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|History of Hungary|
Hungarian prehistory (Hungarian: magyar őstörténet) refers to the prehistoric Magyars (Hungarians), from the time when they separated from Common Ugric (estimated to correspond to the early 1st millennium BC) until their conquest of the Carpathian Basin in the late 9th century (known as honfoglalás "landtaking" in Hungarian historiography). The poorly documented 10th-century Principality of Hungary is included by some historians as part of Hungarian prehistory. The terms "ancient history" and "early history" are also used by different sources to describe this same period of Hungarian history.
- 1 Sources
- 2 Historiography
- 3 Ethnonyms
- 4 Formation of the Magyar people
- 5 Migrations
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes
- 8 Sources
- 9 External links
A language shows the circumstances of its own development and its contacts with other idioms. Consequently, the study of the Hungarian language has always been one of the main sources of the research of the ethnogenesis of the Hungarian people. The research of the oldest layers of the Hungarian vocabulary can contribute to the determination of the territory where the Hungarian language emerged. The study of loan words from other languages can be instrumantal in determining direct contacts between the ancient speakers of the Hungarian language and other peoples. Borrowings from Iranian, Turkic and Slavic languages evidence that those who spoke Hungarian had once close contacts with speakers of these idioms. Loan words can also evidence changes in the way of life of the ancient speakers of the Hungarian language.
The Ancient Greek historian, Herodotus, who died in 425 BC, wrote of the Iyrcae, a people of equestrian hunters, who lived next to the Thyssagetae. Taking into account their ethnonym and the location of their homeland, Gyula Moravcsik, János Harmatta and other scholars identify them as Hungarians, saying that the "father of history" made the first record of the Hungarians' ancestors. Historians have not universally accepted this view. The 6th-century Byzantine historian, John Malalas, referred to a Hunnic tribal leader, Muageris, who ruled around 527 AD. Based on the similarity between Muageris's name and the Magyar endonym of the Hungarians, Moravcsik, Dezső Pais and other historians say that Malalas's report proves the presence of Magyar tribes in the region of the Sea of Azov in the early 6th century AD. Their theory is rejected by most historians. Likewise, the proposed connection between the Magyars' endonym and the name of a fort, Matzaron (which was situated on the frontier between the Byzantine Empire and the Sassanid Empire in the late 6th century) has been sharply criticized by historians.
The The Continuation of the Chronicle by Friar George, which was written in the middle of the 10th century, recorded the first historical event – an alliance between the Magyars and the Bulgarians in the late 830s – that can without doubt be connected to the Magyars. The Byzantine Emperor Leo the Wise's Tactics, a book written around 904, contains a detailed description of the Magyars' military strategies and life style. However, most information on the Magyars' early history can be found in Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus's De administrando imperio ("On Governing the Empire"), which was completed between 948 and 952.
Al-Jayhani, the minister of Nasr II, ruler of the Samanid Empire, collected the reports of merchants who had travelled in the western regions of the Eurasian steppes between around 870 and 889. Although Al-Jayhani's work was lost, later Muslim scholars – Ibn Rusta, Gardizi, Abu Tahir Marwazi, and Al-Bakri – used his book, preserving important facts about the late 9th-century Magyars. However, their works also contain interpolations from later periods. Among the sources written in Western Europe, the longer version of the Annals of Salzburg, Regino of Prüm's Chronicon, the Annals of Fulda, and Liutprand of Cremona's Antapodosis ("Retribution") provide contemporaneous or nearly contemporaneous information on the history of the Magyars in the 9th century. The legends of Cyril, Methodius, Naum and other early Slavic saints also refer to the Magyars dwelling on the Pontic steppes. Information on the 9th-century Magyars preserved in the Russian Primary Chronicle, which was completed in the 1110s, should be "treated with extreme caution", according to historian András Róna-Tas.
