Hungarian prehistory

Hungarian prehistory

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See Pannonian basin before Hungary for the prehistory of Hungary (as opposed to the prehistory of the Hungarian people).


Hungarian prehistory refers to the prehistoric Magyars, from the time when they separated from Common Ugric (estimated to correspond to the early 1st millennium BC) until their invasion of the Carpathian basin in the late 9th century
(known as "Landtaking" in Hungarian historiography).
The poorly documented 10th-century Principality of Hungary
Principality of Hungary
The Principality of Hungary, also Hungarian Principality or Duchy of Hungary , was the first documented Hungarian state, a tribal alliance in the Carpathian Basin, established 895 or 896, following the 9th-century Magyar invasion of Pannonia.The Magyars , a semi-nomadic group of people led by Árpád...

 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. Contrary to language-based theories, according to others the ancestors of Hungarians were among those Caucasoid settlers who first appeared in Europe about 40-35,000 years ago

Emergence from the Ugric speakers


The Hungarian language is traditionally classified in a Ugric
Ugric languages
Ugric or Ugrian languages are a branch of the Uralic language family. The term derives from Yugra, a region in north-central Asia.They include three languages: Hungarian , Khanty , and Mansi language...

 branch of the Uralic languages
Uralic languages
The Uralic languages constitute a language family of some three dozen languages spoken by approximately 25 million people. The healthiest Uralic languages in terms of the number of native speakers are Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Mari and Udmurt...

, though the Ugric similarities may be due to an areal
Sprachbund
A Sprachbund – also known as a linguistic area, convergence area, diffusion area or language crossroads – is a group of languages that have become similar in some way because of geographical proximity and language contact. They may be genetically unrelated, or only distantly related...

 influence that also included Samoyedic
Samoyedic languages
The Samoyedic languages are spoken on both sides of the Ural mountains, in northernmost Eurasia, by approximately 30,000 speakers altogether....

. The Uralic languages may have separated sometime around 4000 to 2000 BC.

Climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

s around 1300 BC resulted in the northward expansion of the steppe
Steppe
In physical geography, steppe is an ecoregion, in the montane grasslands and shrublands and temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biomes, characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes...

s which compelled several groups within the proto-Ugric people to turn to the nomadic lifestyle. This change was strengthened by the several proto-Iranian
Proto-Iranian
Proto-Iranian, is the reconstructed proto-language of the Iranian languages branch of Indo-European language family, and as such, the ancestor of the Iranian languages such as Persian, Sogdian, Zazaki, Mazandarani, Kurdish and others...

 groups living south of them who had been practicing pastoral nomadism and whose influence on the proto-Ugric people can be proven by several loanwords in their languages. The formation of the Hungarian language occurred around this time (between 1000 BC and 500 BC) and can be localized to the southern regions of the Ural Mountains
Ural Mountains
The Ural Mountains , or simply the Urals, are a mountain range that runs approximately from north to south through western Russia, from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the Ural River and northwestern Kazakhstan. Their eastern side is usually considered the natural boundary between Europe and Asia...

.

Following a further climate change around 800 BC that caused the expansion of the taiga
Taiga
Taiga , also known as the boreal forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests.Taiga is the world's largest terrestrial biome. In North America it covers most of inland Canada and Alaska as well as parts of the extreme northern continental United States and is known as the Northwoods...

, the nomadic proto-Ugric groups (probably the ancestors of the Magyars) had to move southward; thus they separated from the ancestors of the Khanty
Khanty people
Khanty / Hanti are an indigenous people calling themselves Khanti, Khande, Kantek , living in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, a region historically known as "Yugra" in Russia, together with the Mansi. In the autonomous okrug, the Khanty and Mansi languages are given co-official status with Russian...

 and Mansi peoples.

The Hungarian Urheimat


The Hungarian Urheimat
Urheimat
Urheimat is a linguistic term denoting the original homeland of the speakers of a proto-language...

is the theoretical original homeland of the Magyars. The term urheimat comes from linguistics and tends to be reserved for discussion about language origin. As regards the Hungarian urheimat, one of the consensus views is that it must have been located somewhere in the steppe zone south of the Ural Mountains.
  • One view states that the Magyar Urheimat is the same as the Ugric language group's urheimat on the western side of the Ural Mountains. The time when the proto-Magyars moved westwards from the regions east of the Ural Mountains and settled down in Bashkiria
    Bashkortostan
    The Republic of Bashkortostan , also known as Bashkiria is a federal subject of Russia . It is located between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains. Its capital is the city of Ufa...

     (around the region where the Kama River
    Kama River
    Kama is a major river in Russia, the longest left tributary of the Volga and the largest one in discharge; in fact, it is larger than the Volga before junction....

     joins the Volga
    Volga River
    The Volga is the largest river in Europe in terms of length, discharge, and watershed. It flows through central Russia, and is widely viewed as the national river of Russia. Out of the twenty largest cities of Russia, eleven, including the capital Moscow, are situated in the Volga's drainage...

    ) is still under debate. Their movement may have been caused by new migrations
    Migration Period
    The Migration Period, also called the Barbarian Invasions , was a period of intensified human migration in Europe that occurred from c. 400 to 800 CE. This period marked the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages...

     of peoples in the 4th century AD, but it may have also connected to the appearance of a new archaeological culture (Kushnarenkovo culture) in the region in the 6th century AD.

  • Another view claims that the urheimat is roughly the same area as Yugra
    Yugra
    Yugra was the name of the lands between the Pechora River and Northern Urals in the Russian annals of the 12th–17th centuries, as well as the name of the Khanty and partly Mansi tribes inhabiting these territories, later known as VogulsThe Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug of Russia is also...

     to the east of the Ural Mountains, where the Khanty and Mansi peoples live today. Yugra also tends to be identified as the Ob-Ugric languages
    Ob-Ugric languages
    The Ob-Ugric languages are a hypothetical branch of the Uralic languages, specifically referring to the Khanty and Mansi languages. Both are split in numerous and highly divergent dialects...

     urheimat and not the earlier Ugric period; and thus the western side of the Urals in the vicinity of the Kama river
    Kama River
    Kama is a major river in Russia, the longest left tributary of the Volga and the largest one in discharge; in fact, it is larger than the Volga before junction....

     is considered to be the Ugric language urheimat. It is believed that the Magyars emerged from this western Ural Urheimat, based upon early language influence from Permic peoples.

  • Approaches based on "map-stratification" have compared burial sites, ornamental motifs (tulips, cranes), leather and felt garments, mythological images, sacrificial cauldrons, folk poetry, folk music, lullabies, together with written documents and genetic findings to narrow down the most likely Magyar urheimat to the grassy land surrounded by four freshwater lakes (Caspian
    Caspian Sea
    The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

    , Aral
    Aral Sea
    The Aral Sea was a lake that lay between Kazakhstan in the north and Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region of Uzbekistan, in the south...

    , Balkhash
    Lake Balkhash
    Lake Balkhash is one of the largest lakes in Asia and 12th largest continental lake in the world. It is located in southeastern Kazakhstan, in Central Asia, and belongs to an endorheic basin shared by Kazakhstan and China, with a small part in Kyrgyzstan. The basin drains into the lake via seven...

    , and Baikal
    Lake Baikal
    Lake Baikal is the world's oldest at 30 million years old and deepest lake with an average depth of 744.4 metres.Located in the south of the Russian region of Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast, it is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the...

    ). This is the same area from which the Huns
    Huns
    The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

     are known to have originated. From this land the migration of proto-Magyars progressed west, probably by more than one route, mainly via the Yekaterinburg
    Yekaterinburg
    Yekaterinburg is a major city in the central part of Russia, the administrative center of Sverdlovsk Oblast. Situated on the eastern side of the Ural mountain range, it is the main industrial and cultural center of the Urals Federal District with a population of 1,350,136 , making it Russia's...

    -gap of the South-Ural mountains (indicated by cemeteries), to Levedia and later to Etelköz where they became the allies of the Khazars. Genetic evidence has linked early Magyars eastward as well to the Ujghurs, living in East-Eurasia around the town of Ürümqi
    Ürümqi
    Ürümqi , formerly Tihwa , is the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China, in the northwest of the country....

     (today in China).


Nevertheless some authors emphasize that the urheimat concept is outdated since the development of a people is continuous.

Ethnonym



The origin of the "Magyar" expression (the self-definition of the Hungarians) could prove the period when the separation of the proto-Hungarians and the groups speaking proto-Ob-Ugric languages took place, but there are several theories on its origins; the word may be composed of two parts (magy and ar) or it may have been borrowed from a proto-Iranian language.

