A Turkic people from the Asia steppe (q.v.) who settled in the plain of Hungary in 568, wresting away from Byzantium (q.v.) much of the Balkan Peninsula (q.v.). Strong allegiance to a single ruler, the khagan (q.v.), helped to create an empire in central Europe that was a solid base from which to launch attacks on Byzantium. Mastery on horseback gave them mobility, and their use of the iron stirrup (which they introduced to the West), often gave them the edge in battle. Their knowledge of siegecraft was such that city after city fell to them. Finally the Slavs (q.v.), who the Avars dominated and used in their raids, ended up settling in great numbers in the Balkan Peninsula, changing much of its ethnic composition. The Avars were particularly threatening in the reign of Herakleios (q.v.), when in 626 they coordinated with the Persians a massive assault by land and sea on Constantinople (q.v.). After that their empire declined. They were finally destroyed by Charlemagne (q.v.) between 791 and 795.

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

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  • Avars —    Ethnic group. The Avars are a Muslim people populating the North Caucasus, principally the Republic of Dagestan where they are the largest ethnic group (758,000). Sizable communities are also resident in Chechnya, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. The… …   Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation

  • Avars — Avares ou Avars peuple de race mongolique, parent des Huns, qui envahit l Europe jusqu en Autriche et en Italie à partir du VIe s. et fut arrêté par Charlemagne (791 799) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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  • Eurasian Avars — [ The image is based on reconstruction by Norman J. Finkelshteyn of an image from an 8th century ewer found at Nagyszentmiklos in Transylvania (original at [http://www.geocities.com/normlaw/page2.html] ). some scholars regard the image as that of …   Wikipedia

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