The first Hungarian historical works were written in the late 11th or early 12th century, but their texts were preserved in manuscripts written in the 13th-15th centuries. However, the earliest works contained no information on the history of the Magyars, or Hungarians, before their conversion to Christianity in the 11th century. Nevertheless, the principal subject of the first extant Hungarian chronicle, the Gesta Hungarorum, was the Magyars' pagan past. However, the reliability of this work, which was written by a former royal notary now known as Anonymus, is suspect. For instance, Carlile Aylmer Macartney describes it as "the most famous, the most obscure, the most exasperating and most misleading of all the early Hungarian texts" in his monography of the medieval Hungarian historians. The content of the Gesta Hungarorum differs to great extent from the text of other Hungarian chronicles, including Simon of Kéza's Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum and the Illuminated Chronicle.
The Annals of St. Bertin describe the Magyars, who invaded East Francia in 862, as enemies "hitherto unknown" to the local population. Likewise, Regino of Prüm wrote that the Magyars had been "unheard of in the previous centuries because they were not named" in the sources. Both remarks evidence that late 9th-century authors had no knowledge of the Magyars' origins. The Magyar raids reminded the Western European and Byzantine scholars of earlier historians' descriptions of the Scythians or Huns, which gave rise to the identification of the Magyars, or Hungarians, with these peoples. For instance, Leo the Wise listed the Hungarians among the "Scythian nations", and Widukind of Corvey identified them as Avars whom he regarded as the Huns' descendants. When writing about the Magyars' settlement in the Carpathian Basin, Widukind cited Jordanes's 6th-century description of the Huns. The similarity of the Latin ethnonyms Huni and Hungari also strengthened the identification of the two peoples, which became a commonplace in Western Europe in the 11th century. The Chronicon Eberspergense was the first source which clearly stated that the two peoples were identical.
Most historians agree that the so-called "legend of the wondrous hind", which was first recorded by Simon of Kéza in the late 13th century, preserved the Hungarians' genuine myth of their origins, but there are scholars (including Macartney) who says that the Hungarian chronicles borrowed this episode from foreign sources. According to this legend, two brothers, Hunor and Magor, were the forefathers of the Huns and Hungarians. They were the sons of one Ménrót by his wife, Eneth. While chasing a hind, the two brothers reached as far as the marches of the Sea of Azov where they abducted the wives of one Belar's sons and two daughters of Dula, the prince of the Alans. According to historian Gyula Kristó, Eneth's name derrived from the Hungarian word for hind (ünő), showing that the Magyars regarded this animal as their totemistic ancestor. The four personal names mentioned in the legend, Kristó continues, personify four peoples: the Hungarians (Magor), the Onogurs under the name Hun (Hunor), the Bulgars (Belar) and the Dula kindred of the Alans or Bulgars (Dulo). The hunt for a beast ending with the arrival in a new homeland was a popular legend among the peoples of the Eurasian steppes, including the Huns and the Mansi. The myth that a people was descended from two brothers was also widespread.
After the confusion of tongues the giant [Ménrót] entered the land of Havilah, which is now called Persia, and there he begot two sons, Hunor and Mogor, by his wife Eneth. It was from them that the Huns, or Hungarians, took their origins. ... [A]s Hunor and Mogor were Ménrót's first born, they journeyed separately from their father in tents. Now it happened one day when they had gone out hunting in the Meotis marshes that they encountered a hind in the wilderness. As they went in pursuit of it, it fled before them. Then it disappeared from their sight altogether, and they could not find it no matter how long they searched. But as they were wandering through these marshes, they saw that the land was well suited for grazing cattle. They then returned to their father, and after obtaining his permission they took all their possessions and went to live in the Meotis marshes. ... So they entered the Meotis marshes and remained there for five years without leaving. Then in the sixth year they went out, and when by chance they discovered that the wives and children of the sons of Belar were camped in tents in a lonely place without their menfolk, they carried them off with all their belongings as fast as they could into the Meotis marshes. Two daughters of Dula, prince of the Alans, happened to be among the children who were seeized. Hunor took one of them in marriage and Mogor the other, and to these women all the Huns owe their origin.
The earliest Hungarian chronicles adopted the idea that the Huns and Hungarians were closely related. Although Anonymus did not mention the Huns, he referred to Attila as a ruler "from whose line Prince Álmos", the supreme head of the Magyar tribes, descended. Simon of Kéza was the first Hungarian author who explicitly identified the Huns and the Hungarians in the 1280. Kéza started his chronicle of the Hungarians' history with a book of the history of the Huns, thus presenting the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin as the reoccupation of the lands which they had inherited from their ancestors. This identification remained the basic theory of the origins of the Hungarians for centuries.
