Hungarian prehistory

See Pannonian basin before Hungary for the prehistory of Hungary (as opposed to the prehistory of the Hungarian people).
The "Tree of Life" on an ancient Magyar sabertache (tarsoly) plate

Hungarian prehistory (Hungarian: magyar őstörténet) refers to the prehistoric Magyars, from the time when they separated from Common Ugric (estimated to correspond to the early 1st millennium BC) until their invasion of the Carpathian basin in the late 9th century (known as Honfoglalás "Landtaking" in Hungarian historiography).[1] The poorly documented 10th-century Principality of Hungary is included by some historians as part of Hungarian prehistory.[1] The terms "ancient history", and "early history"[2] are also used by different sources to describe this same period of Hungarian history. Contrary to language-based theories, according to others the ancestors of Hungarians were among those Caucasoid settlers who first appeared in Europe about 40-35,000 years ago[3][4][5]


The formation of the Magyar people

Emergence from the Ugric speakers

The Hungarian language is traditionally classified in a Ugric branch of the Uralic languages,[1][6][7] though the Ugric similarities may be due to an areal influence that also included Samoyedic.[8] The Uralic languages may have separated sometime around 4000 to 2000 BC.[6][7]

Climate changes around 1300 BC resulted in the northward expansion of the steppes which compelled several groups within the proto-Ugric people to turn to the nomadic lifestyle.[6][7][9] This change was strengthened by the several proto-Iranian groups living south of them who had been practicing pastoral nomadism and whose influence on the proto-Ugric people can be proven by several loanwords[10] in their languages.[6][7][11] The formation of the Hungarian language occurred around this time (between 1000 BC and 500 BC) and can be localized to the southern regions of the Ural Mountains.[1]

Following a further climate change around 800 BC that caused the expansion of the taiga, the nomadic proto-Ugric groups (probably the ancestors of the Magyars) had to move southward; thus they separated from the ancestors of the Khanty and Mansi peoples.[1][6]

The Hungarian Urheimat

The Hungarian Urheimat (Hungarian: magyar őshaza) is the theoretical original homeland of the Magyars. The term urheimat comes from linguistics and tends to be reserved for discussion about language origin. As regards the Hungarian urheimat, one of the consensus views is that it must have been located somewhere in the steppe zone south of the Ural Mountains.[1][6]

  • One view[12] states that the Magyar Urheimat is the same as the Ugric language group's urheimat on the western side of the Ural Mountains.[13] The time when the proto-Magyars moved westwards from the regions east of the Ural Mountains and settled down in Bashkiria (around the region where the Kama River joins the Volga) is still under debate.[7] Their movement may have been caused by new migrations of peoples in the 4th century AD, but it may have also connected to the appearance of a new archaeological culture (Kushnarenkovo culture) in the region in the 6th century AD.[7]
  • Another view claims that the urheimat is roughly the same area as Yugra to the east of the Ural Mountains, where the Khanty and Mansi peoples live today. Yugra also tends to be identified as the Ob-Ugric languages urheimat and not the earlier Ugric period; and thus the western side of the Urals in the vicinity of the Kama river is considered to be the Ugric language urheimat.[14] It is believed that the Magyars emerged from this western Ural Urheimat, based upon early language influence from Permic peoples.[13]
  • Approaches based on "map-stratification" have compared burial sites, ornamental motifs (tulips, cranes), leather and felt garments, mythological images, sacrificial cauldrons, folk poetry, folk music, lullabies, together with written documents and genetic findings to narrow down the most likely Magyar urheimat to the grassy land surrounded by four freshwater lakes (Caspian, Aral, Balkhash, and Baikal). This is the same area from which the Huns are known to have originated. From this land the migration of proto-Magyars progressed west, probably by more than one route, mainly via the Yekaterinburg-gap of the South-Ural mountains (indicated by cemeteries), to Levedia and later to Etelköz where they became the allies of the Khazars. Genetic evidence has linked early Magyars eastward as well to the Ujghurs, living in East-Eurasia around the town of Ürümqi (today in China).[15]

Nevertheless some authors emphasize that the urheimat concept is outdated since the development of a people is continuous.[16]


The origin of the "Magyar" expression (the self-definition of the Hungarians) could prove the period when the separation of the proto-Hungarians and the groups speaking proto-Ob-Ugric languages took place, but there are several theories on its origins; the word may be composed of two parts (magy and ar)[1] or it may have been borrowed from a proto-Iranian language.[17]

Words similar to the proposed magy element of the word are also used by the Khanty and Mansi peoples (referring to one of their groups /mos/ or to themselves /mansi/ respectively) which suggest that it is of Ugric origin and it possibly means "those who speak".[1] The assumed ar element of the word may be either of Ugric or Turkic origin and it probably means "man".[1][6] Those who assume that the expression ar originated from a Turkic language, also think that it may refer to a Turkic tribe that joined to a group of the proto-Ugric peoples and thus the two groups formed the Magyar people.[6]

Foreign primary sources use several names when referring to the Magyars (Hungarians).[18]

  • In sources written in Arabic, the Magyars are mentioned as Madjfarīyah or Madjgharīyah (e.g., by Ahmad ibn Rustah), Badjghird or Bazkirda (e.g., by al-Mas’udi), Unkalī (e.g., by al-Tartushi), and Turk (e.g., by Ibn Hayyan).[18][19]
  • In Byzantine sources, the Magyars are referred to as Οΰγγροι /Ungroi/, Τουρκοι /Turkoi/ (e.g., by the Emperor Leo the Wise), and Σάβαρτοι άσφαλοι /Sawartoi asfaloi/ (e.g., by the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogennetos).[20]
  • When mentioning the Magyars, the medieval sources written in the Latin language usually use the terms Ungri, Hungri, Ungari, and Hungari, but some of the sources refer to the Magyars as Avari or Huni.[21]
    This Latin name for the Magyars, variously spelled Ungri, Hungri, Ungari, Hungari, along with its many derivatives including English Hungarians, must have derived from the Slavic form of the name of the Onogurs, a federation of (mainly) Turkic tribes in the 5th-8th centuries.[1][21]

First records on the Magyars

In the 5th century BC, Herodotus’ described a people called Іϋρκαι /Iurkai/ who were equestrian hunters and lived around the rivers Kama and Belaya; some authors suggest that his record may have been the first reference to the ancestors of the Magyars.[20] The people mentioned by Strabo as Οΰγρου /Ugroi/ might also be identified with the ancient Hungarians, although it is more plausible that he referred to one of the tribes of the Sarmatians.[20]

