Back to Home


                             LÁSZLÓ BOTOS


                                    THE HOMELAND RECLAIMED


                                    Chapter 3.


                                    The "Annihilated" Avars


    As early as 1882, Zsigmond Fekete, a Hungarian researcher, came to the conclusion that the reason for the so-called "robbery campaigns" was the repossession of the stolen treasures of the Avars. He noted that it appeared to the Magyars, at the time of the campaigns, as if they were traveling to well-known places because they found Magyar artifacts that were familiar to them.[1]

    The artistry of the Avar treasures is legendary. So that we may have an idea of the quantity of the Avar treasures taken by Charlemagne, I shall name a few places which were recipients of the treasures in Charlemagne's will: Aachen, Rome, Ravenna, Milan, Aqueilia, Grado, Cologne, Mainz, Salzburg, Trier, Sens, Besancon, Lyon, Rouen, Rheims, Aries, Vienna, Embrun, Bordeaux, Tours, Bourges. The personal recipients of gifts are almost innumerable. Einhard, the chronicler of Charlemagne, also benefitted. As a master silversmith, he tried to adapt the eastern motifs into the Western Christian artistic objects.

    It is mistakenly believed that Charlemagne annihilated the Avar aristocracy and maybe even the entire populace. Gyula László, who researched the tenth century graves in Hungary, discovered that the Avar graves greatly outnumbered the Magyar graves, an indisputable proof that the Avar populace did not "vanish" in the 8th century but survived the campaigns of Charlemagne and Pepin.[2]  The Avars were buried in separate cemeteries, so the identification of the graves was not a difficult task. We know for a fact that the wife of the Magyar Kagan, Taksony, was an Avar and also that several of the military leaders in the tenth century campaigns were Avars who survived Charlemagne's campaigns, regained their strength, and often led the Magyars to the sites of the stolen treasures. The Hungarian archeologist, Bálint Csanád, who examined the graves of the 10th. century Magyars, came to the conclusion that the military leaders who set out to repossess the treasures were Avar aristocrats.[3] A picture on the title page of the Képes Krónika (Magyar Chronicle) shows five Avar leaders with medals indicating their rank.

     Many sources report that the Avars (Huns) were still living in Pannonia when Arpád's Magyars entered the Carpathian Basin. According to the Chronicle of Salzburg in the twelfth century: "The Magyars who came from Scythia chased out the Huns."[4] According to Gervinus Ricobaldus: "The Magyars came from Scythia and took over Pannonia, chasing out the Avars who were the people of Atilla."[5] They were referring to Upper Pannonia. Otto, Bishop of Friesingen in the thirteenth century, Dandolo of Venice, the Bojar Chronicles, Ptolemy Lucensis in the 14th. century and, in the 15th. century, Gobelinus Persona all mentioned that the Magyars settled among the Avars in Pannonia (Lower Pannonia).

     Since the Avars left many geographical names and names of settlements, such as Bécs (the Magyar name for Vienna), Miskolc, Kassa (now Kosice in Slovakia), Eger, Győr, Fehérvár, Csanád, Veszprém, Szeged and Kikinda, and since the Magyars were outnumbered by the Avars and spoke a dialect of their language, the Magyars had no need to change the Avar place names which remained in the Hun/Avar/Magyar language. It is an accepted fact that a people will not borrow settlement and geographical names from another language. A people always uses its own language for this purpose. Although the Magyars encountered a much larger Avar populace living in the Carpathian Basin, the Magyar language did not die out as the language of the Bulgars did when they settled into a larger Slav populace. This is why we can state with certainty that the language of the Avars was Magyar.

     Einhard, the Chronicler of Charlemagne, noted that the Avars really loved gold and precious stones. He described the war, which Charlemagne waged against the Avars in Upper Pannonia. He stated that the Avars were annihilated: "The utter depopulation of Pannonia and the site of the Khan's palace now a desert, where not a trace of human habitation is visible... The entire body of the Hun nobility perished in this contest, and all its glory with it." He also stated: " war in which the Franks have ever engaged within the memory of man brought them such riches and such may well think that the Franks took justly from the Huns what the Huns had formerly taken unjustly from other nations."[6]

     The map of the Frankish Empire in the Harper Atlas of World History,[7] shows the eastern border of Charlemagne's Empire, marked with a heavy line, but fails to mention that this was also the western border of the Avar Empire which lasted for two hundred and fifty years. This atlas does not contain a map of the Avar Empire.

     The city of Győr, in the Danube valley, was the capital of the Avar Empire, whose borders stretched from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea, from the River Enns to the River Don. Einhard's account of the way the Franks obtained the Avar treasures is not exact. He writes that there were so many battles and so much bloodshed that every living creature in the area surrounding the Kagan's palace was annihilated and the whole area became a "desert". In the yearbook of the Lorch Abbey, it is written that the Jugur and the Kagan were slaughtered.[8] From this source, we also learn that the one who planned this murder and carried it out was the Tudum who was the second-in-command after the Kagan. This source calls him "regulus" - little king. Aventinus, the German chronicle which was published at a much later date, states that the Tudum poisoned his father-in-law, the Kagan, with wine. (321a, 277). Therefore the booty mentioned by Einhard was not obtained as war booty but from robbery with murder. Johannes Longus writes that the Tudum, the Prince of the Avars or the Huns, surrendered himself and his country to Charlemagne and he became Christian in A.D.795.[9]

    Einhard also writes that the whole area became like a desert, with no survivors, because of the bloodshed of the many battles. If that were true, then there must have been a great number of Franks who also fell, since the Avar Empire was, at that time, the strongest power in Europe. The campaign led by Pepin a year later was a cover-up for the murder of the previous year so that he could claim that the treasures were booty from the campaign. Einhard may have been exaggerating when he reported that only two Frankish leaders died in Pepin's campaign. The Avars were so strong that they were feared by every other nation and some smaller nations even posed as Avars in order to avoid being attacked. It is unimaginable that such a strong force could not have killed more than two leaders. The only other explanation is that without their Kagan, whom they had lost in the previous year, the Avars became an easy target for the Franks.