Scholarly attempts to prove a relationship between the Finns and the Huns led to the realization of the similarities between the Finnish and Hungarian languages in the early 18th century. The first systematic comparative study of the Hungarian and the Saami languages – János Sajnovics's Demonstratio – was published in 1770. Based on Sajnovics's work, Sámuel Gyarmathi demonstrated the similarities of a larger group of idioms which are now known as Uralic languages in his Affinitas which was published in 1799. However, their theories were only gradually adopted by the majority of Hungarian scholars. For instance, Pál Hunfalvy wrote that Hungarian had an intermediate position between the Finnish and Turkic languages in the 1830s, but later accepted that Hungarian is closely related to the Mansi and Khanty languages. Hereafter linguistics played a preeminent role in the research of the Magyars' prehistory: historical and archaeological theories have often been determined by the dominant linguistic theories. Mainstream scholars now agree that the Hungarians are not the autochthonous population of the Carpathian Basin, because their ancestors arrived here, through a series of westward migrations across the Eurasian steppes, around 894, centuries after their departure from their homeland which had been located somewhere in the East.
Nevertheless, the formation of the early Magyars and the nature of their connection with the Turkic tribes are still subject to scholarly debates. With regard of the latter issue, archaeologist Gyula László elaborated an alternative theory in the 1960s, the theory of "double Conquest, saying that a large group of people who spoke a Finno-Ugrian language, whom he identified as Onogurs, came to the Carpathian Basin in 670, and the conquerors of the late 9th century were Turks. László's theory has never been widely accepted by other scholars. Modern historians still debate the location of the Magyars' homeland, their connections with the Khazar Khaganate, their life-style and political organization and the background of their conquest of the Carpathian Basin.
The Magyars, or Hungarians, were mentioned under various ethnic names in Arabic, Byzantine, Slavic and Western European sources in the 9th and 10th centuries. Arabic scholars referred to them as magyar, baškir or turk, Byzantine authors mentioned them as hun, ungr, turk and savard, Slavic sources used the ethnonyms ugr and peon, and Western Europen authors wrote of hungrs, pannons, avars, huns, turks and agaren. A variant of the Hungarians' self-designation (al-Madjghariyya) was first recorded in the early 10th century by Ibn Rusta. According to a widespread theory, the Magyar ethnonym is a composite word consisting of two parts. The first part (magy-) has been connected to several recorded or hypothetical words, including the Mansi's self-designation (māńśi) and a reconstructed Ugric word for man (*mańća). The second part of the ethnonym (-er/-ar) may have developed from a reconstructed Finno-Ugrian word for man or boy (*irkä) or from a Turkic word with a similar meaning (eri/iri). Alan W. Ertl writes that the ethnonym was initially the name of a smaller group, the Megyer tribe, but it became a general designation for the entire people, because the Megyer was the most powerful tribe.
The Magyars' best known exonym, Hungarian, is connected to the Onogurs' ethnonym, according to most scholars' view. The ethnonym started spreading in Europe with Slavic mediation. The Hungarians' multiple ethnonyms gave rise to various theories about their history. For instance, the linguist Gyula Németh wrote that the ungr, savard, turk and magyar ethnonyms reflect that the Magyars had been integrated in various empires of the Eurasian steppes – the tribal confederations of the Onogurs and of the Sabirs, and the Turkic Khaganate – before achieved their independence.
Formation of the Magyar people
Before the separation of the Hungarian language
Taking into account the lack of certain records of the Magyars before the 9th century and the uncertainties of the identification of archaeological cultures with peoples, historian Nóra Berend writes that Hungarian prehistory is "a tenuous construct based on linguistics, folklore analogies, archaeology and later written evidence". Accordingly, as historian László Kontler writes, "the history of Hungarian origins is the history of a community whose genetic composition and cultural character has been changing, but which has assuredly spoken Hungarian or its predecessor language". Hungarian has traditionally been classified as an Ugric language within the family of Uralic languages, but alternative views also exist. For instance, linguist Tapani Salminen rejects the one-time existence of a Proto-Ugric language, saying that that Hungarian was rather a member of an "areal genetic unit" that also included Permic languages.
