? First of all, let us emphasise that the archaeological material reflects the situation at a given time. Although this situation carries traces of its historical antecedents, we cannot expect too much from this. While it is true that burial customs and concepts of the afterlife are very durable, and may remain unchanged for a long time, they nevertheless do go through surprisingly rapid change on occasions, and such changes are not always motivated by historical or ethnic transformations. For instance, as was stressed above, it would be a mistake to assume that the ethnic origin of the population of Budapest could be determined from the proliferation of burials by cremation here, as coincid­ ing with the presence of Soviet troops. Similarly, it would be a mistake to conclude from a rapid increase in the wearing ofjeans that a significant influx of Americans has occurred. Customs and dress are characteristics of an ethnic group, but only in the context of the prevalent environment. We can see the

The sources


signs of a surprisingly uniform culture on the steppes of the 9th and 10th centuries, which nevertheless has rapidly changing elements at the local level. At the same time, military expeditions, merchants and prisoners of war both imported and exported objects, ideas, fashions and technical developments. The archaeological excavator, no matter how rich the material, is at the mercy of chance. For this reason, periodic efforts among archaeologists to make ethnic-based differentiations between each object, phenomenon or even group ofphenomena from the Conquest period (e.g. the Khavars) have so far proved unsuccessful. The Conquest period graves of course speak volumes to an expert in the field. They reveal to what degree the leading strata of society were isolated from the simple, common people. The exceptionally rich graves (such as at Kenézlő, Geszteréd, Rakamaz and Karos), which are usually known as princely, chieftains' or tribal leaders' graves, can in some cases be easily dated precisely because of their opulence. Wherever dating was possible, archae­ ologists have been able to establish that the graves originate from the first half ofthe 10th century. From these it is possible, to a certain extent, to isolate the archaeological material of typical Conquest period military escorts, and that of independent clan leaders and members. Finally, the remains of common people, who lived a life of servitude and bore the hardships of everyday work, can also be found among the graves. Social standing was probably indicated by objects other than those which designated military rank. Objects distinguishing rank mainly included belts, harnesses, sabretaches, sabres, bow holders and quivers. Belts had a special role for men. ln the Turkic language, the word meaning 'belt' and the word meaning 'rank' or 'social status' are identical (kur). The Turkic polymath and lexicographer Khashghari, who was almost a contem­ porary of the Magyar Conquest, wrote around 1074 that the sentence meaning "my belt is large" (mening kurim ulug) also means "l have a high rank". ln the similarly Old Turkic Khutadghu bilig (Wisdom of Royal Glory) written in 1069 in the mirror-for-princes style, we read the phrase: "do not allow the small-belted ones to mix with the large", in other words, do not let those of low rank mingle with those ofhigh rank; while the expression "he has the belt of a beg" (bu beglik kuri) means that the person in question holds the rank of a beg. The Old Turkic word kurdash-literally 'belt-mate'-means 'one of identical rank, belonging to the same social stratum'. ln Mongolian, one way of describing a woman is 'beltless', as opposed to the belted men. The conquering Magyars wore embossed belts cast of silver (see Plates Vl-VII), which in the case of those of common rank were unornamented and held together with an iron clasp. Each belt had a clasp, and a number ofob­ jects would have been suspended from the strap, including a sabre, bow

1 36

Methodological introduction and the sources

holder, quiver and sabretache (see Plates VIII/ 1-4, IX). The sabretache was closed with a small slat of bone and attached to the belt with an embossed hook. Besides belt accessories, the sabretaches are the most characteristic finds from the graves of the Conquest period. They were strengthened with metal plates, generally of silver. At the side of each bag, a strap was threaded through, and both this strap and that which attached the bag to the belt were decorated with mountings. The sabretache, which fulfilled the function of a pocket, would have held fire-making tools : flint, steel and tinderbox (see Plates X/1-2, XI/ 1-2, XII, XIII, XIV and XV). A slightly curved-bladed sabre is typical of the graves of the early conquer­ ors, while later graves see the appearance of double-edged straight swords, interestingly enough often found in commoners ' cemeteries. The thoroughly­ finished reflex bows were reinforced with plates of hom, and often had braces fashioned from stag antler. Battle hatchets and lances, meanwhile, are surpris­ ingly rare. Hamesses can be well reconstructed from the finds of the Conquest period graves, as can saddles (see Plate XVI) and stirrups. The typical, but not ex­ clusive, form of the latter was a pear shape. Several methods of suspending the stirrups have also been demonstrated. Based on the objects unearthed from female graves, a good picture of the clothing and jewellery of the conquering Magyars ' women can be obtained. They certainly wore head-dresses and hair adomments, mostly decorations braided into the hair, and earrings. Their clothes were omamented with metal pendants, and they wore necklaces and bracelets. Their dresses opened in the middle and reached to the knee, and were adomed with collar decorations, and various other embossed embellishments and buttons sewn on. The omamentation of objects of the Conquest period is very varied indeed, but the main characteristic feature is a stylised flower consisting of 3-5 petals, where the edges ofthe leaves are shaded with grooves. The leaves, leaf-stems and creepers which join them together, often intertwining in a complicated pattem, cover the whole surface of a given object. This style of omamentation is typical of the archaeological relics of the Magyars. Among the depictions of animals is often found a creature with the body of a horse, and the head and tail of a griffin, and sometimes heavily stylised portrayals of predatory birds or other animals. Clearly, in the years following the Conquest, great value was attached to the various craftsmen, some of whom may have come in with the conquering Magyars, or might have moved in at the Magyars ' invitation, but of whom the majority were obviously locals, joining up with the Magyar people in the hope of protection and accommodation, and striving hard to fulfil their masters '


The sources

3 -----


� ...--1 A

1 1 ----��

a ------ 2


!------- 1 ------ 9


.....�1------- 3


6 8


tt-• 2


5 -----,� 6 ..




fr+'"""°"------ 3 ------ 7


. ,·, :


'. ------ 6 . 4

: :

J •;---------1 0

···.\ e

U---1 3

·· .:::: • . , . . · . . . .. . .. . . : •

Figure 24 Drawing of a Conquest-period grave. Mindszent (Csongrád county, Hun­ gary}-Koszorúdűlő, Grave 2

Figure 25 Drawing of a Conquest-period grave. Kenézlő (Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county, Hungary}-Farkaszug, Cem­ etery I, Grave 1 1

The reconstructed objects and grave goods of a mounted archer: (A) saddle under his head: ( 1 ) pair of stirrups, (2) snaffie, (3) twenty-one silver plates decorating the har­ ness or the saddle cover; (B) relaxed bow: ( 4) bone plates covering the nocks and (5) the grip; (C) arrow quiver: (6) two arrowheads, (7) bone plates enframing the quiver opening, (8) remains of the iron straps of the quiver, (9) iron braces supporting the quiver, ( 1 0) quiver's locket; other: ( 1 1 ) belt buckle, ( 1 2) horse skull and leg bones. ( B ased on Csallány.)

Reconstructed objects and grave goods of a mounted archer with a harness decorated with coins: (A) arrow-quiver placed over the left thigh : ( 1 ) locket, (2) cover plates of quiver mouth with 8 arrowheads, (3) lockets of quiver, (4) nails of the quiver bottom; (B) saddle placed on the thighs: (5) snaffie for a foal, (6) pair of stirrups, (7) strap buckle, (8) sixteen perforated Italian silver coins from the rule of Berengar I (888-9 1 5) and the joint rule of Hugo of Provence and Lothar 11 (93 1 -945) fixed to the straps of the harness, (9) the dislocated seventeenth coin; (C) bow quiver: ( 1 0) cover plate of quiver mouth, ( 1 1 ) plait ring, ( 1 2) mounts ofthe belt, ( 1 3 ) dislo­ cated buckle and locket, ( 1 4) horse skull and leg bones . (Based on A. Jósa.)


Methodological introduction and the sources

demands. Metallurgy must have been continuously practised even following the Conquest, while potters manufacturing earthenware vessels were also important craftsmen. Evidence of these is well documented by archaeological excavations. Among the body of ceramic objects of a rich variety of forms, the suspendable clay pots are particularly conspicuous. The grave pits were of west-east orientation and of a rounded rectangular shape, the deceased placed within with face and legs pointing toward the east. With regard to the orientation of both graves and tents, the steppe can be divided into two large regions. Southern orientation is typical of the eastern half of the steppe, and is observed at the sites of the Mongolians and their neighbours. Eastern orientation, on the other hand, while known at the sites of every nomadic Turkic people, is also found among the burial customs of other peoples. The bodies were placed on their backs and in an elongated position in these graves. Among the graves of those ofhigher rank, two forms of horse burial were discovered. The more common form saw the butchered horse flayed, with the skin and still intact head and limbs placed in the grave, very often alongside the legs of the deceased. More rare were burials of stuffed horse skin. From the bones it can be ascertained that the deceased person 's favourite steed was buried (and not an old nag or-perhaps because of its meat-young horse), on rare occa­ sions alongside women and children. We have already discussed the shrouds. It is not a characteristic of the graves of the Magyar conquerors that items of food or drink were given for the long journey into the next world. Besides independently-lying, single-occupant graves, there also exist burial sites of small groups ( clans or extended families), or of larger communities. There is some doubt as to how much the layout of cemeteries reflected the order of rank in society. lt is possible that once the head of a clan had been buried, the other members of the clan would then be buried one after the other in a row beside him, but it is also conceivable that in the centre of such a row-like cemetery arrangement, a place was left free for the senior members of the clan. However, besides examples which suggest this s cheme, there are numerous other cemeteries where no burial according to an "order of rank" is discernible. The archaeological finds of the Conquest period, as we have seen, are primary sources of data regarding the material culture of the conquering Magyars, while also indirectly helping us reconstruct their society and system of beliefs. The fact that this archaeological culture came to an end in the 11 th century, giving way to an entirely different system ofburial, does not of course mean that a new people moved into the Carpathian Basin at this time. The new-style cemeteries which grew up around the churches were the reflection of a fundamental transformation in society.

Tlze sources


We have observed the failure of an attempt to trace back the body of Hungarian archaeological finds, themselves well defined, in a direction op­ posed to the westward advance of the Magyar people. Given that from the point of view of ethnic identity the archaeological findings are of no use prior to the Conquest (the material from the region of the Karna proving an exception), we may make use of this archaeological material as a source of information with regard to the early history of the Magyars in two other ways. As we shall see from an examination of the various names given to the Magyars, it is possible to determine the identity of the Magyars' neighbours before the Conquest of the final homeland. For this reason, the archaeology of the Eastern Europe of the 6th-9th centuries is also significant, even if we are unable here to directly pinpoint Magyar groups. On the one hand, the archaeological relics of the Onoghur-Bulghars, Khazars and Slavs assist in the reconstruction of the history of these peoples, and thus indirectly the history ofthe Magyars. On the other, they may serve to indicate the generally prevailing level of economic activity, technological development and culture, which may be expanded more broadly to apply also to the Magyars. An important place among these archaeological cultures is occupied by the so-called Saltovo-Mayak culture, whose beginning can be traced to the middle of the 8th century, and conclusion to the end of the 9th and early 10th centuries. By now three variants of this culture have been distinguished, a northern, a southern and an eastern territory, of which the southern territory is usually attached to the Onoghurs, and the eastern to the Khazars. It cannot yet be proven that the northern territory is connected to the Alanians (see pp. 200-203). The Saltovo-Mayak culture, or cultures, indicate(s) an intensely agricul­ tural, livestock-breeding, semi-nomadic economic system. ln other words, a system such as that reflected in the Turkic loan words to be found in the Hungarian language. Very intensive excavations are in progress over the territories of today's Finno-Ugrian peoples, and in many cases these have helped to successfully trace back in archaeological terms the continuous history of peoples living in those regions today. Unfortunately, however, local archaeologists in this region are not entirely without certain prejudices, making the evaluation of local data somewhat more difficult. The identification of one archaeological culture or another with the "Ugrians" or with the "Permians" is generally backed up by linguistic arguments and local, autochthonous theories, but these have little real archaeological hasis. Despite all this, it is worthwhile paying attention to those archaeological cultures which in both space and time are genuinely close to locations and


Methodological introduction and the sources

Variants of tha Saltovo-Mayak cultura A. Uppar Don ragion B. Lowar Don ragion C. North Caucasian variant D. Dagastan variant E. Crimaan variant F. Unaxplored steppe variant G. Danube-Balkan variant

East Slav archaeological cultures Romni-Borshevo culture Kurghan grave sites of the Polyans in the 1 0th-1 2th centu ries Luka culture

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Semender Balanjar Derbent Etil Sharkel Karch (Tamatarhan) Kherson Kiev Chernigov

Figure 26 The Saltovo-Mayak culture, the neighbouring archaeological cultures and the possible location of major towns periods deduced through other sources. Here, however, archaeology is not a source of information about ethnic history, but at the very best leaves behind an imprint of the various economic, technological and social transformations in the region.

6. ETHNOGRAPHIC SOU RCES Prior to the middle of the 20th century in Hungary, the focus of cultural anthropology or ethnography was peasant culture. However, from the second half of the century onwards the outlook broadened and began to look at the human cultural aspects and questions regarding cultural consolidation. lt was

The sources

14 1

long believed that archaic cultural aspects could be of aid in creating a re­ construction of the conquering Magyars' culture. This method was used to examine the so-called double-yard settlement system which was in use on the Great Hungarian Plain and its peripheries, whereby the stock-farmer peasant had an inner piece of land, where he lived, and an outer one, where he kept his animals. However, the earlier theory that this settlement system carried traces of a pre-Conquest nomadic settlement form has been dismissed. It has also been suggested that ofthe two com-winning techniques, treading-out was used prior to the Conquest, while the knowledge ofthreshing was acquired in the Carpathian Basin. This was also refuted later. Other theories have conjec­ tured that the domestic family arrangement, whereby several generations live together in 'extendedfamilies ' or clans, a form that has survived-particularly in Northem Hungary-to the 20th century, was derived from the conquering Magyars. But even this was found to be incorrect, as it transpired that it originated from after the Turkish occupation of Hungary, when it developed as a tax avoidance measure. Neither did the opinion that the Magyars' belief in wizardry and witchcraft contained traces of Shamanism stand up to scien­ tific scrutiny. It can, therefore, generally be said that these ethnographic char­ acteristics, which were indeed archaic by the 19th century, developed after the Conquest, and neither the comparative studies nor the careful examination of historical data could yield any evidence that they had existed prior to that. lt is possible though that the unique duality of Hungarian viniculture preceded the Conquest. ln the 19th century, viniculture in the northeastem wine district and the Transdanubian region was still considerably different. Certain aspects of Transdanubian vine-growing, such as the tools used, can be traced back to Roman times. It was this, as well as certain techniques used in the northem region ofthe Black Sea, such as the use ofhuman wine-pressers to obtain the pressure (as opposed to the use of mechanical pressers), that gave rise to the theory that the Tokaj region's viniculture, in Northeastem Hungary was of Oriental origin and came with the Hungarians into the Carpathian Basin. The key reasoning behind this was based on the vinicultural loan words in use, and the fact that the name Tokaj is of Turkic origin. The fact is, however, that the original name of the hill was Kopaszhegy (Bald Hi fi), and was only later named Tokaj after the name of the nearby village. However, it is disputed where the name Tokaj, first mentioned in 1333, had come from. It is possible that we are looking at the derivation of a Turkic word referring to the shrubs that grow on the shallows of river bends. But even if that is the case, it has very little to do with viniculture. Since the publication of the research work of Béla Bartók, ethnographers have been examining the oldest forms ofHungarian folk music. One such form is characterised by the use of the /a-pentatonic scale which lacks semitones,


Methodological introduction and the sources

and of a melodic scheme in which the second half of the melody repeats the first half at a fifth below. It was believed for some time that the similarities between Cheremis melody pattems and this pentatonic fifth-sh ifted' melodic structure were the key to the origins of Hungarian folk music. However, detailed studies and further local field research have shown that the Cheremis melodies in question are not necessarily as old as was earlier suggested and that they developed at the confluence of the Cheremis and Chuvash language territories. Although this claim refutes that common features survived in two distant regions-which would suggest a cultural link in the genetic sense-it nevertheless indicates an interesting typological parallel, namely that a unique melodic form like this could develop on the border ofTurkic and Finno-Ugrian folk music regions. lt is with the examination of this typological parallel that ethnography can contribute most to the research ofthe origins ofthe conquering Magyars. But before we examine this in depth, there is one other connection to be mentioned. The folklore, beliefs and myths of the Ob-Ugrian people have been well documented since the 19th century. It became clear that the horse and the horseman play an important role in the life of the Ob-Ugrian people. Yet the horse has no importance in contemporary domestic arrangements in these areas, and is equally insignificant in the folklore of the peoples of the taiga belt. This would indicate that one component ofthe people moved from further south, from the greener steppe where an equestrian life style was predominant. U grian horse-breeding, however, has a bearing on the formation ofthe Magyar people. Therefore, this connection can be used, albeit with much caution, to reconstruct the Ob-Ugrian and indirectly the Ugrian people's history. Ethnography can contribute considerably to the understanding ofthe char­ acteristics and development of the nomadic life style. Although these analo­ gies cannot be used in their own right, nevertheless, they serve to elucidate. ln some cases they may pose questions which thereafter have to be answered by detailed research. But taking into consideration that the nomadic life style is in decline, the ethnography ofthe 19th- and 20th-century nomadic peoples can provide invaluable information. ln 1958, I spent some time studying the life of the huntsmen of northwest Mongolia. The study ofthe solitary trapper roaming the forests, even using a bow and arrows, was in itself an interesting life style to observe. But more important was the relationship between these huntsmen and the nomadic stock-breeders living further to the south. A connection emerged between the two. If one of the nomadic families had become impoverished as a result of losing its animals due to some misfortune, it could move into the forests and tum to hunting and trapping. But this "migration" worked both ways. Some of the hunters became rich enough to buy animals, move to the greener areas

The sources


of the steppe and pursue a nomadic life style. It is clear that such changes in life style also occurred on a larger, historical scale to whole groups of peoples. Some written evidence exists of this, albeit from the 12th and 13th centuries. It has been debated for the past half-century whether the conquering Magyars were nomadic or only partially nomadic, and if the latter was the case, what exactly "partially" nomadic meant. ln Mongolia, three forms ofagriculture were present. One was the Chinese­ type irrigation system, another was the European-style large estate method, and the third was a method used by the nomadic farmers. lt is important to note that the Chinese irrigation method was practised by Chinese immigrants, with Chinese tools and a Chinese crop-management system. The nomadic lords of these regions were tolerant and even supportive towards these activities, because they had a demand for the goods. However, once the Chinese reached a certain level ofwealth, they were hounded from the region, as they had become a threat to the political establishment. A few decades later a new batch ofChinese immigrants would start the same practice all over again in the same region. This was a particular farm of intercourse between different ethnic groups. Far our purposes, however, the nomadic farmer's method is the most interesting. The winter lodgings were ín the river valleys which were more protected from the harsh winters. ln the spring, the nomads sowed the grain in the virgin earth, ploughed by simple wooden ploughs. No harrows were used: the larger pieces of earth were broken up by hand. The seeds were also sown by hand, although there is evidence of some machinery used in Asia. Following this, the nomads moved on to the summer pastures. The distance between the farthest points of the winter lodgings and summer grazing grounds depended on the climate as well as on the geobotanical environment. The closer a tribe lived to the arid, desert steppe, the wider the area they roamed. They arrived back for the harvest ín the early autumn. They used hands, occasionally sickles, to gather in the crops. These crops were placed on the ground ín the barnyard and the seeds were extracted by leading the horses, occasionally the oxen, over them. One of the tribesmen would stand in the middle with the bridles of six to ten unshod horses in one hand and a whip in the other driving the animals round in circles over the gathered crops. The Chinese, however, used threshing cylinders. Once the grains were extracted, wooden spades were used to throw the seeds into the wind to separate the chaff from the wheat, barley or rye. The grain was then put into leather sacks and some ofthe straw was used to line pits, dug into the ground which provided storage for the sacks of grain, keeping them from the winter frost. Thereafter, the grains would be turned into flour either by hand, using two grinding-stones, or with larger grinding-stones driven by horses. Following the harvest the nomads would


Methodological introduction and the sources

Figure 27 Mongolian tent roof-hoop

Figure 28 Wooden framework of a Khazakh tent


The sources

Figure 29 Wooden framework of a Mongolian tent move on to their winter lodgings which would not necessarily be in the same place as in the previous year. The wooden plough was light enough to carry with them, along with tents and other accessories. Thus, as the Mongols put it: "the land also migrates". lt is therefore likely that they ploughed previously untouched land every year. This is one form of nomadic agriculture for which evidence can be found even in the 20th century. Nevertheless, it is worth comparing this with Jayhani's description of the Majgars' life style: "When the winter months are approaching they all move down to the river valley which is nearest to them. They stay there for the winter and fish [...] The Majgars' land has many trees and rivers. lts soil is damp. They have a lot of arable land." Scientific research could not, as yet, find correlation between the nomadic life style and arable land, and therefore concludes that these state­ ments refer to different eras. This Mongol ethnographic analogy may provide useful evidence. Archaeologists excavating Conquest-period settlements have observed cir­ cular-shaped ditches which, given their radius, would suggest that some form of a building-most likely to be a tent-once stood there. The question is, what type of tent?


Methodological introduction and tht' sourffs

Figure 30 Depiction of a tent on a Chinese Tang dynasty lacquered bowl

Ethnographic research has shown that in Eurasia and North Africa two types of tents were in use. The so-called "black tent" was commonly in use from Morocco to Afghanistan. This had a top cover, vertical sides and was normally oblong-shaped. The inside-planes could be made of different materials but the outside covers were black canvas or some other black material, hence the name. This type had many derivations. The other main type was the circular­ based yurt. The walls ofthe yurt were constructed from wood into a lath mesh. A circle was then förmed from this lath mesh, onto which wooden roof-poles were placed to form the roof which at the top supported the 'roofhoop' which served both as a ventilation outlet as well as an opening to let in sunlight. A wooden-framed door was hung onto this structure. This yurt-type, too, had many varieties, among them the Turkic and the Mongolian ones which had different roof-pole arrangements. The Mongolian roof-poles were straight, while the Turkic ones were curved at the lower end where they were connected to the lath mesh structure. This lent a more dome-like appearance to the roof. Arab sources refer to this type of yurt as being used by the Majgars . The yurts could be dismantled in two hours and packed onto the carts that followed the nomads. Some yurts, however, were built onto the carts and did

The sources


not require disassembling at all. These "high carts" are mentioned by the Chinese sources in descriptions ofthe Turk people. Some yurts were simpler and did not have a wooden 'roof hoop' at the top. It is a depiction of such a yurt that can be seen engraved on one of the items of the Nagyszentmiklós treasure. The interior arrangement ofthe yurt also follows a strict order. The Mongols have their doors facing south, while the Turkic always have theirs facing east. This corresponds with their burial directions. Entering through the doorway the left side of the yurt is to the right, as the following directions are given from a position facing the door from the inside. The left side ofthe yurt is the family's and the women's side, while the right side is for the men and the guests. Opposite the door is the shrine where, in earlier days, the Mongols used to place statues of Buddha and before that, other cult objects. During the socialist regime the party secretary's picture was hung here. ln the centre of the yurt stands the fireplace which used to be occupied by a three-legged cauldron, and dried dung was used for fuel. The saddles and the tools used by the men are hung on the right side ofthe yurt while the kitchen utensils are on the left. They sleep on felt carpets and use fur blankets. Many of the Mongols who settled in towns continued to live in yurts for some time. These yurts were constructed on a clay foundation, and some of the yurts we came across were actually built from clay. It is, therefore, possible that the circular ditches found by the archaeologists were in fact foundations of clay, not felt or canvas, buildings. All this information, however, provides little more than an analogy in trying to reconstruct the tent used by the conquering Magyars. Little is known about the conquering Magyars' religion. Arab sources sug­ gest that the Magyars were fire-worshippers. But there is no concrete evidence to suggest that this was the case. The world religions on the Eurasian steppe, such as Christianity (particu­ larly its Nestorian variety), Manichaeism, Buddhism and Islam made great efforts to convert the nomads. ln relation to the Magyar conquerors, we are most interested in what their body of beliefs were before their first contact with the world religions, and when they were first subjected to the influence of these religions. The religion ofthe nomadic people ofthe steppe has been revealed to some extent from early documentation. lbn Fadlan reports on the phallic cult ofthe Bashkir people. He describes how he observed a penis-sized piece of wood being worshipped, following which, he got his interpreter to ask why this piece ofwood had become a deity. The Bashkir gave the following answer: "Because I myself was begotten by something similar, and l know of no other creator." Ibn Fadlan then lists the twelve gods worshipped by the Bashkir people. These


Metlwdological introduction and the sources

are: winter, summer, rain, wind, the tree, the human being, the horse, water, the sun, night, death and the earth gods. But the God of the Heavens is the greatest of all. ln Yakut's listing of these gods, the god oflife is added alongside the god of death, but his list adds up to fourteen gods. ln both cases, in the centre of all was the sky in the role of a supreme deity. The Turkic name for this god, quoted by lbn Fadlan from the Oguz, was Tengri. ln the history of religions the nomadic form of religion, with a supreme deity representing the Heavens, is known as Tengrism. This is typical in large nomadic empires where all the power is in the hand of one ruler, reflected in the religion ofthese tribes. According to Turk inscriptions, the Turk ruler was descended from the God of the Heavens and had similar powers. It is important to understand the mythological function of this god. Ancient Turkic writings suggest that he created the world. Linguistic research, however, shows that this did not mean a creation from nothing but a creation from an uncultivated mass. We have some evidence to suggest that the conquering Magyars had a similar religion. The Turk inscriptions use the verb yarat in describing the process of creation by the God of the Heavens. Dated 732, the Köl Tegin inscription reads: "I, the Heaven-like, created by the Heaven, the Turk Bilge Khaghan" (tengri teg tengri yaratmish türk Bilge khaghan). The meaning of this Turkic verb is "to create something new from existing parts" (e.g. sentences from words, buildings from bricks), as opposed to the concept of creation by "division" (e.g. of light and darkness) and creation from nihility. The conquering Magyars adopted this word from the Turkic language, keeping the meaning of it which lives on today in the Hungarian word gyár t 'manu­ facture', 'produce', 'fabricate'. Much is now known about the characteristics of Tengrism. It had many variants, but its most advanced form was reached among the Khazars. It is known that Shamanism coexisted with this, which often makes it difficult to differentiate between notions of the two types of religious beliefs which were, in any case, likely to be closely linked. One ofTengrism's typical features was the Sacral Kingship. lbn Fadlan writes about the Khazar Sacral King who is entrusted with the people's well-being and who is ritually exe­ cuted once he has served a specific term. This institution of Sacral Kingship is also apparent in the history of the Central Asian Turk people. Al-lstahri of the 10th century wrote the following about the Khazar people: "When they have found a candidate to become the khaghan, they take a silk string and start strangling him until he loses his breath. They then ask him and he will tel1 them for how many years, he wishes to rule. If he does not become deceased within these years, he will be murdered when the number of years he has named are up." The chronicles ofthe Chinese Zhou dynasty say the following

The sources


about the Turk people: "If a new leader is chosen, those of a high rank around him will wrap him round with folt and tum him round nine times. They then sit him onto a horse and amidst an array ofbowing they make him ride around. They then start to strangle him with a silk string until he is barely alive. They release the string and quickly ask him: 'how long do you want to rule for'? The khaghan utters and murmurs some incomprehensible words in a semicon­ scious state. They work out from these sounds how many years he has to rule." Some recently found Uighur runiform scripts, dated from 750, also refer to this tradition. The holiness of the king has, naturally, no connection to Christianity. These sources clearly state that the king was holy because he had khut. On the so-called "smaller" Uighur inscription found at Kharabalghasun, the deceased says the following words about himself: "Having bought the East under the range of my bows and arrows, and driven the West under my power, my khut had shrunk in the blue sky, my road had shortened on the brown earth, and so I met my demise, Buqa ogul, I am now dead." The people begin to have bad fortune when the leader loses his khut and he finally dies when his khut ceases. During his lifetime the leader has khut or holy khut (khutlug, idukh khut). The khut is a substance that brings luck, and comparative research shows that this was very much a material notion. Here is the Khirghiz description of khut : ( 1) A dark red gelatinous material which drops through the roof outlet of the yurt. Touching it brings luck but only in the hands of good and honest people. ln the hands of evil people it will tum into a piece of dung. (2) A talisman that protects people and animals. Little human figures made ofcanvas or lead, dressed in red or blue rags and decorated with mother-of-pearl buttons which are attached by seven fine wires. These are washed with water which is then sprinkled onto the animals. (3) Idols (particularly in the mythology of neighbouring peoples such as the Kalmük). (4) Vitality and the spirit. (5) Luck and happiness. It is, therefore, clear that the presence of vitality imagined in some material form will ensure the leader's holiness. Many Siberian amulets have been found and a number of objects attributed to the conquerors have been considered to be amulets which were also known as ongon . This word is of Mongolian origin and became part of scientific terminology from its use by the Buryat people. Their function with the Turkic nomads was linked to the khut . The consequences oflosing the khut are described in detail by Masudi. He writes that one of the kings of the Khazar people exercises all actual power over the people, including the other king, the hakhan . The hakhan lives in his palace, he cannot ride out from there, meet any ofthe nobleman or the ordinary people. He is not even allowed to leave his quarters where he lives with his wives. He does not command or forbid, and he has no say in the state's business. Nevertheless, the king's sovereignty is not guaranteed unless the


Methodological introduction and the sources

hakhan is known to be present with hím ín the capital, in his palace. If Khazars are in distress, starving, or if war breaks out, the people and the nobility will hurry to the king and claim that the hakhan is a bad omen and good for nothing. They will ask the king to "kill hím or allow us to do it. Sometimes the king will take this step himself, at other times he will plead for the hakhan's life, claiming that he cannot find hím responsible for any of the misfortunes. That is the current-day Khazar practice". This description of the Khazar tradition is from before 956 and refers to the final phase of this sacral dual kingship. More than thirty years earlier, lbn Fadlan writes the following about the Khazar leader who is known as the khaghan. He claims that the khaghan only appears ín public every four months, and otherwise lives in complete solitary confinement. He himself is referred to as the great khaghan and his deputy is known as the khaghan-beh : "The khaghan-beh appears before the king every day and bows down in front of him in respect. He goes bare feet carrying a piece of wood. When he greets the king he lights the piece of wood and then sits down next to him on the throne, on the king's right." It is worth noting that the stick the second king lights is a torch which was calledJuta ín the West Turkic language (yu ta in most Turkic languages and Juta in Mongolian). This is where the second Magyar king's title derives from: Juta orJita (see pp. 343-347). Ibn Fadlan continues his report by describing the great khaghan's harem and burial traditions, and then goes on to say that when the king rides out of town he is followed by the whole of the army. The soldiers, however, will stay one mile behind him. If any ofhis people catch a glimpse ofhim they will fall to the ground and keep their heads on the ground until he has passed. The great king will reign for forty years. If he lives a day beyond that, he will be killed by his people who will claim "he has lost his sense and his judgement has weakened". This was, then, a somewhat earlier phase of the sacralisation of the holy kings. This same approach could be seen in the Jayhani tradition. The presence of the holy king, the Hazar hakhan, and the supreme commander, the is had, is also apparent in this tradition. The Khazar people obeyed both of these figures and took orders from the latter. According to this tradition, when the military commander rode out of town for any reason, a sun-disk shaped object was carried ín front of him which was suspended in a drum-like fashion. A horseman would carry this object and the army would follow the commander watching the light from the object. ln Gardizi's account, this object is replaced by a flame from a torch covered in wax. This ritual would suggest that, despite the fact that both the "great" king and the commander were of Jewish religion, they were also sun worshippers.

The sources

15 1

Movses Dashuranci writes about the coexistence of the Sun God and the God ofthe Heavens. He says that the Huns ofthe Northem Caucasus believed in two gods. One is called Tangri han, that is Tengri khan, who is thought to be identical to the Persian Aspandiat, and for whom horses were sacrificed, and another who is called Kuar, whose victims are struck down by lightening. Kuar is a word of Persian origin and has the same meaning as the Middle Persian hvar which means sun. However, the Jayhani tradition does not include the ritual execution of the king. It is, therefore, clear that the sacral dual kingship was a changing tradition among the Khazar people, which evolved in several stages and reached its most advanced form in the mid-10th century. There is no doubt that between the 6th and 9th centuries Tengrism was the religion among the nomads of the steppe and, therefore, we have to suppose that it was also the religion ofthe Magyars. Tengrism represented a transitional stage prior to the shift towards the world religions. How this set of beliefs transformed to become part of the world religions and how the Central Asian syncretistic forms of the world religions came to be may only concem us in terms of distant analogies. Nevertheless, it is important to stress that there is no trace of a sacral kinship among the Magyars-as some scholars have propounded. Ali this, however, does not mean that beside the Tengrism ofthe élite there was no presence of Shamanism. Tengrism and Shamanism together provided the wider framework into which the conquering Magyars' beliefs can be placed. Shamanism is a unique system ofbeliefs which can be linked to many other religions, but one which, nevertheless, is different from all of them in a few basic aspects. ln the centre of the religion stands the Shaman. The Shaman is different from all other active religious characters, such as the soothsayer, the medicine man or the witch. The Shaman is a man-or a woman-who has inherited the power from his ancestors and further developed the skills to create a link between his people and the next world, and is capable of carrying himself into a trance. This trance places him into a state of consciousness in which he becomes almost totally detached from the visual and sound effects of the real world. The Shaman is capable ofliving with the psychological pressure this puts on hím. He has the ability to create contact with the spirits, more often than not the guardian ghosts ofthe other world. This occurs in a deeper trance, in the course ofwhich the Shaman's soul flies. This is when he is capable ofwandering in the other world and contacting the dead. lt is said that when the souls are near­ ing-sometimes from very far places-their approach is signalled by the


Methodological introduction and the sources

beginning ofthe trance. These beings can be varied but are determined by the regions ofthe other world the Shaman is moving in. His main task is to provide information and help. He establishes contact with the other world in order to serve his people. The Shaman becomes the messenger and interpreter of messages received from the other world and thus protects his people from it. The Shaman's ritual dress, his body-paints and his movements were determined by his community's traditions. For his journeys to the other world he would use an object, in most cases a drum, on which he "rode". The modem research on Shamanism had to be collated, simply because in earlier research many unrelated phenomena were linked to it. The information provided by comparative ethnography indicates that the conquering Magyars had links with Shamanism, although there is no concrete evidence to prove this. The various depictions of the soul in Hungarian folklore and on archae­ ological finds are remnants of the old beliefs, but in their own right they still provide no evidence of the presence of Shamanism. It is also certain that the Magyars came across Judaism, Christianity and the Muslim faith prior to the Conquest. It can be proven that Cyril met the Magyars before the Conquest. Kiev in Khazar is Sambat , the same as the Hungarian word szombat 'Saturday', which is likely to have been derived from the Khazar Jews living in Kiev. The Hungarian word szombat is also said to have derived from the Slavic word son bota. This claim, however-on account of the final a of the Slavic word-can be dismissed. The Hungarian word szombat clearly refers to the time of week when the Khazar people had an officially accepted day of worship. The Khazar word is of Greek origin. The Hungarian word vásár 'market', of East-Iranian origin, in all probability comes from the Alanian word vachar. The day of the market is in Hungarian vasárnap 'Sunday' (literally, 'market day'), indicating early Alanian-Hungarian contacts. The Slavic words s ereda , marking the middle of the week (which became the Hungarianszerda 'Wednesday'); chetvertek , the fourth day ofthe week (which is the origin of the Hungarian word csütörtök 'Thursday'); and pentek , the fifth day ofthe week (hence the Hungarian péntek 'Friday') are indications of Slav-Magyar cohabitation. The words hétfő 'Monday' and kedd 'Tuesday' are of Hungarian origin. The first day of the week, hétfő, literally meaning 'head ofthe week', is described in the same way in the Turkic languages (and hence in Chuvash), using their own vemacular word of 'head', 'top' . This is how the Bulghars might also have described the first day of the week and the Magyars might have simply translated that. The word 'second' in Hungarian, ketted, described the second day of the week, hence the Hungarian kedd 'Tuesday'. These are just a few ofmany examples that show how ethnography

1 53

Tlze sources

and linguistics play an essential part in reconstructing the history of the conquering Magyars. As seen here, the Hungarian vocabulary carries many traces of history. However, there are no ethnographic sources which can yield information to us, regarding the effect of the world religions on the Magyars prior to the Conquest.

7. TH E ANTH ROPOLOGl CAL SOU RCES The conquering Magyars buried their dead in graves deep in the ground where their bones were preserved. The question, therefore, clearly arises: what can these bones tel1 us? So-called physical anthropology has two main schools. The first one, the classical approach, takes the size and proportion of the bones as its starting point. It categorises these, and using these categories attempts to establish different types. It measures, for instance, the length, the base and the width of the skull, the forehead, the brain-case, the cheek bone, the orbital and the nasal bone. Normally fifteen measuring points are set on the brain-case and sixteen on the face. A further measurement is used which is a horizontal line linking a point below each ear to a point below the left orbital. These lengths and widths give the unique nature of each skull. The figures are used to categorise the population of each grave. The measurements of the early skulls found in Eurasia and those of modem man serve to establish larger groups and sub­ groups as well as provide information on the transition between each category. Physical anthropology considers the whole of humanity to be one species, as each group of people is capable of crossbreeding with any ofthe other groups. Anthropology divides the human population of the world into three or five groups: (1) Europid, (2) Mongoloid, (3) Negroid, (4) Veddo-Australoid, (5) Ameri­ canoid. The last two are thought to have derived from the first three. These are the main groups from each continent. The first three are also known as subspecies , or greater races. The word 'race ' indicates the physical and bio­ logical differences within the species, and it is these differences which have been exploited and misused by racism. The Europid and Mongoloid subspe­ cies are further divided into micro-subspecies . It is on the demarcation line of the two subspecies that the Europo-Mongoloid group developed. This has Uralic, or Europo-Sibirid, Turano-South Siberian and Yenisei subgroups. With a lot of crossbreeding between the groups the migratory people, if set­ tled long enough in one area, could also develop local subgroups. The Euro-


Methodological introduction and the sources

pid subspecies includes, among others, the Pamirian, the Dinaric and the Armenid-Near Eastem subgroups. The Asian subspecies is called Mongoloid on account ofthe fact that when these groups were füst recorded in the 13th-14th centuries these people were all under the rule of the Mongols. The ethnic Mongols, however, are not a dominant group in this subspecies. Unfortunately, in Hungarian anthropology there is a lot ofconfusion regarding the names ofgroups. The words describing the subspecies have the ending -id, while groups similar to the subspecies, but not necessarily genetically related, attract the suffix -oid. This latter one, however, cannot be anthropologically defined. I shall use in accordance with intemational practice the suffix -oid, and the suffix -id I employ to describe other micro-species. ln any case, it cannot be claimed that the Mongoloid subspecies is identical with the Mongol ethnicity. Provided that the historical implications are clear, the term may be used, bearing in mind that the majority of Mongols are Mongoloids but the majority of Mongoloids are not Mongols. Today, more than one billion Chinese inhabit this planet and the vast majority of them are Mongoloid. From the examination of the bones, the sex of the person and the age at which he or she died can be ascertained. The latest research of this kind examined the intact skulls of the conquering Magyars from three generations. From seventy-one archaeological sites, three hundred and fifty-three adult skulls were compared. The findings were divided into five geographical regions: (A) Pest county and northem Bács-Kiskun county; (B) Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county and the south-west parts of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county; (C) Fejér and Heves counties, Bács-Kiskun county's two Danube areas, and some finds from the northwest Hungarian plain (Kisalföld); (D) Békés county; and (E) areas around Galánta and Dunaszerdahely (see Figure 31). Thorough research came up with the following results: the examination of the skulls determined that the conquering Magyars can be divided into two groups. The füst group (1) includes the skulls from the aforementioned groups A, B, and E. These are typically wide (when looking at the width in proportion to the length of the skull) and have a high percentage, at least forty, of the Europo-Mongoloid subtype. The second group (11), C and D, has narrow skulls and the Europo-Mongoloid type is no more than six per cent present in it. There is a clear geographical divide between the two groups. The border line between them runs along the left bank of the Danube towards the north, then tums eastwards at northem Budapest and runs till Nagytarcsa and finally ends abeam of Aldebrő, Kál and Eger. The conquerors of group C occupied the rolling country ofTransdanubia and the Northem Mountains. Group A occu­ pied the area between the Rivers Danube and Tisza, while group B the northem

The sources


Figure 3 1 Physical anthropological groups of the conquering Magyars

Tisza areas, and group E occupied the green steppe region between the Rivers V ág and Nitra. If these areas of occupancy are compared to the Carpathian Basin's geobo­ tanical maps at the age of Conquest, it becomes apparent that the territories of group I are those of the (a) sand dunes and oak forests of the lowlands, the juniper forests, the Pontus-sub-Mediterranean-type deserts, the alkaline areas among the sand dunes; (b) the willow and poplar groves of the river banks, the mixed elm, oak and ash forests, the reedy swamps, the alkaline oak forests and the moors. The territories of group II typically include the (e) foresty steppe areas, the partially sub-Mediterranean-type Tatar maple-tomentose oak forest of the Great Hungarian Plain (Alföld) with areas ofloess clearings; and (d) the closed mature oak forests of the Pannonian downland. Researchers claim that group II had similar characteristics to the Iron Age people living to the west of the River Don, while group I could be linked to those living to the east of the river. This becomes even more interesting when the geobotanical features of these areas are compared, because west of the River Don was the area of the (e) peduncular broad-leaved oak forests with a

1 56

Metlzodological introduction and the sourct's

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Figure 32 Vegetation of the Carpathian Basin and the Etelköz (reconstructed by B. Zólyom


Tlze sources



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Legend on page 158

1 58

Metlwdological introduction and the sources

scattering of hombeam; (f) the sparse maple and oak forests of the Moldova­ Podola loess ridge; and (g) the rich, green Eastem European steppe. It appears that group II was socially inferior to group I because in two of the burial areas classified as group II, skulls resembling those of group I were found in rich and lavish graves. There are no significant differences in the number of men and women, and there were no apparent shortages offemales in the first three generations which also gives an indication of family life. The average male height was 1 68 . 83 centimetres (5'6½"), the female average 1 57.93 centimetres (5'2") which can be considered reasonably high. ln comparison, in 1 973 the average height of Legend to Figure 32 1 . Willow and poplar groves on river banks, mixed elm, oak and ash forests, reedy swamps, alkaline oak forests and moors = (b) 2. Sand dunes and oak forests ofthe lowlands, juniper forests, Pontus-sub-Mediterranean-type deserts, alkaline areas among sand dunes = (a) 3. Grassy loess ridges ofthe plain with areas ofTatar maple and oak forests and heather 4. Foresty steppe areas, partially sub-Mediterranean-type Tatar maple-tomentose oak forest ofthe Great Hungarian Plain with areas ofloess clearings = (e) 5. The Wallachian forest-steppe's Tatar maple loess-oak 6. The meadows ofthe edge ofthe plain with scatterings ofmaple and oak trees with a cool continental climate 7. Sparse maple and oak forests of the Moldova-Podolan Joess ridge = (t) 8. The Eastern European zone of peduncular broad-leaved oak forests with scattering of hornbeam = (e) 9. Rich and green steppe = (g) 1 0 . Low-grass steppe with Artemisia 11 . The closed mature oak forests ofthe Pannonian downland = ( d) 1 2 . Central European dry oak forests 1 3. Sub-Mediterranean tomentose oak forests and open ash forests with rich undergrowth 14. Turkey-oak and farnetto-oak matured forests ofthe hilly Dacia and Moesia regions 1 5. The silver linden-peduncular oak-forests ofthe Balkan Mountains 1 6. Sub-Mediterranean-Illyrian tomentose oak shrubberies, ash and yoke-elm mixed forests, eastern hornbeam and its overgrown variants 1 7. Pontian-sub-Mediterranean mixed forests 1 8.Central European sheltered mature nonpeduncular hornbeam and oak forests with areas of beech trees and peduncular hornbeam oak forests on the peripheries of flood area 1 9. Central and South European mountainous sheltered beech forests, beech forests with fir trees of an Illyrian variety in the south-west and a Carpathian Transylvanian variety in the north-east 20. European high-mountainous spruce forests, sub-Alpine yellow-pine forests and Alpine and sub-Alpine grassy areas 21 . Central-European acidic-soil pine forests with mixed oak forests 22.Northeast European fir forests with an increasing population ofbeech trees and many oak trees

The sources

1 59

Hungarian conscripts was 1 7 1 . 1 5 centimetres (5'7½"). Some of the skulls had signs of either real or symbolic trepanation as an indication of healing practices. It is important to note that a section of the people of the Avar era in Trans­ danubia, part of southem Slovakia today, and in areas east of the River Tisza survived to see the Conquest and assimilated with the people of the Árpád era. There are no signs of significant numbers of Mongoloid people surviving the Avar era. Due to the volume of material and the limitations ofthe methodology, these pieces of research can only be used in a cautious manner to reconstruct the whole picture. Regarding the numbers of the conquering Magyars the sources are silent or based on topoi. Some scholars claim that the population of the conquering Magyars had to be larger than the population of those then living in the Carpathian Basin, since otherwise the Magyars would have been unable to retain their language. Although this claim cannot be accepted in terms of methodology, nevertheless, it may still be true, since population ratios are not considered in global terms. At the time of the Conquest the Carpathian Basin was politically and ethnically heterogeneous. The smaller groups fighting each other would have sought protection with the Magyars, and in doing so, joined them. The toponyms of the 1 2th and 1 3th centuries show that place names were rapidly Hungaricised. This was primarily due to political and religious reasons, and was not related to ethnicity, nor the size of the popula­ tion. Not so long ago, in a workshop, the question of the population size of the conquering Magyars arose. The opinions were varied, but the figures were all around several hundred thousands. ln relation to this, the 1 99 male and 1 54 female skeletons found constitute a very small number and cannot be used as a representative sample. Therefore, the conclusions drawn from these findings must be treated with great caution. Discovered during the past few years, many new findings are likely to change this picture. Nevertheless, we completed statistical studies with the samples available to us, and these provided satisfactory results. Figure 33 gives a good indication of the ratio of the different skull-types in each group. The average deviation ofthe figures in each group do not show fundamental differences. It is notable that the typology of the male and female skulls are identical within each group which suggests that there was no significant crossbreeding between them. Alongside the classical anthropological research of measuring bone proportions, attempts have been made, as early as the beginning of the 20th century, to introduce biological considerations into the research. At the beginning, the ratio of people with blood groups A, B, AB and O were ob­ served, and later groups A 1 and A2 were brought into the research. The results showed that the proportion of people of each blood group were sig-

1 60

Methodological introduction and the sources


� 0







84. 0




92 .0



C and D groups (N= 1 94). Average 77.9. Standard deviation 4.73.




78. 0





40 [/)



30 20 10 0







84. 0



A, B and E groups (N= 1 2 1 ). Average 8 1 .7. Standard deviation 4.78. 70. 0




86. 0

90. 0

94. 0

Figure 33 The skull measurements of the two groups of the conquering Magyars (widest skull : longest skull) nificantly different on each continent. For instance, the number of people in Europe with blood group A decreased towards the east, while the number of those with group B increased. New factors were introduced into this research, such as the Rh factor, and taking into consideration several different aspects, so-called immunological races were constructed. This, however, did not produce results that could help in constructing a historical picture, as for instance, it became clear that epidemics claimed more victims írom certain

The sources

16 1

immunological groups than from others, therefore the decline of a particular immunological group of people did not necessarily entail a change in the general population. It was also frustrating that the mutations ofthe serological factors did not provide any historical information to build on. Finally, the fact that the hypothesis could only be tested on the living population meant that the figures could not be applied to a historical study. The ratio of the different immunological groups could have evolved the way it did for many different reasons. Modem research cannot differentiate between the groups which expanded quickly and those which took considerable time to build up. Immune-biology and, within this field, the rapidly expanding research of immuno-globulin have been used in attempts to answer historical questions. From the five existing immuno-globulins in the human body, one, the so-called gamma-globulin (Gm) was examined. Every such immuno-globulin consists of a light and a heavy chain, and one part of these protein chains is constant. This constant section contains chemically very different constituents which determine the chain. These are known as the determinants. The chemi­ cal characteristics differentiate the particles and are known as markers. Many of these markers have been identified and their hereditary nature determined. It has been found that markers are not inherited independently of each other, but in groups. The genes which determine each block are inherited on the 14th chromosome in a co-dominant way, that is to say that the mother's or the father's genes are not dominant but every inherited parental gene will appear in the offspring. The Gm-markers are directly inherited and do not change over a life span. However, there are genetic mutations which may lead to new markers evolving; and in the build-up of the chromosomes there can also be changes which may cause irregularities in the inheritance of the Gm-system. Scientists claim that the probability for this is very low ( 1o--4- I 0-6) The new marker system is indicated with numbers, and those markers which are regularly inherited together (haplo-types) are placed in brackets. Based on this system, the European race is determined by the following groups: ( 1, 17, 2 1, 26), ( 1, 2, 17, 2 1, 26), (3, 5, 10, 11, 13, 14, 26), while the Mongoloid subspecies by ( l , 17, 2 1, 26), ( 1, 2, 17, 21, 26), ( 1, 10, 11, 13, 17), ( 1, 3, 5, 10, 11, 13, 14, 26). It is apparent that the number ' 1' marker does not appear in one of the haplo-types in the European group, while it does appear in every Mongoloid group. ln any European group that contains 1, 2 1 will also be present, while the same cannot be said for all Mongoloid groups. These combinations indicate a different hereditary order. Using these orders and the number ofrecurrences, the frequency could be graphically illustrated. Studies conducted ín Hungary show that 95% of the Hungarian people belong to the European group, and a comparative study of 28 other European populations found that the deviation remained under 5%. This 5% is Mongoloid but

1 62

Methodological introduction and the sources

one half is from the northem, the other from the southem subgroup of the Mongoloid subspecies. To get an idea of the recurrence, it is worth looking at the frequency of the northem Mongoloid group ( 1 , 1 3 , 1 5, 1 6). The frequency of this in the Hungarian study is 0.0 1 69, while among the Mongolian northem Buryat people it is 0.307 and among the southem Buryat people 0.272, and in the Mongolian Republic it is 0. 1 40. This component, even in South Asia is twice as high as the Hungarian; and the low component among the Magyars is only matched by the Peruvian Kechua people (0.0 1 6) and figures from Thailand (0.0 1 5). It is not surprising that the Magyars are biologically identical to the other European peoples, and neither is it unexpected that there are two components which have Asian traces. These figures, however, show little more than this, and it remains uncertain how this ratio developed. lt is, for instance, quite possible that the two Mongoloid components originated from different periods (e.g. from the Tatar and the Turkish occupation of Hungary in the 1 3th and the 1 6th- l 7th centuries respectively); or they may have originated from two different groups altogether (such as the Anatolian and Crimean population during the age of Ottoman occupation). However, it is equally possible that a section of Hungary's Gypsy population brought these components along with them. We cannot tel1 whether these components built-up gradually or whether they decreased to the levels observed today. No method currently offers an answer to these questions and, therefore, the results ofthese pieces of research cannot be used for the purpose of historical reconstruction. Nevertheless, it is important to mention these studies, as hopefully the tim e will soon come when certain biochemical materials can be extracted from bones which will provide information for historical analysis, some substance that will reveal traces of history. While the research of the gamma-globulin markers was based on hereditary characteristics, population genetics examines the different genetically inher­ ited features among larger populations. One advantage of well-organised and conducted multi-factor research is that the percentage deviation of the con­ stituent tests will balance each other out. 1 5-20 genetically inherited char­ acteristics may give a correct ratio for each group of people. The ratio of occurrence, in for instance a group of 1 00,000 people, can be linked to indi­ vidual groups of people, and comparisons can then be made between these groups. The information can be arranged in such an order that the area between identity and the largest difference is divided into four. The terms "identical", "short", "medium", "long" and "very long" "genetic distances" are derived from this. This does not refer to a general genetic distance but to the numerical

The sources


difference between the examined frequency of occurrences of genetically inherited characteristics. The genetic ratios ofthe Hungarian ethnic groups do not show any distinc­ tive differences. Comparisons with foreign samples, however, do. For in­ stance, the difference between the Hungarian figures and those of the Mongoloid subspecies, for certain genetic characteristics, are as high as 14, while the difference between the Magyar and Slav people, and the Magyars and Germans was 1. 1 and 1.2 respectively. This shows that the genetic stock of the Magyars is certainly identical with other European people. Looking at even closer correlations, however, cannot be considered as a reliable source of evidence. For instance, comparison of the Hungarian, Turkic, Finnish or lranian figures reveals their relation to each other (whether they are close or not) is not one that can be evaluated in a historical sense. This is simply because the research based on the frequency and ratio of genetic groups of the living population cannot give any indication ofthe reasons they developed the way they did. lt has to be understood that behind the similar figures an identical history may stand, but equally, there may be numerous other factors such as: 1. Two different groups may have come under the influence of a third one, and thus their originally different ratios may have evened out. 2. Two originally completely different groups may have come into contact with each other with an effect of the different ratios balancing out. 3. Two originally completely different groups may have become similar as a result of epidemics, biological effects or the need to adjust to a certain environment. For the same reasons, two originally similar groups my have become quite different in their genetic ratio. Finally, the two processes, of convergence and divergence, could have had numerous other complex variations. It is also important to mention the difficulties behind the sampling process. For instance, in the case of the Hungarian ethnic groups, it is often hard to define who belongs to which group and where the demographic boundaries of these groups are. It is also of some concem that similar genetic research has not been carried out among the different people ofHungary's neighbouring countries (or else, the methodology of sampling was different). The importance of population genetic research is in its ability to pose new questions which can mark out new areas of research. It reveals facts for which population genetics, in its own right, cannot provide adequate interpretation. 1t cannot shed light on historical processes, itself being built on historical hypotheses.


Methodological introduction and the sources


For the origins ofthe De administrando imperio, which are a lot more complex than described above, see Moravcsik (1 983, vol. l , pp. 361-367); Jenkins ( 1962, pp. 1 -8). The description of the Byzantine sources is based on the relevant chapters of Hajdú­ Kristó---Róna-Tas ( 1976, vol. 1/2), which are the work of S. Szádeczky-Kardoss, F. Makk and T. Olajos (1 976). There are further references made in their work. Each Greek author is also mentioned in the first volume ofMoravcsik (1983). Sources on Leo the Wise and subsequent ones referring to the Magyars can be found in the preface ofMoravcsik (1 984). The Hungarian translations ofthe Byzantine sources relating to the Avars and the commentaries on them were füst published by Szádeczky-Kardoss in Archaeológiai Értesítő between the years 1 978 and 1986, and later with a few additions they were compiled as a book: Szádeczky-Kardoss (1 992). It can only be hoped that further volumes will follow. Further information on the development ofthe research ofthese authors can also be found in the continually updated Pauly- Wissowa Encyclopaedia. Another useful source of informa­ tion is the Ziegler-Sontheimer Encyclopaedia or the "short Pauly" which was originally published in five volumes between 1 964 and 1 975. The most accessible version ofit being the paperback edition published in 1 979, in Munich. Now the basic work to be consulted is The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium of Kazhdan-Talbot (1 991 ), the reference to which I thank Szádeczky-Kardoss. Maróti and Lakatos wrote the chapters on the Latin sources in Hajdú-Kristó---Róna-Tas (1 976, vol. 1/2). The western mediaeval Latin sources were presented by Karácsonyi and Szegfű (1 976) and the Latin sources in Hungary by Kristó (1 976). The Kristó (1 994c) Latin sources section was written by László Szegfű. The western Latin sources were selected by Gombos (1 937-1 943 ), based on the then available German publications. The Gombos collection is very useful in locating Latin quotes, however, it does not satisfy the requirements of a critical edition-which it does not intend to be. Where I refer to a Hungarian translation, I do that based on Györffy (1 975c). The Latin sources in Györffy (1 975c) were translated by János Horváth. The prefaces for each translation are useful references. ln many cases I used these references as source material. I also discussed the matter of"Attila's sword" which was noted by Lampert of Hersfeld in Róna-Tas (1 988a, pp. 1 1 2-11 4). ln this case I used the German critical edition (Holder-Egger 1 894). That is also where I discussed the related earlier Hungarian literature. The deed offoundation ofthe Krems Abbey was published by Hagn (1 852). Louis ofGermany's deed was dealt with by Olajos (1969). For the letter written to the Bishop of Verdun, see pp. 282-283 . The deeds ofthe Árpád period were published by Györffy (1 997). The Latin sources written in Hungary were published by Szentpétery ( 193 7-1 938). The analysis ofthe Hungarian chronicles was published by Kristó in Hungarian in 1 980 and 1 994b, and in English in 1 996. For Györffy's latest views see Györffy (1 993b) which also includes the reprint of his work first published in 1 948. The 1 3th-century Hungarian chronicler Anonymus has a very useful facsimile edition, with a translation by Pais, including Pais's and Györffy's notes (see Pais 1 975b). The Anonymus research was summarised in Csapodi (1978), Györffy's views in Györffy (1 988). The Anonymus article in Kristó (1 994c) was written by Zoltán Kordé. For a more recent summary on the Hungarian Anonymus research see also Thoroczkay (1 994-1 995). For other and earlier bibliographies, see Kosáry (1 951 ). The introduction to the Slavic sources in Hajdú-Kristó---Róna-Tas (1 976, vol. 1/2) was written by István Ferincz. The Hungarian problems in connection with the Cyril and Methodius legend were discussed in Király (1 974) and in H. Tóth (1 981 ). The most recent study is Eggers ( 1 996). The first Hungarian translation ofthe primary Russian chronicle is by Hodinka (1 9 1 6).