Based on the ancient name Σάβαρτοι άσφαλοι /Sawartoi asfaloi/ of the Magyars recorded by the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogennetos, some scholars assume that the Byzantine, Muslim and Armenian sources, that referred to a people called Σάβιροι /Sawiroi/, Σεβορτιοι /Sewortioi/, Siyāwardiya, and Sevordi, recorded the presence of the ancient Magyars north of the Caucasus Mountains in the 5th-10th centuries.[20] On the other hand, other authors point out that this identification is highly disputable based on linguistic arguments.[20]

The Byzantine author who continued Georgius Monachus' work mentions that around 837, the Bulgarian Empire sought the alliance of a pagan people called Ungri, Turc or Hun against the former inhabitants of Macedonia theme who rebelled against the Bulgarians, but the rebels defeated the pagans and returned to the Byzantine Empire.[20][22] The pagan people are identified with the ancient Hungarians and thus this is the first reference to the Magyars whose credibility has not been questioned by modern scholars.[22]

The Annales Bertiniani records that in 839, the Byzantine Emperor Teophilos asked the Emperor Louis the Pious to assist the Rus delegates, who had visited Constantinople, in returning to their country, because "barbarian and wild peoples" would endanger their journey backwards on the road they had come to Constantinople.[7] However, the identification of the “barbarian and wild peoples” with the Magyars has not been generally accepted.[22]

Constantine Porphyrogenitus records in his work “On Administering the Empire” that the Khagan and the Bek of the Khazars asked the Emperor Teophilos to have the fortress of Sarkel built for them.[22] His record is connected to the Magyars on the basis that the new fortress must have become necessary because of the appearance of a new enemy of the Khazars, and other peoples could not be taken into account as the Khazars’ enemies at that time.[22] In the 10th century, Ahmad ibn Rustah also mentioned that

earlier, the Khazars entrenched themselves against the attacks of the Magyars and other peoples
—Ahmad ibn Rustah[22]


Migration of the Hungarians
Migration of the Hungarians according to others

Very specific areas are named and connected with the migration of the Magyars from an original homeland area to modern day Hungary. Each area is detailed below.

Magna Hungaria

Based on documents written in the 12th-13th centuries and mentioning Ungaria maior or Ungaria magna, modern authors use the name Magna Hungaria (literally “Old” or “Great Hungary”) when referring to the territory where the ancestors of the Magyars used to live.[1][22] In 1235, Friar Julian located this land directly east of the capital of Volga Bulgaria.[1]

One theory[23] states that the Magyars moved to this area from a northerly urheimat before migrating further to the southwest.[22] In Bashkiria, gravesites confirm the Hungarians' ancestors' dwelling there and a significant burial place with 150 graves in the Volga–Kama territory was used by them in the 8th-9th centuries.[6]

Map illustrating the confluence of the Volga and the Kama (the territory whereabout Magna Hungaria lay).

Linguistic researches[24] and toponyms also suggest that in the Volga–Kama region, the Magyars came into contact with the Volga Bulgarians, who were migrating northward following the 670s AD.[7] Other authors suggest that the Magyars may have come into contact with Turkic peoples already in the 5th century AD and thus their southward migration from Magna Hungaria occurred around that period.[6]

The Magyars organized themselves into tribes probably in the region, because the name of one of their tribes (Gyarmat) may have been reserved as a clan's name among the Bashkirs.[7] The name of several Magyar tribes is of Oghur origin which may prove that Oghur tribes also joined to the Magyars.[1]

The ancient Magyars were separated into two groups between 750 and 830; and afterwards, the two groups existed separately: one of them stayed in Magna Hungaria until the 1240s, while the other group (the ancestors of the future Hungarians) moved southwards.[7] However, the southward migration of the ancestors of the Hungarians may have occurred already in the 7th century (or even earlier), or the two groups of the Magyars may have separated only in the 9th century.[6][22]

The Don-Kuban area

Some scholars[25][26] suggest that from Magna Hungaria, the ancient Magyars moved to the region north of the Caucasus Mountains, around the rivers Don and Kuban.[6][13] They emphasize that several Hungarian words connected to viticulture[27] must have been borrowed from a Turkic language on that territories, and several loanwords[28] may have been borrowed from the Alans living north of the Caucasus Mountains.[6][22] The characteristic features of the Magyars’ clothing may also have developed around that time.[6]

On the other hand, other scholars point out that the evidence for the Magyars’ habitation on the territory around the rivers Don and Kuban is tenuous.[7]


The Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus names a place where the early Magyars used to live and calls it Levedia after Magyar voivode Levedi.[22] He also reports that a river, called Chidmas or Chingilous, flows through the land; the most widely accepted theory identifies the Chidmas with the river Kodyma and the Chingilous with the river Inhul (both are tributaries of the river Southern Bug).[1] Doubt has also been cast upon the existence of Levedia, because the name itself suggest that it was a territory where only one of the Magyar tribes (i.e., the one led by the voivode Levedi) lived and thus it could not be the name of the whole territory where the federation of the Magyar tribes settled down.[6][13]

According to the Emperor's work, the Magyars struggled together with the Khazars, which suggest that the Magyar tribes were under Khazar suzerainty.[6][22] The length of the period when the Magyar tribes were subdued to the Khazar empire is under debate: Constantine Porphyrogenitus records that they lived there only three years, while some modern authors assume a 300-year-long period.[6][22] Other scholars suggest that the Khazar suzerainty over the Magyars may have started around 840 when references to a people distinct from the Khazars disappeared from the written sources.[7]

Around 850, the Pechenegs, who had suffered a defeat from the Khazars, invaded Levedia and defeated the Magyars who, led by the Voivode Levedi, fled west.[7] A group of the Magyars, however, fled over the Caucasus Mountains and settled down there and their descendants lived in the region until the 13th century.[7] On the other hand, some modern scholars suggest that the Magyars moved west already in the 7th century when Great Bulgaria disintegrated under Khazar pressure and the Bulgars left the territory north of the Black Sea.[6]


Europe around 800

Following their defeat from the Pechenegs (or following the disintegration of Great Bulgaria), the seven Magyar tribes (Hungarian: Hétmagyar) that moved west settled down on the territory that Constantine Porphyrogenitus calls Etelküzü (or Etel and Küzü).[6][22] The Etelköz was the first known Hungarian principality, established in 830.[29] The territory was located around the rivers Dnieper, Southern Bug, Dniester, Prut and Siret.[1]

The Seven Chieftains of the Conquest (Chronicon Pictum)

Shortly afterwards, as the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus recorded, the Khagan of the Khazars sent envoys to Voivode Levedi suggesting that he should be elevated to grand prince.[1] Levedi, however, rejected the Khagan's offer and proposed instead Álmos or his son Árpád; the Khagan accepted his proposal.[1] Although, according to the Byzantine Emperor, the heads of the seven Magyar tribes preferred Árpád, modern authors usually believe that Álmos was proclaimed the first Grand Prince of the Magyars (his title is recorded as megas Turkias arkhon in the "On Administering the Empire").[1] Some scholars,[30] however, debate the credibility of the Emperor’s accounts and see the story as a legitimizing explanation invented by the Árpáds for a regime change.[6][13]