Paleolinguistic research suggests that the speakers of the Proto-Uralic language lived in a territory where larches, silver firs, spruces, and elms could be found. The study of pollen in fossils shows that these trees grew on both sides of the Ural Mountains along the rivers Ob, Pechora and Kama in the 4th millennium BC. The lands between the Urals and the Kama were sparsely inhabited in this period. According to archaeologists, the Urheimat, or original homeland, of the Uralic peoples occupied a much larger territory, stretching from the Baltic Sea to Western Siberia. Most Neolithic settlements were situated on the banks of rivers and lakes, but no houses have been excavated. The local inhabitants used tools made of stone (especially jasper from the southern regions of the Urals), bone and wood, but baked clay vessels decorated with broken or wavy lines were also unearthed. Their economy was based on fishing, hunting and gathering. Paleolithic drawings on rocks in the Urals depict scenes of hunting for reindeer and moose. The basic Hungarian words connected to these activities – háló (net), íj (bow), nyíl (arrow), ideg (bowstring), and mony (ancient word for egg) – are inherited from the Proto-Uralic period.
The development of regional variants of the so-far uniform material culture which had by that time spread over vast territories both to the west and east started around the end of the 4th millennium BC, which contributed to the emergence of separated languages. About 1000 basic words of the Hungarian language (including the names of the seasons and natural phenomena, and the basic verbs) had cognates in other Finno-Ugric languages, suggesting the existence of a Proto-Finno-Ugric language. For instance, the Hungarian words for house (ház), dwelling (lak), door (ajtó) and bed (ágy) have been inherited from this period. Houses from this period were unearthed on both sides of the Urals which show regional differences: in the valley of the Sosva River, square pit-houses were dug deep into the ground, while along the Kama River, rectangular semi-pit houses were built. Neolithic people used egg-shaped baked clay vessels decorated with rhombuses, triangles and other geometrical forms. They buried their dead in shallow graves and showered the body with red ochre. They also buried put objects into the graves, including tools, pierced boar tusks worn as jewels and small pendants forming animal heads.
Climatic changes caused the spread of swamps on both sides of the Urals between around 2600 and 2100 BC, forcing groups of the local inhabitants to leave their homelands. Consequently, the linguistic unity disappeared and new linguistic groups emerged by the end of the 2nd millennium BC. Whether the groups speaking the language from which Hungarian emerged lived to the east or to the west of the Urals in this period is still debated by historians. Word inherited from the period of the cohabitation of the Ugric peoples – ló ("horse"), nyereg ("saddle"), fék ("bridle"), and szekér ("wagon") – show that they rode horses. Copper objects unearthed in the wider region of the Urals that were manufactured in the Caucasus Mountains indicate trade contacts between the regions of the two mountains from around 2000 BC. Animal husbandry also spread on both sides of the Urals – along the rivers Volga, Kama and Tobol – from around 1500 BC. The bones of domestic animals (cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and horses) made up 90% of all animal bones excavated in several settlements from the second half of the 2nd millennium BC. Loan words from Proto-Iranian prove that the Ugric-speaking populations adopted animal husbandry from neighboring peoples. For instance, the Hungarian words for cow (tehén) and milk (tej) are of Proto-Iranian origin. Archaeological finds – including seeds (millet, wheat and barley) and tools (sickles, hoes and spade handles) – prove that the local population cultivated arable lands on both sides of the Ural.
Climate changes between around 1300 and 1000 BC caused the northward expansion of the steppes, compelling the southernmost Proto-Ugric groups to give up their settled way of life and to adopt a nomadic lifestyle. Ethnographic studies of modern nomadic populations suggest that cyclic migrations (a year by year movement between their winter and summer camps in search for new pastures) featured the ancient nomads' way of life. However, they continued cultivating arable lands which were situated around their winter camps. Around 800 BC, the climate again changed with the beginning of a wetter period, forcing the nomadic Ugric groups to start a southward migration, following the steppes. Their movement separated them from the northern Ugric groups, which gave rise to the development of the language from which modern Hungarian emerged. Some elements of Hungarian folklore, including the concept of the "sky-high tree" that connected the subterranean and the celestial worlds, seem to have been inherited from the period preceeding the dispersal of the Finno-Ugric unity, according to historian László Kontler.