    Einhard calls the Avars "Huns" and uses the names interchangeably. Those Avar-Huns, who survived Charlemagne's campaigns, united with the Magyars who had come to reclaim their homeland in the Carpathian Basin and, during the Magyar campaigns, tried by all means to repossess the treasures they loved so much. Again, these were not "robbery campaigns". Robbery is a crime in which property is forcefully taken from its owner. The repossession of this property is not a crime. Einhard's statement that the Franks "rightfully" took the treasure from the Avars because the Avars "unjustly" took it from other nations, is far from the truth. The Hun/Avar Khanate was a military and mercantile empire. The Huns/ Avars were allied with Persia against Byzantium and they collected an annual tribute from Byzantium in order to avert a war. At that time this was a widely accepted practice. The Roman and Byzantine Emperors and also Alexander the Great all collected tributes in exchange for keeping the peace. The Avar Empire was the strongest power in Europe. If that were not so, Byzantium would not have paid a tribute of 80,000 soldii per year for 54 years, a total of 4,320,000 soldii, (soldius was the money unit).[10] Very few of the Avar treasures originated from the West. Only one time, when the Frankish king, Siegbert, lost a war against the Avars, the Franks had to pay a heavy tax but the amount has never been specified.

     The silk route from China to Europe crossed the Avar Empire. The Avars collected a toll from the merchants. Tributes and tolls were the two major means in addition to trading by which they amassed their treasures. A third way in which the Avars obtained their treasures was by means of the exchange of gifts which accompanied diplomatic negotiations. The more powerful the negotiator, the greater the gift. In this way the Avars received many valuable treasures. When Byzantium became short of soldius, the Byzantine Emperor began to pay his tribute with precious artifacts. The custom of the exchange of gifts was based upon ancient traditions. Can the collection of tributes and tolls by the Avars be considered to be "unjust" when it was a

commonly accepted practice? Even if it were, does this justify Charlemagne's robbery of the Avars? Most of the treasures which were taken from the Avars by Charlemagne were deposited in the cathedrals and abbeys of Europe.

    According to Anonymus, one of the Avar leaders was named Orsur. During the campaigns, one of the companions of the Magyar Kagan, Taksony, was the Avar leader called Urcund. These names demonstrate what a large role the “annihilated” Avar aristocrats played during the Magyar campaigns.  Árpád’s Magyars acknowledged the “annihilated” Avar aristocrats as equal partners.  This was obvious in the record of the negotiations between the Magyars and the Byzantine Emperor, when the names of the Magyar leader, Árpád, and the Avar leader, Kursan, are mentioned with equal respect.  The two peoples, the Avar and the Magyar, kept their own identities within the nation but, in the case of war, they united under the priest-king, Árpád. 

    During this period, the Avar people still retained its good name even after the victory of Charlemagne. The Franks needed to explain their theft of the Avar treasures, so they used Christianity to justify their exploitation. They declared that their robberies were the will of God. This is why Einhard wrote that the Franks took the Avar treasures "rightfully" but, in all honesty, is there any justification for these robberies, even if the Avars had come into possession of these treasures illegally?

     As Christianity became stronger, the name of the Avars received a greater and greater degree of notoriety, until there was no nation, which would establish any connections with them. Later, even the Magyars, after they had been converted to Western Christianity, refused to associate with them and withdrew from the Avars all the power that they had held. It was even forbidden to mention their name. This is why the other name of the Avars, the name "Várkun" was used in a shortened form: "Kun". "Várkun" meant the Kuns who lived in castles. "Vár" in Hungarian means "castle". These Avars became known as the Kuns or Cumanians. We now have a clear picture of the design of the Christian religion. Instead of uniting the two brother-nations, the Avars and the Magyars, who had the same language, the Church separated them and made them deadly enemies of one another. The reason was that the Kun / Avar nation, who lived outside of the Carpathian Basin had not yet accepted Western Christianity. Note that the Avars within the Carpathian Basin were Christian. Charlemagne wanted to take their land, so ruined their name.

     King László, (1077-1095) who was known as Saint László, the most well-loved of the kings of the Árpád Dynasty, whose achievements greatly benefitted the nation, strengthened and expanded the Magyar borders. During his reign, the Magyar nation was almost invincible. These achievements were superficial because it was he, in the long run, who caused irreversible damage to the nation. He extended the Magyar influence to territories where the Magyars were not in the majority, territories which he had inherited from relatives. After the death of Demeter Zvainimir, the Croatian king, in 1088, the Croatians offered him the throne. Until 1920, Croatia was an autonomous kingdom within Hungary,

    At the same time, Saint László prevented the Cumanians (Avar-Kuns), who lived beyond the Carpathian Mountains, from entering the Carpathian Basin. These Cumanians were allied with Byzantium and were trying to rejoin their separated brothers. All Magyar-related people, during the previous millennium, had regarded the Carpathian Basin as their homeland. But these brother-nations were separated by religion. Rome would not allow the "pagan" Cumanians to settle among the Magyars and Avars who were already Christian because she feared that the newly Christianized Magyars and Avars would discard their Christianity and return to paganism. (Even so, about two hundred years later, in the reign of King Béla IV, 40,000 Cumanian families were allowed to enter the Carpathian Basin and settle between the Danube and Tisza rivers, territories presently called Kiskunság and Nagykunság.)

