Avari

Article

November 28, 2021

The Àvari, also known as Obri in the chronicles of Rus ', as Abaroi or Varchonitai (in ancient Greek Βαρχονίτες, transliterated Varchonítes), or pseudo-Avars in Byzantine sources, as Apari (in ancient Turkish 𐰯𐰺) for the göktürk, were a' alliance of different groups of Eurasian nomads of unknown origins who lived between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, probably known above all for their invasions and the destruction caused in the wars with the Byzantines, which took place from 568 to 626, they are also usually defined in the foreign historiography, such as Avars of Pannonia. The clarification, whose origin is due to the area in which they settled, remains necessary to distinguish them from the communities of Avars of the Caucasus, a separate people with whom there was no historical contact or, at least, if so it is not certain. To administer themselves, the Avars established a khaganate, which wound within the Carpathian Basin and considerable portions of Central and Eastern Europe (Hungary, Austria, Czechia, Slovakia, Inner Slovenia and parts of Poland, Romania, Inner Croatia , Serbia, Inner Bosnia and Herzegovina and Bulgaria). Although the first reference to the Avars dates back to the mid-fifth century, those settled in Pannonia appeared in the historical scenario in the mid-sixth century, after fleeing the Pontic-Caspian steppes from the rule of the Göktürk. According to contemporary sources, the Avars formed a dominant but numerically small upper class in their domain. After a period of crisis, the wars of conquest waged by the Carolingian Empire against the Avars definitively ended the existence of their khaganate in the 790s, causing the loss of their political power at the beginning of the 9th century and, shortly thereafter, of their cultural identity.

Origins

Avars and pseudo-Avars

The first clear reference to the ethnonym Avaro can be found in a writing by Priscus of Panion (who died after 472). The author tells that, in about 463, the bream, the onoguri and the oguri were attacked by the sabiri, fleeing because they were hit by the greedy. The latter, in turn, had been forced to engage in battle and push west, having to flee, as indicated in an unclear passage, from the "man-eating griffins" from the "ocean" (Priscus Fr 40). While Priscus' accounts provide some information on the ethno-political situation between the Don River, the Kuban Territory and the Volga Delta after the disappearance of the Huns, it is not possible to draw unambiguous conclusions. Denis Sinor argued that whoever the "Avars" referred to by Priscus were, they could not be said with certainty the same ones who appeared a century later, during the rule of Justinian (who reigned from 527 to 565). , Menander Protector, active in the sixth century, reports of Göktürk ambassadors who arrived in Constantinople in 565 and 568. The Turks were irritated by the Byzantines' choice to forge an alliance with the Avars, considered by the former as their subjects and slaves. Turxanthos (Tamgan), a Turkish prince, defines the avaricious "Varconites" and "escaped slaves of the Turks", in the maximum number of "about 20,000" individuals (Menander Fr 43). Many other details, indeed somewhat confusing, come from Teofilatto Simocatta, who wrote about 629, describing the last two decades of the sixth century. In particular, he claims to quote a triumphal letter from the Turkish lord Tamgan: According to the interpretation of some scholars, the Turks insisted that the Avars were in reality only "pseudo-Avars", thus being able to boast of being the only formidable ruler of the Eurasian steppe. From here, the discussions on the provenance of the "real Avars" have followed one another incessantly, with some signaling that the Turks cannot understand the need to underline

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