The Magyars' "original homeland" and their early westward migrations
The location of the Magyars' Urheimat, or original homeland, is still subject to scholarly debates. For instance, András Róna-Tas says that a separate Hungarian language started emerging to the west of the Urals (in the region of the rivers Kama and Volga), while István Fodor writes that the Magyars' Urheimat lay to the east of the mountains. From the 8th century BC, the Scythians, Sarmatians and other peoples speaking Iranian languages dominated the Eurasian steppes. The certain identification of the ancient Magyars based on archaeological finds is impossible, because all ethnic groups dwelling in the steppes in this period were nomads with almost identical cultural features. Two popular motifs of the art of the Magyars from the 10th century AD (the stag and the eagle) had close analogies in Scythian art. According to archaeologist István Fodor, some features of the tumuli from the 4th century BC unearthed at Chelyabinsk (including the northward orientation of the heads of the deceased and the geometric motifs on the clay vessels) had analogies in older burials attributed to Ugric peoples.
If the Magyars' Urheimat was situated to the east of the Urals, they must have moved from Western Siberia to Eastern Europe. There were three or four larger movements of peoples across the steppes in the period between 500 BC and 700 AD. Around 400 BC, the "Prohorovo culture" spread towards the lands now forming Bashkortostan; although this culture is primarily attributed to the Sarmatians, groups of the ancient Magyars may have also been involved in this migration, according to Fodoer. Between about 350 and 400 AD, the westward migration of the Huns forced groups dwelling in Western Siberia to move to Bashkortostan. Next, the Avars' attack against the Sabirs set in motion a number of peoples in the steppes in the 460s, according to the 5th-century Byzantine scholar, Priscus of Panium. Gyula Németh and other modern scholars say that the Magyars' ancestors moved from Western Siberia to the steppes along the Kuban River to the north of the Caucasus. Finally, the arrival of the Avars in Europe also compelled many nomadic groups to move from Siberia to the lands to the west of the Urals between around 550 and 600.
The arrival of the Huns put an end to the dominance of Iranian peoples in the Eurasian steppes. Thereafter Turkic peoples (including the Sabirs, Avars, Onoghurs, and Khazars) dominated the grasslands of Eastern Europe. Both written sources and linguistic research evidence that the Magyars were closely connected to the Turkic peoples. For instance, Gardizi wrote that the Magyars were "a branch of the Turks", and Emperors Leo the Wise and Constantine Porphyrogenitus mentioned them as "Turks". There are about 450 Hungarian words which were borrowed from Turkic languages before around 900. These loanwords suggest that the Magyars' connections with the Turks substantially transformed their economy. For instance, the Hungarian words for pig (disznó), castrated hog (ártány), ox (ökör), barley (árpa), plough (eke), and sickle (sarló) are of Turkic origin. Most loanwords were borrowed from Bulgar or other Chuvash-type Turkic language, but both the place and the time of the borrowings are uncertain.
According to one Friar Riccardus's report, Friar Julian and three other Dominican monks departed for a journey in search for Magna Hungaria, the Magyars' original homeland, after they read of a group of Magyars, who had stayed behind there, in an ancient Hungarian chronicle. Friar Julian met a Hungarian-speaking group in the land of the Volga Bulgars "beside the great Etil river", which is identified with the Volga or the Kama by modern historians. Consequently, Magna Hungaria was located in present-day Bashkortostan or the lands lying to the west of it. Based on the report, many modern scholars (including Gyula Kristó and István Fodor) say either that the Magyars stayed in Magna Hungaria for centuries after their departure from Western Siberia or the Magyars' Urheimat was indeed identical with Magna Hungaria. Abu Zayd al-Balkhi and other 10th-century Muslim authors used the ethnonym Bashkir when referring to the Magyars. According to many scholars (including Gyula Pauler, Lajos Ligeti and Gyula Kristó), the name of at least one Magyar tribe (Gyarmat) is connected to the name of a Bashkir group (Yurmatï), which may imply that either a group of Bashkirs joined the Magyars when the latter departed from Magna Hungaria or a group of Magyars moved to Magna Hungaria. If the latter theory, which was proposed by Ligeti, is valid, Magna Hungaria was not the Magyars' original homeland, but was named after a group of Magyars who seceded from their people and moved to the regions of the Volga and Kama. The burial customs of the people who used a cemetery at the confluence of the Volga and Kama (near present-day Bolshie Tigany) in the 9th and 10th centuries – the use of death masks and the placing of parts of horses into the graves – had close analogies in 10th-century burial grounds in the Carpathian Basin. Archaeologists agree that the cemetery at Bolshie Tigany was used by a group of Magyars who either stayed behind in Magna Hungaria or moved there from other regions.
