Nomads, Northmen and Slavs. Eastern Europe in the ninth century

Imre Boba




A. The evidence of Byzantine and western sources  78

B. The evidence of Muslim sources  81



A re-evaluation of the pertinent sources will make it possible to identify the tribes roaming the Pontic Steppes in the early ninth century as the Onogurs, who, in our opinion, were remnants of the Avar Federation, and the ‘Majghari’, whose earlier history is obscure.


The Onogurs had a long history and played an independent role in political developments already before the coming of the Avars and the Khazars. [1] The main abodes of the Onogurs from the middle of the fifth century on were in the Pontic Steppes, on the Kuban River, and along the shores of the Sea of Azov. In the sixth century, those closer to the Dnieper became subordinated to the Avars, but were free to remain north of the Black Sea. Other groups of the Onogurs moved with the Avars into the Carpathian Basin and formed a considerable portion of the Avar army. The Onogurs were reluctant allies of the Avars, however, and sources report that they revolted and attempted to seize power in the Avar Federation. Some of the rebellious Onogurs finally settled in Italy. [2] The Onogurs of the Steppe Zone also revolted and were able to regain their independence. Elements of these Onogurs moved into Moesia and founded the state of the Danubian Bulgars.


The full name of the Bulgars was, on occasions, ‘Onogur-Bulgar’ or ‘Onogundur-Bulgar’ [3] (‘Onogundur’ being a variant of ‘Onogur’). It should not be surprising, therefore, that the same groups of nomads were sometimes called ‘Bulgar’ and, on other occasions, ‘Onogur’. The Onogurs were a numerous people and the presence of their tribes simultaneously in the Khazar and Avar Khaganates and in the independent Onogur-Bulgar state on the Danube, as well as in the Volga-Kama region, is generally accepted.



1. Cf. Julius (Gyula) Moravcsik, “Zur Geschichte der Onoguren", Ungarische Jahrbücher, X (1930), pp. 53-90; and Hudud al-Alam, comments on ‘V.n.nd.r’ by V. Minorsky, pp. 465-71. For a short history of the Onogurs and of other Ogur tribes and for an up-to-date bibliography, see Byzantinoturcica, Vol. I, pp. 65-67 and Index.


2. Arnulf Kollautz, “Die Avaren”, Saeculum, V (1954), p. 140, and J. Moravcsik, op. cit., p. 71.


3. For the variants of the name see Byzantinoturcica, Vol. II, s.v.: ‘Boulgaroi’, ‘Onogouroi’, ‘Onogoundouroi’, ‘Ougoroi’.





After the downfall of the Onogur Federation (c. 558) the name ‘Onogur’ appears only seldom in sources, since the Onogur-Bulgars themselves became part of the new political formations either of the Khazars or of the Avars. The Danubian Onogur-Bulgars themselves, or their neighbors, used the name ‘Bulgar’ to denote the new political formation. Consequently, the name ‘Bulgar’ was applied to the heterogeneous Bulgar, Slav, Vlach, etc. population of the new state.





The Onogurs reappeared in the ninth century in Byzantine sources for the first time in connection with a conflict between the Danubian Bulgars and Byzantium. The conflict occurred in 837/8 and was described by Symeon Logothetes, a Byzantine historian. [4] His narrative has been preserved in the original Greek in various Byzantine chronicles, as well as in Slavic translations (the latter in Bulgarian, Serbian, and Russian versions).


According to the narrative, a large group of Macedonian captives, who were settled by the Bulgars north of the Danube, attempted to escape and return home and received Byzantine help. The Bulgars, unable to prevent the exodus, approached the ‘Ouggroi’ for military assistance. [5] The description given by Symeon Logothetes is somewhat confused, and in addition to the Bulgars and the ‘Oungroi’, also ‘Tourkoi’ and ‘Ounnoi’ are mentioned. The two latter names are probably used as more general appellations characterizing the Bulgars and the ‘Ouggroi’. It is important that the ‘Oungroi’ were at this time (837/8) an independent tribal federation and that they must have lived somewhere close to the Danubian Bulgars, since they were promptly on the scene of the revolt.


The description provided by Symeon Logothetes is unequivocally interpreted as the first reference to the Magyars in Byzantine sources. [6] But this assumption, as already implied, is based entirely on a static, modern understanding of the name ‘Oungroi’, without consideration for the semantic change in the name. The name ‘Oungroi’ in the early ninth century could have referred only to some Onogur tribes.