Words similar to the proposed magy element of the word are also used by the Khanty and Mansi peoples (referring to one of their groups /mos/ or to themselves /mansi/ respectively) which suggest that it is of Ugric origin and it possibly means "those who speak". The assumed ar element of the word may be either of Ugric or Turkic
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

 origin and it probably means "man". Those who assume that the expression ar originated from a Turkic language, also think that it may refer to a Turkic tribe that joined to a group of the proto-Ugric peoples and thus the two groups formed the Magyar people.

Foreign primary sources use several names when referring to the Magyars (Hungarians).
  • In sources written in Arabic
    Arabic language
    Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

    , the Magyars are mentioned as Madjfarīyah or Madjgharīyah (e.g., by Ahmad ibn Rustah
    Ahmad ibn Rustah
    Ibn Rustah was a 10th century Persian explorer and geographer born in Rosta district, Isfahan, Persia....

    ), Badjghird or Bazkirda (e.g., by al-Mas’udi), Unkalī (e.g., by al-Tartushi
    Abraham ben Jacob
    Abraham ben Jacob, better known under his Arabic name of Ibrâhîm ibn Ya`qûb was a 10th century Hispano-Arabic, plausibly Sephardi Jewish, traveller, probably a merchant, whose brief may have included diplomacy and espionage...

    ), and Turk (e.g., by Ibn Hayyan
    Ibn Hayyan
    Abu Marwán Hayyán Ibn Khalaf Ibn Hayyan al-Qurtubi , usually known as Ibn Hayyan, was a Muslim historian from Al-Andalus.Born at Córdoba, he was an important official at the court of the Andalusian ruler al-Mansur and published several works on history which have only survived in part...

    ).
  • In Byzantine
    Medieval Greek
    Medieval Greek, also known as Byzantine Greek, is the stage of the Greek language between the beginning of the Middle Ages around 600 and the Ottoman conquest of the city of Constantinople in 1453. The latter date marked the end of the Middle Ages in Southeast Europe...

     sources, the Magyars are referred to as Οΰγγροι /Ungroi/, Τουρκοι /Turkoi/ (e.g., by the Emperor Leo the Wise
    Leo VI the Wise
    Leo VI, surnamed the Wise or the Philosopher , was Byzantine emperor from 886 to 912. The second ruler of the Macedonian dynasty , he was very well-read, leading to his surname...

    ), and Σάβαρτοι άσφαλοι /Sawartoi asfaloi/ (e.g., by the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogennetos
    Constantine VII
    Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos or Porphyrogenitus, "the Purple-born" was the fourth Emperor of the Macedonian dynasty of the Byzantine Empire, reigning from 913 to 959...

    ).
  • When mentioning the Magyars, the medieval
    Middle Ages
    The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

     sources written in the Latin language usually use the terms Ungri, Hungri, Ungari, and Hungari, but some of the sources refer to the Magyars as Avari or Huni.
    This Latin name for the Magyars, variously spelled Ungri, Hungri, Ungari, Hungari, along with its many derivatives including English
    English language
    English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

     Hungarians, must have derived from the Slavic
    Slavic languages
    The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

     form of the name of the Onogurs
    Onogurs
    The Onogurs, also known as Utigurs, were a horde of equestrian nomads in the North Eurasian steppe east of the Don River during the 5th to 8th centuries. The Onogurs crossed the Volga and entered into Europe around the year 460 within the larger context of the Great Migrations and the Turkic...

    , a federation of (mainly) Turkic tribes in the 5th-8th centuries.

First records on the Magyars


In the 5th century BC, Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

’ described a people called Іϋρκαι /Iurkai/ who were equestrian
Equestrianism
Equestrianism more often known as riding, horseback riding or horse riding refers to the skill of riding, driving, or vaulting with horses...

 hunters and lived around the rivers Kama and Belaya; some authors suggest that his record may have been the first reference to the ancestors of the Magyars. The people mentioned by Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 as Οΰγρου /Ugroi/ might also be identified with the ancient Hungarians, although it is more plausible that he referred to one of the tribes of the Sarmatians
Sarmatians
The Iron Age Sarmatians were an Iranian people in Classical Antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD....

.

Based on the ancient name Σάβαρτοι άσφαλοι /Sawartoi asfaloi/ of the Magyars recorded by the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogennetos, some scholars assume that the Byzantine, Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 and Armenian
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

 sources, that referred to a people called Σάβιροι /Sawiroi/, Σεβορτιοι /Sewortioi/, Siyāwardiya, and Sevordi, recorded the presence of the ancient Magyars north of the Caucasus Mountains
Caucasus Mountains
The Caucasus Mountains is a mountain system in Eurasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus region .The Caucasus Mountains includes:* the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and* the Lesser Caucasus Mountains....

 in the 5th-10th centuries. On the other hand, other authors point out that this identification is highly disputable based on linguistic arguments.

The Byzantine author who continued Georgius Monachus
George Hamartolus
George Hamartolos or Hamartolus was a monk at Constantinople under Michael III and the author of a chronicle of some importance. Hamartolus is not his name but the epithet he gives to himself in the title of his work: "A compendious chronicle from various chroniclers and interpreters, gathered...

' work mentions that around 837, the Bulgarian Empire
First Bulgarian Empire
The First Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state founded in the north-eastern Balkans in c. 680 by the Bulgars, uniting with seven South Slavic tribes...

 sought the alliance of a pagan people called Ungri, Turc or Hun against the former inhabitants of Macedonia theme who rebelled against the Bulgarians, but the rebels defeated the pagans and returned to the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

. The pagan people are identified with the ancient Hungarians and thus this is the first reference to the Magyars whose credibility has not been questioned by modern scholars.

The Annales Bertiniani
Annales Bertiniani
Annales Bertiniani, or The Annals of St. Bertin, are late Carolingian, Frankish annals that were found in the monastery of St. Bertin, after which they are named. Their account is taken to cover the period 830-82, thus continuing the Royal Frankish Annals , from which, however, it has circulated...

records that in 839, the Byzantine Emperor Teophilos
Theophilos (emperor)
Theophilos was the Byzantine emperor from 829 until his death in 842. He was the second emperor of the Phrygian dynasty, and the last emperor supporting iconoclasm...

 asked the Emperor Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

 to assist the Rus
Rus' (people)
The Rus' were a group of Varangians . According to the Primary Chronicle of Rus, compiled in about 1113 AD, the Rus had relocated from the Baltic region , first to Northeastern Europe, creating an early polity which finally came under the leadership of Rurik...

 delegates, who had visited Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, 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.

Constantine Porphyrogenitus records in his work “On Administering the Empire
De Administrando Imperio
De Administrando Imperio is the Latin title of a Greek work written by the 10th-century Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VII. The Greek title of the work is...

” that the Khagan
Khagan
Khagan or qagan , alternatively spelled kagan, khaghan, qaghan, or chagan, is a title of imperial rank in the Mongolian and Turkic languages equal to the status of emperor and someone who rules a khaganate...

 and the Bek
Khagan Bek
-History:Khazar kingship was divided between the khagan and the Bek or Khagan Bek. Contemporary Arab historians related that the Khagan was purely a spiritual ruler or figurehead with limited powers, while the Bek was responsible for administration and military affairs.In the Khazar Correspondence,...

 of the Khazars
Khazars
The Khazars were semi-nomadic Turkic people who established one of the largest polities of medieval Eurasia, with the capital of Atil and territory comprising much of modern-day European Russia, western Kazakhstan, eastern Ukraine, Azerbaijan, large portions of the northern Caucasus , parts of...

 asked the Emperor Teophilos to have the fortress of Sarkel
Sarkel
Sarkel was a large limestone-and-brick fortress built by the Khazars with Byzantine assistance in the 830s. It was named white-house because of the white limestone bricks they have used to build Sarkel...

 built for them. His record is connected to the Magyars on the basis that the new fortress must have become necessary because of the appearance of a new enemy of the Khazars, and other peoples could not be taken into account as the Khazars’ enemies at that time. In the 10th century, Ahmad ibn Rustah also mentioned that

Migrations



Very specific areas are named and connected with the migration of the Magyars from an original homeland area to modern day Hungary. Each area is detailed below.

Magna Hungaria


Based on documents written in the 12th-13th centuries and mentioning Ungaria maior or Ungaria magna, modern authors use the name Magna Hungaria (literally “Old” or “Great Hungary”) when referring to the territory where the ancestors of the Magyars used to live. In 1235, Friar Julian
Friar Julian
Friar Julian was one of a group of Hungarian Dominican friars who, in 1235, left Hungary in order to find those Magyars who — according to the chronicles — remained in the eastern homeland. After travelling a great distance, Friar Julian reached the capital of Volga Bulgaria, where he...

 located this land directly east of the capital of Volga Bulgaria
Volga Bulgaria
Volga Bulgaria, or Volga–Kama Bolghar, is a historic Bulgar state that existed between the seventh and thirteenth centuries around the confluence of the Volga and Kama rivers in what is now Russia.-Origin:...

