(Reply to the study of Dr. Peter Ratkos, Sc.D. about the territory of Czechoslovakia, as it pertains to the Germans, Slavs, Avars and the location of Great Moravia.)


Originally published by Püski-Corvin, New York, NY.

Later in the literary review, Chicago Szivárvány, Nos. 14, 15 and 16.





The Power of Facts

An Overview of the Disputed Questions


I.                    The Kingdom of the Quadi

II.                 When did the Slavs appear in the territory of Slovakia?

III.               Where was the Empire of Szamo?

IV.              Avars or Slav-Avars?

V.                 The Avar province in the Frankish Empire (805-900)

VI.              About the location of Great Moravia

VII.            The connection with Ancient Nyitra

VIII.         About two important questions

IX.              Less important matters

X.                 Some points about which Peter Ratkos is correct

XI.              Summary




                                                                                                                Part 1.





            After reading Peter Ratkos’ study, which appeared to be an angry discussion of the facts,[1] I felt as if I were in the middle of a religious debate in the Age of the Reformation.  I frankly admit that, at first, I was inclined to reply in the same vein.  Finally, I decided that it was not appropriate for me, as a scholar, to reply in that manner because the statements that I had made in my article were not based on emotions but on historical facts.[2]

            I was halfway through responding to Dr. Ratkos’ accusations, when I realized that it was useless to continue along this route of “accusation followed by denial”.  I cannot not allow his accusations to go unanswered but I wish to follow a more friendly path, without any animosity.  To achieve this, will use the following method to answer Dr. Ratkos:

1.      My answer shall be more than a general exchange of conversation.

2.      My reply should enlighten both the Hungarian historians and all other historians who study Central European History – especial that of the early Middle Ages.

3.      Instead of following the usual method of studying the statements and hypotheses of former historians I intend to state clearly the disputed questions in those problematic territories and I intend to clarify the events, based on facts. 

I will not answer Peter Ratkos’ accusations in the order in which he writes them but will formulate my answers according to the subjects in dispute.  I shall group the accusations into themes and, in so doing, I shall answer them all.

I shall state what the accusation is and then I shall give the answer.  Within the groups, the accusations will be numbered.  Since Dr. Ratkos places more weight on certain accusations, some of the answers will be longer.





1.      The location of the Kingdom of the Quadi.

2.      The Kingdom of Vannius or the Kingdom of the Quadi?




1.      The proofs found in written documents. 

2.      The migration of the Western Slavs and the Wall of Germans.

3.      The connections between historical knowledge and archeology.



1.      Was the land of Samo adjacent to Thuringia?

2.      What does the biography of the bishop, Saint Amandus, prove?

3.      The case of Dervan, the Serb leader.



1.      Joannes Ephesinus writes of the Avars and the Slavs.

2.      The constant hostility between the Slavs and Avars.

3.      Constantine Porphyrogenitus writes of the Avars and Slavs.

a.       The accuracy of the quotations.

b.      “The Slavs who were also called Avars”.

4.      About the cemetery in Dévényújfalu.

5.      About the burial customs of the Slavs and the Avars.



1.      The territory of the Avar Province.

2.      About the place-names: Várkony and Vereknye.

3.      Who was Isias Khan?  (erroneous reading of – Canizauci )

4.      The well-known chorepiscopus of the Avar province (833-903)

5.      Where was the seat of the chorepiscopus of the Avar province?  

(About Kirchbach and Vetvár)

6.      Were the Avar people literate?




            Since I published an article about this same question in the Valóság review (XXI. Issue No. 11), which I presented in eight points, I feel it is unnecessary to repeat the same material here.   Since this article appeared  twice in the United States:

1.      “About the Location of Great Moravia: a Reassessment”. Duquesne University Studies in History. General Editor: S. B. Vardy, 1982. Pittsburgh, PA. USA

2.      “Nagy Morávia fekvéséről”. (About the Location of Great Moravia)  Püski-Corvin, New York, 1982. This publication was an exact reprint of the article which appeared in the Budapest Valóság, in 1978, and which was delivered as a lecture in the XVI. Historical Forum of Duquesne University in October, 1982.  An additional lecture “Nagy Morávia fekvése a diocesis Pannoniarum 295-900 közti területi alakulásának és a püspökök rezidenciális kötelmének a fényében” ( The Location of Great Moravia in the light of the connections between the Residences of the Bishops and the establishment of the Diocese of Pannonia between 295 and 900) completed the discussion.





1.      Is it correct to speak of the period of the historical center of Moravia?

2.      The question of ratio in the last two Slovak historical syntheses (1961 and 1971).




            XI.            SUMMARY





            There was a Civil War between the free Germans tribes living on the left bank of the Danube.  The leaders of two of the losing tribes, Marobusus and Katvalda, were victims and, in AD. 19 and 21, they were forced to flee to the Roman Empire to Pannonia and Noricum, on the right bank of the Danube.   We know from the writings of Tacitus that Emperor Tiberius, in the interest of the Empire, in AD. 21, placed these Germans on the other side of the Danube and appointed Vannius to be their king.[3]

            In the past there were long debates about the long stretch of territory along the Danube, from the city of Passau to Vác, and whether these Germans, who were called Quadi, fled from here, received a new homeland west of the Morva River  or east of it. 

            On pages 119 to 124, in my book:  Az ősi Nyitra,(Ancient Nyitra), I made several statements to attempt to clarify the situation.  First, I mentioned three rivers with Celtic names, which are in the territory of western Slovakia. The names of these rivers are Mar(us), Duria and Cusus.  At the beginning of the first century AD., the original names of these three rivers were changed to their present German names: Mar(us) became Marawa, (Hungarian: Morva), Duria became Wag (Hungarian: Vág) and Cusus became Granua (Hungarian: Garam).  These name changes occurred at the time the Quadi were living in this territory.  We know this from contemporary sources from the first century.  Secondly, I pointed out that Ptolemy, in his Geographia, which was written around AD. 135, mentions the names of the Quad settlements in this territory of the three rivers.  On the basis of geographical and topographical sources, I came to the conclusion that, in the first and second centuries, the Kingdom of the Quadi was located between the Marawa (Morva) and Granua (Garam) rivers. 

            Another important and entirely new conclusion was that we can presume that Singona was the capital city of the Kingdom of the Quadi and it was located near the Vág and the Garam rivers.  This statement is based on the map of Ptolemy and I was able to determine this by the longitude and latitude given in degrees and minutes. 

            This statement of mine is supported by the results of archeology.  In the territory between the Rivers Morva and Garam the Slovak archeologists know of only two large Quad settlements.  One of them was found between the Vág and Garam rivers.  This was scarcely twelve kilometers south of the city of Nyitra, exactly in the territory around the present village of Barancs.  According to the contemporary writer, Ptolemy, we can regard this territory as the former city of Singona.

            The other large Quad settlement was on the western bank of the River Vág, in the territory around the present village of Pobedim.  Obviously, at that time, the Kingdom of the Quadi was divided into two parts and, between AD. 51 and 89, the capital city of the Western Quads was located here, which is identified as the Quad city of Arsicua.  In the time of Ptolemy, the Kingdom of the Quadi was again united.[4]





1.   The location of the Kingdom of the Quadi.


Peter Ratkos objects to my statement dealing with the location of the Kingdom of the Quadi, based on contemporary sources.  He states: “The central settlements of the Quadi were outside of the Slovak territory”.  According to his statement the center of the Kingdom of the Quadi could not have been in the southwestern part of Slovakia because the Roman legions, which marched against the Quadi, on one occasion, in AD. 179, marched as far as Trencsén.  On another occasion, they marched toward them along the River Garam.  The facts are the following: 


a) In connection with the campaigns of the Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Valentinianus I. and the location of the Kingdom of the Quadi.


It may be strange logic but it is the most natural question to ask:  In which territory did the Roman legions move against the Quadi between AD. 177 and 180, if not in the land of the Quadi?  In Peter Ratkos’ argument it is not clear that the campaign in the valley of the River Vág, in the winter of 179 and 180, when the Roman legions under the leadership of the legate Maximianus went as far as Trencsen and struck camp there in the winter, and the campaign between AD.172 and 175 of Legion II., accompanied by Adiutrix and Emperor Marcus Aurelius, in the valley of the River Garam, were two different Roman campaigns in the war against the Germanic tribes.  There was one war and two different episodes, in two different places, not at the same time.  Would not the goal of the army attacking the Quadi be to attack the enemy in the center of their territory? 

The main purpose of the campaign of Valeninianus I. against the Quadi in AD. 374-375 was much clearer than that of the campaigns of the Roman – German war between AD 172 and 180.  We know every important point about this campaign.  The maneuver on two flanks was clear.  One part of the legion went toward Carnuntum (Deutsch-Altenburg, Austria) and the other half went through Aquincum (Óbuda, Hungary) across the Danube, in order to surround the Quadi. The fact that the Kingdom of the Quadi was between the two armies and that the Roman campaign was successful, is proven by the peace negotiations, which took place at Brigetio (Ószőny, near the city of Komárom), the bridge-head that was called the Kelemantia Camp, which, according to Ammianus Marcellinus, “was in the land of the Quadi”.[5]

The tactics of the Romans, encircling the land of the Quadi, prove that the central territory of the Quad kingdom was north of the Danube, between the Morva and Ipoly rivers. 


b) Ptolemy writes about the land of the Quadi.


Around AD. 135, in the tenth chapter of  Geographia, Ptolemy writes of Great Germania: “ . . .the Quadi are located below the Hercinia Forest; below that is the iron-ore and the Luna Forest; below that lives a large populace of the Boior, as far as the Danube, with whom, on the river bank live the Terrecatria people and, beside the meadows, the Rakata people are their neighbors”.[6]

In order to fully understand this report, we need to know the location of the Hercinia Forest, the Luna Forest and the great Sarmatian mountains, which comprised the border of Great Germania, whose most eastern inhabitants were the Quadi.

Ptolemy clearly determines the location of the Luna Forest.  As he describes the Danube, he states that, after the River Enns (which flows into the Danube on the south side), following the current of the Danube, another river as large as the Enns, flows into the Danube from the north side, near the Luna Forest.  After the Enns, the first river on the northern side is the small River Kamp and the second is the River Morva, which is really the same size as the Enns.  We should understand that the name Luna Forest refers to the Lesser Carpathians.

The location of the Sarmatian Mountains is at the curve of the Danube, (42° 30’ and 48°) or a geographical determination of degrees in the eastern latitude of 43° 30’ and the northern width of 50° 30’.  The term Sarmatian Mountains then, refers to the present-day Cserhát mountain range.  Ptolemy also gives two determinations for the Hercinia Forest.  He states that below it is the Luna Forest, furthermore that it lies exactly between the Gabreta Forest and the Sarmatian Mountains.  He determines that the location of the Gabreta Forest is beside the River Kamp, that is the present-day Austrian Greiner Forest in the hilly territory of Czech-Moravia.  Therefore, the Hercinia Forest was located between the hilly territory of Czech-Moravia and the Cserhát mountain range, and is identical to the present-day White Carpathians.  This identity is proven by the determination of the location of the Luna Forest, because below the White Carpathians are the Lesser Carpathians.

In order to determine the location of the basic geographical names, we still have to examine what Ptolemy meant by “x . . . Forest”.  He himself gives us the answer:  He drew the map with lines running north to south, with segments between the lines, laid out from west to east.[7]  The determination therefore means: “east of the X . . .Forest”!

On the basis of the former statement, the Celtic Boior people lived east of the Lesser Carpathians and the German Quadi lived east of the White Carpathians.  However, Ptolemy was mistaken in his directions.  Concerning the segment from the place where the Morva enters the Danube, as far as Brigetio – the confluence of the Morva and Danube, understood according to the determining points – he moved that segment 62° north of the line of the Danube.[8]  The Brigetio (Ószöny)  --  Solva (Esztergom) segment, because of the distortion, has a difference of 90°.  So instead of east, in the first segment, we should read southeast, in the second, we should read south.  Therefore, the Quadi lived in southwest Slovakia and also in the territory of the Slovak Erzgebirge.  On the banks of the Danube, from the Celtic town of Pozsony to the Kelemantia Camp, in the segment in the direction of Párkány, the Celtic Boiors lived among them.  We don’t know whether the Terrekatria and the Rakata were Celts, Germans or Sarmatian-Jazygians. 

According to Ptolemy and other contemporary sources, the borders of the Kingdom of the Quadi were east of the Morva River and north of the River Danube and the Cserhát mountains.  They stretched in a line from Zsolna to Igló, in the territory of the Upper Vág.


c)  The statements of Slovak historiography about the location of the Kingdom of the Quadi.


The newest historical synthesis, prepared by the scholars of the Slovak Academy of Science, deals with the question of “The Kingdom of Vannius”. In the text of Titus Kolnik, we read that the excavations of the 1960’s: “made it possible to finally determine the location of the Kingdom of Vannius, which has been disputed for many years.  The group of researchers decided that it should be located in southwest Slovakia.”.[9]

Therefore Peter Ratkos’ argument contradicts first of all the facts and secondly the official stance of the Czechoslovak (Slovak) Academy of Science, which he represents.


                                2. The Kingdom of Vannius or the Kingdom of the Quadi?


As we have seen, the Slovak historiography uses the expression the “Kingdom of Vannius” in connection with the Quadi without mentioning the long line of kings of the ruling house. 

The Slovaks took this expression from Plinius Secundus’ Natural History.  Plinius the Younger wrote this work during the rule of Vannius (AD. 21-51).  At that time, he could not have known that the Kingdom of the Quadi would last for many more centuries.  Therefore it is not correct to continue to use the name: “Kingdom of Vannius” and fail to mention the Kingdom of the Quadi, which had a long history, as if it had never existed.[10]  On the basis of the facts, we regard the appropriate name to be THE KINGDOM OF THE QUADI.  This kingdom lasted from AD. 21 to the second part of the 5th. Century (to AD. 488), after which time the people migration took place and the Quadi were assimilated into the other Germanic peoples, the Vandals and particularly the Ostrogoths, at the time of the decline of the Hun Empire.  





The most important and most difficult problem facing Slovak historiography was to establish the exact time that the Slavs appeared in some parts of the present territory of Slovakia. 

Two latest big syntheses of Slovak historiography – in 1961 and 1971 – which were conducted by members of the Faculties of History and Archeology of the Slovak Academy of Science,[11] are a reflection of the development of Slovak historiography in the ten-year interval between them. 

We have to state that the second synthesis is more realistic about the time of the appearance of the Slavs in the territory where they are now living than the first, which was published in 1961.  We must especially not disregard the program for the supposed slavization of that territory in the first half of the 6th century, which Anton Tocik mentioned in the following words:  “The written documents alone do not give us enough proof in this regard, therefore the solution of the whole question lies largely in the domain of Archeology.”[12]

Foreign researchers – German, Southern Slav and Hungarian – see the question of the appearance of the Slavs in the Danube Basin quite differently and the Czechoslovak  (Czech) researchers see it in an entirely different light again.  Anton Tocik’s open admission of the sharp differences in the contradictory opinions proves the development of Slovak historiography since the synthesis of 1961, when this could never have been brought up.[13]

The three main viewpoints are that the Slavs arrived in the Danube Basin before, during, or after the Age of the Avars, mainly in the territory between Passau and the Iron Gate. 

The followers of the first viewpoint are the Czechoslovak (Czech) historians and archeologists. They date the appearance of the Slavs in the Central Danube territory to the 4th. century, (according to the 1961 synthesis) or the 4th but rather the 5th century (according to the 1971 synthesis).[14]

The second viewpoint is represented by the Southern Slav historians.  They place the appearance of the Slavs in the central and western Balkan territories – from the Iron Gate to the Dalmatian shoreline – to the time of the Avar rule.  Their viewpoint is supported by contemporary sources, therefore it cannot be regarded as a “supposition”.  The slavization of the Balkans took place independently from the movement of peoples in the Carpathian Basin and there was particularly no connection with the ethnic problems in the southwestern part of Slovakia in the period before the Age of the Avars. 

The Hungarian researchers represent the third viewpoint in Tocik’s list.  Hungarian Archeological research is mainly occupied with the territory of the Avar Empire.  By this, they mean primarily the Carpathian Basin, which extends to some parts of the River Száva and the River Danube in the south.  The viewpoint of Hungarian researchers embraces the entire Carpathian Basin – which includes the present territory of Slovakia.  Therefore they should not need to oppose the viewpoint of the Southern Slav researchers because these are occupied with a different geographical territory – the Balkans.  The essence of the Hungarian viewpoint is that the Slavs arrived in the Carpathian Basin after the dissolution of the Avar Kaganate, at the turn of the 8th to the 9th century.[15]  

Between the first two contradictory viewpoints the Hungarian researchers were forced to try to present a more acceptable hypothesis.  The basic question therefore, is whether the Slavs arrived in the territory of Slovakia before the Avars or after them.


1.  The proofs found in written documents about the arrival of the Slavs in the Carpathian Basin, particularly in the Territory of Slovakia.


Peter Ratkos especially objects to my statement: “We can say very little about the infiltration of the Slav peoples into the present territory of Slovakia, from the beginning of the 6th century to the last third of the period of the Avar Empire (that is the middle of the 8thcentury). ”   He accuses me of not informing my readers of the writings of the following historians about the Slavs: Jordánes, Baudemundus, Koreni Pseudo Moses, Prokopios, Menandros Protéktór.  I state my answer in two points:


a) What is the truth about Jordanes and the other mentioned writers of the Middle Ages?


Peter Ratkos, who first published excerpts from the above-mentioned writers on the subject of the Slavs in 1964[16], should know that the writers that he listed wrote about the Slavs appearing in the territory of the Lower Danube and the Balkans, who arrived in the territory west of the Iron Gate and south of the Danube only at the time of the arrival of the Avars and therefore had no connection with the territory of Slovakia.

Futhermore, I will just mention the 1971 Slovak historical synthesis quoted above which, because of the lack of original sources, with the help of archeology, wishes to uncover the supposed presence of Slavs in the territory of Slovakia.