But there is also another point in need of reinterpretation: the assumption that the date 837/8 marks the first reference to the ‘Magyars’ (recte



4. For the most recent edition of the Greek text see Gyula Moravcsik, “Bizánci krónikák a honfoglalás elötti magyarságról”, Antik Tanulmányok—Studia Antiqua, IV (1957), pp. 275-88.


5. Lewicki in his Źródła arabskie, p. 27, interpreted the Greek text as if it were the Macedonians who asked the Ouggroi for help. The mistake is based on the interpretation of the text by Marquart, Streifzüge, p. 30, who, however, corrected his mistake in one of the numerous appendices to his work, blaming Géza Kuún for the mistranslation (Ibid., p. 493).


6Byzantinoturcica, Vol. I, p. 271.





‘Proto-Magyars'). Most probably, the Onogurs reappeared in history under their own name already in 811. Onogurs are mentioned under that date in a rather neglected source, namely in the so-called Synaksarion in Bulgarian and Serbian versions. [7] Both versions describe a war between the Danubian Bulgars and the Greeks of Byzantium. According to this source, the Bulgars were supported in 811 by the ‘Ugry’ (the Serb form) or ‘Vęgry’ (the Bulgarian form). As the manuscripts are from the fourteenth century, it has been suggested that the name ‘Ugry/Vęgry’’ in the text is an anachronism, since in 811 the assistance to the Bulgars could have been rendered only by the Avars. [8] But this assertion has several weak points.


No doubt there are cases where the scribe, when rewriting a chronicle, or a translator, when adapting a foreign text, changed the ethnic names to fit his own understanding of the events. In the case of the Synaksarion, however, an anachronistic use of the term ‘Ugry/Vęgry’ remains to be proved. If the original Greek text had used the name of the Avars, the Slav editors would not have identified the name with the ‘Ugry/Vęgry’ of the fourteenth century, because other Greek and Slavic sources clearly distinguished between the Avars and the ‘Oungroi’/‘Ugry’ (i.e., the Magyars). On the other hand, the original description of the war of 811 could easily have used the name ‘Oungroi’, as this term was also used in the description of the conflict of 837/8. The use of ‘Ugry/Vęgry’ for the ‘Oungroi’ was therefore a mechanical process of translation, and not a substitute of ‘Ugry’ for ‘Avaroi’.


The suggested correction, that is, to read ‘Avary’ instead of ‘Ugry/Vęgry’, also has some other weak points. The Avars were completely defeated by 803. Remnants of them escaped or sought the protection of the Germans. The Bulgars were fighting the Avars from the south and occupied their possessions east and west of the River Tisza and the whole of Transylvania (802-12). [9] In such circumstances, it is hardly possible that the Avars could have provided support for the Bulgars. But it is probable that precisely at this time the Onogurs reappeared on the scene of history. We have to recall that the Onogur tribes were employed by the Avars in their army, but were not the ruling element of the Khaganate. After the defeat of the Avars, the Onogurs would have been the most reluctant to accept the harsh conditions of the capitulation. It was probably the Onogurs who moved from Pannonia to Dacia in order to avoid annihilation. From Dacia they sought Bulgar support, but, instead, the territory was incorporated into the Bulgar state by the year 812. [10]


It is possible, therefore, that in the year 811 the Bulgars received assistance



7. A. Gilferding, Sobrannye sochineniia, Vol. I (Sanktpeterburg, 1864), p. 39.


8. Ibid.


9. Arnulf Kollautz, op. cit., p. 168.


10. Ibid., p. 169.





from those Onogurs who fled from the Avars into Dacia or into the most secure refuge place of all, the steppes north of the Black Sea close to the Danube. The same Onogurs were available later, on short notice, from the other side of the Danube, when the Bulgars needed help in 837/8. It appears, then, that the Synaksarion, and not Symeon Logothetes, should have the distinction of being the source providing for the re-appearance of the Onogurs in the ninth century.


The third piece of evidence for the presence of the Onogurs as an independent political factor is provided by the source known as “Description of the Lands North of the Danube” or the so-called “Bavarian Geographer”. [11] This is a document entirely independent of Muslim or Byzantine sources. It describes a situation which existed in Eastern and Central Europe around the middle of the ninth century. [12] The description deals only with independent tribal entities. Among these tribes, the Avars are not mentioned, as, at the time of the composition of the list, they were no longer independent, although some remnants of them still lived under German sovereignty.