.

One theory states that the Magyars moved to this area from a northerly
urheimat before migrating further to the southwest. In Bashkiria
Bashkortostan
The Republic of Bashkortostan , also known as Bashkiria is a federal subject of Russia . It is located between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains. Its capital is the city of Ufa...

, gravesites confirm the Hungarians' ancestors' dwelling there and a significant burial place with 150 graves in the Volga–Kama territory was used by them in the 8th-9th centuries.


Linguistic researches and toponyms also suggest that in the Volga–Kama region, the Magyars came into contact with the Volga Bulgarians, who were migrating northward following the 670s AD. Other authors suggest that the Magyars may have come into contact with Turkic peoples
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 already in the 5th century AD and thus their southward migration from
Magna Hungaria occurred around that period.

The Magyars organized themselves into tribe
Tribe
A tribe, viewed historically or developmentally, consists of a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states.Many anthropologists use the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups .Some theorists...

s probably in the region, because the name of one of their tribes
(Gyarmat) may have been reserved as a clan's name among the Bashkirs
Bashkirs
The Bashkirs are a Turkic people indigenous to Bashkortostan extending on both parts of the Ural mountains, on the place where Europe meets Asia. Groups of Bashkirs also live in the republic of Tatarstan, Perm Krai, Chelyabinsk, Orenburg, Tyumen, Sverdlovsk, Kurgan, Samara and Saratov Oblasts of...

. The name of several Magyar tribes
Magyar tribes
The Magyar tribes were the fundamental political units whose framework the Hungarians lived within, until these clans from Asia, more accurately from the region of Ural Mountains, invaded the Carpathian Basin and established the Principality of Hungary.The locality in which the Hungarians, the...

 is of Oghur
Oghur
Oghur may be:* an early Turkic word for "tribe", see Oghur * the Turkic Oghur languages...

 origin which may prove that Oghur tribes also joined to the Magyars.

The ancient Magyars were separated into two groups between 750 and 830; and afterwards, the two groups existed separately: one of them stayed in
Magna Hungaria until the 1240s, while the other group (the ancestors of the future Hungarians) moved southwards. However, the southward migration of the ancestors of the Hungarians may have occurred already in the 7th century (or even earlier), or the two groups of the Magyars may have separated only in the 9th century.

The Don-Kuban area


Some scholars suggest that from
Magna Hungaria, the ancient Magyars moved to the region north of the Caucasus Mountains, around the rivers Don
Don River (Russia)
The Don River is one of the major rivers of Russia. It rises in the town of Novomoskovsk 60 kilometres southeast from Tula, southeast of Moscow, and flows for a distance of about 1,950 kilometres to the Sea of Azov....

 and Kuban
Kuban River
The Kuban River is a river in Russia, in the North Caucasus region. It flows mostly through Krasnodar Krai but also in the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Stavropol Krai and the Republic of Adygea....

. They emphasize that several Hungarian words connected to viticulture
Viticulture
Viticulture is the science, production and study of grapes which deals with the series of events that occur in the vineyard. When the grapes are used for winemaking, it is also known as viniculture...

 must have been borrowed from a Turkic language on that territories, and several loanword
Loanword
A loanword is a word borrowed from a donor language and incorporated into a recipient language. By contrast, a calque or loan translation is a related concept where the meaning or idiom is borrowed rather than the lexical item itself. The word loanword is itself a calque of the German Lehnwort,...

s may have been borrowed from the Alans living north of the Caucasus Mountains. The characteristic features of the Magyars’ clothing may also have developed around that time.

On the other hand, other scholars point out that the evidence for the Magyars’ habitation on the territory around the rivers Don and Kuban is tenuous.

Levedia


The Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus names a place where the early Magyars used to live and calls it Levedia after Magyar voivode Levedi
Lebedias
Lebedias, also called Leved, Levedias, and Lebedi was a semi-legendary ninth-century chieftain of the Magyars. Lebedias' wife was a Khazar princess, and he was close to the Khazar ruling dynasty. He may himself have been part Khazar...

. He also reports that a river, called
Chidmas or Chingilous, flows through the land; the most widely accepted theory identifies the Chidmas with the river Kodyma
Kodyma River
Kodyma is a right tributary of the Southern Buh river of Ukraine. Originating from springs in a boggy valley near the village of Budei , Kodymsky Raion, Odessa Oblast, it flows within the Odessa Oblast and Mykolaiv Oblast and joins Southern Buh about 199 km away from its mouth, near Pervomaisk,...

 and the
Chingilous with the river Inhul
Inhul
Inhul is a left tributary of the Southern Bug river of Ukraine. It rises North of Kirovohrad, flowing South into the Southern Bug at Mykolayiv, at the place where the Southern Bug empties into the Black Sea. It is about 300 km long....

 (both are tributaries of the river Southern Bug
Southern Bug
The Southern Bug, also called Southern Buh), is a river located in Ukraine. The source of the river is in the west of Ukraine, in the Volyn-Podillia Upland, about 145 km from the Polish border, and flows southeasterly into the Bug Estuary through the southern steppes...

). Doubt has also been cast upon the existence of
Levedia, because the name itself suggest that it was a territory where only one of the Magyar tribes (i.e., the one led by the voivode Levedi) lived and thus it could not be the name of the whole territory where the federation of the Magyar tribes settled down.

According to the Emperor's work, the Magyars struggled together with the Khazars
Khazars
The Khazars were semi-nomadic Turkic people who established one of the largest polities of medieval Eurasia, with the capital of Atil and territory comprising much of modern-day European Russia, western Kazakhstan, eastern Ukraine, Azerbaijan, large portions of the northern Caucasus , parts of...

, which suggest that the Magyar tribes were under Khazar suzerainty
Suzerainty
Suzerainty occurs where a region or people is a tributary to a more powerful entity which controls its foreign affairs while allowing the tributary vassal state some limited domestic autonomy. The dominant entity in the suzerainty relationship, or the more powerful entity itself, is called a...

. 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
Old Great Bulgaria
Old Great Bulgaria or Great Bulgaria was а term used by Byzantine historians to refer to Onoguria during the reign of the Bulgar ruler Kubrat in the 7th century north of the Caucasus mountains in the steppe between the Dniester and Lower...

 disintegrated under Khazar pressure and the Bulgars left the territory north of the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

.

Etelköz


Following their defeat from the Pechenegs (or following the disintegration of Great Bulgaria), the seven Magyar tribes 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 in 830. The territory was located around the rivers Dnieper
Dnieper River
The Dnieper River is one of the major rivers of Europe that flows from Russia, through Belarus and Ukraine, to the Black Sea.The total length is and has a drainage basin of .The river is noted for its dams and hydroelectric stations...

, Southern Bug, Dniester
Dniester
The Dniester is a river in Eastern Europe. It runs through Ukraine and Moldova and separates most of Moldova's territory from the breakaway de facto state of Transnistria.-Names:...

, Prut
Prut
The Prut is a long river in Eastern Europe. In part of its course it forms the border between Romania and Moldova.-Overview:...

 and Siret
Siret River
The Siret or Sireth is a river that rises from the Carpathians in the Northern Bukovina region of Ukraine, and flows southward into Romania for 470 km before it joins the Danube...

.


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
High Prince Álmos
Álmos , the first Grand Prince of the Magyars . The Gesta Hungarorum records that his father was Ügyek, while the Chronicon Pictum mentions his father as Előd ; his mother was Emese.-Birth:The medieval chronicle recounts the story of his...

 or his son Árpád
Árpád
Árpád was the second Grand Prince of the Hungarians . Under his rule the Hungarian people settled in the Carpathian basin. The dynasty descending from him ruled the Hungarian tribes and later the Kingdom of Hungary until 1301...

; 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
Grand Prince of the Magyars
Grand Prince was the title used by contemporary sources to name the leader of the federation of the Hungarian tribes in the tenth century.-The title:...

 (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
Kende
The kende was one of the kings of the dual-monarchy of the early Magyars, along with the gyula or war-chief. The function of the kende is believed to have been a religious one. At the time of the Magyar migration to Pannonia, the Kende was named Kurszán...

 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
Kündür
According to ibn Fadlan, the Kündür was an official in the Khazar government under the command of the Khagan Bek. Ibn Fadlan did not describe the duties of this officer, nor does any extant source...

, which suggests that the Khazar Khagan granted this title to the newly elected head of the Magyar tribal federation.

In 860–861, Magyar soldiers attacked Saint Cyril
Saints Cyril and Methodius
Saints Cyril and Methodius were two Byzantine Greek brothers born in Thessaloniki in the 9th century. They became missionaries of Christianity among the Slavic peoples of Bulgaria, Great Moravia and Pannonia. Through their work they influenced the cultural development of all Slavs, for which they...