Peter Ratkos’ theory contradicts the statements of those writers whom he listed, and also the last synthesis of the Slovak historiography.  Peter Ratkos, therefore, wishes to give historical proofs in connection with two different territories at the same time, where these proofs do not apply.  His tactics are to blend into one the many sided sources of information and exchange the Lower Danube territory from the Iron Gate to the Black Sea for the territory of the confluence of the Central Danube, Morva and Dráva rivers.


b) What does Peter Ratkos purposely omit from the contemporary sources?


I wish to bring to the reader’s attention that the  contemporary writers agreed that the Slavs appeared in some parts of the declining Avar Kaganate, between AD. 796 and 805, in contradiction to those historians who propose an earlier arrival. 

First I would like to mention the memorial record of the conversion to Christianity of the Bavarians and Carinthians, entitled Conversio and prepared in Salzburg in 871.  In this document, the slavization of the Avar Kaganate or Carpathian Basin (not the same as the Danube Basin mentioned by Ratkos) appears on two occasions. In the 6th Chapter we read: “they immediately forced the Huns from here (the Carpathian Basin) (after A.D. 796, the Avars)  and this is how the Slavs settled there”.!  The second mention of the Slavs is in the 10th. Chapter: “After which, Emperor Charles forced out the Avars. . . in the same territory, from which the Huns (i.e. the Avars) were chased out, on the one hand the Slavs, and on the other hand, the Bavarians started to settle and multiply.”[17]

These two quoted statements, noted in the Conversio, which appeared 70 years after the events, are strongly supported by notes in the contemporary Yearbook of the Frankish Kingdom, in A.D. 805. According to these notes, Teodor, the Avar Kagan asked Charlemagne for permission for a settlement place in the territory between Carnuntum and Sabaria (Szombathely) because: “they could not remain in their old place of settlement because of the invasion of the Slavs. . .”[18]

In the note from A.D. 805, the Latin word “infestinatio” is not entirely properly expressed by the Hungarian word “támadás”(attack), the Slovak “útoky” or the Czech “nájezdy”.[19]  First of all the word “infestinatio” means “invasion, incursion, marching in, rushing in,” as well as “profanation, breach of peace” and is only a milder version of the meaning of the word “attack”.  The single clash of two armies is expressed in Latin by the word “impetus” which means “attack”.   In military jargon, in the word “infestinatio”, the “festino” means “rushing” and should be understood with the prefix “in” to mean “rushing in” or “invasion”.  Actually, the word “infestinatio” expresses a milder meaning than “invasion”(perhaps infiltration).

The testimony of the historical sources is very consistent.  In the Carpathian Basin, or the former territory of the Avar Kaganate – which includes southwestern Slovakia – no written documents have been found to prove the presence there of the Slav peoples in the time before the appearance of the Avars.

On the contrary, the contemporary sources are clearly in agreement that the large influx of Slavs into the Carpathian Basin started between 796 and 805.  Peter Ratkos and the other Slav historians, who propose that the settlement of the Slavs in the Carpathian Basin took place in the 4th and 5th centuries, do not take the contemporary sources into account.[20]



2. The Migration of the Western Slavs and the German Wall



            The basic obstacle to the arrival of the Slavs in large numbers – on the banks of the Elba river, in the Czech-Moravia Basin, and also in the Carpathian Basin[21] -- was the continuous presence of the Germans since the beginning of our era.  According to our historical knowledge, until the German Lombards moved out of the area, there was no possibility for the northern Slavs to proceed along the Elba River as far as the Czech Basin.

            We know much more about the history of the 5th and 6th century Lombards than we do about the State of Samo or about the history of the people of Great Moravia between 833 and 863, whose settlements were on the left bank of the Elba River, the present-day Lüneburger Heide.  Between AD. 385 and 400, the Slavs started out toward the south.  In about a hundred years, they reached the Czech Basin.  They entered the Moravian Basin in AD. 487-88 and took over the territory of Rugiland which extended as far as the Danube, which was at that time occupied by the Germanic Rugi tribe.  In this way they reached the Kingdom of the Quadi and the borders of Pannonia.  They continued their wars against the Germanic Heruli and finally defeated them.  The Lombards, first in AD. 526 and later, in greater numbers, in AD. 546-47, moved into Pannonia.  At that time, the Gepidae were their neighbors east of the Danube. 

            The Lombards took part in the wars against the Gepidae, first in alliance with Byzantium then as allies of the Avars, and they broke the power of the Gepidae in AD. 567.  The Lombard king, Alboin, realized too late that, after the  Avar occupation of Gepidia, he would no longer be able to hold on to his state.  Therefore he offered to  the Avar Kagan, Baján, the land of the Lombards and the Lombards moved out. The territory of the Lombards, therefore, peacefully fell into the hands of the Avars.  The Avars, in a short time, within two years – not continuously, as Peter Ratkos states – became the rulers of the Carpathian Basin.[22]

Our partner in this debate, Peter Ratkos, in his objections, paints a false picture of the Avar appearance and settlements in the Carpathian Basin.  First of all, the Avars came into the Carpathian Basin, not in AD. 558 but nine years later, in AD. 567.  In the year of their invasion, they took over the territory of Gepidia, politically but not ethnically.  Gepidia included the territory between the Danube and Tisza Rivers, as well as the territory beyond the Tisza, to the east, including Transylvania. In the year AD. 568, they took over from the Lombards the territory of Pannonia which extended as far as the Dráva River.  They did not occupy southeastern Pannonia, in other words, Szirmium, the territory of Pannonia-Szávia in AD. 567/68, but only in AD. 582. 

The arrival of the first groups of Slavs in the Czech and Moravian Basin only became possible after the Lombards started to move out in 487-488.  However, the Slavs could not settle there in large groups even after the final departure of the Lombards in AD. 568, because there, in place of the Lombards, there was another obstacle – the Avars.  Therefore, an ingress of large numbers of Slavs into the Carpathian Basin, before the Avar Conquest and during the Avar rule, was not possible.



                            3. The connections between historical knowledge and archeology.


Above, we mentioned the new direction of Slovak historiography, particularly since 1964, which places the appearance of the Slavs in the Carpathian Basin in an early period – even before the age of the Avars – and the historians have given the archeologists the task of proving this.  The conclusions which this presupposed theory and archeological program will offer are doubtful.  In the Valóság review, two archeologists, Nándor Kalicz and Pál Raczky, have rejected such a presupposed hypothesis as untenable, in the debate entitled Újrégészet, with the following statement:  “It is unacceptable that an archeologist should go to an excavation site with a presupposed hypothesis and there, he observes facts which he offers to support the presupposed hypothesis.(Hree we won’t even ask from where the archeologist took his “primary hypothesis”!)  This point of view contradicts the concrete, generally accepted method, dictated by a sober mind with a thoughtful method.”[23]

Already in the middle of the 1960’s, the Slovak archeologists accepted the task assigned to them by their historian colleagues.  They had already disassociated themselves from the artifacts of the independent cultures of the Eperjes and Danube Valley territories because of the simple and primitive character of these artifacts.  Of the two, the Eperjes culture was the older and the archeologists hypothesized that the ceramics of the Danube Valley culture were connected to it.  They placed the appearance of these two cultures in the 4th and 5th centuries.  Then they presumed that  the Prague culture followed in the 6th and 7th centuries.   In connection with the “Eperjes” type, Tocik honestly states that: “there is not sufficient proof that a Slav continuity existed from the earliest times.”[24]

We must not assume, however, that a culture, which is proven by archeology to have its own time period in a particular territory, is Slavic just because it is poorer and simpler than that of the Lombards, Quadi or Goths.  Do the Slovak archeologists know enough, did they find enough artifacts of the common Germanic peoples?  Is their method reliable?  The fact that examples of the Eperjes culture can be found outside of the Carpathians does not prove ethnic identity.   The Goths who were eastern Germanic people also came from that territory.  Did the archeologists examine the Caspian Sea and the Ural territories with the same point of view?  Archeologists should recognize the fact that the Quadi, Heruli, Goths, Gepidae, Rugi and Lombards were all Germanic type people yet their archeological artifacts can be differentiated from each other.  If, however, it can be proven that a culture was prevalent in the Vág valley from late Roman times to the 6th century, then it can be supposed that their  numerous ancient remains were artifacts of a people who lived there before the appearance of the Germanic peoples.   Only after ruling out the existence of these and the Germanic peoples can we think about the possible appearance of a new group of people!

The artifacts themselves are silent.   Simply on the basis of the artifact itself, we cannot state that it is of Germanic, Slav or Avar origin.  The archeologists can only make a concrete connection with a people, when there are written documents that offer satisfactory proof. 

Until we systematically study the historical sources in Slovakia or in Central Europe, there will be no objective proof to connect the “Eperjes” or “Danube Valley” or other cultures to any particular people.  Furthermore, according to our present historical knowledge, based on the connections we have discovered so far -- and it is unlikely that suddenly new proofs will appear – there was no realistic possibility of the early appearance of a large number of Slavs inside the Carpathian Basin up until the time of the Avar Empire.

            We have to ask another question.  Why do such well-known Slovak archeologists as Anton Tocik – of whose integrity as a historian we are already convinced – accept facts which do not agree with historical sources, in order to try to prove the theory of the early appearance of the Slavs?

            The answer is simple:  the Slovak archeologists do not have at their disposal the complete, official historical sources of the Middle-Ages.  Historical documents about the people living in this territory, published to this date, give a distorted picture about the ratio of these inhabitants in the age of the peoples’ migration.  Even the most recent synthesis was unable to erase this distorted picture.  Such a distorted historical view influences the conclusions of the archeologists.  It is only in this way that the following sentence could have been included in the 1971 synthesis: “The year 568 marked the end of the temporary occupation of the Germanic tribes in the southwestern territory of Slovakia.”[25]  In actual fact, this “temporary” occupation lasted 547 years!  Out of these 547 years, the Lombards were there for 79 years, which exceeded by 18 years the time of the existence of the supposed Great Moravia![26]

            To prove the above statement from the point of view of the ratio of peoples on this territory we should examine the latest Slovak synthesis of 1971. (See Table I.)[27]

 From the table it is clear that the ratio is not realistic.  The Goths, Lombards and Huns lived in the Carpathian Basin during the same period of time and the Slovak historians have assigned them 0.2 – 2.6% of the total territory (an average of 1.4%).  They state that the land of Great Moravia covered 74.3% of the territory, while the Avar Kaganate, which existed for 237 years, covered only 2.1%.  During this same period, the Quadi were assigned only 18.9% of the total territory.  The Heruli and the Rugi were hardly mentioned.



Table I. The ratio of the settlement periods of the Huns, Avars, Germanic peoples and peoples of Great Moravia, compared to the 1971 historical synthesis


The people:     

The people of Great Moravia






The number of years they lived in this territory














Their presence in this territory expressed in %













In the 1971 synthesis, the Slavs presented their proposed %














The expected objection is that these peoples were not given equal value in Slovak history.  I do not wish to attack the veracity of this history, but the ratios presented and the connections do not support it.  The synthesis assigned 4.3% of the territory to the Huns, Lombards and Goths, whereas, according to the Slovak historians, the Slavs must have appeared in the same territory at this time.  In this context, the history of the Gepidae and the Heruli is equally important, since all these peoples were present in the Carpathian Basin at the same time.  The theory of the appearance of the Slavs stands or falls based on the veracity of the history of the Germanic peoples.  We can learn about the conditions surrounding the appearance of the Slav peoples if we conduct a detailed and complete research of the history of the Avars.  Without this, there can be no scientific statements, only acceptance based on feelings.

On the basis of these statements, I absolutely reject the accusations of Peter Ratkos that I am “anti-Slav” and “a scholar” in quotation marks.  He accuses me of this because I have expressed numerous objections, based on historical facts and on the expectations of some Slovak historians.

The facts that we know so far about the Germanic peoples and their history, mentioned briefly above close out the possibility that the Slavs appeared in large numbers before the Avars, or at the same time as the Avars in the Carpathian Basin.  After the Lombards moved out of the Carpathian Basin, we can accept that the Slavs entered the Czech and Moravian Basin in large numbers but not the Carpathian Basin. 







The hypothesis of the Slovak researchers, which we mentioned earlier, according to which the Slavs had already arrived in the Czech-, Moravian- and Carpathian Basin in the 4th. century necessarily implies that the Slavs’ first attempt at the formation of a state – the country of Samo – must have taken place in the territory of Czechoslovakia.[28]

The historian Fredegar Scholasticus, who was almost a contemporary of Samo, names him as the King of the Winidi.[29]  Unfortunately the Chronicle of Fredegar does not give any geographical information about the location of the country of Samo. The second source, which talks of the actions of the Frankish king Dagobert,  took its information from Fredegar,[30] therefore we can find nothing new in it.  The third and last source, in which Samo is mentioned, is the already noted memoir of the Bishop of Salzburg, the Conversio, from circa AD. 871.

            In this memoir, in contrast to the Chronicle of Fredegar, we can find an exact geographical description:  “In the time of the glorious King of the Franks, Dagobert, a Slav named Samo remained in Carinthia and became the leader of the people there.”[31]

To determine the veracity of the source, we should know that the establishment of the Bishopric of Salzburg took place 35-40 years after the death of Samo.  Samo ruled between 623 and 658.  Therefore, the information in Salzburg fell within recent memory.  Since the Seat of Salzburg sent missionaries to Carinthia between 748 and 784, it must have known the local history.  It must also have had knowledge of the local records prepared in the Salzburg Episcopal Chancellery.  The writer of the Conversio, which was prepared at the Salzburg Episcopal Chancellery, therefore must have known the authentic Carinthian records and those of the Bishopric.

Even so, Peter Ratkos, with two statements, wishes to discredit the Salzburg Memoir.  We shall examine these two statements separately:


1. Was Samo’s country a neighbor of Thuringia?


According to Peter Ratkos, in Chapter 68 of Volume IV of Fredegar, it is supposedly obvious that Samo’s country bordered on Thuringia.  In the indicated place, Fredegar speaks of the victory of Samo over the army of the Frankish king Dagobert in AD. 631.  In connection with this, he notes:  “After this the Winidi broke into Thuringia on several occasions and also into other provinces of the Frankish Kingdom.”[32]  Fredegar writes a similar text when he records the events of the year AD. 633.[33]

From the text quoted from Fredegar – whose exact translation we gave – it is not obvious that Thuringia and the country of Samo were neighbors.  All we can learn from this text is that the regiments of Samo devastated the provinces of the Frankish Kingdom and Thuringia on several occasions.   From the fact that Fredegar mentioned Thuringia separately we can assume that it was an independent country.  The Frankish King Dagobert was a weak ruler.  This is why Samo was able to oppose him.  The Thuringian princes also became independent of the Frankish rule at this time, but they were re-conquered during the rule of Charles Martel (720-741).  The mention of Thuringia then did not mean that it was a neighbor of Samo’s country, but that it was the object of the campaign of Samo’s army. 

For the purpose of comparison and – for better knowledge of the geographical background – we will mention other similar events.  For example, we read the following in the German Yearbook of Sangallen in the year AD. 901:  “The Magyars have again broken into Italy.”[34]  In the Altah Yearbook of the year AD. 911, it is noted: “The Magyars devastated France and Thuringia.”[35] On the basis of the information of these two chronicles, the second of which is identical to the statement of Fredegar, nobody has yet made the conclusion that the country of Árpád was the neighbor of Italy, France or Thuringia!



                                2.   What does the biography of  Bishop Saint Amandus prove?



Besides Fredegar, Peter Ratkos quotes from the work of Baudemundus, “The Life of Saint Amandus, the Bishop of Maastricht”, to try to prove that the greater part of the country of Samo was in the territory of Czechoslovakia.  According to him, this biography proves that, in AD. 630, the Slavs, whom the Bishop visited, were living in the territory north of the Danube, that is the upper part of the territory between Passau and Esztergom, which includes Slovakia (Felvidék).  The writer of the biography was the student of Saint Amandus, called Baudemundus, who wrote this biography around AD. 680.

Let us see then, what the biography states about the actions of Saint Amandus in AD. 630:  “. . . he heard that the Slavs, with their mistaken beliefs, were caught in the net of the devil and, in the hope that he would die as a martyr, he crossed the Danube, and traveled around the country, freely spreading the news of the Gospel of Christ to the pagans.”[36] 

The key to the understanding of the text: from where did St. Amandus, the bishop, start out, and in which direction did he cross the River Danube?  We can give a definite answer to both questions.  Saint Amandus was working in Belgium, in the territory of Maastricht and, as his biography says, he returned there because he was not successful in spreading the Gospel among the Slavs.  Taking into account that Belgium lies to the north of the Danube, Saint Amandus must have visited the Slavs living south of the Danube, since he crossed the Danube.  Since his missionary journey took place in AD. 630, he must have visited the country of Samo (623-658), which was south of the Danube.

Therefore, according to the proofs in the biography of Saint Amandus, the country of Samo was located south of the Danube.  Carinthia was located on both sides of the River Drava, from the source of the river to approximately the confluence with the Mura, that is in the territory between the Drava and Mura rivers – therefore south of the Danube. 

Consequently, Peter Ratkos’ supposed proof, which he quotes on two occasions – first referring to the writer Baudemundus, and secondly referring to the biography of Saint Amandus – actually proves the opposite of what he intended.  



3. The case of the Serb leader, Dervan


Peter Ratkos does not write about Dervan in particular but, in order to make things clear, we should mention him.  Based on Chapter 68 of Book IV. of Fredegar, the Czechoslovak researchers generally bring up the question of the former location of the “Empire” of Samo:  In the case of the Serb leader, Dervan, in connection with the year AD. 631, Fredegar states: “. . . Dervan, the leader of the Serb people – that is the Sklavin-Serbs, who belonged to the Frankish kingdom for many years – placed himself and his people at the disposal of the Kingdom of Samo. [37]  The afore-mentioned researchers take this quotation to mean that the Lausitz Serbs united with the “Empire” of Samo, which therefore belonged to the territory of Czechoslovakia because the former country of Lausitz was the neighbor of Czechoslovakia.

