Avars


After Attila's death and the Hun's move to the east, another dreadful "horsemen nation" appeared in Europe, the Avars. The Avars, before their move to Europe, merged from "Vars" and "Khuns" because they spoke a dialect of Hun. According to contemporary records, when their "khagan" (chief) sent delegates to the court of the Byzantine emperor, Justinianus the 1st, asking for alliance, stipend, and land, they noticed that the delegates had Hun-style shoulder length braids, Hun-style clothes, and Hun dialect which the Hun court translators understood. Allied to Byzantium, they defeated assorted triibes, one after the other. Avar riders were feared for their swift horses and long range bows and arrows which could pierce armour. They had another advantage that secured their military supremacy and later became a common riding piece of riding equipment...the stirrup. With the help of stirrups, the rider sits sturdily in the saddle, and can fight his enemy almost with the stability of standing on the ground. Stirrups made speedy riding, sudden maneuvers, and accurate aiming with the bow possible. In 562 A.D. they had their headquarters around the lower Danube river. That's where they received the news that the Turks, who had defeated them earler, had crossed the Volga river from the east. Not wanting to yield to their old enemies, they migrated to the west, towards the Carpathian basin. They conquered both shores of the Danube after heavy battles. Eventually, their invasion brought an end to the centuries long economic and political turmoil inside the Carpathian basin. In the times of the early Avar empire, during their raids they captured thousands of craftsmen and farmers and dragged them along with them. Byzantine and Italian craftsmen, hauled this way to the Carpathian basin, built the wooden palace with baths for the Avar khagan (chief) on the southern lowland shore of the Danube. The 670's brought changes for the Avar empire: new nations moved in from the east. Some of them were Turk type groups from middle-eastern Asia, but most of them came from the steppes near the closer shore of the Volga river. Mainly they were Onogur-Bulgarians and also there must have been a number of early Magyars (Hungarians) amongst them. The influx of new nations brought new items, new arts, and new customs. Eventually the Avar empire was completly deteriorated due to continuous infighting, war against king Karl the Great, and Bulgarian invasions.


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