Tlze sourres

1 65

(Povest' vremennyh let). Many have taken part in its edition since 1 95 1 , led by Lihachov. The

Today, the multi-volume Russian chronicles are available, known by their abbreviation PVL

article about it in Kristó ( 1 994c) was written by Márta Font. The critical edition and English translation ofthe Laurentian version is by Cross-Sherbowitz-Wetzar ( 1 953). The Middle Persian sources are absent from Hajdú-Kristó---Róna-Tas ( 1 976, vol. 1/2) and Kristó ( 1 994c). János Harmatta's summary was published only Jater, in 1 993 . Several aspects ofthe sources in Middle Persian were discussed in studies written by Czeglédy (see his reprint volume, Czeglédy 1 985) and the English translation ofhis book Czeglédy ( 1 983 a). The Muslim sources were summarised in Hajdú-Kristó---Róna-Tas ( 1 976, vol. 1/2) by Tamás Iványi, integrating Mihály Kmoskó's unpublished manuscripts. See now also Zimonyi ( 1 99 1 ) and Kmoskó ( 1 997). The summary to Kristó ( 1 994c) and the articles on each author (Ibn Rusta, lbn Fadlan, Gardizi, Hudüd al-alam, al-Bakri, Marvazi, Jayhani, Idrisi, Yakut, Ibn Hayyan, Abu-Hamid al-Gamati) were written by István Zimonyi. Good summaries are: Sezgin ( 1 967) and Miquel ( 1 973). The 5th volume of Ibn Hayyan's book Muqtabas was published by Chalmeta ( 1 979), see also Chalmeta ( 1 976). The Arab historical literature ofSpain is examined in Bojko ( 1 977). Individual authors are also discussed in the editions ofGibb et al. ( 1 960- 1 993) published in English. lm portant comments on the Muslim sources ofancient Hungarian history, including the much discussed Jayhani question, can be found in Zimonyi ( 1 990). For Ibn Fadlan's two important editions see Togan ( 1 939), Kovalevskij ( 1 956)-the latter is the second publication of the author's work. (Published in 1 939 by Krachkovskij, the first publication appeared without mention ofthe authors name, for political reasons.) The photograph taken by Ligeti ofthe Mashad manuscript was published by Czeglédy ( 1 950-1 95 1 ), see also Kmietovicz et al. ( 1 985). The Syrian sources were introduced by Tamás Iványi, based on Mihály Kmoskó's unpub­ lished works. Kmoskó's original research area was Old Syriac. Further information on him can be found in Kristó ( 1 994c, p. 645). The Armenian sources were discussed in Hajdú-Kristó---Róna-Tas ( 1 976, vol. 1/2) by Ödön Schütz, see Schütz ( 1 995). A bibliography ofthe works ofSchütz can be found in volume 50 ofActa Orientalia Hungarica ( 1 997), pp. V II-X. The Syrian and Armenian sources referring to the Khazar people are quoted by Marquart ( 1 903), Dunlop ( 1 954/ 1 967), Golden ( 1 980) and Ludwig ( 1 982). The Georgian sources ín Hajdú-Kristó---Róna-Tas ( 1 976, vol. 1/2) were summarised by Margit Bíró. I wrote the comments on the Turkic and Tibetan sources ín Hajdú-Kristó---Róna-Tas ( 1 976, vol. I/2). I discuss the two groups ofsources in more detail ín two studies (Róna-Tas 1 996d, l 996e) which were published in the series Honfoglalásról sok szemmel [Different views on the Conquest] ín the volume about the sources. The summary ofthe Chinese sources in Hajdú-Kristó---Róna-Tas ( 1 976, vol. I/2) was written by Ildikó Ecsedy. A very useful multi-lingual reference book on several transcriptions of Chinese words, including the pinyin transcription, is Csongor-Ferenczy ( 1 993). Questions regarding Chinese transcriptions can be found in Róna-Tas ( 1 985b, pp. 305-347). The two basic works for reconstruction of Chinese are Karlgren ( 1 957) and the Pulleyblank ( 1 99 1 ) lexicon. Hajdú-Kristó---Róna-Tas ( 1 976, vol. I/2) did not include the Hebrew sources. Following the completion ofthe Hungarian original ofthis book, two significant works were published which need to be mentioned here. The first is titled A honfoglalás korának írott forrásai [The written sources of the Conquest period], edited by Gyula Kristó ( 1 995d), the second book, edited by László Kovács and László Veszprémy ( 1 996) is a compilation ofworks

1 66

Methodological introduction and the sources

entitled A honfoglaláskor írott forrásai [Written sources from the age ofConquest] . lt is likely that the two works, which are very different in their contents and style, will nevertheless cause much confusion with their near-identical titles. Kristó (1 995d) contains the translations ofthe sources referring to the Magyars. The editor split the subject-matter into five chapters: Muslim sources; sources written in Greek; Slavic sources, sources written in Latin and in Hungarian. The sources in Hungarian are represented by the Song on the Conquest ofPannonia, presumably written by Demeter Csáti in the 1 6th century, and another fragment. The translations of the individual sources are each prefaced. The anthology is considerably more detailed than Györffy (1 975c ), from which some translations were taken. However, in most cases the translations are new or reflect new research results. The notes are very much different in character and volume and occasionally require substantive evidence, in other cases they contain philological com­ ments. The compilation ofthe Hungarian translation ofthe sources referring to the Magyars is useful as a genre and can serve as a quick reference, but has its downsides. By removing a text from the greater context, without the knowledge of the author's regular vocabulary and the structure ofthe text, the university student and the lay person, for whom the book was written, may come to incorrect conclusions. The Kovács-Veszprémy (1 996) volume contains the lecture transcripts, with additional literature, given by researchers at a conference in December 1 993 , organised by the Hungarian Academy of Science's Committee for Magyar Proto-History. Practically every single article ofthis book contains new material on the chosen source subj ect. lt is unfortunate that this collection contains the older translation ofthe Köl Tegin inscription without taking into account the results ofthe latest research, as in the light ofthese works many sections ofthe old translation are obsolete. The following sentence in the preface which claims that "Turkic writing was introduced into western Asia (Yenisei and Talas Valley inscriptions) and into the Khazar Empire by the West Turkic people, which was how the Magyars got to know it, and among whom it remained to be in use until the 1 6th century, known as ' Székely runiform script "' , contains geographical, substantive and chronological errors. However, the studies in that book make invaluable new observations accessible in Hungarian and several of the articles have bibliographies referring to new Hungarian translations of source materials. I have discussed the question oflanguage as source material in many ofmy previous works. An overall informative guide is Róna-Tas (1978a) on linguistic relationships. The revision of Gyula Németh 's work on the ancient relationship between the Uralic languages and the Turkic languages is published in Róna-Tas (1 983b). The relationships between the Uralic, Finno-U gric and Turkic languages are discussed in Róna-Tas ( 1988d). The lrano---Finno---U grian and the lrano---Hungarian linguistic relations are discussed in two monographs, Jaki (1 973 ) and Rédei (1 986), and are also discussed in a chapter of Rédei (1 988). A good, although somewhat inconsistent, account ofthe Irano---Hungarian linguistic relations is Harmatta (1 977). This article has no bibliography. The Ob-Ugrian languages' lranian loan words are discussed by Korenchy (1 976). This work also looks at the words that made their way into Hungarian and has a good, albeit by now slightly outdated, bibliography. The relevant chapter on the Iranian languages of Hajdú-Kristó-Róna-Tas (1 976, vol. I/2) was also written by Éva Korenchy (1 976). Pages 1 01-1 03 of that book include an overview of the history of research, earlier literature, and a bibliography can also be found there. The earlier Hungaro---Permic connection has been overemphasised by Elemér Moór, who suggests that even the name Magyar comes from this connection. He claims that the mans word had a second component, ser or seri, added to it and, thus, by losing the sound /s/ it became er or eri. The word ser, according to Moór (1 953 ), lived on in the ethnonym Zyryan. Pais (1 953 ) claims that the Nyék tribe represented the Permic connection. The critical analysis of the previous literature was done by Rédei (1 964, 1 969), which closed the debate for some time.

The sources

1 67

His basic claim was that, although a loose connection could be detected, there is no result of major mutual influence handed down from this relationship. The question has now arisen again and warrants a new examination. The Hungarian loan words taken from Turkic were treated by Zsuzsa Kakuk in Benkő (1 967-1 984) and revised by Ligeti. I was in charge ofthe words ofTurkic origin in Benkő (1 992-1 995). Ligeti's earlier articles are also ofgreat value as is Ligeti (1 986). I discuss the Turkic etymology, found in this book, in a monograph about the Turkic loan words in Hungarian (to be published). I wrote on the guttural word endings in Róna-Tas (1 997d). I dealt with the problems ofrotacism and lambdacism in depth, with the inclusion ofall available material, in my DSc dissertation (Róna-Tas 1 970), and in several articles (Róna-Tas 1 973 , 1 974a, 1 980b, 1 981 , 1 982d, 1 988d) and in the introduction to my Chuvash text book (Róna-Tas 1 978b ). On the criteria ofthe Chuvash loan words see Róna-Tas (1 978b) and Ligeti (1 986). The monograph of written Greek material on the Danube Bulghar linguistic history is by Be�evliev (1963, 1979). The monograph of the list of the Danube Bulghar rulers, with conclusions difficult to accept, is by Pritsak ( 1953-1 954). The Volga Bulghar inscriptions were published by Jusupov (1960), Róna-Tas-Fodor (1973), Hakimzyanov (1 978), Tekin (1 988), Erdal (1 993b); the historic sources of the Chuvash and the Chuvash-type languages are discussed in Róna-Tas ( 1982d), the word terem and the name Termecsü are discussed in Róna-Tas (1 996g). ln a recent publication Benkő ( 1998) has expressed doubts on the etymology. His main argument is built on the fact that in recent Hungarian the second vowel ofterem is a closed and not an open e, and closed e vowels ofOld Hungarian are not transcribed by Greek alpha. Since in the original, be it Turkic or Slavic, there was no closed e, this argument is not conclusive. The present Hungarian fönn is due to a longer adaptation to the structure of the Hungarian language. The references on archaeology in this book are largely based on the archaeological chapters of Hajdú-Kristó-Róna-Tas (1 976, vol. 1/2), in particular the work of Csanád Bálint. The archaeological sources up to the period ofthe 4th century AD were summarised by Béla Kürti. Csanád Bálint summarised the eastem relations, the archaeology of the Carpathian Basin and that of the conquering Magyars. A separate volume had been published with the pictures ofthe obj ects found (Bálint 1 989b ). The most successful discussion on the early archaeological findings of the ancient history of the Finno-Ugrian people is by Fodor (1 973 ) and the best known one Fodor (1 975), in English Fodor (1 982b), in German Fodor (1 982a). Archaeological findings linked to the Magyars outside the Carpathian Basin are discussed in Fodor (1 994). I discuss the question ofthe Volga Magyars and the Volga Bulghar archaeology in detail in my assessment of István Fodor's dissertation (Róna-Tas 1 978-1 980, published in 1 988, sec 1 988e ). Halikova published several studies on the Bolshie Tigani finds (Halikova 1 976, Halikova-Kazakov 1 977, Halikova 1 978, Halikova-Halikov 1 981 ). See also Fodor (1 994 ). I also wrote about the funeral shroud in relation to the F odor-dissertation (Róna-Tas 1 988e, see also M. Benkő 1 992/1 993). Important studies written on Avar and Slav archaeology and the history of the Pannonian Slavs are by István Bóna. Two overviews can be found in Bóna (1 984a, 1 994a, see also Bóna 1 971 , 1 990e). On the Avar archaeology's eastem links see Erdélyi (1 982). The best monograph on the Avars is Pohl ( 1 988; see also my review in Róna-Tas 1 991 c). On the archaeological excavations at Zalavár and the Pannonian-Slav settlements ofPribina-Kotsel see Cs. Sós (1 973 ). The needle-case of Szarvas was found by Irén Juhász and published in Juhász (1 983 , 1985). The latest publication on the inscriptions on the Nagyszentmiklós Treasure and on the questions ofEastem European runiform writing is by Göbi-Róna-Tas (1 995). The thorough bibliography

1 68

Methodological introduction and the sources

is the work ofMária Ivanics. On the Hungarian words ír 'write' and betű 'letter (=character)' see Róna-Tas (1992a), in the volume on the Hungarian runiform writing, see Sándor (1 992b ). The chapters on Magyar ethnography in Hajdú-Kristó-Róna-Tas (1976, vol. I/2) were written by László Kósa and Imre Katona. Questions on agriculture, settlement types, livestock­ farming, threshing and sowing are summarised by Kósa. Social ethnography was discussed by Katona. My references on the extended family units are from my unpublished MA thesis on the extended families ofÖrhalom (Northeast Hungary). For Mongolian ethnographic material see Róna-Tas (1 959, 1 961 a, 1 961 b, 1 963, 1 972, 1 980a). On Tengrism see Roux (1 956, 1 958, 1 962) and Róna-Tas (1 987a). The data on the Khirghiz kut is by Judahin (1965, p. 452). On the smaller Kharabalghasun inscription, see Sinehüü (1 980, pp. 42-43). The Northern Zhou-dynasty's annals were reported by Liu (1 958, p. 8). Masudi 's report quoted here does not appear in the Masudi-translation of Györffy (1 975c), nor in Kristó (1 995d). It is discussed, however, by Ludwig (1 982). lbn Fadlan's report was published in Togan (1 939) and Kovalevskij (1 956), see p. 1 65 above. Movses Dashuranci 's description can be found in Ludwig ( 1982, p. 310). Shamanism is discussed in Johansen (1 987) and Hultkrantz (1 993). Both articles contain further bibliographies. The chapter on anthropology in Hajdú-Kristó-Róna-Tas (1 976, vol. 1/2) was written by Pál Lipták. It can be found in more detail in Lipták (1 971 ). The categorising of the latest results into A-E groups and the maps are by Éry (1 994, see also Éry 1 983 ). The data were statistically verified and the histogram was created by Ákos Róna-Tas. The source for the gamma-globulin markers and the latest results on the genetic research of the Magyars can be found in Tauszik ( l 990a, 1 990b ), Czeizel (1 990) and the review by Róna-Tas (1 990b ).




1 . U N G U lSTl C RElATlONSH l P Unlike our neighbours and friends, we cannot choose our relatives. Our approach to the ancient affinities of the Hungarian language must therefore be unclouded by emotional judgements or prejudice. We must be clear, however, what linguistic kinship is, or rather what is meant by the term in this book. Among people, there are two kinds ofrelatives: those linked by descent, and those acquired by marriage, where the bonds are not ofblood. Applied to language, the term will herein have the first sense. The concept of linguistic relationship goes back a long way; it is the real substance of the Tower of Babel story. The first use of the modern scientific concept of linguistic relationship is normally attributed to a lecture given to the Royal Asian Society on 2nd February 1786 by Sir William Jones, in which he propounded the modern theory ofthe relationships among Indo-European languages. ln his Origin of Species, published in 1859, Darwin used the relationships of languages to illustrate the development of species. Extinct languages assume the same position as extinct species. And although we do indeed talk of genetic relationships between languages, and therefore apply a biological parallel, the theory of linguistic relationship is not, however, the product of Darwinism. The multitude of the world's languages can be ordered in three different ways. First, languages can be grouped geographically. This is sometimes un­ avoidable, and in the Caucasus, for example, where there are so many different languages, it is the only way. However, it can never be the hasis for an unambiguous classification, because taking the same example, nobody can say where the borders of the Caucasus are, nor can the Russian spoken in the Caucasus be easily accounted for. The second is typological classification. ln contrast to the languages ofits neighbours, most of the grammar ofHungarian is built from constructions-"agglutination"-of affixes, suffixes, and word stems. Languages can be classified typologically in different ways. One scheme groups them into "agglutinative", "synthetic" (inflected, like the lndo-European languages) and "isolating" (analytic, like old Chinese) types. Other divisions may be made according to the compulsory order of subject,


Relatives and neighbours

predicate and object, or whether the logical subject ofthe sentence consists of a subject case or has an instrumental complement. These typological compari­ sons shed much light on the workings of a language. They are also complete, in that all languages can be assigned to categories in any ofthe schemes, but they are not unambiguous, because one language can belong to two or more different typological groups. This typological similarity is often mistaken for kinship. Similar languages are nowadays considered to be related from the mistaken inference that "since relatives look similar, similarity implies relat­ edness". But since they are always changing, languages also change their type. English is losing its last grammatical inflections, and the role of its grammati­ cal word order is getting closer to that of Chinese. ln the following two sentences, it is clear only from the word order who kills whom: The lion kills the snake. The snake kills the lion. ln Hungarian, the subject and object are distinguished by suffixes, and in the equivalent ofthe first sentence, the places ofthe lion and the snake within the sentence can be reversed without any benefit to the snake. This means that the order of the parts of speech can be freely changed without changing the meaning. Genetic relationships of languages, i.e. grouping by linguistic family, is complete, because every language belongs to some family, although there are nowadays some languages without relatives. lt is unambiguous, because one language cannot belong to more than one family, and not arbitrary, because it can be determined uniquely from each language which family it belongs to. Of course linguistic relationship is more than just a means of grouping languages. Two or more languages are said to be related if their principal subsystems can be historically traced to a common ancestor language. Sub­ systems include basic vocabulary, phonemic structure, morphology, and gram­ matical-functional relationships. Tracing implies the ability to state the rules describing how the proto-language diverged and how the related languages emerged from it. Related languages must be linked not by individual words which look and sound the same, but by consistent correspondences. There are many different kinds of consistent correspondences, and only one of these indicates that the languages are actually related. Loan words also have a system, and have regular correspondences with the language they are bor­ rowed from, but these are not evidence of a basic relationship. Similarities between languages can also have several other causes. Very common are "elementary" words, such as onomatopoeic words. Birds are named onomatopoeically in most languages, so that the cuckoo has been given a similar or identical name in several languages, completely inde­ pendently. Such elementary similarity is typical of infant words. ln nearly all

The relatives


the languages of the world, children's first verbal interchanges with their parents are through phonetic forms like papa, mama, dada, etc., without these languages being related. ln many cases, the reason for similarity is simply coincidence. There is no relationship between the Chinese and Hungarian words for woman, which are 'nü' and 'nő ' respectively, nor between the English word 'cut' and the similar-sounding word of the same meaning in Arabic (see also p. 298). Because ofthe small number ofsounds and the restricted possible connections among them, there will always be such coincidental correspondences between languages. lt is surprising there are not more. However, these never fit into a larger system. Similarity can also be due to convergent changes. The word meaning 'boy' in Romanian sounds almost the same as in Hungarian (jiu ), but there is nothing in common between their respective origins. One derives from the Latinfilius and the other from the Finno-Ugrian *poj, which went through changes re­ sulting in accidental similarity. Where languages coexist for extended periods, secondary correspondences arise which are not inherited from a shared origin. There are several such phenomena among Balkan languages, and some in the Volga region. For example, in all of the Volga region's languages, the illabial /a/ has transformed into the labial /a/, förmed with rounded lips, identical to the Magyar short /a/, but at varying times. Although such regional correspondences can become very influential after long times of proximity, they do not result in a new language. The significance of this to the history of Hungarian is that, as we have seen, the language must have had intensive exposure first to lranian, and then later to Turkic languages. These would have resulted in both borrowings and mutual changes, some of which can actually be demonstrated, but did not lead to the evolution of a new language. The language ofthe speakers was not replaced, it only changed. The system of similarities, correspondences and deviations between the languages can be analysed using increasingly refined scientific techniques. The Uralic origin of the Hungarian language can be unambiguously proven from the history of the most basic vocabulary elements, grammatical signs and the major points of grammar. But it is not the origin itself which is in­ teresting so much as the question of what linguistic features have evolved as Hungarian has passed through history as a separate language. Ancient inherited forms and external elements can quite easily be distinguished, but this is not so in the case of internal transformation of what has been inherited. There are several Hungarian suffixes which are not part of the modern language, but whose existence in older versions of the language can be demonstrated. Some of these definitely emerged during the language's sepa-

1 74

Relatives and neighbours

rate existence. ln many cases their function is not even clear, there being no apparent difference between stems and derivatives. This intemal course of change within the Hungarian language must have been particularly influential in the earliest period of Ancient Hungarian. How is this major change to be assessed? Did it depend on the length of the period, on the effect of-or isolation from-extemal influences, or a combination of these? The answer to these questions can be sought through reconstruction of the history of speakers of the Hungarian language. The links between linguistic and ethnic relationships has already been discussed (see pp. 5-1 2), and so we can proceed to the links between the Uralic languages.


a) The proto-language The term Ura lic indicates the combination of the Finno-Ugrian and the Samoyedic language family, and proto- Uralic their common reconstructed ancestor. ln some cases the term Finno-Ugrian is used instead of Uralic, following the older custom. Thus the five-yearly lntemational Finno-Ugrian Congresses are really concemed with the study of the Uralic peoples, includ­ ing Samoyedic. Speakers ofUralic languages do not live very far apart from each other. The greatest separation is between the speakers of the Hungarian and Finnish languages. It is thus to be expected that Uralic languages in close proximity to each other will contain many typological correspondences arising from areal or secondary effects, since these can occur just as well between related languages as between those that are unrelated. They are important inasmuch that secondary correspondences have to be eliminated in order to enable reconstruction oflinguistic affinities. For example, many languages-includ­ ing old lndo-European-have a "dual", i.e. a third category additional to singular and plural. This dual exists in the Ob-Ugrian languages, but not in Hungarian. Did it drop out of Hungarian, or was it introduced secondarily into Ob-Ugrian languages? The fact that the dual can also be reconstructed for the Samoyedic languages suggests that this is an old areal phenomenon, and although there are also traces of it in Lapp, it cannot be assumed that dual existed in the ancient Uralic languages, because the Lapp speakers migrated from the region where this areal dual phenomenon existed.

The relatives


Figure 34 The Ural and the Kelteminar cultures in the 4th-2nd millennia BC

The proto-Uralic, similarly to other proto-languages, was certainly not completely homogeneous. Some differences between later separate languages could have already existed in basic-language dialects and carried over into languages as they split off. Geographical areas containing identical linguistic phenomena are delineated by lines called isoglosses. Some of these isoglosses encompass dialects that later became separate languages, but there are some


Relatives and neighbours

1 2 3 4 5

Uralic languages Finno-Ugrian Fl Baltic Finnic (Finnish § and Estonian) é:j Lapp f:7 Volga Finnic � (Mordvin, Cheremis) IIIIl] Permian (Zyryan, Votyak) Ugrian (Vogul, Ostyak, Magyar)


D Samoyedic

Figure 3 5 The Ural Urheimat and the distribution of Uralic languages today

phenomena in the proto-language whose continuations can be detected in more than one derivative language. There are two possible reasons for the absence of certain linguistic phenomena in some Uralic languages and their existence in others. The absences may be due to their disappearance in the meantime, but it may also be that they were missing from the dialects of the original proto-language. ln Ob-Ugrian languages there is a passive form of the verb, and Hungarian also recognises passive forms. lt seems that these appeared independently in both languages by a secondary route, just as the definite verb ending did. However, it is probable that the fundamental linguis­ tic conditions for the definite conjugation evolved in the common Ugrian language. The value of these two examples is only in showing that reconstruc­ tion of linguistic affinities can only be accomplished with highly refined methodology and by taking into account several historical questions.


The relatives

---- Dual

- - - - l

..,._ ..,.. _.. Mu ltifunctional root � l nternal/external local suffixes

• • • • • • • • • Conversion ""'+ ,V SVO-tendency

Figure 36 Typological classification of the Uralic languages, after Péter Hajdú

b) The Samoyedic languages and peop les The ethnic name Samoyed means 'self-eater' ín modem Russian, but this is the folk-etymological corruption of some extemally designated name. The Samoyedic languages can nowadays be divided into three groups: northem, southeastem and southwestem groups. The date when the shared Samoyedic language divided can be placed at around the time of Christ. The shared Samoyedic proto-language was probably spoken ín the region of the Sayan Mountains.


Relatives and neighbours

The northem Samoyedic languages include the Nenets, the Enets and the Nganasan languages. The names of all three ethnic groups are self-given, and all derive from a shared word meaning 'man'. The Nenets people (also Yurak, or Yurak-Samoyedic), numbering about 35,000, live thinly scattered on the wide expanse of tundra between the northem course ofthe Dvina and the northem estuary ofthe River Yenisei. At the south they come into contact with the Ob-Ugrians. They speak several highly differentiated dialects. The name Yurak originates from the name of the Nenets in Ob-Ugrian. Along the lower, i.e. northem, course ofthe Yenisei live around 400 Enets (Yenisei Samoyed) who preserve their own language. The Nganasan language (Tavgi Samoyed) is spoken by about 1300 people on the Taimyr Peninsula. The Selkup people live to the southwest beside the Narym, Tim, Ket and Vasyugan tributaries of the middle Ob. The northem group lives beside the River Taz, and beside the left two branches of the Yenisei, the Turuhan and the Yelogui. The northem group only moved into their present location from the middle Ob region. The first syllable ofthe name means 'land' and the -kup means 'man', and is etymologically related to the Hungarian word h ím ' male'. ln the southeast, the Sayan Samoyedic peoples lived in the Sayan Moun­ tains. Their languages are now extinct, but valuable linguistic records were made in the 18th and 19th centuries. The best-known Sayan Samoyedic lan­ guage is the Kamas. lts last two speakers revived their common language, and after one of them died, the last Kamas woman made a persona! appear­ ance and contribution, at the 1970 Intemational Finno-Ugrian Congress. Her mother tongue and her use of it gave an interesting example of linguistic extinction and preservation. Most Sayan Samoyedic language speakers were Turkified in the first half of the last century, with the loss of the Karagas , Koybal , Motor , Soyot and Taigi languages. At the tum of the century they were already names of Siberian Turk dialects or languages. The name ofthe Motor language probably derives from the Turk word bagatur, which is the root of the Hungarian word bátor (brave), and whose final origin is obscure, but probably lranian.

e) The Ob-Ugrian languages and peo p les The Voguls , or as they call themselves, the Manshi, live between the Urals and the lower course ofthe Ob. Only about a half ofthe 8500 Voguls speak Manshi. Their language is divided into several dialects, generally named after the rivers around which their speakers live. The area is now inhabited only patchily. Speakers of dialects who live far apart no longer understand each other. Their


The relatives

literary language is based on the northem dialect. Some dialects have now become extinct, and the people have become Turkified or Russified. The Os tyaks, or as they call themselves, the Hantis, live in the vast area between the Yenisei and the middle and lower reaches of the Ob. Around 70% of the 22,500 Ostyaks speak their mother tongue. Their dialects are clas­ sified into northem, eastem and southem groups. Differences between them are so deep that there have been attempts to create several different literary languages. The name ofthe Russian Ostyak people is probably ofTurk origin, derived from one of the old names for the Bashkirs, lshtek. The name also used to denote the palaeo-Siberian Kets (Yenisei Ostyaks) and the Selkups. The Ob-Ugrian languages contain many words borrowed from Turkic and Zyryan, as well as from old and modem Russian. ln the old Russian chronicles, the people were called the Yugrians, and their country Yugria. ln the 12th century, their principal groups lived on the western side of the Urals. After the 13th century, they migrated east to escape the Zyryans and the Russians. ln the 14th century, their centre was still in the Ob region. After their subjugation, lvan III assumed the title of the Great Duke of Yugria, which appears in a letter written to the "king of the Ugrians", that is to King Matthias of Hungary on 29 July 1488. The Vogul name first appears in 14th-century sources, and the Ostyak in 16th-century sources. Russian sources ceased to refer to the Yugri people in the 17th century. However, there are reports of Vogul populations in the Karna and Chusovaya regions up to the 17th and 18th centuries. The last report is of 69 Vogul inhabitants in the Cherdyn district on the western side ofthe Urals in 1860. ln the 14th century, a Khanate was established under the leadership of Turkic groups of Kipchak origin. This was gradually broken up by Russian expeditionary forces from the 16th century onwards.

d) The Pennian languages and peoples The Zyryans, or as they call themselves, the Kornis, live along the banks of the right tributary of the North Dvina, the Vychegda, the Mezen, which flow into the White Sea, and the Pechora and its tributaries, which flows into the Barents Sea. The 1990 census gives the number of people declaring them­ selves to be Komi as 496,000, and 83% of these give one of the two li­ terary languages as their mother tongue. The effective centre of the Komi population is Siktivkar, the capital of the republic, at the confluence of the Sisola and the Vychegda. South from here, centred around Kudimkar, in the Perm area, they speak Permyak. A small Komi group also lives to the east, in the Yazva valley. The two main groups produced two separate literary lan-

1 80

Relatives and neighbours

guages. The Zyryan language is divided among four larger dialect groups, primarily according to the representation of the original /1/ sound. The two literary languages belong to the same dialect type. ln the 1 4th century, the subsequently sanctified Bishop Stephen of Perm devised an alphabet using Greek and Cyrillic letters, for the purpose of spreading the faith. Several ecclesiastical texts from Perm written in Zyryan have survived from between the 1 4th and 1 6th centuries. These, however, did not give rise to a widespread use of the written language, far less to a literary language. The Votyaks, or as they call themselves, the Udmurts, live in the area bounded by the River Vyatka and the lower course of the Karna. ln 1 990, 83% of the approximately 746,000 Votyaks declared Votyak to be their moth­ er tongue. The capital of their republic is lzhevsk, on the bank of the River lzh. The first syllable of the Udmurt ethnic name can be traced to the name used by the Cheremis, Odo, or to a word which means 'field ' . The second syl­ lable is of lranian origin and means 'man ' . The first part of the name Votyak is identical with the ud or odo element, and the second is the Russian 'people ' suffix. The level of correspondence in vocabulary and forms between the Zyryan and Votyak languages is 80%, but the pronunciation deviates to such an extent that speakers of the two languages cannot understand each other. ln the 1 0th century, when the Permian language of the Karna and Vyatka areas was still shared, its speakers came into contact with the Bulghar-Turkic population. This shared Permian language has Chuvash loan words, which have significance for the chronology of similar Chuvash loan words in the Hungarian language. The split of the two Permian languages must be dated to after this period. Between the 1 1 th and 1 3th centuries, the Zyryans were in contact with the Novgorod Russian and Volga Bulghar peoples, and later with the Kipchak people. The Votyaks came under the influence ofthe Volga Bulghars, and from the 1 3th century, very strongly, of the Tatars ofKhazan. The Volga region fell victim to the same Mongol attack of 1 235-3 6 which destroyed the Magna Hungaria and Magna Bulgharia in the Karna region, and fundamentally altered the Votyak pattem of settlement. They have more or less been living in their present areas since that time.


The relatives

e) The Volga Finno-Ugrian languages and peoples Earlier there was little doubt that the Cheremis and Mordvin languages were derived from a shared precursor. It is becoming an increasingly common view, however, that there was never such a shared Volga Finnish era, or if there was, it was very short. The Cheremis language and people The Cheremis, or as they call themselves, the Mari, people number some 670,800. More than 90% of them speak their mother tongue. The origin of the Cheremis name remains unclear. Jordanes mentions among the peoples subjugated by the Gothic King Ermanrich, along with the Merens and Mordens peoples, a people called the Sremniscans. (ln the manuscripts, Remniscans and Imniscaris can also be found.) Researchers identify the first two as references to the Merya and the Mordvin, naturally not around 350 when Ermanrich ruled, but at the time when Jordanes did his work, in the middle of the 6th century. The third name is linked by some to the name of the Cheremis people, and by others to the name of the River Cheremshan. For a long time, Cheremis was also the name used for Chuvash in travellers' accounts. The Tatars now refer to the Cheremis as Chirmesh, a Russian form, the origin of which is not clear. ln Chuvash, their name is Syarmas, which is the regular continuation ofthe earlier Chermish. The name ofthe Mari people also means 'man' (see p. 303). There is a mountain dialect of Cheremis spoken on the right bank ofthe Volga, close to the Chuvash. The other dialects, collectively known as meadow Cheremis, are extremely diverse. The eastem Cheremis, who live in Bashkiria, split off in the 18th century. Mountain and Meadow Cheremis have separate literary languages. Cheremis has very old Chuvash-type loan words. There is a debate over when these loan words were acquired. lt is decided by Mongol loan words which passed into Volga Bulghar or Middle Chuvash, and from there to Cheremis. These cannot be older than the 13th century, and display the same features as the other Chuvash-type loan words. The start of contact between the Cheremis and the Chuvash must therefore be put to the 13th century. Some Hungarian word equivalents or phonetic forms originating in the Chuvash language have only been preserved in Cheremis, and so Cheremis information is very important. The Cheremis loan words from Chuvash, which number over 1OOO, also have the power to settle the issue of the historical relationships between the Cheremis dialects.


Relatives and neighbours

The sole reason that can be adduced for linguistic relations between Chuvash and Cheremis not predating the 13th century is that the Cheremis moved into the region bordering the Chuvash only shortly earlier. Migrating from the west, probably from the Oka region, the Cheremis may have met the westward-moving Chuvash west of the Volga bend. The Chuvash influence was followed by a strong Kazan Tatar influence. This continued even after the capture of Kazan by the Russians in 155 1. The Russian influence, which is apparent in the middle Volga region from the 9th century, became much more intensive from the 16th century. The Mordvin language and people There are 1.2 million Mordvins, but they are thinly spread out between the Oka and the Belaya. As noted above, their name was first recorded by Jor­ danes. Byzantine, Arab and later Russian sources mention them, and Julianus, a Hungarian traveller of the 13th century also recorded their name. The Mordvin language is divided into two, near-independent branches. The western group living in the River Moksha area and its surroundings are known as Moksha Mordvin or simply Moksha, the eastem group beside the River Sura are known as Erzya Mordvin or Erzya. The linguistic boundary between the two groups falls along a tributary ofthe River Alatir, the River Insar. Speakers of the two languages can understand each other only with great difficulty, and two literary languages have been created. It is interesting that, whereas there are a great number of Chuvash-type Turk loan words in Cheremis and many in the Permian languages, there are practically none in the Mordvin dialects. This can hardly be due to these peoples not coming into contact with each other, because it is difficult to conceive that the Mordvins could have been isolated from the Bulghars and the Khazars. Presumably their cultural and economic life was such that living with Turk neighbours had no effect. This could only have been possible ifthey lived on equal social and political terms with them.

f) Extinct Finno-Ugrian languages and peoples There is a view, held by some, that the whole of Russia really consists of Finno-Ugrian peoples assimilated one after another by the incoming Slavs. The river names produced in evidence are not unambiguous. While it may not yet be possible to prove-or indeed to disprove-the assertion of a Finno-Ugrian population stretching across Russia, there is a great deal of evi­ dence that Finno-Ugrian peoples were absorbed by Slavonic peoples and dis-

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Tlze relatives

appeared. This was the fate of the Merya, Meshcher and Muroma peoples mentioned in early Russian sources. The Merya or Meri lived in the vicinity of Rostov between the Volga and the Suzdal, and their Slavisation may have started in the 10th century, becoming complete on the establishment of the Rostov-Suzdal Principality. The Meshchers lived on the right bank of the Volga, and the Muroms between the lower Oka and the Klyazma. The course of their Slavisation probably came to a conclusion in the 11th century. The Teryuhan, living between the Volga and the Oka, are Erzya Mordvin who Russified in the 18th century, but preserved their origins in their culture and consciousness. The Karatai, living in the Tatar Republic, are Tatarised Mordvins, who have retained their ethnic distinction within the Tatars up to this century.

g) The Balto-Finnic languages and peoples The Finnish language and people Of the 5 million inhabitants of Finland, around 7% speak Swedish as their first language and the rest Finnish. The Finns are mentioned by authors of ancient times. The name of the Finn people is of Scandinavian origin, and may have first been applied to the incoming Lapps. The Finns refer to them­ selves by the name Suomi, the origin of which is uncertain, but was earlier attached to a Baltic Finnic tribe. Early Germanic, Baltic and Slavonic loan words were of great assistance in tracing the history of the Finnish language. The earliest records of the Finnish language are marginal notes written into Latin texts ofthe 13th century. The first continuous text in the language dates from the first half of the 16th century. Dialects of Finnish differ considerably from each other. Seven major dialects are normally identified, and these are distributed among two larger groups, the Western and the Eastem. There is considerable dispute over when the Finns arrived in their present homeland. The most widely-held view is that some tribes from the ancient home of the Finns south of the Finnish Gulf started to inhabit the northem shore of the Finnish Gulf and the interior of the country in the first centuries AD. Others are ofthe opinion that Finns, or a related people, have lived in the area of Finland since the 3rd millennium BC. ln any case, there are no Turkic loan words to be found in any of the Baltic Finnic languages. Finnish and Magyar are the two most distant members of the Finno-Ugrian language group, the distance between them being similar to that between Latin and Persian. Yet there are many shared basic words, such as the Hungarian had 'army' or 'war', the Finnish kunta, the Hungarian hagy 1eave', the Finnish


Relatives and neighbours

kadota, the Hungarian háj 'fat', the Finnish kuu, the Hungarian hal 'fish', the Finnish kala, the Hungarian hal 'die', the Finnish kuolla, the Hungarian hall 'hear', the Finnish kuula, etc. There are suffixes with common origins, and some old shared derivatives. The Estonian language and people

There are some one million Estonians alive today, most ofthem in the Estonian Republic. The name Estonian has only been used by Estonians since the middle ofthe 19th century to refer to themselves. It first appeared in Tacitus's work Germania (98 BC) in the form aestii, and has since appeared ín numerous other sources, but it was probably coined by the non-Finno-Ugrian Baltic people (Latvians, Lithuanians, Old Prussians). The word itself may be of Germanic origín, and only taken over by the Finno-Ugrian Estonians at the end of the 18th century. The Estonians formerly referred to themselves as Maamees, which is made up of the words maa 'land' and mees 'person, man'. Estonian is divided into two dialects, one spoken by north and northeastern Estonians, and the other by those ín the south. The northern dialect is closer to Finnish. Most ofthe Estonians are Lutheran, and a mínoríty Greek Catholic. This group preserves many ancient features. The oldest recorded fragments ofthe Estonian language date from the beginníng ofthe 13th century, and the first continuous Estonian texts appeared in the 1 6th century. There are many Baltic, Germanic and Slavic words in Estonian inherited from middle Fínnish, with many elements taken over later from German, Russian and Lithuanian. W hen the Finnísh tribes migrated, the Estonians probably more or less stayed in place, and evolved out of two middle Finnic groups, the local Baltie people being assimilated. Estonia was invaded by German and Danish forces in the 13th century, the Danes later selling their part to the Teutonic Knights in 1347. ln the 17th century, the country fell under Swedish dominion. The Tartu University was founded in 1632, and the Tallin Press in 1634. Two literary languages evolved, based on the Tallin (northern) and Tartu (southern) dialects. ln 1940 the Soviets invaded the country, followed by the Germans in 194 1, and the Soviets again in 1944. Estonia regained its independence in 199 1. Minor Finnic languages and peoples of the Baltic

The Karelian language was once treated as a separate group, but it is actually a dialect ofFínnish, some of whose speakers lived in the former Soviet Union. The number of the Karelians in Russia was recently some 13 1,000, 63% of


The relatives

whom spoke their mother tongue. Their name has appeared in the records since the 9th century. Most of them live in the vicinity of Petrozavodsk and Tver. There are substantially greater differences between Finnish and the smaller Finnic languages which are extinct or dying out. These are Izhor (lnkeri) , Veps ian, Vot ic, and Livian . ln 1970, some 800 people in the Gulf of Finland declared themselves to be Izhor, but only one-third of them spoke the Izhor language. They live between the lakes Ladoga and Onega and the White Lake. Four dialects can be distin­ guished, and they have been very rapidly becoming Russified. The Vodians live in a few villages in the Estonian Republic and around St. Petersburg. Very recently, researchers found a few old people who spoke the Vodian language. Most of them have become assimilated into their Estonian or Russian surroundings. At the end of the last century there were still about 3000 thousand Livian people in the north of Latvia, on the Kurland Peninsula. They now number a mere 500. The smaller Balti e Finnic languages have retained many old features, which makes them important for research into the history of the Baltic Finnic languages.


For earlier research and theoretical issues of linguistic relationship, see my monograph, Róna-Tas ( 1 978a). For the Uralic languages and peoples, with an introduction into Uralic studies, see Hajdú ( 1 97 1 , 1 976, 1 98 1 ), Hajdú-Domokos ( 1 987). The sources of the latest statistical data are Janhunen ( 1 99 1 ) and a communication by Hajdú for which I offer my sincere thanks.


a) The beginnings of lndo-European languages and the ear!J' migrations We have seen that in order to reconstruct the past history of the conquering Magyar people it is important to know the main points of the Indo-European peoples' history. This is because the dominant early contacts were with Iranian groups. The oldest written examples of the Indo-European languages date from around 2000 BC, and were found in Eastem Anatolia in modem Turkey. These are non-Indo-European texts in which the names of lndo-European language speakers occur. Records written in the languages themselves exist from shortly afterwards, such as those from about 2000 BC found in the middle of modem Turkey, in the area occupied by the Hatti Empire. The language is that of the Hittites, who themselves set up an empire there around 1 640 BC. These relics show that the "Anatolian" group oflndo-European languages (Hittite, Luwian and Palaic) had already consisted of separate languages for some tim e. This is upheld by earlier river and lake names dating from the 2nd millennium BC, that have elements which can be deciphered from Indo-European. This puts the date of the proto-language of the ancient Indo-European Anatolian lan­ guages at some time in the 4th millennium BC. The forebears of other large language groups can also be placed in the 3rd millennium. Weighing up all of these facts puts the break-up of the Proto-Indo-European, still unified but made up of different dialects, at the end of the 5th, or the start of the 4th mil­ lennium BC. The question remains of where this language was spoken, or in other words, what was the Urheimat of the Indo-European languages? There is a very heated debate over the issue; the different regions suggested are shown in Figure 37, along with the names of their proponents. The question has a Magyar aspect too, albeit indirectly. Featuring promi­ nently in the arguments for and against the various Urheimat theories are the non-Indo-European words which passed into the Indo-European language. Some of these ancient loan words also found their way from Indo-European into Hungarian. One of the main weapons and implements of the Bronze Age was the axe, which carried cult significance in some Bronze-Age cultures. The

1 88

Relatives and neighbo11rs

Figure 37 The Indo-European peoples' Urheimat. Views since 1960


Caspian Lake

Mediterranean Sea

Figure 38 Ancient Indo-European languages, Hittite, Luwian and Palaic, among Anatolian and Middle-Eastem non-lndo-European languages

Tlze n eighbours


Figure 39 The evolution of lndo-European languages, after Gamkrelidze and Ivanov

Semitic name ofthe axe is the noun derived from the verb made up ofthe roots p-l-k, and meaning 'to split', i.e. that which splits, or what we split with. This existed as the forms pilakka in Akkadian, pelka in Old Syrian and pilka in Mandean. The Indo-European languages adopted this as *peleku and *phelekhu. The word is certainly very old, because it already existed in the Mycenaean and Cretan culture, and also occurs in Horner in the form peleküs. The word also passed into the Turk languages, appearing in the form balqa in Old Turkic. Through another route it arrived in Mongol in the form *paluka, from which haluka and the modern Mongol form aluka were derived, every­ where with the meaning 'axe' or 'hatchet'. The word was passed down from the basic Indo-European language into Indo-Iranian, and here it started with the form peleku, from which it progressed regularly to paraku > parathu > partha. It was borrowed from Old Persian by Ossetic and Tocharian. This form also probably passed through Finno-Ugrian to Chuvash where it now appears regularly in the form purta. There was a time and an Iranian dialect, however, in which the /r/ sound became /1/. It was from this language that the palta form entered Turk, and the Turk balta into Magyar where it remains as balta.


Relatives and neighbours

This loan word does not stand alone. The Hungarian wordszekerce 'hatchet' derives from Southem Slavonic. Its Slavic basic word, sekira, goes back through the Latin securis 'weapon, chariot' to an Indo-European word *sekur which may be of Semitic origin; see the Akkadian shukurru 'lance, piercing weapon', and the Hebrew segor 'axe', influenced by Indo-European sek- 'to cut'. This all needed saying because these are important, typical loan words for tools carrying cult associations. The axe tums up frequently in Volga Bronze­ Age figuration. The Hungarian word for 'seven', hét, was originally of the form *ét, with the h attached by analogy with the word for 'six', hat. The word also exists in the other Ugrian languages, and it is possible to reconstruct the 1 2 17













23 10

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Figure 40 Isoglosses ofthe Indo-European languages, after Anttila ( 1-24 phonetic and morphological isoglosses)

19 1

The neighbours


'( 0


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I r a n ;\i


'f o C h a r i. a 17


Figure 4 1 The main Indo-European languages and their early locations

Ugrian proto-language form *septe. This is a loan word from the Indo-Euro­ pean form *septem. But the Indo-European word itself is probably of Semitic origin, and was brought over into Indo-European with the cultic number seven. The ancient Semitic sab c 'seven' is also the root of the Hebrew sabbat, the name of the seventh day. So the Hungarian words hét 'seven', szeptember 'September', and szombat 'Saturday' can all be traced to the same ancient ongm. Locating the Urheimat oflndo-European involves studying languages other than Semitic. One of these is Hattic, a non-Indo-European language whose relics are known from the period before the Hittites. The Hittites took over the worship of the sun god from the Hattians, and with it the Hattic word for the sun god. The Hattic name Eshtan transformed into Js htanu 'sun, sun god', from which, most likely through Caucasian and Khazar intermediaries, it passed into Hungarian as the word for God, Isten . However, such cultural loan words cannot prove relationships between ancient peoples, nor determine where the Urheimat of Indo-European was located.


Relatives and neighbours

Also unsuitable för such a purpose are the affinities of the Hungarian word för apple, alma. The word exists in every Indo-European language, and the Gennan Apfel, the English apple and the Russian yabloko are all members of this word-family. The fönn *ablu~aplu can be reconstructed för the Indo­ European languages. Hittite has the word shamlu, however, and this is old­ er than ablu. The Hittite /sh/ regularly disappeared in the other Indo-Euro­ pean languages, and the ml passed through the juncture mp! to become -b l/pl-. From the Hittite shamlu fönn came *amlu, which, perhaps through Tocharian mediation appeared in the Turkic languages as *amla and subsequently alma. The Hungarian alma 'apple' is of Turkic origin. Although in most of the Indo-European languages the word has recurrent correspondences, some Indo-European languages borrowed it from others. The ancient Indo-Euro­ pean word för 'apple' only means that the apple was indigenous in the Indo-European Urheimat. For the Turkic languages, however, it is important that the word retained the fönn of an old Indo-European version. W herever the Urheimat of Indo-European was, för the history of the Magyars it is only the history of the Tocharian and Iranian languages which are important. This requires us to take a brieflook at the historical distribution of Indo-European languages, as shown in Figure 39.

b) The Tocharian language and peop le Excavations in the Central Asian region of Turfan have produced texts written ín a language which was not Iranian, but was Indo-European. Two dialects have been föund quite far from each other, one used ín the Kucha and Karashar regions, and the other around Turfan. Buddhist texts were written ín this language, ofwhich several were also translated into Turkic. One ofthese texts mentions that the Turkic text was translated from Tocharian. The Tocharians had a long history behind them by this time. They had migrated a long way east of the Indo-Europeans, right up to the Chinese border. It may be that the Chinese learned bee-keeping from them, because the Chinese word för honey is an ancient Tocharian loan word. The people appearing in Chinese sources under the name Yuezhi were defeated by the Xiongnu around 175 BC. Some ofthem drifted west ín the 2nd century BC. Their fate thereafter is ofno interest to us, but what is important is that a people speaking a language ofthe so-called Centum group of the Indo-European language group, close to Italo-Celtic, migrated from the Indo-European Urheimat into East Asia. It is not known when or how quickly this movement took place. Maybe they föllowed the Silk Route, but they certainly spent extended periods at one or two places on the

1 93

The neighbours

/ Andronovo


"f o c h o r i o n s 'l> /ssik- u . e:,


n Lop-nor

Figure 42 The hypothesised emergence of the Tocharians, the Andronovo and the Afanasyevo cultures

Figure 43 The Tocharians and their neighbours in the Tarim Basin


Relatives and neighbours

way. ln some opinions Tocharian words, and notjust Iranian elements, passed into the Finno-Ugrian languages. However, the evidence brought forward to prove this does not stand up to scrutiny. So we can still only assume that the Tocharians also played a part in passing on some migrating culture words. The issue is clouded by recent proof that several Tocharian words are not ancient lndo-European words, but loan words from Iranian languages, which might also have been the route by which these words were incorporated into the Finno-Ugrian languages. It is much more likely that words passed from Tocharian into ancient Turkic. Retreating west from the Chinese border in the 1st century AD, and settling down divided into two groups in the Turfan region, the Tocharians once again met with the Turks, who were by then a major political organisation, and it was from these later contacts that the Tocharian words entered Turkic. These spread through Buddhist translations, and from our point of view can be ne­ glected. The earlier Tocharian-Turkic contact can only be put somewhere in the 1st millennium BC, just at the time when the Tocharians were moving east. The earlier Tocharian-Turkic contact could be important to the question of the Hungarian language's Chuvash loan words. The Hungarian word ökör 'ox' comes from the Chuvash *ökür , and not from the Common Turk öküz. A very long time ago, there was an attempt to link this word with Indo-European words. Those that considered /r/ as the original sound associated the Turk word with the Latin pecus , pecoris 'cattle'. However, the Latin /s/ ending and the -r- in the declined derivative are later, Italic changes, the phenomenon which is known in Latin linguistic history as rotacism ( Venus > *venezis > veneris), i.e. when the /s/ between vowels becomes /z/ and then /r/. So the Indo-Euro­ pean root was actually *peku . It was also thought that the /p/ disappeared via an /h/, and that the end of the word is a Turkic suffix. ln this case, the history ofthe word cannot be used to throw light on whether the /r/ was formerly /z/. IfTurkic borrowed the form *peku , it could only have done so from Tocharian, because in the lranian languages the phoneme /k/ became /s/ (see Sogdian pasu). Such a word has not yet been found in Tocharian, however. Others considered that the Turk word öküz was related to the form okso which occurs in Tocharian, Ochs in German and ox in English. The recon­ structed Indo-European proto-language form of this is *ukos . This gave rise to öküz and okuz in Turkic (where both exist), and then came the change z > r , and ökür passed into Hungarian and Mongol. The weak point of these views is that /h/ does exist in Middle Mongol, and the form hükür has been found in early language records. The initial consonant /h/ usually derives from an earlier word initial p-, and as such, the form *pökür < *pöküs should be reconstructed in Turkic. This, however, cannot be traced to the Indo-European *ukos . This difficulty can perhaps be explained by a so-called cockney /h/,


The neighbours

that is, the ability of an /hl to emerge by a secondary process beföre vowel initials. An example of this exists för this very word in two Turk languages: the fönn hükiz exists in Uzbek and höküz in New-Uighur. And to dispel all doubt as far as the secondary /hl is concemed, the word för car in Uzbek is havtomo bil , where it is beyond dispute that the Uzbek language has appended an /hl in front ofthe word borrowed from Russian. Such examples also appear in the Magyar linguistic record. A lake is named in a document written in 1326 and surviving in a copy dating from 1428, as Hwkurithou , which, when rendered into modem Hungarian, would be written as Hüküritó. There are many 13th-century references to the fönn without /hl, showing that this really is an occurrence of the secondary /hl within Hungarian. The value of the above is that it demonstrates the assistance that can be drawn from Tocharian, as the earliest eastward-migrating lndo-European language, in reconstructing the background of ancient Magyar history.

e) The lranian languages and peoples Since the lndic people who broke off from the lndo-European community arrived in the lndian subcontinent by 1500 BC at the latest, but probably well beföre that, the break-up of common lndo-Iranian must be put beföre this time. The first peoples of the western steppe mentioned by Greek sources were the Cimmerians. Their earliest traces can be dated at around 1000-800 BC. The Cimmerians' linguistic and ethnic affiliations are keenly disputed, some scholars claiming they spoke an lranian language, others that their language was unknown. ln the 8th-7th centuries BC, the Scythians arrived and took over the dominion of the steppe. Their name is nonnally explained as originating from a word meaning 'shoot (an arrow)' . Some are of the opinion that the name of the Sogdian people also stems from the same proto-fönn. The Greek sources mention the eastem branch of the Scythians by the name Saka . The Assyrian sources mention the Medes for the first time in 835 BC. Mede emperors founded an empire south of the Caspian Lake, and, with assistance of the Mesopotamian people, struggled against the Cimmerians and Scythians. ln the middle of the 6th century BC, the Achaemenid emperors föunded the Persian Empire. Darius consolidated imperial power around 520 BC and made Persia into a great empire. The Persians occupied the area of modem Turkey, Mesopotamia and Egypt, and at the other extreme spread their dominion northward and eastward. This empire was brought to an end in 330 BC by Alexander the Great. Alexander also occupied the lands of the Parthians, the Bactrians and the Sogdians, and in 328 BC took as his wife Roxana, the


Relatives and neighbours

daughter of the Sogdian king. This was the beginning of the Hellenisation of Bactria. While the Medes and the Persians were establishing empires in the south, the lands to the north of them started to receive settlements of eastem lrani­ ans. ln the middle of the 1 st millennium BC, the settlers of Khwarezm and Sogdiana, the Khwarezmians and the Sogdians, and the Sakas who settled the East Turkestan basin, centred on Khotan, were all Iranian people, and had developed written languages of their own. Although they were subjected to Persian control as long as the Persian Empire flourished, this was more politi­ cal dependence than a close linkage between the peoples. Around 247 BC, the Parthians took over the eastem part of Persia held by the Seleucid dynasty which had followed Alexander the Great. ln the 1 st century BC, the Parthians ruled to the south, and the Medes southwest, of the Caspian Lake. On the steppe, the Scythians were ousted by the Sarmatians around the 3rd century BC. This people may have been the descendants of the Sauromatas mentioned by Herodotus as being Scythians who lived in the vicinity of the Don and spoke the Scythian language badly. The Sarmatians gave rise to what later became independent peoples : the Roxolani, theAors and theAlani. These peoples were ruling the western ranges of the steppe by the tim e of Christ.

Figure 44. The early distribution of the Iranian peoples

The n eighbours


Figure 45 Development of the Persian Empire (6th-5th centuries BC)

By the time the Turkic tribes arrived in the western region ofthe steppe, the only old Iranian nomads that they found were the Alani. The other three Iranian peoples, the Sogdians, the Khwarezmians and the Sakas had settled at the main trading stations. ln 227 AD, a new dynasty took up power in Persia, the Sasanians, who held themselves to be the successors ofthe Achaemenids, and revived the Zoroas­ trian religion. For a short while (2 17-277), state support was also received by the religion ofMani, Manichaeism, which proclaims the dualism of the world. Around 350 AD, a new migration took place from the north into the old land of the Sogdians between the two rivers that flow into Lake Aral, the Oxus and the Yaxartes (also known as the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya). The peoples involved are mentioned under the names of Var , Hyon , and Hephtha/ite or Ephthalite . The Hephthal or Ephthal dynasty had the upper hand from the middle of the 5th century. The latter are sometimes referred to in the literature as the White Huns. This nomad empire spread its domination to the Caspian Lake and besieged the borders of Persia. The Sasanian Persian Emperor, Shapur II (309-379) fought them hard and with varying degrees of success.

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Figure 46 Alexander the Great's empire (336-323 BC) and the Sogdians


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The neiglzbours

1 99

Figure 47 The Parthian and the Mede Empire (3rd- 1 st centuries BC)

The Var-Hyon migration is related to the migrations ofother peoples which have a more direct bearing on the history of the Magyars. Peoples arrived in the Khazakh steppe at this time who were very probably already Turkic speakers, and who were subsequently involved in the Onoghur migration. The later Avar migration also has a connection to the break-up of the Hephthalite Empire, because the Var and Hyon groups were among the peoples of this empire too. We will retum in due course to this important event for Hungarian history.


Relatives and neighbours

d) The Alani The Alani were a people who survived the Iranian era on the steppe, and went on to assume a position as a major force there. The Alani probably assimilated the Aors and As peoples, some scholars believing that the two latter, or at least their names, were originally the same, and the Alani were one of their leading tribes. The 10th-century Arabie sources {lbn Rusta) distinguish the Alani (al-Lan) and the Asians, but the Asians only start to appear more frequently in the sources after the Mongol period. It is uncertain whether the people appearing as Az in Turk inscriptions are the same as the Asians. The general view is that the As form became Yas in Slavonic, although in Chuvash-type Turkic languages the As form also regularly be­ comes Yas. The Turkic word meaning 'ermine', as, is in modem Chuvash yus, which can be traced directly to the form Yas. The Ossetian people and language are clearly derived from those of the Alani-Asian people, and the name Ossetian is derived from the Georgian version ofAs. Western and Chinese sources mention the Asian people among the Scythians relatively early, with the form Asiani also occurring occasionally. Strabon (64 BC-19 AD) mentions the Asii people among those Scythians who conquered Bactria from the Greeks. Perhaps they fell under Alani leader­ ship in the 1st century along with the Aorsian alliance. If we discount some contemporary references to the Asian people placing them in the regions of Sogdiana and Bactria, the Alani first appear in the sources from the 6th century. The Byzantine sources follow their history in particular detail, because the Alani, or a part of them, became Christians very early. Procopius first mentions them before 552 as people living north of the Caucasus, along with the Abhazians and the Zikh people, and as friends of the Romans. Behind them, i.e. to the north, lived the Sabirs. Chinese sources, especially the Tangshu, recall the Alani in several places. They are mentioned as belonging to the western Turk people in descriptions ofthe latter, and in the geographical chapter of the Tangshu it is written that they lived east of the Byzantine Empire (Fulin ), together with other tribes which are referred to by names of disputed identity, but include what is quite probably a transcription of *Ongur or * Ungur. These findings relate to the 7th century. Michael the Syrian, in the work already cited (see pp. 75 and also 229 be­ low), writes that during the reign of Emperor Maurice, Bulgharios, one of three brothers from the east, migrated to the Danube and there founded the Danube Bulghar Empire. The other two brothers went to the land of the Alani, which was called Barsilia. Its cities were built by the Romans, and were close to the Caspian Lake and the Gate of Toraye. This Gate ofToraye was probably

The neighbours


the Darial Pass, which got its name, Dar-i Alan, the "Gate ofthe Alani'', from the Persians. The Darial Pass lay north of modem Tiflis, and stretched to Vladikavkaz, i.e. beside the road to Ossetia. According to Michael the Syrian, or rather his sources, the Bulghars and the Vongurs (Vogurs) had been Christians earlier, but after a foreign people had taken control of them they were called Khazars, after the name of the older brother, Khazarig. This story must refer to the period around 678, and recalls the Khazars' occupation of Alani lands at an earlier date. Arab sources frequently mention the Alani from the 8th century onwards, in reports of military expeditions through the Caucasus. ln 725, the Arab warlord Jarrah led a campaign against the Khazars, in the course ofwhich he attacked the Alani at the Darial Pass and exacted tribute from them. ln 737, Marvan tricked the Khazars into thinking that the military expedition he was preparing was to be against the Alani, thus causing them to drop their vigilance. He attacked simultaneously across the Derbend and Darial Passes, but it seems that the main army attacked the Khazars through the Alani Empire, i.e. over the Darial Pass and across Alania. Around 760, under the leadership ofRas Tarkhan, the Khazars drove south and attacked the Alani. lt is mentioned that in 854, the Muslim govemor of Armenia and Azerbaijan permitted some Khazar families to move with their leader, Buga the Elder, into an area ruled by Islam; 3000 Alani families went with them into the Darial Pass region. Porphyrogenitus wrote of the Alani in detail around 945-950. He pointed out to his successors that the Alani could still attack the Khazars, whose nine richest provinces, from which they drew all of their wealth, lay adjacent to the Alani lands, and an attack would therefore wreak great damage on the Khazars. Additionally, if the Khazars, coming from Sharkel, attacked Kherson and the "Regions", i.e. the Byzantine possessions in the Crimea, then it would be expedient if the Alani attacked the Khazars, because being unable to fight on two fronts, they would leave Kherson in peace. ln descriptions of joumeys, it is written that beyond Sharkel and Tamatarhan is the River Ukruh, and then the River Nikopsis, which flows into the Zikhia. Then follows Papagaia, Kasakhia and the Caucasian Mountains, behind which lie the Alani. Then there are islands in the Caspian Lake where the Zikhians and others escaped from Alani attacks. Descriptions of the Pecheneg lands mention that the Pechenegs living beyond the Dnieper were confronted by Uzians, Khazars and Alani from the east and north. According to Masudi, who died in 956, the Turkic Bajna, Bajnak, Bajghard and Nokarda lived west of the Khazars and Alani. Whatever the status of this


Relatives and neighbours

clearly degraded source is, the Khazars and the Alani appear together here too. Masudi describes the Alani Kingdom in detail, and gives the title of its emperors, which is Karkundaj. Their capital was called Magas. Masudi claims that the name of the capital has the meaning 'religion' , but this is obviously an explanation from popular etymology. Masudi claims they were Christian until 932, Ibn Rusta holds that only the rulers were Christian, and at all events their bishops and priests were banished ín 932. ln prehistoric times, a bridge and a castle were built between the Caucasus and the land ofthe Alani to stop them intruding into Persia. This is a reference to the Darial Pass. According to Biruni, bom ín 973, the Alani and the Asians lived between the Caspian Lake and Lake Aral. The Alani also appear ín the records of the Jewish traveller, Benjamin of Tudela (around 1 1 70), as living under the rule ofthe Prince of Captivity, which could be a reference to their earlier allegiance to the Khazar ruler. The Hudüd al-iilam, written around 982, precisely describes the country of the Alani. Its king and some of its people were Christian, and the rest idol­ worshippers. One of their lands was Khasakh, identical to the Kasakhia which occurs ín Porphyrogenitus 's work. They are the Circassians, known ín Russian as Kasog, who spoke a Caucasian language. It mentions the Alanian Gate (Dar-i Alan), which was a city built on the summit of a hill as a fortress, and where protection was provided by a guard of 1 OOO soldiers, changed every day. There are also records ín the correspondence between Khaghan J oseph and Hasdai ibn Shaprut, and in the Hebrew "Cambridge Document", ofthe Alani and the Alanian or Darial Pass. The capital of the Alani was destroyed by the Mongols in 1 239. After being made homeless, some of the Alani or Asians stayed ín place, but a section of them j oined with the Cumans, and around 1 245 came to Hungary with the second migration of the Cumans, and were settled by Béla IV ín what became the Yas province (Jászság). The Latin sources of the Middle Ages called this province Yazygia by an erroneous equation with the Yazig people in Strabon (VII, 2.4). Some archaeologists think that after Marvan's attack in 73 7, a large section of Alani escaped to the north and settled down. It is true that in the area of the upper River Donets there are finds from the Saltovo-Mayak culture, such as catacomb-like graves, of which parallels have been found in areas inhabited by the Caucasian Alani. It is difficult, however, to use these and the anthro­ pological features usually mentioned in association with them, as a basis for proposing the existence of a northem Alani group. It cannot, of course, be excluded that as a result of the Marvan attack, which certainly induced large movements ofpeople, Alani groups really did come to the Donets-Don area, but this cannot be demonstrated from any other sources. Some have proposed that these northerly-shifting Alani groups were Turkified at an early stage. All


The neighbours

this is unverifiable speculation, however. ln any case, different ethnic groups moved and migrated more freely within the Khazar Empire just at the time of the Pax Khazarica, i.e. in the 9th century.

e) The Ostrogoths of the Crimea The Ostrogoths did not speak an lranian, but a Germanic language. The first groups appeared around 150 AD on the north shore of the Black Sea. Their settlement along the lower course ofthe Dnieper was complete by about 230. They had already clashed with the Roman Empire in the 3rd century, but their intrusions into the Balkans stopped at the end ofthe 3rd century. At that time, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths made up a great tribal alliance. One group of Visigoths were converted to Christianity under Wulfila (d. 383 AD) and settled in the Roman Empire in 348. Wulfila translated the Bible into the Gothic language. The main body of Visigoths traversed Europe and settled down in Spain, where they were dispersed by the Arabs in the 8th century. Around 360, the Ostrogoths, under Ermanrich, established a major empire between the Dniester and the Don, but it was overthrown by the Huns in alliance with the Alani after 370. Many of them migrated west and fought in alliance with Attila, and later appeared in Pannonia and Italy. One group was converted to Christianity, however, and remained in the Crimean Peninsula. There are records of the Crimean Ostrogoths dating from 300. They lived in the vicinity of Kherson (today Sevastopol), and their language survived right up to the 16th century, when Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq ( 1560-1562) set down a small vocabulary and a short linguistic record. The Ostrogoths of the Crimea were subordinated to Khazar rule in 787, which was displaced by Byzantine power before 795. They featured prominently in Khazar-Byzantine wars, in Crimean trade, and in the spreading of Christianity.