, who was traveling to the Khagan, around Chersonesos that had been captured by the Khazars.

The Hétmagyar federation may have seceded from the Khazar empire around 862, when the Magyars (Ungri) pillaged East Francia:

Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 geographers recorded that the Magyars regularly attacked the neighboring East Slavic
East Slavs
The East Slavs are Slavic peoples speaking East Slavic languages. Formerly the main population of the medieval state of Kievan Rus, by the seventeenth century they evolved into the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian peoples.-Sources:...

 tribes and they sold their captives to the Byzantine Empire. They also mentioned that

Before 881, the
Hétmagyar federation was even strengthened when the three tribes of the Kabar
Kabar
The Khavars or erroneously Kabars were Khazarians, therefore Turkic people who joined to the Magyars  in the 8th century.- History :...

s, who had rebelled against the Khazars, joined the Magyars.

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
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

) and the latter
(Cowari) at Culmite (possibly Kulmberg or Kollmitz in Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

).

The Magyars were occasionally hired by the rulers of the neighboring territories to intervene in their struggles. According to the
Annales Fuldenses
Annales Fuldenses
The Annales Fuldenses or Annals of Fulda are East Frankish chronicles that cover independently the period from the last years of Louis the Pious to shortly after the end of effective Carolingian rule in East Francia with the accession of the child-king, Louis III, in 900...

, in 892, King Arnulf of East Francia
Arnulf of Carinthia
Arnulf of Carinthia was the Carolingian King of East Francia from 887, the disputed King of Italy from 894 and the disputed Holy Roman Emperor from February 22, 896 until his death.-Birth and Illegitimacy:...

 invaded Great Moravia
Great Moravia
Great Moravia was a Slavic state that existed in Central Europe and lasted for nearly seventy years in the 9th century whose creators were the ancestors of the Czechs and Slovaks. It was a vassal state of the Germanic Frankish kingdom and paid an annual tribute to it. There is some controversy as...

 and the Magyars joined to his troops. In 894, the Magyars invaded Pannonia
Pannonia
Pannonia was an ancient province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia....

 already in alliance with King Svatopluk I
Svatopluk I
Svatopluk I or Zwentibald I was the greatest ruler of Moravia that attained its maximum territorial expansion in his reign . His career had already started in the 860s, when he governed a principality, the location of which is still a matter of debate among historians, within Moravia under the...

 of Moravia
Great Moravia
Great Moravia was a Slavic state that existed in Central Europe and lasted for nearly seventy years in the 9th century whose creators were the ancestors of the Czechs and Slovaks. It was a vassal state of the Germanic Frankish kingdom and paid an annual tribute to it. There is some controversy as...

.

The "Landtaking" (Honfoglalás)



Prelude


The theories on the reasons for the invasion of the Magyars into the Carpathian Basin can be divided into three groups:
  • Based on the later chroniclers' tradition and the Gesta Hungarorum
    Gesta Hungarorum
    Gesta Hungarorum is a record of early Hungarian history by an unknown author who describes himself as Anonymi Bele Regis Notarii , but is generally cited as Anonymus...

     ("The Deeds of the Hungarians"), strengthened by the apparent success of the Conquest (securing all the frontiers within 12 years), some scholars think that the invasion was an intended military operation with the clear purpose of occupying the Carpathian Basin, and that the Magyars had already surveyed their future country during their former campaigns in the region.
  • Intermediate theories hold that the Magyars, threatened by the Petchenegs (a Turkic tribe), had been planning to conquer the territory protected by the Carpathian Mountains
    Carpathian Mountains
    The Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians are a range of mountains forming an arc roughly long across Central and Eastern Europe, making them the second-longest mountain range in Europe...

    , but that their plans were disturbed by the Pechenegs' sudden attack against Etelköz.
  • Based on contemporary or nearly contemporary sources, a third group of historians thinks the Magyars' invasion was an involuntary military action that was forced by the joint attack of the Pechenegs and the Bulgarian Empire
    First Bulgarian Empire
    The First Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state founded in the north-eastern Balkans in c. 680 by the Bulgars, uniting with seven South Slavic tribes...

     against them.

Movements on the Steppe


Muslim historians recorded that in 893, Isma'il ibn Ahmad, the Samanid
Samanid
The Samani dynasty , also known as the Samanid Empire, or simply Samanids was a Persian state and empire in Central Asia and Greater Iran, named after its founder Saman Khuda, who converted to Sunni Islam despite being from Zoroastrian theocratic nobility...

 amir of Transoxiana
Transoxiana
Transoxiana is the ancient name used for the portion of Central Asia corresponding approximately with modern-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, southern Kyrgystan and southwest Kazakhstan. Geographically, it is the region between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers...

 made a successful military campaign against the Karluks (a Turkic tribe) who had to move northward and expelled the Oghuz Turks
Oghuz Turks
The Turkomen also known as Oghuz Turks were a historical Turkic tribal confederation in Central Asia during the early medieval Turkic expansion....

 from their dwellings; thus, the latter were obliged to move westward and they attacked the Pechenegs. Therefore, the Samanid amir's action launched a series of movements of the peoples on the Eurasian Steppe
Eurasian Steppe
The Eurasian Steppe is the vast steppe ecoregion of Eurasia in the Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands Biome. It stretches from Hungary to Mongolia...

 and these movements put the Pechenegs under pressure.

The Kabars and the Szeklers


Based on primary sources, modern historians claim that some tribes of the Hétmagyar federation may have expanded their dwellings to parts of the Carpathian Basin east of the Garam River
Hron
Hron is a 298 km long left tributary of the Danube and the second longest river in Slovakia. It flows from its source located in the Low Tatra mountains through central and southern Slovakia, pouring into the Danube near Štúrovo and Esztergom...

 even before the Honfoglalás (i.e., the occupation of the territory) commenced. They point out that the late-medieval
Late Middle Ages
The Late Middle Ages was the period of European history generally comprising the 14th to the 16th century . The Late Middle Ages followed the High Middle Ages and preceded the onset of the early modern era ....

 historian Aventinus
Johannes Aventinus
Johannes Aventinus was a Bavarian historian and philologist. He wrote Annals of Bavaria, a valuable record of the early history of Germany...

 mentions that King Arnulf promised to the Hungarians, already in 892, that they could keep all the territories they would occupy if they provided him military assistance against Moravia
Great Moravia
Great Moravia was a Slavic state that existed in Central Europe and lasted for nearly seventy years in the 9th century whose creators were the ancestors of the Czechs and Slovaks. It was a vassal state of the Germanic Frankish kingdom and paid an annual tribute to it. There is some controversy as...

. Moreover, both the Gesta Hungarorum and the Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum
Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum
The Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum , written mainly by Simon of Kéza around 1282-1285, is one of the sources of early Hungarian history...

("The Deeds of the Huns and the Hungarians") records a tradition that the Szeklers
Székely
The Székelys or Székely , sometimes also referred to as Szeklers , are a subgroup of the Hungarian people living mostly in the Székely Land, an ethno-cultural region in eastern Transylvania, Romania...

, who may have joined to the tribal federation in Etelköz, had already settled down in the Carpathian Basin by the time when the Hungarian tribes invaded the territory.

If the above theory is valid, the Kabars and the Szeklers (who joined to the tribal federation Hétmagyar and thus they had to go before the Magyar armies in wars) must have been the first to settle down there around 893.
According to modern historians, there were 10 Hungarian tribes in Etelköz, because three Kabar tribes joined to the seven Hungarian tribes prior to the Hungarian conquest.

Alliance with the Byzantine Empire


After 893, a war broke out between the Byzantine and the Bulgarian Empires; the Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 Simeon I of Bulgaria
Simeon I of Bulgaria
Simeon I the Great ruled over Bulgaria from 893 to 927, during the First Bulgarian Empire. Simeon's successful campaigns against the Byzantines, Magyars and Serbs led Bulgaria to its greatest territorial expansion ever, making it the most powerful state in contemporary Eastern Europe...

 invaded Thrace
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

 and his troops destroyed the Byzantine armies. Shortly afterwards, the Emperor Leo VI the Wise
Leo VI the Wise
Leo VI, surnamed the Wise or the Philosopher , was Byzantine emperor from 886 to 912. The second ruler of the Macedonian dynasty , he was very well-read, leading to his surname...

 sent envoys to the Magyars and his envoys signed an agreement with Árpád and Kurszán
Kurszán
Kurszán , the Magyar sacral prince, was a partner ruler besides Árpád till his death. He had a crucial role in the Hungarian Conquest . In 892/893 together with Arnulf of Carinthia he attacked Great Moravia to secure the eastern borders of the Frankish Empire. Arnulf gave him all the captured...

