Hungary before the Magyars

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History of Hungary
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Ancient Hungary
Hungary before the Magyars
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Kingdom of Hungary in the Middle Ages
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This article discusses the known pre-history and early history of the area corresponding to modern-day Hungary, and the peoples associated with this area. For an account of the more recent history of Hungary, see History of Hungary.


[edit] Stone Age

Early palaeolithic Vértesszőlős, which contains pebble tools of Homo heidelbergensis, is the oldest archaeological site in Hungary. Mesolithic sites are rare, but start to appear after systematic surveys, especially in the Jászság area (Latin Jazygia) in northern Hungary (Jászberény). Neolithic settlement begins with the Körös culture, carbon-dated to around 6200 BC. The Middle Neolithic sees the Western Linear Pottery culture in Transdanubia and the Szatmar and Eastern Linear pottery (called "Alföld Linear Pottery" in Hungary) in the East, developing into Želiezovce (Slovakia) and Szakalhat and Bükk, respectively. The Late Neolithic Tisza culture is followed by the eneolithic Tiszapolgár and Bodrogkeresztúr cultures.

[edit] Iron Age (c. 700 BC - 9 BC)

There are no written issues from the Iron Age (700-500 BC), but some scholars try to identify people later mentioned in the written sources -- Thracians east of the Tisza, and Illyrians (Pannonians) west of the Danube -- but this is highly speculative. The Celts came from the west around 450 BC, and they expanded over the whole of present-day Hungary in the Late Iron Age. The Pannonian (in the southwest) and Thracian presence also seems to have continued, however.

After 113 BC, the Celts in the northwest of this area were apparently the Boii, who were related to the Taurisos, who lived west from Pelso-lake (the present-day Balaton). In the first half of the 1st century BC, the Dacian king Burebista extended his rule over the Pannonian Plain, as far as present-day eastern Austria. He was fighting the Boii in present day southwestern Slovakia, and perhaps northern Hungary, around 60 BC. But Dacian expansion was then halted by the expansion of the Roman Empire. The Dacians for the most part ceased to occupy present-day Hungary by around the year 1 AD -- as did the Celts, more gradually, somewhat later.

[edit] Roman period (9 BC - c. 4th century)

The Roman Empire subdued the Pannonians, Dacians, Celts and other peoples in this territory. The territory west of the Danube was conquered by the Roman Empire between 35 and 9 BC, and became a province of the Roman Empire under the name of Pannonia. The easternmost parts of present-day Hungary were later (106 AD) organized as the Roman province of Dacia (lasting until 271). Because Roma pay tribute (86-100 AD) to the 'daak' tribe leader Decebalus. The territory between the Danube and the Tisza was inhabited by the Sarmatian Iazyges between the 1st and 4th centuries AD, or even earlier (earliest remains have been dated to 80 BC). The Roman Emperor Trajan officially allowed the Iazyges to settle there as confederates. The remaining territory was in Thracian (Dacian) hands. In addition, the Vandals settled on the upper Tisza in the 2nd half of the 2nd century AD.

The four centuries of Roman rule created an advanced and flourishing civilization. Many of the important cities of today's Hungary were founded during this period, such as Aquincum (Óbuda, now part of Budapest), Sopianae (Pécs), Arrabona (Győr), Salva (Esztergom), Savaria (Szombathely) and Scarbantia (Sopron). Christianity spread in Pannonia in the 4th century, when it became the Empire's official religion.

[edit] The Age of Migrations (375 - ca. 800 AD)

See also: Migration Period

In 375 AD, the nomadic Huns, most likely of diverse origin with a Turkic-speaking aristocracy, began invading Europe from the eastern steppes, instigating the Great Age of Migrations. In 380, the Huns penetrated into the Pannonian Basin, and remained an important factor in the region well into the 400s.

Around the same time (379-395), the Roman Empire allowed the groups of "barbarian" Goths, Alans, Huns, Marcomanni and Quadi to settle Pannonia, which still was a Roman territory. The Visigoths, Alans, Vandals and most of the Quadi and Marcomanni, however, left this territory around 400, and moved on to western and southern Europe.

The Huns, taking advantage of the departure of the Goths, Quadi, et al., created a significant empire in 423 based in Hungary. In 453 they reached the height of their expansion under the well-known conqueror, Attila the Hun. The empire collapsed in 455, when the Huns were defeated by the neighbouring Germanic tribes (such as the Quadi, Gepidi and Sciri).

The Gepidi (having lived to the east of the upper Tisza river since 260 AD) then moved into the eastern Carpathian Basin in 455. They ceased to exist in 567 when they were defeated by the Lombards and Avars (see below).

The Germanic Ostrogoths inhabited Pannonia, with Rome's consent, between 456 and 471.

In 476 the West Roman Empire was officially discontinued, although actual Roman influence in Pannonia had begun to decline as early as the arrival of the Huns nearly a century before.

The first Slavs came to the region, almost certainly from the north, soon after the departure of the Ostrogoths (471 AD). Along with the Lombards, they were to be the principal inhabitants of the territory until the arrival of the Avars.

Around 530, the Germanic Lombards settled in Pannonia. They had to fight against the Gepidi and the Slavs. In 568, pushed out by the Avars, they moved into northern Italy.

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, just as the Huns had decades before, established a big empire. This empire was destroyed around 800 by Frankish and Slavic attacks, and above all by internal feuds. The few remaining Avars were then quickly assimilated by the Slavs.

Around 800, northeastern Hungary became part of the Old-Slovak Principality of Nitra, which itself became part of Great Moravia in 833. Also, after 800, southeastern Hungary was conquered by Bulgaria, but was lost in 881 to Great Moravia. Western Hungary (Pannonia) was initially tributary to the Franks, but in 839 the Old-Slovak Balaton Principality was founded in southwestern Hungary, and in 883/884 the whole of western Hungary was conquered by Great Moravia. The advanced economic and political conditions of the Old Slovaks settled in the entire area (as well as that of the neighboring Germans) exerted a significant influence over the newly-arrived Magyars after 896.

[edit] Arrival of the Magyars (after 896)

Main article: History of Hungary

The first temporary raids of Magyars in this territory occurred in the 860s. It was only in 895/896 that the Magyars decided to cross the Carpathians permanently. The chieftain Árpád is traditionally said to be the person who led the seven Magyar tribes (including the Magyars proper) out of the steppes of Ukraine and into the Carpathian basin. These seven tribes later became the nucleus of the Kingdom of Hungary under Árpád's great-great-grandson, Stephen I of Hungary. Although Christianization of this territory began as early as in the 4th century AD, the newly-arrived Magyars were Christianized only at the end of the 10th century under Géza: this task was finished by Stephen I of Hungary, who was officially crowned king by the pope in 1000 AD. For a continuation and details, see History of Hungary.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

he:היסטוריה של הונגריה: פרהיסטוריה והיסטוריה מוקדמת lt:Vengrija prieš madjarus hu:A Kárpát-medence története a honfoglalásig

Hungary before the Magyars

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