    The Germans, too, feared an influx of Avars, which would strengthen the power of Hungary. The Christian beliefs aided the German interest. Saint László almost annihilated the Cumanians living outside of the Carpathian Basin and, in so doing, left room for the Slavs and Vlachs who were freed from slavery after the fall of Byzantium in 1204 to infiltrate into the territories of the Huns and Avars, whose populace was now very sparse.

     In the eleventh century Huns, Avars and Magyars were still living in the northern part of Hungary (Felvidék) now Slovakia. This was an independent state called the country of the Black (northern) Magyars. In the travel log of the Bishop of Camers, Kietbertus. during his journey to the Holy Land in A.D.1054, he writes: "after a long journey across the barbarian country which is inhabited by the Huns, we crossed the Danube, and reached the King of (Lower) Pannonia." (Southern Hungary)[11] The Abbot of the St. Hubert Abbey, Theodoric, also took the same route to the Holy Land. When he reached Felvidék (Northern Hungary) he was attacked by the "barbarians" and was forced to enter Upper Pannonia.[12] It is probable that this part of Northern Hungary was called "Fekete Magyarország". "Fekete" means "black" and black was used by the Huns to indicate a northern location. Bishop Bruno, in A.D.1008, travelled by boat to the Black Huns from Regensburg. Ademarus wrote that later Bishop Bruno went to the territory called "Fehér Magyarország". "Fehér" means "white". Therefore he went to the territory of the Árpád Magyars or White Magyars who were relatives of the White Huns (Western Huns).[13] Again, Ademarus writes that White Magyars of the country of King István (King Steven) attacked the Black Magyars and converted them to Christianity "by force and with love".[14] King István caused his uncle, the ruler of the Black Magyars to flee to Poland.

     Because the Szeklers who live in Transylvania (Erdely) believe that they are descended from the Huns, modern historians have concluded that this area of Hungary was the location called "Black Magyarország". However, this is not so since a journey by boat from Regensburg to Transylvania is not possible. (See the aforementioned quotation about Bishop Bruno.) It is also not likely that the ruler of the Black Magyars would flee towards Poland from Transylvania. This means that the Black Magyars lived in Felvidék, in the County of Nyitra, in Northern Hungary.

    Similarities between more than 300 names of settlements in Felvidék and in Transylvania prove that, after the annexation of the Black Magyars by the White Magyars of István I, large numbers of the Black Magyars were resettled into Transylvania to serve as border guards. These settlements were not established all at once, but gradually, as needed. A few examples of settlement names follow:


                     Felvidék                       Transylvania

                     Abód                            Székely-abód

                     Pusztabodok                 Bodoki (mountain)

                     Zsuk                             Felső-Zsuk

                     Enyedpuszta                Nagy-enyed (Aiud)

                     Eresztvé~ny                 Eresztvény

                     Komjat                         Komjatszeg

                     Vajna                           Vajnafalva

                     Nagykolozs                  Kolozsvár


Again it is clear that the Huns, Avars, Magyars and the Szeklers who are related to the Huns, all spoke the Magyar language.

     Who were the Avars, whom history teaches were annihilated by Charlemagne? When did they come to the Carpathian Basin? The Avars appeared in Europe in three waves, in A.D. 550, A.D. 568 and A.D. 670. We have been erroneously taught that the Avars were descendants of the Eastern Asian people called Juan-Juan. The Avars migrated from the territory of the White Huns (Western Huns) to the West after A.D.550 and settled in the eastern part of the Carpathian Basin. Albion, King of the Lombards, who had occupied Pannonia since the collapse of the Hun Empire in A.D. 453, asked the Avar Kagan, Bajan, to form an alliance against the Gepidae, a Germanic tribe. As a result of the ensuing struggle, the Avar/Huns repossessed the Great Hungarian Plain, which was originally the central point of the Hun Empire. In A.D. 568 and 569, when the Lombards departed from Pannonia, the Avars immediately occupied that territory and extended their western borderline to the River Enns, the former borderline of the Empire of Atilla. In an alliance with Persia, the Avar/Huns defeated the army of the Byzantine Emperor, Eustinius II. and forced him to pay them an annual tax. Eventually the Byzantine "soldius" was devalued and the Avars, under the rule of Kagan Bajan, restored its value by the addition of gold to the coins using them as Avar currency.[15]

    The Chinese called the Western Huns "White Huns" or "A-pa". The Persians called them "Abar". Around A.D. 310, one branch of the Hun tribes conquered Western Turkistan and assimilated the populace they found there, the "Var" and "Abar" peoples. The name of one of the Avar tribes was "Var" and another was "Chuuni" and they were also known as the Var-Kuns. The Onogurs and Sabirs (Subareans) called all these peoples in Asia and in Europe "Avar" or "Apar". The Hun/Avar names were used interchangeably. The names "Abar" and "Apar" were used for the same people that the ancient Greeks called "Aparno" who were actually the Parthians.

