The Rise of Hungary, 10th–13th Centuries
The Magyars, a Turkic people speaking a Finno-Ugric language related only to Finnish and Estonian, were driven off the Eurasian steppes by the Pechenegs and entered Central-Eastern Europe in the late 9th century. Led by tribal chiefs of the Árpád family, they established themselves in seven tribal concentrations in Pannonia, which they used as a home base for raids deep into the rest of Europe, destroying Great Moravia in the process. The violence and frequency of their raiding reawakened the Europeans’ memories of the terrors once inspired by Attila and his Huns, earning for the Magyars a new, and lasting, designation among their victims — Hungarians. Unlike their Turkic predecessors, however, the Magyars did not disintegrate or disappear when German imperial forces led by Holy Roman emperor Otto I the Great (936–73) decisively defeated them outside Augsburg in 955. Instead, under Duke Géza I (972–97), they consolidated their holdings in Pannonia, secured control of the mountain defenses surrounding it (including the Transylvanian Plateau and its Carpathian ramparts) and opened their borders to German Catholic missionaries.