The correct explanation of the history of the Serb leader, Dervan, can be found in Chapter 32 of the work of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De Administrando Imperii: „It is well-known that the present Serbs originate from the non-Christian Serbs, who are also called White, and who live in the territory beyond Turkian (Hungary) . . . which is neighbor to the Frankish kingdom . . . therefore two brothers took over the Empire from their father, the one took half of the people and fled to Heracles, the Roman Empire, and Heracles welcomed him . . .[38]

Fredegar himself supports the veracity of Constantine’s report.  The migration of Dervan and his people to the country of Samo was uneventful.  Samo ruled Carinthia between 623 and 638.  Carinthia is was located between the territory of Lausitz and the present Serbia.  Therefore the migration route of Dervan and his people in a southerly direction, led across Carinthia.  According to Fredegar’s timeline, Dervan  arrived with his people in the country of Samo after the defeat of Dagobert in 631 at the Battle of Wogaztisburg.  Supposedly they remained only for one winter.  So Dervan must have reache the Balkans before 641 because the Byzantine Emperor Heracles, who ruled from 610 on, and who welcomed him, died in 641.

Dervan chose this route along the Avar-Bavarian border and though Carinthia because around 631, he felt it was more secure from attack from his former Frankish feudal lord and also from the Avars.  Before the arrival of Dervan, Samo defeated the Frankish king Dagobert, who had attacked Carinthia.  At that same time, there was a civil war in the Avar Kaganate between the Bolgars and the Kutrigurs.  Fredegar reports on the civil war in the Avar Kaganate in the year AD. 631.[39]  Therefore the temporary weakness of the Avar Kaganate was a fact, not my idea or my „serious mistake” as Peter Ratkos states.

            The Salzburg writings place the country of Samo in Carinthia.  The biography of the Belgian Bishop Saint Amandus agrees with this and states that it is located south of the Danube.   These two statements which are in agreement are also supported by the  case of the Serb leader, Dervan, who led his people from the northern White Serbia to their new home in the south.  Therefore the country of Samo could not have been located in the territory of Czechoslovakia. 






If the Slovak archeologists and historians hypothesize that the Slavs arrived in the Carpathian Basin in the 4th. and 5th centuries, then they must hypothesize that the Avars must have been continuously slavicized.  They doubt the existence of Avar artifacts from the 6th and the 8th centuries because very few Slav artifacts have been found from this period.

The theory that the Avars were slavicized goes back to the Age of Romanticism, when the Slovak national awakening took place.  At that time, it was generally accepted that the ancient populace of the Carpathian Basin were Slavs.  Since this theory was not supported by any written documents, they stated that the Slavs, living in the Carpathian Basin, must have been recognized by a different name.  Thus was born, in 1867, the Daco-Slav (Slovak) theory of continuity, which already belongs to the Slovak tradition.40

  Since the time of the Slovak national awakening, the dating of the arrival of the Slavs in the territory of Slovakia has varied from the first century BC. to the 4th and 5th centuries AD.  In the past half-century, the Slovak historiography has become more objective.  In spite of this, we cannot regard today’s position to be the final determination, especially since the early appearance of the Slavs in this territory – as we have proved in Point No. III. – is just a supposition, without any authentic supports. 

Even so, the well-publicized theory of the slavization of the Avars has become “dogma”, although the existence of the huge populace of Slavs in the Carpathian Basin has not yet been proven.   Our statements are justified by the changing terminology in this regard.  Those Slovak historians who wished to advocate the awakening of nationalism – although they instituted the theory of the slavization of the Avars – still spoke of Avars.  In the 1950’s, they used the terminology of Avar-Slavs and in the 1960’s, this changed to Slav-Avars.  This last term has become a de facto name in the eyes of the reader who does not know the facts, although the hypothesis has not yet been proven. 

In Section III., we named the most important contemporary written sources, which clearly prove that the Slavs began to settle in the Carpathian Basin in the Avar Kaganate but only in 796-805 did they settle in large numbers.  We are going to examine only the supposed coexistence of the Slavs and the Avars.



  1. Joannes Ephesinus writes of the Avars and the Slavs


Peter Ratkos objects that, in my study entitled „Az Ősi Nyitra”, I did not take into account the writings of Joannes Ephesinus about the Slavs.   He should know that this source, which I omitted to mention, talks of the invasion of the Slavs into the Balkans between AD. 578 and AD. 583 and their settlement in the eastern part of the Balkans.  In this regard, Niederle, Sasinek and others see, in one sentence of Joannes Ephesinus, the proof of the coexistence of the Slavs and the Avars.   This sentence, according to the translation of Peter Ratkos, is the following: “After the death of Justinius, the cursed tribes of the Slavs separately attacked him (Tiberius) again and again, as did those people with long, curly hair, who were called Avars.”41

Emperor Tiberius ruled between AD. 578 and AD. 582.  During the last three years of the reign of Justinius (575-578), he ruled instead of the sick Emperor.   At that time, the Avars had already been living in the Carpathian Basin for ten years and they were occupied with conquering the territory between the Rivers Dráva and Száva, which was called Sirmium. (582).  The Slavs, on the other hand, were progressing across the territory of Moldavia, on the eastern side of the Carpathians, toward the lower Danube, from where they broke into Byzantium and destroyed it and then settled in the territory of the present Bulgaria. 

Two attacks on Byzantium at the same time, from two different directions, cannot indicate the coexistence of the Slavs and the Avars.  The data from Priscos Rhetor and Menadros Protector support this statement. 


2. The Constant Hostility between the Slavs and the Avars


A long line of sources proves the opposite of the theory of the slavization of the Avars.  Because of lack of space, I will mention only two:


a.) The Chronicle of Fredegar writes about the connections between the Avars and Slavs.


Fredegar states that the Carinthian Slavs, up to the time of Samo (circa 623-630), paid taxes to the Avars.   Many Slav women became pregnant by the Avar tax-collectors.  When these Slav children grew up, they became the leaders of the uprising against the Avars and they joined the side of Samo.

From this note, two facts are apparent:  Such a mixture was just occasional, did not occur in large numbers and was not the result of continuous connections; therefore it cannot be a generalization.  Fredegar himself proves that these unions were not numerous, stating that the offspring became the leaders of the opposition.  These offspring did not intend to assimilate with the Avars but, on the contrary, they fought to erase any connections with them.   Therefore, Fredegar does not prove that the Avars and Slavs lived together peacefully but, on the contrary, proves that there was continuous hostility and hatred between the two peoples. 


b.)  The Yearbooks of the Frankish Kingdom write about the hostility between the Avars and the Slavs.



These yearbooks present proofs about the two and a half centuries of nonstop hostilities between the Avars and Slavs.


This is the reason that Teodor, the Avar Kagan -- as the above mentioned yearbooks note, about the year 805 – asked Charlemagne to give his people a new settlement place between the Danube and Rába rivers because he wanted to secure for them a peaceful existence and an escape from the oppression of the Slavs.42 

According to the same source, Charlemagne, in AD. 811 – that is well after the dissolution of the Avar Kaganate – was still forced to use military force to stop the  continual battles between the Avars and Slavs.43

Let us not forget the above quotation from the Conversio, that the Slavs were able to move into the territory of the Avars only after the dissolution of the Avar Kaganate.44  If the Avars had truly been slavicized, such events would not have taken place.  In the middle of the tenth century, Constantine Porphyrogenitus strongly stated: “In Croatia, there are Avars among the Croatians, who can be easily recognized.”45

The quoted sources – which could be easily supplemented – clearly prove that there is no basis for the theory that the Avars were slavicized!



  1. Constantine Porphyrogenitus writes of the Avars and Slavs.


Peter Ratkos quotes Chapter 29 of Constantine Porphyrogenitus’ work: De Administrando Imperii, in order to try to nullify my argument.  According to him, Constantine Porphyrogenitus proved indisputably that the Avars were slavicized.  Peter Ratkos  writes:  “Speaking of the name Avar, I should have mentioned the statement of Constantine Porphyrogenitus: ‘Sklavoi oi kai Avaroi’ – (Slavs, or Avars).”  Let us just see!   


a.) The accuracy of the quotation.


            The quotation is inaccurate on two counts.  First of all, the Greek text is a fragment and therefore cannot be understood grammatically.  In this quotation the grammatical statement is missing from ‘oi kai Abaroi’.  Secondly, the Greek quotation is not correctly spelled.  The correct transliteration of this segment is: “Skláboi oi kai Abaroi kalúmenoi . . .”.  Moravcsik’s translation of this segment, which Ratkos supposedly quotes is as follows:  “. . . the Slavs (beyond the river), who are also called Avars”.46   Ratkos understood this text to mean that the Slavs and Avars were identical. --  “Slavs or Avars”.  In this debate, it is surprising that Peter Ratkos did not correctly quote his own source, which actually agrees with the translation of Moravcsik, based on the original Greek.47 


b.) „Slavs, who are also called Avars”. 


We can clarify the accuracy of the above subtitle only if we mention that, in his work: De Administrando Imperii”, Constantine Porphyrogenitus names Dalmatia on three occasions but he presents the territory in question in two different ways.   First, in Chapter 29, he talks about the question of our debate.   It is from here that Ratkos’ incorrect quotation originates.  A second time, in Chapter 30 and for a third time in Chapter 31, he returns to this question.  The important points about the Avar-Slav connections are presented in Table 2.48

The account in the three chapters mentioned above, of the settlement of the Croatians and, in general, the slavization of Dalmatia, we have presented in the three columns of Table 2.  It immediately becomes obvious that there is a contradiction between the information in Chapter 29 and Chapter 30.  Chapter 31 does not deal with these events. 

Constantine recounts the history of Dalmatia from the time of Emperor Diocletianus (284-305) but he leaves some large gaps.  In the introduction to Chapter 29, he writes: “Emperor Diocletianus loved the territory of Dalmatia. . .”  and notes that, after Diocletianus stepped down from the throne, he lived out the rest of his life in the capital of Dalmatia, Spalato (Split) until his death in 313.  The report, in connection with Diocletianus, with the exception of Chapter 29, can only be understood after the comparison between the dates and events of the given facts. 





                                                Constantine Porphyrogenitus:  De Administrando Imperii

                                                Excerpts about the settlement of the Croatians in Dalmatia





Chapter 29


About Dalmatia and the neighboring peoples



Chapter 30


Report on the Province of Dalmatia


Chapter 31


About the Croatians and the land in which they are now living








Those who are interested in the settlement of Dalmatia will learn from the following account how the Sklavin people conquered it, but first I need to talk about the location of Dalmatia.




Emperor Diocletianus was very fond of the land of Dalmatia and therefore he settled whole families from Rome, who continued to be called Romans.




The Romans, whom Emperor Diocletianus brought here and settled here ( i.e. in Dalmatia) were called Romans because they moved from Rome to this territory.








Or this territory that is now called Croatia and Serbia.


The territory settled by these Romans extended as far as the Danube River.



That is, in the past, lengthwise, this territory extended to the Mountains of Istria and in width, it reached to the River Danube.









(From Szalona he sent out a legion of soldiers, yearly, to be border guards.) …They guarded the Danube River from the Avars who were living on the other side of the Danube, where now the nomad Turks are living.






And once, when they wanted to cross the river to find out who lived on the other side, they arrived at the other side to find the Sklavin people, who were unarmed and who were also called Avars.  These people did not know either that there was someone living on the other side of the river.





The Dalmatians, who went there every year, saw across the river animals and people.  One time they decided to cross the river to see who were those people who lived there.  Once they were across the river, they found the wives and children of the Avars.  The men and youths were away, fighting.  They took the wives and children prisoner.




(In the following text he writes of  „the Slavs who are also called Avars”) who, in order to prevent further looting, attacked the Roman guards, who were changed every year, and, changing into their clothes, they tricked the Dalmatians and captured their capital city, Salona.  



(„The Avars”)  realizing that the army of Salona had captured  their wives and children, tricked the next regiments who were coming again to rob them.  They defeated them and, wearing their clothes, they captured Salona.  




…They settled there and, from that time on, they slowly robbed Romans who were living in the meadows and in the higher territories.





And killing them, they took their land and occupied it. . .




… and from that time on, they occupied the entire territory of Dalmatia and settled there.








At that time, the Croatians lived beyond Bajivár, where the White Croatians are now living.


The Croatians, who are now living in Dalmatia, are the descendants of the non-Christian White Croatians.







But one clan broke away from them, five brothers, Klukász, Lovelosz, Koszéntzisz, Muchló and Chorvátosz and two sisters, Tuga and Buga and, with all their people, they marched to Dalmatia.





These Croatians came as fugitives to Emperor Heracles, even before the Serbs fled to ask refuge with Heracles.









And there they found the Avars, those who were the owners of the land.


At the time that the Avars chased the Romans from there, whom Diocletianus had settled there from Rome . . .  that is, at the time of Heracles, the Avars chased out the Romans and devastated their land. 




From the time of the rule of Emperor Heracles, as concerns his connection with the Croatians and Serbs, all the peoples in Dalmatia and the surrounding territory, like



After they had been fighting for several years against each other, the Croatians gained the upper hand and killed out a part of the Avars and subjugated the rest. 


So on the order of Emperor Heracles, these Croatians defeated and chased out the Avars from there . . .


the Croatians, Serbs, Zachluns, Terbuniota, Kamalita, Diocletians and Arentins, who are called pagans. . .( here the text is broken. The continuation  is obviously : settled.)


From that time on, that land came under the rule of the Croatians.


They settled in the land of the Avars, where they are living now.


As a result of the negligence and ignorance of the rulers of the Roman Empire,  especially under Stuttering Michael of Amorion, the Empire shrank, the populace of Dalmatia gained their independence and never again were under the rule of the Roman Emperor or anyone else.









But there are in Croatia some people who can be recognized as Avars.



From the text of Chapter 29, it is not clear whether this territory, which is mentioned in connection with Emperor Diocletianus, ( “extended as far as the River Danube”)  actually refers to the borders of Dalmatia or the general extent of the Roman Empire at the time of Diocletianus, or its later expansion to the territory of the Danube.   At the turn of the 3rd. and 4th. Centuries, Dalmatia was just a simple province and did not reach as far as the Danube.49

            On the contrary, Chapter 30 is much clearer in its explanation.  The Emperor, at the beginning of his report, makes it clear that he is talking about Dalmatia, in the time when the Avars began their attacks on Dalmatia.  At the end of the chapter, he talks about the appearance of the Croatians.50

Therefore, this deals with the decades preceding AD. 620.  There are plenty of sources at our disposal from the Byzantine administration and the military history to clarify the events that are described by Constantine Porphyrogenitus. 

There are numerous sources that give us a good picture of the administrative policies of this period.  Among them, the Secret History of Procopius stands out, in which we learn that, in AD. 535, when the Byzantine-Goth war broke out: „ . . . the Empire of the Goths extended from the land of the Gauls to the border of Dacia, where the city of Sirmium is located”.51 Justinianus I., in AD 535, passed a law, No. XI. and in AD. 545 another law, No. CXXXI, from which we learn that the land of the Dioecesis which belonged to the Prefecture of Illyria, comprised of the following provinces:   Dacia Mediterranea, Dacia Ripensis, Privalis, Dardania, Mysia Superior, Pannonia (Secunda),  as well as the other part of Pannonia, which was the territory of the Civitas Bacensis (later became the territory of the County of Bács and its surrounding territories.)  Heracles, in his note in AD. 535, described the same territory.

The Province of Dalmatia, which was not mentioned, was re-annexed to the Prefecture of Illyria by Narses in AD. 554.  This made possible the reunification of the Dioecesis Illyriae, which was divided up at the time of the peoples’ migrations.  Salona became its capital, of course, because the earlier capital was changed from Sirmium to Justinia Prima by Justinianus in AD. 535.52

Two provinces of the re-established diocese were located on the banks of the Danube.  One – Pannonia Secunda – was located at the confluence of the Dráva and Száva rivers.  The other – Moesia Superior – was located between Belgrade and the Iron-gate.  We must not forget that, in AD. 582, the Avars conquered Sirmium  and, in the following years, the Danube border between the Avar Kaganate and Byzantium was the territory of Moesia Superior on the banks of the Danube.  This was the cause of the struggles on this territory in the following years.53 

Chapters 29 and 30, from the point of view of the Hungarians, present a contradiction.  According to Chapter 29, the Dalmatians, who crossed to the other side of the Danube: „. . . found a Sklavin people there, who were also called Avars.” According to Chapter 30:  „ . . . They found only the wives and children of the Avars there”. 

We can solve this contradiction only with the help of other more detailed sources.  In this regard, we have two starting-points.  One is the description of the war events, of which Constantine Porphyrogenitus speaks.  The other is the examination of the question of who lived or who could have lived on the left bank of the Danube at the given time. 

The time frame that we are examining is very broad.  The starting-point is the settlement of the Avars in the Carpathian Basin in AD. 568.  The upper limit is the arrival of the Croatians in their Balkan settlement place in the 620’s.  The first one and a half decades of this time-frame need not be mentioned, because the Byzantine Emperor Tiberius II., in AD. 578, asked the help of his new neighbor, Baján, the Avar Kagan, to fight against the Slavs who, two years earlier, had broken into Thrace.  The Kagan supported Byzantium against the Slavs until AD. 584.  At that time, the Slavs of the Lower Danube region received some form of independence from the Avar Kagan.  This explains the change of allegiance of the Avar Kagan, who turned his back on his former ally and who, from AD. 584 on, began to support the Slav settlements in the Peloponessus.54




The end of the twenty-year long Persian War, in 591, gave Emperor Maurikios the opportunity to turn his armies, in 591-592, against the Avars and Slavs, living in the territory of the Danube.   Among his campaigns, there is one which is mentioned in Chapters 29 and 30.  According to these accounts, the Dalmatians crossed the Danube when the Avar men were away at war.  If we take into account the report in Chapter 29, the Slavs must have been there also. 