     The history of the Parthians is not yet well known. Historians represent them as a people of unknown origin, in spite of the fact that there are enough data to identify their origin. Their empire extended from the Euphrates River to India and for five hundred years Rome was unable to defeat them. Professor Badiny made a study of the Parthians, in which he quotes Professors Basham, Pijoan, Frye and Ghirshman.[16]  Professor Basham writes that the Parthians came from the North in about 250 B.C. and occupied Bactria, but he does not mention that the Parthians were part of a huge ethnic unit.[17]  In a very short time, they were able to establish an empire that extended from the River Euphrates, in the west, to the Indus River, in the east. The southern border was the Persian Gulf and the northern border was a line from the Caucasus Mountains, to the Caspian Sea and the Oxus River (the Amu Darya). This empire lasted for five hundred years in spite of constant attacks by the Romans. During that period of time there was no civil war within the Empire. The Parthians were united in their struggle against the Romans. Another interesting fact is that they introduced entirely new customs and decorative motifs to the people of this territory.

     Jose Pijoan describes the arts of the Parthians. He states that the Parthian art cannot be categorized as Hellenistic as is generally claimed, but was the "forerunner" of the Byzantine style of art.[18]  This conclusion was drawn from artifacts found in recent excavations in the Chorezm, which were created by the Sassanidae, one of the many peoples who lived in the Parthian Empire. In addition to the Parthian art objects, there can be found ornaments of many different styles, which indicates that the Parthians were a people of an advanced and enlightened culture. Moreover, the theater was already a well-developed art form. We can definitely say that these people were not nomads as is generally believed.

    According to Richard N. Frye, the Parthian custom for the succession of kings was "unusual and obviously Asian".[19] The crown was inherited by the eldest male of the ruling tribe, who also had to be the fittest, physically and mentally, and not necessarily the son of the deceased ruler. If we combine the observations of Basham, Pijoan and Frye, we can conclude that the Parthians came from the North; their art was unique and their custom of royal succession indicates that they were Turanian or Ural-Altaic. Historians say that the term "Turanian" or "Ural-Altaic" is just as comprehensive as the term "Indo-European", so we are actually no closer to identifying the origins of the Parthians. However, one source, Sebeos, tells us that, in 210 B.C., Arsak, the eldest son of the King of the Ephtalites (the White Huns) became King of the Parthians.[20]

      Roman Ghirshman writes in detail about the Parthians but does not identify their origin:

"These people who originated from 'one center' in spite of encountering, in this large territory, autochthonous peoples and differences in climate and terrain, succeeded in developing an elaborate civilization."[21]

     In Ghirshman's description, there is not a word of acknowledgement or praise for the people who united and ruled this huge territory for five hundred years and caused the collapse of the empire of Alexander the Great.

     If we examine more closely the three peoples who made up the Parthian ethnic unit, the Sarmatians, the Sacae and the Kush, we will come to a surprising conclusion: all three are of "unknown origins". At least, this is what the Indo-European historians and linguists teach us. How is it possible that a powerful nation, which ruled for 500 years and developed such a high level of civilization and culture, could be "of unknown origin"?

     Elemér Csóbánczi suggests that the problem began with the ancient Greek historians who gave to the ancient people of the Caspian Sea territory names in the Greek language, which they had fabricated. Thus the ancient Caspian people were named "Scutas" or "Scyhae" (Scythians).[22]

     Justinus M. Junius, a Roman historian who lived in the second century A.D., writes that, according to another historian, Trogus Pompeius, the world's most-ancient people were the Scytha.[23] Numerous Greek, Latin, Armenian and Chinese records state that the principal tribe of the Scythians were the Kush (Chus). Calmet, the famous biblical commentator, noted that another frequently mentioned Scythian tribe was the Saga tribe.[24] This name, "Saga", was a Greek name for the Kush (Chus) tribe. Both names refer to the same people. Calmet says that the same thing happened to the Massageta tribe. The name "Massageta" is of Armenian origin but was distorted by the Greeks. The Armenian meaning of "Massageta" was "Great Chus". According to Armenian writings, "Massageta" was originally written "Maschus" or "Massachut". They combined two words, "Mas" and "Chus"or "Chut". The Armenians used "Massachut". The Greeks pronounced it "Massageta". From the Chus name came the later name Chazar or Kazar. The Arabs called the Caspian Sea "Chusar", which came from the name "Chus" or "Kush". "Mare Caspium Arabicus Cusar."[25] The ancient historians most often mention these three tribes: Daha, Saca and Massageta.[26]

    The Scytha, Massageta, Saca, Daha, and Chus (Kush) names all refer to the same people. Herodotus, Strabo and Eustinius all describe a bloody war between Cyrus, the King of Persia and Tomyris, Queen of the Scythians. All three mention different people's names. Herodotus mentions Tomyris as Queen of the Massageta. Strabo calls her the Queen of the Saca and Eustinius calls her the Queen of the Scytha. Among the ancient Scythian peoples, the Parthians have an important historical name. The Parthians were a branch of the ancient Chus/Kush tribe, which departed from the main tribe and thus they received their name. The Armenian historians sometimes called them "Chus" (Kush) and sometimes "Parthus." Finally the name "Parthus" remained.[27]

     Mosis Chronensin wrote that the Kazars appeared for the first time in the first century A.D.[28] Elemér Csobánczi suggests that upon superficial examination the Kazars might appear to be of Turkish or Jewish origin. It is probable that they were neither of these. First of all, the ancestors of the Turks appeared for the first time in A.D. 600, five hundred years later than the appearance of the Kazars. The Jewish origin appears unlikely because only the Kazar Kagan, his relatives and aristocracy were converted to Judaism, approximately 300 families. It was this conversion, which caused the Kazar revolt. A small minority tried to force the Jewish and Talmud laws on the Kazars and others who lived in their empire. Another argument against their being Jews is that even if all the Kazars had been converted to Judaism, they would only have been Jews by religion, not by race. They were not a Semitic people.