According to Ahmad ibn Rustah’s work, the leadership of the Magyar tribal federation was divided between a spiritual ruler and an administrative and military leader – similar to the Khazar practise.[1][22] Ahmad ibn Rustah also recorded that the nominal leader of the tribal federation Hétmagyar was styled kende, but its military leader was the gyula.[22] In the Khazar empire, the holder of the third dignity (following its military leader) was styled kündür, which suggests that the Khazar Khagan granted this title to the newly elected head of the Magyar tribal federation.[7]

The Magyars are a reace of Turks and their leader rides out with 20,000 horsemen and this king is called k.nd.h and this name denotes their king, for the name of the man who is actually king over them is ĝ.l.h and all the Magyars accept the orders of their ĝ.l.h in the matter of war and defense and the like.
—Ahmad ibn Rustah[31]

In 860–861, Magyar soldiers attacked Saint Cyril, who was traveling to the Khagan, around Chersonesos that had been captured by the Khazars.

The Hétmagyar federation may have seceded from the Khazar empire around 862, when the Magyars (Ungri) pillaged East Francia:[6][7]

enemies, proviously unknown for the nations, called Ungri, devastate his /Louis the German's/ country.
Annales Bertiniani[18]

Muslim geographers recorded that the Magyars regularly attacked the neighboring East Slavic tribes and they sold their captives to the Byzantine Empire.[7] They also mentioned that

These Magyars are a handsome people and of good appearance and their clothes are of silk brocade and their weapons are of silver and are encrusted with pearls.
—Ahmad ibn Rusta[31]

Before 881, the Hétmagyar federation was even strengthened when the three tribes of the Kabars, who had rebelled against the Khazars, joined the Magyars.[6][7]

The so-called Kabaroi were of the race of the Chazars. Now, it fell out that a secession was made by them to their government, and when a civil war broke out their first government prevailed, and some of them were slain, but others escaped and came and settled with the Turks in the land of the Pechenegs, and they made friends with one another, and were called 'Kabaroi'.
—Constantine Porphyrogenitus: On Administering the Empire[18]

Thenceforward, the Kabars were regarded as military auxiliaries of the Magyars and they provided the advance and rear guards to their hosts.[18] In 881, the Magyars and the Kabars invaded East Francia, and they fought two battles, the former (Ungari) at Wenia (probably Vienna) and the latter (Cowari) at Culmite (possibly Kulmberg or Kollmitz in Austria).[6][22]

The Magyars were occasionally hired by the rulers of the neighboring territories to intervene in their struggles.[7] According to the Annales Fuldenses, in 892, King Arnulf of East Francia invaded Great Moravia and the Magyars joined to his troops.[22] In 894, the Magyars invaded Pannonia already in alliance with King Svatopluk I of Moravia.[7][22]

The "Landtaking" (Honfoglalás)

The conquest


The theories on the reasons for the invasion of the Magyars into the Carpathian Basin can be divided into three groups:[22]

  • Based on the later chroniclers' tradition and the Gesta Hungarorum ("The Deeds of the Hungarians"), strengthened by the apparent success of the Conquest (securing all the frontiers within 12 years), some scholars think that the invasion was an intended military operation with the clear purpose of occupying the Carpathian Basin, and that the Magyars had already surveyed their future country during their former campaigns in the region.
  • Intermediate theories hold that the Magyars, threatened by the Petchenegs (a Turkic tribe), had been planning to conquer the territory protected by the Carpathian Mountains, but that their plans were disturbed by the Pechenegs' sudden attack against Etelköz.
  • Based on contemporary or nearly contemporary sources, a third group of historians thinks the Magyars' invasion was an involuntary military action that was forced by the joint attack of the Pechenegs and the Bulgarian Empire against them.

Movements on the Steppe

Muslim historians recorded that in 893, Isma'il ibn Ahmad, the Samanid amir of Transoxiana made a successful military campaign against the Karluks (a Turkic tribe) who had to move northward and expelled the Oghuz Turks from their dwellings; thus, the latter were obliged to move westward and they attacked the Pechenegs.[22] Therefore, the Samanid amir's action launched a series of movements of the peoples on the Eurasian Steppe and these movements put the Pechenegs under pressure.[22]

Originally, the Pechenegs had their dwelling on the river Atil /the river Volga/ and likewise on the river Geich /the river Ural/, having common frontiers with the Chazars and the so-called Uzes. But fifty years ago the so-called Uzes made common cause with the Chazars, and joined battle with the Pechenegs and prevailed over them and expelled them from their country, which the so-called Uzes have occupied till this day. The Pechenegs fled and wandered round, casting about for a place for their settlement.
—Constantine Porphyrogenitus: On Administering the Empire[18]

The Kabars and the Szeklers

Based on primary sources, modern historians claim that some tribes of the Hétmagyar federation may have expanded their dwellings to parts of the Carpathian Basin east of the Garam River even before the Honfoglalás (i.e., the occupation of the territory) commenced.[1][7] They point out that the late-medieval historian Aventinus mentions that King Arnulf promised to the Hungarians, already in 892, that they could keep all the territories they would occupy if they provided him military assistance against Moravia.[7] Moreover, both the Gesta Hungarorum and the Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum ("The Deeds of the Huns and the Hungarians") records a tradition that the Szeklers, who may have joined to the tribal federation in Etelköz, had already settled down in the Carpathian Basin by the time when the Hungarian tribes invaded the territory.[7]

When they /the Szeklers/ got to know that the Hungarians were returning once more to Pannonia, they hurried to meet them in Ruthenia and together they conquered the region of Pannonia.

If the above theory is valid, the Kabars and the Szeklers (who joined to the tribal federation Hétmagyar and thus they had to go before the Magyar armies in wars) must have been the first to settle down there around 893.[7] According to modern historians, there were 10 Hungarian tribes in Etelköz, because three Kabar tribes joined[32] to the seven Hungarian tribes prior to the Hungarian conquest.

