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Thread: [Preview] The Magyars

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    Megas Domestikos Member AnthoniusII's Avatar
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    Exclamation [Preview] The Magyars

    The Magyars
    .
    Hungarian prehistory

    The 8th century – the neighbours of the Khazars

    In the 8th century a new nation arrived in Europe: the Magyars. Their seven tribes came from Bashkortostan and they crossed the Volga. They found their new home in Levédia, between the Volga and the Don rivers. They also had a peculiar relationship with the Khazar Empire: sometimes they fought and sometimes they were allied. In 850, they started moving to the West. The reason for this could be either the pressure from the Pechenegs or the civil war in the Khazar Empire. And as the Magyars originally came with seven tribes, they left with eight: the new tribe, the Kabars, were actually Khazars who wanted to go with them. Their next stop was the Etelköz, the area between the Dnieper and the Danube rivers.
    The Etelköz was the starting point of many plundering expeditions. Some of these campaigns targeted the Slavic tribes, while others were led to the Carpathian Basin. The neighbouring nations soon started to use the Magyars as potential allies and mercenaries and the conflicts between the Franks and the Moravians particularly required the Magyars' help. The Byzantine Emperor Leo VI the Wise also allied with them against the Bulgarian Tsar Simeon. In 895, after a bloody battle with the Pechenegs and the Bulgarians, the Magyars started a new campaign: their new target was the well-protected Carpathian Basin.
    The “Honfoglalás” and the alliance of the tribes

    The campaign, called “Honfoglalás” ("conquest of the homeland"), started in 895. It is not certain, but most of the Magyars probably went through the Verecke Pass and the passes of Transylvania. After it, they conquered the lands east of the Danube River. In the following years the Magyars built their new homes and organized their army and due to this, they didn’t lead any campaigns to the West. Although the Magyars went to the Carpathian Basin, because of the threat of the Pechenegs, we can’t really speak about an escape, but rather about an organized, planned and well-made campaign, due to the several exploratory campaigns and the organized travel of all of the people. The remaining area became Hungarian territory in the next several years.
    In the time of the conquest, grand Prince Álmos swore the other princes to be loyal to his successors. All of the princes spilled a bit of their own blood in a pot to confirm their oath („vérszerződés”).
    According to the De Administrando Imperio, a book of Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos, the seven tribes of the Magyars were the following:

    nyék (Νέκη)
    megyer (Μεγέρη)
    kürtgyarmat (Κουςτουγερμάτου)
    tarján (Ταριάνου)
    jenő (Γενάχ)
    kér (Καρή)
    keszi (Κασή)

    Later the Magyars spoke about the Kabars as the eighth tribe.
    Hungarian invasions of Europe – „A kalandozások”:
    After the conquest and establishment of their new home was completed, the Magyars resumed their Western campaigns. Their favourite targets were Northern Italy, Bavaria and Saxony. The divided Western lords (after the split-up of the Frankish Kingdom) were unable to stop the Hungarian armies. A contemporary prayer says: „ab Ungerorum nos defendas iaculis" - „Lord, save us from the arrows of the Hungarians...”. In this time, the Magyars reached even Spain during their raids, they received tributes from the Byzantines and defeated most of the armies from Denmark to Sicily and from Vienna to the Moorish lands. But after a while, Henry I the Fowler defeated them at Merseburg in 933. The Magyars’ last great defeat was the battle of Aubsburg against Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, in 955. After this battle, the Magyars stopped with their Western campaigns.
    The way of the West – Géza and Stephen
    After the end of the invasions, the Magyars had to decide either to continue the campaigns and fall, or to join the Christian, feudal Europe and live. Grand Prince Géza chose the second path: he broke down the power of the tribal leaders, married Sarolt, the daughter of the Transylvanian gyula (prince), and acquired the support of the Eastern part of the land. His son, Vajk (after his baptism he received the name István = Stephen), was growing up in the Christian faith, as Géza sad, that he is rich enough to sacrifice to both the old god and the new one. Géza then sent an emissary to Otto I and he received Christian missionaries. The marriage of Vajk (Stephen) and Giselle of Bavaria shows this new stance in policy. It also put the new kingdom in to the feudal era.
    The society