     Csobánczi quotes from Byzantinus Faustus: "The king of the Massagetae, the leader of numerous Hun armies, gathered all his forces ..." and from Eliseus: "...destroyed the defences of Tzur and led the Massagetae... opened the gates of Tzur, city of the Alans, and allowed the army of the Huns to enter."[29]  Csobánczi asks what happened to the Massagetae and Scythians of the fourth century A.D. and where the Huns were hiding before A.D.375. He suggests that the Huns were relatives of the Massagetae, Sacae, Dahae, Sarmatians, and Scythians, with the same customs and an advanced equestrian culture because they "appeared" on the same territory just as the these peoples "disappeared".

     When the Greeks came to the conclusion that the Scythians were made up of many different peoples, the concept of "Scythian" changed. Procopius wrote of Atilla's "Massageta-Hun" regiment. The Greeks began to use Greek names for the different Scythian peoples: Dahae, Sacae, Thysogetae, Parthi.  All these names were incorrect because they were not the names by which these peoples called themselves but were all Greco-Roman historical distortions.

     Viktor Padányi writes that, in the first century A.D., these names all disappeared just as the name "Scythian" did and, at the same time, new names appeared on the same territory: Huns, Avars, Sabirs (Subareans), Kushites, then Onogors, Saragurs, Kazars, Turks, and Magyars.[30] Present day historians use approximately 300 names for these same peoples who lived in Eurasia.

     Historians generally believe that the ancient Scythian people died out or were absorbed into other nations but, as the findings of archeologists in Mesopotamia became known, historians noticed that these Greco-Roman names were not known in Sumer, Babylon, Assyria, Chaldea, Syria, Elam, Persia and the territory of the Hittites.  Instead of the Greek names, such names as Hunut (Karnak inscriptions) Unni (Persepolis inscriptions), HsiungNu (Chinese Annals), Chus (Kassu, Assyr, As, Uzi, Kusan, Khazar), Avar (Vár, Obor, Apar, Par, Parni, Parthi), Dah, (Tachi, Taochi, Dak), Shupri, (Sparda, Saspir, Savard, Sabartoi), and other variations in the Caucasian and Caspian territories were found in Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Chaldean, Hittite, Persian, Armenian, Neo-Persian and Arabic sources from the 17th century B.C. to the 10th century A.D.[31]

     Viktor Padányi points out that the word "saca" means "people". The plural "sakit" means "peoples", from which "Skita"- or "Scyth" is derived. Csobánczi goes even further and concludes that the Huns and the Scythians were identical peoples.[32]

     The connections between these peoples can clearly be seen. If we examine the three ethnic components of the Parthian Empire, we can state that all three belonged to the Turanian or Ural-Altaic group. One of them, the Sarmatians, whom Herodotos called "Sauromata", can be easily identified with the Sumerian SA-UTU-MADA which means "heart .... inside" or "the heart of a country". This name became the name of a country and when the country no longer existed it became the name of a people.[33] The name "Sauromata" then was derived from the Sumerian language.

     The second ethnic unit in the Parthian Empire was the Saca. We already know that "Saca" means "people". The third was the Kush (Chus) people. Eliseus mentioned that the Huns were called Kush and according to Asolich the Massageta were also Kush.[34] So it is obvious that although the Greeks mentioned many peoples living in the Parthian Empire, these nations all belonged to "one people" speaking the same language. One of the names of these peoples was "Huns", relatives of the Avars and the Magyars.

     József Tóth has written a short study of the Huns and Avars.[35] Since the contemporary writers called these people Huns, Avars and Magyars interchangeably, we may conclude that these people all used the same language, dress and customs. Imre Luchinics, in the introduction of his translation of the writings of Menander, quotes the opinions of some historians in connection with the Hun-Avar names. Malalas calls the Avars one of the tribes of the Huns.[36] Theophilactus uses both names interchangeably and calls the Avars "Huns".[37] According to Menander, we know that Hun interpreters were used by the Byzantines to communicate with the Avars. The chronicler of the Lombards, Paulus Diaconus, writes: "The Huns who are also Avars" and "Huns who are also called Avars".[38]

     The contemporary historians probably took their information from the fact that the Vár-Huns absorbed many Hun peoples such as the Sabirs (Subareans) and the Huns of Pontus, whose leader was called Mogyer. We can presume that Magyars fought alongside Avars from the writings of Theophilactus: "The Hun-Ugors received the first Avar appearance in Europe around A.D.460."[39] The Hun-Ugors were also called Magyars and there were Magyars who came with the Avars. The second influx of Avars in A.D.568 was again welcomed by the Hun-Ugors and at that time again Magyars came with the Avars into the Carpathian Basin.[40]

     The Magyar Chronicles relate that, after the Battle of Krimhilda, in A.D.453, (in which the Huns were defeated by the Goths), three thousand Hun men retreated to the field of Csigle. The Huns lived there for several centuries before the Magyars returned to their land.[41] Hungarian historians presumed that the field of Csigle was located in Transylvania, since the Szeklers believe themselves to be the descendants of the Huns, but its exact location was never identified.[42]