Alliance with the Byzantine Empire

After 893, a war broke out between the Byzantine and the Bulgarian Empires; the Tsar Simeon I of Bulgaria invaded Thrace and his troops destroyed the Byzantine armies.[7] Shortly afterwards, the Emperor Leo VI the Wise sent envoys to the Magyars and his envoys signed an agreement with Árpád and Kurszán (who were the heads of the Hétmagyar federation at that time) against the Bulgarian Empire.[7]

The Byzantine fleet delivered the Magyar troops over the Danube, and the Magyars defeated the Bulgarians in three battles (at the Danube, Silistra and Preslav) and the tsar had to flee to a fortress called Mundraga.[6][7] Following their victories, the Magyars commenced to return to their dwellings in Etelköz.[7] According to the Rus' annals, the Magyars

defeated the Bulgars, Simeon hardly escaped in Silistria.[18]

The Pechenegs' intervention

Shortly following his defeat, the Tsar Simeon made an alliance with the Pechenegs who were seeking new territories.[6][7] The tsar lead his armies against the Magyars and defeated them at a decisive battle.[7] In the meantime, the Pechenegs invaded the dwellings of the Magyars in Etelköz and pillaged the territory that was nearly unprotected because the Magyar troops were far away, in Bulgaria.[7]

Following their decisive defeat from the Bulgarians and the invasion of the Pechenegs against their dwellings, the Magyars were obliged to flee from their dwellings in Etelköz and invaded the Carpathian Basin around 896.[1][7]

when the Turks /the Magyars/ had gone off on a military expedition, the Pechenegs with Simeon came against the Turks and completely destroyed their families and miserably expelled thence the Turks who were guarding their country. When the Turks came back and found their country thus desolate and utterly ruined, they settled in the land where they live today.
—Constantine Porphyrogenitus: On Administering the Empire[18]
/The Magyars/ were expelled from their own dwelling places by the neighboring peoples, called Pechenegs.
Regino of Prüm: Chronicon[18]

The conquest of the Carpathian Basin

The invasion of the Magyars (Chronicon Pictum)

Following their alleged catastrophic defeats from the Pechenegs and the Bulgarians, the Magyars were forced to migrate to new pastures. Their whole population moved over the nearby mountains into to the territory of the Carpathian Basin.[18][33]

At that time, the Magyars probably killed their spiritual leader, the High Prince Álmos, following a similar Khazar tradition that prescribed the murder of the Khagans (as a human sacrifice) in case of disasters affecting the people.[18]

Álmos was killed (…) for he was not allowed to enter Pannonia.
—Illustrated Chronicle[18]

The chronology and the circumstances of the conquest of the Carpathian Basin are still debated by modern authors, because the primary sources contain several contradictory statements.[34] Even the exact date of the conquest cannot be determined based on the primary sources; modern authors tend to accept the theory that the Magyars invaded the Carpathian Basin around 895 (between 893 and 897), but some scholars still claim that their invasion must have occurred after 897.[22]

The circumstances of the conquest that are still debated by modern scholars include:

  • the polities existing in the Carpathian Basin at the end of the 9th century and their exact borders;
  • the peoples living in the Carpathian Basin at the time of the invasion;
  • the chronology of the conquest;
  • the credibility of certain primary sources written centuries after the events.


At the time of the Magyar invasion, the Carpathian Basin was divided among several powers. Following the collapse of the Avar Empire around 800, the neighboring powers had occupied only parts of its territory.[18][22]

  • The region of Transdanubia (Pannonia) and the western parts of Slavonia belonged to East Francia.[18][22] The Slavic population of the province was governed by dukes appointed by the king of East Francia with a seat in Blatnograd (today Zalavár in Hungary).[1][22]
  • The territories north of the river Danube belonged to Moravia, but the expansion of the Moravian territories on the eastern part of the Carpathian Basin is still under debate.[1][22]
  • Transylvania and some regions east of the river Danube were occupied by the Bulgarians around 803.[7][22][35]

Some modern authors[36] emphasize that certain medieval sources written in the 9th-10th centuries[37] suggest the existence of another Moravia ("Great Moravia") in the southern parts of the Carpathian Basin, but other scholars[38] point out that archaeological evidences do not support the existence of “two Moravias”.[7][22]


When the Magyars invaded the Carpathian Basin, its largest part was inhabited by Slavic and -according to part of the historians- Vlach population;[39] not only primary sources written in the 9th century,[40] but also place names[41] and the names of several rivers prove that the Magyars conquered a territory whose population mainly spoke Slavic languages.[1][7]

Besides the Slavs, the Avars must have formed a significant part of the population of the Carpathian Basin at the end of the 9th century; both contemporary sources[42] and a growing number of archaeological evidences suggest that groups of the Avars survived the disintegration of their empire.[1][1][7][7]

Sources written in the 9th century also suggest that some groups of the Onogurs, who had moved to the Carpathian Basin around 670, still lived on the territory when the Magyars invaded it.[1][7]

Archaeological evidence suggest that the Bulgars occupied the valley of the river Maros at the time of the Magyars’ invasion.[7][35]

The presence of some groups of Gepids was also documented by sources [43] written in the 9th century.[7] Following the collapse of the Avars’ power, Germans immigrated to the regions occupied by East Francia.[7] It is subject of controversy whether elements of the mixed Daco–Roman population survived in Transylvania through The Dark Ages (becoming the ancestors of modern Romanians) or the first Vlachs appeared in the area in the 13th century after a northwards migration from the Balkan Peninsula. However, the oldest extant documents from Transylvania make reference to Vlachs too. (See Origin of the Romanians.)

The invasion

Europe around 900

The Hungarian tradition connects the events of the invasion (the Honfoglalás) to Álmos’ son and successor, Grand Prince Árpád.[1] The contemporary sources, however, emphasize the role Kurszán played during the invasion, which suggest that he was the military leader of the Magyars’ tribal federation.[1][44]

The route the Magyars followed when invading the Carpathian Basin is under debate:

  • based on the chronicles that probably reserved the Magyars’ tradition, some authors claim that the Magyars occupied Transylvania first;[1]
  • other scholars follow the accounts of the author of the Gesta Hungarorum of the events who described that the Magyars arrived through the north-eastern passes of the Carpathians and they occupied Transylvania only at a later stage.

The followers of the first theory emphasize that the Magyars must have been engaged with their internal affairs after the conquest of the eastern parts of the Carpathian Basin, because they did not intervene in the internal struggles of (the northern) Moravia.[7] They point out that archaeological findings also suggest the presence of Magyar warriors around Kolozsvár (today Cluj-Napoca in Romania) and the valley of the river Olt around the time of the invasion.[6][35] The fourteenth century chronicle compilation relates that the Magyars

had a rest in Transylvania, and let their beasts have a rest.
—Illustrated Chronicle[7]

Their opponents suggest that following their defeat from the Petchenegs, the Magyars, already under the leadership of Árpád, proceeded northward (around Kiev and Galicia), and they entered the Carpathian Basin through the Verecke Pass. They emphasize that the oldest and most numerous Magyar graves have been found in this area (around Zemplin and Szabolcs).[45] They claim that the lack of Hungarian artefacts[46] in the valley of the river Maros provides strong evidence that the Magyars did not pass through Transylvania.[45] Other historians propose that had the Magyars first entered Transylvania, they would have remained there.[45][clarification needed]

When in the 12th century, the Russian chronicler Nestor described the events of the invasion, he mentioned that:

Coming from the east, they /the Magyars/ marched in haste over the high mountains, which are called the mountains of the Magyars, and began to fight against the Volochi (Волохи) /the people of East Francia or the Romanians/ and the Slavs who inhabited these countries. The Slavs had originally lived there, and the Volochi (Волохове) had subdued the country of the Slavs. Later, however, the Magyars drove out the Volochi (Волъхи), subdued the Slavs, and settled in their country. Since then, that region has been called Hungary.