    After the conquest, the Magyars founded their state in the Carpathian Basin. According to archaeological findings, their number was about 200-500 thousand. In the early period, each of the tribes settled separately. The centre of the alliance was the settlement of the Megyer tribe. The society was divided to four classes, due to the differences in wealth. The richest class was the „urak” (lords). They were the leaders of the tribes, who had their own land – the so-called „uruszág=modern ország (land)”. The next level of the society was the class of the „bők”. They were the leaders of the tribal clans. In this time there were about 108 clans, which contained all of the Magyar freemen. Atfer the establishment of feudalism, the clan leaders became the „ispánok” – the leaders of the royal counties. The third class was the group of the freemen, the „ínek”. They were free commoners, the largest group of the society. The fourth class was the class of the slaves. The Magyars didn’t have many slaves, so it was a really small group. In addition to these classes, there were also special groups in the Hungarian society: the free nations, who joined the Magyar tribes. Such kind of groups were, for example, the Szeklers, the Pechenegs and the Kabars.

    When the Magyars arrived from the steppes, they had no equal enemies in the West. They defeated most of the Western and Byzantine armies and robbed everything from Constantinople to Spain. What was their secret? Why could they do something which was done only by the Huns before?
    There were three keys of their success.
    First: their Eastern style army.
    Second: the discipline and the modern military organisation.
    Third: The disunity of the Western powers.
    Let’s see the keys in order:
    The hammer of the Magyars: The early (Eastern/steppe style) army
    The first reason for the success of the Magyars was their superior horseman-based army. The young chivalric warfare of the West could not survive against the professional, experienced Eastern army.
    What was this army like? How did it work? These are the question we have to answer, if we want to understand the reasons for their success.

    The weaponry of the Magyars:

    The reflex bow (visszacsapó íj)
    The centre of the weaponry of the Magyars was admittedly the composite reflex bow. We can say that it was the most developed weapon of the 9th-10th century. The range of the 110-120cm long bow was about 200-300 metres (984,25 ft). The strung bow bent to the opposite way than the unstrung ones.

    A good bow was very expensive: it could be the cost of a horse or more than two cows. A Magyar warrior could pierce a leather, a chain or a light armour with his bow. And there was another important thing which Magyars always wore: the stand-quiver. It was a quiver which was made to hold the strung bow for hours. With it, the Magyars could keep their bows strung for hours without penalty.

    The javelin (kelevéz):
    The missile cavalry of the Magyar was not built only from bowmen. The lesser classes of the society (who couldn’t buy a bow) used the kelevéz (javelin) as a secondary weapon. As the praysays: "Ab Ungerorum nos defendas jaculis".
    The sabre (szablya):

    The secondary melee weapon of the Magyars. The swords of the Magyars were about 70-90 cm long, damasced sabres. Its origin was in China and Inner-Asia. The main advantage of the use of a sabre was that its user could make a relatively deep cut with little effort. It was very effective against light-armoured enemies, but useless against heavy armour.
    The spear (kopja)
    The primary melee weapon of the Hungarians. It had a 2-2,5 m long wooden handle, and a 30-40 cm long iron or steel spearhead. Its biggest advantage was the cost of it: it was cheap and easily manufactured.
    The arms of the smith: the early (steppe) warfare:
    The second cause of the Magyar victories was their extremely disciplined and organized army.
    As a semi-nomadic nation, the Magyars’ life was all about the war. Their tactics were the same as formerly the Avars’, or later the Mongols’.
    The warfare and tactics

    The early Magyar army was divided to three parts: the right-wing, centre, and the left-wing.
    Their frontline was a long, thin line of their missile-based troops. They started all of their battles with a long, hard arrow-storm on the enemy - this destroyed their fronline and their morale.
    The wings and the centre shot sequentially, so they could hold the enemy continuously under arrow volleys. They then charged into the enemy army. After a short fight, the Magyar army would start to run. The enemy, who thought that he's won, would follow them. The Magyars would then shoot the enemy from their horses while still in pursuit. And then the final part of the battle would start: hidden Magyar troops would attack the enemy and the completely demoralised opponent would start to run. The time after that was all about the hunting down of the broken, fleeing enemies.

    Light-armoured Magyar horseman.