     There are three places called "Csigle" in historic Hungary. One is located in the north (Felvidék) in the county of Nyitra (presently in Slovakia). Its present name is Szigel, but in 1461 it was written "Cyglen".[43] The second "Csigle" is in the county of Veszprém and is presently called "Csögle". The third "Csigle" (now Csiglen in Magyar and Ciglean in Rumanian) is in the county of Szilágy in Transylvania.[44] In the neighborhood of the first "Csigle" there is a village called Szakoly, and near the third "Csigle" there is also a village called Szakoly. Szakoly is a dialectical variation of the name Székely (in English - Szekler). Which one of these "Csigles" was the one mentioned in the Chronicle? We cannot regard the "Csigle" in the County of Veszprém as a possibility because, until the year A.D. 536, it was occupied by the Goths who were the major instigators of the rebellion of the people of the Empire against the sons of Atilla. The "Csigle" in the County of Szilágy in Transylvania cannot be counted either because that territory was under the rule of the Gepidae. King Ardaric of the Gepidae was the most faithful friend of Atilla but, after the death of Atilla, he became one of the most hated enemies of the Huns. It is not likely that a group of defeated Huns would have saught refuge in his territory.[45] Therefore the "Csigle" in the County of Nyitra, in the valley of the River Nyitra, was the "field of Csigle" in which the three thousand Huns were able to find a hiding place.

    This conclusion is supported by the fact that the final battle between the Huns and the Goths took place at Krimhilda in Pannonia, near the Neato River, according to Jordanes.[46] Among geographical names, the river names undergo the least amount of change.  The name "Neato" can be easily understood to be the Nyitra River. There is no other river in Felvidék which begins with the letter "N". Therefore the battle probably took place in the southern part of the Nyitra River, close to the Danube, where Atilla's eldest son, Ellak, fell. Atilla's other two sons, Dengezik and Irnik moved to the territory between the Danube and the Tisza. A village name witnesses to the fact that the Huns lived here. It is presently called Romani but in the twelfth century it was Tuman. In the fourteenth century, the name Tuman was still in use but later it was no longer used.[47] Tuman was an ancient Hun name. The father of the legendary Hun Emperor, Motun, was called Tuman (Toban) at the end of the third century B.C.[48]  There was a Hun settlement in the fourteenth century on a peninsula in the Azov Sea, which was called Toban (Tuman).

     Is it possible that the three thousand Hun men were able to remain in hiding in the field of Csigle? The writings of Menander Protector (in A.D. 581) appear to prove so when he mentions the Hun interpreters in Byzantium.[49] Why would the Byzantines have kept Hun interpreters if they had no need for them?

     In A.D. 568, new groups of Avar /Huns accompanied by groups of Magyars arrived to strengthen the group in Csigle. They were called Avars or VárKuns. The contemporary chronicles do not mention the Huns in Csigle but, a century later, the King of the Longobards, Perctari (Bertaridus) says: "In my youth, when I was dethroned and exiled in A.D. 662, I went into hiding and found refuge with a pagan king who was ruler of the Huns."[50]

     After A.D. 670, still more groups of Avar /Huns and some Magyar tribes arrived, led by Kuber. "In the vast region of the Steppes, when many peoples co-existed, it was the strongest group, militarily, which gave its name to the Empire. First the Huns rose to power, then the Avars, followed by the Magyars, but all co-existed for centuries."[51] The West knew of the Magyars but did not recognize the names they called themselves, Utigurs and Kutigurs.

     The ruler of the Avar Empire was called the Kagan and the Tudum was his second-in-command. According to the Chronicles, at the end of the 8th. century, after an eight-year long war against Charlemagne and the Franks, an inside struggle broke out among the Avars and the Tudum murdered the Kagan. In A.D. 795, the Tudum sent an envoy to Charlemagne, announcing his surrender and his decision to become a Christian.[52] At the same time Charlemagne undertook his second campaign. He plundered Győr, the capital of the Avar Empire but spared the territory of the Tudum, north of the Danube (Felvidék). In AD. 796, in Aachen, the Tudum was baptized a Christian.[53]

    The remaining Avars still continued to fight the Franks and they defeated Gerold, the brother-in-law of Charlemagne, and Eric of Friaul. In A.D. 804, the Avars lost hope because the Bohemians also began to fight them. Therefore, the new Kagan, Todor, in Quierzy, asked Charlemagne to give him a settlement place between Szombathely and Deutsch-Altenburg, and Charlemagne granted his request. Soon after that, the Kagan Todor died and Charlemagne assured his heir, Abraham, of the title. In so doing, he put an end to the Bohemian aggression against the Avars.[54] Now both the Tudum and the Kagan were Christian and they made peace with each other. Unfortunately, the Slavs caused the Tudum a great deal of trouble. In 811, Charlemagne himself tried to smooth out the troubles between the Slav leaders and the Avar leaders.[55]

    The Avar Empire continued to exist in two areas. One was, with the acknowledgement of Charlemagne, under the rule of the Kagan, beside Lake Fertő and the other, under the rule of the Tudum, in the County of Nyitra. The chronicles still mentioned the territory beside Lake Fertő in A.D. 873. The other territory, in Felvidék, under the rule of the Tudum, although it was not mentioned in the chronicles, still existed in A.D. 896 at the time the Magyars returned to the Carpathian Basin with Árpád.

     The chronicles do not mention the country of the Tudum in Felvidék by name but it is clear from the provisions in the laws that it still existed. According to Theophilactus,[56] there was a law which ordered that "clausura" (bartiers or obstacles) be built at the sites of fords by which the Huns/ Avars could leave their territory. The Magyar Chronicles called these obstacles, which were man-made, "kluza". They were intended to prevent the free passage of undesirable elements. These "undesirable" people, according to the chronicles were the Huns, Avars, "Ungari" or "Hungari". At that time the Huns and Avars had been given a bad name and nobody wanted to associate themselves with that name.