Gyula Németh, András Róna-Tas and other scholars write that the Magyars dwelled in the region of the Kuban River to the north of the Caucasus Mountains for centuries. According to these scholars, the Hungarian words of Alanic origin were borrowed in this region. For instance, the Hungarian word for lady (asszony), which originally referred to royal or noble women, was borrowed from the Alans. Likewise, scholars supporting the theory say that the Magyars adopted the Turkic terminology of viticulture – including bor ("wine") and seprő ("dregs") – and the Turkic names of some fruits – for instance, som ("cornel") and szőlő ("grapes") – in the lands north of the Caucasus.
First records on the Magyars
The Annales Bertiniani records that in 839, the Byzantine Emperor Teophilos asked the Emperor Louis the Pious to assist the Rus delegates, who had visited Constantinople, in returning to their country, because "barbarian and wild peoples" would endanger their journey backwards on the road they had come to Constantinople. However, the identification of the “barbarian and wild peoples” with the Magyars has not been generally accepted.
The Magyars "had of old their dwelling next to Chazaria, in the place called" Levedia, according to Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus. The emperor also wrote that "a river Chidmas, also called Chingilous" run in this territory. The identification of the (one or two) rivers is uncertain, so it may have been located either to the east or to the west of the Don River. For instance, Loránd Benkő identified the Chidmas with the Kodyma River and the Chingilous with the Inhul, thus placing Levedia in the wider region of the river Southern Bug. Although the emperor associated Levedia with the whole territory dominated by the Magyars, most modern historians agree that he only described a smaller region.
Porphyrogenitus said that the Magyars had been named "Sabartoi asphaloi" ("steadfast Savarts") while they stayed in Levedia. The reliability of this remark is subject to scholarly debates. András Róna-Tas says that this ethnonym is an "invented term which has no historical credence". On the other hand, Károly Czeglédy, Dezső Dümmerth, Victor Spinei and other historians accepted the emperor's report, and associated with the Magyars with the late 6th-century Sabirs or the Suvar tribe of the Volga Bulgars based on this ethonym.
The Magyars "lived together with the Chazars for three years, and fought in alliance with the Chazars in all their wars", according to Porphyrogenitus. The text shows that the Magyars were subjugated to the Khazar Khaganate, who dominated the large territories in the steppes north of the Caucasus after around 650. The emperor said that the Magyars' subjection to the Khazars lasted only for three years, but modern historians have always tended to propose a longer period (100, 150, 200 or even 300 years).
The Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus names a place where the early Magyars used to live and calls it Levedia after Magyar voivode Levedi. According to the Emperor's work, the Magyars struggled together with the Khazars, which suggest that the Magyar tribes were under Khazar suzerainty. The length of the period when the Magyar tribes were subdued to the Khazar empire is under debate: Constantine Porphyrogenitus records that they lived there only three years, while some modern authors assume a 300-year-long period. Other scholars suggest that the Khazar suzerainty over the Magyars may have started around 840 when references to a people distinct from the Khazars disappeared from the written sources.
Around 850, the Pechenegs, who had suffered a defeat from the Khazars, invaded Levedia and defeated the Magyars who, led by the Voivode Levedi, fled west. A group of the Magyars, however, fled over the Caucasus Mountains and settled down there and their descendants lived in the region until the 13th century. On the other hand, some modern scholars suggest that the Magyars moved west already in the 7th century when Great Bulgaria disintegrated under Khazar pressure and the Bulgars left the territory north of the Black Sea.
