- Pannonian basin before the Hungarians
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 the prehistory of the Hungarian people, see
Hungarian prehistory. For an account of the more recent history of Hungary, see History of Hungary.
Vértesszőlős, which contains pebble toolsof a kind Homo heidelbergensis. The "Homo /erectus seu sapiens/ paleohungaricus" is the oldest archaeological site in Hungary. Mesolithicsites are rare, but start to appear after systematic surveys, especially in the Jászságarea ( Latin"Jazygia") in northern Hungary ( Jászberény I). 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 Szakalhatand Bükk, respectively. The Late Neolithic Tisza cultureis followed by the eneolithic Tiszapolgárand Bodrogkeresztúrcultures.
Iron Age (c. 700 BC - 9 BC)
For the Early
Iron Age(700-500 BC), we still have no written sources. Some scholars try to identify people later mentioned in the written sources -- Thracianseast of the Tisza, and Illyrians(Pannonians) west of the Danube-- much of this based on onomastics. The Celtscame 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. In the first half of the 1st century BC, the Dacianking Burebistaextended his rule over the Pannonian Plain, as far as present-day eastern Austria. He was fighting the Boii in 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.
Roman period (9 BC - c. 4th century)
Roman Empiresubdued 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). The territory between the Danube and the Tisza was inhabited by the Sarmatian Iazygesbetween the 1st and 4th centuries AD, or even earlier (earliest remains have been dated to 80 BC). The Roman Emperor Trajanofficially allowed the Iazyges to settle there as confederates. The remaining territory was in Thracian (Dacian) hands. In addition, the Vandalssettled 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 (
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.
The Age of Migrations (375 - ca. 800 AD)
In 375 AD, the nomadic
Huns, a Turkish people, began invading Europe from the eastern steppes, instigating the Great Age of Migrations. In 380, the Huns penetrated into present-day Hungary, 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, Marcomanniand Quadito 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
423based 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, Gepidiand Sciri).
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).
Ostrogothsinhabited Pannonia, with Rome's consent, between 456 and 471.
476the 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.
Slavscame 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
Lombardssettled 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 large empire. This empire was destroyed around 800 by
Frankishand Bulgarsattacks, 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 Slavic
Principality of Nitra, which itself became part of Great Moraviain 833. Also, after 800, southeastern Hungary was conquered by Bulgaria, but was lost in 881to Great Moravia. Western Hungary (Pannonia) was initially tributary to the Franks, but in 839 the Slavic Balaton Principalitywas 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 Slavs, who had been settling in the entire area, exerted a significant influence over the newly-arrived Magyars after 896 (see below); in fact, several Hungarian words relating to agriculture, politics, religion and handicrafts, were borrowed from Slavic peoples.
3th Arrival of the hungarians (after 896)
The first temporary raids of ancestral Hungarians in this territory occurred in the 860s. It was only in 895-896 that the "Turcois" decided to cross the Carpathians permanently.
Constantine VIIin the De Administrando Imperio, writes about the "Turcois", stating that they spoke a "double language" dialect. The chieftain Árpádis traditionally said to be the person who led the seven ancestral Hungarians tribes (including the Magyars) out of the steppes of Ukraineand into the Carpathian Basin. These seven tribes later became the nucleus of the Kingdom of Hungaryunder Árpád's great-great-grandson, Vajk, and Vajk's father Deyche later baptized as Stephen I of Hungary. Although Christianization of this territory began as early as in the 4th century AD, the newly-arrived Hungarians 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.
ome alternative theories
Among the many alternative theories on the origin of the
Magyars(which may contradict each other), there are three main theories involving the arrival of Magyars to the Carpathian Basin before the 9th century. None of these theories were officially accepted in Hungary. The last two theories are extremely marginal.
Theory of Gyula László:The Hungarian archaeologist Gyula László has proposed a very controversial theory, also known as "theory of double conquest”, in recent decades. He has argued that the Magyars arrived in two separate waves, centuries apart, a notion which is still controversial. The theory argues that around 670 a new ethnic group moved into the Carpathian Basin, representing the late-Avar culture with a
griffin-creeper pattern on their belt-clasp. The theory says that these latter Avars were actually Magyars and that they survived the centuries until the Árpád's Magyars arrival (see Székelyorigins).
Grover Krantz:In his book Geographical Development of the European Languages, anthropologist Grover Krantz argues that the Hungarian language must have been present in the Carpathian basin when the Indo-European languages diffused into Europe. His theory is based on the development of early forms of agriculture, to which the spread of the Proto-Indo-European language was tied. These agricultural developments and tools were such that the people relying on them were not able to penetrate the Carpathian basin, as a result the Indo-European languages avoided that region as they were diffusing.
Mario Alinei:As part of his "theory of continuity", Mario Alinei, linguist at the University of Utrecht, sees the Etruscan language as an archaic form of Magyar. The basis of the connection is the extraordinary resemblance of Etruscan and ancient Magyar magistrature names and other similarities: typologies, lexicon and historical grammar. This theory also contradicts the view that Magyars arrived in the Carpathian basin in 900 AD.
The theories listed above may have a common synthesis, questioning the current - still accepted - mainstream theory.
History of Hungary
* [http://www.hungary.com/servlet/page?_pageid=7022,6177&_dad=portal30&_schema=PORTAL30 A History of Hungary- By the Hungarian Ministry of Tourism]
* [http://www.magyarorszag.hu/angol/orszaginfo/tortenelem/tortenelem Hungary Before the Hungarians]
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