The list includes, among others, the Khazars, Ruses, Moravians, and the Danubian Bulgars. There is also the name of the Ungari, a tribe or federation previously unknown in Western sources. As already mentioned, the name Ungari is the German-Latin form of the name Onogur and is an adaptation of the Slavic form Ogъre. The abodes of the Ungari known to the Bavarian Geographer were located east of the Uuislane and of the Unlizi (probably Ǫglichi, the Uglichi and Ulichi of the Russian sources), [13] and west of the Khazars.


The Bavarian Geographer, therefore, attests to the presence of the independent Onogurs in the steppes, in a region west of the Khazars and east of the Danubian Bulgars.


The concurrent evidence of the independent sources cited so far makes acceptable the supposition that the sudden changes in Eastern Europe during the earlier part of the ninth century were caused partly or entirely by the reappearance of the Onogur-Bulgars escaping from the Danubian Basin.



11. There are numerous editions of this document, of which a recent one is by H. Łowmiański, “O pochodzeniu Geografa bawarskiego”, Roczniki Historyczne, XX (1951-2), pp. 9-55.


12. Ibid., pp. 31-45.


13. Lubor Niederle, Rukovéť slovanských starožitnosti (Prague, 1953), pp. 159-60, 163-65.

Cf., Henryk Łowmiański, “O identifykaeji nazw Geografa bawarskiego”, Studia Źródłoznawcze—Commentationes, III (1958), pp. 19-20. Łowmiański is reluctant to identify the ‘Unlizi’ with the ‘Ulichi’ because in the first form there is a nasal. But precisely this nasal is the key to identification, because in the ninth and even in the tenth centuries the nasal did exist in the Old Russian. The Chronicler wrote ‘Ulichi’ when the nasal had already disappeared.








The identification of the tribes which created the disturbances in the steppe zone during the earlier part of the ninth century with the Onogur-Bulgars may help to clarify some of the narrations of Muslim historiography which are generally assumed to be confused, entirely wrong, or, at least, unreliable.


Several Muslim authors knew that there were various kinds of Bulgars (Burgan, Burgar), of which some are occasionally identified with the Danubian Bulgars, others with the Kama/Volga Bulgars, or with both groups. In most of the cases these names still remain a source of confusion. A closer analysis of these Muslim sources may reveal that they used the term Burjan, Burgar in connection with events described also in Western sources, but where, instead, the terms Ouggroi, Ungari were used. The practice of applying two different names to one ethnic group should not be surprising, especially when both names are parts of one general appellation, namely that of ‘Onogur-Bulgar’.


The best illustration in support of the theory that the term Burgar may refer to the Ungari of Western sources is the description of the Burgars made by al-Mas'ūdī, but obviously compiled from some earlier sources:


A. There are among them [i.e. among the Ruses] merchants who visit the city of the Burgars which is situated on the shores of the Maeotis. But I think that they live in the seventh climate. They are a Turkic people. There is a constant stream of caravans moving between them and Khwaresm and Khorasan and from Khwaresm to them. But as it [the route] goes through other Turkic tribes, these caravans have to be protected (by an escort). In our times, i.e., in H. 322 (943/4 A.D.), the king of the Burgars is a Muslim, who during the days of al-Muqtadir billāh, after the year H. 310 (i.e., 922/3 A.D.) accepted Islam because of a dream he had....



B. This king makes pillaging inroads into the region of Constantinople with about 50,000 riders, and he lets loose his hordes around it and into the regions of Rome, Andalusia, Burgundy, Galicia [in Spain], and of the Franks. From him to Constantinople there is a two-month uninterrupted journey through cultivated lands and deserts. When the Muslims from the region of Tarsus ... made a pillaging expedition by boat in H. 312 and when they had passed by the entrance to the Channel of Constantinople and had come to the entrance to another Channel of the Roman Sea, which has no exit [i.e., the Adriatic], they arrived at the land of Venice. On that occasion, a band of Burgars came on land to them offering their assistance, and they told them [to the Arabs] that their king was in the neighborhood. This shows, as we have already said, that the Burgars can reach the Sea of Rum [i.e., the Mediterranean]. Some of the men from them [i.e., from among the Burgars] boarded the boats from Tarsus, and were taken over to Tarsus. The Burgars are a mighty people,





unapproachable, of impressive bravery, and the neighboring peoples are subordinated to them. . . . [14]


This description is recognizably a compilation of two separate fragments, one referring to the Bulgars of the Kama-Volga region, the other to a ‘Burgar’ people, who in the first decades of the tenth century harassed Constantinople and made inroads into Western Europe as far as Spain, being seen around Venice in 924/5 (i.e., H. 312).