 (who were the heads of the Hétmagyar federation at that time) against the Bulgarian Empire.

The Byzantine fleet delivered the Magyar troops over the Danube, and the Magyars defeated the Bulgarians in three battles (at the Danube, Silistra
Silistra
Silistra is a port city of northeastern Bulgaria, lying on the southern bank of the lower Danube at the country's border with Romania. Silistra is the administrative centre of Silistra Province and one of the important cities of the historical region of Southern Dobrudzha...

 and Preslav
Preslav
Preslav was the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire from 893 to 972 and one of the most important cities of medieval Southeastern Europe. The ruins of the city are situated in modern northeastern Bulgaria, some 20 kilometres southwest of the regional capital of Shumen, and are currently a...

) and the
tsar had to flee to a fortress called Mundraga. Following their victories, the Magyars commenced to return to their dwellings in Etelköz. According to the Rus' annals, the Magyars

The Pechenegs' intervention


Shortly following his defeat, the Tsar Simeon made an alliance with the Pechenegs who were seeking new territories. The tsar lead his armies against the Magyars and defeated them at a decisive battle
Battle of Southern Buh
The Battle of Southern Buh occurred near the banks of the so called river, in modern Ukraine. The result was a great Bulgarian victory which forced the Magyars to leave forever the steppes of southern Ukraine and to establish the Kingdom of Hungary a hundred years later.- Origins of the conflict...

. In the meantime, the Pechenegs invaded the dwellings of the Magyars in Etelköz and pillaged the territory that was nearly unprotected because the Magyar troops were far away, in Bulgaria.

Following their decisive defeat from the Bulgarians and the invasion of the Pechenegs against their dwellings, the Magyars were obliged to flee from their dwellings in Etelköz and invaded the Carpathian Basin around 896.

The conquest of the Carpathian Basin



Following their alleged catastrophic defeats from the Pechenegs and the Bulgarians, the Magyars were forced to migrate to new pastures. Their whole population moved over the nearby mountains into to the territory of the Carpathian Basin.

At that time, the Magyars probably killed their spiritual leader, the High Prince Álmos
High Prince Álmos
Álmos , the first Grand Prince of the Magyars . The Gesta Hungarorum records that his father was Ügyek, while the Chronicon Pictum mentions his father as Előd ; his mother was Emese.-Birth:The medieval chronicle recounts the story of his...

, following a similar Khazar tradition that prescribed the murder of the Khagans (as a human sacrifice) in case of disasters affecting the people.

The chronology and the circumstances of the conquest of the Carpathian Basin are still debated by modern authors, because the primary sources contain several contradictory statements. Even the exact date of the conquest cannot be determined based on the primary sources; modern authors tend to accept the theory that the Magyars invaded the Carpathian Basin around 895 (between 893 and 897), but some scholars still claim that their invasion must have occurred after 897.

The circumstances of the conquest that are still debated by modern scholars include:
  • the polities existing in the Carpathian Basin at the end of the 9th century and their exact borders;
  • the peoples living in the Carpathian Basin at the time of the invasion;
  • the chronology of the conquest;
  • the credibility of certain primary sources written centuries after the events.

Polities


At the time of the Magyar invasion, the Carpathian Basin was divided among several powers. Following the collapse of the Avar Empire
Eurasian Avars
The Eurasian Avars or Ancient Avars were a highly organized nomadic confederacy of mixed origins. They were ruled by a khagan, who was surrounded by a tight-knit entourage of nomad warriors, an organization characteristic of Turko-Mongol groups...

 around 800, the neighboring powers had occupied only parts of its territory.
  • The region of Transdanubia
    Transdanubia
    Transdanubia is a traditional region of Hungary.-Traditional interpretation:The borders of Transdanubia are the Danube river , the Drava and Mura rivers and the foothills of the Alps roughly along the border between Hungary and Austria .Transdanubia comprises the counties of Győr-Moson-Sopron,...

     (Pannonia) and the western parts of Slavonia
    Slavonia
    Slavonia is a geographical and historical region in eastern Croatia...

     belonged to East Francia. The Slavic population of the province was governed by dukes appointed by the king of East Francia with a seat in Blatnograd (today Zalavár in Hungary).
  • The territories north of the river Danube belonged to Moravia
    Great Moravia
    Great Moravia was a Slavic state that existed in Central Europe and lasted for nearly seventy years in the 9th century whose creators were the ancestors of the Czechs and Slovaks. It was a vassal state of the Germanic Frankish kingdom and paid an annual tribute to it. There is some controversy as...

    , but the expansion of the Moravian territories on the eastern part of the Carpathian Basin is still under debate.
  • Transylvania
    Transylvania
    Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical...

     and some regions east of the river Danube were occupied by the Bulgarians around 803.


Some modern authors emphasize that certain medieval sources written in the 9th-10th centuries suggest the existence of another Moravia ("Great Moravia") in the southern parts of the Carpathian Basin, but other scholars point out that archaeological evidences do not support the existence of “two Moravias”.

People


When the Magyars invaded the Carpathian Basin, its largest part was inhabited by Slavic and -according to part of the historians- Vlach population; not only primary sources written in the 9th century, but also place names and the names of several rivers
Hydronym
A hydronym is a proper name of a body of water. Hydronymy is the study of hydronyms and of how bodies of water receive their names and how they are transmitted through history...

 prove that the Magyars conquered a territory whose population mainly spoke Slavic languages
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

.

Besides the Slavs, the Avars
Eurasian Avars
The Eurasian Avars or Ancient Avars were a highly organized nomadic confederacy of mixed origins. They were ruled by a khagan, who was surrounded by a tight-knit entourage of nomad warriors, an organization characteristic of Turko-Mongol groups...

 must have formed a significant part of the population of the Carpathian Basin at the end of the 9th century; both contemporary sources and a growing number of archaeological evidences suggest that groups of the Avars survived the disintegration of their empire.

Sources written in the 9th century also suggest that some groups of the Onogurs
Onogurs
The Onogurs, also known as Utigurs, were a horde of equestrian nomads in the North Eurasian steppe east of the Don River during the 5th to 8th centuries. The Onogurs crossed the Volga and entered into Europe around the year 460 within the larger context of the Great Migrations and the Turkic...

, who had moved to the Carpathian Basin around 670, still lived on the territory when the Magyars invaded it.

Archaeological evidence suggest that the Bulgars
Bulgars
The Bulgars were a semi-nomadic who flourished in the Pontic Steppe and the Volga basin in the 7th century.The Bulgars emerge after the collapse of the Hunnic Empire in the 5th century....

 occupied the valley of the river Maros at the time of the Magyars’ invasion.

The presence of some groups of Gepids was also documented by sources written in the 9th century. Following the collapse of the Avars’ power, Germans
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 immigrated to the regions occupied by East Francia.
It is subject of controversy whether elements of the mixed Daco–Roman population survived in Transylvania through The Dark Ages (becoming the ancestors of modern Romanians) or the first Vlachs appeared in the area in the 13th century after a northwards migration from the Balkan Peninsula. However, the oldest extant documents from Transylvania make reference to Vlachs too. (See Origin of the Romanians.)

The invasion



The Hungarian tradition connects the events of the invasion (the Honfoglalás) to Álmos’ son and successor, Grand Prince Árpád. The contemporary sources, however, emphasize the role Kurszán played during the invasion, which suggest that he was the military leader of the Magyars’ tribal federation.

The route the Magyars followed when invading the Carpathian Basin is under debate:
  • based on the chronicles that probably reserved the Magyars’ tradition, some authors claim that the Magyars occupied Transylvania first;
  • other scholars follow the accounts of the author of the Gesta Hungarorum of the events who described that the Magyars arrived through the north-eastern passes of the Carpathians and they occupied Transylvania only at a later stage.


The followers of the first theory emphasize that the Magyars must have been engaged with their internal affairs after the conquest of the eastern parts of the Carpathian Basin, because they did not intervene in the internal struggles of (the northern) Moravia. They point out that archaeological findings also suggest the presence of Magyar warriors around Kolozsvár
Cluj-Napoca
Cluj-Napoca , commonly known as Cluj, is the fourth most populous city in Romania and the seat of Cluj County in the northwestern part of the country. Geographically, it is roughly equidistant from Bucharest , Budapest and Belgrade...

 (today Cluj-Napoca in Romania) and the valley of the river Olt
Olt River
The Olt River is a river in Romania. It is the longest river flowing exclusively through Romania. Its source is in the Hăşmaş Mountains of the eastern Carpathian Mountains, near the village Bălan. It flows through the Romanian counties Harghita, Covasna, Braşov, Sibiu, Vâlcea and Olt...

 around the time of the invasion. The fourteenth century chronicle compilation relates that the Magyars

Their opponents suggest that following their defeat from the Petchenegs, the Magyars, already under the leadership of Árpád, proceeded northward (around Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 and Galicia), and they entered the Carpathian Basin through the Verecke Pass
Verecke Pass
Verecke Pass or Veretsky Pass is a mountain pass in Ukraine, one of the most important passes of the Inner Eastern Carpathian Mountains....