This event must have taken place at the time that the Avars were at war with the Thracians, in AD. 592 and the military campaigns which followed it, which are described in detail in the work of Theophylactus Simocatta.  From him, we learn that Maurikios used trickery and sent a lying message, with one of his bodyguards, to the victorious Avar Kagan.  According to this message, he had already sent his army on boats: „so that they would attack the families and capture all of them”.  This successful trick caused the Kagan to return home.55

Other events support this comparison.  Both Chapter 29 and 30 state that, after this, the Avars (according to Chapter 29, the Slavs who were also called Avars) overran the Byzantine guards on the banks of the Danube, then captured the capital city of Dalmatia.  The Avar Kagan, as Theophylactus Simocatta writes further on, really began his campaigns against Dalmatia and the Franks in AD. 595.  Theophanes also knew that the Kagan: „moved his army against Dalmatia and captured Balkés and forty surrounding cities, destroying some of them”.  So from these two discussions of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, we can learn about the military events of the years between AD. 591 and AD. 595. 56

We know definitely then that the Dioecesis Dalmatiae was located at the confluence of the Dráva and Száva rivers and the Avars had settled the territory of Singidunum (Belgrade), on the other side of the Danube, since AD. 568.  Before they arrived there, the Germanic Lombards and the Germanic Gepidae were living on both sides of the Tisza River.  Taking into account that, before the Avars, for more than a century Germanic elements lived in the Carpathian Basin, where the earlier Celts, Sarmatians and other peoples were still living, in spite of the statement in Chapter 29, there were no Slavs living in the territory on the other side of the Danube opposite Belgrade. 

Where then did those Slavs on the other side of the Danube really live, about whom  Chapter 29 makes reference, who really took part in the Avar War against the Thracians in AD. 592?  The Byzantine campaigns against the Slavs in AD. 593-594 make it possible to clarify this question.  According to Theophylactus Simocatta, in AD. 591, the Avar Kagan sent an envoy to the Slavs, living beside the Western Sea, with a view to making an alliance.  They refused the offer.  The movement of the Byzantine regiments along the Lower Danube proves that the Slavs, living between the Black Sea and the Eastern side of the Carpathian Mountains, accepted the invitation of the Avar Kagan and incurred the wrath of Byzantium.  In AD. 593, Priscos, the commander-in-chief of the army, attacked the Slav leader, Ardagostos, in his own territory on the far side of the Danube in Thrace.57

Consequently the author of the unknown work, which was used as a source for Chapter 29, combined the campaign of Maurikios in AD. 591 and the campaign of Priscos in AD. 593 into one account.  It is true that both campaigns from Byzantium were aimed at the other side of the Danube but the mistake was made because there were two different sections of the Danube in question.  The Avars were living in the Illyrian prefecture of Dioecesis Illyriae (Dalmatia), on the other side of the Danube border with Dacia.  The Slavs, on the other hand, were living on the other side opposite the Prefectura Orintis  Dioecesis Thraciae. 

Therefore the quotations from Constantine Porphyrogenitus, which Peter Ratkos holds in such high regard: „Slavs, who are also called Avars”, or the first variation of this: „. . . when they crossed, they found an unarmed Sklavin people there, who were also called Avars . . .” are based on mistakes and cannot be held credible because they are a later composition, which was added to Chapter 29 of the Emperor’s work: De Administrando Imperii.  This is obviously proven by the more credible Theophylactus Simocatta and partly by Theophanes who follows in his footsteps.  These quotations therefore cannot be used as proofs that the Slavs assimilated the Avars.

Moreso, because the Avar Kagan offered to share the booty with the Slavs, Priscos or rather his follower, Petros, attacked the Slavs of the Lower Danube, who depended on the goodwill of the Avars.  

In Chapter 30, Constantine reported the events accurately: „. . . crossing to the other side, they found only the wives and children of the Avars. . .”.  Peter Ratkos concerned with the question in Chapter 29, omitted this section of Chapter 30. Not only did he fail to mention it in the debate, but he also omitted it from his publication: Nagymorávia történetének forrásai. (The sources of the History of Great Moravia).  Unfortunately, the editors of the Magnae Moraviae Fonte Historici also omitted it.  The publishers of the two sources, with this omission, to a great extent contributed to the cover up of the contradictions in Chapters 29 and 30, so that a mistake later became propagated as truth.58


4.  About the cemetery at Dévényújfalu


Slovak researchers regard this cemetery as the most important proof of the Avar-Slav co-existence.   They excavated 902 graves, 27 of which were cremations.  In 1952, Jan Eisner made a detailed report about these excavations.59  Peter Ratkos states that I do not take into account the conclusions of Eisner and others.  Unfortunately, the excavations do not offer as strong enough proofs as Peter Ratkos would like.

Many problems arise from Eisner’s report.  Sarolta B. Szatmári revealed these problems when she analyzed Eisner’s report in 1968.60

In connection with Eisner’s report, Sarolta B. Szatmári makes the following observations, among others:  „Eisner’s publication made it difficult to clarify the findings because, in his report of the graves, he describes many objects whose identification is unclear, and there are no drawings of the graves. Often, he mentions the same artifact in two different graves. In many cases, there are no pictures of an important object, just a brief note or slight mention.  The greatest surprise was that the map was not detailed enough.  A large percentage of the detailed descriptions of the graves, which were mentioned on the tables, were missing from the map.  This is unfortunate because several rich graves, in which horses were buried along with their master, and rich women’s graves are among those that are missing.  There were 9 graves with Bjelobrod characteristics, but only 6 appeared on the map . . . and the 96 graves that are mentioned cannot be located on the map.  This is very unfortunate, because these graves could have given enough definite proofs.”61

            Sarolta B. Szatmári points out several areas where Eisner’s statements are problematic.

1.      Eisner presents every object individually and does not examine the cemetery as a whole, as a perspective of a society.

2.      Eisner’s dating (625-800) is too general and does not reflect the rate of burials, yet the majority of the graves originate from the ninth century.

3.      Eisner does not use certain criteria to determine the ethnic characteristics of the cemetery.   The credibility of Eisner’s opinion, which states that this place was the defense-center of the Slavs against the Avars, is undermined by the fact that the cemetery ceased to be used at the time that the Slavs began to flourish.

4.      The dating of the cremation graves is also doubtful.  Therefore Eisner’s excavation of the cemetery at Dévényújfalu, in spite of the written sources, does not provide support for the slavization of the Avars.  In written reports of the excavations, one can sense the preconceived theory of the early appearance of the Slavs in large numbers in this region, which the researchers wished to prove with the help of archeology.



5. About the burial customs of the Slavs and Avars



            The considerably small number of cremation burials, which are accompanied by Prague ceramics, appears to disprove the theory of the appearance of the Slavs in large numbers in the Carpathian Basin from the 6th to the 9th centuries.  In spite of the extensive archeological research of the Avar period, archeologists have found only a few such graves on the perimeter of the Avar settlements.  (See Table No. 3.)

Table No. 3.



The most important cemeteries of the Avar Culture in Slovakia in the 6th and 9th centuries.  An examination of the numbers of skeletal and cremation graves.



The characteristics of the excavated graves 

The location of the cemetery 

     Number of excavated graves  

Number of skeletal graves

Number of cremation graves

% percentage of graves

1.        Dévényújfalu

(Dev. Nová Ves)





2.        Pozsonybeszterce

       (Záhor. Bystrica)





3.        Gellér






4.        Párkány






5.        Érsekújvár

       (Nové Zámky)





6.        Zsitvatető

(Zitavská Ton)





7.        Perse






8.        Zsély






9.        Bárca






       10. Kassamindszent        









4 113


4 069






The data are so unequivocal that we can state that, in the Slovak part of the Carpathian Basin (but it is similar in the entire territory of the Basin) an agricultural  people was living, who practiced skeletal burials.  At the perimeter of their settlements (such as Dévényújfalu and Kassa) there was a very small number (between 0.3% and 5.2%) of people who practiced cremation burials. 

Which people had that large number of skeletal burials?  The historical sources are unanimous in their answer: the Avars who ruled the Carpathian Basin from 567 to 796/805.  And which people practiced cremation?  In my study: „Az ősi Nyitra” on pages 125-128,  I have quoted many sources that state they were without a doubt the Slavs. 

Because the historical and archeological data agree, they cast a crushing blow on the theory of the early arrival of the Slavs in the Carpathian Basin, before the time of the Avars.  Therefore the Slavs needed to develop the theory of the Avar-Slav or, as is more popular today, the Slav-Avar co-existence, in order to cover-up the fact of the lack of cremation graves and, without any proof or sources, they propagate the theory that the large number of skeletal burials belonged to the slavicized Avars. 

In the skeletal graves, from time to time, small typological differences can be found and traces of the cultures who lived there previously.  This can easily be explained by the diversity of the Avar people and the presence in this territory of the earlier Germanic peoples (Gepidae, Ostrogoths, Lombards, etc.),  as I have written in my book: „Az ősi Nyitra”.

Peter Ratkos tries to destroy the credibility of the Arab sources, which state that the Slavs practiced cremation burials, because their statements would disprove the early appearance of the Slavs in the Carpathian Basin in large numbers.  There is no doubt that, in the translation of the Arab sources, there might have been some small, even major errors.  However, we cannot accept that the translators would have written „cremation burials” in place of „skeletal burials”.  I do not know for example, that the sentence: „They burned their dead on fires” could be misunderstood as much as Peter Ratkos suggests.  Moreover, I must mention that the sources that I named are identical to the Slovak text, and even Peter Ratkos in his own publication mentions them as sources.62   Maybe Peter Ratkos, with a bad translation, intended to help me!

Peter Ratkos suggests that the disappearance of the Slav custom of cremation was due to the spread of Christianity.  His reasoning is correct in theory but his dating is erroneous!  The cemeteries which were examined are from the 6th to the 8th centuries. The conversion of the Slavs to Christianity, however, took place after the dissolution of the Avar Kaganate, many years later.   The diocese of Passau began to christianize the Slavs north of the Danube in the Moravian Basin and the Avars in the Carpathian Basin, only after AD. 796.   The Diocese of Salzburg’s supposed conversion of the Slovak (Nyitra) territory began well after the dissolution of the Avar Kaganate.  The earliest it could have begun would have been around AD. 830, if indeed it took place.63 

The Archbishop of Aquilea began to be interested in the Slavs living south of the Drava only in AD. 811.  Byzantium never christianized the Avars, at least not obviously.  Peter Ratkos’ objection is the result of his confusion about the dates!

His hostility is obvious when he states that the dating of the appearance of the Slavs in the Carpathian Basin in large numbers, after the dissolution of the Avar Kaganate, was ultimately propagated by the Germans at the time of World War II.  In the meantime, he forgets that the present historiography recognizes that, contrary to the view of Slovak researchers, all Southern Slav, German and Hungarian researchers are of the opinion that the appearance of the Slavs in the Carpathian Basin cannot be placed before the appearance of the Avars, but only decades after the Avars had lost their power, at the time that the Slavs spread their rule over the Balkans.64    The reader can obviously understand that Peter Ratkos is trying to cover up his omissions. 

Peter Ratkos’ reference to Engels is also faulty.  He states that, according to Engels, the conquering barbarians must adopt the more advanced culture of the conquered peoples.  According to Peter Ratkos, this is what happened in the Carpathian Basin:  The „barbarian” Avars conquered the Slavs but the Slavs took over the culture of the Avars.  If the unanimous conclusions of the contemporary sources, together with the results of the archeological excavations were unable to convince him of the actual reality, then he should have thought about the statement of Engels, which he, himself quoted!




The theory of the assimilation of the Avars, who had skeletal burial customs, by the Slavs, who had cremation burial customs, in the 6th to the 8th centuries and the discovery of the small number of Slav cremation burials, which were brought to light by the archeologists, has forced the representatives of the assimilation theory into the position of finding a way to explain their theory.  They should present basic indisputable proofs to support the assimilation theory.  I mention just a few as examples:

1.                       They need to prove the appearance of large numbers of Slavs in the Carpathian Basin before the Avars.

2.                       They need to prove that the Slavs lived there in greater numbers than the Avars.

3.                       They need to explain why the Slav cremation burial customs were, all of a sudden, discontinued at the time of the appearance of the Avars in the Carpathian Basin and why the other western Slav peoples did not have this custom.


Those who propagate the early appearance of the Slavs in the Carpathian Basin cannot give a convincing answer to these questions.  Their statements contradict contemporary sources in every point.  Their expectations to this day are none other than unproven theories.

On the contrary, there are contemporary sources and archeological excavations, which draw a picture upon which all agree:  the appearance of the Slavs in large numbers in the Carpathian Basin began after the fall of the Avar Kaganate.  During the time of the Avar Kaganate, the Slavs existed in small numbers only on the periphery – 0.3—5.2% .






                After the final dissolution of the Avar Kaganate in AD. 805, Charlemagne, at the request of the already Christian Avar Kagan, Teodor, established the Avar Province in the Frankish Empire, in the newly occupied territory between Carnuntum (Deutsch-Altenburg) and Sabaria (Szombathely).  Many contemporary credible sources prove its establishment and continued existence:


“Capcanus princeps Hunnorum Aquis ad imperatorem venit et, ut postulavit, inter Sabariam et Carnuntum habitandi locum accepit, … erat anim christianus nomine Theodorus” „The Kagan, the prince of the Avars, went to the Emperor in Aachen and, as he requested, he received the territory between Sabaria and Carnuntum, . . . he was Christian and his name was Teodor.”  (Annales Fuldenses ad A. 805.: Annal. Regni Francorum 795. 805 Annal. Maximiniani etc. Cf. MMFH. I. 87, 40, 92, 63).



Sept. 25.  The descendant of Teodor, the Avar Kagan, became Christian on the banks of the River Fischa and he received the name: Abraham.  (Annal. S. Emmerammi Ratisp. Maiores ad. A. 805).


805. Sept. 25. and after: “…Et misit caganus unum de optimatibus suis, petens sibi honorem antiquum, quem caganus apud Hunnos habere solebat. Cuius precibus imperator assensum prebuit et summam totius regni iuxta priscum eorum ritum caganum habere praecepit”. – “And the Kagan sent one of his highest ranking men, asking for the ancient honor which belonged to the Kagan.  The Emperor accepted his request and ordered that the Kagan reign over his whole kingdom according to ancient custom.”  -- Therefore Charlemagne gave to the Province of the Avars between Sabaria and Carnuntum, the title of Kingdom.  (Annales Regni Francorum ad A. 805. MMFH. I. 43.)


811. “…fuerunt etim Aquis adventum eius expectantes, qui de Pannonia venerunt, Canizauci princeps Avarum, et tudun et alii primores ac duces Sclavorum circa Danubium habitantium”.--  “There were those in Aachen, who had come from Pannonia, who were awaiting his arrival (i.e. Charlemagne): Canizauci, the Prince of the Avars, the Tudun and the Slavs who were living around the Danube, with some of their leaders. . . „.


811. Nov. 16.  “…in Avaria…” – In Avaria, in Charlemagne’s document in Aachen. (MGH. Dipl. Ludwig d. D. No. 1., MMFH. III. 27.).


822. At the Meeting of the Empire in Frankfurt, where the eastern parts of the empire discussed business, arrived  „. . . in Pannonia residentium Abarum legationes . . .”  „the envoys of the Avars living in Pannonia.”   (Annal. Regni. Francorum ad A. 822., MMFH. I. 50).


830. Oct. 6.:  „. . . terra Avarorum . . .” and then: „. . .in ipsa marcha . . .” – „the land of the Avars” then „in that province”.  Ludwig the German, the Bavarian king, in his document in Regensburg  (MGH. Dipl. Ludwig d. D. No. 1., MMFH. III.27)


832. Oct. 6. “…in Provincia Avarorum…” „In the province of the Avars …” Ludwig the German, in his document in Regensburg (MGH. Dipl. Ludwig d.D. No. 8. MMFH. 30.)


833. March. 4. “…in provincia Avarorum…” Ludwig the German, in his document in Osterhofen (MGH. Dip. Ludwig d. D. No. 9., MMFH. III.32.).


836. Feb. 16: “…in Provincia Avarorum…” Ludwig the German, in his document in Osterhofen (MGH. Dipl. Ludwig d.D. No.18., MMFH. III. 34).


843. The Treaty of Verdun also mentions the Avars who live in the Empire.


860. May 8. “…Vuangariorum Marcha…” – “The province of the Wangars”. Ludwig the German, in his donation letter in Regensburg. The name of the territory, which lies between Sabaria and the River Répce, contains the name of a mountain which marks the border:  “…et inde uwaue in summitatem illius montis, qui dicitur Vuangariorum Marcha…” – “and from here up to the peak of the mountain which is called the province of the Wangars.”  This is the only source which calls the Avars by the deep vowel sound of the Magyar name, Venger.65


867. The apostle of the Slavs, Saint Constantine, in his speech in Venice, in defence of the Old Slav script, among others mentioned the Avars as a contemporary people who used their own national script.  Since he stated that they used their script to praise God, we can rightfully regard this source as proof of the writing culture of the Christian Avars. (Cf. Point No. 6. below.)


871. “…Eos (sc. Avaros) autem, qui obediebant fidei et baptismum sunt consecuti, tributarios fecerunt regum, et terram quam possident residui adhu pro tributo retinent regis usque in hodiernum diem.” – “Those (i.e. the Avars), as soon as they showed themselves willing to accept Christianity and were converted, were taxed by the king and the land, which the remaining Avars possessed, they continued to own to the present day, although they paid taxes to the king.”  – (Conversio… Cap.3. MMFH. III. 298).


The existence of the Christian Avar province, as an administrative and political unit is unequivocally proven by the authentic documents and other contemporary notes between AD. 805 and AD. 871.   The ecclesiastical organization of the province however, of which we will talk in detail in Point number 4 below, which the Bishops of Passau administered, is mentioned in the contemporary documents between AD. 833 and AD. 904.  This means that the ecclesiastical organization of the Avar province existed, even lasted beyond the Magyar homecoming in Dunántúl in AD. 900.66





1. The Territory of the Avar Province


At the request of Teodor the Avar Kagan, Charlemagne designated the territory between Carnuntum and Sabaria as the settlement place of the Avars.  The natural geographical borders of this territory were in the North, then the East, the Danube, in the South, the Rába River and in the West, the Vienna Woods.  According to ancient data and data from the Middle Ages, as was determined in 1968 and 1970, the main channel of the Danube was in the territory of the present Kis-Duna (Little Danube) or Fekete-víz (Black Water).67  The Avar Province extended to the territory of Csallóköz and, beside that, comprised of the territories of Tóköz, Rábaköz, Hanság, Fertővidék and Nagyerdő.

Peter Ratkos, disregarding the data from the ancient sources and those of the Middle Ages, states that the main channel of the Danube was always in its present location, and therefore Csallóköz and naturally Pozsonypüspöki did not belong to the Avar chorepiscopus.