Nevertheless, the Magyars invaded the Great Hungarian Plain, and occupied the territories of the Carpathian Basin east of the rivers Danube and Garam, probably without facing severe resistance.[7][44] If a "Great Moravia" existed in the southern parts of the Carpathian Basin, the Magyars occupied its territories during their invasion, and they may have also invaded the southern territories of Transylvania that had been occupied by the Bulgarians.[7] The first legend of Saint Naum relates that the Magyars occupied the Moravian land

and devastated it. Those /of the Moravians/ not captured by the Magyars, ran to the Bulgars. And their depopulated land remained in the hand of the Magyars.
—First Legend of St. Naum[18]

The first campaign against Italy

In 899, the Magyars invaded the northern regions of Italy and pillaged the countryside around Treviso, Vicenza, Verona, Brescia, Bergamo and Milan.[7] When they were informed that King Berengar I of Italy gathered an army against them, they pretended to be fleeing and defeated the king's army at the Battle of Brenta (24 September 899).[44]

Following their victory, they took Vercelli and Modena, and then laid siege to Venice where they were defeated, and afterwards they left Italy.[44] The Annales Fuldenses mentions that they

returned on the same route they had come devastating a great part of Pannonia.
Annales Fuldenses[18]

The second phase of the conquest

The appearance of Hungarian tribe names in settlement names (according to Sándor Török). It suggests where arriving Hungarians lived amongst other peoples and helps in reconstructing where arriving tribes settled

When Emperor Arnulf I died (8 December 899), the Magyars sent envoys to his successor, King Louis the Child of East Francia.[44] This mission intended, under the pretext of concluding a treaty, to survey the land (i.e., Pannonia) to be occupied.[18] Shortly afterwards, the Magyars started a war with the Moravians, occupying a part of their land between the rivers Garam and Morava; then they unexpectedly crossed the Danube, attacked the land of their allies (i.e., the territories of East Francia) and, meeting with hardly any resistance, seized Pannonia.[18]

A detailed account was left about this event by bishop Liutprand of Cremona who relates that, one year after Arnulf's death and his son's coronation (in 900), the Magyars

gathering a very great army, demand for themselves the people of the Moravians that King Arnulf has subjugated through their valor; they occupy the frontiers of the Bavarians, too.[18]

The Hungarians stopped neither at the river Morava nor at the western border of Pannonia, but penetrated deeply into the territory of Bavaria, reaching as far as the river Enns.[18][44] Although Luitpold, Margrave of Bavaria defeated them at a battle near Linz, his victory had no enduring effect on the successes of the Magyars in the Carpathian Basin.[18][44] Thus, in 900, the territory west of the Garam-Danube line was drawn under Magyar control, completing the conquest of the Carpathian Basin.[18]

The Magyars endeavored to expand their suzerainty also over the territories of Carantania in 901, but Margrave Ratold defeated them.[7] In 902, they lead a campaign against the northern Moravia and defeated the Moravians whose country was annihilated.[7]


The Honfoglalás may be at least partially credited with a number of consequences:[7]

  • Although in some ways, the "conquest" was merely a change of pastures for a nomadic people, during the next centuries, it became obvious that the Magyars (Hungarians) managed to establish a country by adopting European traditions.[1][7]
  • The arrival of the Hungarians drove a non-Slavic wedge between the West Slavs and South Slavs; this was a factor contributing to the triumph of Latin over Slavic among the West Slavs.[33]
  • The arrival of the Pechenegs split the Magyars from the Khazars with whom they had close ties. This had the effect of greatly weakening the Khazars as a Steppe power, and eventually, in 965, they were destroyed by Sviatoslav I of Kiev.[33]

Hungarian legends on their origins, their migrations and the conquest

The Legend of the Wondrous Hind

The Hunt of the Wondrous Hind (Chronicon Pictum)

The legend of the origins of the Magyars were recorded by Simon of Kéza in the Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum ("The Deeds of the Huns and Hungarians").[1] According to the legend, the brothers Hunor and Magor were on a hunting trip when a white hind appeared before them; the hind were enticing the brothers to the moorlands of the Mæotis (the Sea of Azov) where it disappeared; all the same, the brothers decided to settle down there.[1]

Six years later, the two brothers went for a new hunting trip and they met the wives of the sons of Bular and two daughters of Prince Dula of the Alans; Hunor and Magor commenced to pursue the girls and carried them off to be their brides.[1] Thus, as the legend records, Hunor and one of the daughters of Prince Dula became the ancestors of the Huns, while Magor and her sister became the ancestors of the Magyars.[1]

The legend is usually interpreted as a remembrance of the Magyars' previous connections with the Onogurs (Hunor), the Bulgars (Bular), and the Alans.[1] Objects representing red deer discovered in gravesites suggest that its cult was widespread among the peoples living in the regions of the Southern Ural Mountains in the 3rd-4th centuries.[6]

The literary topos of the deer leading a group of people to their new homeland is also well-documented among the tribes of the Eurasian Steppe and the Ob-Ugrians.[1]

Emese's dream

A badge depicting a turul.

According to the legend, recorded in the Gesta Hungarorum (“The Deeds of the Hungarians”) and in the Chronicon Pictum (“Illustrated Chronicle”), the mother of the future Grand Prince Álmos (called Emese by the Gesta Hungarorum) saw a dream of a Turul bird

that flew over her and got her with child; she saw her womb as the source of many great kings, but they would multiply in foreign lands
—Illustrated Chronicle[1]

Modern scholars point out that the legend must have reserved the Árpáds's tradition of their totemistic ancestor.[1] The legend also suggests that Álmos must have been the spiritual leader (kende) of the Magyar tribal federation.[7]


The Gesta Hungarorum names a place called Dentumoger where the ancient Magyars lived before migrating to the Carpathian Basin; and the name is used synonymously with Scythia.