The first fragment confirms the information known from Ibn Fadlān’s description [15] of the Muslim Bulgars who maintained direct caravan routes for trade with Khwarezm. Their king was Muslim. The second fragment cannot refer to the Danubian Bulgars, however, because they had been Christians since 864 and had never ventured into Western Europe, not to mention Andalusia. In addition, during the time of the ‘Burgar’ raids against Constantinople, the Danubian Bulgars were at peace with Byzantium. On the other hand, we know that precisely on the dates indicated by Mas'ūdī, the Western sources recorded that ‘Ungar’ [‘Hungari’] devastated Northern Italy and went as far as Apulia and Calabria. [16] The coincidence of the dates of the Arabic and of the Western sources and the coincidence of the names ‘Ungari’ - ‘Burgar’ is therefore not accidental.


The ethnic composition of the nomads who were active in Italy was Onogur-Bulgar, as was that of their kinsmen in the Kama-Volga region. Mas'ūdī compiled the two stories into one narrative, and the fact that he did so is clearly discernible. J. Marquart, in his translation of the text added the capital letters ‘A’ and ‘B’ to indicate the two component parts of an otherwise seemingly continuous narrative. [17] He, and after him all who analyzed that text, suggested a correction: namely, that instead of the name ‘Burgar’ in the original, the name ‘Magyar’ should be inserted. The graphic similarity between the two words in Arabic writing is, indeed, very striking, but the suggested change seems to be unnecessary and even misleading. The Western sources, when describing the same events, speak of ‘Ungari’, and not about ‘Magyars’. Similarly, the substitution of the name ‘Magyar’ for ‘Burgar’ in fragment A would result in utter confusion.


The decisive fact is that Mas'ūdī did not know the ‘Magyars’ under that name and that, therefore, the possibility that ‘Burgar’ was a misspelling



14. Marquart, Streifzüge, pp. 149-50.


15. A. P. Kovalivśkyi (Kovalevskii), Kniga Akhmeda lbn-Fadlana o ego puteshestvie na Volgu v 921-922 gg. (Kharkov, 1956). A trade route between Bulgar on the Volga and Transoxania is described by the Muslim author Magdisi, cf. V. Barthold, Turkestan down to the Mongol Invasion, 2nd ed. (London, 1928), p. 235.


16. Gina Fasoli, Le incursioni ungare in Europa nel secolo X (Florence, 1945), pp. 90-152; Marquart, Streifzüge, pp. 156-60.


17. For Marquart’s argumentation for the subdivision and his interpretation of the text, see his Streifzüge, p. 151 ff.




of ‘Magyar’ is automatically excluded. Although Mas'ūdī made the contraction of the two descriptions ‘A’ and ‘B’, he should not be accused of ignorance. The two ‘Burgars’ were, indeed, active in two distantly remote parts of Europe, but their contacts were not broken and even during the next century or two there were constant exchanges between these two branches of the Onogur-Bulgars.


Mas'ūdī is entirely justified in treating the two groups of Onogur-Bulgars as closely related, and even contiguous, formations. We also have to recall the several references in Muslim sources to ‘Inner Bulgars’ and ‘Outer Bulgars’, to ‘Inner Magyars’ and ‘Outer Magyars’. [18] In all cases, the authors refer only to geographical separation, while still implying ethnic identity.


If we can but perceive the simplicity of Mas'ūdī’s report, it should be easier to disentangle the apparent confusions in other, earlier descriptions of the nomads of the steppe zone.


The same Mas'ūdī related a description made by al-Jarmī sometime between 837 and 846 as follows:


“He [al-Jarmī] dwelt in the frontier fortress, and knew the Rum and their lands. He wrote on the history of the Rum [i.e., Byzantium], on their kings and dignitaries, their land, its roads and routes, the dates of the raids into it and campaigns against it, and on the neighboring kingdoms, the Burgan, Avars, Burgar, Slavs, Khazars, and others.” [19]


In the same book in which he summarized al-Jarmī’s work, Mas'ūdī remarked that he himself had also made a description of the Avars, the Burgans, the Ruses, the Burgars, the Franks, the Saqaliba, and others. [20] As we can see, the descriptions of both al-Jarmī and of Mas'ūdī refer to Burgans, as well as to Burgars. The term ‘Burgars’ ("Burgans"? — V.K.) refers to the Danubian Bulgars, and the term ‘Burgars’ must refer to another Bulgar group neighboring the Greek possessions, probably somewhere along the Crimea.