2 . TH E XlON G N U AN D TH E H U N S Chinese history is deeply coloured by struggles with barbarians from the north and west. These barbarians swept into China from the steppe, some of them gaining control of the northern provinces of China, and even forming dynas­ ties, before becoming Sinified and assimilated into the Chinese masses. Other groups retreated on to the steppe, where they either disappeared or drove westward. This historical scenario was successively repeated for a thousand years. The people ofinterest to us here is that which cropped up in the Chinese sources around 318 BC under the name Xiongnu. They were classical nomads, to the extent that in later Chinese sources all nomads were "Xiongnu", just as


Relatives and neighbours

for the Greeks they were all "Scythians". Descriptions of nomadic life repeatedly use the parlance applied to the Xiongnu. The Turks are also ascribed features copied from the Xiongnu stories, embellished with new observations. The first great Xiongnu chief, Maodun (ca. 209-174 BC) organised his em­ pire into a great power with cruelty which shocked even the Chinese. The empire stretched from Korea in the east to Lake Balkhash in the west. The title ofthe chieftain was Shanyu. The following century was passed fighting, with varying levels ofsuccess, against the Chinese, during which the Xiongnu took much from Chinese culture, and the Chinese adopted the Xiongnu's cavalry tactics. ln the middle ofthe 1st century AD, the Chinese took advantage of intemal power struggles between Xiongnu leaders and launched counter­ attacks. The leader of one of the Xiongnu groups, Zhizhi, brother of the chief, fled west after his defeat. The rest of the Xiongnu's history follows the usual pattem: some of them retreated north, but the greater part were assimilated into the northern population of China. A western Xiongnu Empire was set up covering half of the Old Empire's lands, and the Xiongnu flourished briefly for a second time. This time, the people overrun by the western Xiongnu were certainly Turkic, although the names ofthe peoples referred to in Chinese sources cannot always be identi­ fied with people known from elsewhere. The western Xiongnu Empire spread as far as the Rivers Talas and Chu. The Chinese once again went on the attack, dealing the West Xiongnu Empire a decisive defeat in 36 BC and capturing its capital. Zhizhi lost his life in the battle. Some of the Xiongnu, who had fled north and regrouped, attacked China again in the early years AD, but suffered a defeat in 91 AD and turned westward. This second Xiongnu wave also found a home in the western part of Central Asia, in the Tianshan region. Hardly anything is known of the Xiongnu's language. As in most nomad empires, there were certainly many peoples of varying languages and ethnic origins. Attempts have been made to link the few names, common words and one short, ten-syllable Xiongnu verse that crop up in the sources with nearly every early language in the world. Assessing the scant and contradictory records is made even more difficult by the unsuitability of Chinese script for rendering foreign words, and by the fact that the words recorded are mainly culture and loan words. The Xiongnu issue is important for us because of the long, if unproved, suspicion that there are historical links ofsome kind between the Xiongnu and the European Huns. Recent research has put it beyond doubt that the Sogdians, who controlled trade throughout the entire steppe, knew the Xiongnu as Huns. For this reason it has become customary to refer to the Xiongnu as Asian Huns,


Tlze neiglzbours

X i o n g n u

Wu s u n


Figure 48 China and the Xiongnu but there is little more to identify the Xiongnu as Huns. ln the waves of Hun migration which later swept Europe, the Xiongnu aristocracy which controlled the steppe peoples would certainly have been prominently involved, and al­ though they may have held high influence within the Hunnish Empire, they did not necessarily control it.


Relatives and neighbours

Areas where the F ranks, the Ostrogoths and th

Figure 49 The split of the Roman Empire in the 4th century, the Hun attack, and the Goths When the Huns crossed the Volga in 375 AD, they were not completely unknown in Europe. A few years earlier, Byzantium and Sasanian Persia had suspended their, otherwise life-or-death, struggle with each other to defend the Caucasian passes against the Huns. Sweeping across the Eastem European steppe, the Huns enslaved the Alani, who had attacked the Goths, who in tum had bome down on other Germanic tribes. Earlier, the Ostrogoths, under Ermanrich, had built up a formidable empire. After the Alani had been overrun, the Huns clashed with the Ostrogoths, who at this time were living on the Crimean Peninsula. They enslaved or enlisted the majority of them, although one group asked to be handed over to the Roman Empire. The Alani and Ostrogoth populations thus joined those enslaved and enlisted people who had come with the Huns from Asia, beyond the Volga. ln 395 AD, the main stronghold of the Huns may have lain north of the Caucasus, because it was then that they crossed these mountains and took their forces into battle on the lands of Persia and Byzantium. From the 400s, the


The 11eighbo11rs

- - Retreat of the Huns

Figure 50 The Huns in Europe centre ofthe Hunnish Empire gradually shifted to what were later Hungarian lands, between the Danube and the Tisza, and Pannonia. Bleda and Attila, who came to power in 434, had their base between the Danube and the Tisza. After consolidating their power, the Huns spread west to the Rhine, north to the Baltic Sea, and east to the Don. ln a great battle in 436, they defeated the Germanic Burgundians who lived around Worms. The memory ofthis battle is preserved in the much later epos Das Nibelungenlied · (The Song of the Nibelungs). ln 44 1, the Huns turned against the Eastern Roman Empire, i.e. Byzantium. Continual fighting was occasionally inter­ rupted by an exchange of envoys and a peace treaty. A member of one of these delegations was Priskos, whose writings remain the best surviving description of the Hunnish court and people. ln 445 Attila became the Great King of the Huns. ln spring 45 1, Attila and his Gothic allies crossed the Rhine and attacked the Visigoth king, whose seat was in what is now Toulouse. A great battle took place on the Campus Mauriacus near Troyes, where the Romans under General Aetius fought alongside the Visigoths. There were heavy casualties on both sides, and the battle ended with the defeat, but not destruction, of the Hun s. lt did not, at this time, decide the fate of the Hunnish Empire and Europe. ln 452 Attila attacked ltaly, taking and sacking Aquileia, but proved unable to follow this up with further significant successes. Roman counter-attacks and epidem­ ics decimated his army. The Roman Emperor Marcianus (450-457) resolved to send emissaries to Attila. The chief emissary was Pope Leo 1 (440-46 1),


Relatives and neighbours

and after the talks, Attila led his army home. One year later, in 453 , Attila died unexpectedly, and the empire which he had held together disintegrated within months. The remainder of the Hunnish armies withdrew to the area below the Caucasus. Little is known of what became of them; most of the tribes who appeared later under the name Hun were not Attila's Huns, but new peoples. Attila's empire was the greatest in the history of the steppe nomads until Chingis. Many have attempted to reconstruct the Huns ' language. It is inter­ esting that the very scant sources of information are often mutually contradic­ tory. Three Hunnish common words have been recorded: strava 'funeral feast', medos 'honey beer' and kamon 'millet beer ' . Of these, the first is certainly Slavonic, the second probably so too, and the origin of the third is completely obscure. But these are cultural words and it is not possible to make inferences from them conceming the language of the Huns, only that drinks with Slavonic names were drunk in Attila's court. It is unlikely that Priskos would have had Slav interpreters. Hunnish persona! names hardly yield any information. We do not know what they mean, and their phonetic transcription is dubious. Attila's name was certainly Gothic, because the -ila is a well­ known Gothic ending which occurs in many Gothic names (such as the Goth bishop Wulfila, and the Gothic persona! names Ansila, Hunila and Totila). But as has already been pointed out, the fact that the Hungarian King Andrew had a name of Greek origin does not make the Hungarians Greeks. Thus the most appropriate attitude to the names of European Huns is that there were certainly Slavs, Goths and Iranians among the people, but it is not known for sure which language was spoken among the rulers. It is possible, without there being serious evidence for it, that a Turkic language was among those spoken in the Hunnish Empire. The Huns determined the history of the Eastem European steppe, and subsequently that of the whole of Europe, for a hundred years or more, and caused major changes in the areas lying north of the steppe. The best-known Xiongnu find is the set of royal graves uncovered near N oyon ula in the forest region ofNorth-Mongolia. What is important for us is that the nature of finds in the Volga-Karna region and in the Urals go through a change in the 4th century AD, with features appearing which are indicative of large-animal husbandry and a nomadic way oflife. Khazan archaeologists link this era with the first settlements of Turkic people. It is difficult to prove this relation between changes and ethnicity. The effect of the Huns, or rather the changes occurring simultaneously with the Huns ' appearance must, however, be ac­ cepted as a fact. This strongly suggests that wherever the Magyars were in the 4th and 5th centuries, they may have been affected by the waves of Hun­ nish migration.


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a) The emergence of the Oghur peoples and the Avars The famous and much-cited report of Priskos the Rhetor on the events following the death of Attila states that the Saraghurs , the Ughors and the Onoghurs sent emissaries to Byzantium, from whom it was leamed that great changes had taken place on the steppe. The peoples living on the sea coast had driven out the Avars, the Avars had sent the Sabirs into flight, and the Sabirs had attacked the Saraghurs and Ughors who had therefore left their dwelling places and appeared at the entrance to the Caucasus. This all occurred around 463 AD. The new peoples emerged just at the place where the Huns had re­ treated after Attila's death. The new arrivals clearly assimilated the rest ofthe Hunnish population. The new people had come from the east, like other nomadic peoples, and their arrival heralded a new era on the steppe. The "Iranian" era lasted more or less up to the emergence of the Huns. This does not mean that the Alani, for instance, completely disappeared with the emergence ofthe Huns. All that can be said is that hegemony on the steppe after the Huns up to the Mongol invasion was exercised by Turkic peoples of whom the first were the Oghurs or Ughurs or Ughors. Which of the three forms of the name is the earliest is a question to which we will retum later. The names of the Oghur tribes, Saraghur or Sharaghur (Sara Oghur or Shara Oghur), Onoghur (On Oghur) , Khuturghur (Khutur Oghur), Uturghur (Utur Oghur) indicate for certain that the names of the peoples were r-Turkic, and therefore Chuvash-type, with the place of Oghuz being taken by Oghur. It can only be supposed that k hutur is actually a version ofthe r-Turkic form tokhur ofthe Turkic tokhuz 'nine', or that utur is the r-Turkic version utur ofthe Turkic otuz 'thirty'; i.e. that as well as a "ten" Oghur there was a "nine" Oghur and a "thirty" Oghur. Such names of tribal confederations exist elsewhere: in the Turk inscriptions there is Tokhuz Oghuz, which is one of the names ofthe Uighur tribal confederation, and there is Otuz Tatar , the thirty Tatar tribes' confederation. More important for us is the question ofwhere these Oghur Turks came from. Around 463, the Oghurs occupied an area which spread from the land be­ tween the Don and the Volga west to the Sea of Azov, i.e. to the Maeotis, and south to the Caucasus. They had come from the east, and were followed by the Sabirs, who settled by the lower course ofthe Volga, and were driven out by the Avars. The location of the Avars in the 460s should therefore be examined.


Relatives and neighbours

Figure 5 1 Early migrations of the Turkic peoples

Around 350, the following events occurred on the Khazakh steppe : the Huns set off towards Europe, and the Var and Hyonite tribes, driving south, attacked Persia. A new people migrated northeast from the strategically important area, whose name has been passed down in the Chinese sources, but has been the subject of much dispute. Before we address this problem, some attention must be given to the fact, discussed in detail later, that the Avars joined forces with the Varhons and the occupants of modem Mongolia, the Ruanruan, before they tumed up in Europe. The 6th- and 7th-century Chinese sources give three Chinese characters for the names of the leading Ruanruan tribes, rendered as Yujiulü. Reconstruction of the early Chinese pronunciation of this yields *ugur (i) . The i is here put in brackets because the Chinese transcribed it thus in both cases if there was only an -r (there may have been another way too) or an -ri in the original. The story of this tribal name can be followed for a long time in the Chinese sources, because the tribe, or part of it, stayed in the east for a long time, and later joined the Khitai dynasty which came to power in the l 0th century.

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Theophilaktus Simokattes's History of the World, completed in 638, de­ scribes in detail the break-up of the Avar Empire in the middle of the 6th century. We will consider only a part ofit here: "Thereafter the (Turk) Khaghan tumed to another enterprise, and enslaved the entire Oghor tribe, which was one of the most powerful, since it had a great many members, and was accomplished in the art of war. ln consequence they occupied their lands to the east, beside the River Tii, which the Turks call Melas." Melas is a Greek word meaning "black", and appears in Herodotus and Strabon as the name of several rivers. So all that we can take from this is that the Turk called the Tii river 'black'. The Chuvash call the River Karna the Black Adil (this is the Chuvash form of the Etil). The name Oghor appears in one ofTheophilaktus's sources, Menander (who must have written his works between 582 and 602), in the form Ughur, i.e. in exactly the form which can be reconstructed from the Chinese sources. However, it is highly probable that the Ughur forrn is secondary, and that the original form of the name was Oghur, which soon became Ughur, as written in several sources, and, more rarely, Oghor. lt is very likely that the name ofthe 'ten tribes' people also evolved from the form on 'ten' Ughur and became Onughur. Theophilaktus Simokattes continues: "The leaders ofthis people [i.e. the Oghors] were called Var and Hun, and the different parts of the people were accordingly called Var and Hunni. Later, when Justinian took possession of imperial power [527-565] , the Vars and the Hunnis, breaking away from the ancient tribe, fled to Europe and settled there. These people called themselves Avars, and their ruler was honoured with the title khaghan." There follows the often-quoted part which tells of how the Barselt, the Onoghur, the Sabir and other Hunnish tribes took such fright from the Vars and the Hunnis, believing them to be the Avars, that they attempted to win their mercy with lavish gifts. The Vars and the Hunnis saw how fortunate this name was, and started to call themselves Avars. But right up to the time of Theophilaktus Simokattes, one part of these pseudo-Avars bore the ancient name Var and the other part the name Hunni. Although 5th-6th-century Chinese hold the Ughur to be the leading tribe of the Ruanruans, and 5th-6th-century Byzantine sources state that the Turk Khaghan conquered the Ughurs, led by the Vars and the Hunnis, they are referring to the same people and partly to the same events. These events started in the 460s. Around 450, the Ruanruan, or Avar, khaghan defeated the U ghurs, who were living in the lands vacated by the westward-fleeing Huns in 350. He placed Avar leaders at their head, called the Vars. The form Var can also be found in Chinese sources as a sign which is nowadays read hua. This highly-cultured Ughur people then started to play a significant part in the Ruanruan Empire, however, and became the leading tribe of the Empire. Later, a part of the Ughurs mounted a rebellion, and the

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Avars förmed an alliance with the Sabirs to put them down. The Sabirs attacked the rebellious Ughurs from the north, and the Avars from the east and perhaps from the southeast. The Ughurs fled west to the Volga-Don region, below the Caucasus, and in 463 their envoys made their appearance in the court of Byzantium. When the Turk ruler tumed against the U ghurs after defeating the Ruanruan, they were already living north of the Caucasus. This is important for the story of the Ungri name of the Magyar people, but also because the Oghur or U ghur people, speaking an r-Turkic, i.e. Chuvash­ type language, could hitherto only be proven from the sources as being present west of the Urals from the 460s. It is also important because it sheds more light on the role that the Oghurs played in the history of the Avars. This group came from the east, from the direction of the Khazakh steppe, and so it would be useful to establish where the Oghurs originally came from. Theophilaktus Simokattes wrote that a city they had established, Bakath, had been levelled by an earthquake, and adds that Sogdiana was also destroyed by earthquake and plague. Many thought that this Bakath must have been identical with Bactria, the colony founded by Alexander in the area ofmodem Afghanistan and which flourished until the Middle Ages. However, Bactria received its name from the River Bactros. Recently, it was pointed out that the ending -kath is Sogdian, and means 'town' . The city has been identified from Arab and Persian sources as being in the region of the Yaxartes, i.e. the Syr Darya. It is inconceivable that Turkic-Magyar contacts could have begun here, in the earlier land of the Oghurs. Also, this would be in contradiction with historical linguistic considerations.

b) The Sabirs As we have seen, the Oghur tribes fled from the Sabirs, who caught up with them in the Volga region. After a long struggle, the Sabirs gained hegemony around 506. We know very little about the Sabirs, or as they are known in somewhat later sources, the Savir s. Their name is usually linked with the name of Siberia, and it was recently suggested that the original form of the ethnic name was Syipir or Syepir, linked by others to the name ofthe Volga Bulghar city and tribe, Suvar or Sovar . From this was derived the first part of the name Savarti Asfali, used for the Magyars, in the work of Constantine Porphyro­ genitus. The name Sapiri, referring to a people, occurs in a Turfan-region Sogdian source. The relationship between the evidence quoted is, at least, ex­ tremely uncertain. Nothing is known of the Sabirian language, which was probably Turkic, but the few names which have been recorded as Sabirian are

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not sufficient to prove this. ln any case, Sabir domination did not last long. They were involved in the Byzantine-Persian wars, but the Avars, who ap­ peared around 555, overthrew their rule and they did not subsequently play any important role.

e) The Ruanrnan and the European Avars The people which appeared in the land of modern Mongolia is first mentioned in the chronicles of 385. Their name is written in several ways in Chinese sources, but the farm most commonly used is Ruanruan. ln the 5th century they established an enormous empire, part of which was the Hua tribe mentioned above, whose name in the Chinese pronunciation of the time was var. The title khaghan is mentioned in the Chinese sources from the 3rd century onward, and also crops up among the titles of the Xianbei tribes. ln 546 AD the Tiele people rose up against the Ruanruan. This ethnic group was very probably the same as the Ughur who were involved in the events occurring around 460 recounted above. Prominent in putting down this uprising was a people which very soon became known throughout the steppe as the Turk people. Some sources claim that these Turks were previously the Ruanruan's smiths. The leader of the Turk tribal alliance asked for the hand of a Ruanruan princess as reward for victory. When this was refused, he attacked the Ruanruan ruler, with Chinese support, in 552. The Turks were victorious, and the Ruanruan ruler committed suicide. Some ofthe Ruanruans fled to the Chinese, others withdrew eastward, but most ofthem took the road west. A Syrian source appended to the work of Zakarias the Rhetor, of 555 AD, states that many nomadic people live north ofthe Caucasus, among which are listed the Avars (Ongur, Oghur, Burghar [Bulghar], Khurturghur, Abar, Khasar, Sarurghur, Dirmir, Bagirsik, Kval iz, Abdel, Eftaliyt). This implies that three years after their defeat by the Turk Empire, the Ruanruan were already in Europe. By 561 the Frankish rulers were struggling with them. The argument as to whether the Ruanruan are identical to the European Avars has now essentially been settled, inasmuch as the question itself is clearly imprecise. Just as the Huns are not the same as the Xiongnu, the Avars do not exactly coincide with the Ruanruan. However, it was mentioned above that one branch of the Ruanruan was called Var, and they were placed at the bead of the Ughurs after subjugating them. The Vars emerged in Europe together with the Ephthalite Huns or Chionites. The name of the Varkhonni tribal alliance- Varkhon (Ouarkhonitai) in Menander-may be preserved in the Várkony place names in Hungary. Varkhon or Avar only refers to the ruling


Relatives ami neighbours

circles of the tribal alliance, perhaps only to the original holders of the names. Nevertheless, it is normal practice in the literature to refer to the Ruanruan as "Asian Avars", which only means thatpart of the leading circles of the two empires was the same. What is new is that the Ughurs had an important part in the history of the Asian and the formation of the European Avars (see pp. 261-266).

d) The Turk peop le in Europe The Turk Empire was founded by the Turk tribes who rose under the leadership of Bumin against the Ruanruan. The founder of the empire, who proclaimed himself khaghan, died in 553, and was followed for a short while by his elder son Kolo, and then by his younger son, Mugan khaghan (553-572), who laid the foundations of the great empire. He subjugated the Khitai, the Ephthalites, and the Khirghiz. The Emperor's uncle, lshtemi, led the western campaigns, most importantly the fight for control of the Silk Route. ln 557, an alliance was forged between lshtemi and the Persian Emperor Husrau Anoshirvan against the Ephthalites. After joint victory, the Turks occupied the area north of the Amu Darya and no doubt took over the former lands of the Oghurs. They also took into their service the Sogdians, who were the real controllers of the silk trade. The Sogdian traders not only received protection from the Turks, but in return contributed to the organisation of the empire and the formation of its chancellery. Sogdian became the official language ofthe First Turk Khaghanate, and the language of documents and inscriptions. A con­ tributory factor may have been that Sogdian and Turk populations had already lived together in many places. The gradual Turkification of a large section of the Sogdians had begun. ln 568, Sogd emissaries, led by Maniakh, crossed the land of the Alani and arrived in Byzantium. They held talks in the name of Silzibulos, who must have been khaghan lshtemi. The Turks offered an alliance against Persia and the "absconded slaves", the Avars. Already struggling against the continually raiding Avars, and the old enemy, Persia, the Byzantines were pleased to receive the offer but did not hurry to reply. They also sent a delegation to the Turks, led by Zemarkhos, partly to conduct talks, but more importantly to gain intelligence. Although the real issue was the security of the Silk Route, Byzantium had just started producing silk out of cocoons stolen from China. Appraising the diplomatic reports, Menander wrote that the Ughurs lived west of the Volga and accepted the supremacy of the Turks, who had also gained the submission of the Alani. The local power of the Ughurs may therefore have been retained. The centre of the Western Turkic Empire was always in Western Asia, perhaps in the region of the Altai, i.e. the Golden

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Mountain. The title of the ruler was Yabghu . The Western Turkic form Jebu or Jevu was the title borne by Ishtemi, and gave rise to the name of the Magyar chieftain Géza, Saint Stephen's father, whose actual name was Jeucha or Jevicha. The current form Géza is due to a later misinterpretation. Western Turk authority was of variable intensity, but during their rule the ethnic composition of Eastern Europe did not change substantially. This is important in view of archaeological finds in the Volga-Karna region, which show up further changes in the 5th and 6th centuries. Much silver was brought here, mostly írom Sasanid Persia, but also írom nearly every region írom Byzantium to Khwarezm. Some researchers have attempted to prove the emergence of new Turkic peoples behind this, linking the migration with the western expansion of the Turk Empire and the ethnogenesis of the Kipchak speakers ofthe Volga (Tatars and Bashkirs). This is not supported by evidence, however.

e) The Bulghars At the beginning of the 600s, the Oghur population regained independence under the leadership of the Bulghar tribes. The Bulghars are mentioned nearly everywhere, together with, or as identical to, the Onoghundurs. Theophanes simply calls the Bulghars Unnoghundur-Bulghar, and Porphyrogenitus also writes that the Bulghars "used to" call themselves Onoghundur. Armenian sources mention them under the name Olhontor Bulkar and later Vlendur Bulkar. The name is written in the Hudüd al-iilam as Vunundur, by Masudi as Wulundur, in a letter by the Khazar khaghan Joseph as Vununtur. These forms are the only hasis for explaining the Hungarian name for the Balkan Bulghars, Nandur, and later Nándor. The appearance of the Bulghars is also noted by the Armenian Geography, formerly attributed to Movses Horenaci, and in more recent times to Ananias of Shirak. The greater part of this work was almost certainly written before the conquest of the Arabs, but some parts of it are end-of-7th-century inser­ tions. Mention is made of Asparukh, who fled to the west and settled in the Balkans. This happened around 679 AD. For a long time now, the original homeland of the Bulghars was said to be the region of the River Kuban. This claim, however, needs to be re-examined. The text is not only an Armenian translation of Ptolemy's work, but it has also been amended with data contem­ porary to the authors. Geography mentions, in the chapter on Thrace, the Danube, which has six tributaries "and which forms a lake, and an island called Piwki (Ptolemy: Peuké limné). On this island lives Asparukh, son of Khuvrat, a fugitive írom the Khazars írom the mountains ofthe Bulghars, who expelled

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the Avar nation and settled there" (Hewsen's translation). W here should one look for these "mountains ofthe Bulghars", then? The description of Sarmatia reads: "The son of Kuvrat fled from the Hippic (Jiakann) mountains." ln Ptolemy the name ofthe mountain is Hippikos. The Armenian author alludes to a certain Krak 's learn . The latter is 'Raven mountain', or Korax in Greek (Pliny Coraxici ; the Korax of Strabon is in Greece). Some authors thought that krak s is an Armenian rendering of the Middle Persian Pahlavi kurrag 'foal', 'colt' ; hence the Hippikos and the Korax are the same mountain at the western part of the Caucasus. This conjecture has for a long time misled scholars. According to Ptolemy, six rivers run from the Hippic Mountains­ the Armenian version, however, counted only five, without naming them. They are tributaries to the Maeotis, that is to the Azovian Sea. The Armenian Geography next mentions two rivers. One of them is the Vardanes, later called the Kuban; the other runs into the Maeotis at Anakopia. The Turks and the Bulghars reside to the north of this river. This also confirms the assumption that the 'Hippic Mountains' could not be the western slopes of the Cau­ casus-and had to be north of the Kuban. This is further corroborated by a third mention of the 'Hippic Mountains'. The author of this part of the Armenian Geography writes that the Volga (Jra ; in Ptolemy Rha) has two headwaters in the north of the Unknown Land. These unite near the Hippic Mountains from which a branch of the Don (Tanais) flows, which runs into the Gulf of Maeotis. The Bulghars are named, according to the Armenian author, after the rivers: Kup'i Bulghars, Duch'i Bulghars, Olhontor Bulghars and Ch'adar Bulghars. These names were unknown to Ptolemy. This Kuphi must be identical with the one quoted below, and with the River Bug. The Armenian author described the land from east to west, as did other contem­ porary authors, thus at the Volga we find the Khazars, west of them the Magyars under the name Turk. Further to the west lived the Bulghars among the Don and the Bug. Asparukh fled from the mountains north of the Don and the Bug to the west. These mountains were also called Bulghar Mountains and this region was later called Black Bulgharia (mauré Boulgaria) by Constan­ tine. The common source used by the 9th-century Theophanes and Nicephorus could hardly have been earlier than the 8th century. According to them Bulgharia lay between the Kuphis (in Theophanes, and Kophis in Nicephorus) and the Maeotis. This used to be identified as Kuban, and so Khuvrat's Bulgharia was also placed in the Kuban area. But in Porphyrogenitus, Chap­ ter 42, in the description of the road from the Danube to Sharkel, we read that Sharkel is 60 days' journey from the Danube, and the largest rivers in the intervening area are the Dniester (Danastris) and the Dnieper (Danapris), but there were also smaller rivers in the region, such as the Singul (or


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more properly Ingul), the Hibil, the Almatai, the Kuphis and (or i.e.) the Bug (Bogou) . The description of Etelköz in Chapter 3 8 mentions the Kubu (Koubou), which is without doubt the name of the Bug there. Whether or not the Kuphis is identical to the Kubu and the Bug, or another river between the Dniester and the Dnieper, such as the Ingulets, the Kuphis in Theophanes and Nicephorus cannot be the Kuban, but only a river west of the Dnieper. This means that the Byzantine sources also locate Khuvrat's Bulgharia in the place where Khuvrat's grave has actually been found (see below). This area also appears under the name Black Bulgharia. Porphyrogenitus writes, in the same Chapter 42, that the Rus came along the River Dnieper, crossed Black Bul­ gharia, and then went to Khazaria and Syria. If there was a Bulgharia prior to the 6th century, and it was in the Kuban region adjoining the Caucasus, then the Bulghars vacated it at the end of the 6th century and were living in the Dnieper area from the beginning of the 7th century. Recently, the grave ofKhuvrat, the last Bulghar emperor, was successfully identified. The identification was made certain by the discovery in the grave of the Emperor's signet ring, on which his name appears in the form Hovratu (hovratou) . The initial h- rendered as a back-sounding k- in the persona! name Khuvrat (Kovrat) is very important as regards loan words in the Hungarian language (see Figures 52, 53 and 54). The royal grave is in the Ukraine, near Mala Pereshchepino ( or in Russian Malaya Pereshchepina), which is 1 3 kilometres southeast of Poltava, not far from the River Vorskla, which is a tributary to the left of the Dni eper.



-� .. ..

, ''-,,_ ,, ' ,Poltava :il M . Pereshchepina N. Senzhari

Dniepropetrovsk •

Figure 52 Khuvrat's grave

_ _ • Northern border of the steppe zone + Saltovo-Mayak burial finds (8th century)

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Figure 53 Royal grave sites in the Ukraine steppe zone (7th century)

1, ffi



� x ov


Bxol vpe

�B xovp

P�B PIB f:;e xolJ

'J.OV/J,e [ol.]T


xov/le L«]TOV

8i B!r- 9F � xovf3e {ff)T

xovp e 1„J r ll'. [G()Tel•J


ll'. (.. )Tel•JJc

'X_01J/3elqjT OV 1[(4J le [\J l\"

Figure 54 Decipherment of the inscription on Khuvrat's signet ring


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Khuvrat's Bulghar state According to the Byzantine sources, Khuvrat rose up against the Avar chief­ tain in 635, and founded an independent empire. This statement is interesting because it is hardly conceivable that the rule of the Pannonian Avars could have stretched as far as the Kuban. The grave of Khuvrat displays many par­ allels with early age Avar royal graves (Bocsa and Kunbábony). The location hitherto proposed for Khuvrat's short-lived Bulghar Empire must therefore be reviewed. The geographical circumstances of Khuvrat's Dnieper-region em­ pire are very highly reminiscent of the Etelköz area. Numismatic data shows that Khuvrat must have died not long after 650. The sources write that he died shortly after the death of Byzantine Emperor Heraclius in 641, leaving five sons. The empire was only brought down by the attack of the Khazars around 670. This set off the migration which culmi­ nated in the Danube Bulghars under Asparukh conquering their homeland.

Figure 55 Khuvrat's Bulghar Empire (7th century)


Relatives ami neighbours

Onoghundur Bulghars also emerged in the Avar Empire, on the shore of the Adriatic and around Ravenna. Two hundred and twenty years later, the Magyars were party to events which were very similar in many respects. The Volga Bulghars Whereas one part of the Bulghars migrated westward, and took part with varying success in the history of the Balkans, the Carpathian Basin and Italy, others, under (Bat) Bayan submitted to the Khazars. ln return, they clearly received some reduced degree of autonomy. Although it is not known pre­ cisely where (Bat) Bayan and his Kotragos peoples, who still featured in the story, were located, they must originally have been in the eastern half of the Bulghar Empire. The area inhabited by the Bulghars who remained in place must therefore have been somewhere between the Dnieper and the Don. Nicephorus writes that Kotragos crossed to the far side (clearly the eastern, the left bank) of the Don. As we shall see, the lands east of the Don along the Black Sea coast and both sides of the Volga were controlled by the Khazars. At that time, i.e. after 670, the Bulghars thus had no opportunity, nor reason, to migrate elsewhere. The moment for that only came a good sixty years later. During the Khazar-Arab wars, in 723, the Arabs, attacking from the south, succeeded in breaking through the Khazars' defensive lines on the Caucasus and occupied the former Khazar capital, Samandar and Balanjar. The Khazars hurriedly moved their centre to the well-defended Volga delta, and thenceforth the capital city named after the River Etil became the City of the Khan (Hanbalik). The later Caliph Marvan, however, launched a renewed attack against the Khazars in 737, and the Khazar chiefwas forced to flee. His route led north along the eastern bank of the Volga. The Arab army followed them on the western bank ofthe Volga, and in a night ambush captured the Khazar Khaghan, who only escaped a worse fate by converting to the Islamic faith and making an open oath of allegiance to the Caliph. The Arab forces withdrew, and after spending a short time supervising the areas north of the Caucasus, returned home. There is no concrete evidence as to whether the Bulghars offered any kind of support to the Arabs against their masters, the Khazars, during Marvan's 737 attack, but it was most probably at this time that very good relations began to develop between the Bulghars and the Arabs, which reached their peak in the diplomatic mission of 921, described by lbn Fadlan. After the Khazars' humiliating defeat by the Arabs and the return of their khaghan to Etil, a temporary vacuum emerged on the western bank of the Volga. This encouraged the Bulghars living under the Khazar yoke to cross


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Figure 56 Bulghar migrations at the end of the 7th century the narrow Don-Volga elbow and set off north along the Volga, with the aim of gradually freeing themselves from central control. Around 750, they reached the lower course of the Volga at the bend where it is joined by the Rivers Samara, Kinel and Sok, known as the Samara bend. This almost peninsula-like area (nowadays actually an island on which the Zhiguli hills are situated) surrounded by the Volga bend, and providing excellent defence, was the central stronghold of the Volga Bulghars. Because of the strategic nature of the area, a city was also built here which stood until the 10th century. Its ruins lie beside the modem village of Vali and are known as "Murom Castle" (Muromskoye Gorodishche) in the archaeological literature. Avoiding the reviving Khazar pressure, the Bulghars first proceeded north along the right bank of the Volga, and set up their next stronghold in the area bounded by the Rivers Kilyna, Sviyaga and Volga, arriving a generation later. The Kilyna has a left tributary called the Bidenga, which is joined on its left side


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Figure 57 Bulghars, Magyars and Alani in the Khazar Empire (7th-9th centuries). The northerly migration of the Volga Bulghars by the Tarhanka, by whose bank the Bolshie Tarhani excavations discovered a Bulghar cemetery identified as dating from just this time, the end of the 8th century. Dating has been verified by coins found there. One was an Arab dirham from between 775 and 809, and the other a Khwarezm Arab coin from between 762 and 787. The Volga Bulghars must have crossed the Volga at the level of the River Mayna, where they reinforced the southern frontier of their empire, roughly following the valley ofthe Mayna and the Cheremshan, and expanded in the east up to the River Shishme. ln the north, the Bulghars reached the Karna in the 900s, but only set up expeditionary settlements on its northern bank. These have been dated by coin finds. The two latest, in the Tankeyevka graveyard on the northern bank of the Karna can be dated to 846 and 892-902 respectively. The Volga Bulghar king had strengthened his relations with Khwarezm by around 900, and became a major partner of the Arab Caliphate which was not


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prevailing against the Khazars. This resulted in the joumey of lbn Fadlan which started in 92 1 (see pp. 68-7 1). lt is difficult to assess whether there had already been attempts to convert the Volga Bulghars to lslam, but such missions could have occurred in 737 and thereafter. The sources are contra­ dictory on this point. However, Ibn Fadlan, who arrived in the court of the

Figure 58 Ibn Fadlan's joumey


Relatives and neiglzbours

Bulghar ruler on 12 May 922, described in detail that there were already people from Baghdad in the royal court (for example a tailor), that there were muezzins, and that Friday prayers included the title of "Yiltever, the Bulghar King". At the talks, the Bulghar King enquired as to how Friday prayers should properly be said. lbn Fadlan answered, "in the name of you and your father". To this the King responded: "My father was a heathen, and so I do not wish to utter his name in the prayer booth." Thereafter the King, whose name was Almish ibn Shelkey, took up the name of the Caliph, Jafar, and as his father's name, as customary for converts to Islam, he chose Abdallah. From then on, the sermon incorporated the prayer: "Oh, my God, endow with well-being your servant Jafar, son of Abdallah, ruler of the Bulghars, client of the lord of the believers!" On the hasis of this and other details of lbn Fadlan's report, it seems that Islam is unlikely to have been adopted among Volga Bulghars before 900. Certainly it was only after founding their state, or during it, and partly to counterbalance the Jewish-faith Khazars, that they started to fürge links with Islam. This does not mean that there were no earlier attempts to convert the Volga Bulghars. Ibn al-Nadim, writing of Caliph al-Ma' mun (8 13-833) and his library in 988, mentions a book with the title: Responses to questions put to al-Mamun by the Burghar king concerning Islam andthe unity (in theolo gy) . The book, which is lost, caused a controversy which is probably exaggerated, since it is quite conceivable that, breaking away from the Khazars at the beginning of the 9th century, the Bulghar King had already started to put out feelers in Baghdad. Several tribes can be distinguished within the Volga Bulghar Empire: the Suvars, the Barandjars, the Bersuls and the Esegels. These names were recorded in Arab written sources, and so may be read several ways, but certain readings can be excluded and some of the possible readings are also supported by Byzantine sources. The erroneous Suvaz form of the ethnic name Suvar gave rise to the theory that it was the origin of the ethnic name Chuvash. This would be impossible even if the letter wrongly given a dot in later copies of lbn Fadlan (the Arab letter z differs from the Arab letter r by a superposed dot) reflected the proper form. Neither can the name Suvar be linked to the ethnic name Sabir, even if it is read as Sovar , which is theoretically possible. The Baranjar form, however, can confidently be identified with the city of Balanjar below the Caucasus which was captured by the Arabs in 723. It can only be imagined that the city got its name from this people, who fled from the Arab attack and joined up with the Bulghars. The front vowels of Bers üle, which cannot be rendered into Arabic script, are provided by the form bersil from the Turkic inscription of Terh in Central Asia, and the form Bersilia from Byzantine sources. ln contrast, the Tibetan transcription par-si / has no value as evidence.

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ln an Armenian source (a later extract from Pseudo Movses Horenaci), it is written that Khatun, the wife of the Khazar khaghan, came from the Bersil (Barsilk) people. The reading asagal, appearing also in the Hudüd al-alam, is written in two different ways by lbn Rusta: in one place the word contains the Arabie letter gain, and in the other the Arabie letter kef After the 12th century, a custom emerged in Arab rendering offoreign, e.g. Turkic, words which used gain in back words and kef in front words. However, this was not the case in the 11th century. ln the great Arab dictionary completed around 1072 by Khashghari, the Arab letters are not used in this way either, and so later spelling rules should not be applied retrospectively to this period. For Persian authors, the kef could mean /ki or lg/, but Arab authors did not recognise the front lg/ (it exists only in some Arabic dialects in place ofthe Arabic /j/). Early Arab authors substituted the foreign g with kef or gain, the symbol for the back-soundingg, and so from lbn Rusta's kef and gain it is possible to suppose the pronunciation g if the transcription is to be taken seriously. The transcrip­ tion by the Persian Gardizi and the kef in the Hudüd al-alam do not decide whether k or g was involved or whether the sound of the Turkic name was back or front. The two possible readings are therefore asagal and esegel. We have decided on the reading esegel, because the chronicles ofthe Chinese Tang dynasty list the Turk tribes in re lation to the events of 65 1, and there is a name appearing twice, of which the most likely reconstruction is *iisegel . The reason for this slightly extended treatment of a Volga Bulghar tribal name is that it is frequently linked with the name of the Hungarian-speaking Székely people living in Transylvania (Romania). This runs into serious phonetic difficulties, however, and is therefore inadmissible. The name of the Bulghar king is given by lbn Fadlan as Alm.s h ibn Sh.lky. The last vowel of the persona! name is not written, and so can be read as either Almish or Almush, of which the latter became popular because of the name ofthe Magyar chieftain Álmos. ln lbn Rusta's manuscript it consists The Almush form which circulated at large was the extension by the publisher of the Arab text. Comparison with Turkic data effectively narrows the reading down to Almish. lts literal meaning is 'the taken' from a!- and 'to take'. The expression el almish 'to take or acquire an empire' also occurs as a Turkic name (read as // almish). The only remaining problem regarding the Bulghar name has since been solved, since in a Chuvash-type language the Common Turkic /sh/ phoneme should regularly correspond to /1/. Rence, the *A/mii form should be expected. But there is no /1/ in the modem Chuvash form of the Turkic wordjemish ' fruit'. lnstead there is /sy/, and the word has the form syimesy. The Chuvash form and the Hungarian gyümölcs ' fruit' derive via an intermediate form *jemich from the form *jemish. Whether the name con­ tained Almich or Almish, the Arab author wrote it as Almish.


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The name of Álmos, father of Árpád, occurs in two mutually independent sources: as Almuch (Almouts) in Porp hyrogenitus and Almush in the Hungar­ ian chronicler Anonymus. The name later occurs with Prince Álmos, broth­ er of King Coloman (died in 1127), and so it was certainly a living name in the house of Árpád. It is, of course, quite impossible to conceive of a rela­ tion between the Volga Bulghar ruler, even via legend, and the ancestor of the Magyar house of Árp ád. The name Almish was known on the Eastem European steppe, however. Anonymus's explanation that the name of Álmos derives from the Magyar word álom, 'dream', is a folk etymological invention typical of the Nameless One. Not a single vowel ofthe name ofthe Volga Bulghar ruler's father is given. The initial sh- is highly suggestive, however. Whatever the reading ofthe word is (and the first syllable can only be i or long a), the word is Chuvash-type. Also typically Chuvash is the ruler's title, yiltever, also read in the form yiltawar, since it is written with the "emphatic" Arabic t-, which was later actually used in transcribing back-sounding foreign words. This occurs in Turkic languages in the form elteber, and also occurs in Khazar titles. Such was the title ofElteber Alp, who married the daughter ofthe Khazar Khaghan around 680. This title was bestowed on office-bearers who exercised power over foreign subjects, and contrary to appearances was probably not originally a Turkic word. The Bulghar word for 'birch' is given in Ibn Fadlan as hazing (with the z pronounced interdentally). ln Old Turkic the equivalent is kading which subsequently changed to kaying, and is huran in modem Chuvash. This means that the changes k > h and d > z were completed in Volga Bulghar by the beginning ofthe 10th century, and as we saw in Khuvrat's name, the k > h change had already begun in the 7th century. The name of a typical drink of the Volga-Karna region, honey beer, was noted by lbn Fadlan as s üchü. This occurs in the other Turkic languages in the form süchig, which implies that the ending -g had already disappeared by the beginning of the 10th century. The goblet from which it was drunk was called sahra h . This is the Chuvash form of the Turkic sagrak. So it is evident that the terminal gutturals had already become fricatives. This evidence proves beyond doubt that the Volga Bulghars spoke a Chuvash-type language at the beginning of the 10th century. Their language is attested to by grave inscriptions which have been found in the area of Volga Bulgharia dating from the years 1281 to the 1350s. It is not certain that this language was the ancestor of Chuvash, but it was very close to it. lt cannot, of course, be denied for certain that the Suvars, the Baranjars and the Esegels, or certain sections ofthem, spoke languages other than Chuvash Turkic. Various Turkic groups, traders, refugees and accompanying peoples


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may also have lived among the Bulghars. The Rus of Kiev and Slav traders had already made their appearances by this time. The Volga Bulghars had links to the great trading operations of Eurasia.

The Danube Bulghars One of the figures in the story of Khuvrat's five sons, Asparukh, crossed the lower course of the Danube around 679, and occupied the right bank of the Danube and the coast. He established a new empire centred on present Pliska, in which a large upper Turkic class ruled over the local Slav population. Asparukh died around 70 1 and his successor, Tervel, completed the organisa­ tion ofthe empire. They soon interfered in intemal Byzantine power struggles, and then joined with the Byzantine side in beating off Arab attacks on Constantinople in 7 1 7-7 1 8 . ln 739, the last of the Dulo dynasty, which had founded the state, died. It is possible that this clan name is linked to the name of the chieftain Dula mentioned in the Hungarian Chronicle, but cannot have anything to do with the title Gyula and the name that derived from it. The new rulers were drawn from the Vokil dynasty. Various rulers followed each other with rapid succession on the Bulghar throne between 756 and 772, no doubt as a result of bloody intemal wars. ln 777, a king by the name of Telerig lost out in the intemal struggle and fled to Byzantium where he converted to Christianity. However, Telerig was unable to settle the intemal affairs of the Bulghars even with Byzantine support. This was only achieved by Krum, who belonged to the Pannonia branch of the Onoghundur Bulghars, and acceded to the throne with their assistance. Krum quickly turned against the Avars, dealing them a heavy defeat, and then after securing his northem borders turned against Byzantium, conducting long fights against Emperor Nicepho­ rus. Although the fortunes of war initially favoured the Byzantines, who took Pliska on several occasions up to 8 1 1 , ultimate victory was reaped by Krum, who captured Nicephorus, executed him, and following nomad custom had his skull made into a drinking cup. The advance of the Bulghars was halted by a reorganised Byzantine empire under Michael 1. Krum's legacy upon his death in 8 1 4 was a Bulgharia in full strength. After brief intemal struggles and a few intermediate rulers, Krum's son Omurtagh (8 1 4-83 1 ) consolidated his grip on power. He made peace with Byzantium, and set about building up his country. The conversion of the Bulghars gradually commenced, although resisted by Omurtagh himself, but some of his successors took up the faith, clearly in search of support in the power struggle. For a while, however, vic­ tory was won by resisters to conversion, Malamir and his successor Persyan (or Presyam).


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Boris came to the throne in 852, and until his death in 889 was a party to the events which directly preceded the Hungarian Conquest, and so the story of Bulgharia under the rule ofBoris and Simeon (893-927) will be discussed along with the events of the Conquest. The Danube Bulghars used the Greek language and script in their records, and those which have survived also exist in the fönn of inscriptions. The rest have been lost or passed into larger collections, but some were subsequently translated into Old Church Slavic after Christianity had been adopted and the Slavonic language had become prevalent. The surviving later copies ofthese early texts, one of which is the list of Bulghar kings already discussed (see pp. 6 1-62), are the culmination of a complicated heritage. For a long time, the Bulgharian state retained a Turkic organisation, which gradually adopted elements borrowed from Byzantium. Some of the titles have still not been deciphered, but kavhan , boy/a , khan , kolovur , bagatur, tarkhan and sampsi are Turkic in origin, or were at least used by Turkic peoples. ln the meantime, the leading Turkic class gradually diminished, and became assimilated in­ to the Slav population. By the end of the 7th century, bilinguality was wide­ spread. Omurtag's three sons (also) had Slavonic names (Voyin, Zvinitsa and Malamir). The linguistic e:ffect ofTurkic-Slav coexistence is also reflected in inscriptions. Among the titles of court office bearers was, för example, the ichirgu boy/a , the ' internal boyla' of which parallels are attested in Turkic sources of Central Asia. From a Cyrillic inscription of around 969 it is known that at the end of the era this would be approximately uttered as chregubilya. The second element of the title is the origin of the Hungarian name Béla , used by several kings of the Árp ád dynasty.

f) The Khazars Researchers into the Khazar issue were för a long time inhibited by the assumption that the fönn Khazar was original. The discovery and publication ofTerh and Tez Uighur inscriptions revealed that the original Turkic name of the Khazars was Khasar . This made other evidence which had hitherto been difficult or impossible to interp ret accessible, and more could be put in correct chronological order. The Khasar ethnic name ultimately stems from the title Caesar , which reached the Middle Persian sources, among others. ln 739, a ruler of the Turkic dynasty in Gandhara abdicated in favour of his son. The Chinese sources which record this and the coins issued by the new king both give the king's name as From Kesar. The From is the Iranian fönn of Rome, and the Kesar is the title Caesar. This name passed over to the Tibetans, who knew it in the fönn Phrom Ge-sar. This "Roman" Ge-sar also appeared in the

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Tibetan sources as "Turk", i.e. Dru-gu Ge-sar, and after a while became the hero of a Tibetan epic, which now has a long and widespread heritage in Tibet and its surroundings. This Tibetan epic was borrowed by the Mongols and survived among them as the Geser Epic. The Kesar title also passed over to the Turkic-speaking population. As a result of the stressed second syllable in Turkic, Kesar became Khasar, and the title survived as both an ethnic and a personal name. The most prominent ofthe personages who bore the name was Chingis Khan's brother. There are not many examples ofethnic groups' names deriving from a title, but among them are the name Kerel for the Magyars and the Turkic Yabghu, which derives from the title Yabghu. This type of ethnic name evolved from the expressions "Khasar 's people" and "Yabghu's people". Another barrier to research into Khazar origins has also been lifted. There was a view that if the Khazar people were self-designated, the language im­ plied by the mid-word -z- could not be Chuvash type. Quite apart from the fact that ethnic names say nothing about the peoples themselves, it is now known that the -z- in the name of the Khazars is secondary. Chinese sources also list a tribe by the name of Khasar among the Central Asian Uighur tribes. There is some debate as to how they are related. This Uighur tribe only appears in the Chinese sources in the period following the middle ofthe 8th century, and so it cannot be ruled out that a group ofEuropean Khazars migrated east-perhaps at the time of Marvan's attack in 737-and joined forces with the Uighurs who took over power from the Turks after 750. Ifthis was the case, then the Uighurs could not have been the ancestors ofthe Khazars, as some thought. It also conflicts with the view that links the Khazars with the Akatirs. The original form ofthe ethnic name that appears in Priskos is akatir , but after the Latin phonemic change ti > chi, copyists wrote it as akatziroi. The more reliable manuscripts give it as akatir. This only later became akatsir in Jordanes and Cassiodorus. The popularity of the form akatsir is due to the Turkic etymology produced for it (agach eri, 'people of the wood'). The most important evidence, hitherto ignored precisely because of its reading, is an appendix already quoted: the Syrian geographical description written for the ecclesiastical history of Zakarius the Rhetor also lists the Khasar people among the peoples living north of the Caucasus. As we have seen, this dates from 5 5 5. Michael the Syrian wrote the history of three peoples in his chronicle. The ancestors of the three peoples are three brothers, called Hazarig, Bulgharios and Pugur. The form of the third name is a produce of text corruption, but can be read correctly as Wugur, one form of the ethnic name Oghur. Bulgharios and his people migrated to the Danube, and the other two peoples went to the land of the Alani, which they called Bersilia. Michael the Syrian wrote his


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chronicle before 1199, but adapted old Byzantine and Middle Persian sources. What is important for us is that it refers to events around 670, in which the Khazars and the Ughurs appear together in the foundation of an empire. The Khazars' first prominent historical appearance can be put at around 620. The Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (6 10-64 1) secured their alliance for a campaign against the Persians. The Khazars assembled 40,000 soldiers for the siege of Tiflis in 627. The ruler of the Khazars at that time bore the title jebgu orjebu, versions ofjabgu. Their major cities were Balanjar and Saman­ dar, below the Caucasus. After the collapse of Western Turk power (about 630) the Khazars finally secured their independence and the Khazar ruler adopted the title Khaghan. The first known mention of this is in 652-653. This more or less coincided with the death of Khuvrat. Between 650 and 670, the Khazars abolished the Bulghar Empire. As was discussed earlier, one part ofthe Bulghars went west and the other submitted. The writ ofthe Khazars at that time ran up to the Crimean Peninsula, where the Byzantines managed to retain the city of Kherson in the middle of the 7th century. ln 695, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian II was banished to Kherson, where he mar­ ried the Khazar Khaghan's elder sister, who was baptised as Theodora. The Khazars did not offer Justinian support, however, although he ultimately regained his throne with Bulghar assistance (705-7 11). The leader of an uprising against him in Kherson, Philippikos Bardanes, was assisted by Khazar forces, and in 7 11 put an end to Justinian's second reign. After their conquest of Persia, the Arabs advanced further to the east and also landed at Gibraltar to invade the lberian Peninsula, which they marched right through, only to be halted by Charles Martel near Poitiers in 732, as we saw (p. 66). ln 73 7, they defeated the Türgesh in Central Asia, and in 7 5 1, in the battle of Talas Valley the Chinese and their allies, although here their advance was finally halted. The Arabs soon grouped below Constantinople, and attacked the Khazars via the Caucasus. The Khazars played an important part in averting this threat to the whole ofEurope. They won a major battle against the Arabs near Ardabil in 730 and forged an alliance with Byzantium. ln 732, the son of Emperor Leo III of Byzantium, Constantine, married the daughter of the Khazar Khaghan, who was called by the Turkie name Chichek, meaning 'flower' , but in Christendom she received the name Irene. Their son Leo IV (775-780) was also known as "Leo the Khazar" for this reason. The Byzantine-Khazar alliance did not endure, however. We saw above that the Arabs managed to force the Khazar Khaghan to take up the Islamic faith for a short time in 737. ln 760, the Arabs made peace with the Khazars, and this time they sealed the alliance with a marriage. But it seems that the Arabs only wanted a temporary peace, because after the death ofthe Khazar princess, Khazar-Arab fighting broke out anew

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and lasted until 764. The last Khazar attack against Arab Transcaucasia was in 798. ln the meantime, the Khazars extended their power to embrace the Ostrogoths of the Crimea, but ceded them considerable independence under their own toparch. The sources are very poor regarding the subsequent period. It is known that at the request of the Khazars, under the direction of Petronas, the Fortress at Sharkel was built on the lower course of the Don, in the area of modem Tsimlyansk. The Russians, under Kiev leadership, launched military expeditions in the middle of the 9th century to police the trade routes to the Caspian Lake. These proceeded along the bank ofthe Volga but probably only met the Volga south ofthe Samara Bend. Such military expeditions are known to have taken place in 860, 880, 909-910 and 911-9 12. Some ofthe expeditions were mounted in alliance with the Khazars, or at least with their knowledge. After large quantities ofbooty had been obtained, however, relations between the Princi­ pality ofKiev and the Khazars deteriorated. Despite the Khazars' employment of Khwarezmian mercenaries, they were only able to hold out for a short time against a decisive attack by Svyatoslav in 965. By the end of the century, the Khazar Empire had gradually disintegrated. The religion of the Khazars in the 7th century was Tengrism. This was described quite thoroughly by the bishop of the Caucasian Albanians, lsrael, who visited the "North Caucasian Huns" in 68 1. The description has survived in the text ofMoses ofDashuranci. The Khazars soon converted to the Jewish faith, however. The political reasons for this were clear: choosing a third religion between the Islam of the Arabs and the Christianity of Byzantium enabled them to avoid becoming dependent on either. Many details of the conversion and the nature of the Khazars' Judaism were until recently dis­ puted, however. ln contrast with the widespread view that Judaism was not a proselytising faith, there are examples ofit being adopted by various ethnic groups in certain historical periods. ln the period around the birth ofChrist, the royal house and people of the small Syrian kingdom Adiabene (or Edayab in the Syrian sources), in the vicinity ofmodem Mosul, converted to Judaism to secure their independence from both the Romans and the Parthians. ln 6th-century Yemen, the royal house converted to Judaism for political considerations, in order to distance themselves from Christian Ethiopia. At this time, on the larger scale, this implied opposition to Byzantium and friendliness in relation to Persia. Towards the end ofthe 1st millennium, two movements emerged within Jewry. One, the "Spanish line", rigidly opposed conversion, whereas the other, which spread through France and Germany, and as far as Kiev, was more favourably disposed to it. This dispute also influenced the decision of the Khazars.


Relatives and neighbours

The Khazars' conversion proceeded in several stages. The earliest source (Masudi) claims that the first conversion took place during the time of Caliph Harun al-Rashid (786-809). According to the Khazars' Jewish tradition, the first converted king was Bulan, but the faith only started to spread after his third successor, Obadiya, had "revived the empire and strengthened the true faith" around 800. Bulan ruled around 730, and it is highly improbable that any kind of official conversion took place at this time, or if it did, then only for a very short period. ln his work written in 864 in Westphalia, Druthmar of Aquitain noted that "all ofthe Gazars follow Judaism." This is, in fact, one of the most disputed issues. ln the initial period, Judaism started to spread among the upper circles of the Khazars. The view of the Arab sources which discuss the issue in detail is quite straightforward. If very short reports on the Khazars are discounted, then it clearly emerges that the Khazar Khaghan, nobles and high officials followed the Jewish faith. "The religion of the remainder is similar to that of the Turks", wrote lbn Rusta. The Jewish nobility was joined by immigrants and refugees. At this time, there was probably a Jewish community living in the Crimea, in Phanagoria (according to Theophanes, or in Samkars according to lbn al Fakih), and a smaller diaspora in the North Caucasus. Jews arrived from Muslim cities, and there was a continuous stream fleeing sporadic eruptions of Jewish oppression in Byzantium and Persia. lbn Fadlan wrote that the Muslims demolished a synagogue in Dar al-Babunaj, and in retum the Khazar Khaghan destroyed the capital city's mosque and had the muezzin killed. The flow of refugees stepped up in 943, when Romanus l Lacapenus, the de facto Byzantine ruler (920-944) started to forcibly convert the Jews. After official conversion in the 9th century, then, the Khazar Jewish population had a diverse composition but was still very small in number compared to the population as a whole. There were two basic strands within the Jewish religion of the time. There was the Karaim ("the literate", plural, singular karai, giving the name Karai te) which only recognised the five books of Moses, and Rabbinic Judaism, which also followed later holy scriptures, the Talmud. Although it is possible that there were small Karaim communities in Khazaria, the religion adopted by the ruling Khazar circles was Rabbinic Judaism. From historical and linguistic evidence, it is unlikely that the small Turkic-speaking Karaim Jewish ethnic group living in modem Poland and Lithuania, of which one branch also lived in the Crimea, are the descendants of the Khazars. At most, it is conceivable that the smaller Karaite community which lived in Khazaria gained the Kipchak type Turkic language, that they speak today, through an exchange of language.