So the Hungarians (…) traced their origin to the Scythian people, whom in their own language they call Dentumoger. And that land became overcrowded with the multitude of people born there (…)
Gesta Hungarorum[48]

According to the gesta, the Magyars migrated directly from Dentumoger to the Carpathian Basin following a path from the Middle Volga region to Susdal to Kiev.[49]

Both the interpretation and the localization of Dentumoger is uncertain. The first part of the expression (Dentu) may contain the Don River's Alanic name (Den-) with the ancient Hungarian diminutive suffix (-tü); and therefore it may refer to the river Donets ("Small Don").[1] The expression's second part (moger) contains an ancient form of the word "Magyar".[1]

The Legend of the White Horse

The Chronicon Pictum reserved the most complete version of the Legend of the White Horse.[1]

According to the legend, the heads of the Magyar tribes sent "a big horse with a saddle gilded with gold from Arabia and a gilded rein" to Svatopluk and they asked dirt, grass and water in exchange.[1] Svatopluk was delighted at the presents and told their envoys that they could take as much as they wanted.[1] When Grand Prince Árpád was informed on Svatopluk's answer, he sent again envoys to him with the next message:

Árpád, together with his people, orders you to leave the land that has been purchased, because your land has been bought for the horse, your grass for the rein and your water for the saddle. You transferred your land, grass and water for a low price, because of your greed.
—Illustrated Chronicle[50]

The legend probably reserved the memory of an alliance made between King Svatopluk I of Great Moravia and the Magyars following pagan customs.[1]

The Gesta Hungarorum connects the events of the legend to Dux Salan, an alleged ruler between the rivers Danube and Tisza, in the southern part of the Carpathian Basin.[1]

The Honfoglalás and the Hungarian chronicles

Gesta Hungarorum

The Gesta Hungarorum was written probably between 1196 and 1220, but some scholars claim that its anonymous author (referred to as Anonymous in modern works) wrote his gesta earlier in the 12th century.[1] Its factual accuracy is also highly disputed by modern scholars.[1]

  • Those who dispute the credibility of the gesta point out that the author probably had no information (apart from some familial and tribal legends) regarding the actual circumstances of the conquest.[1][35] Thus he invented enemies and rivals for his heroes to vanquish; he rather casually borrowed the names of rivers (Laborc), mountains (Tarcal, and Zobor), and castles (Gyalu) to conjure up knights and chieftains (e.g., the Bulgarian Laborcy, the Cuman Turzol, the Czech Zobur, and the Vlach Gelou) who are not mentioned in other primary sources.[1][35] They also emphasize that Anonymus obviously had no knowledge of the settlers' real enemies (e.g., Svatopluk II, Emperor Arnulf I, the Bulgar Tzar Simeon); of the settlers' actual adversaries, which included the Moravians, Slovenes, Karantans, Franks, and Bavarians, he knew only of the Bulgarians.[1][35] Thus he arbitrarily counted among the Hungarians' opponents the Czechs, who at the time lived exclusively in the Czech Basin; the Cumanians, who moved to Europe only in the 11th century; and the Vlachs which suggest that his choices reflect the ethnic and political realities of the 12th century.[1][35]
  • Those who accept the credibility of the gesta point out that it is the earliest preserved Hungarian chronicle and thus it must have based on earlier Hungarian gestas, and therefore its factual accuracy is likely high.[51] They also point out that the gesta was written at least 130 years before the Chronicon Pictum. They emphasize that Anonymous uses many Greek sayings which suggest that he was one of the few Hungarian authors who knew Greek, and thus he could base much of his work on earlier Byzantine sources.[52] They also claim that the author of the gesta simply confused the Cumans with the Pechenegs.[51]

Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum

It was the chronicler Simon of Kéza (court priest of King Ladislas IV of Hungary) who attempted to elaborate in detail the relationship between the Huns and the Hungarians in his chronicle written around 1283.[18] In his work, first among Hungarian historians, he records the legend of the origin of the Hungarians (“The Legend of the Wondrous Hind”) suggesting that the Huns (or the Hungarians) descended from two brothers.[18] In his view, the conquest of the Carpathian Basin becomes in fact a second conquest, and he emphasizes that this second conquest was executed by the same people; that is to say the two peoples (the Huns and the Hungarians) are not simply related, but identical.[18]

Alternative theories

Alternative theories on Hungarian prehistory break down into two different classes: those that are made through scientific methodology and those that are made from romantic fantasy.

Double conquest

Hungarian archaeologist Gyula László is renowned for his theory of a double conquest (Hungarian: kettős honfoglalás).[53] This theory asserts that when the Magyars migrated to Hungary in 895, they found a group of population who spoke the Hungarian language and who had arrived earlier in 670. László identified this first group of Hungarian migrants with the late Avars or Onoghurs. His basic reasoning was that the archaeological record shows that the second wave of Hungarians were too small in number to have affected the ethnic composition of the contemporaneous population so they must have assimilated into Hungarians who were already there.[54] This picture is completed by the fact that new arrivals fit in the context easily, to the point they use cemeteries together with the original inhabitants.

Gyula László found support for his double conquest theory in written sources as well, namely in the Primary Chronicle which makes mention of "White Ugrians" and later "Black Ugrians" that passed Kiev. Also, all of the Gestae speak of a Hungarian-speaking and welcoming original population throughout the country.