The question as to whether Csallóköz belonged to the Avar Province or not depends on the location of the main channel of the Danube.  The first record about the flow of the Danube can be found in the Geographia of Ptolemy.  From this source we know that, in the first half of the second century, after the confluence with the Morva River, the Danube turned toward the North then, at Anduaito, in the territory between the confluence of the  Rivers Dudvág and Vág, it turned south.  The River Rába flowed into the Danube at Brigetio.    This data from Ptolemy is supported by the 13th century document, which is a map of the rivers.  The relocation of the main channel of the Danube therefore must have taken place after this time.  The ancient maps of the rivers of Csallóköz and the documentation would require at least two enormous volumes.   Therefore, we will just examine one of the many examples from the Middle Ages.  The note in ”Hajosuth”, in 1399,  states that the main channel of the Danube was beside Csallóközkürt, therefore in the channel of the present Kis Duna (Little Danube).68

A judgment from the Pozsony County Court of Justice in 1790 saves us from a long line of such presentations.  This judgment unequivocally dates the relocation of the main channel of the Danube to its present location to the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries.  The millers of Püspöki brought the suit.  Their water-mills had been in the present channel of the Danube since ancient times, and: „after the time that the Danube was deterred and the branch at Érsekújvár was made no longer navigable and the boats began to use the main channel of the Danube. . .” the boats often damaged their water-mills.  The judge ruled in favor of the millers of Püspöki.69  Therefore the County Court in 1790 strongly noted that the Danube was relocated from the Ersekújvári Branch to the present main channel in the 18th century.

Such a clear judgment and decisive fact unequivocally proves that Peter Ratkos’ statement, about where Csallököz belonged in the 9th century, is arbitrary and erroneous.  



                                       2. About the place names: Várkony and Vereknye


            In his irrational stance on where Csalloköz belonged, Peter Ratkos is forced to ignore the name Varchun for the Avars and the possibility of its connection with the place names Várkony and Vereknye.  Although, from the point of view of historical linguistics, the connection between these two names is quite clear, he again applies his method of denying that there is any basis for this connection.

            In the case of the name Vereknye, he tried to give an explanation with the help of the Slav word brekyna.  He does this without mentioning the research of the well-known Slovak linguist, Jan Stanislav, who offers an entirely different etymological explanation.   Stanislav, from the point of view of historical linguistics, traces the name Vereknye back to his own hypothetical Old Slav word * vrakuna (meaning : lying, gossiping old woman or sorceress who casts spells).70  

            Why is it worth noting the attempt of Stanislav, which Ratkos rejects by ignoring it?  Because Stanislav, with his long experience in the study of names (onomatology), sensed that, behind the Hungarian name Vereknye and the German name Wraken(dorf), there must have been an ancient name from which both these names originated and to which they can be traced on the basis of linguistic laws.  

            Stanislav’s methods were correct.  He did not trace the names back to the name Varchun because, on the one hand, he did not know anything about the Avar history, since there was no written history of the Avars; on the other hand, he wanted to trace the name Vereknye to a Slavic source.    The name Varchun, as the name of a people, has been proven to have existed on that territory and at that time,.  On the contrary, the hypothetical vrakun is a construction of Stanislav, which he created from the existing Slovak dialect word vracat, which means to cast a spell, and the Russian word vrakat, which means to gossip.   In the case of both theories, it is clear that it is more logical that the Avar province which existed in this territory was called Varchun, rather than a hypothetical, unproven, artificial name.  

In the case of Peter Ratkos’ word brekyna, it is still a possibility that this might be a borrowing of the Magyar word berkenye (Mountain Ash or Rowanberry). (The word berkenye in Slovak is skorusa.)  Apart from the origin of the word, the word berkenye is an existing Hungarian word.   It is just for this reason that it is difficult to understand why the word berkenye, understandable in a Hungarian neighborhood, would have changed to Vereknye, which has no meaning, not to mention other problems. 



                                                                   3. Who was Isaias Kagan?

(Erroneous reading of the name – Canizauci)



            During the examination of the afore-mentioned place-names, another problem of onomatology arose, in connection with the name of the Avar Kagan, Isaias.  According to Peter Ratkos, this kagan is my invention.  He forgets that in the Yearbook of the Frankish Kingdom, of AD. 811, there is a distortion of the name Canizauci, which I mentioned in the introduction to Part V. in my original text above.

            To the best of my knowledge, the only people to write about this name before me were Franz Kurze and Ernst Dümmler.  Kurze does not regard the name Canizauci as a personal name.  However, Dümmler divides this name into two parts, stating that the káz was a title and the personal name was Isau.   Up till now it has been believed that Izauci hides the forms Izau (Isau) Jezau (Jesau) or Ezsau (Esau).71 

            In my opinion, the reading of the name Ezsau is not adequate because they ignore the last letters of the name – ci or usi.    This suffix on its own has no meaning.  It is reasonable to ask whether there is a question of a deterioration of the text here.  This supposition is supported by the Chronicle of Ragino, who took this name out of a contemporary copy of the Yearbook of the Frankish Kingdom – the manuscript No. 3 or No. 11851 of the Codex Parisinus, in which the name Canizave appears in place of the name Canizauci.  The form of the name in the original yearbook therefore caused the mistake. 

The original yearbook has not remained for us to examine.  All we can know for sure is that it was prepared in a Merovingian, Lombard (Montecassino) or Carolingian semi-uncial script.  It is notable that in all three scripts, the letter „a”, was written with two characters similar to our letter „c” and the Greek letter „ ı” or iota

The letter „a” was formed from the above-mentioned c+ı which were usually joined together at the bottom and in a foreign sounding name could easily have become ci.  We have to note that, at that time there was not yet a dot on the letter „i”.  The confusion of this letter with the ci was prevented by the meaning of the word – e.g. principem, Cicero etc.  Since the scribe who was copying this name, which was unfamiliar to him, he could easily have made this mistake.  The name Canizaiia  did not reveal to the Latin-thinking scribe that it hid the name Izaias.   This name has remained in the form Isaija in the Russian language.  Since the name Izaiia – Izaias solves all the problems of the problematic name and we can recognize this form Izaias in other sources, we have to come to the conclusion that the name of the third Kagan of the Avar Province, Canizauci, must be understood to be Izaias. 

Therefore, with his objection, Peter Ratkos made a double error.  First of all, he made the unfounded accusation that I fabricated names and secondly, in spite of the accuracy of given sources, he had no idea that the contemporary notes preserved the name Izaias in the form of Canizauci.   It is a fact that the reading of the name Izaias is my interpretation but, just because of that, it cannot be regarded as a fabricated name but rather as decipherment. 


4. The well-known chorepiscopatus of the Avar Province



Peter Ratkos calls the chorepiscopatus (diocese) of the Avar Province just a theory.  He presents to the reader that Bishop Pilgrim of Passau (971-991) held the document of Pope Eugene II. (824-827) to be a forgery and that I dared to base all my statements about the working diocese of the Avar Province on this document.

He ignores the fact that, apart from one doubtful document in the name of Pope Eugene II., there were two contemporary credible documents sent out from the Assistant Bishop Anno the senior, in the name of the Bishop of Passau, in the Avar Province, which give indisputable proofs:    

1.                        There is the document dated March 4, 833 at Osterhofen, from which we learn that Reginarius, the Bishop of Passau, received a property on consignment from Ludwig the German in the a place called Litaha, above the spring of Sconibrunno (Schőnbrunn) in the Avar Province.  He could not occupy this property until after the death of Assistant Bishop Anno and his cousin, the other Anno.72

2.                        Again in Osterhofen, three years later, there is a document, which indicates that on February 16, 836, Ludwig the German gave another property to Assistant Bishop Anno.  This one was next to the former property of Litaha (in the east), a place called Kirchbach with about one hundred dwellings.73  We shall talk of the location of the two possessions in Point No. 5 which follows. 

Therefore, it is without a doubt that Assistant Bishop Anno the Elder was the acting Assistant Bishop of the Avar Province in the first half of the 9th century.  The other, or Anno the Younger, was identical to that Anno, who was the Bishop of Freising between 854 and 875. 

Following Anno, in the territory of the Avar Province, we meet Assistant Bishop Albericus.  He also received, as a gift from Ludwig the German, ten dwellings in Ostermieting, on September 24, 859.74

From a letter of Bishop Burchardus of Passau, dated September 8, 904, we learn that the Assistant Bishop Madalwin gave all his former possessions to the Bishop, from whom he received new property behind the Comagenus Mountain, that is east of the Vienna Woods, in the Avar Province.75  The Diocese of Passau sent a representative of the rank of bishop to Pannonia, that is the former Avar Province, which the Magyars occupied in AD. 900!

Therefore, on the basis of contemporary official documents, we learn that, between 833 and 904 there were three assistant bishops in the territory of the Avar Province.  Peter Ratkos’ objection, even if we disregard his purposeful intention, is undoubtedly equal to a denial of the facts. 



                                5. Where was the seat of the chorepiscopus of the Avar province?

 (Kirchbach /Vetvár – Pozsonypüspöki.)



I answered this question ten years ago.  Taking into account the documents mentioned above in Point No. 4, from the years 833 and 836 and on the basis of the location of the main channel of the Danube, I came to the conclusion that the seat of Chorepiscopus (Assistant Bishop) Anno and his descendants was Pozsonypüspöki in Csallóköz.  At the time of the Avar Province, this place was called Kirchbach in German, the Avars however supposedly called it Vetvár.76  I have not changed the opinion I stated ten years ago. 

Peter Ratkos calls my opinion about the seat of the Avar Assistant Bishops „erroneous”.  In spite of his statement, he cannot disprove the facts that are found in the maps of the River Danube, which are important key points to answer this question.  Now in this question, as to whether the seat of the Avar Assistant Bishops was in the territory of Püspöki or not, the decisive factor is the location of the main channel of the Danube at that time, as I already explained in Point No. 1. 

Since I wrote the history of Püspöki, many new facts have come to light, which further support the theory that Kirchbach/Vetvár and Püspöki were identical.  The ecclesiastical and secular organizations willingly settled on the Roman ruins, where they had easy access to building materials.  Among the many possibilities, I mention just one – the establishment of the Diocese of Salzburg.  The founder of the Diocese of Salzburg was Hrodbert, the Bishop of Worms, who received the following information, that in the location of Salzburg „. . . in ancient times, there were wonderful buildings, surrounded by forests, which in his time were half-ruined”77 and it was for this reason that he founded the new Diocese on this spot.

We demonstrated the existence of the Roman settlement in the territory that was  later called Pozsonypüspöki, already in 1968, at the time of the writing of the history of this market town.  Since the publication of this monograph, another very important artifact proves this – the print of  a military seal which was discovered in 1970.  The text of the seal is : “…Cohors II. Italicorum Voluntariorum” which means „. . . the second cohort of Italian volunteers”.  This artifact definitively proves the existence of a settlement from Roman times in the location of Püspöki because the text on the seal“Cohors II. Italicorum Voluntariorum” excludes the possibility that it could have been brought at a later date. 

No such seal has been found in the neighboring Gerulata or in the territory of Carnuntum, the capital of Pannonia Prima.  The notes about this border territory and this military honor also mention this „Notitia dignitatum”.    According to the „Notitia” apart from the route between Carnuntum and Brigetio, which crossed Arrabona (Győr), there was another route, which passed close to the border in the north and on which there were two army bases, in Carabensis and Arelatis.  One of them can be identified with Püspöki in Csallóköz, the other with the Ekecs region, also in Csallóköz.  The question of these bases from the Roman times on the border of Püspöki, is clarified by the settlement of the Assistant bishop sent to the Avars.

I chose the traditional way to prove that Kirchbach-Vetvár, the seat of the Assistant Bishop, was identical to Püspöki.  In this way, the connections are much clearer.  Ten years ago, I just used the demands of Pilgrim, the Bishop of Passau, to prove the location of the seat of the Assistant Bishop.  Then I used the work of Bishop Madalwin – who was still in the former Avar Province, four years after the Homecoming of 896 – and who was a living witness, who was the representative of the Church at that time.  So there is a strong possibility that the Esztergom Diocese was established, around the year 1000, and rightfully inherited this large territory. 

Peter Ratkos also tries to mislead the reader by mentioning that the first time the name Püspöki appeared in written notes was in 1262.  He states that the place names ending in –i were established only in the 13th century.  In this question, Peter Ratkos follows the outdated opinions of István Kniezsa.  Obviously, he avoided taking into account the opinions of Gyula Kristo, who presented new facts in his critical study, on the basis of which we can place the formation of place names ending in –i at the end of the tenth century.78  

The most important key point in the identification of Kirchbach and Püspöki is the location of the property of Teodericus in 833.  In the determination of its location, most researchers are in agreement, even Peter Ratkos.  This property is located between Götzendorf and Gattendorf (neighboring Püspöki on the western edge of Oroszvár) between the Danube and the Lajta Rivers.79

According to the document of AD. 836, Kirchbach lay to the east of the property of Teodericus and extended as far as the burial mounds.  Within this territory, there was a stone church.  The donated possessions extended from here toward the property of Teodericus, then alongside this, stretched as far as Cumenberg or the Vienna Woods.  In connection with the location of Kirchbach, we stand by our statements on page 54-55 of the history of the market town of Püspöki.  We can even enrich them with another two positive statements:

Firstly, Magda Pichlerová, in 1969, in her archeological report about the burial mounds mentioned in the document, finally clarified the question.  Contrary to local opinion, the burial mounds, located in the territory of Misérdi, were used for burials as early as the early Iron Age and the most important of them were located in the territory east of the Alps.  These burial mounds, even when they were excavated were very striking80 therefore they can be accepted as being from the 9th century and they offer certain geographical support. 

Secondly, the document of AD. 836, revised in the 10th century, mentions a hundred dwellings as a donation.  If we accept that, in the 10th century, a village comprised of three to six houses, then in this number, we must have 15-33 groups of houses, that is villages.  Today, it would not be easy to demonstrate this number of villages on the territory in question, so we can definitely assume that there was a larger population at that time.  Considering all of the proofs, the probability that Kirchbach-Vetvár and Pozsonypüspöki were identical has not diminished in the past ten years but has definitely increased. 




                                                       6. Were the Avar people literate?



Zitije Konstantina (ZK), the biographer of Saint Constantine, one of the apostles of the Slavs, preserved for us the speech of Constantine-Cyril in defense of the Old Slav script, in Venice, which makes a definite reference to the script of the Avars. Peter Ratkos would rather discredit the authenticity of ZK than to admit that the Avars were literate people.

This question cannot be resolved with a simple statement, as Peter Ratkos tries to do.  All the Slavic historians, except for Peter Ratkos, accept ZK as a first-class source.  In order to ascertain the credibility of this source, we need to know when the work was written, who wrote it, from where the information came and when the debate in Venice took place.  Only after we have answered these questions, can we ascertain the credibility of the quotation.  It is true that the Slavicists have positively clarified this question well before us, but obviously Ratkos has forgotten this.

The date of ZK’s study is obvious from the text.  The writer of the biography calls himself a student of Bishop Method.  (Method was Bishop from 869 on.)  The biography reflects the zenith of the Slav missionary activity, therefore it must have been written during Method’s lifetime, before his disciples were persecuted, that is between 869 and 885.

In Chapter X., ZK also states that Constantine wrote his Kazar debates on the basis of his own book, which his brother, Method, translated into the Old Slav language.  Therefore the biographer based his writing on credible original sources.

Taking into account that one of the main goals of the biography, with which the Slavic researchers agree, was to prove the ideological justification and legitimacy of the Old Slav script, we may not state that the Avar script, mentioned in that important segment, is a false assertation.81  This theme, which is the subject of the debate in Venice in 867, is addressed by ZK in Chapter XVI.   There we read about the Avars’ national script. 82

The defense of the legitimacy of the Slav script was the most important goal of Constantine’s journey to Rome.  On his way, he stopped in Venice.  The facts in Chapter XVI. of ZK’s biography prove that Constantine, apart from the list which he mentioned, added 14 Biblical names.   These notes were necessary to teach his disciples about the importance of the defense of the Old Slav script, which suffered opposition from the people in his homeland.  However, if the writer of the biography used sources, which were of lesser importance from the point of view of the Slav national interest, in the Kazar debate, here, in this first-class debate, he had to use more credible sources.  The mention of the Avar national script is based on Constantine’s notes or the translation of them. 

The mention of the Avar national script would not lose its credibility, even if we were to suppose that the whole speech were just fabricated.  Among the contemporary data that prove the existence of the Avar Province, it has been mentioned that, in 871, the province which Charlemagne designated for them, was still in existence.  The Assistant Bishop Albericus lived there in 859.  The date of the reference to the Avar national script in Venice, was in 867.  Peter Ratkos’ statement, according to which the work of ZK, was written much later than the dissolution of the Avar Kaganate, cannot be understood because he does not talk of the Avar Kaganate but rather of the Avar Province of the Frankish Empire.  At the time of ZK’s writing, as we can see, the Avar Province still existed and within it lived the Avar Assistant Bishop.  Constantine, therefore, in Venice, referred to the Avars of the Avar Province, which existed at his time -- which, if it was the possession of Pribina in Zalavár, he was very familiar with -- not those of the Avar Kaganate which had disappeared long before.

Such an argument for why we are not familiar with the Avar script has no basis.  I explained the reason for this in my study: “A magyar rovásírás eredetéről” (The origin of the Hungarian Runic Script).83  In this study, I demonstrated that there is the possibility that the Avar Script, mentioned by Constantine, was the script that is today called the Magyar Runic Script.84

According to further statements by Peter Ratkos, the Avar national script is not the script of the European Avars but that of the Asian Avars.  He reasons in this way: „because these (that is the literate Avars) are listed among a whole line of Caucasian peoples, who have their own religious language.”  This reasoning is based on two obvious mistakes of the interpretation of the text:

First: that Constantine mentions the literate Avars among the literate Goths and Turks.  In this case we cannot refer to the Goths who were a fragment of the Caucasian Goths, because the Gothic script was created – and this is a historical fact – by  Bishop Wulfila between 355 and 383, for the Goths who fled to the Balkans.  Between 867 and 885, the people who were called Tursi or Turci (in the Turkish language) generally meant the Magyars.