J. Marquart suggested that the second group of Bulgars was the group known to be on the Kuban River, east of the Sea of Azov. [21] T. Lewicki suggested an emendation of the text to read ‘B.z.g.r.’ (Baskir) instead of ‘B.r.g.r.’ (Bulgar). [22] Lewicki’s suggestion is unacceptable, however, because the ‘Baskirs’ did not appear on the historical scene until much later.


Marquart’s suggested location of the Burgars on the Kuban River is closer to reality, since they had been known in the Kuban region for



18. Actually ‘inner Bashghird’ and ‘outer Bashghird’, but with reference to the Majghari. For details see: Marquart, Streifzüge, pp. 515-19. On the two Bulgars there is a more detailed discussion by V. Minorsky in Hudud al-Alam, pp. 319 (note 3), pp. 438-40.


19. Quoted by C. A. Macartney, The Magyars in the Ninth Century (Cambridge, 1930), p. 153.


20. Ibid., pp. 153-54.


21. Marquart, Streifzüge, pp. 28-29.


22. Lewicki, Źródła arabskie, p. 59.





centuries. From such a location, furthermore, they would have been in a position to attack the Greek possessions, especially if the Khazars themselves were also interested in unfriendly action against the Greeks. In opposition to Marquart’s suggestion, however, it may be mentioned that the Kuban Bulgars, until their disappearance, were part of the Khazar Empire and would neither have been enumerated as an independent group, i.e., as equals of the Khazars, nor have menaced the Greek cities, as, at that time, the Khazars were on friendly terms with the Byzantine Empire. Consequently, the second group of ‘Burgans’ has to be identified with an independent group of Onogur-Bulgars which detached itself from the Avar Empire.


We should here repeat that al-Jarmī’s description was a historical survey and that, therefore, the reference to Avars can be treated as a recollection of the past, although some Avars still lived (during the ninth century) as a compact ethnic group under German control.


It might be argued that the reference to the ‘Burjars’ could also be a recollection of a situation in the remote past, because some ‘Onogurs’ (i.e., Onogur-Bulgars) were known in the sixth century to have been along the borders of the Byzantine possessions on the Crimea. [23] A confirmation of our assumption that the ‘Burjars’ of al-Jarmī definitely lived in the ninth century is provided by al-Khuwārizmī, who left a geographical description of Eastern Europe as it existed during his own lifetime, i.e., during the first half of the ninth century. By a rare coincidence, the date of the composition of his description (836-47) [24] coincides with the date of the work of al-Jarmī (837-46). [25]


The work of Khuwārizmī is based on the geography of Ptolemy, but to the strictly geographical divisions presented by the Greek scholar he added his own description of ethnic and political divisions as they existed in the ninth century. [26] Khuwārizmī also knew two ‘Burjans’: one southeast from the ‘Garmanija’, the other neighboring the Alans, who at that time belonged to the Khazar Empire.


T. Lewicki, in his comments on a recent edition of al-Khuwārizmī’s text, found the description of the two ‘Burjans’ puzzling, and assumed that both referred to only one political formation, namely to that of the Danubian Bulgars. [27] Against this assumption speaks the fact that the geographic coordinates for the center of the land of the two ‘Burjans’ (in



23. Julius (Gyula) Moravcsik, “Zur Geschichte der Onoguren”, Ungarische Jahrbücher, X, (1930), pp. 62-63.


24. Cf. Lewicki, Źródła arabskie, p. 16.


25. Cf. “Al-Garmi”, in Encyclopaedia of Islam.


26. Cf. Carlo Alfonso Nallino, Al-uwārizmī e il suo rifacimento della Geografia di Tolomeo (Rome, 1896): “Khuwārizmī did not copy Ptolemy, but provided a work with much independence.”


27. Lewicki, Źródła arabskie, pp. 24-27, 39.




fragment I and in fragment V of Khuwārizmī’s description) are at variance.


Our understanding of the text is as follows: the geographic coordinates have to be different, since the ‘Burjans’ described in fragments I and V are two distinct groups. The coordinates show that one group of 'Burjans' must have been located on the Balkans (southeast of ‘Garmanija'); the other group, neighbors of the Alans, must have been located closer to the Khazar Empire. Of course, that second group of ‘Burjans’ cannot be identified with the Kama-Volga Bulgars, as they, at that time, were not the western neighbors of the Alans.


