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Bollók Ádám: A Century of Gold

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The  Rise and Glory of  the Avar Khaganate in the  Carpathian Basin

Language: English
166 pages with colored and grayscale images
Year of Publication: 2021
ISBN: 978-615-5766-48-0
Published by: Archaeolingua

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The first century of the Avar Khaganate in the Carpathian Basin saw an extraordinary abundance of gold that is amply attested in the archaeological record: the burials dating from this period are lavishly furnished with gold articles and other precious objects. Migrating from their Asian homeland first to the Eastern European steppe region and thence to the Carpathian Basin in the 550–560s, the Avars forged a multi-ethnic empire within the span of a decade. The rise and glory of the Avar Khaganate, which coincided with the last century of Late Antiquity, was grounded in the fortuitous constellation of several circumstances. Bayan, the first khagan of the Avars’ European history known by name, was a charismatic ruler in the history of the steppe, whose leadership qualities were vital to the military achievements of his people. Upon their arrival to Europe, the Avars found an ally in the lords of the Eastern Roman Empire who, hoping that the new military power would curb their neighbours threatening their northern frontier, were willing to assist them. They gladly oiled the new alliance with gold and extravagant gifts. Bolstered with the Eastern Roman subsidies, the Avars subdued Eastern Europe and the diverse communities living in the Carpathian Basin. By uniting the strength of the vanquished peoples, the Avars built a powerful polity, which through pressure and military campaigns successfully forced the Eastern Roman administration to pay increasingly larger tributes. This extorted wealth had a major impact on the Avar Khaganate’s social organization as well as on the material culture of its communities. The present volume marshals the data from a wide array of written sources and the archaeological record to provide a better understanding of the dynamics of this process and of the insights that can be drawn from it


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