    Auxiliary tribes
    The allied and vassal tribes of the Magyars had a very important military function. Like many other steppe nations, the Magyars used them as advance guards or a rear echelon. The most important auxiliary tribes in the 9th-10th century were the Kabars (some Khazar tribes, which joined the Magyars), the Berénys (a tribe of the Pechenegs), and the Szeklers (their origin is unknown). These tribes had a relatively large army, compared to their population, and usually lived in the border areas.

    Units


    Csikósok

    The centre of the Magyar society, army and life was admittedly the horse. Due to its large importance, and high quality, the horses were very expensive. Every soldier had two or three horses, and there had to be somebody who takes care of these.
    These men, the Csikósok (Wranglers) were paid to take care of the herds. Being on horse day-and-night, they were very good horsemen, but their main profile was not the fight against enemy soldiers, but against wolves and bears who attacked the horses.
    Without effective armour, but still armoured with bows and axes these men are inefficient against professional soldiers, but usable against light infantry or archers. Due to their high number they can harass the enemy with their volleys of arrows, but it’s not a clever thing to use them in hand-to-hand combat.
    Talpasok

    The Magyar warriors hated to fight on foot, but in some cases they didn’t have a choice. According to Byzantine sources, if a Magyar fought on foot, his morale was lower, and he tired sooner than on horseback. Because of this disdain, the higher social classes provided this thankless job to the commoners.
    Without any armour, equipped with a shield and an axe, these men are the lowest quality units of the Magyar army. They can be used as garrison units in the central areas of the land, but they have no chance to survive in a normal battle.
    ÍnekThe ínek (commoners, singular “ín”) were the bottom of the Magyar society. In the 9th century the wealth gap between the rich and the poor parts of the population started to grow. The society was divided to three parts: the urak (lords), the bők (rich people) and the ínek (poor people). Although they were poor, they were nevertheless freemen. The name of the social group (ín) means “lack of” something, in modern Hungarian language. These men did not have enough money to buy a good armour, but they have enough battle experience and routine to be effective warriors. Due to their light equipment, they aren’t so good in melee combat, but even so, they are a superior missile cavalry in Europe. Armed with a kopja (spear) and a bow, and a leather (some of them with a chainmail) armour, they are perfect against any light infantry, and are very good skirmishers. They can break and loosen the enemy lines before the charge of the heavier cavalry.
    A unit of ínek can cause huge casualties for the enemy in the following way: they start to shoot at the enemy, and because of it, those will start to chase them. The íns start to run away, but they continuously hold the enemy under fire. Due to their speed, the enemy won’t be able to catch them, but the íns can shoot down many warriors from their horses.
    Lóról szállt ínek

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    The Magyar warriors hated to fight on foot, but in some cases they didn’t have a choice. According to Byzantine sources, if a Magyar fought on foot, his morale was lower, and he tired sooner than on horseback. Because of this disdain, the higher social classes provided this thankless job to the commoners.
    Equipped with a spear, light armour and a shield, these men are able to fight against low quality infantry, and can defend a gate or path until the archers weaken the enemy, or the cavalry troops arrive. They don’t have any training in fighting on foot, so they shouldn’t be used in open field battles, or against high quality infantry or cavalry.
    Ínek

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    The ínek (commoners, singular “ín”) were the bottom of the Magyar society. In the 9th century the wealth gap between the rich and the poor parts of the population started to grow. The society was divided to three parts: the urak (lords), the bők (rich people) and the ínek (poor people). Although they were poor, they were nevertheless freemen. The name of the social group (ín) means “lack of” something, in modern Hungarian language. These men did not have enough money to buy a good armour, but they have enough battle experience and routine to be effective warriors. Due to their light equipment, they aren’t so good in melee combat, but even so, they are a superior missile cavalry in Europe. Armed with a kopja (spear) and a bow, and a leather (some of them with a chainmail) armour, they are perfect against any light infantry, and are very good skirmishers. They can break and loosen the enemy lines before the charge of the heavier cavalry.
    A unit of ínek can cause huge casualties for the enemy in the following way: they start to shoot at the enemy, and because of it, those will start to chase them. The íns start to run away, but they continuously hold the enemy under fire. Due to their speed, the enemy won’t be able to catch them, but the íns can shoot down many warriors from their horses.
    Kavarok