Among others, Dvornik F., the expert on this period, agrees with this view.85  In order to understand the text correctly, we need to know that the Magyars, at this time, lived in Etelköz, that is in the territory between the Rivers Don and Danube.

ZK consistently lists the literate peoples in three groups.  In the following list we follow ZK’s order:

1.                        The literate peoples of the Caucasus region: Armenians, Persians, Abazgos (today from Abkazia in the Soviet Union), Iberians, (now from Gruzia in the Soviet Union) and Sogians (from Alania?).

2.                         The literate peoples of the Carpathians and the Don Valley: Goths, Avars, Turks (Magyars) and Kazars.

3.                        The literate peoples of the Middle East:  Egyptians, Syrians and many others.


The reference to the Avars, therefore, refers to the Avars in the present territory of Europe.  Peter Ratkos’ first objection, therefore, is in opposition to the geographical locations mentioned in the source. 

Second:  When the participants of the Venetian Debate, in 867, mentioned the Avars, they were not referring to some small fragment of a Caucasian people, but the remaining Avars of the Avar Kaganate, which had existed for almost 250 years, whom the Europeans feared, and who had been Christians in the Avar Province of the Frankish Empire since the year 805.  In the case of the Goths, they did not refer to the fragment of the Crimean Goths, but the Ostrogoths of Theodoric, who were the rulers of Venice for 63 years (489-552), and also the Visigoths of the Kingdom of Gaul (419-507) and Spain (507-711).  

Peter Ratkos, therefore, bases his objections on significant and purposeful omissions and unfounded and insignificant misrepresentations. 

Peter Ratkos’ rejecting position on the question of the Avar Province – which he wishes to support with weak objections based on superficial knowledge of sources – necessarily brings up the question:  Why is he so adamantly opposed to the existence of the Avar Province between 805 and 900?

Nowhere does he acknowledge that the existence of the Avar Province in the ninth century disproves the widespread belief, that Great Moravia expanded to Transdanubia – the northern part of the former territory of Pannonia.  However, if the historical facts about the existence of the Avar Province come to light, then the geographical expanse of Great Moravia has to be changed!86





(Omitted.   See the reason in the following introduction.)





            For a while, I was debating whether it was really necessary to add notes to Section III. of my study „Az Ősi Nyitra”, in connection with the objections of Peter Ratkos to this section.  Most of his objections would would require a lengthier answer than my short history of Nyitra can offer.  He has also objected to some things which I never stated.  Even so, some of his objections are worth mentioning. 


 1. What things do not belong in a short history of Nyitra?


            In my opinion, the following things, which Peter Ratkos would like to have seen included are:  The history of the foundation of the Abbey of Garamszentbenedek, the lands of the House of Árpád  and the role of the castle governors throughout the state.  Each of these topics would require a study at least as long as the three chapters of „Az Ősi Nyitra”.  For similar reasons, I could not write about the public administration of the city, the history of the Abbey of Zoborhegy and the history of the provostship of Saint Emeram. 

What could I have addressed?  Only the city, which was gradually separated from the seat of the governor and became a self-governing community with a judge. 



   2. A false accusation



            Peter Ratkos accuses me of a statement that is the opposite of what I represented.  According to him, I wrote that in the city of Nyitra and its surroundings „life returned only with the arrival of the newcomers (meaning the Magyars).”  Actually I stated, which ought to please him, that it would not be historically correct for me to state that the continuity of the Slav settlement was broken in the tenth century.87   If his objection is incorrect, at least his accusation should be correct! 



            3. What is the truth about the inscription on the money of the Breslawa Civitas?


Unfortunately, Peter Ratkos’ knowledge of numizmatics is limited to the territory of the Hungarian Kingdom.  If he knew the history of the inscriptions on the coins of the  (P)REZLAWA CIVITAS, then he would know that these coins were fakes, made abroad, attempts to copy the well-known money of King St. István, to be used outside the Carpathian Basin.  Therefore, the local literature connected to the (B)RESLAWA CIVITAS, which would like to give the impression that Pozsony, in the XI. century, was also called Bratislava, remains just an illusion.88



   4.  What is the difference between the káliz and the száznagy?


            It is surprising that Peter Ratkos, a researcher of the Middle Ages, cannot make a distinction between the function of the káliz and the száznagy.  The káliz was the royal treasurer.  A document from 1111, from the Abbey of Zoborhegy, clearly states: “Porcus, qui tunc centurio erat” – (Porcus who at that time was a centurian (száznagy)). 89  The centurians, as Matús Kucera and György Györffy have agreed, were captains over the royal high stewards, the officials and tax-collectors who were divided into groups of one-hundred according to the decimal system.90 The centurian therefore, was not the superior of the káliz, as Peter Ratkos states, but was in the given situation, the supervisor of a section of one hundred taxpayers of the city of Nyitra.  This does not exclude the possibility that, after the centurion Porcus had finished his duty, he could act as a káliz!


            5. About Peregrinus, the first known judge of the city of Nyitra.



            Peter Ratkos states that I did not acknowledge the city-judge Peregrinus.  Unfortunately, it looks as if he did not read in my study: Az Ősi Nyitra  the fourth paragraph of page 137, in which in 12 lines, I acknowledge Peregrinus who took on the important task of the administration of city justice, at the time that the city was establishing its independence.


             6. Without proof, there is no point in arguing.


            Ratkos states, without proof, that the basilica of Saint Emerám was not in the lower castle, therefore was in the city.                         


   7. The establishment  of the Diocese of Nyitra


I explained satisfactorily the circumstances surrounding the second establishment of the Diocese of Nyitra – that is in the Árpád age – in my short study.  I pointed out that it is very difficult to find a consensus of opinion about the date.  That is why Peter Ratkos objects that the diocese was established in the age of Saint László (1077-1095).   Around 1100, King Kálmán the Booklover, in chapter 22 of his Law Book I. , stated categorically that Nyitra, at that time, was just a large provostship, a statement that Peter Ratkos should have refuted, which obviously he did not do.  Therefore, his objection is without justification and also superfluous, since I had already stated that there was such an opinion. 


    8. Gány and the village of Püspökfalva which became Vágszerdahely


            Gány and Villa episcopi (meaning: püspök falva, bishop’s village or Püspöki) – contrary to the statement of Peter Ratkos – was not one village but two separate villages.  This is also very clear from the text of the document, which states that the border-line  „de villa Gan in villa episcopi”, from the village of Gan toward the village of the bishop, was at a certain ditch and a fishpond called Cipikas.  The document itself states that Gány belonged to the castle of Galgócz, whereas the owner of the lands of the village of the bishop is obvious from the name of the village and there is no other explanation.

            In a document about the owners of the Abbey of Zoborhegy, of the year 1113, the village mentioned as a neighbor of Gány, the villa episcopi – the village of the bishop – has, up to now, remained unclear.  The official documents have, up to now, stated that it was a part of Gány.  Peter Ratkos repeats this old view.  I recognized the untenability of this statement at the time of the writing of Az Ősi Nyitra, and that is why I regarded it to be an independent village.  At that time, I did not clarify the question as to which bishop this village belonged and where it was located.

            Because of the objections of Peter Ratkos, I began to examine more closely the geographical boundaries of the village of Gány.  At that time, I noticed that Gány was the neighbor of today’s village of Vágszerdahely (Dol. Streda), with a borderline between them of 12 kilometers in length.  This village was the ancient property of the Archbishops of  Esztergom.  However, its name, which referred to the Wednesday market, could not possibly be dated earlier than the last three decades of the XII. century,  and rather indicates the custom of the first part of the XIII. century.  So, at the time of the writing of the document of 1113,  which refers to the establishment of the village, it had not yet received the right to hold a Wednesday market, from which it could have taken its name.  There was just the reference to the ownership of the village by the Archbishop of Esztergom in its Latin name --  villa (archi) episcopi.  The village took over the name of Szerdahely only when it received the right to hold a market on Wednesdays.    Therefore, we may rightfully state that the village called Püspök falva, mentioned in the document of the Abbey of Zobor, of 1113, was the same village, which was later known to the Archbishop of Esztergom as Vágszerdahely.






1.      Is it correct to make Moravia the center of historical periodization?



A few years ago, the Slovak historiography adopted a new method of describing historical periods, which can also be found in Peter Ratkos’ text.  Therefore, I find it necessary to touch on this subject.

The essence of the new method of periodization is that the historical events of the Middle Ages in Central Europe are divided by two historical borderlines and classified as  the Age of Great Moravia.  The Age of Great Moravia is, therefore, divided into three important time periods: 

„The early Age of Great Moravia” which, taken from Slovak historiography refers to the end of the peoples’ migration, beginning in the sixth century.

„The Age of Great Moravia”, which extends from the dissolution of the Avar Kaganate in Europe to the Battle of Pozsony ( i.e. 796-907).   It can be narrowed down to the period between the expulsion of Pribina (around 833) to the death of Svatopluk (894), that is six decades. 

„The later Age of Great Moravia”, which extends from the Battle of Pozsony to the coronation of King István (i.e. 907-1000)

We do not wish in any way to deny the Slovak historiography the right to name a certain era according to their own point of view.  The objection arises from the use of new terminology, which causes the significant historical ages of European and local history to disappear.  

In the frame of the Carpathian Basin, we may call the entire ninth century the Age of Great Moravia.  Of course, we could doubless find many more general names for it.  However, the name ”The early Age of Great Moravia” is not fitting for the Avar Kaganate which existed from 567 to 796/805.   Similarly, the name ”Later Age of Great Moravia”  is not appropriate for the first century of the Magyar Homecoming, when they were building their state (between 894 and 1000).  The four years in the history of the developing Czech state, when the Moravians were dependent on the Czechs, does not qualify as an „era”.  At that time, the establishment of the Czech House of Premysl was a significant historical force. 

Therefore the historical eras in the Carpathian Basin should be the following:  the Avar Age, the Age of Great Moravia, the Magyar Homecoming, or the Age of the Árp’d House etc.  These names of these „ages” objectively reflect the historical events, but in the total picture of European history, they are still not adequate.   


2. The question of ratio in the last two Slovak historical syntheses (1961 and 1971).


The above-mentioned new Slovak historical periodization is not just a surface formality, but a manifestation of the attempts to change the viewpoint of historical research at its roots.   Because of the constant emphasis on the research of Great Moravia as the center of research, the importance of other historical events is minimized in the eyes of the public, moreover it has a negative influence on research itself.  Since we have spoken about the concrete effects of this, in Section II. Point 3., now – that is in Table No 4 – we shall present only the facts of the syntheses of 1961 and 1971, the noticeable  ratios and their comparison.91

            When we examine the ratio of the two historical syntheses, we must start with definitely measureable facts.  These are facts about the length of time, in years, the people in question lived here.  It is advantageous to start the research  with this comparison of time because this gives the least opportunity for disagreement.  There would still not be a significant difference in the results, even if certain researchers differed in the determination of the length of habitation in this area.  The second measurable factor is the amount of time we wish to spend on the presentation of these people.  Taking into account that we only wish to pay attention to the historical debate, we will disregard the archeological data, when we examine the ratio in the 1971 synthesis.

            The data in Table No. 4 clearly prove that, in the years between the appearance of these two Slovak syntheses, there has been considerable positive progress in the field of historical research.  This is most noticeable in the lessening emphasis on the Moravian Age.   In 1961, there was an exaggeration of 1446.9%, that is a 16 times inflation of the  numbers.  In 1971, this had dropped to 1125.7%, that is only an 11 times exaggeration.  The disproportion is still very high and it is evident especially in those territories where the Slovak historians expect to see the appearance of the Slav people!

            With our tables, we merely wish to call the reader’s attention, in the frame of the ancient times and the early Middle Ages, to which questions should be examined with increased attention in the future.

The following tables demonstrate the ratios of the Huns, Avars and the Germanic peoples and people of Great Moravia.


                                                                Table No. 4.   


                            1.  The length of time the state-forming nations ruled in the Carpathian Basin




























Total number of years









                                    *) The Quadi lived under the Huns after 406.                                                                    


                                2. The number of lines alotted to the history of each people in each synthesis



















                                            3.      The above numbers as percentages



















4.      Considering the history of each people, the actual spread according to the number of years they lived there, expressed in percentages.











                                            5.      The exaggeration expressed in percentages






















                                                                       IX.  LESS IMPORTANT MATTERS


Here I am listing my answers to all the objections, greatly emphasized by Peter Ratkos, which do not have much to do with this subject, but because of their demagogic character, I cannot ignore them or my reputation as a researcher would suffer.


1.      I could not have listed Pribina Nyitrawája in the list of data about the Slovakian Nyitra because, according to the geographical determination of the remaining sources, it was located in the districts of Pannonia and Belgrade, which were in the territory of Moesia, in the age of Justinianus I.92 


2.      Ratkos states that I fail to mention the former Pozsony, today’s Bratislava, in the list of places mentioned to have existed before the year 1000.  I believe that, on the first page of my study: Az Ösi Nyitra, (Part I. p. 119), the first note states:  „In the territory of Slovakia, three places are mentioned in the document before the year 1000: . . .  2. the capital of the state in 907. . .”  To every person living in Slovakia, the capital of the state means –Bratislava, Pozsony or Pressburg.  (See the following point also). 


3.      Is Brezalauspurc identical to Pozsony?

In connection with the first mention of Pozsony – which is usually placed in 907 – Peter Ratkos explains that its name Brezalausburch (!) meant, in the Slovak language, Predslavov hradot, or the castle of Predslav.  

It is really true that we can read in the Large Yearbook of Salzburg, in connection with 907,  that Luitpold, the Marquis of Bavaria „waged the most unfortunate war near Brezalauspurc on July 4.”93  We must note that the Large Yearbooks of Salzburg (Iuvavum) were not original texts but reconstructed texts from the 15th century, which were based on an unknown, earlier compilation, from about 826, of data that were not contemporary.  Of course, Peter Ratkos does not identify on what base the earlier historians formed their opinion that Brezalauspurc and Pozsony were identical.  

The identification of these two names is the work of the contemporary writer, Janos Aventinus (1477-1534).  In this contemporary source, all that is stated is what we have quoted above.  Although there was nothing on which to base his statement, Aventinus still stated that Brezalauspurc was identical to Pozsony.  The credibility of his statement is placed further in doubt by other comparisons of place names, which we can notice in his work.

For example from Brünn, which in his time was the seat of the Marquis of Moravia, which was called Brunno in Latin, Aventinus wrote Brynna.  In the Conversio, he made Brynnus out of Pribina.  He did this, so that he might become the Squire of Brynna (Brünn).  Aventinus was not disturbed by the fact that Pribina, from 836 to the end of his life, was the vassal of the Frankish Empire, in Pannonia and not Moravia.  In his work: Annales Boiorum,  Pribina was always mentioned as the Squire of Nyitra, Pozsony and Brünn.  (We should note that, it is because of his mistake that the city of Nyitra, in Slovakia, was regarded as Pribina’s city.)

Similarly Aventinus made the city of Speculum Iuliense in Moesia, (which means „the mirror of Julius, or the cave of Julius”)  Iulii Mons, which means the Mountain of Julius.  This name change was necessary so that, in the spirit of the latinization of the Renaissance, he could change Olomouc to Iulii Mons and identify it with a place named Speculum Julii.  

Aventinus used a naíve method to compare the place-names  and had no basis for identifying Brezalauspurc with Pozsony.  Such a name-identity without credible basis is none other than romanticism. 

Moreover, Aventinus was the first to doubt the credibility of the account of the Battle of Pozsony, and Dümmler, whom Ratkos regards as a knowledgeable historian, also doubts it.  Dümmler began to doubt the account because the major participants cannot be found in any of the contemporary documents. 94

To Dümmler’s well-thought out reasoning, we can add that the account of the Battle of Pozsony, in the writings of Aventinus, is not logical from the military point of view.  In his account, the Bavarian army attacked the Magyars in three lines side by side.  One part of the army advanced along the right shore of the Danube, the second advanced along the left shore and the third came by boat on the river.  This is a very impressive description of a huge army but, at the same time, it was a death sentence for the attackers.  It would have given the Magyar army, with its full strength, a chance to defeat the three parts of the enemy army one by one, because one branch of the enemy army could not come to the aid of the other.  Not to speak of the fact that that section of the Danube, between Malomvölgy and the Castle of Pozsony, was scarcely wider than one hundred meters, between the Danube and the mountains.  In the first annotation of my study Az Ősi Nyitra, in in spite of the accusation of Peter Ratkos, I did note Pozsony in the list of the cities established before the year 1000, and noted it as the capital city of the state, but now I take this back because there could not have been a battle at Pozsony in 907.

Thanks to Peter Ratkos’ further objections, my attention was drawn to the fact that the old belief, that Pozsony and Brezalauspurc were identical, is without base.  In my former statement, it was not the fact that the Battle took place, but the place of the Battle that I find to be false.


4.      We cannot regard Benedek Szőlősi, the author of the Cantus Catholici, as a historian.  In 1655, he edited the official collection of hymns for the Catholic Slovaks of the Diocese of Esztergom, moreover, wherever it was necessary, he translated the Hungarian hymns into the Praeslovak language.

I am grateful to Peter Ratkos for bringing this to my attention because, by so doing, he adds another person to the group of people who are looking for Great Moravia in Pannonia and, as we have shown, Szőlősi was correct in doing this, because the territory between the Dráva and Száva rivers, which was part of the former Pannonia, really did belong to Great Moravia.95  

Of course, instead of Szőlősi, Peter Ratkos could have quoted a historian, if he really wanted to find someone before Timon, who was occupied with the history of Moravia.  This could have been Petrus Razanus, who at the time of King Mátyás Hunyadi, wrote the: Epitome Rerum Hungaricum.   In this book, he wrote that Svatopluk was a Sarmatian, by which he meant that his state in the territory between the Danube and Tisza rivers, extended from the Ipoly river, to the confluence with the River Dráva.96


5.      According to the statement of Peter Ratkos, when I wrote the history of the Kingdom of the Quadi, I quoted András Alföldi and (only) partly Pelikán Oldrich.  The truth is that I quoted Alföldi twice and Pelikán ten times!


