Macquarie University
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Ethnicity in a Khaganate: Avar identity between 570 and 630 A.D.

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posted on 2023-02-16, 00:45 authored by Natalie Tymchynskaya Abedi

Avar history has received little scholarly attention over the past two centuries. When research on the Avars was done, it was treated as a separate topic under Eurasian steppe studies. This thesis utilises a new wave of scholarship that recentres Avar history in its early medieval European and Eurasian steppe contexts and explores identity in the Avar Khaganate. It aims to build upon these studies by investigating what Avar ethnicity looked like during the Early Avar Period (570-630 AD) using written and select archaeological sources. The method used in this study is based on current anthropological understandings of ethnicity, specifically where it is defined as the way members of a group perceive themselves and the way outsiders perceive the same group. This research implements such approach by examining indicators of the way Avars perceived themselves and the way outsiders perceived the Avars within the ancient sources. Most of the evidence of Avar history to survive are written texts by Byzantine authors and contemporary archaeological evidence like elite and warrior burials. This study uses these sources to identify and discuss potential ethnic markers of the Avars, including origin, migration, language, appearance, religion, and warfare.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Origin and migration -- 3. Language and appearance -- 4. Religion and warfare -- 5. Conclusion -- 6. Bibliography

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes

Department, Centre or School

Department of History and Archaeology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Danijel Džino


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




95 pages