    Lóról szállt Kavarok

    The army of the Magyars had a very important feature: they used the vassal and allied tribes as parts of the army. These men (the Kavars) formerly belonged to the Khazar Empire, as they were members of some Khazar tribes. When the Empire fell to a civil war, they joined their Magyar neighbours and followed them to their new home. The Kavars had their own tribe, tribal leader etc, but as a military-based auxiliary tribe, they had to have a larger force than the other tribes, in comparison to their population.
    These men, the poor people of the Kavar tribes, are armed with bows and a mace or axe. Being superior bowmen, they are the most important auxiliary troops of the Magyar army. They don’t have armour, so they shouldn’t be used in serious hand-to-hand combat, but they are excellent against other light cavalry or light infantry. With their bows, they can cause heavy casualties to the enemy's troops. In rare times of emergency, they can defend their settlements on foot.
    Válogatott kavarok

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    The army of the Magyars had a very important feature: they used the vassal and allied tribes as parts of the army. These men (the Kavars) formerly belonged to the Khazar Empire, as they were members of some Khazar tribes. When the Empire fell to a civil war, they joined their Magyar neighbours and followed them to their new home. The Kavars had their own tribe, tribal leader etc, but as a military-based auxiliary tribe, they had to have a larger force than the other tribes, in comparison to their population.
    The Válogatott kavarok (Choosen kavars), the wealthy members and the leaders of the Kavar tribes, due to their financial status, can acquire a better quality bow and a better sword. Being superior bowmen, they are the most important auxiliary troops of the Magyar army. Their leather and chainmail armours don’t allow them to fight against heavy infantry or heavy cavalry, but they are perfect against light infantry or light cavalry, increasing their chances of survival. Used as skirmishers, they can easily break the enemy's formation.
    Székelyek

    The Székelyek (Szeklers) are the only ethnos, which hasn’t assimilated to this day. In the 9th century, the Szekler formed 5% of the Magyar society. They were border-guard auxiliary troops, like the other joined tribes, but they were the only one, who could keep their special status after the Christianization of the Magyars.
    Their origin is unknown, but there are some theories about it:
    - The first comes from the Szekler mythology, as their myths say that they are descendants of the Huns of Attila.
    - The second is that they were Bulgars, who joined the Magyars in the 9th century. One way or another, they were excellent and brave fighters. The Szekler commoners, armed with a bow and axe, are perfectly usable against light- or medium infantry, or light cavalry. Their horse archer skills allow them to be used as high quality skirmishers, whose role is the decimating of the enemy army with a heavy arrow storm. They are also excellent against rebel armies, using their deep knowlege of the lands they live to keep the peace and order in favor of the local lords.
    Székely törzsfők

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    The “törzsfők” (tribal leaders) were the leaders of the Szekler society. Due to their special status after the Christianisation, the Szekler tribes could keep their kinship-based society and did not become feudalised until the XIV-XV century. Their origin is unknown, but there are some theories about it:
    - The first comes from the Szekler mythology, as their myths say that they are descendants of the Huns of Attila.
    - The second is that they were Bulgars, who joined the Magyars in the 9th century.
    One way or another, they were excellent and brave fighters. Due to their financial status, the Szekler törzsfők could buy heavier armour and higher quality weapons than the commoners. Armed with chain-or lamellar armour, these men are able to fight against heavier cavalry or medium infantry. The pairing of their horse archer skills with the high quality equipment makes them one of the deadliest troops of the Magyar army.
    Kíséret

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    In the 9th century, the wealth gap between the rich and the poor parts of the population started to grow. Society was divided to three parts: the urak (lords), the bők (rich people) and the ínek (poor people).
    Every leader of a tribe (Urak) had their own personal army, which was loyal only to their lord. These men were chosen from other tribes, so they didn’t have any personal relations or conflicts, which could decrease their loyalty.
    The members of the Kíséret (Retinue) were wealthy warriors, who could own a heavy armour, a sword and a high quality bow. These men were able to fight against heavy infantry or cavalry, although they weren’t as heavy as the western knights. As the Kíséret of the grand-prince (Nagyfejedelem) had about 20 000 members, they were the main part of the Magyar army.
    Hungarian Knights (available after 1010)