The neighbours


From Masudi, it is known that Muslims, Christians, Jews and pagans lived together in the Khazar capital. The sources give a detailed description ofthe Khazars' "double kingship". The king ofthe Khazars was held to be holy and inaccessible, and responsible for the flourishing ofthe empire through his mystical power, i.e. his khu t (see pp. 149 and 150 for more on this). Real affairs were directed by the mili­ tary leader, whose title was Khaghan-beg, heg , shad, or yilig . According to lbn Fadlan, the Hakhan-beg was followed by the Kündü (miswritten as Kündür) Hakhan and the Jaushigir . The titles Kündü, Beg and Yilig are also found among the Magyars ofthe Conquest, partly as titles and partly as names. The intricacies of double kingship and its customs as they stood in the second half of the 9th and the beginning of the 10th centuries are described by Muslim authors such as Jayhani, lbn Rusta, Gardezi and lbn Fadlan. How the double kingship, which must have had a bearing on the spiritual world as a whole, and the Khazars' Jewish faith regarded each other is a question which prompts some speculation. A review of the evidence shows that the official adoption ofthe Jewish faith around 800 did not affect in the slightest the double kingship and its associated rituals. A different view is obtained, naturally enough, from Jewish sources, particularly a letter from Khaghan Joseph. This was written around 960, however, and clearly represents the attitude of Jewish parties in the court. The Khazars certainly received a pilgrimage from Cyril and Methodius in 86 1, obviously with a proselytising aim. According to the legend of Cyril, the chief adviser to the Khazar king was a Jew (who according to the missionaries was "minded to adopt Christianity") but he also had a Muslim adviser. lt may be concluded from the Cyril mission's lack of any great success that the Judaisation of the ruling circles was complete by around 860. Whereas there is considerable literature on the Khazars' Jewish faith, less attention has been paid to the spread of Christianity. Christianity had consid­ erable influence in the Khazar Empire from the 7th century onwards. This was partly, but not exclusively, due to the proselytising activities of the Christian Albanians of Caucasia. There lived Christian communities in the Crimea, the home of the "Onoghur bishopric", among them Ostrogoths. It was at this time that the iconoclasm dispute was raging, and the many people from the factions who lost out, especially from among the iconodules who had opposed the iconoclasts, fled to the Crimean Peninsula and to the safety ofKhazaria, which controlled the Crimea. As mentioned above, Constantinus (Cyril) and Methodius also attempted to spread the faith among the Khazars. According to legend, two hundred Khazars were baptised on hearing the brothers preach. It is not impossible, however, that Constantinus made translations into Khazar during his Khazar studies.


Relatives ami neighbours

The Khwarezmians, who assumed an increasing role in Khazar administra­ tion, retained their Islamic faith. lbn Fadlan gives the title of their leading figures as hazi (h.z. in the manuscript), which is the Khazar version, with initial h-, of the Arabic kadzi 'cadi (judge)'. These Khwarezmian Muslims later emerged in Hungary under the name Káliz.

g) The Pechenegs The origins of the Pechenegs and their relationship with the Kangars need not concem us for the moment (see pp. 4 16-42 1). When considering the conquer­ ing Magyars, only the situation at the beginning ofthe 9th century is important. At this time the Oghuz lived in the vicinity of Lake Aral, the Kimeks beside the River Irtysh and the Kharlukhs somewhere in the area of the Rivers Talas and Chu. The Kharlukhs moved west after their defeat by the Uighurs near the source ofthe Selenga in 755. Alliances had been made, and wars fought, between these four peoples in the past, but at this time there was a Kimek-Kharlukh-Oghuz coalition against the Pechenegs. The fight was clearly for the strategic area between Lake Aral and the Urals through which the nomadic peoples proceeded westward. Quite substantial records have survived of the Kimeks. They were, like all peoples, a mixture. The tribal division described by Gardizi mentions seven tribes: the Imi, the Jmek, the Tatar, the Blandr, the Kifchak, the Lanikaz, and theAj!ad. According to the Hudüd al-alam, eleven chieftains inherited control over the regions from their fathers. The origin ofthe lmek or Yimek tribal name is identical to that of the Kimek tribal name: disappearance of the initial k- is a peculiarity ofthe Kipchak language. ln reality, the Kipchak tribe was also a member ofthe alliance. The Lanikaz was probably the Alan-i-kaz (ar), i.e. the "Khazar" Alani, and blandr was interpreted as Bayandur, but it could also have been blandur, i.e. the Persian version ofvlandur, derived from the name of the Onoghundurs. There are similar descriptions of the Kharlukhs and the Oghuz. The Hudüd al-iilam also writes of the Kimeks that, when they were at peace with the Oghuz, they visited them in winter (in the south). Gardizi also describes the route to the Pechenegs. He set off from Gürgench .(now Urgench), passed the Khwarezm mountains and Lake Aral, and crossed a dry desert where for nine days he came upon a well daily or twice daily. Here, he had to climb down a rope to draw water for the animals. On the tenth day the traveller reached springs, and then the river. Here lived all kinds of birds and wild animals, but little grass. This country took sixteen days to cross, and the traveller arrived at the Pechenegs on the seventeenth day. The route was almost identical to that taken by Ibn Fadlan.

The n eighbours


The desert must have been the Kharakhum, and the river the Irgiz. The Sakaliba (Saklab) mentioned by Gardizi could only have been the Volga Bulghars, as the name ofthe people was also used by Ibn Fadlan. This is consistent with what was written by Porphyrogenitus on the home of the Pechenegs which was originally beside the River Etil and beside the River Yeyik [Ural] , and shared borders with the Khazars and the so-called Uz [Oghuz] (see p. 237). ln spring 922, after leaving the Oghuz, Ibn Fadlan visited a Pecheneg community. He describes them as very poor ín comparison with the Oghuz. He only stayed with them for one day, and his next stop was at the River Yeyik (Ural), which he crossed to reach the Bashjird. The Pechenegs are also located here by an Uighur emissary's report, of which an extract survives in a Tibetan translation, giving the name of the Pechenegs ín the form be-cha-nag. These four independent sources indicate where the Pechenegs lived, the place that might be termed their Urheimat. The date was naturally not 922, but earlier; however, but some Pecheneg tribes remained ín the area-and there are sources attesting to this-after the majority migrated west. Such major operations led to factions dissatisfied with the leadership breaking away, just as happened among the Avars and the Magyars. This is what caused Ibn Fadlan ín 922 to find a very poor "remnant" group, and indeed the local Pechenegs succumbed to Oghuz control around that time, or a little later. Porphyrogenitus also writes that right up until his own time there were some Pechenegs living under Oghuz rule. He writes that when the Pechenegs were banished from their original homeland, "some of them of their own wish and by persona! decision stayed behind, j oining with the so-called Uz, and live among them to this day". There follows a description oftheir clothing, which was cut short as a reminder that they had cut themselves off from their own people. These were the Pechenegs who remained in their old lands. Khashghari also talks of two Pecheneg tribes. One lived near Byzantium, and the other was an Oghuz tribe. The Hudüd al-i:ilam also distinguishes two kinds of Pechenegs, calling one of them 'Turk' , and the other 'Khazarian'. Description of the Pechenegs continued with Gardizi. The length of the Pechenegs' country was a long thirty-day journey, and was bounded by the Kipchak to the north, the Khazars to the southwest, the Ghuzz (Oghuz) to the east and the Sakaliba people to the (north)west. These neighbours had been manipulated by the Pechenegs into fighting each other and taking prisoners who were subsequently sold into slavery by the Pechenegs. These Pechenegs were very rich, and had many horses and sheep. They also had a great quantity of gold and silver vessels and many weapons; they wore much silver and had

tv w


li s

N.1shapur• ✓


ei us • Me


• Hami -'nr,.., =• �� .. �r

~ ' t"\J

Figure 66 Migrations of the ancient Magyars

w N w


From the Ura/s to the Carpathian Basin

triggered by forcible conversions to Jewish faith, rebelled, but were sup­ pressed and forced to flee. ln 838, the Khazars constructed, or rather, rein­ forced Sharkel. As we have seen above (pp. 234-239), in 893 the Pechenegs left their former dwellings in the area ofthe Ural pass, and crossed the Volga in 894. ln tum, the Volga Bulghars migrated even farther north, and occupied their final homeland. Concurrent with this, pursued by Pecheneg attacks, the Magyars, too, left the Etelköz and conquered the Carpathian Basin in 895.

N OTES The literature on the possible dwellings ofthe Uralic and Finno-Ugrian peoples is vast.It would be impossible to discuss all ofthese works even brietly. Péter Hajdú and István Fodor are highly recommended. For their works, consult the bibliography section ofthis book (see pp. 44 7--489). The Iranian effect on the Permic language is well known. However, the most useable monographs are not directly concerned with this issue. See Lytkin--Gulj aev (1 970), Joki (1 973 ); there are surprisingly numerous words corresponding in the Permic languages and in the Ossetic, see Abaev (1958-1 989). Unfortunately, the Iranian elements of the Hungarian lan­ guage are not discussed by any modern monograph. Munkácsi (1 901 ) is, for understandable reasons, outdated, and even his acceptable or remarkable etymologies need to be reconsidered. Sköld ( 1 925) is also largely outdated. Bárczi's (1 958) comment "the whole issue of lranian loan words in the Hungarian language cannot be regarded as clarified" (p. 51 ) holds true even ifminor steps have been made to sort out the matter. Harmatta's works can be recommended, as for instance Harmatta (1971 , 1 977), as well as Ligeti (1976, pp. 1 9-27; 1 986, pp. 1 62-174). The Magyar and Mongol agreements of Chuvash-type words are discussed in Róna-Tas (1 981 ). The debated issues of the Magyars' migrations, their dwellings in "Levedia" and in the Etelköz are summarised in Kristó (1 980 and 1 996). For Györffy's views see Györffy (1 975c, pp. 5--46). Györffy wrote about the Conquest, its preliminaries and the settling ofthe Magyars in 1 984 in the ten-volume history ofHungary (see Györffy 1 984). The questions ofLevedia and the Etelköz were discussed at a debate on 28th April 1 983 . The talks, comments and Ligeti's latterly submitted remarks were published in volumes 80 and 81 of Magyar Nyelv, and in the form of an independent booklet as volume 1 72 of the series A Magyar Nyelvtudomá nyi Társaság Kiadványai [Publications ofthe Hungarian Linguistic Society] (1 985). Here they are cited as Györffy (1 985), Benkö (1 985), Király ( 1985), Harmatta ( 1 985c), and Ligeti ( 1985). Vékony ( 1 986) was not included in the volume. These issues are further discussed in Chapters VIII. l (pp. 325-330) and XIII (pp. 413--422).


1 . TH E MAGYARS 1N THE ETELKÖZ The question of the Etelköz was recently discussed by renowned Hungarian scholars. The exposition below relies largely on the manifold views expressed at this discussion. However, I have questioned some claims taken for granted in recent debates-fully aware of the fact that my doubts, or certain elements of them, have already been raised by others, and that I myself am unable to approach full certainty. Still, I am of the opinion that placing more strictures on the sources at our disposal can help us make greater progress. One part of the related issues has been discussed in the chapter on the history of the Pechenegs (see pp. 234-239), as well as in the chapter on the earlier migrations of the Magyars (see pp. 315-324). I give full explanation of my views in Chapter XIII apropos of the Levedi question. The main question is: when did the Magyars move to the Etelköz? Two other questions are less debated: where was Levedia and where was the eastem borderline of Etelköz? The Magyars at the end of the 6th century had long maintained connec­ tions with various advancing Turkic groups, but they had not yet left their homeland in the South Urals and the region of the River Ural. Adopt­ ing the nomadic way of life alongside an animal-rearing economy (with the emphasis gradually shifting to the farmer), the Magyars here estab­ lished their first contacts with the Khazars who were then organising the West Turkic peoples. The main current of rapid successive changes barely affected the Magyars at that time. After the Huns in the middle of the 4th century, the Oghurs around the year 463, and the hegemony of the Sabirs, the East Turks extended their power over the land. Released from the grip of the weakening East Turk rule, the most powerful group among the West Turkic groups were the Khazars. Originally in alliance with the Bulghars, they established the West Turk Empire. The historical legend recorded by Michael of Syria contains some fine lines about this power (see pp. 200--20 1). The alliance of the Khazars with the Byzantine Empire greatly contributed to the consolida­ tion of their power. Their large-scale, joint military campaign against Persia in 627 assumed an important place in the historical records of all peoples, near and far.


From the Ura/s to the Carpathian Basin

The insurrection ofthe Bulghars, however, brought about decisive changes. ln the early 7th century the Bulghars gained independence and set up an independent Bulghar Empire under Khuvrat-not, as it was assumed earlier (see p. 2 19), in the Kuban region, but on the two banks ofthe River Dnieper. The Bulghars were backed by the Avars in their war of independence against the Khazars. Independence, however, tumed them against their Avar allies. ln the resulting situation, the Khazars were able to crush the Bulghars, forcing large groups ofthem to flee to the west, to the area of today's Bulgaria, to the Carpathian Basin, to the west and east coasts of the Adriatic Sea, and hence to the vicinity of Ravenna. The place of the Bulghars was subsequently occupied by the Magyars. Around 670, following the death of Khuvrat, the Bulghar Empire collapsed­ largely due to the attacks of the joint Khazar-Magyar armies. It would be very convenient to assume that Constantine Porphyrogenitus's conjuring up ofthe period of the three years when the "Turks" (i.e. the Magyars) lived together with the Khazars "and fought in alliance with the Khazars in all their wars" (translated by Jenkins) was an allusion to this war. Likewise, it might be possible that the Khazar khaghan, to seal their alliance, "gave in marriage to the first voivode of the Turks, called Levedias, a noble Khazar lady" (trans­ lated by Jenkins). If this was the case, Porphyrogenitus's reference to Levedi would be a later insertion. Although this possibility cannot be dropped, we know ofno source in support ofit, so in any case we are left in the dark. Neither does any source positively confirm that there actually were two Pecheneg attacks, as suggested below (pp. 42�21). Around 670, then, the Magyar tribal confederation-or more precisely the Magyar tribal confederation of that time--occupied the region left by the Bulghars between the Dnieper and the Danube, and made arrangements to settle down. As exposed below (pp. 4 18-4 19), the area formerly referred to as "Levedia" did not exist as a separate Urheimat, and Levedi's dwellings were, in fact, in the Etelköz. lt is highly probable that the individual Magyar tribes pursued a nomadic way oflife between the Dnieper and the Danube, as did the Pechenegs after them in the very same region. The dual kingship must have emerged around that time, under Khazar influence. As previously discussed (see pp. 148-150), the emergence of the dual kingship involved a long period in history, probably several generations. The ruler's legitimacy was granted by the sky, as well as by the Khazar ruler, of course. Details of this twofold situation strongly resemble the situation of the Volga Bulghars before their conversion to the Islamic faith. The focal points of the economy in the region must have been on the eastem side of Etelköz for a long time, on account of the fact that the important trade routes converged there and the international centres oftrade, the Dnieper and

The Conquest


the Crimea, were located on the eastem side. Late 7th- and early 8th-century sources report that the Crimean Peninsula still had Byzantine colonies-in the region ofKherson at least, and around the Dnieper delta, which was also where most of the northem trade routes converged. This was the period when the Khazar Khaghanate interfered in the domestic struggles ofthe Byzantine Empire, and also when the new, great foe, the Arab Caliphate emerged. The protagonists of Eastem European history, from the early 8th century until the end of the 9th, were the Arabs, the Khazars, the Byzantines, the ever­ advancing Turkic nomads, the Slavs advancing east in the forest regions, and the Normans storming the river valleys from the north. Their story is a history of wars, alliances, of trade and plunder. Gardizi writes that in the 10th century, at the instigation ofthe Pechenegs, the neighbouring peoples made forays into each other's countries to take slaves which they later sold to the Pechenegs (a situation which must have been similar back in the 8th-9th centuries). The Jayhani tradition reports, in connection with the Magyars, that when­ ever they made attacks on the Slavs, they proceeded along the banks of the river until they arrived at a harbour belonging to the country ofthe Byzantines. According to new and reasonable arguments, this was not Kerch but Kherson. ln the 8th century the balance of extemal forces favoured the strengthen­ ing of the Magyars in Etelköz. Two major empires neighboured their country to the west: the Avar and the Bulghar. At that time, the Avars were preoccupied with domestic problems and with Byzantium, and in the second half ofthe 8th century their prime concem was the Franks who had switched to a rather forceful policy in Easten Europe. ln the middle of the 8th century, following a briefinterlude, the new Abbasid Caliphate, which superseded the Umayyads, channelled its forces against the Khazars. The Khazars manoeuvred with keen diplomatic sense and a formidable army between two great foes, Byzantium and the Arabs, but it was in their interest to secure themselves from the west, too. The Magyars did the job, in retum for which they received a share of the profits of trade, and also their prestige rose within the Khazar Empire. At this time the Magyars maintained close ties with the Bulghars and the Alani, too. Both peoples lived under the suzerainty of the Khazars. As was pointed out above (pp. 220-227), the Bulghars, following the Khazars' defeat by the Arabs in 737, took advantage of the transitory weakening of Khazar central power, and withdrew to the north along the banks of the Don and the Volga. lt seems that around the same time there was domestic discord among the Magyars, as one-evidently significant-Magyar group joined the Bul­ ghars, and accompanied them on their new Volga Bulghar conquest, in the same fashion as the Khavars escorted the Magyars to the Carpathian Basin.


From the Urals to the Carpathian Basin

The Magyars' connections with the Alani are only indirectly implied from the sources. The pre-Conquest Alanian loan words entered the Hungarian language on the shores of the Sea of Azov. The most significant ones include asszony 'lady', 'married woman' which actually meant 'distinguished, royal lady' in Old Hungarian. The word was later also used to denote the Virgin Mary and Saint Margaret, daughter of King Béla IV, and the still existing Hungarian place names Asszonynépe, Asszonyfölde (literally, ' Lady's Kin', 'Lady's Land'), etc. bear reference to their formerly belonging to the queen's estates. The modem Ossetic word hsin or ehsine, of common origin with asszony, has the meaning of 'lady'. A 12th-century Byzantine source trans­ lates the word as 'princess' (arhontissa). It is highly probable that the Hun­ garian asszony preserves memories of the royal Alanian-Magyar matrimony. The story related in the Hungarian chronicles about the Magyars who, while hunting in the swamps of the Maeotis, i.e. the Sea of Azov, abducted the Alanian Prince Dula's daughters (who later were married to Hunor and Magor), was not, perhaps, a mere flight of fancy. The language spoken in the region between the Donets and Don regions by the so-called Alanian groups of the Saltovo-Mayak archaeological culture cannot be regarded as a source of Alanian loan words in the Hungarian language (see p. 202). As a matter of fact, no direct source about this period exists. The picture that indirect sources reveal is that, although at the end of the 8th century the Magyars nominally belonged under Khazar suzerainty, they were actually free to manage their domestic affairs themselves. The Khazar Empire had not collapsed after the wars with the Arabs, quite the contrary, it had grown and transformed. ln the first instance it employed a formidable army of mercenar­ ies, and successfully concluded its struggle with the Arabs in 798. The resulting pax khazarica , i.e. the Eastem European peace established by the Khazars, created a century of peace and prosperity in the region. The antago­ nism within the Khazar Empire at the end ofthe 8th century was largely created by the forcible conversion of the leading Khazar strata to Judaism. The losers of the Khazar intemal fights, the Khavar group, joined the Magyar people. This could not have happened if the Magyars had not already been independent by then. Evidently, the Khavars comprised the peoples of the western areas of the Khazar Empire, i.e. the groups that dwelt between the Don and the Dnieper. Perhaps it was due to the earlier damage suffered that in 838 the Khazars erected the Fortress at Sharkel in the lower Don area. The Jayhani tradition holds that the Magyars dwelt between two rivers, one being the Danube, and the other the Etil, in this case meaning the Dnieper. A people affiliated with Byzantium lived by the Danube on the side of the Slavs. All of them were Christians and were called Vanandars. The Magyars saw these Vanandars from the other side of the Danube (Gardizi goes further, and

The Conquest


claims that they actually captured these Nandurs). The Danube Bulghars were baptised between 865 and 868, and it was not before 870 that they finally succumbed to the authority of the Constantinople patriarch. Consequently, this report can only have been noted down after 870. Evidently, the Magyar groups of the Etelköz must have struggled for power among each other all along. It is probable that the dwellings of the Magyar ruler loyal to the Khazars, the kende, were in the eastern areas, while the army commander, thejila had his main dwellings in the west. This arrangement was natural, since the Magyar incursions which served conquering and trade purposes, were directed westwards at this time. As early as 839, the Magyars were in the Lower Danube region; Cyril met a group of them in 86 1 in the Crimea; but, as we have seen, in alliance with the Moravian ruler Rastislav, they encountered the Franks in 862, and were near Vienna, together with the Khavars, by 88 1. All of which leads to the assumption that, especially after the collapse of the Avar Empire, the focus of involvement in Magyar military campaigns shifted to the western tribes of the Etelköz tribal confederation. This, to some extent, bears comparison with the situation in the Carp athian Basin a century later, with the one great difference that while the 1Oth-century struggles ended with the victory ofthe House of Árp ád, the domestic conflicts in the 9th century led to the downfall of the House of Levedi, the Kende, and brought the triumph of the House of Árp ád, i.e. thejila. We know from the Jayhani tradition that the Etelköz Magyars lived in dome-shaped tents, they followed the sprouting grass and vegetation, that is they moved to and fro between their summer and winter dwellings. When winter approached, all tribes moved to the river nearest to them, and remained there throughout the winter and hunted. The winter dwellings, then, were in the river valleys, while the summer dwellings were further up in the hills. The author of the Jayhani tradition notes that the Magyars' country abounded in woods and waters, the soil was moist, and they had plenty of arable land. They always defeated the Slavs that dwelt close by. They levied severe sustenance taxes on them, and treated them as war prisoners. Whenever the Magyars would go to the port of the Black Sea, they would hold a market with the Byzantines. Here they would sell their Slavic prisoners and buy brocade, woollen carpets and other Byzantine goods. While the western sources tel1 us about the Magyars' incursions on the west, the Muslim sources speak of their military actions in the north, of the raids on the Slavs for taxes and slaves. It is very interesting and typical that the Magyars had their own arable lands, while at the same time they subjected the Slavs to severe sustenance taxes. Although agriculture played an important role in the Etelköz, the foodstuffs produced were nowhere near sufficient. The Jayhani tradition describes the agriculture of the Slavs, largely dependent on


From the Ura/s to the Carpathian Basin

the production of honey and pig-keeping. They reared pigs-so Jayhani's story runs-like other peoples kept sheep. They lived in a forest area, and had neither vineyards, nor arable land. This leads to the assumption that the sustenance taxes levied by the Magyars must have been paid in the form of pork, honey and vegetables, and not wheat. The residence of the Magyars in the Etelköz was brought to an end by the weakening of the House of Levedi triggered by Pecheneg incursions in the east. Backed by the Khavars (who had recently sided with the Magyars), Álmos, who held the office ofjila at that time, ousted Levedi from his fragile position, and had his own son Árpád elected as ruler. The Khazars acknowl­ edged the change of power. The Magyar chieftains made Árp ád prince "according to the custom, or 'zakanon', of the Khazars" by lifting him upon a shield (see Chapter XIII). Árp ád's rule in the Etelköz, however, did not last very long. No available sources report on the time elapsed between Árpád's election as prince and the events of 894--895. It is highly unlikely that this was a long period of time, however. The fact that Árpád's son Liuntika headed the military campaigns against the Bulghars in 894 suggests that Árp ád must have been past his prime by then, that is, he was at least forty years old. Also, the general Pecheneg attack on the Magyars must have followed the Pechenegs' incursions fairly quickly. Porp hyrogenitus wrote that a mere "some years" had passed between Árp ád's election, the Pechenegs' attack, and the Conquest. "Some years" means four or five at most, but more probably two or three-that is, the years around 889 and 890. The question is why Regino referred to the Magyars only in 889. One possible answer is that news of the change of dynasty (or news regarding that year) had not reached Prüm in Lotharingia earlier.

2 . TH E H lSTORl CAL PREUMl NARl ES OF TH E CON QU EST We must discuss the series of Eurasian events related to the Magyar Conquest in greater detail. The following account of events follows a geographical and chronological order. Contemporary to the Magyar Conquest, the Samanid dynasty ruled today's lran, Afghanistan, and Turkmenia and the related territories. ln early 893 the Samanid ruler Nasr ibn Ahmad I died, and was succeeded on the throne by his younger brother Esmail ibn Ahmad who immediately set about organising military campaigns to extend his power (see Plate III for the money minted by Esmail). ln the first instance he besieged the town ofTaraz in the valley of the River Taraz or Talas, which was the stronghold of the Kharlukhs. The Kharlukhs suffered irreparable losses in the attack, and consequently they

The Conquest

33 1

were unable to sustain the pressure they had been exerting on the neighbouring Oghuz and Kimeks. ln turn, the Oghuz deemed that the time had come to build their own empire, and to that end they would first have to drive out the Pechenegs who then ruled the western areas of the steppe. From Gardizi, we know exactly where the Oghuz dwelt (see above p. 235). ln all probability they could count on the co-operation of the Kimeks, too. ln 893 the Pechenegs suffered heavy losses in the fights with the Oghuz, and their tribes split into two groups. One group, as it was pointed out above (see pp. 235-238), was still living close to its former dwellings in 922. The defeat forced the majority ofthe Pechenegs, however, to set offwestward. They made an abortive attempt to break through the Khazar Empire, following which, in 894, they crossed the River Volga. ln the meantime, the Balkans, too, were bustling with events. ln the wake ofvarious disputes regarding trade, the Bulghar ruler Simeon attacked Byzan­ tium. The emperor Leo VI the Wise thereupon sent emissaries to the Magyars to win them for an anti-Bulghar alliance. Nicetas Scleros conferred with the Magyar chieftains at the Lower Danube in 882. The imperial armada then rowed up the Danube to transport the Magyar troops to the rear ofthe Bulghars. The Magyars levied a shattering attack upon the Bulghars, following which their armies devastated Bulgharia and even reached Preslav and Madara. The exact date of these attacks can be readily established from the sources: they occurred after the solar eclipse in 89 1 and the death of the patriarch Stephen in 893- that is, in 894. ln order to secure his position against Byzantium, Simeon launched a counter-attack against the Magyars during the following year, to which end he needed allies, and the Pechenegs, who had then arrived at the Magyar frontiers, were ideal for the purpose. It is not certain whether the Pechenegs attacked the Magyars at the instigation ofthe Bulghar ruler, or whether Simeon merely took advantage of the Pecheneg attacks and also marched against the Magyars; however, there is general agreement on the fact that the Magyar's defeat in 895 in the Etelköz was a result of Pecheneg-Bul­ ghar military operations. The Magyars living in the Etelköz from the end ofthe 7th century had long known the situation in the Carpathian Basin. As has been pointed out earlier (pp. 244-246), in 862 Carloman tumed against his father, the Frankish King Louis of Germany. Seeking to exploit the feud, and in support of his efforts of independence, the Moravian ruling prince Rastislav called in Magyar auxiliary troops, and won a small victory over the Franks. ln 881 (by then Svatopluk ruled Moravia), the Magyars again interfered in the Mora­ vian-Frankish struggle, and fought outside Vienna, together with the Kha­ vars. Eventually, in 892, Carloman's son Amulf, the new Frankish ruler, brought in the Magyars, now against Svatopluk. Amulf concluded an alliance


From the Ura/s to the Carpathian Basin

with the Bulghars, too, against the growing influence of the Moravians. Frankish envoys sailed down the Sava and persuaded the Bulghars to obstruct salt consignments from being delivered to Moravia. This marked the begin­ ning of the Frankish-Bulghar coalition. Given these circumstances, it is understandable why Byzantium appealed to the Magyars for an alliance against the Frankish-Bulghar coalition. The Bulghars, however, looked for association with the Pechenegs. ln 894, Svatopluk sent envoys to the Magyars for help against the Frank­ ish-Bulghar confederation. The Magyars arrived along routes they had come to know in earlier campaigns, and in alliance with Svatopluk they attacked the Franks and the local, affiliated Slavs in Pannonia. Following the death of Svatopluk (which was unrelated to these fights), his sons shared the Moravian Empire. The Magyar troops ravaging Pannonia withdrew, and it seems likely that they, or a group ofthem, may have spent the winter months in the Upper Tisza region. Thus, it indisputably follows that in 894 the Magyars were involved in two military campaigns. One against the Danube Bulghars in alliance with Byzan­ tium, and the other against the Franks in alliance with the Moravians. Of the two campaigns the Bulghar one was of greater importance to them, for they channelled their main forces here. By then, the Magyar armies that withdrew to the region of the River Tisza had obtained exterisive and accurate intelligence about the status quo of the Carpathian Basin, the decline ofMoravian power caused by intemal conflicts, the domestic affairs ofthe Frankish Empire, and foremost, about the intemal relations ofthe Carpathian Basin. Thereupon they decided to interfere in these domestic fights with added intensity. ln 895, the main body of the Magyar army crossed the Carpathians at the Verecke pass, and launched the military operation which entered historiography as the 'Conquest'.

3 . TH E CON QU EST Accounts of the Conquest in Hungarian historiography were, for a long time, founded on the stories related by the late Hungarian chronicles. This was followed by a period during which a more critical approach was taken, and it was then established that the Hungarian chroniclers had drawn on three groups of sources. Firstly, they must have known a few of the western chronicles (Regino's, for instance); secondly, they probably used a contemporary copy of the Hungarian primary chronicle; and thirdly, they incorporated the clan traditions ofnobiliary families oftheir own time. These they further elaborated in the narrative style in vogue at the time. This type of source criticism for-


Tlze Conquest


Figure 67 The Magyar Conquest warded research in so far as it tracked down the western sources. Trying to single out the elements adapted from the lost primary chronicle or originating from family traditions (of equivocal authenticity, but otherwise interesting), or those purely added by the chi:oniclers to spice up their account, depended on the competence, experience and judgement of the historian. This was perfectly natural. Even the most up-to-par historian could merely claim that an event quoted from a chronicle reflected the actual facts of the Conquest "in all likelihood" or "with great probability" or "more likely than not". Historians of the ensuing period ofhistoriography included the contemporary sources in their discussions about the Conquest, but in reconstructing the chain of events,


From the Ura/s to the Carpathian Basin

they still tended to use those parts of the chronicles which best fitted the concept they had in mind. Below, we shall attempt to reverse this process. We shall seek, therefare, to reconstruct the events of the Conquest from contemporary or near-contempo­ rary-hence extraneous-sources; disregarding, in the füst instance, the Hun­ garian traditions, that is, the accounts of the posterior chronicles. We shall subsequently stack up the resulting ( evidently less colourful) picture against the version in the chronicles. Based on the evidence, we can divide the Conquest into three main phases. The füst began in 895 and ended in 898, and the second lasted from 899 to 900. The third phase, between 900 and 902, concluded the events. The paucity of evidence regarding the füst phase leaves us to conjecture as to whom the Magyars were fighting at this time. The sources-Porphyrogeni­ tus 's work-tell us that when the Magyars went to war, the Pechenegs attacked them, together with Simeon. The Magyars cannot have been involved in the Moravian-Frankish conflict, far they had withdrawn from there in 894. There is no indication in the sources whether they were in the Upper Tisza area, or had retumed to the Etelköz. Nevertheless, they launched a new military campaign in spring 895-the only conceivable objective being an attack against the Bulghars. The known events point to the fact that the Magyars must have wanted to storm the Bulghars ' Transylvanian estates to thus ap­ proach the Bulghars from the rear. This, however, entailed occupying the Transylvanian salt mines which earned the Magyars a strategically crucial position in the fallowing years. At this point we must be reminded of the fact that the purpose of the Frankish-Bulghar alliance, in the füst place, was to isolate the Moravians from those Transylvanian salt mines. The Magyars must have left a garrison behind to guard their dwellings in the Etelköz. The Pechenegs and the Bulghars caught the Magyars of the Etelköz in a pincer movement. The Pechenegs launched attacks from the east, the Bulghars from the southwest, that is, the Lower Danube area. The Pechenegs beat the Etelköz Magyar garrison which fled towards the Bulghars who had set them a trap. Porphyrogenitus 's account tells us that the survivors fled back to the Etelköz. The battle itself is described by two sources. ln the Continuation of the Chronicle of George the Monk we can read that Simeon sought peace from the Byzantine emperor who, in tum, sent his emissary, Leon Hoirosphactus, to conclude the pact, whilst summoning back his land farces and navy. Simeon, however, without even deigning to listen to hím, had the Byzantine emissary locked up, fallowing which he launched a military campaign against the Turks, and "because the Romans had failed to grant them support and unwisely left them to fend far themselves, they massacred every one of them, further

The Conquest


heightening their hubris". The battle is recounted by the Fu lda Anna /s , too. Relating the events of the year 895 they mention that the Magyars (referred to as "Avars" in the text) stormed the borders of the Bulghars, but the latter were on their guard, and they killed the greater part of the Magyar army. ln the year 896 the annals give the full particulars of the battle, indicating that the Bulghars had lost twenty thousand warriors. Now, if the battle took such a heavy toll on the victor's men, what were the Magyars' losses like?-asks the author. The detachments beaten by the Pechenegs and the people of the base dwellings were forced to flee. Together with the armies retuming from the Lower Danube, there was only one conceivable place they could go: to where the Magyars' undiminished armies resided, that is, to Transylvania and the Upper Tisza region. So there they went, via the passes of the Carp athian Mountains. There is no indication in the sources as to who the commander of the spring 895 Magyar military operation was, but because no source implies that Árp ád had actually participated or died in the course of the fights with the Pechenegs and the Bulghars, we have reason to believe that he alone, or jointly with Kursan, led the operation. This does not contradict Porp hyrogenitus who claimed that the Pechenegs ambushed the Magyars, and drove them away, together with their prince Árp ád. Porp hyrogenitus highlighted the gist of the matter: Árp ád's dwellings had been demolished, consequently he did not retum to there, for he had been driven away. We must here consider the instance of the Magyars' crossing of the Danube with Byzantine help in the previous year, 894, following which they defeated the Bulghars. We leam from Porp hyrogenitus that Árp ád's son, Liuntika, was the arhon at that time. The emperor had earlier referred to all seven chieftains, including Árp ád, as being arhons-which makes it unlikely, as has been suggested, that Árp ád was removed from his position for a brief period in 894. It seems more likely, rather, that Liuntika headed the tribe or tribes responsible for the Bulghar military operations. A different interpretation of the same sources contends that Simeon pro­ voked an attack from the Magyars to engage their entire army, following which the Pechenegs stormed the unguarded Magyar dwellings from the rear. We do not think this is likely, however, because Porp hyrogenitus writes that "[ ... ] when the Turks [Magyars] had gone off on a military expedition, the Pech­ enegs with Symeon came against the Turks [... ]" (translated by Jenkins)-that is, the source clearly speaks of two different military actions. The conquest of South Transylvania, formerly under Bulghar rule, and the protective shield of the Carp athian Mountains provided the arriving Magyars with a moment of respite.


From the Ura/s to the Carpathian Basin

Our sources do not allow us to say for certain whether the 895 military campaign was a conscious Conquest, or whether it was the outcome of an under-pressure situation which the Magyars wisely tried to make the most of. That the Conquest might have been planned is suggested by the fact that, many decades prior to the Conquest, the Magyars had traversed and explored the Carpathian Basin. Yet if they had proposed a migration (a conquest) for that year, they would hardly have left behind vulnerable groups oftheir people and their base dwellings. However, the fact that, despite a series of unfortunate events, the Magyars managed to keep their heads above water goes to show that they were indeed ready to move on. The sources remain silent about the Magyars over the next four years, which is perfectly understandable. The Magyars must have crossed the River Tisza, but definitely not the Danube. During these four years they secured their frontiers and recovered and reinforced their authority over the occupied territories. Understanding the second phase ofthe Conquest requires knowledge ofthe events and main characters involved. Arnulf's delegate, Braslav (who had participated in the wars against the Moravians) ruled Transdanubia. Moravia was ruled by one of Svatopluk l's sons, Moymir II. Lambert of Spoleto (892-898), claiming to be related to the Longobárdi, and Berengar of Friaul (888-924), a descendant of Charles the Great, struggled for power in North ltaly. Arnulf was crowned king in 894, and in 896 he marched to Rome with his army, to have himself crowned emperor. lt seems that the Magyars strove to maintain peaceful relations with most of the above rulers. Their endeavours were successful in so far as Moymir 11 was concemed, with whom they concluded an alliance. We also know that many of the Moravians shaved their bead in the same fashion as the Magyars did, which was no obstacle to ordaining an archbishop and three bishops in Moravia in 898-899, with the permission of the Pope. ln the meantime, however, the Czech nobiliary factions seeking independence were giving Moymir II a very hard time. They asked Amulf for help, and soon the Frankish foreign policy turned in support of Svatopluk l's other son, Svatopluk II. Making the most of this fratemal strife, the Frankish forces marched into Moravia and, in league with the Czechs, they severely weakened the Moravian Empire. ln 898 Lampert died, and Arnulfreckoned that the time had come to extend his power over the northem part of Italy. To achieve this he had to undermine King Berengar's position. Arnulf had had good experience with the Magyars earlier and knew he could count on them once more. So he offered the Magyars a deal which must have included substantial financial benefits, in exchange

Tlie Ccmquest


for which they were to march on Berengar and shatter his power. The sources claim that Arnulf granted the Magyars money and clothing. Their deal was concluded according to both Christian and pagan rituals, swearing by God and Dog respectively. The Magyars sent troops to attack North Italy in spring 899. They spent the whole autumn and winter there, and practising their unusual tactics they beat Berengar's forces. Even in the following year they were pillaging the rich Italian towns, advancing as far as Bologna, and on 29th June 900 they even made an (abortive) attempt to sack Venice. Finally, Berengar bought the withdrawal of the Magyars by offering food and hostages. ln the meantime, Arnulf himself leaped into action, and interfered in the Moravians ' domestic struggle in 899. This was not wholly successful. Fol­ lowing a brief period of retirement, Moymir returned and launched a counter­ attack. He crossed the Danube, devastated Arnulf's hinterland, Transdanubia, and beat Braslav, who fled. ln the meantime, in December 899, Arnulf died. The forces returning from ltaly and the main Magyar army crossing the Danube caught the Moravians in a pincer movement, who were busy devas­ tating Transdanubia, and occupied that region. Chronicles relating the events of the year 900 report that the Bavarians were building defensive lines on the River Enns. Naturally this does not mean that the Enns marked the border of the occu­ pied territories, but it certainly fell within the sphere of military operations. This was neither the first nor the last time that it became a frontier river in this sense. ln effect, this marked the end of the Magyar Conquest. The Magyars spent the next three or four years consolidating their control over the Carpathian Basin. There is one other interesting point regarding the military operations in Transdanubia, namely an analogy applicable-with caution-to the events of 894-895. The year 894 also saw a successful military campaign against the Bulghars. This victory could have led the Magyar supreme commanders to the assumption that the returning triumphant army and the main Magyar forces could catch the Transylvanian Bulghars in a pincer movement. However, the Bulghars, in league with the Pechenegs, deci ded on a manoeuvre along similar lines. Good timing on the part of the Pechenegs earned the Magyars ' foes victory. That was not the case in 900. Following the Conquest, the Magyars were left to secure the gains they had made. They first opted for the pacific altemative and sent peace delegations to the court of the new Frankish ruler, Louis the lnfant. After their offer was rejected they took severe measures. The Magyar armies launched an attack against the area under Bavarian control (today's Austria). Pressing westwards


From the Ura/s to the Carpathian Basin

along both banks ofthe Danube, they occupied the Kisalföld (Northwest Plain) and the territories to the north, possibly even beyond the Enns. The advance of the smaller Magyar detachment on the north bank of the Danube was halted by the armies of the Marquis Luitpold and the Bishop of Passau in November that year. Having witnessed the events, the other detachments, on the south bank, also decided to turn back. Following a series of minor military opera­ tions, in 902 the Magyars finally occupied Moravia. One part of the country's population fled to the Bulghars, to the Croats, and to the Franks. This marked the end ofthe actions aimed at securing the Magyars' gains, and ofthe process of the Conquest of the Carpathian Basin. This is more or less the portrait rendered by the sources contemporary or near-contemporary to the Conquest. We are fully aware that this picture is highly deficient; however, we did not draw on the Hungarian chronicles to colour it. The Hungarian primary chronicle is thought to have been first committed to writing in the 1070s. The first draft was rewritten under King Coloman I Beauclerc ( 1095-1116); it is obvious, however, that the text created around 1070 had had its sources and editorial schemes (see pp. 4 14-4 15). The his­ torical traditions then evolved for 220 years before they were noted down. We have come to the point, therefore, where other scholars must take over.


For the literature on the questions of Levedia and Etelköz see pp. 324 and 42 1 . The Hungarian word asszony ' lady, married woman ' , in early Hungarian ' queen' was discussed by Ligeti ( 1 986, p. 1 64), where the word is considered to be an 8th-century loan word of Alanian origin (see also Benkő 1 992-1 995, vol. I, p. 55). Many scholars have written on the localisation of Krh (see Németh 1 93 0, Benkő 1 985). Recently Szabolcs Polgár in a yet unpublished lecture on the 1 8th September, 1 998 and István Bóna in his inaugural lecture read at the Academy of Sciences ( 1 8th March, 1 999) have independently dealt with the question. Bóna suggested to identify the Krh of Ibn Rusta with Kherson. The arguments of Polgár and Bóna have convinced me that Kerch can be excluded, and the place where the Magyars sold the slaves was either in Kherson or somewhere near. For the events of the Conquest and the historical setting, see Györffy ( 1 984) and Kristó ( 1 980, pp. 1 5 1-228; 1 996, pp. 1 75-203). Both authors build on earlier Hungarian scholarship. ln these works there are some facts, the interpretation of which I disagree with, and some of their reconstructions are difficult to accept. The two authors frequently disagree and there exists a growing secondary literature which argues on one or the other side. It would be tempting to go into the details here, but I wish to avoid scholarly discussions in this book.


The Magyars of the Conquest changed their way of life in the Carpathian Basin. Given the conditions of the age, this transition required a mere two hundred years which, historically speaking, counts as a briefperiod. Naturally the transition continued under the rule of Coloman Beauclerc ( 1095-1116). The ensuing period was characterised by keeping abreast of-and not simply catching up with-the European trends. A turning point in the process of change was the establishment ofHungarian statehood, laying the foundations ofpolitical and economic organisation, i.e. the procedure which the Hungari­ ans symbolically refer to as "Saint Stephen's oeuvre". The foundations of Saint Stephen's state organisation had been laid by that branch of the House of Árpád which assumed a major role in the struggle for power back in the 10th century. The new style of state organisation brought to an end a very controversial and complex period, known in Hungarian historiography as the period of"adventure campaigns" (kalandozások), in effect, ofincursions. We shall here merely attempt to outline the circumstances the conquering Magyars lived under at the time. These conditions did not essentially differ from the conditions they had been used to in the Etelköz. The only new elements were really the tasks they were required to perform as a result ofthe Conquest, and relating to the cohabitation with the population they encountered in the Carpathian Basin. Practically no written sources exist regarding the life of the people in this period. The western sources conceived in the period of "adventure cam­ paigns" rarely gave rigorously objective accounts ofthe events, and even these were usually spiced up by repeating the old truisms about barbaric incursions and the usual negative popular clichés of mediaeval historiographers. Occa­ sionally, however, for whatever reason, they actually recorded some fascinat­ ing events of reality. The Hungarian chronicles written down two centuries after the Conquest tend to relate the glorious traditions ofthe nobiliary families ofthe period. Consequently they abound in highly colourful stories ofthe past, and give scornful accounts of the history of rival families, or remain silent about the often significant past of these rivals. All this was natural to the


From tlze Ura/s to the Carpathian Basin

European chronicles ofthe age. Still, many elements ofthese stories preserve memories which, subjected to expert historical analysis, can be "converted" to actual historical facts. Accordingly, the following reconstruction-by comparison with the chro­ nological history of the Conquest where we disregarded the posterior chron­ icles-draws on the relatively scanty evidence contained in the Conquest­ related contemporary, non-Hungarian sources, as well as in the works of the Hungarian chroniclers.

1 . TH E NAME OF TH E MAGYAR TR1BAL CON FEDERATION The Magyar conquerors' tribal confederation was called (in modem Hungar­ ian) Hétmagyar ' Seven Magyars'. The reconstruction of the original pronun­ ciation would be roughly hetümajer or hetümajeri. The way Anonymus spells the designation is hetumoger. The uncertainties of Latin spelling at the time made it difficult to render the labial, short Hungarian /a/, and so it was often spelt as o. Spelling the Hungarian consonant cluster dzs (pronounced as the first letter of the English 'jump' and transliterated as} in this book) in Latin was particularly troublesome. To make things even worse, dzs had begun to make its shift towards gy (as in the British English 'duke'), that is, /dy/. Certain records tagged on a final -i. This vocalic final must have been added to the designation of the Magyars at a time when the language would not allow a word-final consonant. This close and short vowel disappeared in the Old Hungarian period, as did the final -ü írom the word hetü ' seven'. Two independent foreign sources vouch for the above designation. One of them is Porphyrogenitus's The Governing of Empire, in which he mentions the seven chieftains heading the seven tribes; and the other Ibn Hayyan's 11th-century work which, however, preserves an earlier, 10th-century record with an inserted note. The latter, too, claims that the Magyars had seven chieftains. Naturally, Ibn Hayyan's information does not pertain to the Ma­ gyars making raids on Spain. When he got to this point, the author took a brief interval in his account of the events, and related the knowledge avail­ able about the marauding Magyars in Iberia. As will be pointed out, the fact that the Magyars' designation at the time of the Conquest stood for ' Seven Magyars' does not mean that they were actually constituted of seven tribes. It cannot even be ascertained whether the tribal confederation consisted of seven Magyar tribes. The name is merely one of many Turkic designations for tribal confederations, which tagged on a number preceding the tribal name, as in the Three Kharlukh (Üch Kharlukh ), the Three Khurikhan (Üch Khurikhan), the Nine Oghuz (Tokhuz Oghuz), the Ten Oghur

The Magyars ín the Carpathian Basin

34 1

(On Oghur), the Thirty Tatar (Otuz Tatar), or the Thirty Oghur (Utur Oghur > Uturghur), etc. Ifthe Magyars' name had a Turkic equivalent, it would have sounded Jetimajer or perhaps Jetimejer. There is no such name in the sources, unless, of course, Anonymus 's Dentumoger was a distorted derivation of it.

2 . POUTICAL ORGAN 1SATION The Magyars ' political organisation at the time o f the Conquest was a tribal confederation. Tribal confederations took many forms. We have relatively good knowledge about the Turkic-type tribal confederation system; presently we know more about the system of the East Turks than of the West Turks. The differences are not insignificant, but where we are lacking information re­ garding the West Turks we are compelled to draw on our knowledge of the East Turks-with due reservations, of course. Naturally we cannot get in­ volved in discussing the details in this book. Tribal confederations had a leading tribe around which the multi-faceted system of the confederation was grouped. It would be a mistake to assume that the Magyar tribes held a great assembly, and by means ofa democratic vote they elected one ofthe chieftains as prince, whose old tribe then elected a new chieftain, resulting 7 + 1 leaders in the confederation of the seven tribes. The chieftain of the leading tribe was the head of the entire confederation, and at the same time he remained the leader of his own tribe, while the other chieftains assumed a subordinate role. This basic set-up became more and more elaborate as new tribes-wilfully or by force-joined the confederation. The chieftains of the old tribes collec­ tively ruled over the new tribes, under the prince and the leadership of the confederation. The chieftains of the new tribes had significantly less power; they were delegated special tasks on the performance of which their position ( and indeed often their life) depended. Recorded by the Chinese sources at one particular moment of its history, the structure of the Nine Oghuz (Tokhuz Oghuz) tribal confederation is especially interesting. Viewed from one perspective it consisted of 1 8 tribes, 17 from another, and 9 from a third. The answer to the riddle is this: the ninth of the nine tribes itself comprised nine tribes. The sources would start by listing the first eight tribes and when they got to the ninth they would continue with the first tribe of the smaller unit of nine, and proceeded until the ninth. That made 8 + 9 = 1 7 , but from another perspective there was a confederation of nine tribes, the ninth unit of which was adjoined by another unit of nine; that is, the larger unit was the one-ninth entity in the first instance, and in the second, one ofthe small tribes, which amounts to 9 + 9 = 1 8 . But when it came


From the Ura/s to the Carpathian Basin


Figure 68 Structure of the Nine Oghuz tribal confederation to negotiations, the confederation acted as a single unit, and the leading tribe-the Uighur-was in control of the Nine Oghuz (see Figure 68). The power of the prince was secured, to a great extent, by his military train or retinue. The prince's retinue consisted of his own clansmen, rather than other chieftains; also, of members of other tribes who very often assumed a key role, partly as hostages and partly because of their vested interests which bound them to the prince. lt so happened that if a tribe rebelled, the kinsman of that tribe in the escort of the prince could be used to hold in check the rebelling tribe. Outsiders, too, could be granted membership ín the escort, and the actual power of the prince depended on the extent to which he was able to manage and keep control over his escort. This system must have achieved, to a certain extent, a balance of power. The personal authority ofthe prince depended partly on the power of his own tribe, partly on the system of vested interests of a multiply differentiated tribal confederation, and partly on the power of his escort. A dual system ofpower operated within this basic political framework. The terrns dual kingship and the boly, sacral kingship are, strictly speaking, two aspects of the same concept, even though ín Hungarian historiography they have different meanings. This differentiation is misleading, because sacral kingship intrinsically postulates a dual kingship; conversely, however, a dual kingship is not necessarily sacral. Underlying the dual system is a principle


The Magyars ín the Carpathian Basin

concerning the ruler's legitimacy of power. ln the dual system the ruler's power originates from the heavens, notwithstanding the circumstances which earned him his throne. As we have seen, everything depended on the ruler's ku t or holiness or charisma, which he received from the heavens and whose power he used to govern (see pp. 149-150). The longer a dynasty possessed this celestial gift, the less it participated in managing the everyday matters of the realm. This was characteristic of all mediaeval powers, not only in the steppe. Alongside the retired king, the chancellor, the major-domo, or the commander came to the fore in the royal courts. The older the dynasty, the greater the role of the person actually wielding authority was. This second position would often be controlled by a clan whose members (passing down the title not from father to son, but to the second eldest clansman) might grow so strong that they would often become the real power behind the throne. ln this system, then, the duality of the king and the supreme commander was natural, and their relationship largely depended-beyond their person and the given set of circumstances-on the ritualisation of the ruler's legitimacy of power. Naturally this rite only warranted the position of the sacral king so long as the circumstances of the community and the tribal confederation were favourable. To outsiders this system must have appeared as a dual kingship. However, the only thing a sacral kingship had in common with a dual kingship was that, of the legitimate ruler and the supreme commander wielding power, the former became the object of such rites which associated the life ofthe king with the fortune of the tribal confederation. The ruler's kut and the peo­ ple's-i.e. the tribal confederation's-kut thus became intertwined. The sources must be interpreted in the light of this. The Jayhani tradition writes thus: Ibn Rusta The Majgars are a race of Turks and their leader rides out with horsemen to the number of20,000. Their leader is called kün­ de [or kende, the first vowel is omitted] but this is only a nominal title, for the name of the man who is actually king over them is called Jila [or Juta] and all the Majgars accept the orders of their jila fjula] in the matter ofwar and defence and the like.

Gardizi These Majgars are a type ofthe Turks. Their leader (siiliir) rides out with 20,000 warriors. This leader they call künde [kende] . This is the title of the greater of their kings (wa in nam-e matek-e bozorgtar-e ishan ast). That leader (salar) who appoints the functionaries they calljula fjole ]. What thejula commands, the Majgars do.

The only thing the above sources tel1 us is that the gyula was in charge of the military matters of the tribal confederation; whereas there existed a legitimate ruler who had little influence on army-related issues.


From the Ura/s to the Carpathian Basin

A closer look at the Jayhani tradition reveals that this set-up reflects conditions prior to the Conquest. The question arises of when the dual kinship existed among the Magyars, and whether any other sources referring to it exist? The Levedi story could be regarded as another source. As discussed in Chapter XIII, it relates the ousting of the farmer legitimate dynasty, when the tribal confederation's second clan-the supreme commander-took over control. Contemporary or near-contemporary sources are in agreement regard­ ing one question. They talk ofneither Levedi 's nor Álmos 's progeny, but only of Árp ád's. This means that according to the 9th- 1 0th-century Byzantine sources both royal and military powers temporarily converged in Árp ád's hands. We know far sure that this was the case in 894, the year when Nicetas Scleros met Árpád and Kursan in the Lower Danube area to talk of war against the Bulghars. If one of them had been the sacral king, he would not have taken part in the negotiations. Two questions remain to be answered. One of them is an event traditionally recounted by the Hungarian chronicles: the murder of Álmos. One tradition says that "Árp ád's father, Álmos, was killed in Transylvania, far he was not to enter Pannonia". This has been hitherto explained away as being ritual regicide, a remnant of the sacral kingship. This is very unlikely, however. lt is hardly conceivable that fallowing the Conquest, Árpád, de facto supreme commander, would murder his father far ritual or sacral reasons. Possibly Árpád and his father were on bad terms, as were Carloman and his father, Louis of Germany. If these reports reflect true events, the only possible explanation would be that Árpád or someone in his entourage-perhaps someone seeking Árpád's favour murdered Álmos. The other question that remains to be answered is who was the other person Nicetas Scleros met. Historians refer to him as Kursan, a reconstruction of the name Curzan which features in the work of the Hungarian Anonymus. The name appears in two traditions, independent of one another. The Byzantine tradition is represented by the anonymous author of the sequel to The Chron­ icle of George the Monk in which the name Kusan (kousanes) occurs. The variant Kursan (koursané), in a later manuscript, has been shown to be a copyist's error. The western annals (of the years 902 and 904) feature the variants Kussal ( Chussal : Annales heremi 904 � Annales alamannici, in which it is erroneously spelt Chusdal) and Kussol (Chussol : Annales sangal­ lenses maiores 902 � Annales alamannici), while the late farm of Kussala (Cussala : Aventinus) originates from Kussal. There is no doubt about the farms Kusan and Kusal being related, but it is not clear how (a possible shift of the word-final consonant from -n to -l is out of the question). All evidence

The Magyars ín tlze Carpatlzian Basin


points to the fact that word-intemal consonant is an /s/ and not an /sh/. It is possible, but not certain, that the original word-final consonant was an -/, and that the -n in the Byzantine source is a secondary formation. The link with the form Curzan is not in the least bit straightforward, because the regular insertion of an -r- into common Hungarian words (as in hárs 'linden' , nyárs 'spit') was a change that occurred later. Consequently, the name Kursan is historical convention, as is the name fönn Géza. But who was Kursan, or more probably Kusal (Küsel) or Kusan (Küsen)? The sources unanimously vouch for Kusan being the protagonist of the events of the second phase of the Conquest, after 899. There is no reference, however, to whether his successor or anyone from his clan played a part in the events contemporary with Kursan's lifetime or later. Our knowledge of the order of succession of the Árpád dynasty from somewhat later indicates that Kursan, too, must have been a dynasty member, and might even have been Árp ád's brother. Visiting the Byzantine court around 950, Termecsü and Bulcsú enumerated Árpád's four sons who were called Tarkacsu, Yeleh, Yutocsa and Zalta . The very same chapter relating their visít claims earlier on that Liuntika, who probably led the campaign against the Bulghars, was also Árpád's son. This goes to show that Termecsü and his companion neglected to mention the branches they considered insignificant regarding power and authority; and accordingly they omitted Liuntika from their list. The editors of the text either failed to notice this inconsistency, or simply regarded the matter as too trifling to be of concem. The claim that one of the four sons had two names (and that one source recorded the one, and other sources the other), is wholly unfounded. It is hardly imaginable that Árp ád was Álmos 's only son. As yet, we have no evidence to prove that Kursan was Árp ád 's brother. ln any case, it was he who led the second phase of the Conquest and the incursions on the west, and who was tricked by the Bavarians into attending peace talks, and was murdered on the bank of the River Fischa in 904. I do not consider justified the views which contend that the Árp ád-Kursan twosome and the murder of Álmos imply the existence of a Khazar-type sacral kingship among the Magyars of the Conquest. There was no time for that institution to develop after the Árp ád dynasty had come to power, and neither were the historical and social conditions favourable. lt is quite another matter that the rulers ofthe Árpád dynasty considered themselves sovereigns chosen by the heavens. The problem of why Kursan alone features in the western sources requires further clarification. ln Chapter 40 ofhis De adm inistrando imperio Constantine Porphyrogeni­ tus describes the famous landmarks and sights of Turkia, that is, Hungary. He writes ofTrajan's bridge over the Lower Danube, Emperor Constantine 's tower \


From the Urals to the Carpathian Basin

in Belgrade, and of Sirmium. He continues thus: "Such are the landmarks and names along the River Danube; but the regions above these, which compre­ hend the whole settlement ofTurkey [Hungary], they now call after the names of the rivers that flow there. The rivers are these: the first river is the Timisis [Temes], the second river the Toutis [Béga], the third river the Morisis [Maros], the fourth river the Krisos [Körös], and again another river, the Titza [Tisza]. Neighbours of the Turks are, on the eastem side the Bulgharians, where the River Istros, also called Danube, runs between them; on the northem, the Pechenegs; on the western, the Franks; and on the southem, the Croats." (Translated by Jenkins.) This description is odd because it suggests that Hungary during the period between 940 and 952 consisted merely ofthe Trans-Tisza area. Porp hyrogenitus might have, perhaps, drawn on the cleric Gabriel's report. Gabriel had been sent by Byzantium as an emissary to the Magyars around 927. Nevertheless, this report describes the actual areas in the possession of Árpád's successors, that is, the Árpádian dwellings. Thus East Hungary was ruled by Árp ád's offspring, and West Hungary, perhaps, by Kursan's. How­ ever, because the report mentions that Franks occupied the areas further west, Árp ád's successors must have considered themselves in charge of the entire land of Hungary, but only spoke about their own dwelling in detail. Provided this conjecture corresponds to historical reality, it is very likely that Kursan was a brother to Árp ád. Kursan and his offspring headed the raids on the west, and accordingly, their kinsfolk suffered the great losses, too. We know next to nothing about the family background of Tarhos, Bogát and Salard, the leaders of the 921 and 924 raids. ln 94 7, a chieftain called Taksony also headed an incursion on Italy. Certain sources (Aventinus) claim that Taksony died in battle on the Lech plain in 955, together with Bulcsú, Csaba, Lél and Sur. Other sources recount, however, that Taksony became the bead of the leading tribe around the same date-which means that either the reports of his death on the Lech plain are mistaken, or that they were referring to another chieftain Taksony (Toxus). It is hardly conceivable-although it cannot be ruled out-that after his defeat, on retuming home he took over power in the realm. We know for certain that Bulcsú was not a member of Árp ád's family. Porp hyrogenitus refers to him as being "Turkey's third prince" (arhon). His title was kharha which came after the gyla in rank, according to the emperor. He confirms elsewhere this basic set-up: the first leader ofthe Magyar court (khephalé proté), the prince, was assisted by the two important officers, the gyla and the kharha ; also, each tribe had a chieftain. Which means that the prince, the gyla and the kharha must have constituted the leadership of the tribal confederation.