     In A.D.796, when the Tudum was baptized a Christian, he vowed to be a vassal of Charlemagne's. However, he did not keep his vow because during the struggles in Transdanubia he went to the aid of his countrymen against the Franks and later surrendered to Pepin.[57] In A.D. 799, on the side of the Saxons, he again attacked the Emperor but he was pushed back north into Felvidék. In A.D. 803, he surrendered for the last time and went to Regensburg to pay homage to Charlemagne.[58] The Emperor pardoned him but encircled the Tudum's territory with a deep, wide ditch.

     According to maps drawn at that time, there were only two roads leading out of the territory of the Avars, one to the north and one to the south. At the northern pass a village called Kolos (Hradistya) and at the southern pass a village called Nyitra-Kolos developed. The name "Kolos" is derived from the older word "kluza" (Latin: clausura). The German Emperor Arnulf later destroyed the barriers in about A.D. 890 because he needed the help of the Avar/Magyars against the Slavs. This must have been the place in which the people of the Tudum remained until the Magyars returned to their homeland with Árpád. From time to time, the chronicles call these people Magyars. Vidukindus, a monk living in the tenth century, expressed the opinion of his time when he said: "The Avars are the remains of the Huns and we now call these Avars Magyars."[59] There are at least five instances when tenth century historians called the Magyars Parthians.[60] I could list many more sources, which describe the military manoevers which took place before A.D. 896 and which call these people Magyars but space does not allow. The important observation here is that the Magyars were in the Carpathian Basin continuously from the time of Atilla. The book of the Monastery of Saint Wandregisilius, in the year A.D. 877 notes that, at the time of the fall of the Frankish Empire in A.D.843, King Louis received the country of the Huns, Avars or Magyars.

    We can see that the Avar Empire was not annihilated as Einhard stated. As we know, there were two Avar territories. One was the territory of the Kagan Todor, in Transdanubia, circa A.D. 804, whose position was strengthened by Charlemagne. Moreover, at his death, Charlemagne assured Todor's heir, Abraham, of his position as Kagan. Abraham's biblical name proves that he was a Christian. The other Avar territory in the County of Nyitra, in Felvidék, was ruled by the Tudum. It appears that the Avar Empire was split into two parts because of the Tudum's actions but it ceased to exist only after both leaders became Christian and it lost its political role. At that time, when a country became Christian it relinquished its power to the Holy Roman Emperor. The fall of the Avar Empire was caused by its adoption of Christianity. It was important for the West to convert the Avars to Christianity so that they could thereby obtain the political power over them and collect the tithe from them. Unfortunately, in the past, Christianity was only a means to reach these goals.




[1] Fehér, M. Jenő: Az Avar Kincsek Nyomában, Buenes Aires, 1972, p. 74.

[2] László, Gyula: A Honfoglaló Magyar Nép Élete, Budapest, 1944.

[3] Csanád, Balint: Szeged és Othalom, MFM, Yearbook, 1968.

[4] Tóth József: "Atilla Népének Torténete", Magyar Múlt, No.2, 1977, Sydney, Australia, quotes Gombos, Alvin, 1937, I. p.676.

[5] Ibid. Gombos, Alvin, 1937, II. p.1035

[6] Einhard: The Life of Charlemagne, University of Michigan Press, p. 37-39)

[7] The Harper Atlas of World History, Harper and Row, New York, 1987, p.79.

[8] "Chagan seu Iugurro intestine clade addictis." 2. II. 98 Fehér, M. Jenő: Op. Cit. p. 59-60.

[9] Tóth, József: Op.Cit., Gombos, Albin: Catalogus Fontium Historia Hungaricae, Budapest, 1938.

[10] Fehér, M. Jenő: Op. Cit. p.38

[11] Tóth, József: Op. Cit. Gombos, A. 1937.1. p. 494.

[12] Ibid. Gombos, A. 1938. m. p.2613.

[13] lbid. Gombos, A., Op. Cit. I. p. 15-16, 1937.

[14] lbid. Gombos, A. 1937, 1.16.

[15] Fehér M. Jenő, Op. Cit. p. 44.

[16] Badiny-Jós, Ferenc: "The Ethnic and Linguistic Problem of the Parthians", a paper read at the XXVIII International Congress of Orientalists, Canberra, Australia, 1971, and Káldeától Istergamig, Buenos Aires, 1971, pp. 141-153.

[17] Badiny-Jós, Ferenc: Káldeától Istergamig, Buenos Aires, 1971, Basham, A.L. The Wonder that was India, New York, 1959.

[18] Badiny-Jós: Op.Cit., p. 145. Pijoan, Jose: Istoria General del Arte, Madrid, 1950.

[19] Badiny-Jós: Op.Cit., p.145. Frye, R.N., La Herencia de Persia, Madrid, 1965.

[20] Nagy, Olga: "Eredettünk kutatási nézetkülönbséget", Hunnia, No.58, p.13, Sept. 1994

[21] Badiny-Jós: Op.Cit., p.146. Ghirshman, Roman: Iran Partos y Sassanidas, Madrid, 1962.

[22] Csóbánczi, Elemér: Ősturánok, Garfield, N.J.  p.62-64.

[23] Csobánczi: Op. Cit. Justinius M. Junius: Epitoma Historiarum Philippicarum Pompei Trogi.

[24] Csobánczi: Op.Cit., Calmet: Commentaires en Genese, Ch. 10..

