Who were the avars?

Dec 2012
446
So who were the Avars exactly? Were they similar to the Huns, Mongols or Turkic peoples and what exactly happened to them? What kind of threat did they actually pose to the Franks or Eastern Romans? Also any good books people can find on them because I am at a loss for that
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,960
Blachernai
When it rains, it pours. The classic book is Walter Pohl's Die Awaren, which has recently been revised and translated into English. For the Avars and Byzantium, we now have Kardaras, Byzantium and the Avars, 6th-9th c. AD, which incidentally is also a revised translation, but this time of a book published in Greek. For the context of the arrival of the Avars, you'll want to see Sarantis, Justinian's Balkan Wars. I assume that there's some literature on the Avars and the Franks, but I'm not familiar with it.

There's an extensive bibliography on the Avars, and especially Avar archaeology, in Hungarian.
 
Dec 2012
446
good to know! From what I can tell after 100 years or so, the Avars started to settle down in permanent homes on the Hungarian plans do all nomadic empires do this?
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,960
Blachernai
good to know! From what I can tell after 100 years or so, the Avars started to settle down in permanent homes on the Hungarian plans do all nomadic empires do this?
No, you might look at the Gok Turks or the Khazars as a counter-example. The Avars and Magyars (and Bulgars) had to partially sedentarize because the Hungarian Plain is simply not large enough to support a major steppe population. The classic study on this is: Sinor, Denis. “Horse and pasture in Inner Asian history.” Oriens Extremus 19, no. 1/2 (1972): 171–83. In addition, they were ruling over sedentary peoples, and in order to rule them, one has have to permanent apparatus of tribute extraction in place and that means not following the herds to the Volga every summer.
 

EmperorTigerstar

Ad Honorem
Jun 2013
6,402
USA
There used to be a theory similar to the Huns/Xiongnu link theory that linked the Avars with the Juan-Juan/Ruan-Ruan tribe of the Mongolian steppes. No idea if it's still credible today or not, but it certainly was considered as recently as the 80s/90s.
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,960
Blachernai
oof why are all the interesting history books always so expensive, 65 bucks for that avar book!
Almost $200 USD for the other one! These academic publishers have small print runs and sell almost exclusively to libraries, so they have a lot of power to dictate insane prices.