Following their defeat from the Pechenegs (or following the disintegration of Great Bulgaria), the seven Magyar tribes (Hungarian: Hétmagyar) that moved west settled down on the territory that Constantine Porphyrogenitus calls Etelküzü (or Etel and Küzü). The Etelköz was the first known Hungarian principality, established around 830. The territory was located around the rivers Dnieper, Southern Bug, Dniester, Prut and Siret.
Shortly afterwards, as the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus recorded, the Khagan of the Khazars sent envoys to Voivode Levedi suggesting that he should be elevated to grand prince. Levedi, however, rejected the Khagan's offer and proposed instead Álmos or his son Árpád; the Khagan accepted his proposal. Although, according to the Byzantine Emperor, the heads of the seven Magyar tribes preferred Árpád, modern authors usually believe that Álmos was proclaimed the first Grand Prince of the Magyars (his title is recorded as megas Turkias arkhon in the "On Administering the Empire"). Some scholars, however, debate the credibility of the Emperor’s accounts and see the story as a legitimizing explanation invented by the Árpáds for a regime change.
According to Ahmad ibn Rustah’s work, the leadership of the Magyar tribal federation was divided between a spiritual ruler and an administrative and military leader – similar to the Khazar practise. Ahmad ibn Rustah also recorded that the nominal leader of the tribal federation Hétmagyar was styled kende, but its military leader was the gyula. In the Khazar empire, the holder of the third dignity (following its military leader) was styled kündür, which suggests that the Khazar Khagan granted this title to the newly elected head of the Magyar tribal federation.
The Magyars are a race of Turks and their leader rides out with 20,000 horsemen and this king is called k.nd.h and this name denotes their king, for the name of the man who is actually king over them is ĝ.l.h and all the Magyars accept the orders of their ĝ.l.h in the matter of war and defense and the like.—Ahmad ibn Rustah
enemies, proviously unknown for the nations, called Ungri, devastate his /Louis the German's/ country.—Annales Bertiniani
These Magyars are a handsome people and of good appearance and their clothes are of silk brocade and their weapons are of silver and are encrusted with pearls.—Ahmad ibn Rusta
The so-called Kabaroi were of the race of the Chazars. Now, it fell out that a secession was made by them to their government, and when a civil war broke out their first government prevailed, and some of them were slain, but others escaped and came and settled with the Turks in the land of the Pechenegs, and they made friends with one another, and were called 'Kabaroi'.—Constantine Porphyrogenitus: On Administering the Empire
Thenceforward, the Kabars were regarded as military auxiliaries of the Magyars and they provided the advance and rear guards to their hosts. In 881, the Magyars and the Kabars invaded East Francia, and they fought two battles, the former (Ungari) at Wenia (probably Vienna) and the latter (Cowari) at Culmite (possibly Kulmberg or Kollmitz in Austria).
The Magyars were occasionally hired by the rulers of the neighboring territories to intervene in their struggles. According to the Annales Fuldenses, in 892, King Arnulf of East Francia invaded Great Moravia and the Magyars joined to his troops. In 894, the Magyars invaded Pannonia already in alliance with King Svatopluk I of Moravia.
- Principality of Hungary
- Shamanistic remnants in Hungarian folklore
- List of Hungarian rulers
- Magyar tribes
- Hungarian mythology
- Old Hungarian alphabet
- Hunor and Magor
- Kristó, Gyula, general editor; Engel, Pál; Makk, Ferenc, eds. (1994). Korai Magyar Történeti Lexikon (9–14. század) (Encyclopedia of the Early Hungarian History – 9–14th centuries). Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. p. 753. ISBN 963-05-6722-9.
- "A Country Study: Hungary - Early History". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
- Róna-Tas 1999, p. 92.
- Berend, Urbańczyk & Wiszewski 2013, p. 63.
- Róna-Tas 1999, p. 32.
- Róna-Tas 1999, pp. 33-34, 93-94.
- Róna-Tas 1999, pp. 93-95.
- Berend, Urbańczyk & Wiszewski 2013, p. 64.
- Róna-Tas 1999, pp. 109-112.
- Kristó 1996, p. 7.
- Róna-Tas 1999, p. 45.
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