. They emphasize that the oldest and most numerous Magyar graves have been found in this area (around Zemplin and Szabolcs
Szabolcs (county)
Szabolcs is the name of a historic administrative county of the Kingdom of Hungary in present-day northeastern Hungary. The capital of the county was Nyíregyháza.-Geography:...

). They claim that the lack of Hungarian artefacts in the valley of the river Maros
Mures River
The Mureș is an approximately 761 km long river in Eastern Europe. It originates in the Hășmașu Mare Range in the Eastern Carpathian Mountains, Romania, and joins the Tisza river at Szeged in southeastern Hungary....

 provides strong evidence that the Magyars did not pass through Transylvania. Other historians propose that had the Magyars first entered Transylvania
Transylvania
Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical...

, they would have remained there.

When in the 12th century, the Russian
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 chronicler Nestor
Nestor the Chronicler
Saint Nestor the Chronicler was the reputed author of the Primary Chronicle, , Life of the Venerable Theodosius of the Kiev Caves, Life of the Holy Passion Bearers, Boris and Gleb, and of the so-called Reading.Nestor was a monk of the Monastery of the Caves in Kiev from 1073...

 described the events of the invasion, he mentioned that:

Nevertheless, the Magyars invaded the Great Hungarian Plain
Great Hungarian Plain
The Great Hungarian Plain is a plain occupying the southern and eastern part of Hungary, some parts of the Eastern Slovak Lowland, southwestern Ukraine, the Transcarpathian Lowland , western Romania , northern Serbia , and eastern Croatia...

, and occupied the territories of the Carpathian Basin east of the rivers Danube and Garam, probably without facing severe resistance. If a "Great Moravia" existed in the southern parts of the Carpathian Basin, the Magyars occupied its territories during their invasion, and they may have also invaded the southern territories of Transylvania that had been occupied by the Bulgarians. The first legend of Saint Naum
Saint Naum
Saint Naum , also known as Naum of Ohrid or Naum of Preslav was a medieval Bulgarian scholar and missionary among the Slavs. He is venerated as a saint in the Orthodox Church.Information about his early life is scarce...

 relates that the Magyars occupied the Moravian land

The first campaign against Italy


In 899, the Magyars invaded the northern regions of Italy and pillaged the countryside around Treviso
Treviso
Treviso is a city and comune in Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Treviso and the municipality has 82,854 inhabitants : some 3,000 live within the Venetian walls or in the historical and monumental center, some 80,000 live in the urban center proper, while the city...

, Vicenza
Vicenza
Vicenza , a city in north-eastern Italy, is the capital of the eponymous province in the Veneto region, at the northern base of the Monte Berico, straddling the Bacchiglione...

, Verona
Verona
Verona ; German Bern, Dietrichsbern or Welschbern) is a city in the Veneto, northern Italy, with approx. 265,000 inhabitants and one of the seven chef-lieus of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of North-Eastern Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona...

, Brescia
Brescia
Brescia is a city and comune in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, between the Mella and the Naviglio, with a population of around 197,000. It is the second largest city in Lombardy, after the capital, Milan...

, Bergamo
Bergamo
Bergamo is a town and comune in Lombardy, Italy, about 40 km northeast of Milan. The comune is home to over 120,000 inhabitants. It is served by the Orio al Serio Airport, which also serves the Province of Bergamo, and to a lesser extent the metropolitan area of Milan...

 and Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

. When they were informed that King Berengar I of Italy
Berengar I of Italy
Berengar of Friuli was the Margrave of Friuli from 874 until no earlier than 890 and no later than 896, King of Italy from 887 until his death, and Holy Roman Emperor from 915 until his death.Berengar rose to become one of the most influential laymen in the empire of Charles the Fat before he...

 gathered an army against them, they pretended to be fleeing and defeated the king's army at the Battle of Brenta (24 September 899).
Following their victory, they took Vercelli
Vercelli
Vercelli is a city and comune of about 47,000 inhabitants in the Province of Vercelli, Piedmont, northern Italy. One of the oldest urban sites in northern Italy, it was founded, according to most historians, around the year 600 BC.The city is situated on the river Sesia in the plain of the river...

 and Modena
Modena
Modena is a city and comune on the south side of the Po Valley, in the Province of Modena in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy....

, and then laid siege to Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 where they were defeated, and afterwards they left Italy. The Annales Fuldenses mentions that they

The second phase of the conquest


When Emperor Arnulf I
Arnulf of Carinthia
Arnulf of Carinthia was the Carolingian King of East Francia from 887, the disputed King of Italy from 894 and the disputed Holy Roman Emperor from February 22, 896 until his death.-Birth and Illegitimacy:...

 died (8 December 899), the Magyars sent envoys to his successor, King Louis the Child
Louis the Child
Louis the Child , sometimes called Louis IV or Louis III, was the last Carolingian ruler of East Francia....

 of East Francia. This mission intended, under the pretext of concluding a treaty, to survey the land (i.e., Pannonia) to be occupied. Shortly afterwards, the Magyars started a war with the Moravians
Great Moravia
Great Moravia was a Slavic state that existed in Central Europe and lasted for nearly seventy years in the 9th century whose creators were the ancestors of the Czechs and Slovaks. It was a vassal state of the Germanic Frankish kingdom and paid an annual tribute to it. There is some controversy as...

, occupying a part of their land between the rivers Garam and Morava; then they unexpectedly crossed the Danube, attacked the land of their allies (i.e., the territories of East Francia) and, meeting with hardly any resistance, seized Pannonia.

A detailed account was left about this event by bishop Liutprand of Cremona
Liutprand of Cremona
Liutprand, also Liudprand, Liuprand, Lioutio, Liucius, Liuzo, and Lioutsios was a Lombard historian and author, and Bishop of Cremona....

 who relates that, one year after Arnulf's death and his son's coronation (in 900), the Magyars
The Hungarians stopped neither at the river Morava nor at the western border of Pannonia, but penetrated deeply into the territory of Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

, reaching as far as the river Enns
Enns River
The Enns is a southern tributary of the Danube River, joining northward at Enns, Austria. The Enns River spans , in a flat-J-shape. It flows from its source near the towns of Gasthofalm and Flachau, generally eastward through Radstadt, Schladming, and Liezen, then turns north near Hieflau, to flow...

. Although Luitpold, Margrave of Bavaria
Luitpold, Margrave of Bavaria
Luitpold , perhaps of the Huosi family or related to the Carolingian dynasty by Liutswind, mother of Emperor Arnulf of Carinthia, was the ancestor of the Luitpolding dynasty which ruled Bavaria and Carinthia until the mid-tenth century.In 893, he was appointed margrave in the March of Carinthia...

 defeated them at a battle near Linz
Linz
Linz is the third-largest city of Austria and capital of the state of Upper Austria . It is located in the north centre of Austria, approximately south of the Czech border, on both sides of the river Danube. The population of the city is , and that of the Greater Linz conurbation is about...

, his victory had no enduring effect on the successes of the Magyars in the Carpathian Basin. Thus, in 900, the territory west of the Garam-Danube line was drawn under Magyar control, completing the conquest of the Carpathian Basin.

The Magyars endeavored to expand their suzerainty also over the territories of Carantania in 901, but Margrave Ratold defeated them. In 902, they lead a campaign against the northern Moravia and defeated the Moravians whose country was annihilated.

Consequences


The Honfoglalás may be at least partially credited with a number of consequences:
  • Although in some ways, the "conquest" was merely a change of pastures for a nomadic people, during the next centuries, it became obvious that the Magyars (Hungarians) managed to establish a country by adopting European traditions.
  • The arrival of the Hungarians drove a non-Slavic wedge between the West Slavs
    West Slavs
    The West Slavs are Slavic peoples speaking West Slavic languages. They include Poles , Czechs, Slovaks, Lusatian Sorbs and the historical Polabians. The northern or Lechitic group includes, along with Polish, the extinct Polabian and Pomeranian languages...

     and South Slavs
    South Slavs
    The South Slavs are the southern branch of the Slavic peoples and speak South Slavic languages. Geographically, the South Slavs are native to the Balkan peninsula, the southern Pannonian Plain and the eastern Alps...

    ; this was a factor contributing to the triumph of Latin over Slavic among the West Slavs.
  • The arrival of the Pechenegs split the Magyars from the Khazars with whom they had close ties. This had the effect of greatly weakening the Khazars as a Steppe power, and eventually, in 965, they were destroyed by Sviatoslav I of Kiev
    Sviatoslav I of Kiev
    Sviatoslav I Igorevich ; , also spelled Svyatoslav, was a prince of Rus...