6.      It is noticeable that Peter Ratkos emphasizes that a considerable number of the people, who lived in this territory before the Avars, remained in this territory but,          at the same time, he does not wish to hear of the remaining fragments of the Lombards.  He states it is impossible that a fragment of the Lombard people could have remained until the ninth century.  So, how then does he explain that Wiching, Bishop of Nyitra, was an Ostrogoth, when the Ostrogoths moved out of this area in 489, long before the Lombards did?


7.  About the finds at Vicsapapáti.


Peter Ratkos presents these finds as a proof that the Slavs were here well before the Avars.

At the same time, Anton Tocik, the objective Slovak archeologist, whom we have quoted several times, writes in the 1971 Slovak historical synthesis about the finds at Vicsapapát: „The question of the origin of the ceramic types found along the Danube cannot be solved by the present level of research, but it appears that these ceramics, found in the Carpathian Basin, originate from the place of discovery of the Eperjes type of the 4th and 5th centuries in Eastern Slovakia.”97

Therefore these finds do not prove what Peter Ratkos would like to prove. 


8.          The Frankish Emperor Louis the Pious (814-840) dissolved the province of Friaul (which Ratkos calls Furland) in 828.98  It is probable that it was unified again under Marquis Berengár (888-924).  Consequently, in 865, it could not have been the subject of a division. 


9.           The location of the supposed island of „Starduna” (i.e. the Old Danube) – whether it is north or south of Püspöki – was not a decisive factor in the relocation of the main channel of the Danube and in the question of whether the location of Csallóköz was below the Danube or above it because, in the document in question, it is mentioned not as Star- or Star(a)Duna,  but Scar Duna,  that is Szár Duna (meaning bald, as in Szár László, László the Bald).99

10. Peter Ratkos accuses me of inconsistency.  He states that I write that Mojmir placed Pribina in Nyitra.  The place in question is page 130 of Az Ősi Nyitra.  Unfortunately, as often happens, he overlooked an important sentence of mine:  „The traditional explanations connect Pribina to the Slovakian Nyitra.”  A few lines later, I pose the question: „Do we know with certainty that this was the Moravia, to which the Nyitra of Pribina belonged?”


11. Gyula László, Professor of Archeology at the University of Budapest, very clearly wrote, in his important work: „A kettős honfoglalásról”,100  that he bases his observations on archeological material, not on the Chronicle of Simon Kézai, as Peter Ratkos states. 


12. Not only did Bajor the Geographer convince Győrgy Szklenár in 1784, Professor Imre Boba in 1971 and myself in 1979 of the location of Great Moravia in the territory of Sirmium, as Peter Ratkos would like to state, but we were also convinced by the long list of contemporary data, including the unambiguous geographical map.  I presented about 23 of these sources in the debate which took place on March 25, 1977, at which Peter Ratkos was also present, but of course he does not wish to hear about them. (In the meantime, I have published the list of proofs in the form of a short study: „Nagymorávia fekvése”(The location of Great Moravia), which has appeared in several editions.  See the contents in Part VI.)


13. Great Moravia which was not yet Christian, is identical to the country of Szvatopluk and Rasztiszlav.  Rasztiszlav called upon the missionaries to convert his people.


14. The desolate country, mentioned by Orosius, did not lie between the Danube and the Tisza rivers but rather between the Dráva and Száva rivers, because Orosius placed it between Karinthia and Bulgária.


15.   In the case of Nyitra, we need to talk of continuity, not from the Age of Great Moravia, but from the beginning of the Celtic Age.


16. Saint Szórád’s (Zoerardus) name, when he was a monk, was András.  From the point of view of the short history of Nyitra, it is irrelevant how his name was pronounced in the 11th century.


17. I am amazed at Peter Ratkos’ opinion of other researchers.  He states that the conclusions of Imre Boba, Professor at Washington State University, are „completely mistaken hypotheses”.  In spite of this, since the publication of Imre Boba’s book, in 1971, in the past seven years, he has not been able to refute any of his statements.!101


                                                X. SOME POINTS ABOUT WHICH PETER RATKOS IS CORRECT


In the explanations that I have given so far, as I was answering the mistaken objections of Peter Ratkos, I was forced to do some deeper research and some new observations have come to mind.  There are a few points about which Peter Ratkos is correct and I do not wish to ignore them. Moreover, I decided that I would be just as strict in judging myself as I was with him, although I did not learn this approach from him.  Peter Ratkos did all that he could to uncover even my smallest mistakes.  Let us see then, on what points he was correct:


1.      I acknowledge that Ljubljana was not identical to Nauportus.  The truth here is that this place is located 9 km. from Ljubljana (Laibach) and its name is Vrchnik (Ober-Laibach), just outside of Ljubljana.


2.      I acknowledge that Magnus is not just an epithet, but also a personal name.  Therefore in the case of King Béla I., I should not have translated it.


3.      I acknowledge that the name Nitrawa, which appears in the document, supposedly prepared by Pilgrim, the Bishop of Passau in the name of Pope Eugene II.,  -- which I explained in Part VI. Point 6 – is not connected to the Nyitra in Slovakia.  The history of this Nyitra in the Middle Ages begins therefore in 880. 






            As I analyzed Peter Ratkos’ objections, I found that, on more than 60 occasions, his facts and contemporary sources were mistaken, or he just partly approached the problem in a superficial manner and therefore his arguments cannot be substantiated. Among the huge number of his groundless objections, only three, which were not essential to the argument, were correct.

I was also surprized by the large number of unscholarly objections on the part of Peter Ratkos.  Therefore, I have to pose the question:  Does he not have an adequate scholarly preparation, since he makes one mistake after another?  Or are there perhaps  other reasons for him to defend his untenable position?   

I have to give an obvious answer to the first question.  Peter Ratkos is a Doctor of History.  His certificate proves that – and I do not doubt it – he is capable of conducting historical research on a high level.  

What then is the reason that, in spite of his acknowledged abilities, he is still struggling with the obvious facts?  Why can he not acknowledge the untenability of the traditional theory which he represents?  What is the reason that Peter Ratkos openly attacks other researchers – in this case myself too.   Mátus Kucera, the Dean of the Comenius University, with whom he argued in a similar fashion, answered this question in the following way: „He defends himself in an unusual, individual manner. . . he strives to place in doubt every result that I have accomplished in my work.”102  On the basis of my observations above, I have to agree with him!

It is now 31 years since Peter Ratkos became a member of that large group, which represents the traditional Moravian point of view, praising the national past, and he is a fervent supporter of this group.   Since then, as is apparent from his writings, he has studied the early historiography of the age in question, even publishing the contemporary sources.103  Therefore he has had at his disposal all the necessary material to clarify the numerous questions about the history of Great Moravia.   In spite of this, he tries to do everything in his power to uphold the traditional theory, which contradicts the contemporary sources.  He admitted his intentions, when he carefully tried to refute the statements of Bajor the Geographer and Constantine Porphyrogenitus, without checking to see how their information compared to the other contemporary sources.  This is where that break from the truth in Peter Ratkos’ work began, which has only two explanations:  Either he completed his work in a very superficial manner, or he was influenced by nationalistic feelings. 

            No matter which of these two possibilities caused his actions, the result is the same:  He uses all the means at his disposal to prevent the facts, which might encroach on his scholarly prestige, from coming to light.   He even admitted: „This is not how we conceive that endeavor aimed at cleansing the early Slovak history of the romantic ideas.”104  In the interest of his theory, he does not even stop at presenting false information, even libel.  During our analysis, we have several times pointed out that Peter Ratkos, referring to Slovak history, more than once makes a statement against us, which Slovak historiography either has not yet proven or has proven the opposite. (For example:  The location of the Kingdom of the Quadi, Vicsapapáti, the case of Dowina, etc.)

            In a scholarly debate, each party undoubtedly has the right to point out to the other his errors, mistakes and even call him by name.  The defamation begins when one partner attacks the scientific integrity and honor of the other without reason, or for false (not mistaken) reasons, for example, accusing him of knowingly falsifying the actual facts.  Peter Ratkos has forgotten the old saying: „“unusquisque iudicat secundum quod est” --  everyone judges the other of what he is.   

It is very difficult to refute historical errors which have been advocated for centuries.  Moreso, if nationalistic feelings are involved.  The first responsibility of the historian, by vocation, is to publicize, once he has recognized it, the truth hidden in the documents of the past.  This, too, is my only goal.  The new view of the Moravian question was established by György Szkenár and, independently of him, Imre Boba and myself.  Before I had even heard of them, I had come to the same conclusion as they did – that the new view of the Slovak historiography of the early ages opens up an entirely new direction. 

The importance of the new view of the location and history of Great Moravia, rooted in the sources, is exactly what causes Peter Ratkos’ attack.  Such outbursts cannot solve any kind of scholarly problem with credibility.  The only way to solve these problems is with open, calm dialogue.  I would be delighted if this dialogue could be conducted according to the ethics of scientific research and if noone would try to silence my work or bring up misleading, false reasoning to try to ruin my credibility.  I would also like to hope that I would not encounter behavior similar to that of Peter Ratkos, or publications which lack the respect due to a researcher. 

I close my message to Peter Ratkos with the words of Miklós Telegdi:105

 „My friend, I understand what causes your stomach-ache.  What eats at your intestines is that I throw myself against you like a stone wall for the homeland of Israel . . . This is the reason that you reprimand me, curse me and use all kinds of bad words against me.  What bothers you, I believe, is that, neither you nor your comrades (partners) are allowed to sow, openly and freely, the seeds of dissention on Saturday, as you would like to.” 


Pozsony, February 27, 1978.


[1]  In my article, entitled “Az ősi Nyitra a kortársak híradásai és a történészek elképzelései nyomán” (Ancient Nyitra seen through the Eyes of Contemporary Writers and Historians), which was published in Issue No. 2, 1976, of the literary review Irodalmi Szemle, in Pozsony in Czechoslovakia, I present my view, which differs radically from the view of the Slovak historians.  I present many new observations based on original sources, which paint a picture of the territory of southwest Slovakia today and the most important historical events around the city of Nyitra between the years of AD 21 and AD 1111.

                Almost a year and a half after the appearance of this article, on July 5, 1977, Dr. Peter Ratkos, Sc. D. of the Slovak Academy of Science, Department of History, sent an article to the Literary Review, which disputed my observations of the history of the territory around Nyitra.  This article appeared in the June, 1978. issue, on pp. 550-568.

[2]  The following are the most important accusations that Peter Ratkos made against me: 1. I did not mention the actual truth. 2.  I did not take into account the results of the excavations of the Czechoslovak archeologists.  3.  My conclusions are doubtful.  4. I cannot be called a “scholar”.  5. My conclusions cannot be called “scientific”.  6.  I am “anti-Slav”.  7.  I am self-seeking and manipulate the facts. 8. My methodology is irrational.  9. I write in an uncritical manner. 10.  I am spreading fiction.  11. I write misleading statements about the past.  12. I do not act in a manner fitting to a historian.  13. I am spreading doubtful theories.  14. I am biased or prejudiced. 15. My historical analysis is incorrect. 16. My methodology is mistaken. 17.  I create artificial conclusions.

18. I often misinterpret the contemporary sources and I deny some of them.  19. I am spreading half-truths. 20.  My methods are pedantic. 21. I am not a serious historian.  22. I purposely turn the facts around. 23. I ignore the contemporary sources.  24. I make many erroneous statements. 25. I am far from scientific in my methods. 

[3]. . .ne quietas provincias immixti turbarent.  Danubium ultra, inter flumina Marum et Cusum, locantur, dato rege Vannius, gentis Quadorum.” TACITUS: Annal. Lib. II. 63.

[4] For information about the two large Quad territories see: SLOV. 1. – DEJ. (The noted explanation can be found in Footnote No. 12 on page 134.) 

[5]  “Valentinianus enim studio muniendorum limitum glorioso quidem, sed nimio ab ipso principatu initio flagrans trans flumen Histrum, in ipsis Quadorum terris quasi Romano iuri iam uindicatis aedificari praesidiaria castra mandavit”-- AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS: Rerum gestarum Lib. XXIX. Cap.6. Vers 1-2.  The statement in the quotation the SLOV. I. – DEJ. 131. correctly refers to the renewal of the Izsa-Celemnatia Camp.

[6] “. . . Sub nemus autem Orcynium Quadi, sub quibus ferri minera,& Luna silva sub qua gens magna Boiorum usque Danubium, quibus contingui sunt iuxta fluvium Terrecatriae et penes campos Racatae.”  PTOLEMAEI: Geogr. Hyfegesis. Cap. X.

[7] “ . . .Praeterea in descriptione tractanda facilioris semper curam habuimus. Hoc est, quod ad dextram procedamus manum traducendo ab hiis quae iam perfecta fuerint ad ea quae nondum formata sunt. Id autem fieri poterit si magis  septemtrionalia  describerentur  priusquam ea quae ad austrum magis tendunt, et magis occidentalia quam ea quae magis vergunt ad ortem solis.” PTOLEMAIOS: Lib. II. Cap. I.

[8]  Cf. PÜSPÖKI-NAGY P.: Limes Romanus na Slovensku (The Roman Limes in Slovakia) Sbornik Faculty of Philosophy. University Komenskeho. XXI. (1970). 138 skk. – The error in the world map of Ptolemy was pointed out by György Érdi-Krausz  in 1976 on the basis of the Lázár-Deák maps from the years 1528-1566. See: Magyar térképészet kezdetei. ELTE Természettudományi Kara. Budapest. 1976. 81-88.  (The Beginnings of Hungarian Cartography)

[9]  “Az terénne archeologické vyskumy, uskutocnované na Slovensku v. 60. rokoch, priniesli závazné nálezy, umoznujúce s konecnou platnostou rozhodnút dlhorocny spar o umiestneni Vanniovho královstva v prospech skupiny bádatelov, hladajúcich jeho centrum na juhozápadnom Slovensku.” SLOVENSKO I.- DEJ. 125.

[10]  The failure to mention the Kingdom of the Quadi, which existed for several centuries, allows the possibility of historians making the hypothesis that, in the 4th and 5th centuries, the Slavs appeared in the territory of the Germanic Quadi.  In connection with this see the following (II.) section. 

[11]  The first synthesis which was intended to appear in three volumes (1961) appeared as DEJINY SLOVENSKA LUBOMÍR HOLOTÍK.  The assistant editor of the first volume was TIBENSKY JÁN. SAV. Bratislava, 1961. – The writers of the sections which interest us: 1.) Celts, Romans and Germanic peoples – B. BENADIK AND T. KOLNIK.  2.) The appearance of the Slavs -- J. KUDLACEK.   3.) The Age of Great Moravia – P. RATKOS.  In the following text we will quote them as DEJINY SLOV. 1.

                The second synthesis appeared in five volumes as SLOVENSKO. The first volume appeared as “Dejiny”. (871 pages)  Scholar editor – JÁN TIBENSKY.  Assistant editor of the archeological section – JÁN DEKAN. Obzor, Bratislava, 1971.  The writers of the sections which interest us: 1.) The Roman period and the time of the people migration – TÍTUS KOLNIK. 2.) The appearance of the Slavs – ANTON TOCIK.  3.) Great Moravia – BOHUS CHROPOVSKY.   In the following text we will quote it as SLOVENSKO 1.- DEJ.

[12]   . . .Samotné literarne pamiatky nám teda v tomto ohlade neposkytujú zelatelnú istotu, a preto sa riesenie celej otázky coraz väcmi presúva na archeológiu.” – SLOVENSKO 1 – DEJ. 156.

[13] Cf. DENIJ. SLOV. 1. 65-73 and SLOVENSKO 1. DEJ. – 160-163.

[14]  DENIJ. SLOV. 1. 69. and  SLOVENSKO 1. DEJ. – 161.

[15]  Bevezetés a magyar őstörténet kutatásába és forrásaiba. I. 1.(Introduction to the Research and Sources of Hungarian Ancient History) Editors: P. HAJDU, GY. KRISTO and TAS A. RONA.  Published by: József Attila Tudományegyetem, Szeged, Tankönyvkiadó, Budapest, 1976. 119

[16] RATKOS PETER:  Pramene k dejinám Velkej Moravy. SAV. Bratislava 1964. 27-44 and 62-63. There were two editions of this book.

[17] „Sed nunc qualiter Hunni inde expulsi sunt, et Sclavi inhabitare coeperunt.” CONVERSIO CAP. 6 and „Postquam ergo Karolus imperator Hunis reiectis...coeperunt populi sive sclavi vel Bagoarii inhabitare terram, unde ille expulsi sunt Huni, et multiplicari.” – CONVERSIO CAP. 10. Cf.: Magnae Moraviae Fontes Historicii. III. 303 and 308-309. The original, five volume text is kept as a reference source, edited by LUDIMÍR HAVLIK, published by the University of Brno, in the Faculty of Philosophy.  Brno 1966-1976.  In the following text this will be referred to as MMFH. 

[18] „Quia propter infestinationem Sclavorum in pristinis sedibus esse non poterat.” – Annal. Regni Francorum ad annum 805. – MMFH. I. 42-43

[19]  In Peter Ratkos’ version which appeared in Pramene,in 1964, on page 72, i.e. on MMFH I. page 42 not only is the translation of the word “infestinatio” inexact, but even the meaning of the text is distorted.  In the text in question, the original Latin text is written in the singular (propter infestinationem), whereas in the translation it is in the plural. (útoky, nájezdy).  The writer of the note in the Yearbook was talking of a single event – the invasion of the Slavs – whereas the named translators write that there were “recurring attacks by the Slavs”.! 

[20] See also Argument IV.  Point. 5. Within the perimeters of the Avar Kaganate, between 568 and 796/805, the ratio of infiltrating Slavs varied between 0.3 and 5.2%, which is proven by archeological excavations.

[21]  I note that in my study, Ősi Nyitra, I wrote about the territory really close to the city, that is the northern territory of the Carpathian Basin, the southwestern part of Slovakia.  Peter Ratkos expanded on this question. 

[22] Bona István: Középkor hajnala. A gepidák és longobardok a Kárpát-Medencében. (The Dawn of the Middle Ages.  The Gepidae and Longobards in the Carpathian Basin) Heredias Series. Corvina, Budapest, 1974.  17-24, 85-91.