Further evidence of the existence of independent Onogundur-Bulgars in the steppes can be derived from a new re-evaluation of the writings of Ibn Khurdādhbeh. Because he held the position of Postmaster General, as well as being in charge of the Intelligence, Hurdadbeh undoubtedly based his descriptions on up-to-date information rather than on a collection of outdated literary sources. His testimony on the ethnic relations of the early ninth century is therefore of great importance for the identification of the people of the Steppe Zone.


In fragment III of Ibn Khurdādhbeh’s report (in T. Lewicki’s edition) it is stated that


“Rumija, Burgan, the lands of a-aqāliba and al-Abar are located to the north of al-Andalus”

(i.e. the lands of Rome, of the Danubian Bulgars, of the Slavs (?) and of the Avars are located north of Spain).


In fragment VIII (of the same edition) it is stated that Thrace and Macedonia border on ‘Burjan’, which obviously means that these two Byzantine provinces border on the state of the Danubian Bulgars. In fragment XI we read again that in the land of the North live, among others, the Khazars, the Alans, the a-aqāliba and the Avars. [28]


What is to be noted from the analysis of these fragments is that Ibn Khurdādhbeh knows only one kind of Burjans - the Danubian Bulgars neighboring the Byzantine provinces of Thrace and Macedonia. On the other hand, he knows the Avars (al-Abar). At first glance, this fact appears to be an anachronism, because the Avars did not play any role at the time of the composition of the work. Furthermore, the Avars were not located close enough to the Khazars and Alans to justify their enumeration in fragment XI.


The question may be raised why Ibn Khurdādhbeh included the Avars in his narrative, but did not mention the Onogurs or the Burgars, parts of whom, according to our earlier analysis, were in the steppe zone at the time of, and before, the composition of his work. The tentative answer is that Ibn Khurdādhbeh applied the former political name of “Avar” to the ethnic group known as Onogundur-Bulgars, who, in fact, were earlier members of the Avar federation. This explanation is offered very hesitantly, but there are certain circumstances which make this theory plausible.



28. Ibid., pp. 67, 69-70.





We must recall that some of Ibo Khurdādhbeh’s informants were Radanite Jewish merchants, who had traveled from Western Europe to the Caliphate across or around the territories of the former Avar Empire. [29] To these merchants the Onogundurs who appeared in the steppe zone were defectors from that Avar Empire, which had just been defeated by Charlemagne. Therefore, in the eyes of the Radanite Jews, the Onogundurs were still Avars’, hence Ibn Khurdāhbeh's seemingly anachronistic description. T. Lewicki suggested that Ibn Khurdādhbeh had based his information on the Avars on the report of al-Jarmī. [30] This assumption is less plausible, however, since, in such a case, Ibn Khurdādhbeh would have known about two ‘Burjans’, as did al-Jarmī, and not about one ‘Burjan’ and one ‘al-Abar’.


The theory that Ibn Khurdādhbeh's information is derived from the West European Radanite Jews may also be supported by the fact that the lands enumerated in fragment III are located, according to Khurdādhbeh, “north of Spain”. This reference to Spain is rather unexpected both from the point of view of Ibn Khurdādhbeh, who wrote his work visualizing the world from Baghdad, and also from the point of view of al-Jarmī, who took his own geographic bearings in relation to Byzantium. The phrase “‘north of Spain” would be a logical reference only in the case of an informant coming from the direction of Spain. As already mentioned, such information could have been provided only by the Radanite Jew's traveling between Spain and the East across Central and Eastern Europe.


In view of Ibn Khurdādhbeh’s reputation as a reliable source for the history of the early ninth century, we may well consider his reference to the Avars as applicable to the Onogurs of the Steppe Zone, known to other Arabic sources by the name of ‘Bulgar‘ and to the Greeks by the name of ‘Ouggroi’.


In the light of the evidence given above, derived from a variety of sources, we may be allowed to restate our theory that during the ninth century there was an independent Onogur (Onogur-Bulgar) federation active in the Pontic Steppes and that this federation was formed by defectors from the defeated Avar Empire.



29. Cf. above, p. 28. where Khurdādhbeh's description of the routes used by the Radanite Jewish merchants is quoted and discussed.


30. Lewicki, Źródła arabskie, p. 91.


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