History of Hungary
Pannonian Avars
Avar and Bulgar warriors, eastern Europe, 8th century CE. ©Angus McBride
567 Jan 1 - 822

Pannonian Avars

Ópusztaszer, Pannonian Basin,

The nomadic Avars arrived from Asia in the 560s, utterly destroyed the Gepidi in the east, drove away the Lombards in the west, and subjugated the Slavs, partly assimilating them. The Avars established a large empire, just as the Huns had decades prior. The rule of the Germanic peoples was followed by almost two and a half centuries long nomadic rule. The Avar Khagan controlled a vast amount of territory spanning from Vienna to the Don river, often waging war against the Byzantines, Germans and Italians. The Pannonian Avars and the other freshly arrived steppe peoples in their confederation, such as the Kutrigurs, intermingled with Slavic and Germanic elements, and completely absorbed the Sarmatians. The Avars also brought down subjected peoples and played an important role in the Slavic migrations to the Balkans.[9] The 7th century brought a serious crisis to the Avar society. After a failed attempt of capturing Constantinople in 626, the submitted peoples rose up against their domination, with many like the Onogurs in the east[10] and the Slavs of Samo in the west breaking away.[11] The creation of the First Bulgarian Empire distanced the Byzantine Empire from the Avar Khaganate, so the expanding Frankish Empire became its new main rival.[10] This empire was destroyed around 800 by Frankish and Bulgar attacks, and above all by internal feuds, however Avar population remained in numbers until the arrival of Árpád's Magyars. From 800, the whole area of Pannonian Basin was under control between two powers (East Francia and First Bulgarian Empire). Around 800, northeastern Hungary became part of the Slavic Principality of Nitra, which then became part of Great Moravia in 833.