Front Page Titles (by Subject) 2.: THE AVAR CONQUEST — ( P. 9 ) - The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 8
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2.: THE AVAR CONQUEST — ( P. 9 ) - Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 8 
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. J.B. Bury with an Introduction by W.E.H. Lecky (New York: Fred de Fau and Co., 1906), in 12 vols. Vol. 8.
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THE AVAR CONQUEST — (P. 9)
The Avars having subdued the Uturgurs, Sabiri, and other Hunnic peoples between the Dnieper and Volga (Menander, fr. 5, p. 203, ed. Müller), and having either received the submission of1 or entered into friendly alliance with,2 the Kotrigurs, moved westward, and we find them attacking Austrasia, and fighting on the Elbe, in 562 (see above, p. 5). The subjugation of the Antae3 ( 560?) was evidently a stage on this march westward. It is clear that their incursions into Frank territory were not made from such a distant basis as south-eastern Russia, the banks of the Dnieper or Don; and it is also certain that they had not reached their ultimate home in Hungary before 562 or even before 566, for Hungary was at this time occupied by Lombards and Gepids. The question arises: Where were the Avars settled in the intermediate years between their triumphs on the Don and the Dnieper ( 559-60), and their occupation of Hungary ( 567)? Whence did they go forth twice against the Austrasian kingdom ( 562, and 566)? whence did they send the embassy which was rudely received by Justin ( 565)? whence did they go forth to destroy the Gepids? The statement of the Avar ambassador in Corippus (3,300): —
might seem to prove that the Avars had advanced along the shores of the Pontus and stationed themselves in Wallachia. In that case they would have entered Dacia by the passes of Rothenthurm and Buza, and attacked the Gepids on that side. But Schafarik4 has made it highly probable that they entered Upper Hungary from Galicia, through the passes of Dukla. His arguments are: (1) the Slavs of Dacia and the Lower Danube were independent until 581-4, when they were reduced to submission by the Avars; (2) the assumption of an advance through Galicia will explain the reduction of the Dudleby, in Volhynia. The record of this event is preserved only in the Russian Chronicle of Nestor (so called) but there seems no reason not to accept it as a genuine tradition. The passage is as follows (c. 8, ed. Miklosich, p. 6): —
“These Obrs made war on the Slavs, and conquered the Duljebs, who are Slavs, and did violence to the Duljeb women. When an Obr wished to go anywhere, he did not harness a horse or an ox, but ordered three or four women to be harnessed to his carriage, to draw the Obr; and so they vexed the Duljebs.”
The chronicler places this episode in the reign of Heraclius. But Schafarik plausibly argues that it belongs to a much earlier period, before the invasion of Hungary.
To these arguments I may add another. (3) The invasions of Austrasia almost demand more northerly headquarters for the Avars, than Wallachia. Nor does the passage of Corippus contradict the assumption that the Avar nation was settled in Galicia, or thereabouts, in 565. For the passage need imply only that an armed contingent had accompanied the embassy, through Moldavia, to the banks of the Danube, and pitched their tents there to await the return of the envoys.
On the whole therefore it seems probable that the Avars in their westward advance followed an inland route from the Dnieper to the Upper Bug (through the Government of Kiev, and Podolia), not coming into hostile contact with the Bulgarians who were between the Dnieper and the Danube (in the Government of Cherson, in Bessarabia and Wallachia).
In regard to the extent of the Avar Empire, after the conquest of Hungary, we must of course distinguish between the settlements of the Avars themselves, and the territories which acknowledged the lordship of the Chagan. The Avar settlements were entirely in the old Jazygia, between the Theiss and the Danube, where they dispossessed the Gepids, and in Pannonia, where they succeeded to the inheritance of the Lombards.5 These regions, which correspond to Hungary, were Avaria in the strict sense. But the Chagan extended his power over the Slavonic tribes to the north and east. It is generally agreed that his sway reached into Central Europe and was acknowledged in Bohemia, Moravia, Galicia; but it seems an improbable exaggeration to say that it was bounded on the north by the Baltic.6 Baian also subjugated, at least temporarily, the Slavs of Wallachia and Moldavia, but I doubt much whether his dominion extended in any sense over the Bulgarians of Southern Russia. We find Bulgarians apparently in his service; but, as Bulgarian settlements were probably scattered from the Danube to the Dnieper, we can draw from this fact no conclusion as to the extent of the Avar empire.
[1 ]So Schafarik, Slaw. Alterthümer, ed. Wuttke, ii. 57-8.
[2 ]Cp. Menander, fr. 6, ὁ Κοτράγηγος ἐκεɩ̂νος ὁ τοɩ̂ς Ἁβάροις ἐπιτήδειος, where Niebuhr proposed Κοτρίγουρος. It seems to me more likely that Κοτράγηγος was the name of a Kotrigur chief.
[3 ]Menander, fr. 6.
[4 ]Ib. p. 61.
[5 ]This is rightly emphasised by Howorth, The Avars, in Journal Asiat. Soc., 1889, p. 737.
[6 ]Howorth, ib. p. 786. The story of the Slavs from the “Western Sea,” in Theophylactus, vi. 2, does not warrant the inference.