    .

Hungarian legends on their origins, their migrations and the conquest


The Legend of the Wondrous Hind



The legend of the origins of the Magyars were recorded by Simon of Kéza
Simon of Kéza
Simon of Kéza was the most famous Hungarian chronicler in the 13th century. He was a priest in the royal court of king Ladislaus IV of Hungary....

 in the Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum ("The Deeds of the Huns and Hungarians"). According to the legend, the brothers Hunor and Magor
Hunor and Magor
Hunor and Magor were, according to a famous Hungarian legend, the ancestors of the Huns and the Magyars. The myth was promoted by the medieval historian Simon Kézai in his Gesta Ungarorum . Kézai's aim in providing a common ancestry for the Huns and the Magyars was to suggest historical continuum...

 were on a hunting trip when a white hind appeared before them; the hind were enticing the brothers to the moorland
Moorland
Moorland or moor is a type of habitat, in the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome, found in upland areas, characterised by low-growing vegetation on acidic soils and heavy fog...

s of the
Mæotis
Sea of Azov
The Sea of Azov , known in Classical Antiquity as Lake Maeotis, is a sea on the south of Eastern Europe. It is linked by the narrow Strait of Kerch to the Black Sea to the south and is bounded on the north by Ukraine mainland, on the east by Russia, and on the west by the Ukraine's Crimean...

(the Sea of Azov) where it disappeared; all the same, the brothers decided to settle down there.

Six years later, the two brothers went for a new hunting trip and they met the wives of the sons of
Bular and two daughters of Prince Dula of the Alans
Alans
The Alans, or the Alani, occasionally termed Alauni or Halani, were a group of Sarmatian tribes, nomadic pastoralists of the 1st millennium AD who spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian.-Name:The various forms of Alan —...

; Hunor and Magor commenced to pursue the girls and carried them off to be their brides. Thus, as the legend records,
Hunor and one of the daughters of Prince Dula became the ancestors of the Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

, while
Magor and her sister became the ancestors of the Magyars.

The legend is usually interpreted as a remembrance of the Magyars' previous connections with the Onogurs
Onogurs
The Onogurs, also known as Utigurs, were a horde of equestrian nomads in the North Eurasian steppe east of the Don River during the 5th to 8th centuries. The Onogurs crossed the Volga and entered into Europe around the year 460 within the larger context of the Great Migrations and the Turkic...

 (
Hunor), the Bulgars
Bulgars
The Bulgars were a semi-nomadic who flourished in the Pontic Steppe and the Volga basin in the 7th century.The Bulgars emerge after the collapse of the Hunnic Empire in the 5th century....

 (
Bular), and the Alans. Objects representing red deer
Red Deer
The red deer is one of the largest deer species. Depending on taxonomy, the red deer inhabits most of Europe, the Caucasus Mountains region, Asia Minor, parts of western Asia, and central Asia. It also inhabits the Atlas Mountains region between Morocco and Tunisia in northwestern Africa, being...

 discovered in gravesites suggest that its cult
Cult
The word cult in current popular usage usually refers to a group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre. The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices...

 was widespread among the peoples living in the regions of the Southern Ural Mountains in the 3rd-4th centuries.

The literary topos
Literary topos
Topos , in Latin locus , referred in the context of classical Greek rhetoric to a standardised method of constructing or treating an argument. See topos in classical rhetoric...

 of the deer leading a group of people to their new homeland is also well-documented among the tribes of the Eurasian Steppe
Eurasian Steppe
The Eurasian Steppe is the vast steppe ecoregion of Eurasia in the Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands Biome. It stretches from Hungary to Mongolia...

 and the Ob-Ugrians.

Emese's dream



According to the legend, recorded in the Gesta Hungarorum (“The Deeds of the Hungarians”) and in the Chronicon Pictum
Chronicon Pictum
The Chronicon Pictum Pictum, Chronica Picta or Chronica de Gestis Hungarorum) is a medieval illustrated chronicle from the Kingdom of Hungary from the fourteenth century...

(“Illustrated Chronicle”), the mother of the future Grand Prince Álmos (called Emese
Emese
Emese is a feminine Hungarian name. The name originates from an ancient Uralic word eme, meaning mother; it is a commonly-used girls' name in Hungary today. In Hungarian historical mythology, Emese, daughter of Prince Önedbelia of Dentümoger, was the mother of High Prince Álmos and thus the...

 by the
Gesta Hungarorum) saw a dream of a Turul
Turul
The Turul is the most important bird in the origin myth of the Magyars .It is a divine messenger, and perches on top of the tree of life along with the other spirits of unborn children in the form of birds...

 bird

Modern scholars point out that the legend must have reserved the Árpáds's tradition of their totem
Totem
A totem is a stipulated ancestor of a group of people, such as a family, clan, group, lineage, or tribe.Totems support larger groups than the individual person. In kinship and descent, if the apical ancestor of a clan is nonhuman, it is called a totem...

istic ancestor. The legend also suggests that Álmos must have been the spiritual leader
(kende) of the Magyar tribal federation.

Dentumoger


The
Gesta Hungarorum names a place called Dentumoger where the ancient Magyars lived before migrating to the Carpathian Basin; and the name is used synonymously with Scythia.
According to the
gesta, the Magyars migrated directly from Dentumoger to the Carpathian Basin following a path from the Middle Volga region to Susdal to Kiev.

Both the interpretation and the localization of
Dentumoger is uncertain. The first part of the expression (Dentu) may contain the Don River
Don River (Russia)
The Don River is one of the major rivers of Russia. It rises in the town of Novomoskovsk 60 kilometres southeast from Tula, southeast of Moscow, and flows for a distance of about 1,950 kilometres to the Sea of Azov....

's Alanic name
(Den-) with the ancient Hungarian diminutive
Diminutive
In language structure, a diminutive, or diminutive form , is a formation of a word used to convey a slight degree of the root meaning, smallness of the object or quality named, encapsulation, intimacy, or endearment...

 suffix
Suffix
In linguistics, a suffix is an affix which is placed after the stem of a word. Common examples are case endings, which indicate the grammatical case of nouns or adjectives, and verb endings, which form the conjugation of verbs...

 
(-tü); and therefore it may refer to the river Donets
Seversky Donets
Seversky Donets is a river on the south of the East European Plain. It originates in the Central Russian Upland, north of Belgorod, flows south-east through Ukraine and then again through Russia to join the Don River, about from the Sea of Azov...

 ("Small Don"). The expression's second part
(moger) contains an ancient form of the word "Magyar".

The Legend of the White Horse


The
Chronicon Pictum reserved the most complete version of the Legend of the White Horse.

According to the legend, the heads of the Magyar tribes sent "a big horse with a saddle gilded with gold from Arabia and a gilded rein" to Svatopluk and they asked dirt, grass and water in exchange. Svatopluk was delighted at the presents and told their envoys that they could take as much as they wanted. When Grand Prince Árpád was informed on Svatopluk's answer, he sent again envoys to him with the next message:

The legend probably reserved the memory of an alliance made between King Svatopluk I of Great Moravia and the Magyars following pagan customs.

The Gesta Hungarorum connects the events of the legend to Dux Salan
Salan
]Salan, Dux Salanus or Zalan was, according to the Gesta Hungarorum, a Bulgarian voivod who ruled in the 9th century between Danube and Tisa rivers, mainly in the territory of present-day Bačka region of Serbia and Hungary. The capital city of his voivodship was Titel...

, an alleged ruler between the rivers Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 and Tisza
Tisza
The Tisza or Tisa is one of the main rivers of Central Europe. It rises in Ukraine, and is formed near Rakhiv by the junction of headwaters White Tisa, whose source is in the Chornohora mountains and Black Tisa, which springs in the Gorgany range...

, in the southern part of the Carpathian Basin.

Gesta Hungarorum



The Gesta Hungarorum was written probably between 1196 and 1220, but some scholars claim that its anonymous author
Gesta Hungarorum
Gesta Hungarorum is a record of early Hungarian history by an unknown author who describes himself as Anonymi Bele Regis Notarii , but is generally cited as Anonymus...

 (referred to as Anonymous in modern works) wrote his gesta earlier in the 12th century. Its factual accuracy is also highly disputed by modern scholars.
  • Those who dispute the credibility of the gesta point out that the author probably had no information (apart from some familial and tribal legends) regarding the actual circumstances of the conquest. Thus he invented enemies and rivals for his heroes to vanquish; he rather casually borrowed the names of rivers (Laborc), mountains (Tarcal
    Tarcal
    Tarcal is a village on the eastern edge of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county, northern Hungary, in the famous Tokaj-Hegyalja wine district, from Miskolc.- Geography :...