The Magyars in tire Carpathian Basin


Neither the title name gy/a , nor kharha have convincing etymologies. ( Gy/a or güla , pronounced as yila , might reflect the form gyila or jila , but not the form gyula which is a Magyar development; and the Pechenegs had no tribe calledjula .) As has been mentioned above, the Jayhani tradition claimed that the Majgars had two leaders, a kende or künde and ajila . The description of the system informs us that, of the two, the jila was the military commander. It is hardly doubtful that this jila and the Byzantine version gy /a are identical title names, but due to the fact that a century separates them we cannot be so sure that the functions of the holder of this title were identical at both times. The Byzantine account does not refer to the gyula by name; however, it does tel1 us that Turkey's (i.e. Hungary's) prince (arhon) in those times was Palicsi, Árpád's grandson. The West Turk political organisation rested upon two important titles. One of them, after the king, was the supreme commander, and the other the governor or governors in charge ofjoined or subjugated peoples. As has been mentioned above (see p. 226), in the Khazar Empire the latter was called yiltever which corresponds to the East Turk e/teher . If we are looking at a partial adoption ofthe Khazar system, then the Magyar kharha must have been the governor in charge of joined or subjugated peoples, which explains why he was lower in rank than the gyufa . Kursan must have originally occupied this position, but it is uncertain whether his successors were his offspring. The title was held by Bulcsú around 950, which is informative, because if kharha Bulcsú ruled over the j oined peoples, he cannot have been related to Árpád's clan, for the kharhas were never related to it. Bulcsú's father Káli also held the office of the kharha. The ruler probably appointed him after the murder of Kursan in 904. Weighing up all the evidence, the leading stratum ofthe Magyar's political organisation can be reconstructed thus: the tribal confederation was headed by the prince, the supreme commander (the gyufa), and the kharha who gov­ erned the joined peoples. On the next level came the chieftains of the tribes. Theoretically the conquerors ' tribal confederation consisted of7 + 1 tribes, the eighth tribe being the Khavars which originally consisted of three tribes. This, in the end, means ten tribes. The designation Khabar denoting the Khavars, like so many other names, is Hungarian historical convention. The Greek text reads as Khavar . Although in those days Khabar might also have been transliterated by the Greeks in the same way, we learn from the Latin written sources that the correct reading was indeed Khavar . The variant cowari , featuring in the Annals of Salzburg, and the Greek khabaroi are to be read as Khavari . The Khavars rebelled against the Khazars, but the latter got the better of them, and "[ . . . ] some of them were slain, but others escaped and came and settled with the Turks in the land


From the Ura/s to the Carpathian Basin

of the Pechenegs, and they made friends with one another, and were called 'Khavars ' ," Porphyrogenitus writes. The question is who called them Khavars. The quoted text does not say that one of the Khazar tribes, the Khavars, rebelled, but rather, that those that j oined the Magyars were called 'Khavars ' . The ethnic name cannot have derived from the Turkic verb kava- 'to swell ( of a wound) ' as it was claimed; semantic and onomastic problems make that impossible to establish. Ifwe were to find a related Turkic word, a possibility would be kavir- 'to collect, assemble ' which interestingly tallies with kuvra- 'to be assembled' , kuvrat- 'to assem­ ble ' . (The latter survived in the name of the Bulghar khaghan Khuvrat). Morphologically, however, the derivation is not clear, and more likely than not we are again looking at a popular etymology. One of the leading clans of the Khavars must have been called Khavar, a name which the new group consisting of three tribes commonly adopted. Popular etymological explana­ tions came later, like for example, bodun kavradi 'brought the people to­ gether ' . Similar secondary explanations occurred with the Turk and Manys ethnic names, and similar stories were told by Anonymus, too. The three Khavar tribes-so the emperor tells us-had one chieftain (arhon), a set-up which remained much the same until the times ofthe account. Of the eight Magyar tribes the Khavars, who were always sent to the front lines in battle, proved to be the strongest and the most courageous in war, in reward for which they were raised to the level of the first tribes-we read. Hungarian historiography has long revealed that we are witnessing here an established military system whereby the most recently j oined people or tribe was sent to the front lines. The above 'first tribe' refers to military position, not to a political rank. The system of three tribes having one chieftain corre­ sponds perfectly to the organisational samples of Turkic tribes. This is im­ portant to acknowledge because it often happened that the merger of two or more tribes entailed having one chieftain for the new unit. It followed from the Khavars' unique position in the Magyar military organisation that they played a significant part in the incursions on the west. We know that it was together with the Khavars that the Magyars went to war and advanced to Vienna around 88 1 . This probably meant that the losses of the Khavars were greater than of those that stayed behind in the Carpathian Basin. Two questions require clarification in connection with the Khavars. Is it possible that the leading stratum of the Khavars was converted to Judaism? The possibility cannot be ruled out. However, weighing up chronological evidence we can say that the Khavars ' joining the Magyars was not wholly independent from the conversion ofthe leading Khazar strata to Jewish faith. Yet we have a relatively good notion about contemporary Khazar conditions,

The Magyars in the Carpathian Basin


where the Jewish leading strata lived together in peace with Muslim, Christian and "pagan" communities, while the Khazar system of beliefs was complex and syncretistic (more about that later). The Central Asian Uighur Empire can offer some interesting parallels. Here Buddhism and Nestorianism flourished under a newly converted Manichaean ruler. Both the Khazar and the Uighur examples attest to the fact that the Khavars ' splintering off could only indirectly have been provoked by the conversion to the Jewish faith. The turn evidently interfered with imperial and political interests. The other question is related to the problem of bilingualism. The relevant Greek text has many interpretations. "And so ( 1 ) to these Turks they taught also the tongue of the Khazars, and (2) to this day they have this same language, but (3) they have also the other tongue of the Turks." (Translated by Jenkins.) The subject of the clauses of the sentence is unclear. Either 'Khavars ' is the subject of all three subordinate clauses, or 'Khavars ' is the subject of the first clause and 'Turks' of the second and third; or 'Khavars ' is the subject of the first and third clauses, and 'Turks ' of the second. What this boils down to is the question "who was bilingual, then?" ln my opinion the first version is the correct one, and the report should be read as follows : the Khavars taught the Magyars the tongue of the Khazars, but the Khavars "to this day" speak this Khazar language, and also learnt the language of the Magyars-that is, the Khavars were bilingual. The Khavars were under Magyar rule, and the military lingo of the tribal confederation must have been Hungarian, so they had to learn the language. lt is sure that the Magyars first encountered the language ofthe Khazars before the Khavars hadjoined them. However, after the Khavars had joined, the role of the Khazar language must have increased in the Magyar court. The process of joining was very often confirmed by matrimony between the leading clans-as in Levedi's case, for instance. We know that Levedi had a Khazar wife, consequently the Khavar chieftain might have taken a Magyar wife. However, having a Magyar wife was not considered to be binding enough, so the Khavar chieftain was always supervised by a Magyar governor, the kharha. There are several examples of this in the Khazar Empire. F or instance, the Khazar title yiltever denoted such a function among the Caucasus "Huns" and the Volga Bulghars. If the Khavars ' joining the Magyars happened shortly after 800, their eighth generation would have lived at the turn of the millennium. By that time­ which roughly coincides with the appearance of the first traces of Hungarian literacy-the Khavars had long since lost their original Turkic language, unless of course in the meantime they encountered or maintained connections with new Turkic immigrants, or with the Turks outside the Carpathian Basin. Around the year 1 OOO, the Khavars belonged to the majority of native speaker


From the Ura/s to the Carpathian Basin

Hungarians. It is perfectly feasible, however, that knowledge of the Khazar language lived on in a few clans. Porphyrogenitus enumerates the Magyar tribes by name, thus: "The first is this aforesaid clan ofthe Kabaroi [Khavars] which split offfrom the Khazars; the second, of Nekis [Nyék] : the third, of Megeris [Megyer] : the fourth, of Kourtougermatos [Kürt and Gyarmat] : the fifth, of Tarianos [Tarján] : the sixth, Genah [Jenő] : the seventh, Kari [Kér] : the eighth, Kasi [Keszi]." The sentence has provoked much debate on account of the inconsistency of its grammatical structure. Inconsistency begins by the Emperor's writing the second to the fifth tribe names which come after the Khavars in the singular genitive, as if he were talking about tribes of (or belonging to) persons. I do not think that this usage is reflecting a Hungarian grammatical structure--as it was claimed. It is continuing the previous unit, which records the tribe of the Khavars. The tribal names of Kürt and Gyarmat are combined in the Emperor's ac­ count. We have plenty of examples of the Magyar tribe names being pre­ served to this day in the names of early Magyar settlements. There is no place in Hungary called Kürtgyarmat; however, Kürt and Gyarmat indi­ vidually occur frequently as place names. The two tribes might have been combined temporarily for military reasons. This rounds out our picture of the Hétmagyar tribal confederation which consisted not of 7 + 1 tribes, but of 6 + 1 (+ 1) + 1 (+ 3). The Hétmagyar-literally, ' Seven Magyars'-tribal con­ federation was constituted of eight tribes. This sounds like a contradiction in terms, but in fact the leading tribe--the bead of the tribal confederation­ played an extremely important part. Six tribes joined the original Majer tribe, forming a system of 1 + 6 (while all new tribes that joined were fitted into this system). This is important to acknowledge, because it shows that the Majer tribe substantially outrivalled the other tribes in numbers. Much has been written on the etymologies of the tribal names. It must be stressed, however, that linguistic historical evidence has no, or not much, bearing on the ethnicity of the tribe members. We have seen many examples (e.g. French, Russian, etc.). However, solving the riddle of names offers some interesting historical knowledge. The literature on the etymology of names may fill whole libraries, yet probably no etymology can lay claim to being sound ín every respect. The Magyars have two tribe names whose etymology does not require too many premises. These are the names Megyer and Tarján. Megyer (pronounced mejer in Ancient Hungarian) is identical with the ethnic name Magyar which derives from the form majer. The shift from Majer to Megyer can be explained by the fact that the word stress was on the last syllable, a remnant ofTurkic word stress pattems (see above, p. 306). ln effect, then, Megyer is a variant of majer-as pronounced in Turkic. The etymology

The Magyars in the Carpathian Basin


ofTarján is tarkhan > tarhan > tarjan , a Hungarian change which was fairly systematic, and many examples of it have come down to us. Yet the form tarkhan lived on, as attested to by the western sources and the Hungarian place names with the form Tárkány. There are many instances when two variants of the same title occur. We have seen examples oftitles becoming ethnic names above (see p. 273). The tribe name Jenő features as Genah in the above quotation. It was pronounced as Yeneh . This transformed to the Hungarian Jenő by process of a regular change. The putative root, the Turkic verb ina­ 'to trust' , only occurs in the Turkic languages in its back vocalic variant. The so-called prothetic word-initial y- features in a number of other Hungarian words of Turkic origin. An interesting example is Árp ád's second son's, Yeleh's name which derived írom the Turkic elig, ilig 'ruler' , 'king' . The Hungarian place name Üllő goes back to this ancient word. Thus, if the Turkic word inag 'friend' , 'companion', 'mate' had a front vowel variant, that is *ineg, the correspondence with the Hungarian Jeneh (read Yeneh) would be regular. The Turkic word inag also had the meaning of 'friend of the ruler' , 'minister', 'official' in many old Turkic languages. No such front vocalic variant ( *ineg), necessary to establish the etymology for Jeneh, has yet been found in the Turkic languages, but the phenomenon is not uncommon. Only the back vowel variants ofthe Hungarian word bölény 'bison' (and probably also the Hungarian tőr 'trap') have been identified in the Turkic languages so far. The Turkic title inanch , deriving írom the same root, has a variant written inench which features in the Turkic inscriptions. Nevertheless, only if we accept a conjecture as certitude can we establish an "infallible" etymology for the tribe name Jenő. The duality oftarján and tarkhan (Tárkány) corresponds to the duality of Jeleh and Üllő. The difficulties regarding the etymology of the other tribe names are even greater, and they rely on even more conjectures. I do not wish to get involved in the details, since the linguistic origin of the tribal names is an inconclusive issue with regard to the conquering Magyars. The members of the Magyar tribal confederation were, or had been for some time by then, native speakers ofHungarian. To sum up the picture which the authentic sources reveal: the Hétmagyar (literally, 'Seven Magyars') tribal confederation was headed by the Megyer tribe whose original Hungarian name was Majer or the "Turkic-sounding" Mejer. This was Árp ád's tribe, the tribe that led the Conquest. The confedera­ tion was a multiply differentiated system of tribes. The other tribes: Nyék, Kürtgyarmat, Tarján, Jenő, Kér and Keszi made up the second circle. The merging of the Kürt and the Gyarmat tribes must have been temporary only, and it served military purposes. The third circle within this set-up was the Khavar tribe which, led by one chieftain, was divided into three subtribes. The

3 52

From the Ura/s to the Carpathian Basin

fourth circle consisted of the peoples the Magyars found on arrival in the Carp athian Basin and who joined the newcomers. Of the peoples the Magyars came to meet in the Carp athian Basin the various Slavic groups probab ly played an important role. Initially the Magyars referred to them as tóts. The origin of this ethnic name is debated. Either it is a Magyar adaptation of the ethnic name Tat , used to designate people of the Caucasus, among them Indo-Europeans, or it derives from the Indo-European *teuth (present in the German ethnic name deutsch), via the Old High German diot 'people' . For a long time the name served to commonly designate all Slavic peoples, and only in the 1 9th century was its meaning limited to denote the Slovaks. The other major groups the Magyars encountered in their new homeland were the Avars, at that time undergoing Slavification. Their name has, perhaps, been preserved in the toponym Várkony. These Avars were bilingual, as were the Khavars; the second language of the former being Slavic. The conquering Magyars and their allies were led by the prince, by the supreme commander or gyula , and the karha, who kept control over the peoples who had joined the Magyars or had been subjugated by them. We have no direct evidence regarding the prince's military train (members, names, ethnicity) in the 1 0th century. Turkic analogies reveal that in the Khazar Empire and elsewhere the tarkhan title was, at times, used to denote such a group. The word tarkhan has erroneously been suggested to have meant 'blacksmith' in Turki e. Later in the course ofhistory, the word had the meaning of 'tax-exempt' , a status which craftsmen enjoyed. We might venture to say, therefore, that the Tarján tribe was possibly involved in the prince's escort; the leader of the escort might have been the chieftain of the Tarján tribe. ln tum, the tribe might easily have adopted as its name the title of its leader, which was a common name-giving procedure among the Turkic peoples. This does not mean, however, that every member of the Tarján tribe was also admitted to the escort. All we know about the distribution of the conquering tribes in their new homeland is that following the Conquest none of them had their own well-de­ fined areas. The Trans-Tisza region seems to have been inhabited by the Árp ád dynasty, but they evidently soon occupied the region between the Danube and the Tisza, too. The conquest of Transdanubia, which ended around 900, must have involved more directly the joined, new peoples. The dwellings of the conquering Magyar clans have traditionally been established by a combination of data from toponymic research and the chronicles. This book cannot devote room to discuss these methods. The place names in question cannot have developed earlier than the 1 1 th century and this happens to be the time when they first cropped up in the sources.

Tlze Magyars in tlze Carpatlzian Basin


The question remains of what the political organisation of the peoples in the Carpathian Basin looked like, and how much of their set-up did the Magyars adopt? The sources, which are rather taciturn regarding the matter, inform us that the zhupans kept control over local groups. The Magyars kept this title, and set the zhupans to their own service. These became the spans. The ispán, a later Magyar title, derived from span, only it had different functions. ln the south the Bulghars had a leading zhupan to control the other zhupans. The name of this title in Hungarian was nándor span which meant 'Bulghar zhupan' , later derivations of which include the titles nándorispán and nádorispán. Taking over existing political/organisational terms from the old dwellers of the Carpathian Basin was a relatively common phenomenon. The Hungarian word megye ' shire ' , for instance, is of Slavic origin. The royal title király 'king' was also directly taken from Slavic. Finally, going back to the persona! name Charles the Great (Carolus Magnus). Kral in the Greek deed of gift to the Nuns of Veszprém Valley (before 1 002 in a copy of 1 1 09) is the first authentic mention of the word. The same word can be read on the Hungarian crown, too (see above, p. 277). Estimations regarding the numbers of the conquerors usually take the Jayhani tradition as a starting point. Here we can read that the leader of the Magyars, the gyula, rides out with 20,000 horsemen. Few have noticed the fact that the same source claims that the Khazar 's supreme commander rides out with 1 0,000 horsemen. lt is highly unlikely that there were twice as many Magyars as Khazars. A Persian source, the history ofHusros I, talks of 50,000 Khazars around 567, not counting the women, children and servants, or the members of the leading clans amounting to 3000. Such figures merely serve to indicate proportions, and in any case, the sources were only ever concemed with the numbers of active warriors. This must have meant a total of 300,000 with the Khazars. Given this ratio, the number at the time theJayhani tradition was written would have been 200,000, give or take a little; plus the joined tribes and those peoples that populated the Carpathian Basin when the Ma­ gyars arrived. By the middle of the 1 0th century this region must have con­ tained around half a million inhabitants. The individual tribes did not have clearly-marked land frontiers, but the Magyars soon staked out the lands of their tribal confederation as a whole. Archaeological evidence has revealed that they posted garrisons, which served as the first line of defence, to the outer slopes of the Carpathian Mountains. The southem, northem, northwestem and parts of the western borders were guarded by marches and march guards. This also attests to the fact that the Árpád dynasty was still in control of the tribal confederation, although they did not play an important part in the incursions on the west.


From tlze Ura/s to tlze Carpatlzian Basin

Certain clans within many tribes would keep up their nomadic way of life, and would commute between winter and summer dwellings. It is almost certain that these interior migrations triggered power-related conflicts. This situation had begun to deteriorate in the early 10th century. After 955, the lost battle of Lech, the collapse of the system of the tribal confederation accelerated, the tribes disintegrated and settled apart. To avoid significant changes endangering stability, the prince had to bank on the clans. Relying partly on the prince's military escort and partly on the leaders of the mighty clans, the ruling princes, Taksony and Géza (father of Saint Stephen), set out to reorganise the Magyars of the Carpathian Basin.

3 . SOC1AL STRU CTU RE Following the year 628, the Bishop of Albania conferred with the Khazars several times. Describing one such occasion, an Armenian source enumerates the members of the Khazar delegation. The list proceeds from the highest in rank to the lowest. Accordingly, the source mentions sovereigns, princes, noblemen, military commanders and various clan patriarchs. It is very prob­ able that this stratification reflected contemporary Persian conditions rather than the actual Khazar system; still, it gives some idea of the set-up of the Khazars' leading strata. The Turk texts differentiate between hereditary and bestowed peerage. Hungarian archaeological finds of the Conquest period reflect an economically highly stratified society. Economic status, however, did not in every case have a bearing on social standing. If we isolate a relatively homogeneous group of titles-that of the great Turk inscriptions ofCentral Asia-and ignore titles which evidently apply to non-Turks (e.g. serve to denote Tibetan and Chinese persons), disregard one-off cases of persona! names deriving from peer names, and overlook functions such as 'spy', 'envoy' (also, analytic titles like 'head of the army', etc.), we are left with some thirty titles altogether, give or take a few. To these we can add the compound titles, that is, when a title comprises multiple elements. Thus we can establish that the number oftitles actually featuring in the sources on contemporaneous and similar tribal organisations (the Second Turk Khaghanate and the Uighur Khaghanate) adds up to around forty. A closer look at the Khazar titles of the time reveals that, although the phonetic forms may vary, practically every one of them has an equivalent among the East Turks. Even the Danube Bulghars stuck with the same system, and had only one or two new titles compared to those in the Turk inscriptions in Central Asia.

The Magyars in tire Carpathian Basin


I t would b e expected, then, that the conquering Magyars ' organisation, too, featured a fair number ofhereditary and bestowed peerages. However, the fact ofthe matter is that there are more Avar titles, recorded in the western sources, than Magyar. Avar examples include khaghan, khapkhan, tudun, yugurrush, khatun, etc. The Latin sources tend to use the stereotypical rex, regulus, dux titles. The Magyar gyula, karha, span and ispán have been dealt with above. The title gyufa has only survived in a personal name. Mention must be made of the title of bán which entered the Hungarian language írom the Turkic, via Balkan Slavic mediation. The few still existing Árpádian names which pre­ served title names also deserve attention, for instance Jeleg and Üllő (elig 'king'), Jenő (ineg 'minister, counselor '), as well as Gyeucsa (pronounced dyeucha;jevu



Dalandzadghad :,

..... . _ _ .,,,,,.__ _


camel 1 4%


. .., . ...... . ,.✓ - - · .... '· ... , ,

: Barun-Urt ', , _ _ , - ,, . /


'' : Territorial distribution of livesto'ck (standard animal per 1 km') - · · -!. · - • - . l. . - . ,

/ _,., . , _ _ _

\, �� � '- --- ...

sheep 23% · © goat 9%



__._ _J


: -, � " -' ,.,..,, �\ 'Y /.- · Sayn_shand /" ' · - · "'


. _ _ ,_ _ _ _ .,,, .,,,, .,,,, -

8-1 2

- over 1 2

Figure 7 1 Make-up of livestock in Mongolia








sheep � goat


cattle � camel


Livestock count per cou nty over 500,000 400,000-500,000 300,000-400,000 1 00,000-300,000





From the Urals to the Carpathian Basin

sheep 23%, goat 9%, cattle 24%, horse 30%, and camel 14%. The differences of these ratios will greatly vary, of course: naturally, the ratio of camels is significantly smaller in the colder northem areas. But, more importantly, the distribution of horses in the steppe areas was as high as 45% (for instance, in the area of Ulanbator). The ratios were significantly different in the grovy steppe of West Mongolia where the ratio of sheep was about 30%, horse 25%, and cattle 25%. The Magyar pastoralists, too, counted their livestock by means of the system ofstandard animals where 1 standard animal (bod in Mongolian) = 1 cow or 1 horse or 7 sheep or 10 goats. A camel was counted as one and a half standard animals. The distribution of animals, in terms of standard animals, was, in the very best grazing areas, over 12 per square kilometre. Mongolia's high density areas surprisingly coincide with the centres of the Ancient Turkic and Mongolian empires, the valleys ofthe Rivers Orkhon and Selenga. The density in the more sheltered, grovy steppe areas was 8-12 standard animals to a square kilometre, and 4-8 in the open steppe regions. What this means, in effect, is that even under modem Mongolian circum­ stances, an area often square kilometres in the most sheltered grazing places, was able to provide the means of subsistence for 120 standard animals. Based on the bone finds unearthed in mediaeval Eastem European archae­ ological sites, the distribution of livestock was as follows. I. foresty regions: cattle 3 1%, sheep and goat 20%, pig 39% (Dniester and Karna region 36%) and horse 10%; II. grovy steppe region: cattle 39%, sheep and goat 24%, pig 26%, and horse only 1 1 %; III. open steppe region: cattle 23%, sheep and goat 65% (with sheep reaching 54% in places), pig 1-2%, and horse 11.5%. The chief difference between the Eastem European archaeological data and mod­ em Mongolian figures is in the ratio of horses. Even in the northemmost hilly regions of Mongolia, the ratio ofhorses is never less than 20%. Obviously this is rooted in history; however, archaeologically speaking, horses are more problematic than the other domestic animals, due to burial customs and the system of beliefs. Conquest-period Magyar sites show an interesting distribution. ln some places the horse-stock peaks at 25-35%, in others at only 8- 10%. The cattle­ stock is significant: 25-35%, with sheep surprisingly low, a mere 16%. There are sites where the ratio ofpigs reached 15-20% ofthe total domestic animals. These proportions are not necessarily a reflection ofthe actual state at the time, on account of the fact that burial customs greatly influenced the variety of bones that survived. Assessing the highly dispersed figures is a difficult task, yet there is a strong hint of the presence of two structures of animal husbandry, one of which places the emphasis on breeding horses, while the other on rearing pigs, with a smaller horse-stock. This would suggest that the Magyars'

The Magyars in the Carpathian Basin


economy was indeed mixed, with a concurrence of an arable and animal-rear­ ing economy and a nomadic system. However, in larger areas even the nomadic economy included a unique type of agriculture alongside animal husbandry (described above, see pp. 1 421 45). It cannot be mere chance that so many Hungarian pig-rearing terms are of Turkic origin (see p. 110), and that the proportion of pigs in Conquest-period archaeological sites is surprisingly high. The Magyars must have brought this branch of animal husbandry along with them even if they hardly drove any pigs across the passes of the Carpathian Mountains. The Magyars did not take the pigs with them on their regular annual altemating pasturing migrations; we can only guess, therefore, that they kept the herds near the winter dwellings, drove them into oak forests to feed on acoms, and that substantial numbers ofthe family stayed behind to guard them and also to cultivate the land. Yet the Magyars must have included groups which were involved in rearing sheep to a greater extent than pigs. This mixed animal-rearing culture must have meant a transition from nomadism to settling down. Conquest-period Magyar agriculture can be reconstructed with the help of linguistic and archaeological sources. Without doubt, the Magyars had known and practised tillage farming before they entered the Carpathian Basin, and they are known to have yoked oxen to their ploughs. Their light, wooden ploughs were portable and could be loaded onto wagons; they might have been brought with the Magyars from the Etelköz. The Magyars had come to know Slav-type ploughs even before the Conquest, and it was these very same models that they found on arrival in the Carpathian Basin. For reaping wheat they used scythes (sarló, ofTurkic origin), and ground (őröl ofTurkic origin) the harvest with hand-mills. The fact that the Hungarian word árok 'ditch' features even in the earliest written Hungarian text makes it almost certain that the ancient Magyars had an irrigation system of some description. The spade was another important agricultural tool. We have already discussed the Magyars' viniculture which they had brought along with them (see p. 1 4 1 ). Of course, only those groups of Magyars who pursued an arable and animal-rearing economy produced wine also. On entering the Carpathian Basin, the Magyars found a significantly dif­ ferent Avar-Slav agriculture which they completely adopted in a 100-150 years. Careful consideration of the excavation data leads us to believe that the Magyar economy was multiply differentiated. Among the nomadic system of altemating pastural and arable and animal-rearing economies a wide array of transitional forms existed which further developed after the Conquest.


From the Ura/s to the Carpathian Basin

This is how the Jayhani tradition writes of the Majgars: "The land of the Majgars abounds in woods and waters, the soil is moist, and it has plenty of arable land." This held true for both the Etelköz and the Carpathian Basin.

5. REU GlON, LORE, CU LTU RE The Magyars brought to the Carpathian Basin their traditions which the Khazar Empire and Turkic, Slavic and Byzantine neighbours had shaped. It would be convenient to infer from the etymology of the Hungarian words tá ltos 'shaman' and boszorkány 'witch' that the first was a representative of the Finno-Ugrian system ofbeliefs, and the second ofthe Turkic. This would be, methodologically speaking, improper, and this is just the kind of approach that should be avoided. It would be like claiming that the meaning of the texts printed on a placard and a poster respectively should be differentiated on the grounds that 'placard' derived from the Old French placquart and 'poster' from the Latin postis , which is evidently an obscure argument. Also, the function of the above Magyar characters of folk beliefs underwent substantial change after the Conquest. The documents of mediaeval witchcraft trials pro­ vide ample evidence of this. Yet the Magyars must have adopted the word boszorkány 'witch' from Turkic for good reason. It denoted something that had not existed before; something whose Turkic meaning must have been important. The word entered the common Hungarian word-stock, and as­ sumed new meanings. A good example is the history of the Hungarian word bölcs 'wise man', of Turkic origin. The root, bügü, means 'knowledge' and especially the 'knowledge of supernatural things' . Having entered the Mon­ golian language, the word took the meaning of 'male shaman' . Used attribu­ tively, the word would mean 'holy' , as in Turkic translations of old Chinese texts where we can read about the Bügü Kungfuci 'Holy Confucius' . This root word features in many persona! names, too. The derivation, bügüchi , meant 'wizard', 'medicine-man' in many Turkic languages, and in Mongolian 'sha­ man' . On entering the Hungarian language, the Turkic büg üchi became, by process ofsystematic change, bűcs > bőcs > bö lcs 'wise' . But the basic word bügü also entered the Hungarian, surviving only in the verbs b űvö l 'to be­ witch' , elb űvöl 'to charm' and in the noun composition bűbáj 'charm', 'attractiveness' . The bölcs 'wise man' was a person who knew and practised b ű 'magie' . These words took different courses of development, but their etymologies shed light on the fact that they are actually related. The person who originally had supernatural knowledge simply became a person who had knowledge and 'wisdom' .

The Magyars in the Carpathian Basin

3 65

The javas 'witch-doctor' and the orvos 'medicine man, today: physician, doctor' were also members of the ancient Magyars ' system of beliefs. Javas comes from the ancient Finno-U grian word-stock, and orvos is, perhaps, of Iranian origin (as for instance the Sakha aruva, arva 'medicine' < 'plant', Indo-European *ar- 'to sow'). The Turkic arva- meant 'to practise magic, wizardry' , arvish 'wizardry' and arvishchi 'wizard' , but the Finnish language has similar words, like arpa 'oracle stick ' . The Hungarian báj 'grace ' , which originally meant 'magica! bond', is of Slavic origin (and not Turkic), but its meaning in the Slav language changed under Old Turkic influence. The word varázs ' charm' is also of Slavic origin. Javas and orvos, then, had co-existing functions, both were healing folk, the latter perhaps the medicine man known from other cultures. There is no equivalent in present-day Hungarian to the 'rainmaker' . It is likely, however, that along with the táltos, the boszorkány, the bölcs, thejavas and the orvos, the rainmaker also featured among the conquering Magyars. Chinese sources talk about the Turkic nomads whose tactics included the production of a storm or rain. Various other sources confirm this. Far instance, a Muslim traveller, a certain Tamim ibn Bahr, wrote in 82 1 about the Uighurs: "Among the miracles ofthe land of the Turks are pebbles which they possess, and with which they can create rain, snow and cold at will. The history of these pebbles in their possession is well known and widespread, and no Turk has any doubts about them. And these pebbles are primarily in the possession of the king of the U ighurs, and their other rulers do not possess any." Gardizi, too, speaks about the rainmaking stone, and the story he relates is about the Oghuz, the Kharlukhs and the Khazars fighting for the possession of such a stone. Yet, another source claims that the Oghuz and the Turks clashed for the same reason. The magicians of the "Caucasus Huns" were able to produce rain and storms from the shelter of their oak tree consecrated to the deities. The name ofthe rainmaker in Turkic was yatchi orjatchi. The root word, yat, according to Khashghari, meant 'magic made with stones to create rain and tempest'. ln all probability these rainmaking stones in the graves of the Conquest-period Magyars will be identified shortly. These different forms of beliefs were not singularly characteristic of one people only, local versions occurred practically everywhere. Rence we cannot venture further than establishing that the archetypical forms of folk belief existed among the Magyars, too. These included the veneration ofholy shrines and trees. Such elements are to be found in the system of beliefs of the Volga Finno-U grian and Turki e peoples ( for instance the Chuvash Keremets ), as well as in the written sources of the Khazars. Holy objects also included protective amulets, many of which bore inscrip­ tions. The Hungarian word betű 'letter (symbol) ' exists in Chuvash in the form


From the Ura/s to the Carpathian Basin

of petü, whose second meaning is the equivalent of 'amulet' which used to mean 'protective writing'. A pendant with a Greek-letter Christian prayer inscribed on it came to light from the Conquest-period grave at Piliny. The Magyars' graves contained a number of other protective objects, too, such as a small saw, a set of bear's fang and animal bones. Similar protective objects were found in excavations in the farmer Khazar Empire. Movses Dashuranci speaks of the "Caucasus Huns" having as a holy tree the oak which they consecrated to the god of the heavens. Therefore, when these Caucasus Huns were converted to Christianity, the old symbol was also converted and a cross was carved out of the holy oak tree. The tree consecrated to the god of the heavens, Tengri, is, of course identical with the tree of worlds which leads to the shaman other world. Khashghari was a follower of the Muslim faith, but nevertheless gives a detailed account of the pagan Turkic world in the typical manner of his time. ln his report of 1074, he calls Allah by his Turkic name, Tengri (as opposed to a near contemporaneous source, the Khutadghu bilig). Having established this, and cited some sayings and poems related to Tengri, he continues thus: "the infidels-may God destroy them! -call the sky Tengri, also anything that is imposing in their eyes they call Tengri , such as a great mountain or tree, and they bow down to such things. [...] We take refuge from error in God" (translated by Dankoff and Kelly). This account reveals a syncretism of shamanism and Tengrism. The world in the shaman's cosmic concept is tripartite; it rests on the threesome of the other world, this world and the nether world. The tree of worlds connects these worlds. Depictions of this tree of worlds have come to light from Conquest­ period excavations, on for instance the woman's hamess found in a woman's grave at Szakony. Other symbols ofthe cosmic world concept, such as the sun and the moon, can also be found on archaeological finds from the Conquest period. The memory ofholy trees and holy groves are preserved by many place names. Anonymus held that the silva Jgfon , that is, the lgyfon forest, was located between the Maros and the Szamos. The earliest Hungarian written laws mention sacrifices held near springs, stones and fountains. The igy constituent in the name Igyfon is identical with the egy 'holy' (a word ofTurkic origin) in the Hungarian word egyház 'church, holy house', and the second constituent fon derives from the old Hungarian word meaning 'densely woven' (i.e. Jgyfon, a holy, dense forest). The word meaning 'holy' also appears in the Hungarian word ünnep 'festival', 'holiday' ( < id nap 'holy day'). The ethnographic sources, discussed in Chapter 11.6, include lbn Fadlan's description of the gods of the Bashkirs. They had the sun as one, but the god of the heavens was even greater (see p. 148). This account of lbn Fadlan is

The Magyars in the Carpathian Basin

3 67

applied to the Khazars by the Persian Amin Ahmed Razi, a 1 4th-century compiler. Mention has been made of the adoration of a sun-god (see pp. 1 5 1 , 1 9 1 ). As yet, we have been unable to track down the passage of the Hettite name of the sun-god lshtenu , from its Hatti origin, via the Caucasus Mountains and the Khazars, to the pre-Conquest-period Magyars (isten in modem Hungarian stands for 'god'). However, as we have seen (pp. 1 87-1 9 1 ), a number of similar itinerant cultural terms, such as the cultic obj ects of balta 'axe' and szekerce 'adze' , wandered to the Magyars from afar. It has been the subject of much debate whether the real or symbolic wound­ ing of the cranium-so-called trepanation-actually served as a remedy, or whether it was related to beliefs. Among the data cited in support ofthis is the Hungarian word agyafúrt, now meaning 'cunning', but derived from agy 'brain' , ' skull ' +fúr 'to drill, to bore ' . Only a couple ofpersonal names (such as Lehel and Lél; related to the words lehel 'breathe' and lélek ' soul') and later sources offer som e insight into the Árpád-era Magyars ' concept of the soul. Still, we have good reason to believe that their system of beliefs included the "life-soul" which ceased to exist after death, as well as the soul which departed at death, and was reincamated in the form of a bird, for instance. Impersonated nature, the veneration of remarkable natural phenomena, healing persons who also practise homeopathic magic, their whole system of beliefs, and the tripartite division ofthe world are some ofthe elements ofthe Magyars ' religion. The great world religions-primarily Christianity-were built upon and combined with these. As we have seen (p. 233), the Khazar Empire, too, had Christian groups. We know ofKhazar princesses, married to Byzantine emperors and Caucasian rulers, who were christened; and also of Byzantine and Armenian princesses in the Khazar court. Christian communities existed in the Crimea and the Caucasus, too. Gothic and Byzantine Christianity flourished alongside the Khazars in the Crimea. It is very hard to believe that Cyril and Methodius were the only Christians to have met the Magyars prior to the Conquest. Although not mentioned in the sources, the Magyars living in the Etelköz must have sent several envoys to the Byzantine court. We do not know whether any pre-Conquest princely Magyar youths of the Etelköz were educated in the Byzantine court-Khuvrat, the ruler of the Bulghars in any case, is known to have been. Nevertheless, based on authentic evidence, we can fairly safely establish that the pre-Conquest Árp ádian Magyars had heard about Christian­ ity even before they crossed the Carp athians. Moreover, it is possible that certain Magyar groups were actually converted. Going by present-day Hun­ garian terms like gyász 'bereavement' , érdem 'merit' , törvény ' law ' , bocsánat 'pardon' , búcsú ' indulgence ' , örök 'etemal' , bűn 'sin', gyón ' confess ' , igylegy


From the Urals to the Carpathian Basin

'holy ' , which are ofTurkic origin, our suspicions are further confirmed. It has been argued that these words were borrowed after the Conquest from the local Bulghar-Turks who lived to the south ofthe River Maros, due to the mediation ofthe Transylvanian gyu/a s daughter Sarolt (Saint Stephen's mother) and her environment. This view is difficult to uphold. It is certain, however, that shortly after the Conquest the local lords of the southem regions began a series of visits to Byzantium; Gyula and Bulcsú were baptised; Byzantium sent a missionary bishop to Hungary, namely Hierotheus, who arrived among the Magyars around 952 as a monk, and was shortly ordained Bishop of Turkey [Hungary] . Although the Danube Bulghars had been baptised around 865, the language of the liturgy was Greek and later Slavic. There is one Hungarian word which comes from this Bulghar-Turkic ecclesiastic terminology: kép 'image ' . The original Turkic meaning was ' shape' , 'form ' , 'image' , ' likeness ' . This existed among the Danube Bulghars where i t meant 'pagan idol' , 'pagan image' . Tagged with a Slavic affix, its derivation kapiste, was the name of the pagan sacrificial shrine, which attests to the fact that the word must have had a pagan meaning related to religious faith. The earliest occurrence of the Hungarian derivation is in Christian texts (from ca. 1 3 1 5 : "szent oltarun kuner kepeben" [in form of bread on the holy altar]). The other part of the Christian vocabulary of the Magyars was of Slavic origin. Words including kereszt ' cross ' , karácsony 'Christmas' , szent ' saint', pap 'priest' , barát 'monk', pokol 'hell' , were borrowed from the Greek-rite Slavs, as opposed to apáca 'nun ' , apát ' abbot' which entered the Hungarian language from the Latin-rite Slavs. To this word-stock was added later the standard Latin terminology, as well as a number of Latin terms via German and Italian mediation. Traces of Christianity are to be found in the archaeological finds of the Conquest-period Magyars. The sabertache plate of Bezdéd which features an intertwining cross and a tree of life is a "pet" reference of scholars. From the 1 0th century crosses made of cast bronze or sheet metal began to appear in the Magyars' graves. We have much knowledge of the burial customs of the Magyars. The deceased was laid on his or her back, with the legs facing east, according to the Turk tradition (see p. 1 3 8). The hands were rested on either side of the body, or were placed on the pelvis (see Figures 24 and 25 on p. 1 37 and Plate II/3). A simple coffin is apparent (the Hungarian word koporsó ' coffin ' , of Turkic origin, had the meaning ' casebox'). The bottom of it was lined with moss or cloth. Covered with leather, they placed the bones of the deceased's horse at the foot of the grave. Occasionally they would stuff the flayed horse-skin with hay or foliage.

The Magyars in the Carpathian Basin

3 69

Around 68 1 , the Albanian bishop lsrayel notes of the so-called "Caucasus Huns" (actually the Khazars) that they sacrificed a horse to the god of the heavens, Tengri; and that they burned the horse. It well might be that the remains of the burned animal and its skin were interred with the deceased to as a synechdochic symbol (pars pro toto ). ln spring 900, the Bishop of Salzburg, Theotmar, wrote a letter to Pope John IX, in reply to the accusations of the Moravian clergy. The Moravian bishops were seeking to gain independence for their own Moravian bishopric, and to break off from Salzburg. Theotmar quotes from the complaining letter the Moravians had written to the Pope: "As it happens, the said Slavs accuse us of offending the Catholic faith with the Magyars, of having pronounced oaths over dogs and wolves and other unholy pagan creatures, and of making peace with them; also of paying them money to go to Italy: if we were to discuss our matters in your boly presence, then, before the almighty Lord who knows all things even before they happen, and before your apostolic holiness, their falseness would come to light and our innocence gain proof. Because they [the Magyars] have always threatened Christians in lands afar, have devastated them, and yet we only gave them worthless money and linen clothes to pacify their wildness to keep away their raids [ . . . ] Many times for many years have they [the Moravians] committed the sin which they now falsely accuse us with. They took unto their people large numbers of the Magyars, and shaved their own false Christians' heads in the fashion of these Magyars, and sent them [the Magyars] against our Christian peoples." Evidently, the text refers to the campaigns of 8 8 1 and 894 when, in league with Svatopluk, the Magyars launched an attack against the Franks (see pp. 3 3 1-332), and the campaign of 892, fought in alliance with Arnulf. lt matters little whether the Magyars swore by dogs or wolves, the description nevertheless, gives a good idea about the customs of the Árpádian Magyars. The fact that the conquering Magyars were familiar with Christianity does not mean that a significant a number of Magyar groups, or the leading strata actually practised it. There is not a shred of support to confirm this; moreover, there is one thing that contradicts the idea. Conversion to any of the world religions always involves the appearance of literacy; the Word must be committed to writing. Writing among the pre-Conquest Magyars could have been anything from Hebrew to Greek. We cannot dismiss the suggestion that there were people among the Magyars who knew one or more of these scripts, and many of them might even have acquired some Latin during the course of the raids on the west. Or, the Magyars might have had clerk prisoners or servants. But writing did not spread. A runiform script, however, was probably fairly widely used. As will be pointed out in Chapter XVI, the Székely runiform script was without doubt related to the other Eastem European


From the Ura/s to the Carpathian Basin

runiform scripts, even if we are not sure how. Also, it is clear that runiform letters of Slavic origin entered the Székely runiform script, which could hardly have happened before the Conquest. Thus, the Magyars entered the Carpathian Basin with a simple runiform writing which cannot, perhaps, have differed greatly from the Szarvas-Nagyszentmiklós writing.

N OTES The institution ofthe sacral and dual kingship, as that ofthe Hungarians, has been much debated recently by Györffy, Czeglédy and Kristó (see Györffy 1 955, 1 973 , 1 984, 1 993 a, 1 993b; Czeglédy 1 966, 1974, 1 975; Kristó 1 980, pp. 207-228, 1 993 a, 1 993b, 1996; as well as Bakay 1 978; Dümmerth 1 97 1 , 1 977; Herényi 1 982; Makk 1 985; Tóth 1 988; and Uhrman 1 987- 1 988). I have also dealt with the problem in my inaugural lecture as an ordinary member at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, delivered on 1 2th February 1 996. The text is now in print and will be published in 1 999. The idea came from Czeglédy who referring to a work ofRoheim written in 1 9 1 7 elaborated a theory. Czeglédy projected the system ofthe Khazars on the Magyar structure and under his authority the existence ofthe sacral kingship among the Hungarians of the Conquest gradually became generally accepted. However, Györffy considered Kursan to have been the sacral king, while according to Kristó, Kursan should be regarded as gyula, that is, the sacral king must have been Álmos and his son Árpád. The fact that there never existed a sacral dual kingship among the Magyars was recently also argued by Keszi ( 1 995) with a German summary. For lbn Rusta's text, published by Zimonyi, see Kristó ( 1 995). I have quoted Gardizi from Martinez ( 1 982). A comparative description ofthe sacral kingship with untenable conclusions is Waida ( 1 976). The Hétmagyar ' Seven Magyars' issue has been discussed in Németh ( 1 99 1 , pp. 1 8 1 -2 1 3) which, by now, has a great many untenable arguments. For the group of Turkic tribes with "numerical" names, see Czeglédy ( 1 963). S. L. Tóth ( 1 995) is a very recent account ofthe Iocation ofthe Magyars between 895 and 899, complete with an overview ofpast opinions. Porphyrogenitus's sentence about the bilingualism of the Khavars and the Magyars is analysed by Moravcsik in Jenkins ( 1 962, p. 1 50; see also, Moravcsik 1984, p. 46, note 33). Suggestions for the numbers of the conquering Magyars vary greatly. For more recent opinions see Kovacsics ( 1 995b), Györffy ( 1995), and Kristó ( 1 995a). No truly reliable source exists in support ofthis issue. The size ofthe Khazar population is discussed in Ludwig ( 1 982, pp. 2 1 1 -223). For the religion ofthe Khazars and its sources consult Dunlop ( 1 954) and Ludwig ( 1 982). The distribution of livestock in the individual Mongolian regions is excellently illustrated by a map in Badamzav ( 1 966), an adaptation ofwhich I have included in this book (see Figure 7 1 on p. 361). For Mongolian animal rearing, see Róna-Tas ( 1 96 1 a), its Russian edition ap­ peared in 1 964, there exist also a Polish and a Japanese translation ofthe book. For the livestock figures of South Russia and the Conquest period, see János Matolcsi's archaeozoological chapter in Hajdú-Kristó-Róna-Tas ( 1 976, vol. 1/ 1 , pp. 1 64-20 1 ). Kristó, who claims that the Magyars were pure nomads, does not discuss the make-up of livestock of the conquering Magyars (Kristó 1 995b); he is mainly concemed with reconstructing the Magyars' way oflife

The Magyars in the Carpathian Basin


via the written sources. Kristó does not take into consideration the fact that the Árpádian Magyars brought several types of economic systems with them, and insists on the Magyars being nomadic pastoralists. It must be said, however, that as regards nomadism, his viewpoint has significantly changed in comparison to his earlier works. I have discussed the old Avar-Magyar title termes in connection with the name Termecsü in Róna-Tas (1 995c and 1996g), the origins ofthe Hungarian word úr 'lord' in Róna-Tas (1 994a, 1 995b ). The comments of Kara (1 995) on the etymology ofthe Hungarian úr attest to scanty knowledge regarding the nature ofword borrowing, and reflect the practice offorming linguistic assumptions with only the help of dictionaries. The Hungarian word for 'piglet', malac, has the meaning 'piglet, pigling' in none ofthe Slavic languages, where it means ' young', and the semantic narrowing occurred in Hungarian. The same happened with the Turkic word uri. Benkő (1 998) questioned my suggested etymology of Termachu. He did not take into account that the second vowel, which is a closed e in Hungarian, was not a closed one in the original language. The present Hungarian structure ofthe word is a relatively late development. Thus the Greek transcription ofthe second vowel by alpha is possible. See more about old Magyar traditions of iron forging in Gömöri (1 994), with further bibliography. For the particulars of Magyar agriculture, see Balassa (1 994 ). Dienes (1 972a, 1 972b) and Bálint (1 976) discuss the relevant archaeological finds, Fodor (1 994, p. 54) the sword of Kiev. Molnár (1993, English version: 1 994) writes about the rainmaker. The finds of Piliny and other Conquest-period objects are presented in Dienes (1 972a, p. 48). Data about the religious world of the "Caucasus Huns" were collected by Ludwig (1 982, pp. 305-332). The best Khashghari edition is by Dankoff-Kelly (1 982-1 985). For the ornaments on the woman's harness ofSzakony, see Dienes (1972a, p. 49). Read about symbolic or real trepanation in Éry (1 994, p. 222), and about the Hungarian word agyafúrt ' cunning, literary: bored brain' and its literature in Pais ( 1975, pp. 7-10). Consult Dienes (1978), Mesterházy ( 1 994) for an interpre­ tation of the archaeological matter of the Conquest period with special emphasis on the reconstruction ofthe system ofbeliefs. These works, however, cannot always avoid the pitfall ofover-interpreting the data. On the oeuvre ofDienes see the obituary written by Bóna ( 1997a). An attempt at the reconstruction ofthe old Hungarian world ofbeliefs with help ofwritten Latin sources is Szegfű ( 1996). Taking up the research ofMelich, Németh (1 940a) holds the Hungarian Christian word-stock (ofTurkic origin) to be Danube Bulghar. The literature ofthe Hungarian word terem 'womb ( ofVirgin Mary) ' , which has the meaning ' tabernaculum' in the Codex Cumanicus, is discussed in Ligeti (1 986, pp. 275-276), and Róna-Tas (1 995c, 1996g). For the oath over a dog see Bálint (1971 ), Vajda ( 1979) and Sinor (1992). For Theotmar's letter see the Hungarian translations in Györffy (1 975c, pp. 21 7-223 ), Kristó (1 995d, pp. 1 85-187), the text in Gombos (1 937, pp. 1 469-1 747), and Losek (1 997).


The chapter heading is not a mistake. We are looking at the integration of the Magyars not into Europe, but within Europe. As we saw in the previous chapters, the Magyars have always lived in Europe, if we take as the border of Europe the geographical border of the continent today, that is, the Ural Mountains. We have to relate how the Magyars adapted to historical circumstances at least three times. Firstly when they transferred to a highly developed nomadic life style in such a way that preserved their ethnic identity; secondly when they preserved their tribal structure and further developed their ethnic identity on the Khazar-controlled steppe where the majority ofthe population was Turkic; and thirdly when they arrived in the Carpathian Basin where once again they were able to adapt to circumstances and survive. Thus the Magyars have integrated within rather than into Europe. These very facts, however, do not give an answer to the questions "how?" and "why?". The question is endlessly raised as to how and why the Magyars survived, when the Huns, the Avars, the Alani, the Cumans or the Pechenegs all disappeared off the historical stage, or sunk in the sea of peoples-espe­ cially when the Magyars ' history and language marked them out sharply from anything that is usually called European. ln this section of my book I would like to point out certain facts relating to this.

1 . THE l NTEG RATION OF PEOPLES, TH E TYPES OF ETH N l C CHAN G E 1N TH E MlDDLE AGES The integration of peoples with each other takes many different forms, so that no complete typology can be drawn up from any one point of view. However, it is worth considering certain types that may be of importance to us, since in their similarities and differences they both help us to understand Magyar history and show points of contact in time and space.


From the Urals to the Carpathian Basin

lt has long been noticed that there were considerable differences in the way nomadic tribes were integrated in China and around the Mediterranean sea. The relations between the nomadic tribes and China varied greatly. If we start with the Turks, who play an important role in the history of the Magyars, too, we discover that the integration of some of the Turkic tribes into China began early on. On the gravestone of the Khaghan Köl Tegin, who died in 732, we can read: [After the famous khaghans died] "then the younger brothers succeeded to the throne and the sons succeeded to the throne. But, apparently the younger brothers did not resemble their elder brothers, and the sons did not resemble their fathers. Consequently, unwise khaghans succeeded to the throne, had khaghans succeeded to the throne. The buyruks, too, were unwise and had. Since lords and peoples were not in accord, and the Chinese people were wily and deceitful, since they were tricky and created a rift between younger and elder brothers, and caused the lords and the people to slander one another, the Turkic people caused their state which they had established to go to ruin, and their khaghan whom they had crowned to collapse. Their sons worthy of be­ coming lords became slaves, and their daughters worthy of becoming ladies became servants to the Chinese people. The Turkic lords abandoned their Turkic titles. Those lords who were in China held the Chinese titles and obeyed the Chinese emperor and gave their services to him for fifty years. For the benefit of the Chinese, they went on campaigns up to the land of the Bükli [Korean] khaghan in the east, where the sun rises, and as far as the Iron Gate in the west. For the benefit of the Chinese emperor they conquered countries." (Translated by Talat Tekin.) Indeed the Chinese divided the Turks, taking the majority into their service. The process ofTurk assimilation thus began, their political autonomy was lost, and their ethnic autonomy was endangered. A group ofTurks, led by Köl Tegin and his minister, Tonyukhukh escaped from here and established the Second Turk Khaghanate. Others assimilated into the Chinese population. lt is inter­ esting that one of the main arguments in favour of independence was that trade was better carried out from a distance, whereas being close to the Chinese softened them. The warning was expressed in the following terms: "If you stay in the land of Ötüken and send caravans from there, you will have no trouble. If you stay at the Ötüken Mountains, your power, Turk people, will last for ever and you will live well !" The Khitais-a people speaking an old Mongolian language-offer another type of integration. As we have seen (pp. 253-255), they are mentioned as early as the 5th century, but reached the zenith of their power in the 10th century. At the same time as the Magyars entered the Carpathian Basin, the Khitais occupied the north of China. ln 916, their ruler took the title of emperor

The integration of the Magyars within Europe


and founded the Liao dynasty, which ruled until 1 1 1 4 . During this period, in southem China smaller dynasties seized control one after the other, without being able to maintain their position. The rule of the Khitai dynasty was brought to an end by another nomadic people, the Jurchens, relations of the Manchus. They founded the Jin, or Golden dynasty. Many of the Khitai had already become assimilated Chinese under the Liao dynasty, but one group resisted this process and headed west, where they appeared as Black Khitais, or Kharakhitais. ln 1 1 25, their ruler took the title of Gurkhan, and they ruled from the Caspian Lake to the Chinese border. The Chin dynasty was brought down by the descendants of Chingis Khan, the Mongols. Unlike previous nomads, who had seized only parts of China, the Mongols brought the whole of the country under their control, and established the Yuan dynasty. At this point the assimilation of the Mongols began, although Chinese culture also developed continually under the mutual influence of Mongolian and barbarian dynasties. When the Ming dynasty ended the rule of the Yuan dynasty in 1 368, the Mongols made four different choices. Some withdrew to the steppes with the last Mongol emperor. Some remained in the Chinese Empire in common areas ín tight-knit groups, where they acted as a border defence against their former Mongol brothers. A third group remained together, but having lost any connection with the other Mongols and mixing with non-Chinese groups, they abandoned füst their language and then their culture, but did not lose their identity. And finally, individual families moved into Chinese-dominated areas, and while they completely assimilated, their members preserved, up to the 20th century, the knowledge that their forefathers were Mongols. We can see that the Chinese attempted to assimilate foreigners in different ways. This was not as successful as it might seem from the outside. The pro­ cess took many forms, was slow, and produced varying results. Nonetheless, because of the undifferentiated nature of Chinese society the integration of foreigners was a one-way process, from which the only escape was to break away and go back to the steppes. The Roman Empire developed differently. It, too, was faced with roving tribes. It beat back the early attacks of the Germanic tribes, and those of the Huns, too. But the Germans kept appearing again and again. The change in Roman-Germanic relations, which went back a long way, came in the 5th century. It is worth examining these events in som e detail, if we want to un­ derstand the question of how and why the Magyars integrated within Europe for the third time. From the 5th until the 1 3th century a new world emerged which can roughly be divided up into three main periods. The first period, from the 5th to the 9th century, consisted of the 'civilised' Romans pitted against the 'barbarian '


From the Urals to the Carpathian Basin

Germans. The decisive factor was the fact ofbelonging to the Roman Empire. This brings to mind Saint Paul's proud declaration, civis romanus sum 'l am a Roman citizen'. Belonging to the Roman Empire was more important than one's real origins or social situation. However, Rome was increasingly de­ pendent on the Germans for their military defence. First Odoaker, and then Theoderich took over real power in Rome. But Rome preserved its autonomy, and Theoderich ruled formally on behalf of the Roman Emperor. The Romans and the Germans settled into a kind of cohabitation. ln the meantime, the contrast between civilised and barbarian was trans­ formed. Wulfila christened some ofthe Goths and spread Christianity among the Germans in their own language. For a time it seemed that the civilised-bar­ barian contrast would become transformed into one between orthodox Chris­ tianity and the Arian doctrines held by the Germanic tribes. At the same time, this world came under new attack from the outside. From the north the Norman-Vikings, in the Carpathian Basin the Avars, and in the Balkans the Turkic Danube Bulghars came into conflict with the Roman-German world. From the south the Arabian great power emerged, bringing Persia under its power and moving into the Iberian Peninsula. W hile it seemed as though the centre of gravity in the Roman Empire was moving to Constantinople, the Germanic tribes underwent a total transforma­ tion between the 5th and 9th centuries. Some ofthe tribes, like the Franks and the Saxons, survived, but now territorial ties and loyalty to the ruling houses played an increasing role in questions of identity. The contrast between orthodoxy and Arianism did not prove to be a lasting one. The religious and non-religious organisations developed and operated in parallel. The mem­ bers of the Merovingian dynasty played a major role in this process, espe­ cially Clovis (483-511), who used the support of the Catholic orthodoxy to strengthen his power over the Arians. The universal Church and the dif­ ferent peoples-gentes--created a community system in which, alongside the sharing of morals, customs and institutions (mores, leges, instituta), there was also a shared written language, Latin. The introduction to the Lex salica in the middle ofthe 8th century mentions that the fact that God chose the Frank people, gens francorum, to defend Christianity, bestows a legitimacy on that people. The belief in the king and belief in God (fidelis regis, jidelis Dei) became one and the same thing. The word francus moved towards meaning 'free', referring to the free warriors ofthe empire, i.e. it gained a sociological rather than a tribal or ethnic content. Out of the tribal name was förmed a standard word in English: frank used to mean 'free', and then 'generous, liberal', and today it means 'sincere, candid'. At the end of the process a Romanised world existed next to a Germanised world. ln Italy, France and the part of the lberian Peninsula not occupied by

nie integration of tlie Magyars within Europe


the Arabs, neo-Roman cultures developed, absorbing the different eastern and western German groups as well. The local German groups between the Rivers Rhine and Elbe remained in the majority, as can be seen in the balance of power, too. The local population was hardly aware ofthis, and the awareness of the clerical literati can only be caught in slips of the tongue or in mistakes over terminology or content. Tribal origins were barely a memory, and groups were differentiated according to their social position and their lords. The crowning of Charles the Great (Charlemagne) in Rome at Christmas 800 marked the end of an ethnogenetic process: the end of the integration of the German tribes, so that the firm pillars of the new European order in the 9th- 11th centuries could take shape. It is not mere chance that while the ethnic name Frank moved írom meaning 'bold' to ' free', at the other end ofEurope we can observe exactly the opposite process. The name for the Slavic peoples, Sclaveni, Slavii , similarly takes on a social dimension, meaning 'slave'. ln Latin we find scla vus , in German Sklave, and in English slave. The Norman-Viking traders played a role in this, but so did the Pechenegs and the Magyars. Naturally this process only lasted until the Slavic tribes förmed units wielding their own political power. The ethnic name Croatian first appears in 852, while the name Serb ap­ peared somewhat earlier. It is worth paying attention to the appearance ofthese tribal names, since the Slavs had been around for centuries by then. Their names always referred to the geographical surroundings: Polyane (the plane dwellers), Derevlyane (the woodlanders), Timochani (the people living by the River Timok), etc. This is actually how the primary Russian chronicle ob­ served the events: "Since they settled down by the River Morava, they called themselves Moravians" (s edosha na retse imenem Morava i prozvasha sya Morava). ln Chapter 31 ofthe work by Constantine Porphyrogenitus, he writes ofthe Croatians that they were descendants ofthe pagan white Croatians who used to live in the area behind Turkia, i.e. Hungary. He writes in a similar fashion about the Serbs in the next chapter. He adds that in the time of Heraclius some of them were settled down in the Balkans. "This part behind Turkia", which the Serbs called Boyki in their own language, covered the area of present day Saxony, where Slavs still live, in Cottus and Bautzen near Lausitz. This region was formerly Czech, and the people who now live here, the Sorbs, speak a western Slavic language. Another interesting point is that the Emperor said ofthe ethnic name ' Serb' that in the language ofthe Romans this means 'slaves' (douloi). Whatever the origin and etymology of the word Serb is (some claim it is Iranian in origin), here again we find the interpretation of' Slav as slave' , even ifthis is popular etymology, referring to the Latin word servus.