Various other theories regarding the history and origin of the Hungarian people include the idea of Hungarian descent from Sumerians, Etruscans, ancient Egyptians, Xiongnu, and Lemurians. Despite major scholarly and scientific work done within the past 100 years that refute these alternative theories, they continue to garner enough attention that mainstream historians and linguists must address the issue from time to time.[55]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az Kristó, Pál (Editor); Makk, Ferenc (Editor) (1994). Korai Magyar Történeti Lexikon (9-14. század) (Encyclopedia of the Early Hungarian History - 9-14th centuries). Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. p. 753. ISBN 963 05 6722 9. 
  2. ^ "A Country Study: Hungary - Early History". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ American academic journal Science 2000
  5. ^ István Mihály Szabó, Magyar őstörténettudomány: Kritikai ambíciók szaktudományi alapismeretek nélkül, Magyar Tudomány, 2005 [1]
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Csorba, Csaba (1997). Árpád népe (Árpád’s people). Budapest: Kulturtrade. p. 193. ISBN 963 9069 20 5. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay Kristó, Gyula (1993). A Kárpát-medence és a magyarság régmultja (1301-ig) (The ancient history of the Carpathian Basin and the Hungarians - till 1301). Szeged: Szegedi Középkorász Műhely. p. 299. ISBN 963 04 2914 4. 
  8. ^ Salminen, Tapani (2002): Problems in the taxonomy of the Uralic languages in the light of modern comparative studies
  9. ^
  10. ^ For example, the Hungarian words for horse, saddle and halter (, nyereg and /kötő/fék respectively), and also the words for God, sky and heaven (Isten, ég and menny) were taken from proto-Iranian languages; Harmatta, János op. cit. pp. 72-73.
  11. ^ Harmatta, János (1997). Iráni nyelvek hatása az ősmagyar nyelvre (The Influence of Iranian Languages on the Ancient Hungarian Language) /In: Honfoglalás és nyelvészet ("The Occupation of Our county" and Linguistics)/. Budapest: Balassi Kiadó. p. 266. ISBN 963 506 108 0. 
  12. ^ ”The locality in which the Magyars (…) emerged was between the Volga and the Ural Mountains”; Róna-Tas, András op. cit. p. 319.
  13. ^ a b c d e Róna-Tas, András (1994). Hungarians and Europe in the Early Middle Ages - An Introduction to Early Hungarian History. Budapest / New York: CEU Press. ISBN 963 9116 48 3. 
  14. ^ ”The Ugrian 'Urheimat' was located in the Ural region, primarily on the western side. However, Ugrian splinter groups are known to have resided to the east of the Urals, too, by the time which the Magyars must have dwelt in the Volga–Kama region”; Róna-Tas, András op. cit. p. 319.
  15. ^ Érdy, Miklós. A Magyarság Keleti Eredete és Hun Kapcsolatai (The Eastern Origins and Hun Connections of Hungarians). Kairosz Publisher, Budapest. 2010. ISBN 978 963 662 369 2.
  16. ^ ”'Urheimats', then, should denote those major stages in the formation of a people which brought about significant change to the life of the members of the group (…); such changes may include a splinter group peeling off from the main community, the beginning of interaction with another people, the change of community life style, or a major migration”; Róna-Tas, András op. cit. p. 315.
  17. ^ Gulya, János (1997). A magyarok önelnevezésének eredete (The Origin of the Self-definition of the Hungarians) /In: Honfoglalás és nyelvészet ("The Occupation of Our county" and Linguistics)/. Budapest: Balassi Kiadó. p. 266. ISBN 963 506 108 0. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Kristó, Gyula (1996). Hungarian History in the Ninth Century. Szeged: Szegedi Középkorász Műhely. p. 229. ISBN 963 482 113 8. 
  19. ^ Elter, István (1997). A magyarok elnevezései arab forrásokban (The Names of the Magyars in Arabic Sources) /In: Honfoglalás és nyelvészet ("The Occupation of Our county" and Linguistics)/. Budapest: Balassi Kiadó. p. 266. ISBN 963 506 108 0. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f Harmatta, János (1997). A magyarok nevei görög nyelvű forrásokban (The Names of the Magyars in Sources Written in Greek) /In: Honfoglalás és nyelvészet ("The Occupation of Our county" and Linguistics)/. Budapest: Balassi Kiadó. p. 266. ISBN 963 506 108 0. 
  21. ^ a b Király, Péter (1997). A magyarok elnevezése a korai európai forrásokban(The Names of the Magyars in Early European Sources) /In: Honfoglalás és nyelvészet ("The Occupation of Our county" and Linguistics)/. Budapest: Balassi Kiadó. p. 266. ISBN 963 506 108 0. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac Tóth, Sándor László (1998). Levediától a Kárpát-medencéig (From Levedia to the Carpathian Basin). Szeged: Szegedi Középkorász Műhely. ISBN 963 482 175 8. 
  23. ^ ”The Hungarian tribes joined with by the tribe Megyer presumably moved to the south, then west from the Bashkirian Magna Hungaria, crossing the Volga, and dwelled in the area of the river Don.”
  24. ^ For example, the Hungarian words for calf, bull, and ox (borjú, bika, and ökör respectively), and also the words for barley, apple, and walnut (árpa, alma, and dió respectively) were borrowed from a Turkic language; Csorba, Csaba op. cit. p. 32.
  25. ^ "The question now arises, from where did the Hungarians migrate to Levedia? The answer given to this question is practically unanimous: the Hungarians migrated to Levedia from a country centered around the river Kuban, and bordered by the Caucasus, the Azov and Black seas and the Don."
    Sinor, Denis. "The Outlines of Hungarian Prehistory". Retrieved 2007-12-29 
  26. ^ ”The arguments advanced in favour of this theory are few and not convincing. (…) As most of the peoples whose names have been borne by the Hungarians lived (…) in the Kuban-region, we are entitled to suppose that the Hungarians themselves lived in the same territory. (…) The names in question are (…)Ungroi, Sabartoi and Turkoi. Evidence is available that each of these three peoples occupied the Kuban-region. In the case of none of them, it is necessary to suppose that contact with Hungarians took place in the Caucasian country.”
    Sinor, Denis. "The Outlines of Hungarian Prehistory". Retrieved 2007-12-29 
  27. ^ For example, the Hungarian words for grape, and wine (szőlő, and bor respectively) were borrowed from a Turkic language; Csorba, Csaba op. cit. p. 36.
  28. ^ For example, the Hungarian words for sword, and armour (kard, and vért respectively) were borrowed from the Alan language; Tóth, Sándor László op. cit. p. 19.
  29. ^ Paul Lendvai, The Hungarians: a thousand years of victory in defeat, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 2003, p. 29, p. 533
  30. ^ “The appearance of a new dynasty always brought about a crisis of legitimacy. The new ruler (…) needed to explain what happened to the previous clan. (…) At that time, the legitimacy of power in the steppes meant being recognized by the Khazars. (…) The part /in De administrando imperio/, which relates Levedi facing up to his incompetence, and recommending Álmos or Arpád instead of himself, lacks even the smallest fragment of credibility."; Róna-Tas, András.
  31. ^ a b c |László, Gyula (1996). The Magyars - Their life and Civilisation. Budapest: Corvina. pp. 193–194. ISBN 963 13 4226 3 
  32. ^ Peter F. Sugar, Péter Hanák, Tibor Frank, A History of Hungary, Indiana University Press, 1994 page 11.[2]
  33. ^ a b c Fine, Jr., John V. A. (1994). The Early Medieval Balkans - A Critical Survey from the Sixth to the Late Twelfth Century. The University of Michigan Press. p. 139. ISBN 0 472 08149 7. 
  34. ^ Makk, Ferenc (1998). A turulmadártól a kettős keresztig (From the Turul Bird to the Double Cross). Szeged: Szegedi Középkorász Műhely. pp. 61–63. ISBN 963 05 6722 9. 
  35. ^ a b c d e f g Köpeczi, Béla (General Editor) (1994). History of Transylvania. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. ISBN 963 05 6703 2. 
  36. ^ For example, Imre Boba, Gyula Kristó, Péter Püspöki-Nagy, Toru Senga
  37. ^ For example, in the 9th century, the Bavarian Geographer distinguished the Marharii (who lived on the northern parts of the Carpathian Basin) from the Merehanos (living on the southern parts of the territory); around 950, Konstantinos Porphyrogennetos clearly located “Great Moravia” on the southern parts of the Carpathian Basin; Kristó, Gyula op. cit. (1993) pp. 91-92
  38. ^ For example, Sándor László Tóth
  39. ^
  40. ^ For example, The Conversion of the Bavarians and the Carantanians written around 871.
  41. ^ For example, the name of Bihar (today Biharia in Romania) Komárom (today Komárno in Slovakia), Pécs, Visegrád and Zemplén (today Zemplín in Slovakia); Kristó, Gyula op. cit. pp. 96
  42. ^ For example, the Abbot Regino of Prüm mentions the plains of the Pannons and the Avars; Kristó, Gyula op. cit. (1993) pp. 96.
  43. ^ For example, The Conversion of the Bavarians and the Carantanians written around 871 refers to the Gepids living in the Carpathian Basin at that time; Kristó, Gyula op. cit. (1993) pp. 98.
  44. ^ a b c d e f g Bóna, István (2000). A magyarok és Európa a 9-10. században ("The Hungarians and Europe in the 9th-10th centuries"). Budapest: História - MTA Történettudományi Intézete. pp. 28–29. ISBN 9 63 8312 67 X. 
  45. ^ a b c Academia Republicii Populare Romane, Istoria Romaniei, Vol. I, p.766, 1960
  46. ^ Dragota, Aurel. Magyars and the European Space Between the 9th and 11th centuries. Alba Iulia. Editura Altip. 2006, 18 Oct. 2008. <>
  47. ^
  48. ^ "de gente scithica, que per ydioma suum proprium dentumoger dicitur (,) duxit originem"
    "Gesta Hungarorum". Retrieved 2007-12-28 
  49. ^ "Anonymus describes the route that lead from Dentumoger to Hungary as follows: the Volga, Susdal, Kiev, Vladimir, Galizia. There is no question here of any migration towards the Kuban-region, or the Black Sea; quite plainly Anonymus makes the Hungarians come direct from the territory which later authors call Magna Hungaria or Bascardia."
    Sinor, Denis. "The Outlines of Hungarian Prehistory". Retrieved 2007-12-28 
  50. ^ Bollók, János (translator) (2004). Képes Krónika (Illustrated Chronicle). Osiris Kiadó. p. 28. ISBN 963 389 785 3 
  52. ^ . pp. 300–302. 
  53. ^ ”(…) another scientist's new theory provoked a real storm. In 1969, Gyula László propounded his new theory (…) As a whole the theory was not accepted”; Róna-Tas, András op. cit. p. 398.
  54. ^ ”(…) the cemeteries of the Árpádian Magyars are so small, whereas those of the Onogurs contain many hundreds of graves, and in some instances a thousand or more. (…) That, in essence, is the basis for my own hypothesis of a 'double' Conquest (…)”;László, Gyula op. cit. p. 9.
  55. ^ ”(…) others again hold that the Magyars were the direct legatees of Sumerian civilization and language, whilst some extol the Árpádians as preservers of the culture of the submerged Oceanic continent of 'Mu', or process themselves able to decifer (…) Egyptian heiroglyphics (…) I shall not continue the list of cock-eyed and fanciful notions which have so often attracted impressive trains of adherents”; László, Gyula op. cit. p. 9.