    , and Zobor), and castles (Gyalu
    Gilau, Cluj
    Gilău is a commune in Cluj County, Romania. It is composed of three villages: Gilău, Someşu Cald and Someşu Rece.- Demographics :According to the census from 2002 there was a total population of 7,861 people living in this town. Of this population, 83.43% are ethnic Romanians, 9.45% are ethnic...

    ) to conjure up knights and chieftains (e.g., the Bulgarian Laborcy, the Cuman
    Cumans
    The Cumans were Turkic nomadic people comprising the western branch of the Cuman-Kipchak confederation. After Mongol invasion , they decided to seek asylum in Hungary, and subsequently to Bulgaria...

     Turzol, the Czech Zobur, and the Vlach Gelou) who are not mentioned in other primary sources. They also emphasize that Anonymus obviously had no knowledge of the settlers' real enemies (e.g., Svatopluk II
    Svatopluk II
    Svatopluk II ruled the Principality of Nitra from 894 to 906 and strove to control all of Great Moravia.Svatopluk II was a younger son of Svatopluk I. As Prince of Nitra, Svatopluk II was subordinated to his older brother Mojmír II, the King of Great Moravia which contained the principality as its...

    , Emperor Arnulf I, the Bulgar Tzar Simeon); of the settlers' actual adversaries, which included the Moravians, Slovenes, Karantans, Franks, and Bavarians, he knew only of the Bulgarians. Thus he arbitrarily counted among the Hungarians' opponents the Czechs, who at the time lived exclusively in the Czech Basin; the Cumanians, who moved to Europe only in the 11th century; and the Vlachs
    Vlachs
    Vlach is a blanket term covering several modern Latin peoples descending from the Latinised population in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. English variations on the name include: Walla, Wlachs, Wallachs, Vlahs, Olahs or Ulahs...

     which suggest that his choices reflect the ethnic and political realities of the 12th century.

  • Those who accept the credibility of the gesta point out that it is the earliest preserved Hungarian chronicle and thus it must have based on earlier Hungarian gestas, and therefore its factual accuracy is likely high. They also point out that the gesta was written at least 130 years before the Chronicon Pictum. They emphasize that Anonymous uses many Greek sayings which suggest that he was one of the few Hungarian authors who knew Greek, and thus he could base much of his work on earlier Byzantine sources. They also claim that the author of the gesta simply confused the Cumans with the Pechenegs.

Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum


It was the chronicler Simon of Kéza (court priest of King Ladislas IV of Hungary) who attempted to elaborate in detail the relationship between the Huns and the Hungarians in his chronicle written around 1283. In his work, first among Hungarian historians, he records the legend of the origin of the Hungarians (“The Legend of the Wondrous Hind”) suggesting that the Huns (or the Hungarians) descended from two brothers. In his view, the conquest of the Carpathian Basin becomes in fact a second conquest, and he emphasizes that this second conquest was executed by the same people; that is to say the two peoples (the Huns and the Hungarians) are not simply related, but identical.

Alternative theories


Alternative theories on Hungarian prehistory break down into two different classes: those that are made through scientific methodology and those that are made from romantic fantasy.

Double conquest


Hungarian archaeologist Gyula László
Gyula László
Gyula László was a Hungarian historian, archaeologist, artist, and university professor....

 is renowned for his theory of a double conquest . This theory asserts that when the Magyars migrated to Hungary in 895, they found a group of population who spoke the Hungarian language and who had arrived earlier in 670. László identified this first group of Hungarian migrants with the late Avars or Onoghurs. His basic reasoning was that the archaeological record shows that the second wave of Hungarians were too small in number to have affected the ethnic composition of the contemporaneous population so they must have assimilated into Hungarians who were already there. This picture is completed by the fact that new arrivals fit in the context easily, to the point they use cemeteries together with the original inhabitants.

Gyula László found support for his double conquest theory in written sources as well, namely in the Primary Chronicle
Primary Chronicle
The Primary Chronicle , Ruthenian Primary Chronicle or Russian Primary Chronicle, is a history of Kievan Rus' from about 850 to 1110, originally compiled in Kiev about 1113.- Three editions :...

 which makes mention of "White Ugrians" and later "Black Ugrians" that passed Kiev. Also, all of the Gestae speak of a Hungarian-speaking and welcoming original population throughout the country.

Other


Various other theories regarding the history and origin of the Hungarian people include the idea of Hungarian descent from Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

ians, Etruscans
Etruscan civilization
Etruscan civilization is the modern English name given to a civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding roughly to Tuscany. The ancient Romans called its creators the Tusci or Etrusci...

, ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

ians, Xiongnu
Xiongnu
The Xiongnu were ancient nomadic-based people that formed a state or confederation north of the agriculture-based empire of the Han Dynasty. Most of the information on the Xiongnu comes from Chinese sources...

, and Lemurians
Lemuria (continent)
Lemuria is the name of a hypothetical "lost land" variously located in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The concept's 19th century origins lie in attempts to account for discontinuities in biogeography; however, the concept of Lemuria has been rendered obsolete by modern theories of plate tectonics...

. Despite major scholarly and scientific work done within the past 100 years that refute these alternative theories, they continue to garner enough attention that mainstream historians and linguists must address the issue from time to time.

Sources

  • Bóna, István: A magyarok és Európa a 9-10. században (The Hungarians and Europe in the 9th-10th centuries); História - MTA Történettudományi Intézete, 2000, Budapest; ISBN 9 63 8312 67 X.
  • Csorba, Csaba: Árpád népe (Árpád’s people); Kulturtrade, 1997, Budapest; ISBN 963 9069 20 5.
  • Bagossy László (General Editor): Encyclopaedia Hungarica I-III.; Hungarian Ethnic Lexicon Foundation, 1992, 1994, 1996, Calgary.
  • Fine, John V. A.: The Early Medieval Balkans - A Critical Survey from the Sixth to the Late Twelfth Century; The University of Michigan Press, 1994; ISBN 0 472 08149 7.
  • Győrffy, György (General Editor) - Kovács, László (Editor) - Veszprémy, László (Editor): Honfoglalás és nyelvészet (“The Occupation of Our county” and Linguistics); Balassi Kiadó, 1997, Budapest; ISBN 963 506 108 0:
    • Elter, István: A magyarok elnevezései Arab forrásokban (The Names of the Magyars in Arabic Sources) (article);
    • Gulya, János: A magyarok önelnevezésének eredete (The Origin of the Self-definition of the Hungarians) (article);
    • Harmatta, János: Iráni nyelvek hatása az ősmagyar nyelvre (The Influence of Iranian Languages on the Ancient Hungarian Language) (article);
    • Harmatta, János: A magyarok nevei görög nyelvű forrásokban (The Names of the Magyars in Sources Written in Greek) (article);
    • Király, Péter: A magyarok elnevezése a korai európai forrásokban (The Names of the Magyars in Early European Sources) (article);
  • Köpeczi, Béla (General Editor) - Makkai, László - Mócsy, András - Szász, Zoltán (Editors) - Barta, Gábor (Assistant Editor): History of Transylvania, Akadémiai Kiadó, 1994, Budapest; ISBN 963 05 6703 2; http://mek.oszk.hu/03400/03407/html/ (the full text in English).
  • Kristó, Gyula (General Editor) - Engel, Pál (Editor) - Makk, Ferenc (Editor): Korai Magyar Történeti Lexikon (9-14. század) (Encyclopedia of the Early Hungarian History - 9-14th centuries); Akadémiai Kiadó, 1994, Budapest; ISBN 963 05 6722 9.
  • Kristó, Gyula: A Kárpát-medence és a magyarság régmultja (1301-ig) (The ancient history of the Carpathian Basin and the Hungarians - till 1301); Szegedi Középkorász Műhely, 1993, Szeged; ISBN 963 04 2914 4.
  • Kristó, Gyula: Hungarian History in the Ninth Century; Szegedi Középkorász Műhely, 1996, Szeged; ISBN 963 482 113 8.
  • László, Gyula: The Magyars - Their life and Civilisation; Corvina, 1996, Budapest; ISBN 963 13 4226 3.
  • Makk, Ferenc: A turulmadártól a kettős keresztig (From the Turul Bird to the Double Cross); Szegedi Középkorász Műhely, 1998, Szeged; ISBN 963 05 6722 9.
  • Róna-Tas, András: Hungarians and Europe in the Early Middle Ages - An Introduction to Early Hungarian History; CEU Press, 1994, Budapest / New York; ISBN 963 9116 48 3.
  • Tóth, Sándor László: Levediától a Kárpát-medencéig (From Levedia to the Carpathian Basin); Szegedi Középkorász Műhely, 1998, Szeged; ISBN 963 482 175 8.

External links