Fro111 the Urals to the Carpathian Basin

One group ofthe Slavs was organised by the Frank trader Samo in the first halfof the 7th century, in the region that later became Moravia. Another Slavic group was organised by the Turkic Danube Bulghars. We have seen how varied were the origins represented by the Pannonian Slavs under Pribina and Kocel. The Kievan Rus Empire organised by Norman-Viking armies came about in the same pattem. ln some ways we could say the Slavic ethnic formation was delayed by foreigners. The development of the Slavic peoples was completed by the 9th century. The Moravians and Czechs, organised on the Frankish model, the Serbs and the Croatians, organised by the 'white' Croatians and 'white' Serbs, the Bulghars, organised by the Turks and increasingly assimilated as Slavs, and the Kiev Slav region, organised by the Vikings and indeed populated by Slavs, were joined in the second half of the 10th century by the Poland of the Piasts. Out oftribes organised on a territorial hasis developed peoples with ties to the ruling dynasties of each territory. The third type of development is represented by the Turkic peoples in Eastem Europe. The usual system among the Turks was a confederation of tribes, as we can see on the lnner Asian steppes amongst the Turks, the Uighurs, the Khirghiz, the Kharlukhs and other Turkic tribes. This held true for Eastem Europe as well. The strength and historical advantage, and at one and the same time the disadvantage of this tribal confederation, lay in its flexibility (see above, pp. 34 1-348). This structure allowed new tribes to join, enabled the gradual development of loyalties, and made it possible to change the structure quickly and easily. While new names constantly appeared, in many cases the sum of the tribes changed little. New tribes came to the fore, others were pushed to the back, some sections joined other confederations, but taken as a whole, the mass remained unchanged. These confederations managed to consolidate their power in different ways. One was the construction of a nomadic empire, of which the Khazar Empire is an example. ln this case, the tribal confederation found itself in circum­ stances which made the concentration of power essential. The intemal tribal structure was suitable for this from the beginning, since its needs could be fulfilled outwardly. Marauding campaigns aimed at trade were a common feature of the Early Turkic period. The aim of these was partly to force exchanges, and partly to seize treasures. The Khazars were able to conduct constant campaigns to the north against the Slavs and to the south against the Caucasian peoples. At the same time, control over the trade routes also brought in wealth, giving the tribes an interest in trading with Byzantium and the Arabs. The temporary decrease in pressure from the east contributed to the con­ solidation of power, and in the course of time the dual kingship settled into a

The integration of the Magyars within Europe


stable fönn and took on the proportions of a cult. However, this undermined the tribal confederation. The role of the sacral king, the war ruler, the armed retinue, the hiring of mercenaries and the settling ofthe people on the land all robbed the tribal confederation of any role or weight. The representatives of the confederation came into conflict with the centralised authorities, and once defeated, left the empire. The Avars and the Danube Bulghar Empire offer two examples ofhow tribal confederations can develop in a different direction. ln both cases a leading stratum emerged. Once again, marauding trade campaigns played a significant role, but here the direction was only the Byzantine and the Roman-German world. However, there was little long-term future in this, both because the counter-attacks came from an enemy that enjoyed far greater reserves, and because Byzantium and the Frankish rulers could exercise a far wider degree of political diplomacy. A decisive feature of the campaigns was the fact that the armies were only in part Bulghar and Avar: a considerable proportion was Slav. This strengthened the position of the Slavs within both empires. ln the case of the Bulghar Empire, the process resulted in the Slavification of the Bulghars, although the framework of the state was preserved with the help of the conversion to Christianity. The basis was laid down probably by the laws of Krum (803-8 1 4), which did not survive themselves, but can be pieced together from later references, which suggest that this was the period when power was centralised and tribal power curtailed. The same Slavification took place among the Avars, too, but the conversion to Christianity took place too late, and the frames of the empire could not be saved. We can distinguish three main types of integration in mediaeval Europe: the German, the Slavic and the Turkic types. The German and the Slavic types were similar in that they went beyond the tribal structure: the differentiated society was able to organise on the basis of territorial communities and loyalties, and could develop a new system of taxation. The difference between the two lay in the fact that while the Germans dismantled the tribal structure, the Slavs either did not develop it, or if they did, outside forces soon brought it to an end. ln both societies clanhood played a major role, as the clan repre­ sented a unit both in terms of taxation and military service. The Turkic type was based on the tribal confederation. This had both advantages and disadvantages. Overall, it obstructed mediaeval ethnic devel­ opment, since it undermined loyalties. Let us disregard here other examples of mediaeval Turkic development, such as those of the Volga Bulghars, the Seljuks, the Cumans, and the Ottomans. Let us also disregard those types represented by the "sea nomads", the northem peoples such as the Vikings, who bore some similarity to the Turks. ln the three development processes in 9th-1 0th-century Eastem Europe that we have examined, that ofthe Khazars,


From the Urals to the Carpathian Basin

the Danube Bulghars and the Avars, we could see that the processes of the ending of the tribal confederation and the development of territorial power had already begun. This, and only this, could make it possible to introduce a new system of taxation, and in this way ensure that the system would not collapse due to any fiasco of a marauding campaign. A system where the main source of income was collected or forced out of foreigners quickly reached the brink of collapse. The break-up of the tribal confederation of the three Turkic peoples took place in different ways: the Khazars and the Bulghars managed to consolidate their empires "from above", in both cases sanctifying this by converting, the Khazars to Judaism, and the Bulghars to Christianity. For the Avars this did not succeed, even though their leaders were christened before the Bulghars. Nonetheless, both peoples were gradually assimilated into the Slavic peoples. lt was the Bulghars that delivered the fatal military blows to the foundations of the Avar Empire.

2 . TH E TH I RD I NTEGRATION OF TH E MAGYARS The Magyars fitted once into the nomadic world, once acclimatised to the Khazar Empire, and once accommodated themselves to the new circum­ stances created by the Conquest. As we have seen, the key to the different European integrations, and thus to the emergence of mediaeval peoples in Europe, was how they achieved a European system organised on a territorial hasis, socially stratified and based on feudal loyalties. Each of these factors in different ways represented an end to the system based upon the tribe and the tribal confederation. This took place among the Magyars, too. Many of the details ofthe process may remain enlightened guesswork, but in the light ofthe preceding analyses, we are justified in drawing the outlines of the process. During the Conquest the Magyars appear as the Seven Magyar tribal con­ federation. We know that there were not only seven tribes, and that they were not only Magyars. However, before the Conquest the power relations within the confederation were decisively shaped first by its dependence upon the Khazar khaghanate, then its gaining of independence, later by the joining of the Khavars, and finally by the House of Álmos and Árpád. An important point in the development of the Magyar peoples was noted by Constantine Porphyrogenitus, who wrote: "These eight clans ( okto geneai) of the Turks do not obey their own particular princes, but have a joint agreement to fight together with eamestness and zeal upon the rivers, wher- . ever war breaks out. They have for their first chief (kephalé proté) the prince who comes by succession of Árpád's family, and two others, the gylas [gyufa]

The integration of the Magyars within Europe


and the karhas, who have the rank ofjudge: and each clan (genea) has a prince" (translated by Jenkins). Thus instead of writing that the tribal princes, who had no power in times of peace, lead each tribe into battle, he says they did not obey their tribal princes, and in times of war fought together, and inciden­ tally adds that every tribe had its arkhon. This would suggest that the tribal confederation no longer had a military role in the middle of the 1 0th century. The very rapid break-up of the tribes and the Magyar tribal confederation is indicated by the so-called "tribal place names" that are found in the earliest Hungarian documents, i.e. those place names that consist of one of the names ofthe seven tribes, unadulterated by any affix (Megyer, Gyarmat, Nyék, Kürt, etc.). These place names are in great number scattered over the Carpathian Basin. These point to the fact that in their surroundings, their tribal background was considered to be sufficient identification. The dispersing settlement could have happened after 1 OOO AD, i.e. on the orders of Saint Stephen, but the facts suggest otherwise. The spreading out of communities suggests that there was something to spread out for-that there was a moving force behind this action: the will of the central power to break up the tribal confederation, and the process began before 1 000 AD. ln the literature on the Magyars ' incursions on the west I did not find any reference to the participation of the Slavic populations of the Carpathian Basin, as was carefully documented about the Danube Bulghars and the Avars. This means that they did not participate in military power, although it is true that there had not been much time for this. Thus Slavic leaders did not reach important military positions. This was a maj or factor in the fact that the Magyars, unlike the Bulghars and the Avars, did not become assimilated. As we have seen, a key question in the types of ethnic development was the change in loyalties. Tribal affiliations were of special importance where, like on the steppes or among the Germans, the neighbours belonged to the same people and the enemy spoke the same language. The Magyars on the Khazar steppe and later in the Carpathian Basin, however, faced enemies who neither spoke Hungarian nor had Magyar traditions. The dissatisfied groups left the tribal confederation and went off with the Bulghars to the Volga-Karna region. As the tribal confederation as an organisation rapidly disappeared in the Carpathian Basin, the people once again emerged. The notorious raids of the Magyars were hardly organised on a tribal hasis. ln the note by lbn Hayyan about the 942 campaign of the Magyars in Spain is an interpolation about the seven leaders of the Magyars, which goes back to focal sources from an earlier period which had probably drawn on the Byzantine sources (see pp. 73 and 277). The reasons why the conquering Magyar people reached the threshold of creating a state and was quickly able to fall in with European development are


From the Urals t o the Carpathian Basin

many and complicated, and are interwoven with historical chance. But some of the reasons can be picked out: the rapid destruction of the tribal confedera­ tion, the exclusion of the native population from initial military activity, and the fact that the vast majority of the conquering peoples spoke Hungarian. ln the Middle Ages, the ability to speak more than one language was more natural than we think today. Not only did the Khavars leam the language of the Magyars, but some Slavic groups are also known to have j oined the invading Magyars before the Conquest. Many of the Magyars are known to have spoken the language of their neighbours, and of some of the local peoples. However, the knowledge of languages and linguistic identity are not the same thing. That the Magyar people and the Hungarian state developed in East-Central Europe in so short a time is undoubtedly partly explained by the fact that on the eve of the Conquest there was no unified and organised political formation in the Carpathian Basin, and that its population at the time lay on the edge of other political units, that of the Moravians, the Franks, the Bulghars, the Croatians and the Serbs. Another factor lay with the Slavified Turkic Avars, who hoped that the Magyars would help them revive the Avar Empire. The Turkic chiefs of the Bulghar Zhupas also played a role in the building of the Hungarian state, hoping their new masters would support them against the local Slavic population. These reasons may represent only a part of the historical picture, but can help reveal the enigma ofhow the conquering Magyars were able to form their own state in less than one hundred years. The formation of the Hungarian state was not an isolated event in mediaeval Europe. At almost the same time, new states emerged on the fringes of the Carolingian Europe such as Norway (986), Denmark (960-976), Poland (after 960), the Czech Kingdom (92 1-935) and the Kievan Rus (from 983). The events of the years 973-997 in Hungary, as well as 1 00 1 , the coronation of the first Hungarian king, Saint Stephen, marked not only the foundation of a new state, but also led to the birth of a new historical region. The formation of ethnic groups did not come to an end, but proceeded under fundamentally different circumstances. Thus, a historical transition had ended, providing place for new forces and new formations.

The integration of the Magyars within Europe


N OTES For the translations ofTurk inscriptions see Tekin (1 968). The best source on the Khitai is still Wittfogel-Feng Chia-Sheng (1949), even ifone might sometimes disagree with their conclu­ sions and interpretations ofthe linguistic material. There is considerable literature on the development and the ethnogenesis ofthe "barbarians". Ofthe international literature, I refer here only to the works cited in the Notes to Chapter 1. I gave a lecture on the types ofethnic development at the Hungarian Academy ofSciences' Committee far Magyar Proto-History conference in 1 995, the text ofwhich appeared in Magyar Tudomány (Róna-Tas 1 996c) and an extended version in the volume containing the papers of the conference (see Róna-Tas 1 997c). The unsuffixed tribe names of the Hungarian tribal confederation as place names (as e.g. Megyer, Kér, Keszi, etc.) are dispersed in the Carpathian Basin in a great number. This fact has been recognised and widely discussed in the literature. There is agreement on their antiquity and on most questions ofdetails.The only point yet discussed is whether the dissolution ofthe tribal system began only after 1 OOO or much earlier. This tangles the question of the eventual role ofthe tribes and the tribal system in farming the new Hungarian state. The "Turkic" tribal system began to dissolve before the Conquest. The process accelerated in the middle of the 1 0th century. The organisation ofthe new Hungarian state was based on the "Finno-Ugrian" clan system and this was one of the reasons why the Hungarians as Finno-Ugrians did not disappear. On the tribal names and their surfacing as place names see Hóman (1 938), and Kristó-Makk-Szegfű (1973).


We have attempted to place the history of the conquering Magyars in a new framework. The main tools of this endeavour have been the theoretical base, stricter methodology, broader source materials and a broader historical con­ text. We defined the concept of people. A people is the group of individuals who share a common semiotic system or code, and whose members conscientiously differentiate themselves from other peoples, and have a common self-desig­ nation, an ethnic name. The most important component of these shared systems is language. However, anyone can become a member of a linguistic community by changing his or her language. Other factors, such as the knowledge of shared lineage, shared territory, shared political organisation, shared religion and religious beliefs all contribute to the development of a people. If we consider the Magyars as a whole, there is no reason to assume a change of language. However, numerous other groups did become a part of the Hungarian people by changing their language. We set the limits of ancient Magyar history by defining it as beginning in the 1 st millennium BC when the Magyars left the community of related peoples. Thus we can talk about independent Magyar history from the 5th or even the 8th century BC. This early period comes to a close when the Hungarian state is founded in 1 00 1 AD. We have given a broad interpretation to the sources on ancient Magyar history, drawing not only on written sources, but also on the findings of linguistics, anthropology, archaeology and physical anthropology. With the written sources we have endeavoured to draw on the latest critical interpreta­ tions. ln our use of linguistic sources we have been especially critical, since, in this respect, Hungarian research is fifty years behind the times. We have indicated the methodological problems and limits in employing the results of archaeology, ethnography and physical anthropology, and have attempted to meet the methodological demands ofusing such varied sources. ln our initial examination of the Conquest and the historical events that preceded it, we excluded the Magyar chronicles as secondary and later sources, drawing upon


From the Ura/s to the Carpathian Basin

them only when it fitted in with the primary sources. ln areas where contem­ porary sources did not give enough direction, we used contemporary analogies to förm hypotheses. At the same time we tried to keep to a minimum the number of assumptions, preferring to state where the picture was not clear or where there was no definite answer to questions-rather than constructing a shaky house föunded on guesswork. We presented the history of related peoples speaking Finno-Ugrian lan­ guages, and we have paid more attention than beföre to the history of the neighbouring peoples, especially the Eastem European and the nomadic peoples of the steppes. We have attempted to present early Magyar history as a part of the history of Europe, or more particularly of Eastem Europe and the steppe. Moving on to the history of the conquering Magyar people, we first of all examined the names of the Magyars beföre and at the time of the Conquest. We established that the names prior to the Conquest reflected the names given by the Magyars' 9th-century neighbours, rather than the period between the 6th and 9th-centuries, as had hitherto been believed. We ascertained that the Byzantines called the Magyars Turks, the Slavs called them Onughurs, the Volga Bulghars Bashkirs, and most probably the Khazars Majgars. The origin and use of the ethnic name Savarti Asfali are unclear. Certainly by the 7th century, but probably much earlier, too, the Magyars called themselves Magyars or more precisely Magyers. This name originally was förmed out of two tribal names, the Manys (later Magy) and the Er. Foreigners have called them Magyars since the Tatar invasion, probably influenced by the interpreters who came from the Magyars into the Volga region. The proto-Magyars came from the region between the Ural Mountains and the Karna. ln the region of the Ugrian Urheimat deförested land cultivation, primitive animal-keeping, and bronze crafts all played a major role alongside hunting on horseback in the life of this community of closely related peoples. The history of the Ugrian community, which was shorter than we previously thought, and the ancient history of the independent peoples that emerged from that community all took place in the wooded region of the Urals and around the Volga. While the proto-Magyars had long and very close relations with the Iranians, the independent Magyars had in the first period only trade relations with them, while having a loose but far from negligible contact with the Permian peoples, ancestors of the Zyryans and the Votyaks. lt was during this period that the Magyar people was förmed out of the Manys and Er groups. The independent Magyars moved southwards, once again developing close relations with the Iranians, who controlled the steppe. At this point the Magyars began the transition to a nomadic way of life, a process that we believe took much longer than was previously thought. Por centuries, the

Summary overview

3 87

Magyars lived in the southem region of the Urals in such a way that some groups cultivated the land, reared animals and hunted on horseback, while others participated more fully in the steppe life, joining the nomadic military campaigns of the Iranians, and subsequently those of the Turks. The Hunnish period, which fitted in between the Iranian and the Turkic periods in the 3rd-4th centuries, may have affected the Magyars to some extent, but a more essential change came in the 5th century, when the steppe was under the control of the Turkic tribes, or more precisely, of the different Oghur groups. Even then, the shift to a nomadic way of life was gradual, rather than sudden. The decisive change came only at the end of the 6th century when the Magyars moved from the southem Urals to the Kuban-Maeotis region, which had been vacated by the Onoghur Bulghar-Turkic groups. They remained there until the end of the 7th century. We presented a new picture of Onoghur-Bulghar history. The centre of Khuvrat's Bulgharia was situated around the River Dnieper, and more broadly the Rivers Dniester and Don. ln the 7th century, the Magyars took part in the Khazar defeat of the Bulghar Empire. The Bulghar tribes west of the Dni eper moved to the Lower Danube, the Carp athian Basin, and the two shores of the Adriatic Sea. Those who remained moved northeast to the banks of the Don. The Magyars occupied the region between the Dnieper and the Lower Danube (the Etelköz). Contrary to earlier belief, the latest research leads us to think that Levedia was not an independent, former Urheimat occupied by the Magyars; rather, the tribal territory of Prince Levedi, within the borders ofthe Etelköz. The Magyars lived here, between the Dnieper and the Lower Danube, from the end of the 7th century until the Conquest. Their close but varying rela­ tions with the Khazars, the Bulghars, the Alani, the Byzantines and later the Pechenegs and the Slavs fundamentally shaped the conquering Magyars. ln this period the Magyars became increasingly independent, and by the second half of the century they had become an autonomous and significant European power. We paid particularly close attention to the history of the Pechenegs-how they positioned themselves at the end of the 9th century-and the events leading up to and surrounding their attacks on the Magyars. Leading the changes that took place in the Magyar tribal confederation were the leaders of the western half of the region, the Álmos-Árp ád clan which gradually took over power and assumed the role of supreme commander. Relying partly on their military entourage, and partly on the Khavars, who transferred allegiance from the Khazars, they dethroned the last leader of the eastem lands close to the Khazars, Levedi, who had been completely stripped of power. They succeeded in winning the subsequent recognition of the


From the Urals to the Carpathian Basin

surrounding powers, including the Khazars. There is no indication in the sources that the special set-up of the dual kingship, the sacral kingship, developed after the Conquest. Making the most of the pax khazarica at the end ofthe 8th century, the Magyars established close relations with the Turkic and Slavic peoples in the Carpathian Basin and the Balkans, and with the Franks. We endeavoured to place the events of the Conquest in the broader context of the 9th-century history of Eurasia from the eastem fringes of the steppe to the Franks. ln the background of the Conquest the main power divide of the period was between the Frank-Bulghar-Pecheneg coalition and the emerging Byzantine-Moravian axis, although the reality was far more complex than this. The conflicts between the Franks and Moravians and later the Avars, and between the Byzantines and the Bulghars were constantly changing. Also exercising strong political influence on events were the Papacy, the Constan­ tinople patriarchy, the Archbishop of Salzburg, and the Bishop of Passau, who used political tools in their rivalry to convert the peoples of the region. We examined the peoples of the Carpathian Basin, the short life-span of Slavic rule in Pannonia and the Slavification of the Avars, the latter a slow process that had not been completed by the time of the Conquest. From the beginning of the 9th century the Magyars played an increasingly important role in these events. We divided the Conquest itself into three periods following the battles of 894. The füst is from 895 until 898, the second from 899 to 900, and the third lasting up to 902. The main body of the Magyars came from the northeast, travelling along the River Tisza to attack the Bulghars with the aim of occupying the strategi­ cally crucial salt mines under Bulghar control in the Maros region. Our sources do not allow us to say for certain whether they spent the winter of 894-895 in the Upper Tisza region, whether they withdrew to the Etelköz and crossed the Verecke pass again in the spring, or again whether some encamped for the winter around the Tisza and were joined by others in the spring. What we can say is that in spring 895, the main body of the Magyar army was in the eastem half of the Carpathian Basin. The Byzantines did not support the military campaign conducted from here by attacking the Bulghars from the south. The Bulghars defeated those from the Etelköz attacking the Lower Danube, while the Pechenegs attacked the Magyars in the Etelköz. Those that remained fled to join the main Magyar army in the Carpathian Basin. Between 895 and 898, the western border of the Magyar forces was the River Tisza, sending at most reconnaissance parties foraying into the region between the Tisza and the Danube. The intemational situation favoured the Magyars. The Moravians under Moymir 11, trusting in the support of the

Summa,y overview


Magyars, set up their own political and independent church structures. The Franks, however, in league with the Czechs-Moymir's brother Svatopluk II and the Frankophile ruler of Transdanubia, Braslav-endeavoured to prevent them. Making the most of this fratemal strife Amulf, the Frank ruler who had been crowned in 894, severely weakened the Moravian Empire. He then made a deal with the Magyars as part of his plans to extend his power to Italy. Consolidating the position and structure that they had achieved so far, the Magyars sent troops to attack northem ltaly in 899-900. Berengar, who held sway there, bought the withdrawal of the Magyars by offering food and hostages. ln December 899 Amulf died. The retuming army from Italy and the main Magyar army crossing the Danube caught the Moravians in a pincer movement, who were busy devastating Transdanubia, and occupied that re­ gion. By the end of 900 the Bavarians were building defensive lines on the River Enns. The Magyars, who were consolidating their control over the Carp athian Basin, sent peace delegations in order to secure the gains they had made. These were rejected by the court of Louis the Infant, Amulf's successor, whereupon the Magyars occupied the Kisalföld (Northwest Plain) and pressed westwards along both banks of the Danube. Their advance was halted by the armies of the Bishop of Passau. By 902, the Magyars finally occupied Moravia, which marked the end of the migration and accompanying military actions that Hungarian historians term the Honfoglalás , literally meaning 'homeland occupation', but translated as 'Conquest', for want of a better word. The Conquest was led by the Megyer tribe, headed by the House of Álmos and Árp ád. We have put forward the view that Kusal (Kursan, Küsen) was a member ofthis dynasty, and probably Árp ád's brother. The historical circum­ stances and the lack of time meant that the dual kingship could not come into being again after the dethroning of Levedi, and the sacral kingship even less so. The Magyar tribal confederation was a multiply differentiated system, in which the tribe of the prince played a prominent role, with the other tribes being subordinate to the leading tribe at various levels. The seven Magyar tribes were joined by three Khavar tribes that unified to fönn one tribe, and probably other groups also joined them. Of the tribe names, only the etymol­ ogy of Jenő and Tarján is certain, but the linguistic origin of tribe names tells us nothing about the ethnic and linguistic make-up of the tribes. The Magyar tribal confederation undoubtedly spoke Hungarian, and the Magyarisation of the Khavars occurred very quickly, while some groups of the Magyars were for a while bilingual, speaking Turkic as well. After the Conquest, the Magyars were able to preserve their ethnic and linguistic identity, because the people in the Carpathian Basin were not unified; Slavic and Slavified Avar groups, Frank and Bavarian settlers, and


From the Urals to the Carpathian Basin

perhaps other fragments of people from earlier periods lived in a mottled community. It was not just the lack of ethnic and political unity among the Slavs that meant they could not assimilate the Magyars in the same way as they had the Bulghars and the Avars; they were also excluded from any military role in the Magyars ' campaigns beyond the region. This shut them out from any positions of power and hindered any organised defence of the Carpathian Basin's Slavs. The conquering Magyars were led by the prince, by the supreme com­ mander, gyufa , and the karha , who kept control over the peoples who had joined the Magyars or had been subjugated by them. Initially, the conquerors left intact the political and social structure of the Carpathian Basin, the main features being a county system förmed by small Slavic groups, with Avar and Bulghar zhupans at the head ofthe counties. The head ofthe Bulghar zhupans was the 'Nandur zhupan' which meant 'Bulghar zhupan' . This title was taken by the Magyars, and became used as nádorispán. Magyar agriculture was characterised by the cohabitation of a strong nomadic animal-rearing group that employed 'migrating cultivation' and an animal-rearing group that also cultivated the land. This settled upon the local farming of the Avars and Slavs. ln terms of culture, there was Shamanism as well as Tengrism and numerous elements of the main world religions which the Magyars had gained acquain­ tance with in the Etelköz, in the vicinity of the Khazars and Byzantium. We have a good picture of their material culture and their customs. It is almost certain that they also had runiförm writing. The main question conceming the Conquest is the unparalleled, uniquely efficient integration of the Magyars, which took place very quickly-histori­ cally speaking. The Magyars adapted to historical circumstances three times in the 1 st mil­ lennium. First of all when they made the transition to nomadism, comprising the rearing of large animals, on the border of the steppe and the förests; secondly when they integrated into the economic and political system of the Khazar Empire; and thirdly when they abandoned their tribal confederation in the Carpathian Basin and integrated into the European feudal system. We described three main European paths towards mediaeval ethnic forma­ tion. A common feature of the German, Slavic and Turkic types was that the tribe ceased to exist as a political and economic unit; empires or states were förmed on a territorial hasis, or the people as such ceased to exist. However, there were maj or differences in the processes of developing as a people. The Turkic path was characterised by the tribal confederation which among the .Khazars developed into an empire, but was not able to end completely the tribal system. Among the Bulghars, in parallel to the process of ethnic

Summary overview


assimilation, central power was able to end the tribal confederation and lay the foundations of a state, and this was strengthened by conversion to Chris­ tianity. The Avars failed to end the tribal system and lay the foundations of a state due to intemal and extemal factors. Several factors facilitated or ensured the successful development of the Magyars in the Carpathian Basin. Of these, we should mention the politi­ cal transformation that took place over a long-longer than previously as­ sumed-and relatively quiet period in the Etelköz, in which the dethroning of the House of Levedi was just one episode. This period marked the beginning ofthe end ofthe tribal organisation, although at this time the process followed the Khazar model. This continued after the Conquest, but under different conditions. Adapting the Slavs' territorial organisations while excluding them from military power proved to be an effective combination. The divisions among the local Slavs, the particular role of the Slavified Avars, the intemal problems of the Danube Bulghars, the collapse of Moravian rule, Frankish ambitions in ltaly, the new policy of the Macedonian dynasty in Byzantium, the intemal problems of the Papacy, the appearance of the Czechs and the forming of Kievan Rus all represented the historical context. From the end of the Conquest around 902 to the establishment of the Hungarian state by Saint Stephen in 1001, there was a period of about one hundred years. The position ofthe Magyars at the time ofthe Conquest merely laid the hasis for their efforts to make the most of their opportunities in spite of every intemal and extemal difficulty and in spite of their campaigns and defeats. How they managed to do so, and in this way create a European state, may be the subject of another book.




The research of ancient Hungarian history goes back to the beginnings of Hungarian historiography itself. Due to the limitations of space, I cannot give a survey of research history here, but merely a summary of the research of the past few decades. I am fully aware ofthe presence ofbias both in the selection of the titles and in my comments. I shall only give thought to those issues relevant to the subject of this book; in doing so, however, I cannot be ex­ haustive. This chapter is more or less identical with the preface of my book A korai magyarság története [The ancient history of the Magyars]. Since I am writing here of the research work of others and myself, I am giving the bibliographical references in the main text. Ever since my college years I have been interested in the ancient history of the Magyars, and in the emergence of Hungarian culture. My profes­ sors-Gyula Ortutay, István Tálasi, Lajos Ligeti and Gyula Németh-con­ vinced me that unless I really became involved in the study of the broader context, I would never achieve even the slightest result. I was undaunted, however, by the fact that direct involvement in this field was impossible for two reasons. Especially in the 1950s and 1960s in Hungary, the research of ancient Hun­ garian history was a very haunted field indeed. Ideological expectations, political prohibitions and justified and unjustified fears put huge pressure on scholars, rendering their work well-nigh impossible, and hindering genuine progress. Packed with tragicomic scenes, the so-called Erik Molnár debate would make a separate chapter in scientific history. The Hungarian Society for Linguistics held a debate on Hungarian prehistory on 1st December 1953 in the auditorium of the Loránd Eötvös University which was attended by many. However, the most significant talks and remarks were not published until two years later (A magyar . . . 1955). The other obstacle to research was the unhealthy atmosphere that prevailed in Hungarian scientific life; the scientific scene was controlled by a few monopolist factions.


Recent research ami stmlies

It was no mere chance, then, that until the latter half of the 1 960s little happened in the field of ancient Hungarian historic research. Questions and ideas were conceived in a constrained situation. Scholars from many countries came up with the idea of writing a new European mediaeval history. Eastem European efforts were led by scholars of the German Democratic Republic who went beyond the standard procedure of scientific co-operation and got the non-scientific authorities involved, too. The resulting work should have been the Enzyklopiidie der Frühgeschichte der europiiischen Völker which had originally sought to give the Marxist version of the entire history of mediaeval Europe, but latterly contented itself with a more modest Eastem European survey. But it very soon transpired that the Eastem European scholars, encouraged to collaborate by the central committees of their respec­ tive communist parties, were unable even to share out the headwords. So the editors made a strict and simple-yet completely unscientific-decision. Every country could write only those headwords which related to mediaeval events that occurred within the present-day boundaries of that country. The story of this stillbom scheme would certainly merít a short study; still, some scholars were inspired by it. However, it transpired that despite all of the commonly shared ideological constraints, the researchers of the different eastem countries disagreed even on the most fundamental issues. The use of a common terminology was simply out of the question therefore; moreover, so was a mutual discussion of the terminology. The Hungarian scholars seized the first opportunity to quit, and made an abortive attempt to publish a Hungarian encyclopaedia. Saving what they could, they compiled and edited the ready articles, and finally in 1 994 published the Lexicon of Ancient Hungarian History (Kristó 1 994c). Simultaneously attempts were made to bring together the scholars of two countries to discuss mutual problems. Although such scientific meetings were unsuited for the development of a common language, there were some remarkable attempts. For instance, between the 4th and 6th of May 1 97 1 a Czech-Slovak-Hungarian meeting was organised in Bratislava, with the aim of establishing the conceptual-historical background of the historical forma­ tion preceding the modem nation (Spira-Szűcs 1 972). Jenő Szűcs's paper A "Nemzetiség " és "nemzeti öntudat " a középkorban. Szempontok az egységes fogalmi nyelv kialakításához ["Nationhood" and "national identity" in the Middle Ages. Aspects for the development of a uniform terminology] (Spira­ Szűcs 1 972, pp. 9-1 7) was published from the proceedings of the meeting. Although this was not the first article Szűcs had written on the same issue (see Szűcs 1 966, pp. 245-269), we are aware today that his work meant a tuming point in Hungarian research. Szűcs closed his dissertation in 1 970 and pub-

An ove1View of the study of andent Hungarian history


lished his work in 1 97 1 (Szűcs 1 97 1 ). He was a follower ofWenskus, and gave a new theoretical context to the related issues. Formerly, scholars had focused on the origins ofnation and people. Gyula Németh's work, A honfoglaló magyarság kialakulása [The formation of the conquering Magyars] , written in 1 930, reflects a significant change ofattitude, on account of its focusing onformation, as opposed to origin. A monolineal proto-history was superseded by a complex ethnic history which gave consid­ eration to the fact that the history of a language did not (necessarily) coincide with the history ofits speakers-not even given that the most important source of the historical reconstruction process is language. "Only 'in general terms' does the research of the origin of a language shed light on the origins of the people; due to the fact that the concept of linguistic affiliation is not identical with ethnic affiliation," Németh wrote in 1 930. Szűcs went further, and considered the study of the history of ethnic identity to be important. ln the 1 970s and 1 980s he put much effort into his chosen subject, and his results appeared in a number ofpublications. He considered ethnicity to be a subject of ethno-sociology, which could not be understood without the reconstruction of the phenomena and history of ethnic identity. ln Szűcs's view the Roman Empire, the early "barbarians", the Germans and the later steppe peoples­ among them the conquering Magyars-represented three types of ethnic self-reflection. His many-sided research provides a social historical hasis for the study of these historical groups. Szűcs's dissertation appeared long after his tragic death in 1 988. Together with an unfinished paper, it was published in 1 992 bearing a more suggestive title than the original: A magyar őstörténet vázlata [An outline of Hungarian proto-history] (Szűcs 1 992). ln 1 970, I submitted to the Hungarian Scientific Degree Committee my academic doctoral thesis entitled Az altaji nyelvrokonság vizsgálatának alap­ jai (A nyelvrokonság elmélete és a csuvas-mongol nyelvviszony) [The foun­ dations of the research ofAltaic linguistic relationships (A theory oflinguistic relationship and the Chuvash-Mongolian linguistic relations)] . While Szűcs had sought to clarify the terminology from an ethno-historical viewpoint, 1 aimed at doing the same in the tieid oflinguistic relationships. The chapters on linguistic relationship were published in 1 978 (see Róna-Tas 1 978a). While Szűcs's research did not cause much of a stir (see my remarks about it in Róna-Tas 1 985c, pp. 1 33-1 36), another scientist's new theory provoked a real storm. ln 1 969, Gyula László propounded his new theory at a talk he gave in Budapest. He published a summary ofhis ideas in two studies in 1 972, and in a small brochure in 1 973 (see László 1 970a, 1 970b, 1 973). The theory of a double conquest contends that when the Magyars entered the Carpathian Basin in 895 , they came across significant Magyar groups who were supposed to have come to their new homeland in 670. The second migratory wave of


Recent research and studies

Magyars is supposed to have "avoided" the Magyars of the first Conquest. László's theory was debated at the 4th Congress ofFinno-Ugrian Scholars in 1975 (published in László 1975), and in 1978 he published a new summary (László 1978, 1982). The initial clamorous response to the theory calmed down after a while. Several publications appeared in response to the new theory, but most of these dismissed László's views. László replied to many, for instance in the Szombathely periodical Életünk [Our life]. Later a collec­ tion ofhis writings from this paper, together with an interview, were published in several editions (László 1987). The last noteworthy contributions to this debate were written by Imre Boba ( 1982-83), Gyula Kristó ( 1983a), István Bóna ( 1984a) and Csanád Bálint ( 1989a). As a whole the theory was not accepted. It must be said for Gyula László, however, that he drew the line between the early and late Avar cultures. Thus, albeit indirectly, he helped to make clear a number of issues of the Magyar Conquest. Essentially at the same time that Gyula László propounded his theory of a double Conquest, Gyula Németh (Julius Németh in his publications other than in Hungarian) came out with a revision of the views of Gombocz. ln 19 12, Gombocz ( 19 12, pp. 20 1-208) established that Magyar-Turkic interaction took place in the Volga-Karna region, and contended that the Chuvash-type Turkic loan words in Hungarian must have entered the language at this local­ ity, between 600 and 800. Even in this work he did not deny that the Karna Magyars might have wandered north from their southem homeland. Gombocz later modified this theory, and claimed that Magyar-Turkic interaction took place farther south, in the Caucasus region, and a lot earlier. Published in 19 17, his first study was followed by many others (Gombocz 19 17-1927, 1920, 192 1). Németh ( 1966a, 1966b, 1966c), in two articles in Hungarian and one in German, added five new Bashkir-Magyar tribal name parallels (Nyék, Gyula, Kér, Keszi, Magyar) to Pauler's formerly accepted list oftwo (Gyarmat, Jenő). Based on these parallels he revised Gombocz's latter theory, and suggested that the Magyar Urheimat was actually in the Kama-Belaya region (where Gombocz had initially put it), and that the Magyars did not become politically involved with the Khazar Empire until rather late, "towards 800". Németh ( 1972, pp. 70-74) further elaborated his theory, and included it in his mono­ graph about Gombocz. Németh died in 1976, with an unpublished monograph in his manuscript legacy. Németh bequeathed me this, as well as his other unpublished manuscripts and notes. These are available today at the library of the Department of Altaistics of the Attila József University in Szeged, Hungary. Written about the formation of the Magyars, the monograph is an almost completely revised version of Németh 's original 1930 work. It was finally published, with great care and scrupulous philological attention, by my

An overview of the study of ancient Hungarian history


pupil, Árpád Berta, in 1 99 1 (see Németh 1 99 1 , on the Bashkir-Hungarian tribal names, pp. 1 82-2 1 5; on Németh, see Róna-Tas 1 990c). The reactions to Gyula Németh's views were mixed. A farmer student of his, László Rásonyi ( 1 964, 1 976b), set out enthusiastically to find Magyar to­ ponyms in Bashkiria. Unfartunately his results cannot be accepted. Németh's younger students clearly saw the immense problems related to parallels of tribal and place names. Ligeti ( 1 964b ), far instance, had already expressed his doubts about the tribal names Gyarmat and Jenő. Vásáry ( 1 976, 1 985) and Mándoky-Kongur ( 1 976, 1 986, 1 988) subjected the problems to careful scru­ tiny. I personally discussed two different aspects of the Bashkir question (Róna-Tas 1 982c, 1 987c). Berta ( 1 989, 1 990a, 1 990b, 1 99 1 , 1 992a, 1 992b) elaborated a new system far the explanation of Magyar tribal names. István Fodor's work brought a breath of fresh air to research. Until the end of the Second World War, Hungarian scholars had been barred from entering archaeological sites in the Soviet Union (save one fargettable visít to the Ukraine ), and had consequently based their research on the works of Talgren ( 1 9 14, 1 9 1 9). However, fallowing the Second World War, Soviet periodicals and various other publications became more widely available, and as from the latter half of the 1 950s Hungarian archaeologists were allowed to travel to the Soviet Union to explore the latest finds. István Fodor 's activity was outstand­ ing in this respect. Setting out from Khazan in 1 967 (always collecting local publications) he facused on sites where Finno-Ugrian finds were thought to have been excavated. ln the Soviet Union archaeological work was associated with the construction of the hydroelectric power plants on the River Volga. A fraction of the immense construction budget (large sums of money, even so) was allocated to archaeological excavations. What this meant in terms of the research of ancient Hungarian history was that substantial amounts ( on an intemational level) went to the archaeological research of peoples historically related to the Magyars. Khazan archaeologists greatly benefited from this opportunity and launched significant archaeological excavation schemes through­ out the vast region from the Urals to the right bank of the Volga. It was partly these new findings that István Fodor ( 1 973) published in his survey entitled Vázla­ tok a finnugor őstörténet régészetéből [Sketches from the archaeology of Finno-Ugrian prehistory] . Published in 1 975, Fodor's monograph (Fodor 1 975; in German: 1 982a; in English: 1 982b) aimed at giving an overall idea about the origins and migrations of the Magyars, and the Conquest. The chapters on the ancient periods in this book are especially enlightening. Two archaeologists, Béla Kürti and Csanád Bálint, published an excellent survey of the archaeological cultures thought to be related to the Finno-Ugri­ ans, the Magyars and the other steppe peoples they might have maintained connections with (Hajdú-Kristó--Róna-Tas 1 976, vol. I, ch. 1 ).


Recent research and studies

István Fodor propounded his historical concept in an academic degree thesis which he defended in 1982. Fodor claimed that the Magyars wandered from their West Siberian Urheimat to the Karna region in the 5th century. Leaving behind a small group, the greater part of the Magyars migrated from this region in the early 8th century. Being one ofthe official examiners of Fodor's thesis, I commented (Róna-Tas 1988e, pp. 153-165) on the excellent qualities of his work, the fresh findings he had operated with, his new approach and high scientific standards; but took issue with Fodor's arguments. Fodor had constructed his paper partly on István Dienes's ( 1963) reasoning, which claimed that parallels of the funeral shrouds found in Conquest-period graves can only be found among the Ob-Ugrians. Fodor held that the use of such shrouds gained ground in the Karna region in the 8th century amid the Permian peoples (among others), which was where the Magyars had brought them from to the Carpathian Basin. Not counting the chronological problems of the issue, one cannot fail to acknowledge the inter-ethnic character and the spread of these shrouds. We do not know, however, which ethnic group or joined people used them in Hungary (see M. Benkő 1992/93). The finds of the graves excavated by E.A. Halikova at Bolshie Tigani and outside Tankeyevka (see Halikova 1976, 1978; Halikova-Kazakov 1977; Halikova-Halikov 198 1) have a fair number ofHungarian parallels, and Fodor ( 1977), too, holds that these locations were the burial sites of the Magyar ethnic group. Yet by 1977, Fodor realised that-for chronological reasons­ the cemetery cannot have been the last burial site of the Magyars before they set off westwards. Rather, it must have served those that stayed behind, on account of the fact that the Tankeyevka cemetery was first used in the 9th century, and the same population continued to bury its dead there well into the 11th century. However, Fodor did not give consideration to the possibility of Magyars (previously a satellite people ofthe Volga Bulghars), who had at that time arrived from the south, being buried there. ln my comments I gave a detailed exposition, arguing that the numismatic material unearthed in these sites attests to the fact that the Volga Bulghars must have reached the Bolshie Tarhani area (which is where the earliest Bulghar-Turkic finds were exca­ vated) in the late 8th century (see Gening-Halikov 1964), and only around 900 did they reach the Karna region (Smimov 195 1; Fahrutdinov 1975; Kaza­ kov-Starostin-Halikov 1987). If Magyar-Bulghar-Turkic cohabitation took place in the Volga-Karna region, Fodor's chronology would be just too short-on account of the fact that Magyar-Turkic interaction cannot have begun in the latter half of the 8th century. The great influence on the Magyars' language and culture would seem to contradict this, however. But assuming that a group of the Magyars, a satellite people of the Volga Bulghars, marched north, fits the picture.

An ove1View of the study of ancient Hungarian history


Fodor refers to an article of Károly Czeglédy ( 1976). Unfortunately, the study in question offers two arguments only: the above-mentioned Bashkir theory of Gyula Németh, and Fodor's viewpoint. The year 1976 marked the beginning of the publication of a five-volume series of university textbooks (Hajdú-Kristó-Róna-Tas 1976, 1977, 1980, 1982), edited by Péter Hajdú, Gyula Kristó and myself. ln these volumes we gave a broad meaning to the term "source material", so as to include all knowledge and data which we felt had direct or indirect bearing, as a source, on the ancient history of the Magyars and their language. We also admitted anything indispensable for the evaluation of these sources. Half of the first volume is devoted to the archaeological, archaeozoological, anthropological and ethnographic sources, and half to the linguistic and written sources. The second volume contains illustrations of the archaeological sources, and the indices. The third volume discusses numismatics, and the different systems of writing and of chronology. The fourth volume is devoted to the material and methods of the natural sciences-hence chronology and age-dating, historical geography, climatology, phytogeography, zoogeography, soil sci­ ence, geophysics, the map sources, and a small lexicon of terminology. We supplied every volume with a bibliography to facilitate further research. ln retrospect, it must be said of this giant work, which extended to almost every branch of science and involved the work of some sixty Hungarian scholars and scientists, that its standards are uneven, and it cannot be denied that some parts of it were written in haste. Notwithstanding these shortcomings, the series was soon to become an invaluable study tool and research reference, and it was widely used in Hungary and abroad in the teaching ofHungarologi­ cal studies. Concurrent with the production ofthis handbook, the University of Szeged offered students courses in ancient Hungarian history, and the Csoma Kőrösi Society organised lectures in proto-history. My lectures were collected in manuscript form by the Csoma Kőrösi Society (Róna-Tas 1979). ln them, l give a detailed interpretation of the concept of "source material", an account of research methods, of the history of the natural geography of Eurasia, of the designations of the Magyars, their formation and migrations. l also discuss my views regarding the southern origin of the Magyars found in Magna Hungaria, in the Volga-Karna region. ln 1973, we organised a national conference on the issues of Hungarian proto-historical research. The volume entitled Magyar őstörténeti tanulmá­ nyok [Studies in Hungarian proto-history] (Bartha-Czeglédy-Róna-Tas 1977) contains the talks given at this conference, and a handful of other studies. The book sought to give an overview of the state of research. ln my article on the character of Magyar-Bulghar-Turkic interactions I examined the unique


Recent research ami studies

phenomenon whereby the greater part of Hungarian words of Turkic origin feature in the Mongolian language, too. 1 sought to give an explanation, and at the same time I outlined the highly debated issues ofthe relationship among the Altaic languages (Róna-Tas 1 977b ). Referred to as the "silver book", on account of the colour of its cover, this book reports on the 1 973 symposium (Ecsedy 1 977) and on the work of the Szeged Proto-History Research Group (see Róna-Tas 1 977a). 1 shall highlight only one article here, about a field which has seen much progress recently. The origins of the melodies of Hungarian folk music have long been the focus of research. Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály were particularly interested in these issues. Bartók came to know some Cheremis folk songs which Yrjö Wichmann 's Hungarian wife had collected back in 1 906. Bartók immediately recognised the similarity with the Hungarian pentatonic "fifth-shifted" me­ lodic construction. Kodály became acquainted with a further 3 1 1 Cheremis folk songs, published by V. M. Vasilyev in 1 9 1 9, which, together with the Chuvash folk songs collected by Lach and Maximov, he analysed in 1 937. This vast stock of folk songs revealed that one ofthe oldest strata ofHungarian folk music displayed profound similarity with Turkic, and especially Chuvash folk music. However, Kodály ( 1 93 7) found the closest parallel with Cheremis melodies on the hasis of the data available to him at the time. ln 1 947, Kodály ( 1 947) published a small booklet containing Chuvash folk songs, claiming that the only explanation for the remarkable Magyar-Chuvash similarities was that the forebears of the Magyars and the Chuvash, the Bulghar-Turkic peoples must have lived together prolongedly in the Caucasus region. Kodály was fully aware that his results were preliminary, so in 1 958 he sent a student of his, László Vikár, to the Volga region to collect folk music among the Finno-Ugrian and Turkic population. Vikár 's work was most successful. To­ gether with a number of articles, he published monographs on Cheremis (Vikár-Bereczky 1 97 1 ), Chuvash (Vikár-Bereczky 1 979) and Votyak (Vikár­ Bereczky 1 989) folk music respectively. Vikár's on-location research persuaded him that the correspondences be­ tween Hungarian and Cheremis folk music were secondary. The music of the so-called "Mountain Cheremis" groups stood closest to Hungarian, and the farther north or east he went, the lesser the similarities were. The South Cheremis groups are under a strong Chuvash influence, and the Cheremis folk melodies which Vikár had known before his visit ( southem ones) had acquired their traits calling Hungarian folk music to mind as a result of this Chuvash influence. Thus, the only argument supporting Hungarian folk music 's Finno­ Ugrian origin was rejected. At the same time, Vikár faced a unique, deceptive duality. How was it possible that while the Hungarian language was of Finno-Ugrian origin, Hungarian music displayed Turkic characteristics? ln

An overview of the study of ancient Hungarian histo ry


effect, Kodály himself had given the answer in the epilogue of his 1947 publication of folk melodies. The Hungarian melodic world was transformed under Turkie influence, similarly to many areas of the Magyars' animal husbandry, agriculture, spiritual and social culture. 1 appraised Vikár's book on Chuvash folk songs with regard to proto-history in an article (Róna-Tas 1980c). 1 reckoned that it was remarkable that, ofthe Cheremis melodies, the South Cheremis ones were more closely related to Hungarian music, and that of the Chuvash melodies those that were sung in the northem regions of the Chuvash language area, that is, near the border between the two groups, also featured close similarities. We are witnessing, then, a melodic world that emerged from a Finno-Ugrian-Turkic interaction by secondary processes. 1 called Gyula László's attention to this, knowing that he was looking out for arguments in support of his own theory of numerous dualities in ancient Magyar culture. Alas, to no avail. Vikár continued his research and in 1988 he defended his doctoral thesis on the music of the Finno-Ugrian and Turkic peoples of the Volga-Karna region (see Vikár 1993). His monograph on the Tatar folk music of Khazan will appear in 1999. Vikár's work is closely connected with János Sipos's ( 1994, 1994-1995) recent collections of folk music in Turkey and Khazakh­ stan. Pál Lipták wrote a survey of physical anthropological research in the Szeged textbook and in the "silver book". Lipták investigated the historic aspects ofthe types which he had established by classifying bone dimensions, skull shape and proportions. ln his most recent study he sought to place these in a proto-historic context, and to establish connections between the bone matter of the Carpathian Basin and that of Eastem Europe. He discussed the issue ofthe bones ofthe leading Magyar strata differing from laymen's bones (for the principles and methodology, see Lipták 197 1; see also Lipták 1977, 1983). The researches of Lipták and his school are highly limited by the paucity of Conquest-period skeletal finds. A mere 199 sets of male bones, and 154 female ones have been identified at the grave sites. Recently Kinga Éry ( 1983, 1994, 1995) gave an overview of the state of research. Nemeskéri and his colleagues had long included serology in their research in physical anthropology. ln 1990, however, they took a completely new approach. ln some of his earlier articles, in Magyar Tudomány [Hungarian Science], as well as at the 1990 Finno-Ugrian Congress in Debrecen, Tamás Tauszik ( 1990a, 1990b) proposed a new theory. He based his research on the methodology developed by Hideo Matsumoto ( 1988; for further bibliography, see also Tauszik 1990a, 1990b). This method is founded on the 28 markers identified in the gamma-globulin component of blood. Matsumoto not only developed a technique for identifying these markers, but also sought to group


Recent research and studies

them. He found that the co-occurrence of certain markers was characteristic of the so-called "greater" races, that is, the Mongoloid, the Europoid and the Africanoid anthropological subspecies. Subj ecting to close scrutiny the oc­ currence and geographical distribution of marker groups, Matsumoto was keen to draw inferences regarding the origins ofthe Japanese. His laboratory, however, was intemational, and processed blood samples from Hungary, too. Tauszik's new approach caused quite a stir. ln 1 989, I visited Matsumoto ín Osaka, and thoroughly discussed the historical applicability of his data and methods. Following my visít I wrote a summary of the debate about the method, and expressed my own views on the issue (Róna-Tas 1 990a, 1 990b). ln my opinion, the examined synchronous data were unserviceable for the straightforward explanation of historical processes. Matsumoto held that the Mongoloid race had its origins ín the northem Baikal area, from where it spread throughout Eurasia. He based this conclusion on the study ofthe blood samples of the Buryat people who live north of Lake Baikal. However, these Buryats have only been living in this area since the 1 6th century. Matsumoto termed one specific group 'Uralian' on account of the fact that the blood samples had come from a hospital in the Ural Mountains. Hungarian scholars next tried to draw inferences regarding the Uralic peoples. Tauszik observed that a 5% group of the Magyars, widely distributed throughout the country, featured the traits of the Mongoloid subspecies. One half of this group shared the features of the North Mongoloid group, the other of the South Mongoloid. We do not know, however, how this 5% ( or rather, 2 x 2.5%) Mongoloid group mingled with the Magyars. Did it happen at once or ín several "instalments"; did a higher ratio reduce gradually to 5%, or was it a smaller ratio that gradually increased to the current levei? Although the method has proved unsuccessful (as yet), scholars should continually update their knowledge of the results of the natural sciences. For instance, great progress has been made in the tests determining the blood properties of a deceased from fossil bones (see, for instance Lengyel 1 975). On 27th April 1 983 Irén Juhász, archaeologist of the Museum of Szarvas, brought to light a bone needle-case at an Avar cemetery near Szarvas. The case had strange runiform writing on it. Juhász ( 1 98 3 , 1 985) published her find in the 1 983 volume ofActa Archaeologica . The find dates back to the Late Avar period, and Juhász holds it to be a late-8th-century work. Two things were clear from the outset: the writing was quasi-identical with the runiform inscription on the Nagyszentmiklós treasure; and there was a possibility of the find contributing to solving the riddle of the origin of the Székely runiform script, hence answering a number of questions related to ancient Magyar history. Archaeology had long known runiform inscriptions dating from the Avar era (for an overview and a bibliography, see Vásáry 1 972); this inscrip-

An overview of the study of ancient Hungarian history


tion, however, featured at least 59 individual symbols. The next task was to prepare a thorough palaeographic publication. Commissioned by Juhász, I subjected the find to a series of microscopic tests, and with the help of some good photographs I published the inscription (Róna-Tas 1 985a, see Figure 22 on p. 1 30). Several attempts were made to decipher the text (by János Harmatta, Gábor Vékony and myself), but the truth is that none of these attempts were convincing enough. It seems that deciphering this inscription will have to wait for some time. However, a whole series of objects with short runiform inscriptions came to light, most of which were published by János Harmatta ( 1 983a-c, 1 984a, 1 984b, 1 985a, 1 985b, 1 988, 1 992c). Gábor Vékony ( 1 987a, 1 987b) had a go at deciphering som e of these inscriptions. ln 1 992 in Szeged, we organised a small conference on the runiform inscriptions of the Carpathian Basin (see Sándor 1 992b ), at which two new inscriptions were presented. Irén Juhász (in Sándor 1 992b, pp. 1 5-1 9) found a new, shorter inscription at this same site of Szarvas. István Dienes established that the inscription on the flap of a bone quiver unearthed at the excavation at Homokmégy-Halom (near Kalocsa, Hungary) was written during the Conquest period (Dienes 1 992, 1 994); Gábor Vékony (in Sándor 1 992b, pp. 4 1-49) made an attempt to read it in Turkic. Even if there is no consensus between scholars concerning the linguistic aspects of the inscriptions, there is unanimous agreement about the signifi­ cance of the new finds with regard to the history of Hungarian literacy. Scholars felt that the research of the history and formation of Central European mediaeval scripts had come to a turning point. This called for the reconsid­ eration of the origins of Hungarian literacy (see Róna-Tas in Sándor 1 992b, pp. 4 1 -49), and placing the Nagyszentmiklós and Szarvas writings in a broader, Eastern European historic context (Róna-Tas 1 988b). The classification of Eastern European runiform scripts, as well as the new finds, necessitated the analysis of the system and origins ofthe Turk runiform inscriptions of Central Asia. Scholars were able to determine the phases of the formation of Turk runiform writing, and established the Semitic origins of its very first forms (Róna-Tas 1 9 87b ). The new systematisation of Central Asian Turk runiform inscriptions and the discovery of new samples substantially changed the situation ofresearch. Mention must be made ofthe works ofD.D. Vasilev ( 1 983a, 1 983b), I.L. Kyzlasov ( 1 990) and I.V. Kormusin ( 1 975), as well as S.G. Klyashtornyj who discovered many new Turkic inscriptions in Mongolia, the most important among them being those ofBugut, Tez and Terh (see Róna-Tas 1 996d). Given these circumstances, keen interest in the Székely runiform script developed internationally. István Vásáry ( 1 974) gave an excellent survey of the state of the art which served as a very good starting point. The Székely


Recent research ami studies

runiform writing reached its first peak in the 15th century at the court of the Hungarian King Matthias 1. New results have been published on the earliest occurrence of this script, dating back to the Matthias era (Róna-Tas 1985, 1986). Klára Sándor gave a new and thorough philological analysis of the longest Hungarian runiform inscription, now kept in Bologna, in a monograph pub­ lished by the Szeged workshop (Sándor 199 1). Géza Ferenczi ( 1992) gave an overview of the research of the old and latest discovered writings at a symposium in Szeged in 1992, and the new trends of research were summa­ rised in studies by Ferenc Kósa ( 1992) and Klára Sándor ( 1992a). Because first mention of the Székely runiform writing occurs in the Hungarian Kézai's Chronicle only, we came to the conclusion that the time span separating the Székely runiform script and earlier scripts had significantly diminished, and we saw hope of a tuming point in the research of the origins of the Székely writing in the near future. Little headway has been made in the study of the written sources. It is a well-known fact that even at the time it was published, in 1900, A magyar honfoglalás kútfői [The sources on the Magyar Conquest] was not quite up to par, scientifically speaking. The situation is best with the Byzantine sources. Moravcsik's fundamental work of 1943 saw two new editions in 1958 and 1983 (see Moravcsik 1983). The new edition of Constantine Porphyrogeni­ tus's work published in collaboration with Jenkins (see Moravcsik-Jenkins 1 967), is a significant intemational scholarly work. Moravcsik's other works, as well as his Introduction contain many novelties (Moravcsik 1976). ln 1984, his students published a critical edition of Byzantine sources relevant to the ancient history of the Magyars (Moravcsik 1984). Following the death of Moravcsik (in 1972), Samu Szádeczky-Kardoss, Ferenc Makk and Teréz Olajos continued to explore the Byzantine sources. The investigation of the Hungarian crown and its inscriptions presents a unique but important chapter in the research of the Greek sources. Mention must be made here of Gyula Kristó's ( 1980) monograph in which, based on Constantine Porphyrogenitus, he gives a survey of the ancient history of the Magyars from the 830s until the foundation of state in 100 1. Kristó set 830, the year in which the Fortress at Sharkel was constructed, as his starting point; this and his discussion of the events leading up to that date rest on the research of Fodor and Czeglédy. It has been suggested that the Fortress at Sharkel was built against the Magyars; however, there is little evidence to support this. Certainly the well-informed Byzantine sources do not contain such an assertion. The claim is rooted in an erroneous interpretation of one of Ibn Rusta's descriptions. I commented on the rectification of this error in a

An overview of the study of ancient Hungarian history


talk, and my pupil, István Zimonyi, discussed the matter in detail (see Kristó 1995d, p. 34, note 50). While the research of the Byzantine sources is a very active field indeed, the same cannot be said for the Latin sources from outside Hungary. Since Gombos ( 1937-1943) published his practical overview, source research has made almost no headway whatsoever. Péter Király's ( 1987) compilation is an exception. He collected a group ofpersona! names like Ungarus, Hungaer, etc. which can be found in the 8th-9th centuries, in the pre-Conquest-period western monastery accounts and charters. Király, probably with good reason, reckons that some of these may have a bearing on the homeland of the Pannonian Turkic Onoghurs. A very small team devotes most of its time to researching the Latin sources of Hungary. This does not mean, however, that no works were written about the Latin sources from outside Hungary that might modify current knowledge. ln 1984, I gave a talk at the Rhine-West­ phalia German Academy in which I made an attempt to reconsider two sources (Róna-Tas 1988a, pp. 275-3 10). One of them was the letter written prior to 923 which derives the Hungarians' designation from the Old High German Hungar which, similarly to English, means 'hunger'. The other is a source dated 107 1 which speaks of a gift presented by Anastasia (the widow of the Hungarian King Andrew 1) to the Bavarian Prince Otto. The queen refers to this gift as 'the sword of Attila'. Naturally, I was neither the first nor the last to consider the matter. We owe many excellent studies in the field of source processing and interpretation to Tamás Bogyai, Szabolcs Vajay, Imre Boba and, of course, György Györffy. Their works, however, fall outside the chronological limits of this survey. Little progress has been made in the publication of the Oriental (Arabic, Persian, Armenian, Georgian, Chinese, Tibetan and other) sources. ln 1969, a research group was set up at the Department ofArabic Studies of the Loránd Eötvös University, initially to focus on the Arabic and Syrian sources. The team was extended to include experts of other fields, and in 1977 Károly Czeglédy, the director ofthe group, decided that the publication oftheir results could go ahead (see Czeglédy 1977). Initially planned to consist of six volumes, the series was extended with volumes containing the Byzantine, Latin, Slavic, Tibetan, Chinese, Turk and Iranian sources, due to be published starting 1978. We know today that nothing came of this ambitious scheme. However, many works have appeared on these sources and their various aspects. Ödön Schütz wrote about the Armenian sources, and Margit Bíró of many of the Georgian ones. The 7th- l 0th-century Tibetan sources are espe­ cially important regarding background information. Géza Uray's works in this field are of outstanding significance (see Róna-Tas 1992-1993, for Uray's bibliography, see Steinkellner 1 991, pp. xv-xxxiv). The Chinese sources were


Recent research and studies

treated in many books and studies by Ildikó Ecsedy. Many Slavist scholars discussed the problems of the Cyril and the Methodius legends (see Király 1974; H. Tóth 198 1). Even the results of the above-mentioned pieces of research cannot compen­ sate for the series which was never published. But that is only one side of the problem. The tense circumstances around the publication of the series hin­ dered further research and the continuation of the scheme. Consequently, the first volume of Mihály Kmoskó's collected works was published only in 1997 (see Kmoskó 1997, Zimonyi 1991). These survived in manuscript farm and were for a long time locked away. A German edition by István Zimonyi and Hansgerd Göckenjan is going soon to press. Nothing much happened in the field of publishing critical editions of the foreign sources until the publication of a highly popular book (in two editions), designed to meet the general public's long-felt want (Györffy 1975c-first edition 1958). One of the oddities of this book was, however, that Gyula Németh's name appears on the list of contributors on the book title-page, although he is not represented with his source translations either in the first, or in the second edition; moreover, he did not write a single line in the book. The Turk inscriptions of Orkhon were translated by Zsuzsa Kakuk, who also features on the title-page. Only one of the rich and as yet unexplored body of Islamic sources has reached Hungarian researchers, namely a recently published source about the Magyar raids in Spain, written by an 1 1 th-century author around 1 075 (Chal­ meta 1 976, 1 979). Unfortunately Chalmeta's edition is not a critical one; it lacks, for instance, the analysis of the source, and neither does it discuss the peculiarities, or attempt to reconstruct the antecedents of the unique, 13th-cen­ tury Rabat manuscript. The book does not give thought to the place names other than those related to the Mediterranean; the spelling of the author and the copyist was not considered-to mention but a few problems which make the edition impossible to appraise with regard to the Magyars. Conse­ quently, the research did not in the least bit benefit from the debate (see Czeglédy 1979, 198 1; Győrffy 1993a) provoked in Hungary by the data contained in the book. Another Arabic work--edited by Dubler ( 1953) and also published by T. Lewicki ( 1938, 1956) and Hrbek ( 1955a, b) with comments on its Hungarian aspects-met an even stranger fate. Abu Hamid al-Garnati (bom in Granada) arrived in Hungary from the land of the Volga Bulghars and spent three years among the Hungarians between 1 1 50 and 1 1 53. The Hungarian translation of his writings was based on the 197 1 Russian edition. The foreword, the introductory study, the historical comments and the notes were translated from the Russian, and the Arabic text was translated by Tamás Iványi. The transla-

An overview of tlze study of andent Hungarian histo,y


tion was collated with the original by Károly Czeglédy who also supplemented the notes. However, nothing was contributed to the discussion of text phi­ lological problems (see Bolsakov-Mongajt 1985). The bibliography lacks Hrbek's ( 1955b) article which appeared in Acta Orientalia Hung., although in his notes covering four and a halfpages Czeglédy keeps referring to Hrbek's works. Evidently this work does not put an end to philological problems. I made an attempt to solve one such problem in connection with Abu Hamid al-Gamati's work (see Róna-Tas 1992b, pp. 22 1-226; in English: 1994b). Correctly analysed, the text sheds light on the Magyars' designation 'Bashkir' , and on the names the Volga Bulghars called the Volga Magyars. This brings us to one of the key issues of ancient Hungarian history. One difficulty with the Oriental sources is identifying the persons, events and places which appear in the different sources. Károly Czeglédy has made significant progress with his research works in this field. His articles written in Hungarian were republished in 1985 in a collected edition (Czeglédy 1985). His book about the sources relating the early migrations of the nomadic peoples (Czeglédy 1969) was translated into English by P. Golden (Czeglédy 1983a). There are three ways to approach ancient Hungarian history: from the beginnings, the contemporaries, and the ensuing periods. Taking a closer look at the ensuing periods-that is, the Conquest and the Árpád era following the foundation of state-we find that both the narrative sources (primarily the Hungarian chronicles) and the deeds can offer us information regarding the preceding, well-nigh "sourceless" period. Edited by György Györffy ( 19631998), the first four volumes of a series of seven contain a wealth of informa­ tion on the geographical sources. ln the context of the Hungarian language, many geographical and personal names preserve the phenomena ofpast ages. 9th-10th-century Magyar tribe, clan and persona! names can only be recon­ structed from the Hungarian deed sources, increasing in number from the 11th century on (Kristó-Makk-Szegfű 1973-1974). At the same time these deeds supply a background to the Hungarian narrative chronicles which, in turn, cannot be interpreted without knowledge of the related deeds and charters. The source value of the mediaeval Hungarian chronicles is a hotly debated issue, especially regarding those chronicles that are related to the Conquest and the 9th and 10th centuries. Following Csaba Csapodi's ( 1978) summary the debate about Anonymus (Györffy 1988) flared up again. Györffy recon­ sidered most of his earlier articles and, having supplemented or added epi­ logues to them, and indicated the parts affected by his changes of view, he published a collected edition of them (Györffy 1990, 1993b). Unfortunately, the Turkological parts are, in many respects, outdated. Györffy summarised

4 10

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his views on proto-history in his preface to the second edition of Györffy ( 1975c). This survey would not be complete without mention of four works which consider the history of the word-stock of the Hungarian language. These are A magyar nyelv tör téneti-etimológiai szótára [A historical-etymological dic­ tionary of the Hungarian language] (Benkő 1967-1984), A Magyar szókészlet finnugor elemei [The Finno-Ugrian elements of the Hungarian vocabulary] (Lakó-Rédei 1967-1978), the Uralisches etymologisches Wör terbuch (Rédei 1988-1994) and the Etymologisches Wör terbuch des Ungarischen (Benkő, L. 1992-1995). The Turkic sections ofthe first were compiled by Zsuzsa Kakuk and revised by Lajos Ligeti; in the other three the Turkic, as well as the Mongolian and Manchu connections, were compiled by the editors and revised by myself. The editors often followed my suggestions in unresolved questions; at other times, quite naturally, they went along with their own ideas. This publication work and the rapid progress of Turkological research necessitate the compilation of a monograph on the Turkic loan words in the Hungarian language. Lajos Ligeti 's last work deserves a special place in the research of ancient Hungarian history (Ligeti 1986). The book is difficult to read for scholars unfamiliar with Turkology or the history of Central Asia. Meticulously elaborated chapters which summarise the work of a lifetime intertwine with extemporaneous ideas which came to the author 's mind when writing the book-all of this makes it hard to understand for the uninitiated. Yet once anyone sets foot in this field, Ligeti 's monograph simply cannot be avoided. Since the publication of the Hungarian original of my book in 1996 many works appeared on the origin and the early history of the Magyars. Most of them will remain inaccessible to the non-Hungarian reader. I shall mention here therefore only three works. The dissertation published in Italian of Di Cave ( 1995) gives a good overview on the Hungarian research. The mono­ graph of Kristó ( 1996) is not a translation of one ofhis works but a new one. For those who would get an introduction into his views this work can be recommended. Less fortunate is the book of László ( 1996), which was originally addressed to the Hungarian reader and the, otherwise excellent, translation could not help to make familiar the reader with the context of the problems. It has a second part titled Reader on the Magyars of the Conquest­ Period Hungary on pages 173-363 which contains English translation of sources, of scholarly and less scholarly literature, and even of poems. The extracts are published without any comment or context. For those who are interested in the rich world ofthe recently deceased scholar, who made a great impact on Hungarian scholarship and way of thinking, may read this selection with interest.

