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The Magyars

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Thought a while to be of Turkish origin, the Magyars, are an Ural-Altaic people with a Finno-Ugrian language, as their original home is found in the Ural mountains, between the Obi, Irtysh, Kama and Volga rivers. The Ural-Altaic people are thought to be a group of peoples extending, in northern Eurasia, from Finland to Mandchuria, like the Finns, the Balts, the Magyars, the Turks, the Samoyedes or the Mongols. The Ural-Altaic, and Finno-Ugrian families of languages are linked to those peoples. After leaving their home, the Magyars dwelt along some Turkish tribes, borrowing some words of their language to them. Even the Byzantines, when they first came to their contact, called them 'Turci'. At that time -about 850 A.D.- they were on the right bank of the river Don, in 'Lebedia', as they were marauding unto the Lower Danube and, sometimes, in Germany. After being attacked by another people -the 'Bisseni'- the Hungarians left their district, some returning further East, back to the left bank of the Volga, as others went westwards, settling between the Dniester, the Sereth Pruth, and the Bug rivers, a region called 'Atelkuzu' by the Byzantines. The move of the Magyars further West was due to a conflict with the Bulgars (see below at Bulgars) and their king Simeon. After having initially won over him, under their ruler, Arpád, about 893, the Magyars were eventually defeated when Simeon got allied with the Bisseni. The Hungarians then, reached this country which became theirs, about 895 or 896. The details of their arrival are unclear however. Under Arpád, under the form of 7 tribes, they settled on the left bank of the Danube -as most suited to their cattle-raising activity- and founded the towns of Gran, Székes-Fehérvar, and Buda in a plain which today became the exact center of Budapest, Hungary. They began marauding further West -that is into the Carolingian empire- reaching Germany, Italy or even France. They were infamous to the point that they left the word 'oger' into the French language. Such expeditions kept on under the successors of Arpád (Kings Zoltán -907-947, and Taksony -947-972). Where the Magyars had settled however was surrounded by hostile peoples. They were defeated, on the other hand, near Merseburg, in 933 and on the Lech river, in 955. Those defeats put an end to their expeditions West, as, eventually, Duke Géza married, about the 980's, Adelaide, sister of the Polish Duke Miezco. Géza received baptism -and his son too- in 985 by St. Adalbert, archbishop of Prague. It was the beginning of the entrance of the Magyars in the European history, with a large part of the newly converted retainers returning swiftly to their ancient gods and a lack of organizational structure for the Church being a hindrance. Their king, Stephen, by 1000 A.D. was recognized as such by the pope


The Bulgars -a people of Hunnic and Finnic stock- which were driven from their original settlement near the Volga into the lower Danube about the middle of the 7th century made incursions from there into the Byzantine Moesia and Thrace, eventually winning over Byzantium in 680 and founding a kingdom there. The Bulgars mixed with the former inhabitants of this region, forming a mix of Slavonic and Finnic-Ugrian elements. Often in conflict with the Byzantine empire -to which however they lent support against the Arabs in 718, prince Boris baptized in 864 or 865 for political reason and eventually having the Bulgarian Church -he wanted independent- passing under the Byzantine hierarchy, the Bulgarian kingdom reached its apogee under Boris' younger son, Simeon (893-927), ranging from the Danube to the Rhodope Mountains, and from the Black Sea to the Ionian one. Symeon, in 917, assumed the title of Tsar, and in 924 he eventually compelled Byzantium to recognize the Bulgarian Church as an autocephalous patriarchate. The decline came soon after, with the kingdom having some of it part becoming independent or passing to Byzantium, as the local Church eventually became populated by a Greek clergy

A civilization called the Volga-Bolgars was extant along the banks of the Volga River by the 7th century A.D. One of their city, the one of Bolgar which had been built then turned the capital of the Golden Horde in the 1200's. The Volga-Bolgars converted to Islam in A.D. 922

Website Manager: G. Guichard, site Learning and Knowledge In the Carolingian Times / Erudition et savoir à l'époque carolingienne, Page Editor: G. Guichard. last edited: 12/28/2010. contact us at
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