  • Bóna, István: A magyarok és Európa a 9-10. században (The Hungarians and Europe in the 9th-10th centuries); História - MTA Történettudományi Intézete, 2000, Budapest; ISBN 9 63 8312 67 X.
  • Csorba, Csaba: Árpád népe (Árpád’s people); Kulturtrade, 1997, Budapest; ISBN 963 9069 20 5.
  • Bagossy László (General Editor): Encyclopaedia Hungarica I-III.; Hungarian Ethnic Lexicon Foundation, 1992, 1994, 1996, Calgary.
  • Fine, John V. A.: The Early Medieval Balkans - A Critical Survey from the Sixth to the Late Twelfth Century; The University of Michigan Press, 1994; ISBN 0 472 08149 7.
  • Győrffy, György (General Editor) - Kovács, László (Editor) - Veszprémy, László (Editor): Honfoglalás és nyelvészet (“The Occupation of Our county” and Linguistics); Balassi Kiadó, 1997, Budapest; ISBN 963 506 108 0:
    • Elter, István: A magyarok elnevezései Arab forrásokban (The Names of the Magyars in Arabic Sources) (article);
    • Gulya, János: A magyarok önelnevezésének eredete (The Origin of the Self-definition of the Hungarians) (article);
    • Harmatta, János: Iráni nyelvek hatása az ősmagyar nyelvre (The Influence of Iranian Languages on the Ancient Hungarian Language) (article);
    • Harmatta, János: A magyarok nevei görög nyelvű forrásokban (The Names of the Magyars in Sources Written in Greek) (article);
    • Király, Péter: A magyarok elnevezése a korai európai forrásokban (The Names of the Magyars in Early European Sources) (article);
  • Köpeczi, Béla (General Editor) - Makkai, László - Mócsy, András - Szász, Zoltán (Editors) - Barta, Gábor (Assistant Editor): History of Transylvania, Akadémiai Kiadó, 1994, Budapest; ISBN 963 05 6703 2; [3] (the full text in English).
  • Kristó, Gyula (General Editor) - Engel, Pál (Editor) - Makk, Ferenc (Editor): Korai Magyar Történeti Lexikon (9-14. század) (Encyclopedia of the Early Hungarian History - 9-14th centuries); Akadémiai Kiadó, 1994, Budapest; ISBN 963 05 6722 9.
  • Kristó, Gyula: A Kárpát-medence és a magyarság régmultja (1301-ig) (The ancient history of the Carpathian Basin and the Hungarians - till 1301); Szegedi Középkorász Műhely, 1993, Szeged; ISBN 963 04 2914 4.
  • Kristó, Gyula: Hungarian History in the Ninth Century; Szegedi Középkorász Műhely, 1996, Szeged; ISBN 963 482 113 8.
  • László, Gyula: The Magyars - Their life and Civilisation; Corvina, 1996, Budapest; ISBN 963 13 4226 3.
  • Makk, Ferenc: A turulmadártól a kettős keresztig (From the Turul Bird to the Double Cross); Szegedi Középkorász Műhely, 1998, Szeged; ISBN 963 05 6722 9.
  • Róna-Tas, András: Hungarians and Europe in the Early Middle Ages - An Introduction to Early Hungarian History; CEU Press, 1994, Budapest / New York; ISBN 963 9116 48 3.
  • Tóth, Sándor László: Levediától a Kárpát-medencéig (From Levedia to the Carpathian Basin); Szegedi Középkorász Műhely, 1998, Szeged; ISBN 963 482 175 8.

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