An overview of the study of ancient Hungarian history


NOTES On the themy ofa double conquest, see my remarks in Róna-Tas (1 980d). I would also like to call attention in this context to a paper which was prepared for the Seminar ofthe Department ofAltaic Studies at the University of Szeged (Madaras 1 975). On the change ofGombocz's opinion, see my remarks in Róna-Tas (1991 d, pp. 1 99-205). ln connection with the Hungarian Holy Crown, let me note that the US Govemment gave it back to Hungary ín 1 979. On the materials ofa conference on the Crown, which followed this event, see Studien zur Machtsymbolik . . . (1983).


One of the most widely discussed issues of the ancient history of the Magyars is the question of when the Magyars arrived in their last Urheimat before moving to the Carpathian Basin. As I have pointed out above (pp. 2 1 5-2 1 9, 325-326), this must have happened around 670 when the greater part of the Bulghars moved to the west and a smaller part evaded to the north after having been defeated by the Khazars and the Magyars. The Magyars occupied the region formerly ruled by the Bulghars between the Dnieper and the Lower Danube which was later called Etelköz in Hungarian, that is Mesopotamia, the "Region between the Rivers". The word Etil or Etel is of Turkic origin, it had the meaning of 'river ' , and in many cases ' the River ' , that is, the greatest river in the region. lt used to be the Turkic name for the Volga, but other great rivers were also called Etil (e.g. the Dnieper) by peoples speaking Turkic dialects (see p. 434). The word was borrowed by Ancient Hungarian, and remained in use until the Middle Hungarian linguistic period, when it disappeared. The second part of the word -küzü ( or -köz in modem Hungarian) has the meaning of 'intermediate space' , and is an old Hungarian word ofFinno-Ugrian origin. When the Magyars arrived in the Etelköz is heavily debated. Most scholars consider a relatively late arrival and suggest the second half or end of the 9th century. When a significant, politically organised group of people moves to a new homeland, there are three feasible outcomes. ( 1 ) People B pushes people A out of its land. ln this case people A tums up in a new place, and the sources record its migration. (2) People A moves (for whatever reason) and evacuates the region which is then occupied by the newcomer, people B. ln this case, too, the sources tel1 us something about the migration of people A. The causality, albeit different in the two cases, may appear more puzzling to the contemporary chroniclers than to the modem-day historian. (3) People B occupies the territory inhabited and ruled by people A. The latter does not move away, but remains under the suzerainty of people B. ln such cases peo­ ple A disappears from the sources altogether. Of course, these examples are sirnplified, and there must have existed mixed cases when one part of peo­ ple A moved away and another part remained under the rule of the newcomer


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people B. For instance, this happened with the Bulghars (see p. 220). It is, however, very important that between 670 and the Magyar Conquest the otherwise well-informed Byzantine sources do not mention westward move of any people, and neither do the similarly well-informed Latin chronicles. If the Magyars had arrived in the Etelköz in the second half of the 9th century, they would have to have driven out the people living there, or füled up the locality of the people who left, or conquered people who remained here. None of these three altematives is reported in any of the sources. The ancestors of the later Volga Bulghars moved further northward after 737 (see pp. 220-227). Therefore, we have only two options left. ( 1 ) The Magyars occupied the land of the Bulghars between 670 and 680. One part of the Bulghars moved westward, and was to become the Danube Bulghar group, or those Bulghars who j oined the Avars, or the group that moved to Dalmatia and even Italy; the other part of the Bulghars fled to the northeast, and later migrated further to the Volga-Karna region. (2) The future Volga Bulghars remained in their old homeland, came under Khazar authority, and the Magyars occupied their place only after the Bulghars had moved to the northeast. This would mean that the Magyars occupied the Etelköz in the 740s. The first scenario seems to be more plausible, but the second cannot be ruled out either. ln any case, the arrival of the Magyars in the Etelköz must be dated much earlier than was previously suggested. The Slavs ' designation of the Magyars prior to the Conquest was Ungri (see pp. 282-287) which is a derivation of the name Onoghur-(Bul­ ghar). This could only have been possible in the Etelköz. Two hundred years elapsing between the Onoghurs ' migrating west in 670 and the arrival of the Magyars would make this designation inconceivable. The linguistic analysis of early Turkic loan words in the Hungarian language adds to the arguments supporting the early arrival of the Magyars in the Etelköz. The only source hitherto cited in favour of the late occupation of the Etelköz is the work of Porphyrogenitus, which again brings us to this frequently dis­ cussed report and its sources. The question arises: what were the sources of the report about the Magyars? Different ones, evidently. Let us take a look at one of them. The Hungarian primary chronicle or gesta was written some 270 years after the Conquest. It is certain, however, that at the court of the princes and later of the kings, the traditions were known even before the first written version appeared. At the royal courts chroniclers would perform the history of the royal clan. The performer usually relied on his memory when giving his rendering of the historical traditions, but it is equally possible that he had recourse to some written source, such as a drawing, a rune, or a colourful, canonical version of the history. We know of many such stories from the Eurasian peoples. The epic traditions of the Turks and Mongols can offer some

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informative parallels regarding the passing down of such historical traditions. Many similar traditional texts have been recorded and analysed, from the famous 13th-century Secret History of the Mongols to 20th-century Bash­ kirian Shejeres or clan legends. The 11th-century author(s) of the füst History of the Hungarians (Gesta Hungarorum), written under Béla I ( 1060-1063) or Solomon ( 1063-1074), must have drawn on several sources. Such sources included the western traditions of chronicle-writing. These might have served as examples, since they too related stories about kings, and served to historically legitimise the power of royal clans or archbishoprics. The European chronicles contempo­ rary to the Hungarian ones were packed with samples of reasoning which the Hungarian authors might easily have used to justify the power of their own rulers. Thus the western sources gave the Hungarians some idea of how a chronicle should be written and what elements it should or should not include. The raw material, which next had to be slotted into the "ready-made" formula, was taken from the living, old Hungarian nobiliary and royal traditions. The chroniclers sought, though not always successfully, to weed out all elements concerning the Magyars' pagan past, as well as anything else that did not fit the new European model. We know very little of the historical traditions relating the times before and after the Conquest. A number of parallels, however, give us some idea of what they must have been like. Thus, for instance, The Secret History of the Mongols gives a description ofhow Chingis khan defeated the Tangut people. It then continues: "After he had plundered the Tangut people and, making Iluku Burkan change his name to Shidurku (the Subdued), had done away with him; and after he had exterminated the Tangut people 's mothers and fathers down to the offspring of their offspring, maiming and taming Chingis khaghan gave the following order: »W hile I take the meals, you must talk about the killing and destruction of the Tangut, and say 'Maimed and tamed, they are no more' «" (from Chapter 268, translated by Igor de Rachewiltz). lt is historical fact that the Tanguts, "whose every member had been killed", shortly afterwards rebelled against the khan, and it was in the second war against the Tanguts that Chingis eventually died. How­ ever, the bard or chronicler had to perform the deeds of Chingis khan during a sumptuous repast. The Hungarian Anonymus, too, talks of the glorious deeds being recited during meals (Chapter 22). The History of the Hungarians has not come down to us, but we have a number of clues that tel1 much about its character. The tradition which Termecsü and Bulcsú recounted to the Byzantine court must undoubtedly have originated from a similar royal court history. Such as, for instance, the Levedi story. Here is the story in full:

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From De administrando imperio , Chapter 38: 0/the genea/ogy of the nation of the Turks, and whence they are des cended. "The nation of the Turks had their old dwelling next to Khazaria, in the place called Levedia after the name of their first voivode, which voivode was called by the personal name of Levedi, but in virtue of his rank was entitled voivode, as have been the rest after him. Now in this place, the aforesaid Levedia, runs the River Chidmas [Hidmas] , also called Chingilous [Hingilus]. They were not called Turks at that time, but had the name 'Savarti Asfali', for some reason or other. The Turks were seven clans, and they had never had over them a prince, either native or foreign, but there were among them 'voivodes' , of whom the first voivode was the above-mentioned Levedi. They lived together with the Khazars for three years, and fought in alliance with the Khazars in all their wars. Because of their courage and their alliance, the khaghan-prince ofKhazaria gave in marriage to the first voivode ofthe Turks, called Levedi, a noble Khazar lady, because ofthe fame of,his valour and the illustriousness of his race, so that she might have children by him; but, as it fell out, this Levedi had no children by this same Khazar lady. Now, the Pechenegs who were previously called 'Kangar' ( for this 'Kangar' was a name signifying nobility and valour among them), these, then, stirred up war against the Khazars and, being defeated, were forced to quit their own land and to settle in that of the Turks. And when battle was joined between the Turks and the Pechenegs who were at that time called 'Kangar' , the army of the Turks was defeated and split into two parts. One part went eastwards and settled in the region ofPersia, and they are to this day called by the ancient denomination of the Turks 'Savarti Asfali' ; but the other part, together with their voivode and chief Levedi, settled in the western region, in places called Etelköz, in which places the nation ofthe Pechenegs now lives. A short while afterwards that khaghan-prince of Khazaria sent a message to the Turks, requiring that Levedi, their first voivode, should be sent to him. Levedi, therefore, came to the khaghan ofKhazaria and asked the reason why he had sent for him to come to him. The khaghan said to hím: » We have invited you upon this account, in order that, since you are noble and wise and valorous and first among the Turks, we may appoint you prince of your nation, and you may be obedient to our word and our command.« But he, in reply, made answer to the khaghan: » Your regard and purpose for me I highly esteem and express to you suitable thanks, but since I am not strong enough for this rule, I cannot obey you; on the other hand, however, there is a voivode other than me, called Almoutzis [Álmos] , and he has a son called Árpád: let one of these, rather, either that Almoutzis, or his son Árpád, be made prince, and be obedient to your word.« That khaghan was pleased at this saying, and gave some of his men to go with him, and sent them to the Turks, and after they had talked the matter over

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with the Turks, the Turks preferred that Árpád should be prince rather than Almoutzis, his father, for he was of superior parts and greatly admired for wisdom and counsel and valour, and capable of this rule; and so they made him prince according to the custom, or 'zakanon', of the Khazars, by lifting him upon a shield. Before this Árpád the Turks had never at any time had any other prince, and so even to this day the prince of Turkey [i.e. Hungary] is from his family. Some years later, the Pechenegs fell upon the Turks and drove them out with their prince Árpád." {Translated by Jenkins.) This story has a strong element of truth to it. Shortly before the Conquest a change of dynasty occurred among the Magyars. The original leading clan, Levedi's, was superseded by the new prince Álmos's son Árpád. This histori­ cal fact requires some explanation, however. The appearance of a new dynasty always brought about a crisis of legitimacy. The new ruler-who had come to power by force or possibly with the help of allies-needed to explain what happened to the previous clan, why its rule had come to an end, and on what grounds had he put forward his claim to the throne. At that time, the legitimacy of power in the steppe meant being recognised by the Khazars. What the story ofLevedi tells us is that Levedi relinquished his claim to the throne voluntarily, and that the Khazars followed his recommendation by warranting Álmos or his son, Árpád, the right to power. The Secret History ofthe Mongols relates a similar story. After the death of Chingis khan, Ögödei took over power. (Ögödei is known as Okhtay khan from the history ofthe Tatar devastation ofHungary in the 13th century.) He was not the eldest son, and he ascended to power after some struggle. This is the reason why a supplementary chapter was inserted into The Secret History ofthe Mongols which tells us that Ögödei had actually been appointed ruler in the lifetime of Chingis khan, and that Ögödei's two older brothers Jochi and Chagatai had voluntarily relinquished, for the benefit of Ögödei, their claim to the throne ofthe great khan. The same chapter contains a peculiar section, where Ögödei speaks of his fear of begetting an inapt son: " 'Later, if per chance some among my descendants will be bom so worthless that / Even if one wrapped them in fresh grass / They would not be eaten by an ox; / Even if one wrapped them in fat, / They would not be eaten by a dog, will they not-[like the unskilled hunter]-miss the elk breadthwise just as the rat lengthwise.' So he spoke and at his words Chingis khaghan declared as follows: 'If Ögödei speaks such words, that will do "' (Chapter 255, translated by Igor de Rachewiltz). So he then tums to Tolui, the youngest prince, who assures his brother of his loyalty. Eventually, however, after Ögödei died and the Mongols devastating Hungary hurried home to sort out matters of power, the throne was not passed down along Ögödei's branch, as would have been expected, but rather, Tolui's son was elected great khan. The entire Ögödei


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story is a later interp olation which served purely the legitimacy of the Tolui branch. Porphyrogenitus 's text itself contains some giveaways suggesting that we are looking at a legitimisation story originating from the chronicles of the House of Árpád. At the very outset the Emperor establishes that the Turks [Magyars] "had never had over them a prince, either native or foreign, but there were among them 'voivodes "' , and that Levedi was the first among the voivodes. The 'first' (protos) in this instance could have the meaning ' first in time' . But why was he given a Khazar wife? ln this respect, the steppe customs did not significantly differ from the contemporary European ones. Chinese sources claim that the Turks rebelled against their lords, the Ruanruan, because their ruler had refused to marry his daughter to the leader of the Turks. Then, when Árp ád is lifted upon a shield, the text reads : "Before this Árpád the Turks had never at any time had any other prince, and so even to this day the prince of Turkey [i.e. Hungary] is from his family." This undoubtedly sounds like an interp olation, and it is very likely that it was taken from the oral traditions of the Gesta Hungarorum passed down at the court of Árpád and recited during feasts. The part which relates Levedi facing up to his incompetence, and recommending Álmos or Árp ád instead of himself, lacks even the smallest fragment of credibility. Levedi's wife might have been infertile, but at that time polygamy was common practice among the leading strata. lbn Fadlan claims that the Khazar khaghan had twenty-five wives, as well as sixty concubines and slaves. And even if Levedi truly had no son, his brother or his brother's son would have succeeded him as prince. ln the light of this, the least we can say is that the Levedi story was mere Árp ádian convention pertaining to an earlier event, and that all the confusion and misinterp retations of text and context are caused by this interp olation. This same tradition recounts the Savarti Asfali story. This is what the text claims: ( 1 ) The Magyars used to have a home. (2) This place was called Levedia. (3) It was named after their first voivode, Levedi. (4) ln this land runs the River Hidmas, also called Hingilous. (5) The Magyars were not called Turks at that time, but, for some reason or other, had the name ' Savarti Asfali ' . (6) The Turks consisted of seven clans, and they had never had over them a prince, either native or foreign. This story features elements which cannot have originated from the Ma­ gyars. ' Levedia' could hardly have been a country or place name. It is unlikely that a place is named after a person who, having been defeated, left it. ln those days, it was common practice among the Magyars to name small localities after persons (we know plenty of these); however, the -a or -ia suffix is not a Hungarian one, and significantly large areas were never named after persons

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by the Magyars. Consequently, the designation 'Levedia' cannot be Hungar­ ian. But neither could the claim that the Magyars were·, for some reason or another, called Savarti Asfali have been based on a Hungarian account. Firstly, because if it had been an established fact and the Magyars had previously called themselves by this name, they would surely have given some explana­ tion for it. At least the name kangar is fully explained in the very same chapter: the Pechenegs were previously called 'Kangar ' "for this 'Kangar ' was a name signifying nobility and valour among them". Secondly, on account of the Greek word Asfali (asphales 'strong' , 'reliable'). And thirdly, it is utterly impossible that the Magyars should have claimed that they used to be known by a different name. The identicalness of a people's self-designation is vital to ethnic identity. Savarti Asfali and the like are foreign-type names which the peoples they designated never actually used themselves. Consequently, we can safely assert that the Savarti As fali story is of Byzantine origin. The story falls into the category where a newly emerged people is connected with an existing, known one (which so often happened with the Magyars in the western chronicles), on the grounds that the report recounts about an eastern group ofMagyars. The correct translation of this part ofthe text would be this: "One part was settled in the east [i.e. lives there, and not went eastwards and settled ! The Greek original does not have the word 'went' in it] in the region of Persia, and they are to this day called by the ancient denomination of the Turks 'Savarti Asfali' ; but the other part, together with their voivode and chief Levedi, was settled in the western region, in places [the Greek text uses the plural] called Etelköz, in which places the nation of the Pechenegs now lives." So the Magyar envoys informed the Emperor that one part of the Magyars lived in the east. After the Conquest is described, the text continues thus : "To the aforesaid nation of the Turks that settled in the east, in the regions of Persia [literally, 'towards the borders of Persia'], these Turks aforesaid who live toward the western region still send merchants fpragmateutas] who look them up, and often bring back official messages from them." Again, this comes from the Magyar report of Termecsü and Bulcsú. We know that even in the 12th century the Magyars travelled to and from their eastern relatives, and that they maintained trade links, too. The question arises, then: what is this Greek report doing in the story, and why were the East Magyars called Savarti Asfali? The key to the mystery is a work attributed to Porphyrogenitus, but actually finished after his death, entitled De ceremoniis aulae Byzantinae [Of Byzantine court ceremonies]. This text refers to the Sevortii (Sevortioi) who are said to consist ofthree tribes. This Armenian-named tribe (or whose name is interpreted to be Armenian) is


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known to many Arabic authors (Masudi, Dimaski), as well as the Armenian sources. These write that the Sevortii lived to the north ofthe Caucasus, in the region of the River Kur. This people's name in the Armenian sources is Sevordik , literally 'Of Black Descent' . The Byzantine source translates the name Sevortii, and explains that these were the ' Black Boys ' (maura pa i­ dia)-which goes to show that the Byzantines knew this Armenian popular ethnic name etymology. The sources mention them in the 8th century, but it is possible that the tribe survived even into the 1 0th. There is no guarantee, naturally, that this designation is indeed Armenian; we only know for certain that it was read as Armenian, or according to a popular ethnic name etymology. 'Black' and 'White' frequently feature in Turkic (and early Magyar) name­ giving. ln this iconography white stood for 'new ' , 'high ' , 'noble' while black usually meant 'old' , 'retarded' or ' simple' . ln Turkic the black people (kara bodun) were the commoners. The Slavic primary chronicle mentions Black Magyars (Ugri) and White Magyars alike. ln the chapter on the Pechenegs the Emperor writes that 'Kangar' was not a common designation for all ofthe Pechenegs, but only for the people of three provinces. These were more valorous and noble than the rest. ln the chapter on the Magyars, Porphyrogenitus claims that the Pechenegs were "previously" called 'Kangar' . What exactly he meant by "previously" is a good question. Researchers must have been puzzled by the peculiar course ethnic names took in those days. The ethnic name 'Kangar ' has been shown to have existed in the Caucasus region as early as in the 6th century, before the emergence of the Turkic peoples. It cannot be inferred from the Syrian sources which report on the Kangars exactly what their ethnicity and language was. Possibly they encountered the Pechenegs later, but there is no evidence to support this. If, however, such a tribal name cropped up among the Pechenegs, the Pechenegs would certainly have associated it with their word kongor 'brown (colour of a horse) ' . ln which case we are again looking at the case of an ethnic name established by means of a popular etymology, as in the case of the ethnic name Turk (see also pp. 279-28 1 ). Based on the comparison of the above analysis of the Pecheneg story with the sources, 1 feel that the reconstructed events are a lot simpler than was previously supposed. The fact that the "Pechenegs who were previously called 'Kangar "' attacked the Magyars means that those three Pecheneg tribes who attacked first were, so the other chapter tells us, called 'Kangars ' . This attack must have shaken Levedi's power. Álmos and Árpád's clan must have then seized the opportunity and taken over power. The sources are silent on when this happened exactly-unless we take for granted Regino's information of 889, according to which the Magyars were driven írom their old place by the Pechenegs (Pecinaci). This information has little chronological value, owing

The Levedi question and the earliest Hungarian chronicle

42 1

to the fact that it was customary in those days to include the information about the newly emerged peoples-somewhere in the annals. The fact that the year 889 happens to be 'somewhere' is of no real consequence regarding the ac­ tual chronology of events. It was probably when Regino first heard of the Magyars-perhaps apropos of the change of dynasty. It does not mean, therefore, that every event under the heading 889 actually happened in that year. ln any case, it is remarkable that the well-informed Regino (who natural­ ly cites every thinkable mediaeval rhetoric figure about the Magyars) only knows of a single Pecheneg attack. The fact that the Pechenegs set out in 894 to launch their decisive attack on the Magyars and the attack happened in 895, does not mean that they did not make raids on the Etelköz Magyars earlier for booty or reconnaissance. The Emperor inserted the account of the Pecheneg-Kangar attack in be­ tween the part about the East Magyars and the part about Levedi's "renuncia­ tion". To remain on the more or less definite side of our sources, all that can be said of this is that the first Pecheneg-Kangar attack must have occurred under the rule of Levedi, and the second after the Árpádian dynasty had taken over rule. However, there was no mention ofthis in the Gesta Hungarorum.

N OTES The part ofthe text referring to Levedia and Etelköz, and to Levedi, has been analysed recently by a number of scholars. See the bibliography about the Etelköz (p. 324). I insert here one ofthe key parts ofthe Greek text and the translation from Moravcsik-Jenkins (1967, p. 1 70, line 26 - p. 1 72, line 31 ) : Kai t ó µev É V µipoc; 1tpóaAot. Byzantion 13, 267-278. GULYA, J. (Ed.) ( 1975), A vízimadarak népe [The people of the water fowls]. Budapest. GYÖRFFY, GY. ( 1948), Krónikáink és a magyar őstörténet [Hungarian chron­ icles and Hungarian proto-history]. Budapest. GYÖRFFY, GY. ( 1955), Kurszán és Kurszán vára. A magyar fejedelemség kialakulása és Óbuda honfoglaláskori szerepe [Kursan and Kursan's castle. The emergence of the Hungarian principality and the role of Óbuda in the Conquest period]. Budapest Régiségei 15, 9-34. GYÖRFFY, GY. ( 1959), Tanulmányok a magyar állam eredetéről [Studies on the origins of Hungarian statehood]. Budapest.



GYÖRFFY, GY. ( 1963- 1998), Az Árpád-kori Magyarország történetiföldrajza 1-IV [The historical geography of Árp ádian Hungary I-IV ]. Budapest. GYÖRFFY, GY. (Ed.) ( 1965), Napkeletfelfedezése. Julianus, Piano Carpini és Rubruk útijelentései [The discovery of the Orient. The travel reports of Julianus, Plano Carp ini and Rubruk]. Budapest. GYÖRFFY, GY. ( 1971), A besenyők európai honfoglalásának kérdéséhez [On the questions of the European conquest of the Pechenegs]. Történelmi Szemle 14, 28 1- 187. GYÖRFFY, GY. ( 1973), Budapest története az Árp ád-korban [The history of Budapest in the Árpád period] , in: GEREVICH ( 1973), 2 17-349. GYÖRFFY, GY. ( 1975a), Auteur de l'État h- consonant change in the Khazar language 39, 226 Geographus Ravennas completes his Cosmographia 56 Avar Empire regains strength 1 24 death ofAsparukh 227 Justinian reclaims his throne with Bulghar aid 230 230 Philippicus Bardanes drives Justinian away Arabs reach the Indus River valley 66


502 7 1 7-7 1 8 720--725 720 or 732 723 724 725 726 726-843 730 circa 730 73 1-736 732 732 732 733-746 735 735-756 737 737 737 739 739 740 circa 740 750 750 after 750 circa 750 circa 750 mid-8th century mid-8th century second halfof 8th century mid-8th-10th centuries 8th-9th centuries 75 1 75 1 751 753-754 755 759-760 760 760

227 Arabs besiege Constantinople 81 Turk inscription ofKöli chor 81 Turk inscription ofOng 220, 224 Arabs occupy Balanjar Turk inscription at lhe Ashete 81 Arab carnpaign against the Khazars Ied by Jarrah 201 Turk inscription ofthe minister Tonyukhukh 81 domestic strugg1es in Byzantium 258 230 Khazars defeat the Arabs under Ardabil Bulan, the first converted Jewish Khazar ru1er 232 'Ungarus' name crops up 285 Emperor Leo III's son marries the daughter ofthe Khazar Khaghan 230 Charles Martel halts the Arabs at Poitiers 66, 230 funeral and inscription ofthe Turk Khaghan Köl Tegin 81 , 83 , 1 48, 374 Byzantine bishopric Iist 52 Khaghan Bilge's inscription 81 Taihir inscription 81 Marvan leads carnpaign against the Khazars; the Khazar ruler is forced to convert to Islarn; a large section ofAlani escape to the north 201 , 202, 220, 223 , 229, 230 Magyars and Bulghars move north along the River Volga

306, 322, 327, 41 4 Arabs defeat the Türgesh 230 ruler ofthe Turkic Gandhara dynasty relinquishes the throne to his son, Kesar 228 227, 242 first Bulghar dynasty dies out Byzantium halts the advance ofthe Arabs 46 Uighurs overthrow the Second Turk Khaghanate 80, 252 Arab Abbaside dynasty comes to ru1e 66, 327 Turk inscription ofTez 11 81 Uighurs finally take over power from the Turk 229 Uighur runiform inscriptions 81 future Volga Bulghars reach the southem bend ofthe Volga 221 an Uighur Khasar tribe is mentioned by the Chinese sources 229 Lex Salica is compiled 376 bone needle-case of Szarvas 1 27, 264 Saltovo-Mayak culture 1 39 eastward advance ofthe Slavs 320 Byzantium surrenders Ravenna 46 Pepin III the Short is crowned king of all Franks 56 in the battle on the River Talas the Arabs and Tibetans defeat the Chinese 66, 82, 230 Turk inscription at Terh 81 Uighurs defeat the Kharlukh at the River Selenga 234 Moyin chor's Turk inscription 81 Khazar tarkhan Ras' military carnpaign against the Alani 20 1 Arab-Khazar alliance 230

Chrorwlogical index 76 1 762 763 763 764 until 764 768-8 1 4 768 775-780 777 777 786-809 787 787-789 788 790 790 79 1 795 796 797-809 798 after 798 end 8th century end 8th century end 8th century end 8th century end 8th century 9th century 9th century 9th century 9th century 9th century 9th century 9th century 9th century 9th century early 9th century early 9th century early 9th century early 9th century early 9th century early 9th century 800 Christmas circa 800

503 'Hungaer(us)', 'Hunger(us)', and ' Hounger(us)' 285 family names 82, 252 Uighur Khaghan converts to Manichaean faith Tibetan forces occupy the capital ofChina 82 Turk inscription of Sevrei Sumun 81 Tibetan Zhol inscription 84 23 1 Arab-Khazar fights 56 rule ofCharles the Great Avar envoys visit Charles the Great 263 Leo IV (the "Khazar") ofByzantium 230 founding charter ofthe monastery ofKrems, with the 'zhupan' title (jopan) 58 Telerig seeks refuge in Byzantium, where he is baptised 227 Harun al-Rashid Arab Caliph 66, 232 Crimean Goths under Khazar rule 203 coin at the Bolshie Tarhani cemetery 1 2 1 , 400 Franks cross the River Enns 263 Avar-Frankish negotiations on border issues 263 death of Levond 78 Charles the Great leads the Franks into battle against the Avars 1 26, 263, 284 203 Crimean Goths under Byzantine rule Avar tudun is baptised at the Frankish court 263, 285 ethnic name 'Hungarius' crops up 285 the !ast Khazar attack against Transcaucasia 23 1 Khazars successfully conclude the battles with the Arabs 328 Georgian work, the Martyrdom ofAba is written 79 Slavonic centre in Pannonia 1 26 Magyars forma/ly still belong under Khazar suzerainty 328 following intemal fights, the Khazar nobiliary stratum converts to Jewish faith 328 last use ofthe Nagyszentmiklós Treasure 286 neighbours ofthe Slavs call the Magyars Ungri Pax Khazarica 203, 328, 388 Rus influence in the Central Volga region 1 82 Theophanes 52, 282 end ofthe emergence ofthe Slavonic peoples 378 Nicephorus 52, 220 1 85 Karyala is mentioned in the sources ethnic names ' Onger' and 'Ungerus' crop up 285 the downfall ofthe House ofLevedi 329 Slav efforts to "reoccupy" Peloponnisos and Hellas 257 Oghuz live in the Lake Aral region 234 Kimeks live by the River Irtish 234 Kharlukhs at the Rivers Talas and Chou 234 strengthening ofthe Serbs 242 use ofthe 'Turk' name becomes restricted in the Byzantine sources to the Magyars 282 Charles the Great is crowned emperor 56, 377 Khazar ruler Obadiya bolsters Judaism 232

504 circa 800 until 802 803-81 4 804 805 81 0 or 821 811 811 81 2 812 81 3 81 3-833 81 4 81 4-831 81 8 circa 820 820-823 821 821-822 822 822 826 827 829 829 circa 830 830s-840s 830-846 832 832 833 838 circa 839 839-850 840 circa 840 840-850 840 after 840 842 843 846 846-870 846-847 846-902


322, 328 Khavar people flee from the Khazars to the Etelköz 263 Avars hold onto their positions as far as the Vienna forest 379 reign ofKrum in Bulgharia 263 Avar Khapkhan Theodorus visits the Frankish court 263 Avar Khaghan Abraham is baptised in the River Fischa 81 Uighur inscription at Kharabalghasun I 263 Avars in the Frankish court 227 Byzantium occupies Pliska 258 trade restrictions to Bulghar merchants by Leo the Wise 285 ethnic name ' Wanger' crops up 55, 282 Theophanes' great Chron ographia is completed 224 Caliph al-Ma ' mun, son ofHarun al-Rashid death ofKrum, Bulgharian ruler 227 227, 242 Omurtagh takes a firm grip on central power 52 death ofthe chronicler Theophanes 264 major changes in the population ofTransdanubia 258 Thomas-rebellion Tamin ibn Bahr writes about the Uighurs' magica! 365 rain-making stones 84 Tibetan-Chinese peace treaty Slavonic envoy from Moravian territory visits the 243 Frankish court Avar Khaghan and his train at the Frankfurt assembly 263 258 Crete occupied by Arabs Bulghars storm the Timochani in Sirmium, and eastem Slavonia 242 death ofthe patriarch Nicephorus 52 eastem Frankish borders are dispersed 263 Omurtag extends his power to the River Maros 1 26, 242 246 sources mention Rus Khaghanate Moymir, the first Moravian ruler 243 252 Uighur tribal confederation breaks up 243 Malamir concludes a peace with the Franks 243 Ratbod introduces Pribina to Louis ofGermany Khazar fortress at Sharkel is erected with Byzantine help 324, 328, 406 329 Magyars at the Lower Danube Bulghar military campaign against the Serbian chieftain 242 Wlastimir 81 Uighur inscription of Suji Franks accord Pribina an estate by the River Zala 1 33, 243 castle complex at Mosaburg (Zalavár) 1 33 Khirghiz defeat the Uighurs and bring an end to Kharlukh rule 80, 252 Transdanubia under Slavonic rule 264 anti-Buddhist revolt in the Old Tibetan Empire 83 46, 258 intemal fights end in Byzantium 243 Pribina is accorded new estates in Burgenland Rastislav, ruler ofMoravia 243 first work oflbn Hordadzbeh 68, 296 Tankeyevka cemetery 1 21 , 222, 400

Chronological index


259 Ignatius is the Patriarch ofConstantinople 68 al-Khwarezmi died 231 Rus carnpaign to the Caspian Lake region 264 Avars' political establishment collapses Slav settlers in the region ofthe Rivers Upper Tisza and Szamos 266 Slavs are positively known to have called the 286 Magyars ' Ungri' 257 after mid-9th century important changes in the history ofthe Khazars church is consecrated at Zalavár in honour ofthe 850 Virgin Mary 243 121 between 850 and 920 Volga Bulghars reach the region ofBolshie Tigani 852 377 ethnic narne 'Croat' crops up Boris, Bolghar ruler 852-889 60, 228 854 Muslim Khazars and Alani settle in Islarn territories 201 244 Pope Nicholas I 858-867 56 Aldwin, Bishop of Salzburg 859-873 Methodius may perform Slavic liturgy 260 860 Transdanubia is called Sclavinia in the sources 264 860s Khazars' conversion to Judaism ends circa 860 233 Rastislav gains independence from the Franks circa 860 243 Louis ofGermany's deed ofgift mentions the Vangars 860, 8th May 58, 285 86 1 Constantine (Cyril) and Methodius proselytise arnong the Khazars; they might have met the Magyars in the Crimea 233, 286, 296, 329 862 Rastislav sends to Constantinople for missionaries 243 in alliance with Rastislav, the Magyars encounter 862 the Franks 329 Carloman rebels against his father, Louis ofGermany 331 862 863 Synod ofLateran 259 Constantine and Methodius at the seat ofthe Duke of 863 60, 244 Moravia Druthmar ofAquitania's work written in Westphalia 232 864 Louis ofGermany defeats Rastislav under Dévény (Devin) 244 864 Danube Bulghars are baptised 865-868 329, 368 867, 1 3 th November Pope Nicholas I died 259 259 deposition ofPatriarch Photius 867 Byzantium finally breaks away from the Roman Church 867 (1054: official rupture) 46 867 Constantine and Methodius travel to Rome 245 Pope Adrian 11 867-872 245 868 Byzantine-Bolghar peace treaty 244 869 Fourth Council ofConstantinople 259 869 Bolgharia j oins Byzantine Christianity 296, 329 869 Constantinus (Cyril) dies in Rome 60, 245, 286 circa 870 parts in al-Jayhani's report on the ' Majghars' 69, 295, 328 870 Arabs occupy Malta 258 870 Rastislav is blinded by the Franks 245 870 Conversio Bagoariorum et Carantanorum is completed 56, 1 1 6, 264 circa 870 Methodius writes the Constantine Legend in Rome 60 after 870 Glagolithic writing emerges 440 847-858 and 867-877 around 847 mid-9th century mid-9th century mid-9th century after mid-9th century


506 872 872 872 872-882 873-907 874 875 876 877 circa 879 880-882 880 880 881 881-882 after 882 882 885 885 885 885-886 885-1 045 end 885 886 886-91 2 887 888 888-924 889 891 891 891 892 892 892 892-898 892-899 early 893 893 893 893 (894) 893-927 893-927 894

258 Paulikians' movement is put down 260 Hadrian dies 72 al-Jakubi's World History completed 245, 260 Pope John V III 56 Theotmar, Archbishop ofSalzburg 245 Moravians conclude a peace with the Franks at Forchheim 260 Charles the Bald gets the crown 246 death ofLouis of Germany 260 Charles the Bald dies 247 death ofRurik 247 Oleg seizes power over the Rus 246 Methodius is cleared ofcharges in Rome 246 death ofCarloman together with the Khavars, the Magyars meddle in Moravian-Frankishfights under Vienna

56, 329, 331 , 369 Methodius might have met the Magyars at the Danube 286 the neighbours ofthe Slavs call the Magyars Ungri 286 Byzantine mission conferred with the Magyars 331 260 Pope Marinus I dies death ofMethodius 60, 249, 286 Svatopluk concludes a peace with Arnulf, heir to 246 the throne 68, 296 lbn Hordadzbeh completes his abridged work reign ofthe Armenian Bagratid dynasty 76 Methodius' disciples are driven out ofMoravia 61 Leo the Wise deposed Patriarch Photius for Stephen 260 reign ofLeo V I the Wise 53, 258 246 Charles III the Fat is forced to give up his throne 260 death ofCharles the Fat Berengar becomes successor ofCharles the Great in Northern Italy 261 , 336 Regino's information on the Magyars being expelled 57, 330, 420, 421 Pope Formosus is elected 260 Guido's coronation as Roman Emperor 260 solar eclipse is observed in Byzantium 331 death ofthe chronicler al-Baladzuri 72 Bulghars control the salt mines along the River Maros 242 246, 261 , 331 , 369 Arnulfattacks Svatopluk with Magyar aid Lambert ofSpoleto rules in Northern Italy 260, 336 Regino, Abbot ofthe monastery ofPrüm 57 256, 330 Samanid ruler Esma·it ibn Ahmad comes to power Slavonic Old Bolgharian becomes official language in Bolgharia 60

Pechenegs are defeated by the Oghuz, and set out west, from the Ural passage

death of Stephen, the Patriarch ofConstantinople Simeon, Danube Bulghar ruler beginnings ofCyrillic writing

Nicetas Scleros meets Árpád and Kursan

257, 3 24, 331 331 60, 228, 258 440 344

Chronological index 894 894 894

894 894 894-896 895-902 895 895 895, spring

895, autumn


896 897 898, 1 5th October 898 898-899 898-900 899 899 899 899-900 899, December 899-900

last decade of 9th century end 9th century end 9th century beginning of 1 0th century early 1 0th century early 1 0th century early 1 0th century early 1 0th century 1 0th century 1 0th century 1 0th century 1 0th century 1 0th century 1 0th century 1 0th century 1 0th century 1 0th century


successfal Magyar attack against the Danube Bulghars 332, 337, 388 Pechenegs cross the River Volga 343, 33 1 , 42 1 Svatopluk sends envoys to the Magyars, and attacks the 332, 3 69 Franks with Magyar aid 246 death o f Svatopluk 26 1 , 3 36, 3 89 Arnulf is crowned king Bulghar-Byzantine war 53, 6 1 the Hungarian Conquest xviii, 332-3 3 8 239, 33 1 , 3 87, 42 1 Pechenegs attack the Magyars Magyars feature as Avars in the Fulda Annals 335 main Magyar armies in the eastern side ofthe Carpathian 332, 334 Basin, /rom where they attacked the Bulghars Magyars enter the Carpathian Basinfrom the Verecke pass 397 first phase of the Magyar Conquest; western 324, 334, 336, 388 frontier: the River Tisza Arnulf is crowned emperor by the Pope 246, 26 1 , 336 al-Yakubi dies 68 death of Lambert of Spoleto 26 1 , 336 Arnulfconcludes a pact with the Magyars 389 bishops and archbishops are ordained on Moravian soil 336 26 1 Pope John IX 53 Philotheus refers to the Magyars as Turk 337 Magyars send major forces to Italy 337 Arnulf, too, enters Moravian conflict Magyars together with Arnulfdefeat Berengar 26 1 , 389 death of Arnulf 3 3 7, 389 secondphase ofthe Magyar Conquest: the conquering 334, 345, 388 ofTransdanubia peak of Khazar Empire Slavs' neighbours, too, refer to the Magyars as ' Ungri ' Greek letters enter the Székely runiform script

257 286 440

Khitai dynasty comes to the zenith of its power 253, 3 74 Bulghar Turks in the Volga-Kama-Cheremshan region 68 k > h, d > z phonetic change in the Volga Bulghar language 226 final -g disappears in back vocalic words from the Volga Bulghar language 226 Volga Bulghars speak a Chuvash-type language 226 migrating east from the Iberian Peninsula, the Jewish groups abandon their Hebrew tongue to Yiddish 7, 90 Kievan Letter 289 432 prothetic y- appears in Volga Bulghar the ethnic name *Bachgird 290 Hrabar claims the Slavs originally used runiform script 440 Slavisation of the Meryas begins 1 83 al-Istahri 7 1 , 356 al-Dinavari 72 Magyars are referred to as Huns 309


l 0th century l 0th century

1 0th century l 0th century 1 0th century 1 0th century

from first half of 1 0th century 1 Oth-1 3th centuries l Oth-l 5th centuries circa 900 circa 900 900s 900 900, 29th June 900, spring end 900

900-902 900-9 1 1 902 902 904 904 905-959 906 until 907 907 908-932 circa 9 1 1 9 1 2-96 1 9 1 3-945 circa 9 1 3 9 1 3-959 915 9 1 6-1 1 1 4 920-944 92 1 92 1 , 2nd April 92 1 -935 92 1 -922 922 922, 1 2th May

before 923 923

hey-day of Armenian historiography Masudi maintains that the capital of the Alani was called Magash Permian-Bulghar-Turkic interaction Jewish community in the Carpathian Basin craft of iron smelting was uninterrupted in the Carpathian Basin ethnic name of the Ughur group changes t o Yughur i n the Chinese sources

Appendices 76

433 1 80 287


435, 436

283 ' Ungri ' variant of the ethnic name in Byzantine sources Magyars in the Volga-Kama-Ural region l 5, 429 transformation of the Székely runiform script 44 1 Slavs reach the line of the Nizhniy Novgorod-Ryazan 246 Volga Bulghar ruler in alliance with Khwarezm 222 Volga Bulghars reach the River Karna 68, 1 2 1 , 400 letter of Theotrnar, Bishop of Salzburg, to Pope John IX 56, 3 69 337 Magyars attempt to penetrate into Venice returningfrom Italy, the Magyar army conquers Transdanubia 3 3 7, 3 5 2 Bavarians erect a fortress against the Magyars o n the 337, 389 River Enns 334, 3 88, 3 9 1 end of the third period of the Magyar Conquest 31 coins of Louis the Infant Arethas refers to the Magyars as ' Turkoi' 53, 276 Magyars conquer Moravia 338, 389 53, 275 Leo VI the Wise writes his Taktika Kursan is entrapped by the Bavarians at the River Fischa 345, 347 Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus 53 11 Regino: Synodalibus causis 85, 87 reign of the Tang dynasty Rurik attacks Byzantium 247 69 Caliph al-Muktadir death of lbn Hordadzbeh 68, 296 Abdul-Rahman III, ruler of Cordova 91

Jayhani sets out to write his work 7 1 , 296 reign of Constantine VII, Porphyrogenitus 46, 53 57 Regino's death 2 1 0, 253, 375 Khitai Liao dynasty Romanus I Lacapenus converts the Jews by force 232 forays led by Tarhos and Bogát 346 Arabic envoys set off to the Volga Bulghars 69 formation of Czech Kingdom 382 1 2 1 , 220, 223, 235, 289 lbn Fadlan 's travels one group of Pechenegs still lives in its old territories 235, 3 3 1 Ibn Fadlan at the court of the ruler of the Volga Bulghars 224, 29 1 , 294 letter written to Dado, Bishop of Verdun 58, 282, 407, 423 death of the chronicler al-Tabari 72

� ��



Chronological index 924 924 924-925 926 circa 927 circa 930 932 932 932 934 937 circa 940 941 942 943 943 943-973 944 944 945 945 circa 945 circa 945-950 947 949 mid-10th century second halfof I 0th century second halfof I 0th century around 950 circa 950 circa 950 around 952 circa 952 circa 955 955

955-960 circa 956 957 960 960-976 after 960 961-972 around 960 before 962 969

Naum's record ofhis life forays led by Salard Nicholas Misticus refers to the Magyars as ' West Turks' Ekkehard's note on an individual named Ungar Byzantine court sends Gabriel to the Magyars report oflbn Rusta on the ' Majghars' Masudi claims the Alani were Christians until 932 Alani expel their bishops the ' al-wanda'. riyyat and the Burghars lead a j oint military campaign against Byzantium death of al-Balhi al-Jayhani is succeeded by his son as minister Sepher Yosippon is completed in Italy death ofal-Jayhani's son Magyar forays into Spain report ofAbu Dulaf's diplomatic trip Jews flee to Khazaria lbn Haukaljoumeys the entire Islamic world death ofSaint Vazul exile ofRomanus Lacapenus earliest annals ofthe Tang dynasty are completed death oflgor Pechenegs live in and to the east ofthe Etelköz Porphyrogenitus completes his work Magyar raids in Italy led by Taksony Liudprand visits Constantine in Byzantium as an envoy population ofthe Carpathian Basin is around half a million the ethnic name Ungroi appears in Greek sources crucifix appears in Magyar graves Bulcsú holds the title gyula Porphyrogenitus mentions the Lenzen tribe Termecsü and Bulcsú visit the Byzantine court final version ofOn Peoples and On Provinces

missionary bishops are sent to Hungary from Byzantium

61 346 282 285 346 295 202 202 291 70, 289 69, 296 91 , 286 69, 70 73, 381 70 243 71 53 53 89 247 237, 238 54, 201 346 57 353 287 368 347 242 1 1 6, 345 49 368 346

Taksony heads the leading tribe death ofBulcsú, Csaba, Lél and Sur in the battle on Lech Plain 346, 354 letter ofHasday ibn Shaprut calls the Magyars 'Hungrin' 287 73, 201, 290, 435 death ofMasudi lgor's widow converts to Christianity 247 Song dynasty reunites China 85, 87 formation ofDenmark 382 formation ofPoland 382 Kiev ruler Svyatoslav defeats the Khazars 247 letter ofthe Khazar Khaghan Joseph Cyrillic Danube Bulghar inscription

253 228

5 10

972 972


57 death ofLiudprand, Bishop ofCremona Svyatoslav is murdered by the Pechenegs on Byzantine 247 request 73, 202 al-Biruni is born in Khwarezm 973 69, 296 al-Jayhani 's grandson becomes minister 976 71 , 74, 202, 295 Hudüd al-iilam is compiled 982-983 382 formation ofKievan Rus 983 382 formation ofNorway 986 62, 247 V ladimir, ruler of Kiev, is baptised 988 lbn al-Nadim reports on the library ofal-Mamun 224 988 Leon Diaconus refers to the Magyars as Huns 992 and Scythians 53 death ofMukaddasi circa 1 000 71 5, 382, 385, 406 the coronation of Saint Stephen 1 001 chronicle written for the kings ofthe House ofÁrpád 11 th century 58 62, 286, 434 Old Russian primary chronicle is compiled 11 th century 71 al-Bakri 11 th century 340 Ibn Hayyan 's work 11 th century 1 83 11 th century Slavisation ofthe Meshchers and Muromas begins Magyar sources containing persona! names 59 1 1 th century 435 Russian chronicles refer to the Karna-Ural region as Yugria 11 th century iron smelting appears in the Upper Tisza region 357 11 th century Deed ofgift to the nuns ofVeszprém Valley before 1 002 353 11 th-1 2th centuries further traces ofEastern European runiform script appear on bricks ofchurches 441 Székelys guard the Magyar borderland 1 l th-1 2th centuries 443 1 l th-13th centuries Zyryan-Russian and Volga Bulghar connections 1 80 Lampert of Hersfeld 1 025-1 081 57 beginnings ofthe Russian annals 1 037-1 039 62 1 050--1052 Gardizi's Most Excellent Reports 74, 295 1 055 Deed ofFoundation ofTihany Abbey 1 08, 277 1 058 57, 425 Lampert ofHersfeld in Hungary 1 060 New Tang annals are completed 89 1 060 Andrew I dies 425 1 060--1 063 Béla i 41 5 1 063 the Seljuk Toghril Khan died 256 1 063 Otto, Duke ofBavaria, helps Salamon ascend to the throne 57 41 5, 425 reign ofSalamon 1 063-1074 between 1 067 and 1075 Greek part ofthe Hungarian royal crown is made 277 1 069 Turkic Kutadghu Bilig ' Wisdom ofRoyal Glory' 1 35, 256 1 070s Magyar primary chronicle is committed to writing 338 1 071 Frank King Henry IV visits Hersfeld monastery 57, 425 1 071 story ofthe giving away of Attila's sword is mentioned 407 135, 225, 366 Khashghari's dictionary circa 1 074 1 074-1 077 King Géza I 277 lbn Hayyan 's summary of the sources concerning circa 1 075 the Magyar raids on Spain 277, 408 1 076 death of lbn Hayyan 73 1 077-1 079 annals ofLampert of Hersfeld 57, 425

5 11

Chronological index

1 080 1 080 1 086

1 094

1 095-1 1 1 6

1 2th century 1 2th century 1 2th century 1 2th century 1 2th century 1 2th century 1 2th century 1 2th century 1 2th century 1 2th century 1 2th century


1116 circa 1 1 20

1 1 22 1 1 25 1 1 27

1 1 30 1130-1 1 40 circa 1136-11 38 1 1 46 1 1 50 1 1 50-1 1 53

1 1 53 1 1 55 1 1 62

circa 1165

1 1 68

1170 circa 1170

1 1 82

circa 1189 1 1 89, end May 11 96, 23 rd April

1 1 99

end 1 2th century 1 3 th century 1 3 th century 1 3 th century 1 3 th century 1 3 th century

new Armenian kingdom is established in Cilicia Abul-Hamid al-Garnati is bom in Granada persona) name ' Moghurdi' preserved in a charter death of al-Bakri reign of King Coloman Yugrians Iive on the western side of the Urals Byzantine source translates asszony as 'princess' Judah ben Barzillai quotes from the letter of Joseph Volga Bulghars refer to the Magyars as Bashkirs ethnic name 'Magyar' is mentioned in Slavonic sources of Greek origin Ahmad Tusi, Najib Hamadani manuscript of the Methodius legend first heyday of the Georgian kingdom Cinnamus recorded the word urum, meaning 'heir to the throne' variant of the ethnic name ' Magyer' is still in use first mention of the Székelys Kharakhitai bring Khirghiz hegemony to an end in the steppe description of the battle on the River Olshava Marvazi's work

a1-Garnati arrives in Baghdad Kharakhitai ruler becomes gurkhan Prince Álmos died Hebrew epitaph in Austria persona) name ' Moghurdi' occurs in the copy of a charter of 1 086 chronicle of Galfred of Monmouth description of the battle on the River Lajta al-Gamati leaves the Volga Bulghar capital Abul Hamid al-Garnati visits Hungary al-Gamati leaves his son behind in Hungary al-Gamati writes his travel book in Baghdad al-Garnati writes his second book death of ldrisi Conquest of lreland, the early Irish-English chronicle death of al-Garnati in Damascus Benj amin of Tudela's travel book Shah of Khwarezm reports on the Yugur-Zadagan Pantheon by Gottfried of Viterbo Frederick I Barbarossa arrives in Hungary death of Béla III Michael of Syria completes his chronicle chronicle of Anonymus Votyaks under the influence of the Khazan Tatars first Finnish linguistic records first Estonian sporadic linguistic records Mongolian loan word borrowing in the Volga region Bashkirs arrive in the Belaya region


29 1 298 7 1 , 295 3 3 8, 339 1 79


91 293


70 61 , 286 79


303 443



71 291


226 287 298

426 443 291 72, 408 292 292 292 72 426 72, 292 202 435 423 423


75, 230 59, 41 4, 427

1 80 1 83 1 84 181


512 13th century 13th century 1 3th century 13th century 1 21 0 1 213 1 21 7 1 221-1 222 1 225 1 229 1 235-1 236, winter 1 235-1 236 1 237 1 239 circa 1 240 1 241--42 1 245 1 246 1 247-1 252 1 247 second halfof 13th century after 13th century 1 259-1 326 1 260 1 268 after 1 280 1 281-1 360 1 282-1 285 1 282-1 285 1 238 1 286 1 4th century 1 4th century 1 311 1 311 1 311 , 9th December circa 1315 1318 1 3 21 1 331 1 333 1 340s

Appendices 1 81 beginnings ofCheremis--Chuvash interaction 1 84 Estonia is occupied by German and Danish armies 272 beginnings ofthe Mongolian Empire 408 manuscript copy oflbn Hayyan's work in Rabat Székelys participate in the military campaigns of 443 the count of Szeben Hungarian word hadnagy ' army commander' crops up 356 in the sources the ' register' ofV árad mentions the Székely-Saxon alliance 443 300 campaigns ofthe Mongolian commander Sübötei 298 first mention ofthe place name Mogorsciget 72, 290 death ofYakut, the geographical writer 120, 302, 429 Friar Julianus meets the eastern Magyars Mongolian raids on the Volga Magyars in the Volga 1 80, 298 region 429 Mongols destroy the Volga Bulgharia 202 Mongols destroy the capital ofthe Alani first version ofthe Secret History ofthe Mongols is 290, 300, 41 5 completed 90, 417 Tatar (Mongol) invasion ofHungary second settling ofthe Cumans into Hungary 202 300 Güyük's letter to Pope Innocent IV 293 Piano Carpini's work Piano Carpini delivers a letter from Güyük written in Persian 300 302 Magyar persona! names among the slaves sold in the Crimea 1 79 Yugrians migrated east 272 Osman, founder of the new empire al-Juzj ani completes his historical work, while Juwayni is still working on his own 74, 300 Thomas of Spoleto died 424 Mongolian Yuan dynasty rules China 254 113, 226 Volga Bulghar epitaphs Kézai's chronicle 58, 437 first mention ofthe Székely runiform script in de Kéza 440, 443 74 death ofJuwayni 75 death ofBar Hebraeus 1 79 the centre ofthe Yugrians is in the Ob region 1 80 Bishop Stephen ofPerm commissions an alphabet Rashid ud-Din mentioned Majar, Bashgird and Kelar in his work 300 Volga Bulghar inscription with the ethnic name ' Magyar' 1 20, 301 , 302 death ofMaj ar Redzhep's son Ismail 301 earliest occurrence ofthe Magyar word kép 'picture' death ofthe Persian chronicler Rashid ud-din 74 Abul Fida reports on the city ofMazhar 301 death ofAbul Fida 72 first occurrence ofthe place name Tokaj 1 41 ethnic name Á r mentioned on a Volga Bulghar inscription 305

