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The Medieval Period in European History saw several waves of barbarians
which helped shape the face of European society. The nomadic tribes of people that lived
a migratory life, while other groups were founding civilizations with permanent living
centers, are today referred to as barbarians. Two great empires, the Chinese and the
Roman, ruled on the extreme edges of the enormous Eurasian continent and were
separated by vast distances.1 The people that existed between the two empires and
roamed the large wasteland were called barbarians.2 They did not have a permanent
living center and therefore raided settled towns and cities for food and riches. Because of
there roaming ways and raiding tactics, barbarians were feared and hated in the Medieval
World. The word barbarian is presently associated with being backwards, uneducated,
or indecent; in one word, uncivilized. These wandering people lived in family orientated
groups called clans, which combined together to form a tribe. Tribes depended on one
another for protection. Among these barbarian groups where a traveling people known as
the Magyars. The Magyars had a major impact on the Carpathian Basin in Central Eastern
Europe, and directly affected the picture of the European landscape that we have today.
The magyars are a mysterious peoples whose origins and connections are highly
debated among scholars and historians. The first place to begin when searching for
origins, is the language. The Magyar language is a branch of the Finno-Ugrian family of
languages, most nearly related to Finnish, although supplemented by numerous Turkic
words.3 The language is very unique and their is no other like it in the world. Popular
belief places the origin of the people themselves somewhere in the Orient. The Old
Magyar Fatherland was probably situated in the ancient Orient, which we call the
Near-East, and played an important role in Mesopotamian lands.4 Linguistic evidence
places the Magyars among the ancient Egyptians. Contemporary records speak of a
Makari Queen5 from the XXth dynasty; between 1080-940 BC6 Egyptian Kings of the
XIXth dynasty forced the Magyars out of Africa for good. From their the people
dispersed, moved around the European landmass, including Hungary, and mixed with
other peoples.7 Much of the Finno-Ugrian peoples mainly dispersed in the widespread
region on the west side of the Ural Mountains.8 It was in this region that the Magyars
were exposed to the Turks. Their language was enriched with Turkic elements while
maintaining its basic Finno-Ugric characteristics. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact
location of the Magyars during this period because of their nomadic ways.
By the end of the 5th century the Magyars had begun their southward migration
from the Urals and settled east of the Sea of Azov.9 Here they were again under the
influence of Turkic neighbors. During this period the Magyars patterned themselves after
the Turkic model, becoming a well-disciplined, conquering race. During the second half
of the 9th century, the warring Turkic Pechenegs put forth pressure on the Magyars
feeding grounds, forcing them to begin their historic westward migration. Following a
Pecheneg attack, the Magyar tribes united under one leader, rpd, who led his people
out of their exposed position in Etelkz and into the Carpathian Basin.10 The seven
Magyar tribal chieftains elected a leader from among them. After rpd was elected, he
had to lead them in a swearing with ritual drinking of mixed blood to unify them and make
their claim as head of the nation valid.
In 894, Sviatopluk sent envoys to the Magyars for help against the
Frankish-Bulghar confederation, while the Bulghars wanted an alliance with the
Pechenegs. The Magyars joined forces with Sviatopluk and attacked the Franks in
Pannonia. During this period the weaknesses of the lands were made out by the Magyars,
and that same year they were back, raiding Pannonia for themselves.11 In late 895 or early
896 the Magyars crossed the Carpathian mountains for good through the Verecke pass
and launched a military campaign that would come to be known as the Conquest12. The
Pechenegs crossed over the river Don and took the Magyars by surprise, causing them to
flee to the Transylvanian mountains for protection. Most of the Magyar forces were off
fighting the Bulgars. Upon their return, with reinforcements, they ousted the Pechenegs
from the Great Plain and Transylvania. They fought and gained possession of the Alfld.
During this time Moravian rule governed the area. The Germans and Moravians united
against the Magyars, but by 900 AD Frankish rule in Pannonia had vanished.13 In 907 a
Bavarian army was ... more
Find essay on Of His Country
Peter I (The Great)
Peter I, was born to Alexis Romanov and his second wife Natalia Naryshkina. Peter grew up in a turbulent period of Russian history. His fathers early death at the age of thirty-one left a bitter struggle for power between the family of Alexiss first wifes family, the Miloslavskaias, and Peters family. A brief period of reign by Peters half brother Fedor (1676-1682) was followed by his half sister Sofia assuming control of Russia as regent from 1682-1689. During this time Peter and his half brother, Ivan V, waited as co-Czars until they came of age.
Meanwhile Peter spent many of his formative years in the country estate of Preobrazhenskoe, just outside of Moscow. It was here that Peter fostered his love of warfare, and had his first contact with Westerners. Rather than being educated in the traditional manner, Peter was allowed to play war games. From an assortment of commoners, courtiers, and foreigners Peter formed two regiments, the Preobrazhenskii and Semenovskii, which he outfitted with real weaponry and drilled into what would later become his imperial guard. Also during this time, Peter developed two other passions. The first was sailing, which he first came in contact with by discovering an old English sailboat. The second was the love of all things Western, which came from his frequent visits to the nearby foreign quarter of Moscow.
By 1689 Peter had grown to the towering height of six feet seven inches, and was armed with a quick mind and boundless ambition. At this time Sofia attempted to murder Peter, but failed due to strong support for Peter from loyal Muscovites and foreigners. Shortly after assuming full power in 1695, Peter left on an unprecedented tour of Europe, in which he traveled undercover as a diplomat. Upon his return to Russia in 1698, Peter began his reign in earnest. Armed with much knowledge of the West, he started a series of military campaigns, enacted sweeping reforms, and nearly single handedly thrust Russia to the forefront of European power.
Peter is perhaps best known for his reforms that altered the face of Russia permanently. Peters hatred of traditional Muscovite custom prompted many of his reforms. Amongst reforms aimed at creating a Western culture were laws demanding men to be clean-shaven and all clothing and riding attire must be of German style. Peter also changed the calendar to the same style used in most of Europe.
Peters most influential reforms, though, dealt with the military. Peter essentially founded Russias military tradition. During his reign the Russian military increased from around 30,000 men in 1695, to nearly 300,000 men in 1725, and that included the newly formed navy. Peter was able to do this for a number of reasons. First he began mass conscriptions of both peasants and nobles. To logistically support the military, he completely restructured the government into a bureaucratic state with its capital in the newly built city of St. Petersburg. To pay for it he nearly tripled the taxes through various means. The most profitable tax was the head tax in which nearly every Russian male had to pay solely because they lived in Russia. To outfit the military, Peter created iron foundries and textile mills. To train it, he hired Western advisors to make up for the lack of Russian expertise. Nearly all of this was done to feed Peters imperial ambitions.
The most important part of Peters imperialism was the Great Northern War with Sweden, which lasted for nearly his entire reign. Through much difficulty Russia eventually won the war with the signing of the Treaty of Nystadt in 1721. Although Russia had really won the war in 1709 at the battle of Poltava, Sweden continued to fight because of support from France and Britain. The results of the war made Russia the most powerful country in Northern Europe, and the undisputed master of the Baltic Sea. The Great Northern War also, and more importantly, made Peter revered throughout Europe as a powerful, successful, and ultimately Western style leader of a respected nation.
Mackenzie, David, and Curran, Michael W., A History of Russia, the Soviet Union, and Beyond, Wadsworth Publishing Company, Belmont, California, 1993
Dukes, Paul, The Making of Russian Absolutism, 1613-1801, Longman ... more
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