Balkan political history summary to 10th century

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1st AD

Conflicts between the Thracian tribes, such as the Odrysians in the eastern plains and the Bessi in the mountainous west, were drawing Rome into their conflicts and in 46AD Thrace was annexed into the Roman Empire.

The reunification of Dacian tribes under Decebal and a couple defeats of the Roman armies led to war in 101AD.

2nd AD

Rome wars with Dacia 101-2 and 105-6 taking the area of modern Oltenia, the Transylvanian plain, and the Banat. Treasures from the defeated Decebal were used to pay for the Trajan Column in Rome which records this battle. Names on inscriptions suggest the Roman culture came in with immigrants from Illyria and elsewhere possibly attracted by the mining or agricultural wealth. With these people came the Latin language, but how far the native Dacians were Romanised is not known.


See also: Romania - Roman archaeology sites 2nd - 3rd AD

See also: Roman towns & military camps in Transylvania

See also: Archaeological sites from Dacia and Roman periods in Transylvania

early 3rd AD

late 3rd AD

Rome leaves Dacia following raids from Germanic tribes.

Goths and Gepids 270-567
The Goths and Gepids were Germanic peoples from southern Scandinavia who migrated south to around the Black Sea in the C3 AD. The frequent incursions of the Ostrogoths (from modern Ukraine) and the Visigoths (from around the Danube) into the Roman Empire caused the Romans to abandon Dacia (270). The Gepids occupied the area East of the Tiza (modern Hungary) where they remained within the Hun kingdom. After the fall of the Huns they briefly ruled much of modern Romania until they were forced out by the Ostrogoths. They were subsequently crushed by the Romans and disappeared from history.

See also: Romania - Dacian-Roman archaeology sites 3rd - 4th AD

See also: The Gepids and Goths in 3rd to 4th century Transylvania

4th AD

Huns 375-453
The rule of the Goths was ended by the Huns (375), a Turkic tribe coming from the plains east of modern Russia. The Huns under the leadership of Attila were a major military force in central Europe and their rule covered much of modern Hungary and Transylvania. The Gepid leader, Ardaric, was the most favoured ally of the Huns. After Attila's death the Huns left Europe.

See also: Romania - "age of migrations" archaeology sites 4th - 6th AD

early 5th AD

late 5th AD

The short lived Hun Empire was established in the area we know as Hungary. Germans admitted by the Romans in the areas of Pannonia and Moravia soon took control of the west Roman lands and expelled the Huns back to the Steppes.


See also: The Gepids in 5th to 6th century Transylvania

See also: Germanic migrations, 2nd to 6th century

6th AD

The Lombards, originally from Scandinavian, moved to Moravia, then established a kingdom in Pannonia. The Avars with the Lombards destroyed the Gepid kingdom. The Lombards invaded Italy and where they established their second kingdom. The Slavs of northern Europe start their migrations into the Balkans.

Avars 552-796
The Avars, another Asian-Turkic tribe from the east, took control of parts of southern Russia and Eastern Europe from the Huns and Slavs. They occupied most of modern Hungary with their empire stretching from the Black Sea to the Baltic, but in the C8 their empire shrank and was finally crushed by Charlemagne (805).

See also: The Avars in 6th to 8th century Transylvania

Slavs 6th century
By the C6 the Slavs were the largest European race. Their early origin is not known, but from 1AD they were thought to have lived in the marshes east of Russia.

See also: The Slavs in 6th to 10th Transylvania

See also: Slavic settlements in 6th century Bulgaria

Following the dissolution of the Hun Empire the Slavs made a rapid expansion populating modern Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Romania. Little remains of Slavic Romania apart from some place names and possibly the voivode, administrative regions, of the Romanians inherited by the Magyars in Transylvania.

The early Slav settlement into Byzantium lands can be traced from toponyms as being along the Timok and Morava rivers and across from Niš to Sofia.

early 7th AD

late 7th AD

Bulgars 680
The Bulgars, a Turkic tribe from the east, having been forced from their kingdom around the Black Sea, formed the First State of Bulgaria, as rulers of the Slavs. Their kingdom covered the Danube plain to the north (modern Romania) and south (modern Bulgaria).
Later the state of Bulgaria was extended further south into Thrace and Macedonia.

See also: Bulgar migration 7th century

8th AD

early 9th AD

late 9th AD

Magyars (Hungarians) 896 AD

Five Magyar tribes and two Kun (Cuman) tribes entered the Danube basin in 896, settling within modern Hungary. Although the Magyar tribes had co-existed with Turkic peoples in the Steppe for a long time, their language structure is distantly related to the Ugrian peoples which includes the Finns, Estonians, and peoples of Siberia. In the following centuries the Magyars extended their rule in all directions forming the country now called Hungary after its previous rulers, the Huns.

See also: Magyar (Hungarian) migration, 9th century

early 10th AD

late 10th AD

Croatian kingdom formed independent of Byzantium.

Patzinaks/Pechenegs (1091-1171) and Cumans (-1241)
These Turkic tribes occupied the regions of modern Wallachia and Moldavia as part of the powerful Cuman confederation. Following the Mongol devastation by in 1241 by Batu, the grandson of Genghis Khan, the Cuman confederation ended, and the tribes dispersed in the Balkans.

See also: Pecheneg migration, 10-11th century

See also: Cuman migrations, 12-13th century

The a number of Slavic tribes, Mazovians, Vislanes, Polanie, Goplanes, Pomeranians and four Silesian, forged the Polish state. The name coming from the dominant Polonie (Pole meaning field).



© Eliznik2005, First issue 2002, Last updated Dec-05