5 13

Chronological index 1347 1 358 1 368 1 379 1 5th century 1 5th century 1 5th century 1 5th century from 1 5th century 1 431 circa 1 450 1 469-1 489 1 473 1 482 1 483 1 483 1 484 1 488, 29th July before 1 495 end 1 5th century 16th century 1 6th century 1 6th century 1 51 5 1 551 1 560-1562 1 593 1 598 1 7th century 1 7th century 1 611 1 632 1 634 1 644--1 91 2 1 690 1 692 1 8th century 1 8th century 1 722 1 736 1 786, 2nd February 1 791 1 799

Danes sell off their Estonian territories to the Germans the Hungarian Illuminated Chronicle rule of the Yuan dynasty is ended by the Ming dynasty in China Russian chronicles mention the land ofthe Á r the advance ofthe Ottoman Turks copies ofthe manuscript ofthe Constantine legend artificial transformation ofthe Germanic runiform script Bashkirian Yurmati tribe moves from the Shish and Zey region to the Sterlitamak area ethnic name 'Magyar' crops up in the Turkic and Greek sources Székelyderzs inscription Bologna inscription mention ofthe city and the princes ofthe Á r people

Buda Chronicle

1 84 58 85, 375 305 301 60, 286 441 431 301 437 437 3 05 58 437

Felsőszemeréd inscription earliest Székely alphabet written on the cover ofthe Nikolsburg incunabulum 437 first mention ofthe Mocharin people 298 437 Philipec is elected bishop Ivan III's letter to the Hungarian King Matthias 1 79 Homoródkarácsonfalva inscription 437 Thuróczy's chronicle mentions the Székely runiform script 437, 440 1 82 intensive Russian influence in the middle Volga region 203 the language ofthe Ostrogoths dies out 1 83, 1 84 first continuous Finnish and Estonian texts 437 lstanbul runiform inscription 1 82 Khazan is occupied by the Russians Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq's Crimean Goth glossary 203 70 Amin Razi's work János Telegdi's monograph on the Székely runiform script 437 1 84 Estonians under Swedish authority dwellings of the Voguls are found as far as the River Kama 3 05 first edition ofDe administrando imperio 49, 54 1 84 founding ofTartu university 1 84 Tallin printing press 85 reign ofthe Manchu Qing dynasty in China Marsigli copies a calendar carved into a wooden stick 437 Witsen claims the Voguls lived around Perm 305 in Bashkiria Eastem Cheremis splinter off 1 81 Teryuhans are Russianised 1 83 3 01 Peter the Great journeys the Volga region a manuscript claims that the Voguls live by the River Chusovaya 3 05 Jones promulgates his Indo-European linguistic affinity theory 1 71 French national assembly on the nation 14 discovery of the Nagyszentmiklós Treasure 1 31


The index contains the short titles and the authors of the sources discussed in the book, as well as notable historical individuals, geographical and political names. We have italicised abbreviated titles. With most Arabian authors we have included the spelling given by the Encyclopaedia oflslam, in parentheses. Chinese ethnic and tribal names are given in pinyin transliteration. Ethnic and tribal names are given in the Index of Words, Ethnic and Tribal Names. Aachen 263 Abbasid Caliphate 73 , 327 Abbasid dynasty 66, 91 Abdallah 224 Abdul Rahman III, ruler ofCordova 91 Abraham, Avar Khaghan 263 Abu Bakr (Abii Bakr Mubammad ibn Mu­ zaffar ibn Muhtag) 64 Abu Dulaf(Mis· ar ibn Muhalhil al-I:Jazragi al-Yanbu• i Abü Dulaf) 70 Abu Hamid al-Garnati (Abii I:Jamid al­ Garniiti; M uba m m a d i bn · Abd al­ Rahman ibn Sulayman al-Mazini al­ Qaysi) 72, 1 65, 290, 291 , 292, 293, 305, 313, 408, 409 Abul Fida (Isma· n ibn . Ali ibn Mahmüd ibn • Ayyüb, al-Malik al-Mu'ayyad · 1mad al-Din, • Abu'l-Fida) 72, 301 Abul Gazi (Abu' l-Ghazi Bahadür I:Jan; · Arab Muhammad Khan) (Bahadur Khan) 275, 290 Achaemenid dynasty 1 95, 197 Ácsteszér 357 Adiabene 231

Adil see Etil, river 434 Adrian 11, Pope Adriatic Sea 220, 241 , 326, 360, 387 Aeneas 426 Aeschylus 23 Aethicus (Ethicus) Ister 56 Aetius 207 Afghanistan 64, 70, 1 46, 21 2, 330 Agapius (Mahbüb ibn Kustantin) 73 Agathias 5 1 Agathon 52 Agizel 434 Ahmad Tusi (Abmad Tusi) 70 Ak lzel 434 Alani Empire 200 Alania 201 , 237 Alanian kingdom 201 , 202 Alatir, river 1 82 Albania, Caucasian 79, 354 Albula, river 283 Aldebrő 1 54 Aldwin 56, 244 Alexander I the Great 6, 75

Alexander the Great Syrian Legends 75

5 16

Alexandria 45, 64, 29 1 Alföld (Great Hungarian Plain) 1 4 1 , 1 55, 1 58, 264 Ali 64, 66 Almatai 2 1 7 Almich 225 Almil 225 Almis 225 Almish ibn Shelkey 224, 225 Álmos 59, 225, 330, 344, 345, 3 70, 3 80, 3 87, 3 89, 4 1 6, 4 1 7, 4 1 8, 420, 423, 426 Álmos-Árpád clan Álmos dynasty 380 Almouts 226 Almuch 226 Almush 226 Alp Elteber 226 Alpine Slavs 242 Altai Mountains 1 9, 20, 8 1 , 2 1 4, 2 8 1 America 3 4 , 272 Amerigo Vespucci 273 Amin (Ahmet) Razi 70, 3 67 Amu Darya 1 97, 2 1 4, 295 Amur-Usuri relict 1 9 Anakopia 2 1 6 Ananias o f Shirak 78, 2 1 5 Anastasia, Hungarian Queen 57, 407, 425 Anatolia 46 Andalusia 7 1 , 29 1 Andrew 1, king of Hungary 57, 208, 407, 425 A nekdota 5 1 A nnales alamannici 344 A nnales gemmeticenses 285 A nnales heremi 344 A nnales iuvavenses maximi 56, 347 A nnales sangallenses maiores 344 A nna/s of Salzburg s e e A nnales iuvavenses maximi Anonymus, Hungarian chronicler xv, xvi, 56, 58, 59, 1 1 5, 1 64, 226, 275, 293, 294,


298, 303, 340, 3 4 1 , 344, 348, 366, 409, 4 1 5, 423, 424, 425, 426, 427, 430 Ansila 208 A ntapodosis 51 Aquileia 207, 242 Ar (Ár), land of 305 Ar Hoja 305 Arabian Empire 67, 246 Arabian Peninsula 64 Aral, Lake 66, 1 97, 202, 234, 256 Ardabil 230 Ardashir I, Persian ruler 63 Arethas 53, 276 Armenia 76, 78, 20 1 Armenian Empire 77 Armenian Kingdom 76 Arnulf 246, 260, 26 1 , 3 3 1 , 3 3 6, 3 3 7, 3 69, 389 Árpád 59, 1 1 5, 1 1 6, 1 33 , 226, 276, 277, 3 3 0, 335, 3 39, 344, 345, 346, 347, 3 5 1 , 3 5 5 , 367, 3 70, 3 80, 3 87, 3 89, 409, 4 1 6, 4 1 7, 4 1 8, 420, 423 Árpád dynasty 55, 59, 228, 255, 345, 3 52, 353, 424 Árpád era 59, 1 34, 1 59, 1 64 Árpád, House of xvi, 58, 3 29, 3 3 9 Arsaces I 78 Arsk 3 04 Áru, country of 305 Ascanius 426 Ashina 280, 28 1 Asia 1 9, 1 43 , 1 66, 206, 25 1 Asia Minor 23, 3 6 Askold 247 Aspandiat 1 5 1 Asparukh 62, 2 1 5, 2 1 6, 2 1 9, 227 Asszonyfölde 328 Asszonynépe 328 Atelkouzou (see also Etelköz) 238, 288, 422 Athens 6

Index of proper names

al-Athir 282 Atil, river 237, 287, 295 Attila 9, 1 0, 51 , 55, 57, 59, 61 , 62, 1 64, 203, 207, 209, 309, 407, 423, 424, 425, 426, 427 Aufi (Mubammad-i 'Awfi) 71 Augustus, Roman emperor 47 Austria 243, 262, 265, 337 Avar Empire 56, 115, 1 23, 1 24, 1 26, 1 33, 211 , 220, 241 , 262, 263, 284, 309, 329,

3 80, 3 82

Avar era 1 59 Aventinus 344, 346 Avesta 303 Avitohol 61 , 426 Azerbaijan 201 Azov, Sea of (see also Maeotis) 209, 21 6,


Babel 1 71 Babylonian Empire 23 Bács-Kiskun county, Hungary 1 54 Bactria 1 96, 200, 212 Bactros, river 21 2 Baghdad 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71 , 73, 224, 291 , 292 Bagratid dynasty 76, 79 Bahman Yast 63 Baikal, Iake 81 , 404 Bakath 21 2, 248 al-Bakri (Abu ' Ubayd al-Bakri, ' Abd Al­ lah ibn ' Abd al-' Aztz ibn Mubammad b. Ayyub) 71 , 73, 1 65, 277, 295 Baksh 293 al-Baladhuri (Abmad ibn Yabya ibn Öiibir ibn Diiwud al-Baliidhuri) 72, 282 Balanjar 220, 224, 230, 282 Balasaghun 256 Balaton, lake 116, 1 33, 277 Bald Hill 1 41

517 al-Balhi (Abu Zayd Abmad ibn Sah! al­ Balhi) 70, 71 , 289, 290, 293 Balkan Mountains 1 58, 21 5, 220 Balkans 45, 46, 52, 1 23, 203, 240, 241 , 257, 262, 286, 322, 331 , 3 76, 377, 388 Balkhash, Iake 204 Baltic Sea 207 Bandur 49 Baranya county 1 1 6, 443 Barbarossa, Frederick, emperor 423 Barents Sea 1 79 Bar Hebraeus (Gregorios Barhebraeus, Abu'1Fariig Yaybyii ibn Hiirun) 75 Bari 259 Bars al-Saqlabi 69 Barsilia 200 Bartók, Béla 1 41 Baruh 237 Bashjird 235 Bashkiria 1 81 , 293 , 306, 3 1 3 , 399, 430 Basil L Emperor ofByzantium 258, 259, 260 Basil, Saint 53 Bautzen 377 Bavaria 57, 246, 262 Bayan, Khaghan 262 Békás 433 Bekash 433 Békés county, Hungary 1 27, 1 54 Bekker 49 Béla I, king ofHungary 41 5 Béla III, king ofHungary xv, 59, 423 Béla IV, king ofHungary 202, 328 Belar 293 Belaya, river 1 82, 398, 434 Belgrade 1 15, 346 Belorussia 246 Benedict IV, Pope 261 Benedictus Polonus 290 Benj amin ofTudela 202 Benvenuto 1 23

518 Berengar I, king ofltaly 137, 261 , 336, 337, 389 Berengar 11, king ofltaly 57, 1 37, 336 Bersilia 224, 229 Beshbalik 252 Bezdéd 368 Bible, 76, 79, 203 , 426 Bidenga 221 Bihar county, Hungary 443 Bikesh 433 Bilge Khaghan 1 48 Bilge Khaghan inscription 81 Billa 293 Bilyar 1 1 5, 293 al-Biruni (Abu'l Rayb.amni Mub.ammed ibn Ab.mad al- Birüni) 73, 202 Biyelo-Brdo 1 34 Black Adil 211 Black Bulgharia 21 6, 21 7 Black Khitai see Kharakhitai Black Sea 20, 36, 45, 46, 56, 111 , 203, 220, 237, 278, 295, 296, 320 Blatnica 1 26 Bleda 207 Bocsa 219 Bogát 346 Bogou see Bug, river Bögü Khagan 252 Bohemia 437 Bökli 374 Bologna 337, 406, 437 Bologna Runiform /nscription 437 Bolshie Tarhani 121 , 1 22, 222, 248, 400 Bolshie Tigani 1 20, 1 21 , 1 22, 1 23, 167, 400, 429 Bonifatius, Pope 261

Book of Gold Fields and Precious Stone Mines 73 Book ofRoger 72


Book of Routes and Kingdoms (Kitab al­ masaliq val-mama,/iq) 67, 68, 296 Book ofRulers 63 Book of the Embellishment of the Reports Book of Warning and Correction 73


Boris, Bolghar ruler 60, 41 , 228, 244, 245, 259 Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county, Hungary 1 37, 1 54 Bosphorus 23 7 Boyki 377 Braslav 336, 337, 389 Bratislava 396, 443 Britain 426 Brutos, river 237 Brutus 426 Bucharest-Tei 118 Buda Chronicle 58 Buda 423 Budapest 1 1 9, 1 34, 1 54 Budavár 423 Buddha 1 47 Bug, river 21 6, 217, 237 Buga 201 Bughut inscription 64, 80, 279, 405 Bügü Kungfuci 364 Bukhara 66, 69, 70, 295 Bulan 232 Bular 115, 293 Bulcsú 54, 276, 345, 346, 347, 368, 41 5, 41 9 Bulghar-Byzantine War 53 Bulghar Empire, Danube 62, 112, 113, 200, 242, 379 Bulghar Empire, Great 1 1 2, 2 I 9, 220, 230, 326, 387 Bulghar Empire, Volga 224, 226 Bulghar regal list 1 1 3

Index of proper names Bulghar, town 11 5, 293 Bulgharia 60, 227, 228, 237, 245, 246, 258, 259, 260, 322, 331 , 387 Bulgharios 200, 229 Bulyar 115 Bumin 214 Bundahishn 63 Buqa ogul 1 49 Burgar see Bulghar Burgenland 243 Busbecq, Ogier Ghislain de 203 Butaul zoapan 131 Buyla inscription 1 27 Buyla zoapan 131 Byzantine Empire 46, 48, 68, 80, 200, 227, 310, 325, 327 Byzantium 1 1 , 46, 52, 57, 64, 66, 68, 74, 91 , 206, 207, 209, 21 2, 214, 21 5, 227, 228, 230, 231 , 232, 235, 240, 241 , 244, 246, 247, 258, 259, 260, 262, 263, 277, 282, 291 , 296, 327, 328, 331 , 332, 346, 368, 378, 379, 390, 391

Caesar (Julius Caesar) 228 Cairo 73, 9 1 , 289 Caliphate ofCordova 90 Campus Mauriacus 207 Carinthia 1 26, 264 Carloman (Karlmann), Frankish ruler 243, 244, 246, 260, 331 , 344 Carolingian Empire 56 Carpathian Basin 4, 13, 20, 29, 41 , 45, 57, 1 05, 1 1 4, 115, 117, 118, 11 9, 1 20, 1 23, 1 2� 1 32, 134, 13� 1 41 , 1 5� 1 56, 1 5� 1 67, 220, 242, 249, 253, 254, 256, 261 , 262, 263, 265, 266, 270, 284, 287, 293, 300, 301 , 302, 310, 322, 324, 326, 327, 329, 331 , 332, 336, 337, 338, 339, 348, 349, 352, 353, 354, 357, 360, 363, 364, 370, 373, 374, 376, 381 , 382, 383, 387,

519 388, 389, 390, 391 , 397, 400, 403 , 405, 41 3, 429, 435, 441 Carpathian Mountains 1 9, 1 05, 118, 319, 335, 353, 363, 367 Carpathians see Carpathian Mountains Carthage 66 Caspian Lake 28, 1 1 9, 1 95, 1 96, 1 97, 200, 201 , 202, 231 , 257, 282, 375 Cassiodorus 51 , 55 Cathay 253 Caucasian Albania 79, 354 Caucasian Mountains 201 , 367, 443 Caucasus 20, 36, 45, 66, 75, 78, 79, 80, 1 1 7, 119, 132, 1 51 , 1 71 , 200, 201 , 202, 206, 209, 212, 21 3, 216, 21 7, 220, 224, 229, 230, 261 , 288, 316, 321 , 322, 349, 367, 398, 420 Central Asia xvii, 20, 63, 68, 84, 86, 87, 90, 204, 224, 228, 230, 236, 252, 272, 282, 354, 405, 41 0 Central Empire (see also China) 85 Central Eurasia 1 7, 1 8 Central Ural region 20 Central Volga region 1 9 Ch' adar Bulghar 216 Chagatai 4 1 7 Charles I the Great 56, 57, 1 24, 243, 251 , 263 , 273, 284, 285, 336, 353, 377, 424 Charles II the Bald 260 Charles III the Fat 246, 260, 286 Charles Martel, Merovingian ruler 66, 230 Chen dynasty 89 Cherdaklin 305 Cherdyn district 1 79 Cheremshan, river 1 22, 1 81 , 222, 431 Chichek 230 Chi dynasty 89 China 8, 10, 20, 29, 82, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 203, 204, 205, 21 4, 252, 253, 255, 374, 375

520 Chinghis Khan 9, 1 0, 208, 229, 253, 272 Chistopol 301 , 302, 312, 313, 429 Chronicle of George the Monk 344 Chronicle of the Popes 53 Chronicon pictum xv Chronographia 52 Chu, river 204 Chusdal 344 Chusovaya 1 79, 305 Chussal 344 Chussala 344 Chussol 344 Cilicia, province of 76 Cinnamus l55 Cleisthenes ofAthens 23 Clovis, Merovingian ruler 376 Codex Cumanicus 371 Coloman I Beauclerc, king of Hungary 338, 339 Columbus 275 Confucius see Kong Fuzi Constantine (Cyril) see Cyril Constantine Legend see Cyril Legend Constantine V II Porphyrogenitus 46, 51 , 53, 54, 55, 57, 212, 216, 230, 276, 288, 345 Constantinople 53, 61 , 116, 227, 230, 243, 244, 245, 258, 259, 260, 262, 263, 286, 329, 376, 388 Constantinus (Cyril) see Cyril Continuation of the Chronicle by George the Monk see Georgius monachus continuatus Conversio bagoariorum et carantanorum, (Conversion of the Bavarians and Car­ antans) 56, 116, 264, 266 Conversion of the Bavarians and Caran­ tans, see Conversio Bagoariorum et Ca­ rantanorum Cordova 73, 90

Appendices Cordova Caliphate 90 Cosmas Indicopleustes 51 Cosmographia 56 Cottus 377 Cremona 57 Crete 258 Crimea 201 , 203, 231 , 232, 233, 248, 296, 302, 327, 329, 367 Crimean Peninsula 46, 203 , 206, 230, 233, 286, 295, 327 Csaba 346 Csongrád county, Hungary 1 3 7, 266 Ctesiphon 64 Curzan 344 Cyril 60, 1 64, 233, 244, 245, 249, 258, 260, 286, 296, 313, 329, 367, 408, 440 Cyril, Legend of 60, 286 Czech Kingdom 382 Czech Republic 242

Dacia 1 58 Dado, Bishop of Verdun 58, 1 64, 282, 313, 423 Dalmatia 1 23 , 242, 244, 41 4 Damascus 64, 66, 72 Danapris see Dnieper Danastris see Dniester Danube 46, 1 34, 1 54, 200, 207, 2 1 5, 21 6, 227, 229, 238, 240, 242, 262, 285, 286, 287, 295, 296, 326, 328, 331 , 332, 335, 337, 338, 346, 352, 387, 388, 389, 41 3 Danube Bulghar Empire see Bulghar Empire, Danube Danube-Tisza, land between 1 26, 1 54 Dar al-Babunaj 232 Dar-i Alan 201 , 202 Darial, Pass 20 1 , 202 Darius 1 95 Dashuran 79

Index ofproper names

Dashuranci see Movses Dashuranci De administrando imperio (Governing of empire) 45, 46, 49, 54, 1 64, 237, 239, 276, 340, 345, 4 1 6 De cerimoniis aulae Byzantinae 54, 4 1 9 De origine actibusque Getarum 55 Deed ofFoundation ofTihany A bbey 1 08, 277, 278 Deed of gift to the Nuns of Veszprém Valley 353 Demeter, Saint 24 1 Denmark 382 Dentumoger 341 Derbend 20 1 , 282 Dévény 244 Diakonus, Leon 53 Dietmar see Theotmar Dimaski (Sams al-Din Abü • Abd Alliih Muliammad ibn Abi Tiilib al-Dim�qi) 420

al-Dinavari (Abü I:Ianifa Alimad ibn Dii­ wüd al-Dinawari) 72 Dir 247 Dnieper (Danapris), river 20 1 , 203, 2 1 6, 2 1 7, 2 1 9, 220, 237, 238, 295, 322, 326, 327, 328, 387, 4 1 3 Dniester (Danastris), river 203, 2 1 6, 2 1 7, 237, 322, 362, 387 Dobruja 1 32 Don, river 1 1 4, 1 32, 1 55, 1 96, 203, 207, 209, 2 1 6, 220, 23 1 , 238, 295, 327, 328, 387 Donets, river 202, 322, 328 Donets-Don region 202 Don-Volga elbow 22 1 Drava region 243, 264 Drava, river 243 Druthmar of Aquitain 232 Duch ' i Bulghar 2 1 6 Dula, Alanian ruler 227, 328 Dulo dynasty 62, 227

Dunaszerdahely 1 54 Dunhuang 8 1 , 82, 83 Dvina, river 1 78, 1 79


Early Han Dynasty 89 East Asia 1 03, 1 92 East Bulgharia 1 32 East Crimea 327 East Europe xvii, 68, 72, 7 8 , 1 1 0, 1 1 2, 1 1 3, 1 20, 1 3 9, 2 1 5, 25 1 , 252, 327, 378, 379, 3 86, 403 East European steppe 1 58, 206, 208 East Han dynasty 85 East Hungary 346 East Turkestan 8 1 , 1 96 Easter Chronicle 52 Eastem Anatolia 1 87 Ecilburg 423 Edayab 23 1 Edessa 74, 75 Edil 434 Eger 1 54 Egypt 29, 1 95, 3 02 Ekkehard 285 Elba, river 242, 26 1 , 377 Elista 1 3 2 England 9 1 Enns, river 263, 3 3 7, 3 3 8, 389 Erik, prince of Friaul 263 Ermanrich, king of the Goths 1 8 1 , 203, 206 Esmail ibn Ahmad, Samanid ruler 31, 330 Esperuh see Asparukh Estonian Republic 1 84, 1 85 Etel kai Kouzou see Etelköz Etel see also Etil Etelköz xxi, 40, 1 1 7, 1 23, 1 56, 2 1 7, 2 1 9, 238, 239, 242, 257, 286, 288, 322, 324, 325, 326, 327, 329, 3 3 0, 3 3 1 , 334, 3 3 8,



Etelköz (continued) 339, 356, 363, 364, 387, 388, 390, 391 , 413, 414, 41 9, 421 , 422 Etelküzü see Etelköz Ethicus see Aethicus Ethiopia 23 1 Etil, river 2 1 1 , 220, 235, 328, 4 13, 429, 434 Eurasia xv, 16, 1 7, 22, 82, 1 46, 1 53, 227, 251 , 388, 40 1 , 404 Eurasian steppe 1 47 Europe 1 9, 23, 34, 40, 58, 64, 90, 91 , 1 03, 1 60, 203 , 205, 206, 207, 208, 210, 21 3, 2 14, 230, 25 1 , 285, 320, 373, 375, 377, 378, 380, 382, 386, 396, 427 Excerptum de karentanis 56 Exordia Scythica 56 Extract (Muqtabas) 73 Ezekie/, Book of 282 Falicsi 344 Farkaszug 137 Fejér county, Hungary 1 54 Felsőszemeréd 437 Fergana 8 1 Filipec 437 Finland 1 83 Finland, Gulfof 1 83, 1 85 Fischa river 263, 345 Forchheim 245 Formosus, Pope 259, 260, 261 France 90, 91 , 231 , 376 Frankfurt 263 Frankish Empire 57, 1 24, 243, 259, 260, 261 , 332 Friaul 26 1 From Kesar 228 Frumu�ica 1 1 8, 119 Fulda 57 Fulda Anna/s 57, 335 Fulin 200

Gabriel, cleric 346 Galánta 1 54 Galfred ofMonmouth 426 Gandhara 228 Gan-su, province 8, 80, 252 Gardizi (Abü sa·1d • Abd al-I:Jayy ibn al­ Dahl).liq ibn Mahmüd Gardi:zi:) 71 , 74, 1 50, 1 65 al-Gamati see Abu Hamid al-Garnati Gaznavid 73 , 74 Genah 350, 351 , 432 Geobitsha 306 Geographus Ravennas 56 Geography. Armenian 78, 2 1 6 Georgia 79 Georgian Chronicle 79, 282 Georgius Monachus 54 Georgius monachus continuatus 55, 334 Georgius Pisides 52 Germania

1 84

Germany 7, 231 , 274 Ge-sar 229 Geser epic 229 Gesta Ungarorum see History of the Magyars

Geszteréd 1 3 5 Getica see De origine Géza I, king ofHungary 21 5, 277 Géza, prince 273, 354 Gibraltar 66, 230 Goemagog 426 Gog 75, 272, 282, 283, 423 Golden (Jin) dynasty 375 Golden Horde 43 1 Golden Mountain 2 1 4 Gormot 430 Gottfried ofViterbo 423 Governing ofempire see De administrando imperio

Gozwin 245

Index ofproper names

Granada 29 1 , 408 Great Hungary see Magna Hungaria Great Moravia 249 Great Wall ofChina 85 Greece 257 Greek-Roman Empire 46 Groze�ti 1 1 8 Guido III, Pope 260 Gürgench 234 Gur Kermen 293 Gurkhuman 293 Gurmot 430 Güyük khan 300 Gyarmat 350, 35 1 , 38 1 , 398, 399, 430, 43 1 , 432 Gyeicha 277 Gyeovicha 277 Gyermat 429 Gyeücha 277 Gyeücsa 273, 306, 355 Gyevicha 277 Gyula 277, 398

Hadrian 11, Pope 245, 259, 260 Hagar 287 Hammurapi 23 Han dynasty 85, 89 Hangai Mountains 1 0 Hara siu 39, 1 1 4 Hara siv 39 Harun al-Rashid, caliph 66, 232 Harun ibn Yahya 68 Hasday ibn Shaprut 9 1 , 202, 287, 3 1 3 Hatti Empire 1 87 Hazar hakhan 1 50 al-Hazari 69, 70 Hazari see al-Hazari Hazarig 229 Hebraeus see Bar Hebraeus

523 Hellas 257 Henry IV, German king 57, 425 Hephthalite Empire 1 99 Heraclius, Byzantine emperor 52, 2 1 9, 230, 240, 262, 286, 377 Herder 1 4 Herodotus 45, 55, 56, 1 96, 2 1 1 Hersfeld 57, 425 Hetény 293 Hétmagyar 340, 350, 35 1 , 370 Heves county, Hungary 1 54 Hibil, river 2 1 7 Hidmas, river 4 1 6, 4 1 8 Hierotheus 368 Himalayas 82 Hingilus, river 4 1 6, 4 1 8 Hippic Mountains 2 1 6 Historia Ottonis 57 History of Albania 79 History of Armenia 78 History of Husros I 353 History of Procopius 5 1 History o/Saints and Martyrs 76 History of the Magyars 58, 59, 4 1 5, 4 1 8, 42 1 History of the Muslim Conquests 72 History of the World 2 1 0 Hoirosphactes, Leon 334 Hoitu Tamir inscription 8 1 Horner 1 89, 309 Homokmégy-Halom 133, 405, 44 1 , 442 Homoródkarácsonfalva 437 Hovratu 2 1 7 see also Khuvrat Hrabar 440 Hua country 248 Huangdi, emperor ofChina 23 Huang-he, river 85 Hudüd al-iilam 7 1 , 74, 1 64, 202, 2 1 5, 225, 234, 235, 238, 248, 249, 257, 295, 433


Hugo of Provence 1 3 7 Hun 64, 205, 2 1 1 , 248 Hungaer 285 Hungar 287 Hungary 7, 1 5, 34, 54, 55, 58, 72, 90, 9 1 , 1 05, l l l , l l 9, 1 20, 1 22, 1 27, 1 33, 1 3 7, 1 40, 1 4 1 , 1 6 1 , 1 62, 1 63, 202, 234, 273, 287, 292, 298, 300, 302, 308, 345, 346, 347, 3 50, 355, 360, 368, 377, 3 82, 405, 407, 408, 4 1 7, 4 1 8, 424, 425, 44 1 Hunila 208 Hunnish Empire 5 1 , 205, 207, 208 Hunor 272, 328 Husrau Anoshirvan, Persian emperor 2 1 4 Hvadiiy niimag 63 Hwkurithou 1 95 Hyonite tribe 2 1 0 Iberia 340 lberian Peninsula 7, 7 1 , 73 , 90, 230, 376 Ibn Fadlan (Abmad ibn Fzjlan ibn al-. Abbas ibn Ra�id ibn l;lammad) 39, 68, 69, 70, 1 06, 1 1 3 , 1 2 1 , 1 47, 1 48, 1 50, 1 65, 220, 223 , 224, 225, 226, 232, 233, 234, 235, 248, 289, 29 1 , 294, 3 1 3, 366, 418 lbn al-Fakih (Abü Bakr Abmad ibn Mu­ bammad ibn Isl)aq ibn al-Faqill al-l;la­ madani) 68, 232 Ibn Hauqal (Abü ' 1-Qas im ibn • Ali al­ Nasibi, ibn I;Iawqal) 70, 7 1 , 289, 3 56, 357

Ibn Hayyan (Abü l;layyan ibn I;Ialaf ibn l;lussayn ibn I;Iayyan) 73, 1 65, 277, 340, 3 8 1 Ibn Hordadzbeh (Ab ü ' 1-Qasim · ubayd Al­ lah ibn • Abd Allah ibn l;lurrada4bih) 68, 7 1 , 74, 296, 307 Ibn al-Nadim (lbn al-Nadim Abu ' I Farag Mübammed ibn Abi Ya· qub lsbaq al­ Warraq al-Bagdadi) 224


Ibn Rusta (Abü • Ali Ahmad ibn • Umar ibn Rusta) 68, 7 1 , 72, 74, 1 65, 200, 202, 225, 232, 233, 295, 343, 370, 406 Idei 434 al-Idrisi (Abü • Abd Allah Mul)ammad alIdrisi) 72, 1 65 Igfon, forest of 366 lgnatius, patriarch 259, 260 Igor, ruler of Kiev 62, 24 7 Ihe Ashete inscription 8 1 Jhe Höshütü inscription 82 lk, river 5 Jlluminated Chronicle xv, 5 8 Iluku-Burkan 4 1 5 Illyria 283 Ináncs 3 5 5 India 282 Indian Ocean 3 60 Indus valley 66 Ingul, river 1 1 8, 2 1 7 Ingulets, river 2 1 7 Inner Asia 20, 278, 280 Innocent IV, Pope 300 Insar, river 1 82 Iran 330 Ireland 426 Iréné, empress of Byzantium 230 Irgiz, river 235 Irnik 62, 426 Iron Gate 3 74 Irtysh region 435 Irtysh, river 234 Isaac, Avar ruler 263 Ishtemi 2 1 4, 2 1 5 Isidorus of Sevilla xvi Ismail ibn Ahmad see Esmail ibn Ahmad Ismail, son of Majar Rej ep 3 0 1 Israel, Albanian bishop 23 1 , 369 al-Istahri (Abü lshaq Ibrahim ibn Mubammad al-Istabri al-Farisi) 7 1 , 1 48, 289, 3 04, 3 5 5

Index ofproper names Istanbul 437 Istria 283 Istros, river 346 István 1, Saint, king ofHungruy see Stephen, Saint Italy 20, 57, 90, 91 , 1 23, 203, 207, 220, 259 260, 261 , 259, 283, 286, 336, 337, 346, 369, 376, 391 , 41 4 Ivan III, czar 1 79 Izel 434 Izh, river 1 80 Izhevsk 1 80

Jafar 224 Japhet 423 , 426 Jarmat 431 Jarmati 431 al-Jarmi (Muslim ibn Abt Muslim al­ Ö armi) 68 Jarrah 201 Jayhani (al-Ö ayhiint, Abü • Abd Allah Mu]J.ammad ibn Ab.mad) 69, 70, 71 , 72, 74, 1 51 , 1 65, 295, 296, 307, 327, 328, 329, 330, 343, 344, 353, 356, 364 Jayhun 295 Jebel al-Tarik 66 Jenő 430 Jerusalem 64 Jiakann Mountains 21 6 Jin dynasty 82, 254, 375 Jochi 41 7 Johannes Malalas 51 John V III, Pope 245, 260 John IX, Pope 56, 261 , 369 Jordanes 51 , 55, 1 81 , 1 82, 229, 425 Joseph, Khazar Khaghan 91 , 202, 21 5, 233, 287, 313 Juanser 80 Judah ben Barzillai 91

525 Julianus, friar 1 20, 1 82, 293, 302, 429 Justine 11, emperor of Byzantium 262 Justinian I, emperor of Byzantium 11 , 48, 51 , 211 Justinian II, emperor of Byzantium 230 Jutocsa 345 Juwayni ( Öuwayn1, • Alü ' al-Dtn • Atii­ Malik ibn Mub.ammad) 290, 300 al-Juzjani (Minhiig al-mn • Abü · umar · utmiin ibn Siriig al-Dtn Mu]J.ammad al- Öuzgiint) 74

Kál 1 54 Kalankatuyk 79 Káli 347 Kálmán see Coloman I Beauclerc Kalocsa 133, 405, 441 , 442 Karna, river 28, 94, 111 , 1 20, 1 21 , 1 22, 1 39, 1 79, 1 80, 211 , 222, 289, 301 , 305, 317, 362, 386, 298, 400, 429, 434, 435 Kharakhum 235 Karashar 1 92 Kara su 39 Kara sub 39 Karl (Charles, the Great) 273 Karlmann see Carloman Karos 3 1 , 1 35 Kartli 79 Kart/is chavreba 79 Keltaminar culture 1 75 Kenézlő 1 35, 1 37 Kér 350, 351 , 383, 398 Kerch 295, 327, 329, 356 Kerj 295 Kese Tahin 432 Keszi 350, 351 , 383 , 398, 432 Ket, river 1 78 de Kéza, Simon xv, 58, 437, 443 de Kéza' s Chronicle xv, 406, 424

526 Khabul 66 Kharabalghasun inscription 64, 81 , 1 49, 1 68 Kharakhanid Empire 256 Kharakhitai 256, 375 Khasahia 201 Khasar 228, 252, 272 Khashghar 256 Khashghari (Mabm üd al-Ka�gari 1 06, 1 35, 225, 235, 249, 256, 290, 365, 366, 371 Khass Hajib 256 Khazakhstan 20, 81 , 403 Khazakh steppe 21 0 Khazan 1 80, 208, 304, 403 Khazar Empire 39, 69, 70, 91 , 1 1 2, 1 66, 203, 220, 222, 231 , 233, 257, 282, 289, 296, 322, 327, 328, 331 , 347, 349, 352, 364, 366, 367, 378, 380, 390, 398, 441 Khazar Sea see Black Sea Khazaria 232, 233, 237, 238, 41 6 Khazarig 201 Kherson 20 1 , 203, 230, 237, 295, 327 Khirghizia 81 , 253 Khitai 248, 253, 254, 255, 256, 375 Khitai dynasty 210 Khocho 252 Khotan 64, 1 96, 279 Khutadghu bilig 366 Khuvrat 62, 112, 1 23, 215, 21 6, 21 7, 226, 227, 230, 248, 262, 285, 322, 326, 348, 387 Khwarezm 68, 69, 70, 73, 1 96, 21 5, 234, 257, 301 , 435 al-Khwarezmi (Mui)ammad ibn Müsa al­ I:Juwarizmi) 68 Kiev 62, 91 , 1 1 9, 1 52, 231 , 242, 246, 247, 286, 289, 29 1 , 293, 3 1 3 , 3 59 Kievan Rus 378, 382 Kiev Principality 249 Kilyna, river 221

Appendices Kinel, river 221 , 291 Kisalföld 1 54, 266, 338, 389 Kitiíb al-masiíliq val-mamiiliq see Book of Routes and Kingdoms Kitiib al-tanbih 291 Klyazma, river 1 83 Knossos 23 Koblenz 57 Köli chor inscription 81 Köl Tegin 83 Köl Tegin inscription 81 , 1 48, 1 66, 297 Kolo 21 4 Komárom 433 Kondoros 433 Kondorosh 433 Kong Fuzi (Confucius) 23 Kopaszhegy 1 41 Kophis, river 21 6 Koran see Qur' an Korax 21 6 Korea 204 Körös 266, 346 Koszorúdűlö 1 3 7 Kotragos 220 Kotsel 1 67, 244, 245 Krak's leam 21 6 Krems 58, 1 64 Krilos 118 Krum, Bulghar ruler 227, 242, 258, 263 Kuar 1 51 Kuban region 326, 387 Kuban, river 111 , 1 32, 21 5, 21 6, 217, 21 9, 322 Kubu (Koubou), river 328 Kucha 1 92 Kudama 68, 71 Kudimkar 1 79 Kuma, river 301 Kunbábony 21 9 Kundajik 297 Kundurcha, river 291 , 433

Index of prop er names Kuphis, river 21 6, 21 7 Kup ' i Bulghar 216 Kur, river 420 Kurayish 64 Kurland Peninsula 1 85 Kursan 335, 344, 345, 346, 347, 370, 389 Kürt 350, 351 , 381 , 430 Kürtgyarmat 305, 350, 351 Kusal 344, 345, 389 Kusan 344, 345 Küsel 345 Küsen 345, 389 Kushnarenkovo 1 21 , 1 22 Kussal 344 Kutadgu bitig 1 35 Kuver 241 , 263 Kuvu, river 237 Kuybishev 1 21 Küzü see Etelköz 41 3

Ladoga, lake 1 85 Lajta 443 Lambert ofHersfeld 57, 1 64, 259, 425 Lambert, North Italian ruler 261 , 336 Late Han dynasty 89 Lateran 259 Latium 272 Latvia 1 85 Lausitz 377 Lebanon 74 Lechfeld, battle of 57, 346, 354 Legend of Constantine 60 Legend ofMethodius 61 Lehel 367 Lél 346, 367 Lena, river 81 Leo I, Pope 207 Leo III, emperor ofByzantium 230 Leo IV "the Khazar", emperor of Byzan­ tium 230

527 Leo VI the Wi se, emperor of Byzan­ tium 46, 53 , 1 64, 258, 260, 275, 276, 309, 331 Lerida 277 Levedi 238, 288, 325, 326, 330, 349, 387, 389, 41 5, 416, 417, 41 9, 420, 421 Levedi, house of 329, 330, 391 Levedia 1 23, 324, 325, 326, 338, 387, 416, 41 9, 421 Levond 78 Lex salica 376 Liang dynasty 89 Liao Empire 254 Liao dynasty 85, 87, 253 , 254, 255, 375 Linz 262 Lithuania 91 , 232 Liudprand 57 Liuntika 330, 335, 345 Liupold ofMerseburg 57 Lombardy 1 23 Lomovato 1 22 Lotharingia 330 Lothar 11, 1 37 Louis II, ruler ofltaly 259 Louis III, the Infant, East Frankish ruler 3 1 , 246, 3 3 7, 389 Louis ofGermany 58, 1 64, 243, 244, 246, 260, 285, 331 , 344 Lower Danube 262, 316, 329, 331 , 334, 335, 344, 345, 387, 388, 41 3 Lower Oka 1 83 Lower Pannonia 56 Loyang 85 Luitpold 338

Macedonia 258, 309 Madara 331 Maeotis 209, 21 6, 282, 283, 291 , 328, 387 Magari 298



Magash 202, 433 Magery 298 Magna Bulgaria see Bulghar Empire, Great 1 80

Magna Hungaria 52, 1 80, 293 , 401 Magog 78, 272, 282, 283, 423, 426 Magor 272, 328 Magyarország 355 Mahbüb ibn Kustanfin see Agapius Mahmudkuli 433 Mainz 425 Maj ar 301 , 306 Maj ar Rejep 301 Maj arkay 301 Maj artai 301 Makarach 297 Makdisi see al-Muqaddasi Mala Pereshchepino 21 7 Malamir 227, 228, 243 Malta 258 al-Mamun(al-Ma ,mün ibnHiirun al-Rasid), caliph 224 Mani 63 Maniakh 21 4 Maodun, Xiongnu ruler 204 Maqdisi see Muqaddasi Mar Jakob ben R. Hannukah 289 Marcianus, Roman emperor 207 Margaret, Saint 328 Marinus I, Pope 260 Marinus ofTyros 45 Maros, river 1 26, 242, 266, 346, 366, 368, 388

Marseille 90 Marsigli 437 Martianus 11, Pope 260

Martyrdom ofAbo


Marvan 201 , 202, 220, 229 Marvazi ( S araf al-Zamiin Tiihi r Mar­ wazi) 71 , 1 65, 434 Mary, Virgin 264, 328

Mashad 70, 165 Master P. 59 al-Masudi (al-Mas· üdi, Abü • 1-1:[asan . Ali ibn al-1:[usayn) 73, 1 06, 1 49, 1 68, 201 , 202, 21 5, 232, 233, 290, 291 , 420, 433, 435 Matthias, king ofHungary 1 79, 406, 437, 440 Mattsee 58, 285 Matzaron 298 Maurice, emperor of Byzantium 52, 53, 200, 276 Mayak 1 32 Mayna, river 1 22, 222 Mecca 64, 292 Mede Empire 1 99 Medina 64, 296 Mediterranean Sea 408 Megyer 255, 306, 351 , 381 , 383, 389 Melas, river 211 Menander Protector 1 1 , 40, 51 , 52, 211 , 21 3 , 21 4, 282 Merovingian dynasty 56, 3 76 Mesopotamia 20, 22, 1 95 Metev, river 431 Methodius 60, 61 , 1 64, 233, 244, 245, 246, 249, 258, 260, 286, 296, 3 1 3 , 408 Methodius, Legend of 61 , 286 Meursius 49, 54 Mezen 1 79 Mezőség 1 24 Michael I, emperor ofByzantium 227 Michael III, emperor ofByzantium 258 Michael ofSyria 75, 200, 201 , 229, 325 Mikull!ice 1 26 Mikulovo 437 Mindszent 1 37 Ming dynasty 85, 375 Mirac/es ofSaint Demeter see Saint Deme­ ter' s Mirac/es Mirac/es ofSaint George 53

Index of proper names

Mitrovica 245 Mochar 298, 306 Modena 49 Mogorsciget 298 Mogurdi 298 Mohamed see Muhammad Moksha, river 1 82 Moldavia 119 Moldovan-Podolan loess ridge 1 58 Mon Kennen (see also Kiev) 293 Mongolia 1 42, 1 43, 210, 21 3, 253, 361 , 362 Mongolian Empire 7, 10, 272, 302 Mongolian Republic 81 , 1 62, 360 Monomakh see V ladimir Monomakh Morava, river 3 77 Moravia 60, 61 , 244, 249, 331 , 332, 336, 33 8, 378

Moravian Empire 246, 332, 336, 389 Mordia 279 Morocco 1 46 Mosaburg see Zalavár Moses ofHorene see Movses Horenaci Moses, five books of 232 Moson 443 Mosul 23 1 Mouageris 297 Movses Dashuranci 79, 1 51 , 231 , 366 Movses Horenaci (Moses ofHorene) 78, 21 5 Movses Kalankatvaci 79 Moyin chor inscription 8 1 Moymir I , ruler ofMoravia 243, 244 Moymir 11, ruler of Moravia 246, 336, 337 Mozhar 298, 306 Mozharka 298 Mozharovo 298 Mroveli, Leonti 79 Mu'awiya 64 Muayeris 297

529 Muchar 298, 306 Mugan khaghan 21 4 Muhammad 1 0, 64, 72, 256, 296 al-Muqaddasi (Sams al-Dín Abü • Abd Allah Mubammad ibn Abm ad ibn Abi Bakr al-Muqaddasi) 71 al-Muqtabas (Muqtabis) 73 , 1 65 al-Muqtadir ( al-Muqtadir bi-· llah), ca­ liph 69 Murom castle (Muromskoe gorodishche) 221 Muruj adz-dzahab 291 Mycenae 1 89

Niigmiin 432 Nagyszentmiklós 1 26, 1 27, 1 28, 1 29, 1 3 1 , 1 32, 1 47, 1 67, 264, 266, 370, 404, 405, 441 Nagytarcsa 1 54 Najib Hamadiini 70 Nándorfejérvár 284 Narim, river 1 78 Nasr ibn Ahmad, Samanid ruler 69, 330 Naum 61 N eanderthal 1 6 Negmen 432 Nehavend 64 Nekimen 432 Nestor Chronicle 62 Nestor, monk 62 Nibelungenlied see Song of the Nibelungs Nicephorus 52, 216, 217, 220 Nicephorus I, emperor ofByzantium 227 Nicephorus Phocas 259 Nicetas Scleros 331 , 344 Nicholas I, Pope 244, 259 Nicholas Misticus 53, 282 Nikolsburg 437 Nikon, igumen ofKiev 62 Nikopsis, river 201


Nisibis 74 Nitra 1 5 5, 243, 244, 246, 266 Nizhni Novgorod 246 Noah 9 North Afghanistan 74 North Africa 1 46 North Caucasus 232 North Greece 23 North Italy 23, 259, 262, 336, 337 North Mongolia 208 North Tocharistan 8 1 N ortheast Hungary 1 68 Northern Chi dynasty 89 Northern Mountain Range (Hungary) Northern Zhou dynasty 89, 1 68 Norway 3 82 Novgorod 1 80, 247 Noyon-ula 208 Nyék 1 66, 3 5 1 , 3 8 1 , 432 Nyíregyháza 273


1 54

Ob, river 1 7, 1 78, 1 79, 3 1 7, 3 20 Obadiya, Khazar ruler 232 Óbuda 423 Odoaker, Gerrnanic chieftain 376 Öfö see Ufa Ögödei, Mongolian ruler 4 1 7 Oka, river 1 82, 1 83, 246 Okhtay khan see Ögödei Old Testament 282, 423 Old Tibetan A nna/s 84 Old Tibetan Chronicle 84 Old Tibetan Empire 82, 83 Oleg, ruler of Kiev 247 Olhontor Bulkar 2 1 5, 2 1 6 Olomouc 437 Olshava, river 443 Omar I, Arabian caliph 64 Omurtagh, Bulghar ruler 227, 228, 242 One Thousand and One Nights 67

Ong inscription 8 1 Ong khan 272 Önggüt 272 Oniega, river 1 85 Onoghur Bulghar Empire 1 23 Onogoria 56 Őrhalom 1 68 Orkhon river 82, 297, 3 62 Orkhon Turk inscriptions 82, 408 Oroszpatak 278 Őrség 443 Osman 272 Ossetia 2 0 1 Ostmark 57 Oswald, bishop of Pannonia 244 Otto I, Bavarian prince 57, 407, 425 Otto I, Saxon ruler 57 Ottoman 1 62, 272 Ottoman Turkish Empire 1 0, 9 1 Ötüken 1 0, 374 Oxford 9 1 Oxos, river 1 97

Pannonia 56, 1 1 6, 1 24, 1 26, 1 66, 203, 207, 227, 243, 244, 245, 249, 264, 283, 285, 3 09, 332, 344, 3 88, 424, 437 Pannonian Downland 1 5 5 Pannonian Legends 60 Pantheon 423 Papagaia 20 1 Paris 49 Parthian Empire 1 99 Partholon 426 Passau 56, 244, 245, 264, 3 3 8, 3 88, 389 Patsinakia see Pecheneg country Paul, Saint 376 Pecheneg country 20 1 , 234, 237 Pechora, river 79 Peking (Beijing) 88 Peloponnisos 257

53 1

Index of proper names Peoples, On 49

Penjikent 252

Pepin the Short, Frankish ruler 56 Perm 1 80, 305 Persia 52, 64, 74, 80, 1 95, 1 96, 1 97, 202, 206, 21 0, 21 4, 230, 231 , 232, 238, 262, 288, 325, 376, 41 9, 421 , 422 Persian (Presiam), Danube Bolghar ruler 227 Persian Empire 1 95, 1 96, 1 97 Pest county, Hungary 1 54 Peter I the Great, Russian czar 301 Petronas 23 l Petrozavodsk 1 85 Peuké limné 21 5 Phanagoria 232 Philippicus Barnades 230 Philotheus 53 Photius, patriarch 258, 259, 260 Phrom Ge-sar 228 Piasts 378 Piliny 216, 366 Pisa 56 Piwki 21 5 Piano Carpini 290, 293, 300 Pliska 227 Poitiers 66, 23 0 Poland 91 , 232, 378, 382 Polo, Marco 272 Pontus steppe 285 Porphyrogenitus (see also Constantine V II Porphyrogenitus) 54, 201 , 202, 21 5, 21 6, 217, 235, 237, 238, 242, 288, 289, 296, 298, 305, 306, 326, 330, 334, 335, 340, 346, 348, 350, 370, 377, 380, 406, 414, 41 8, 41 9, 420, 430 Porto 259, 260 Povest ' vremennyh let 62, 1 65 Pozsony 56 Presiam see Persian Preslav 61 , 331

Pribina 1 33, 1 67, 243, 244, 264 Priskos the Rhetor 51 , 75, 207, 208, 209, 229, 248 Probota l l8 Procopius 51 , 240 Provence 260 Provinces, On 49 Prüm 57, 330 Prut 237 Przemysl l l8, 1 32 Pseudo lbn Muqqafa 74 Pseudo Movses Horenaci 78, 225 Pseudo Zakarias 75 Ptolemy 45, 67, 68, 78, 21 5, 1 6 Pugur 229

Qing dynasty 85 al-Quds (Jerusalem) 71 Qu' ran 301

Rába, river 264 Rabat 73, 408 Radanite house of trade 90, 92 Rakamaz 1 22, 1 3 5 Ras Tarkhan 200, 20 l Rashid ud-Din 290, 300 Rastislav, Moravian ruler 243, 244, 245, 246, 329, 331 Ratbod, Frankish marquis 243 Ravenna 46, 56, 220, 261 , 326 Regensburg 58, 244, 245 Regino l l , 57, 283, 330, 332, 420, 421 Regions ofthe World see Hudüd al-iilam Relatio de legatione Constantinopolitana

Repayment see Antapodosis Report on the route of Salam the Inter­ preter 68 Responses to the Burghar king 224


532 Rhine, river 7, 90, 119, 207, 377 Riccardus, frater 429 Rogerius 11, king ofSicily 72 Roman Empire 13, 47, 90, 203, 206, 207, 375, 376, 397 Roman Republic 23 Romanus Lacapenus, emperor of Byzan­ tium 53, 54, 232, 261 Rome 60, 228, 244, 245, 246, 258, 259, 260, 261 , 272, 291 , 336, 376, 377 Rostov 1 83 Rostov-Suzdal Principality 1 83 Rousseau 1 4 Roxana 1 95 Ruanruan Empire 211 Rubruk 290 Rum Sea see Black Sea Rurik, ruler ofKiev 247 Rus Khaghanate 246 Rus see Kiev Russia 117, 1 22, 1 82, 237, 246, 285 Russian Primary Chronicle 62 Ryazan 246 Sahname 63

Sabatai 287

Saint Basil 53 Saint Demeter 52

Saint Demeter's Miracles 52, 241

Saint Gallen Abbey 285 Saint Petersburg 1 85 Saksin 291 , 292 Salaho 243 Salamon, king ofHungary 57, 41 5, 425 Salard 346 Saltovo-Mayak 139, 1 40, 202, 328 Salzburg 56, 242, 244, 245, 263, 264, 347, 369, 388 Samandar 220, 230 Samanid dynasty 69, 330

Appendices Samara 221 , 231 , 291 Samarkand 71 Sambat (Kiev) 1 52 Samkars 232 Samo 241 , 378 Sankt Florian 262 Sarmatia 21 6 Sarolt 368 Sasanian dynasty 63 Sasanian Persia see Persia Sasanian Persian Empire 46, 52, 64, 1 97, 206 Satuk Bughra Khan 256 Saturnia 283 Sausan al-Rasi 69 Sava, river 332 Saxonia 377 Sayan Mountains 1 77, 1 78, 318 Scandinavia 1 1 9 Schechter Text 91 Sclavinia 264 Scythia 423, 427 Sebeos 78 Secret History of the Mongols 51 , 273, 290, 293, 300, 41 5, 417 Selenga, river 234, 362 Seleucid dynasty 1 96 Sepher Yosippon 91 , 286, 287, 313 Seret, river 237 Seretos, river 237 Sevastopol 203 Sevrei sumun inscription 81 Shang dynasty 85, 86 Shapur 11 1 97 Sharkel, Fortress at 1 1 4, 201 , 21 6, 231 , 296, 324, 328, 406 Shine usu inscription 81 Shiqi 89 Shishme, river 222, 431 Siberia 1 9, 20, 1 21 , 1 32, 212, 288, 317, 319


Index ofprop er names Sicily 72 Sigibert I, Frankish ruler 261 Siktivkar 1 79 Silk Route 29, 1 92, 214 Silvester, abbot 62 Silzibulos, Turk ruler 2 1 4 Sima Qian 89 Simeon, Bulghar ruler 53, 61 , 258, 331 , 334, 335, 440 Simson Yehudah 289 Singul, river 21 6 Sió, river 1 24 Sirmium 240, 242, 245, 262, 266, 346 Sisola, river 1 79 Slavonia 242 Slovakia 1 59, 242, 278, 437 Sogdiana 1 96, 200, 2 1 2 Sok, river 29 1 Solitudo avarorum 264 Solt 355 Song dynasty 85, 87, 88, 89, 254 Song ofthe Nibelungs 207, 423 South Asia 1 62 South Russia 274, 370 South Siberia 253, 320 South Transylvania 3 3 5 Southern Chi dynasty 89 Southern Chou dynasty 89 Soviet Union 70, 117, 1 84 Spain 7, 66, 73, 91 , 92, 1 65, 203, 277, 287, 340, 38 1 , 408 Spoleto 1 23, 259, 260, 26 1 Stephen of Constantinople 260 Stephen Saint I, King of Hungary 4, 5, 1 34, 215, 273 , 277, 339, 368, 38 1 , 382, 391 Stephen V (V I), Pope 260 Stephen V I (V II), Pope 261 Stephen, Bishop ofPerm 1 80 Stephen, Patriarch 331 Sterlitamak 1 2 1 , 1 22, 43 1

Strabon 200, 202, 211 , 21 6 Strategicon 52 Strázsadomb 1 22 Subbotici 1 18, 1 19 Sübötei 300 Sudova Vishnya 118 Sui dynasty 85, 28 1 Suj inscription 81 Sukrullah 71 Sur 346 Sura, river 1 82 Suzdal 1 83 Svatopluk I, ruler o fMoravia 244, 245, 246, 336, 369 Svatopluk 11, ruler of Moravia 246, 33 1 , 336, 389 Svatopolk, ruler ofKiev 62 Sviyaga, river 22 1 Svyatoslav, ruler ofKiev 231 , 247 Sweden 1 1 9 Synodalibus causis 1 1

Syr Darya 1 97, 212 Syria 64, 217, 258 Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county, Hungary 1 54 Szakony 366, 3 7 1 Szamos, river 266, 366 Szarvas 1 27, 1 30, 131 , 1 32, 1 67, 264, 370, 404, 405, 441 , 442 Szeben 443 Székelyderzs 437 Székelyland 443 Székesfehérvár 425 Szemeréd see Upper Szemeréd

al-Tabari (Abü Óa' far Mubammad ibn Óari:r at-Tabari) 72, 282 Tacitus 1 84 Tactics 53 Taihir inscription 81

534 Taimyr Peninsula 1 78 Taksony 346, 354 Talas, river 66, 82, 166, 204, 230, 234, 330 Talas Valley 1 66 Talmud 232 Tamatarhan 201 Tamin ibn Bahr 365 Tang Anna/s 89 Tang dynasty 85, 86, 88, 89, 146, 225 Tangri han see Tengri Khan Tangshu 89 Tankeyevka 1 21 , 222, 400 Taraz (Talas) river 330 Taraz, town 330 Tarentum 259 Tarhanka 222 Tarhos 346 Tarik Hill 66 Tarim Basin 1 93 Tarján 254, 351 , 352, 3 89 Tarkacsu 345 Tárkány 35 1 Tatar Kalmayur 305 Tatar Republic 1 83 Taz, river 1 78 Tegin al-Turki 69 Telegdi, János 437, 440 Telerig, Bulghar ruler 227 Temes, river 346 Temesköz 242 Tengri Khan 1 51 , 366 Teremhegy 116 Terh inscription 81 , 228, 405 Termachu see Termecsü Termecsü xxi, 54, 116, 167, 276, 345, 371 , 41 5 Tervel, Danube Bulghar ruler 227 Teutgaer 285 Tez II inscription 81 , 228, 405 Theoderich, Germanic chieftain 376

Appendices Theodora 230, 258 Theodorus II, Pope 261 Theodorus, Avar ruler 263 Theodorus Sincellus 52 Theophanes Bizantius 51 , 52, 55, 21 5, 216, 217, 232, 282 Theophilactus Simocattes 51 , 211 , 21 2, 248 Theotmar (Dietmar), archbishop of Salzburg 56, 369 Thessaloniki 52, 244, 258 Thewrewk 278 Thomas of Spalato 424 Thrace 21 5, 258 Three kingdoms 89 Thurk 278 Thuróczy 's chronicle 437 Tianshan Mountains 204 Tiber, river 261 , 283 Tiberius, East Roman emperor 262 Tibet 83, 84, 254 Tibetan plateau 82 Tiflis 20 1 , 230 Tii, river 211 Tim, river 1 78 Timisis see Temes Timok, river 242, 264, 377 Tisza, river 1 26, 1 59, 207, 262, 332, 336, 352, 388 Toghril 256 Togorma 286 Tokaj 1 41 Tolui, Mongolian prince 417 Tonyukhukh 374 Tonyukhukh minister's inscription 81 Toraye, gate 200 Tormás see Termechü Totila 208 Toulouse 207 Toxus (Taksony) 346 Traianus, Roman emperor 345


Index of proper names Transbaikal area 20 Transcaucasia 231 Transdanubia 1 26, 1 41 , 1 54, 1 59, 244, 246, 264 Trans-Tisza 346, 352 Transylvania 33, 133, 225, 242, 265, 266, 335, 336, 337, 344, 352, 357, 389, 443 Trier 57 Troyes 207 Trullos, river 237 Tsimlyansk 23 I Tunhuang see Dunhuang Tuoba Wei dynasty 85, 89, 253 Turcu 278 Turfan 80, 82, 1 92, 21 2 Turk 278 Turk Empire 21 3, 21 4, 215, 279, 280, 281 Turk Khaghanate, First 64, 80, 81 , 21 4, 255 Turk Khaghanate, Second 80, 81 , 252, 281 , 282, 354, 374 al-Turl