[25] Csobánczi: Op.Cit., Calmet, Dissertatio de regionobis decem tribum Israel L.IV.

[26] Csobánczi: Op. Cit., Curtius: Historiarum L.VI. "Sogdania Dahae, Massagetae, Sacae, sui juris sunt."

[27] Csobánczi: Op.Cit. p. 64, and Badiny-Jós: Op.Cit. p. 152

[28] Csobánczi: Op.cit. p.65., Chronensin, Moses: Historia Armenorum Vol II.

[29] Csobánczi,Op.cit. p.65., Byzantinus Faustus: The History Of the Armenians, Vol III, Ch. VII; Eliseus: War of Religion. Ch. VIII.

[30]  Padányi, Viktor: Történelmi Tanulmányok, Munich, 1959, p.131) (His sources were the Latin writers: "Persae cunctos Scythae vocant Sacas." (Herodotos, Historiarum, Lib.VII., 5th.cent. B.C.) Xenophon (Anabasis) speaks about "Cardachi" (Kurds), "Taochi" (Dahas), "Scytheni" (Scythae), "Macrones" (Makars), "Colchi" (Kaldeans) in the 4th cent. B.C. "Scythae a Caspio mari incipientes magna ex parte Dahae appellantur, qui orientariores sunt Massagethae dicuntur et Sacae et alii communiter Scythae privatim vero Miter atque aliter." (Strabo, De Situ Orbis, Lib. XI, 2nd. Cent. B.C.) "Ultra Oxum sunt Scytharum populi. Persae illos Sacas in Universum appelavere a proxima gente." (Plinius Major, Historia Naturalis, Lib.VI., Ist. Cent. A.D.) "Sogdiani Dahae, Massagethae, Sacae eiusdem nationis sunt." (Curtius, Historia Alexandri Magni, Lib.VI., c.3. Ist Cent. A.D.) "Parthi Scytharum exules fuere. Hoc etiam ipsorum vocabulo manifestatur, nam Scythico sermone Parthi exules dicuntur." (Justinus, Epitome Historiarum, Lib. XLI. c.l. 2nd. cent. A.D. "Parthiad gens olim Scythica." (Stephanus Byzantinus De Urbibus, 5th. cent. A.D.)

[31] Padányi, Op. Cit. p. 131-132.

[32] Csobánczi, Op.Cit. p.65.

[33] Gosztonyi, Kálmán, A Kazar Aranynemzet, Birodalom és Nyelve, Paris 1962.

[34] Badiny-Jós, Op.Cit. p.158. Moses Chorenei, History Of the Armenians, Book I.

[35] Tóth, József: Op. Cit.

[36] Tóth, Op.Cit. Luchinics, 1905, p.15

[37] Tóth, Op.Cit. Theophilactus: Op.Cit.p.19

[38] Tóth, Op.Cit. Balics, Lajos: A Kereszténység Története, Hazánk Mai Területen, a Magyarok Betelepedésig, Budapest, 1901, p.193

[39] Tóth: Op. Cit. Theophilactus: Historiarum Libri VIII. 8. Bonn, 1834

[40] Tóth: Op. Cit. Lukinics, Op. Cit. p. 32

[41] Tóth: Op. Cit. Erdelyi László: Krónikáink magyarul, 1943, pp. 43, 78

[42] Tóth: Op. Cit. Hóman Bálint: Székelyek eredete, Magyar nyelv, 1921, p. 104

[43] Tóth: Op. Cit. Nyitra County Monographs, E. n. 108

[44] Tóth: Op. Cit. Helység Névtár,  (Dictionary of Names) 1941, p. 71.

[45] Tóth: Op. Cit. Jordanes: De Getarum sive Gothorum origine et rebus gestis, Stuttgart 1861, p. 201.

[46] Tóth, Op.Cit. Jordanes Op.Cit.

[47] Tóth, Op.cit. Nyitra county Monographs, p.66-67.

[48] Tóth, Op.Cit. Juhász, Vilmos: A Megváltás Felé, Budapest, 1943, p.418.

[49] Tóth, Op. Cit. Luchinics I, Menander Protektor Történeti Művének Fennmaradt Toredekei, Brasso, 1905, p.176.

[50] Tóth, Op. Cit. Balics, L. A Kereszténység Története Hazánk Mai Teruleten a Magyarok Letelepedéseig, Budapest, 1901, p.195.

[51] Tóth, Op. Cit. Deér, József, Pogány Magyarság. Keresztény Magyarság, Budapest, 1938, p. 44.

[52] Tóth, Op.Cit. Balics, L. 1901, p.215.

[53] Tóth, Op.Cit. Balics, Lász1ó: Op.Cit. p.218).

[54] Tóth, Op.Cit. Baronius, 1711, IX. 446.

[55] Tóth, Op.Cit. Balics, L. Op.Cit. p.241.

[56] Tóth, Op.Cit. Theophilactus, Historiarum Libri VIII, Bonn, 1834.

[57] Tóth, Op.Cit. Balics, L. 1901, p.219.

[58] Tóth, Op.Cit. Balics, L. Op. Cit. p. 240.

[59] Tóth, Op. Cit. Gombos, A., Catalogus Fontium Historiae Hungaricae, Budapest, 1938, III. 2260.

[60] Modus Ottinc, Ebert: Uberlieferungen, Dresden 1826, Vol. 8.1, p.81-82; Nagy, Olga: Eredettünk kutatasi nézetkülönbségei, Hunnia, No. 58, Sept. 1994