    After the Christianisation of Hungary, these men became the elite troops of the king. They were also the first that established the feudal administration system in Hungary. Being the first real knights in the land, these warriors are important against the western armies’ knights and heavy infantry. Their equipment allows them to fight against any cavalry in Europe, but it also makes them extremely expensive. The combination of the western and steppe warrior traditions made the Magyar army one of the strongest in Europe, which defeated the Holy Roman Empire several times and ensured the homeland’s security against most of its enemies. They were directly influenced by the personal escort of German knights,of princess Gisela, daughter of Duke Henry II and Gisela of Burgundy, that married Stephen I in 1008AD.
    Fejedelmi kíséret

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    Lóról szállt Fejedelmi kíséret

    Fejedelmi kíséret is an elite troop, whose duty is the protection of the Grand Prince at any costs. They are loyal only to their leader and are able to protect him against any enemies. Selected from all of the tribes, these men are the most drilled and best equipped troops of the Magyar army.
    These men, armed with the best-quality armours and weapons, having a fearsome battle experience and drill, are the most expensive and most superior troops of the Magyars. There are very few of them, so they should be used with a great responsibility. Being excellent archers and having heavy armour, these warriors are able to fight against any western knights. If it’s needed, they can guard the Grand Prince’s tent on foot, but, as they are Magyars, they are mainly horsemen.
    Rusz testőrök

    The connections between Magyars and Viking warriors were established in the time the Magyars still inhabited the plains of modern Ukraine, when the early Viking trade expeditions arrived in the Magyar lands. Those fearsome warriors with long swords and heavy battle axes seemed suitable as a precious addition to the Magyar armies, which lacked any kind of decent infantry force.
    The Magyar leaders recruited those warriors for the same reasons the Romans (Byzantines) did later in the early 10th century. They were not only capable fighters that inspired fear to their enemies with their weapons and their “barbaric” appearance, but they were also loyal to the one that they gave their word of service (bond of service) to, known as Var. In a tribal social structure, the Magyar leaders could only trust warriors outside of their tribes to avoid the chance of an inner rebellion against them.
    These warriors can afford any kind of armour, thanks to their war fees after time of service - armours that could be bought through trade or be a direct construction of the armouries of their homelands. They are a single unit responsible for the Magyar leader’s safety from foreign or domestic enemies. They may be expensive to recruit and maintain, but they are worth every single gold coin, because they do their job and they do it well.
    Bők

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    Bők (rich people, singular “bő”) were in the middle of the Magyar society. In the 9th century, the wealth gap between the rich and the poor parts of the population started to grow. The society was divided to three parts: the urak (lords), the bők (rich people) and the ínek (poor people). These men were clan leaders with lots of cattle, some horses and a few slaves. The bő (adj.), bőség (noun) words mean “big” and “abundance” in the modern Hungarian language.
    Armed with a kopja (spear), sword and bow, these professional warriors that were equipped with chainmail or lamellar armours, formed lords' escorts and bodyguard units, but they were also a very effective heavy cavalry unit as well. They may not have been as heavy as other, similar to them horsemen, but they were perfect for quick shock charges against any infantry and light or medium cavalry. Their most common tactic was a charge right after a heavy arrow storm from the rest of the army. That way, the bők could win a battle against most of their enemies.



    Credits

    Koultouras : Models and textures.
    ======================
    Kiskompi : Historical research and unit descriptions.
    Matthaeus : Shield, Banner and model textures.
    Dome : Banner textures , Horse textures.
    Leif Erikson : Horse armor and Viking warriors textures.
    Absinthia : weapons models and varius textures.
    Markhaselb : New lance and bow animations.
    Lord Calidor : Weapons and their textures.
    NikeBG : General text corrections.
    FliegerAD : Info additions.


    Special Thanks to:

    Csatádi: Research help and advices/sugestions
    Marka/Rusichi modding team : Primary matterial of any kind.
    Banzai,Fabiusbile for the animation pack and fixed bow animations.
    Briarius : Horse charge riders position fix.
    CounterPoint391 : Viking swords and their textures.

  2. #2
    Megas Domestikos Member AnthoniusII's Avatar
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    Default Re: [Preview] The Magyars

    Nottice: Kavarok Units are Khazar tribal units of the Magyar roster. If the player that control this faction loses his/her income (0 or minus numbers of income) those units will defect (will abandon the army).

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