[23] Kalicz Nándor – Ratczky Pál: Új-e az új régészet?—Valóság. Budapest, 1977. 6. szám. 76-94 old.  Az idézet a 77. oldalról.  

[24] „V doterajsich nálezoch presovského typu niet este dostatocný pocet záchytných bodov na dokázanie kontinuity s najstarsimi bezpecne slovanskými pamiatkami z tejto oblasti, predpokladanej niektorými autormi.”—SLOVENSKO I.-DEJ. 150.

[25] ... r. 568. znamená koniec prechodnej okupácie juhozápadného Slovenska germánskymi kmenmi.” – SLOVENSKO I.-DEJ. 155.

[26]  We count the existence of Great Moravia from the time that Mojmir I. chased out Pribina, around AD. 833, to the time of the death of Svatopluk in AD. 894.   When Svatopluk died, Great Moravia disintegrated.  His sons ruled over the remnants of this land for only a short time.

[27] The detailed examination of the ratio will be completed in Part VIII. Point No. 2

[28]  See the Czechoslovak School Atlas of World History,  the “ Skolni atlas svetovych dejint” published in 1971 (Kartografia Praha) in which we see the “Empire of Szamo” on page 11.  According to the map, this covers the larger part of present western Slovakia. 

[29]  FREDEGARI CHRONICON. Cap. IV. vers. 48. – MMFH. I. 20.


[31]  „Temporibus gloriosi regis Francorum Dagoberti Samo nomine quidam Sclavus manens in Quarantanis fuit dux gentis illius.” – CONVERSIO. Cap.4 – MMFH. III. 299.

[32]  „Multis post haec vicibus Winidi in Toringia et relequos vastandum pagus in Francorum regnum irruunt.” – FREDEGARI CHRONICON Lib. IV. Cap. 68 – MMFH I. 23.

[33]   „... Winidi ... et sepius ... regnum Francorum vastandum Toringia et relequos pagus ingrederint.” – FREDEGARI CHRONICON Lib. IV. Cap. 68 MMFH. I. 25.


[34] „Ungari Italiam invaserunt” GOMBOS: Cat.I. no. 199. pag. 91


[35]  „Ungari vastaverunt Franciam atque Thuringiam” – GOMBOS: Cat. I. no. 205. pag.92

[36]  „...audivit, quod Sclavi, nimiro errore decepti, a diaboli laqueis tenerentur oppressi, maximeque martyrii palmam se adsequi posse confidens, transfraetato Danubio, eadem circumiens loca, libera voce evangelium Christi gentibus praedicabat.” – VITA S. AMANDI EPISCOPI TRAIECTENSIS, AUCTORE BAUDEMUNDO Cap. 16. – MMFH. II. 49-50

[37] ... Derevanus dux gente Surbiorum, que ex genere Sclavinorum erant et ad regnum Francorum iam olem aspecserant, se ad regnum Samonem cum suis tradedit.” – FREDEGARI CHRONICON. Lib. IV. Cap 68. MMFH. I. 23.

[38] BÍBORBANSZÜLETETT KONSTANTIN: A birodalom kormányzása. a görög szöveget kiadta és magyarra fordította MORAVCSIK GYULA. Budapest 1950. Közoktatásügyi Kiadóvállalat. 153. old.

[39] FREDEGARI CHRONICON Lib. IV. Cap. 72 – MMFH I. 23-24.

40 SASINEK FRANKO: Dejiny drievnych národov na území  terajsieho Uhorska (A régebbi népek története a mai Magyarország területén.)(The History of the Older Peoples in the present territory of Hungary) 1. edition: Szakolca 1867., 2. edition: Túrócszentmárton 1878. 153. old. (this is what we are using.)

41 JOANNES EPHESINUS: Egyháztörténet III. könyv, 25. fejezet. (Church History, Book III. Chapter 25) RATKOS: Pramene... 1964. 44. oldal. – In Niederle’s version the translation appears as follows: (When Tiberious ascended the throne after Justinius) „From every direction war was threatening, namely on the part of the cursed tribes of the Slavs and the long, curly-haired Avars, who did not leave him in peace for a second. . .” NIEDERLE: Starozitnosti… after p. 205.

42 See Footnote 19 above, i.e. in Part II. point 1. b. as well as the introduction to Part V.

43 We are referring to the triple campaign, which took place in AD. 811, in which one of the armies of Charlemagne “was sent to Pannonia to stop the battles between the Huns (i.e. Avars) and the Slavs.” („ Pannonias, ad controversiai Hunnorum et Sclavorum finiendas...”) ANNALES REGNI FRANCORUM, ad annum 811. — MMFH. I. 44.

44  In connection with the data from the Conversio, see Footnote 18, above, i.e. Part II. point 1.b.


46 DE ADMINISTRANDO IMPERII. Cap. 29 published by MORAVCSIK: A birodalom kormányzása.(The Government of the Empire) The Hungarian text is on p. 123, line 26, the Greek text is on p. 122, lines 33 and 39.  – Cf. MMFH. III. pp. 385, 386.

47 In the interest of clarification, I note that the word “or” in the original Slovak text was “cize”, which means the same thing.  In Ratkos’ published source Pramene . . . 1964, on pp. 310, 311, we can find the correct text:  „Slovania za riekou, ktorí sa i Avarmi nazývajú…”

48 We present all three chapters from the translation of Gyula Moravcsik, which is mentioned in Footnote 39.  The translation of Chapter 29 is to be found on pp. 123-125, Chapter 30 on pp. 139-143 and Chapter 31 on pp. 147-149. 

49 This clearly proves the administrative reform of Diocletianus which appears in the Verona Record.  At that time, the Province of Dalmatia (Provincia Dalmatiae) was one of the seven Pannonian provinces which made up the Diocese of Pannonia (Dioecesis Pannoniarum). Cf.  Theodor Mommsen:  Verzeichniss der römischen Provinzen aufgesetzt um 297. Gesammte Schriften. V. Berlin 1908. 563    

50 Cf. Table 2. the sections G, H and I.  In chapters 29 and 30, section G talks of the reason for the events but only in chapter 29, in section M, can we find the more lengthy continuation  and, in both chapters, in section I, we can read the result.  The date of these events can be found in chapter 30 in sections L and N, and in chapter 29 in section O, where the rule of Emperor Heracles is discussed (610-664).

51 „Ante bellum Italicum gothorum imperium ex Gallorum agro adusque Daciae fines, ubi civitas Sirmium est, protendebatur.” – PROCOPIUS: Historia Arcana. Cap. 18

52 Constantine the Great’s administrative reform can be placed between AD. 324 and 395 and again between 435 and 441 (until the appearance of the Huns).  The Dioecesis Pannoniarum, or the Dioecesis Illyrici, consisted of ten provinces:  The two Noricums, four Pannonias, Dalmatia, Moesia Superior and the two Dacias.  The role of the earlier established seat of the diocese (535) – Justiniana Primana – after the invasion of the Balkan Slavs, was taken over by Salona, whose bishop was named to be Archbishop. 

53 Moreso because, from AD. 578 on, the Eastern Slavs, on the Byzantium side of the lower Danube, in fact eradicated the Byzantine Empire.  The Dioecesis of Illyr, i.e. Dalmatia, remained.  Because of this, it is understandable that the Avar-Byzantine battles began in Singidunum (Belgrade) and moved toward Salona.

54 MENANDER PROTECTOR: EL. p.208 11-210.2 – Hungarian translation:  SZÁDECZKY-KARDOSS SAMU: Az  avar történelem forrásai III. Az avar-bizánci kapcsolatok alakulása a honfoglalás lezáródásától Sirmium elfoglalásáig. (Sources of the Avar History, III. – The Establishment of the Avar-Byzantine Connections from the Time of the End of the Homecoming to the capture of Sirmium.) Archaeologiai Értesítő, Budapest 106 (1979) 2. notebook, 225., 233

55 THEOPHYLACTUS SYMOCATTA VI.5. – SZÁDECZKY-KARDOSS: i.m. AÉ. 108 (1981) 2. füzet 224-225.

56 THEOPHYLACTUS SYMOCATTA VII. 10-12 és THEOPHANES a.m. 6090, 6091. SZÁDECZKY-KARDOSS: i.m. AÉ 109 (1982) 1. füzet 141-143. This event must not be confused with the destruction of Salona, which took place in AD. 639.


a.m. 6085, 6086, 6087. – SZÁDECZKY-KARDOSS: i.m. AÉ 108. (1981) 2. füzet 227-231

58 See PETER RATKOS: Pramene k dejinám Velkej Moravy. I. edition, Bratislava, 1964. p. 311. II. edition, Bratislava, 1968.  – Magnae Moraviae Fontes Historici   III. Brno, 1969. p. 387. In this last edition this omission was only noted in Point No. 8 in the Greek Text.

59 EISNER, JÁN: Devinska Nová Ves (Dévényújfalu). Bratislava 1952

60 B. SZATMÁRI SAROLTA: A dévényújfalusi temető etnikai és történeti problémái. (The Ethnic and Historical problems of the Cemetery at Dévényújfalu) Komárom Megyei Múzeumok Közleményei I. Tata 1968. 107-132. plus one map.

61 B. SZATMÁRI: Op. Cit. 110

62 RATKOS: Pramene... 1964. 320-345. Hudúd Al-Alam does not appear in his list of sources.

63 In the letter of Teotmár, the Archbishop of Salzburg, and his assistant to Pope John IX. in AD. 900, Teotmár objected to the fact that the new Ecclesiastical organization of Great Moravia offended the rights of  his Diocese of Passau.  This diocese, as many documents prove, comprised of Pannonia Secunda (the eastern half of the territory between the Dráva and Száva rivers) and Moesia Superior (the territory below the Danube, between Belgrade and the Iron Gate.)  In connection with Nyitra the document states the following:  “At the request of Duke Svatopluk, your predecessor consecrated Wiching as a bishop, but never sent him to the ancient Diocese of Passau, instead sent him to a newly christianized people, whom the Duke controlled by force so that they could become Christian.” GYÖRFFY GYÖRGY: A magyarok elődeiről (The Ancestors of the Magyars). Budapest 1975. p. 219.  Therefore, the Archbishop of Salzburg – whose predecessor, according to the Slav historians, consecrated a church in Nyitra for Pribina – stated, to the best of his knowledge, that the christianization of Nyitra was not accomplished by his predecessor or by the Bishop of Passau – and, as it becomes clear from his words, Nyitra was not christianized around AD. 833 but only at the time of Svatopluk’s victorious campaigns, between 873 and 880, and became a province of Great Moravia. 



64 SLOVENSKO I-DEJ. 160-161

65  The fact that the writer of the document does not use the generally used name of the Province or March of the Avars, proves that this was a strong local usage of the name.  It also proves that,  in AD. 860, the name of the Avars was Wangar.  For the connection with the Magyar name see  OLAJOS TERÉZ: Adalék a (H)ung(a)ri(i) népnév és a késői avarkori etnikum történetéhez.  (Addendum to the history of the name of the (H)ung(a)ri(i) people and the later Avar ethnikum.) Antik Tanulmányok. Budapest 1969. pp. 87-90

66   We will write more about this in detail in Point No. 4. (See the closing section)

67 PÜSPÖKI NAGY P.: Püspöki mezőváros története.(The History of the Market Town of Püspöki)  Dom osvety. 1968. 14-19. 48, 118, 119, stb. We have analyzed it methodically in our study entitled  „Limes Romanus...” (data in Note. No. 9.)pp. 129-175.

68 ZsKO. I. 6192.  My two studies mentioned in the previous footnote contain many many more data. Especially in the “…limes Romanus…” pp. 152-156.

69 PÜSPÖKI NAGY P.: Püspöki mezőváros története. (The History of the Market Town of Püspöki) p.119.

70 STANISLAV, JÁN: Slovensky juh II. 567-568

71 MMFH.I. 44. In the note at the foot of p. 8.  DÜMMLER: Über die südöstlichen Marken des fränkischen Reiches unter dem Karolingern 795-907. Archiv für Kunde d. österr. Geschichte. X. (1853), 9. és KURZE, F.: Annales... 135.

72 MGH. Dipl. Ludwig d. D. 11. No. 9 – MMFH. III. 31-33.

73 MGH. Dipl. Ludwig d. D. 21. No. 18 – MMFH III. 34-35.

74 MGH. Dipl. Ludwig d. D.142. No. 98 MMFH. III. 52-53

75 Urkundenbuch d.L. Burgenland I. 12. No. 21 – MMFH. III. 889-89.



76 PÜSPÖKI NAGY P.: Püspöki mezőváros... 50-60.

77 „...ubi antiquis temporibus multa fuerunt mirabiliter constructa aedificia, et tunc paene dilapsa silvisque cooperta.”CONVERSIO ... Cap.1. – MMFH III. 295

78 KRISTÓ GYULA.: Szempontok korai helyneveink történeti tipológiájához. (The viewpoint of Historical Typology of the Early Place-names) Acta Univ. Szeged. Tom. LV. Szeged. 1976. 50. skk.

79 MMFH. III. 32 and RATKOS: Pramene... 1964. 160

80 PICHLEROVÁ MAGDA: Nové Kosariská (Misérd) Kniezacie hroby zo starsej doby zeleznej (Royal graves from the early Iron Age). Bratislava, 1969. Cf.: The map on p. 9 and the photo of the mounds on pp. 47 and 48.

81  Cf.: MMFH. II. 57

82 MMFH. II. 106

83 Magyar Nyelv (Budapest) 1977. Issue No. 3. 303-313. See further the conference booklet: „800 ÉVES A MAGYAR HIVATALI  ÍRÁSBELISÉG” (800 years of Hungarian Literacy)  Bp. 1983.

84 Magyar Nyelv 1977. 308-309

85 DVORNIK, F.: Les Légendes.... 207-209. MMFH. III. 106

86 We must note that the researchers of the territory of Moravia have never clarified the many alterations to  the size of Pannonia, especially in regard to the ninth century.  In connection with this Lubomir Yhavlik honestly noted: “Up to now, nobody has studied how large Pannonia was in the time of Svatopluk and how large Svatopluk’s territory in Pannonia actually was.  Generally they have regarded Pannonia as an antique Carolingian possession.”  HAVLIK L.: Územni rozsah… Slovanské stúdie III. 68. In Pittsburgh, at the Duquesne University XVI. History Forum,  October 1982., this question was analyzed and resolved

87 Az ősi Nyitra... Irodalmi szemle, 1976. 133-134

88 Cf.: GYÖRFFY GYÖRGY.: István király és műve. (King Steven and his works) Gondolat, Budapest 1977. 340. A szakirodalom 567.

89 MARSINA RICHARD: Codex diplomaticus et epistolaris Slovaciae. Tom. I. Bratislava 1971. 63. old. 35. sor

90 KUCERA, MATUS: Desatinná a stotinná organizácia obyvatelstva.... Historické studie XI. (1966) 70-71. and GYÖRFFY GYÖRGY: A tizes és százas szervezet. (The organizations according to the decimal system.) MTA. II. Oszt. Közl. 22 (1973) 57-64. and Ibid.: István király és műve (King Stephen and his works. (cf. Footnote 88.) 454


91 See Footnote No. 12 for the bibliographic data of the two syntheses.

92  By Pannonia in the age of Justinius I, we mean the former Pannonia Secunda and the Civitas Bacensis.  The latter means the territory of the former counties of  Bács, Bodrog and Csongrád.  For the sources of the geographical information regarding Nyitrawára, see Part II. point no. 6 of my study about the location of Great Moravia.  (Bibliographic data can be found in Section no. VI. following the introduction.)


93 „Bellum pessimum fecit ad Brezalauspurc IIII nonas lulii.” – Annal. Iuvavenses Max. ad annum 907. –MMFH. I. 131.

94 DÜMMLER, E.: Geschichte des Ostfränkischen Reiches 1888. III. 548. Ortvay could not refute Dümmler’s reasoning. Cf. ORTVAY T.: Pozsony város története( The History of the City of Pozsony) I. 60



97 „Otázka povodu podunajského typu nie je za dnesného stavu bádania riesitel’ná, ale zdá sa, ze táto keramika v Karpatskej kotline má svoj povod uz v náleziskách presovského typu na vychodnom Slovensku vo 4. a 5. storoci.” SLOVENSKO I. –DEJ 165

98 ANNALES REGNI FRANCORUM ad annum 828. – MMFH. I. 52.



99   The Stará Duna – which means Old Danube – in the Middle Ages, was the supposed Slav name for section of the Danube between Pozsonypüspöki and Dénesd, based on a mistake in the reading of a document.  The mistaken reading is attributed to Gusztáv Wenczel in 1862, (AUO. III. 28)  In his collection of documents, he had a document of sale by the Abbot of Pannonhalma from 1262 (Phalmi rendi lt. Capsa. 43. V.) and he read the following, in connection with the mentioned name:  „quandam insulam Stara Duna vocatam. . .” This data was taken over by the Slovak historiography and the history of linguistics.  Pongrác Sörös already in 1903 noticed  the paleographic difficulty of Wenczel’s understanding of the text, at the time of a new critical edition of the document.  (PRT. II. 320. No. 55.).  He noticed that the word Stara was not present in the document.  There was a shorter word in its place, which he read as Star because he was not completely free of the influence of Wenczel.  Although the reading of Sörös is closer to the original, it is still not correct.   The experts in the reading of the documents of the Middle Ages are well aware that, in the 13th century documents and other written texts, the cursive –c- and the letter – t – were identical.  The correct reading depended upon the context.  The context meant nothing to Wenczel so he altered the text to stara.    The correction made by Sörös – Star-Duna – has no meaning either.  Therefore, we began to search for a later document dealing with the same island, in which there is a difference in the method of writing the – c-  and the –t-,   so that we might finally resolve this question.  This how we finally stumbled upon the Pozsony Chapter note o. lt. 33-2-5, in the document of 1421, named  ‘Insula Sarduna’.  On the basis of geographical data in this document, this island-name refers to the island mentioned in the document of 1262.  The island in question was therefore Sarduna.  Immediately the question arises whether, in the Latin text of this document of 1421, the pronunciation of the ‘s’ was the Hungarian s or the Hungarian sz.  With the aid of the document of 1262, we can state unequivocally that, here, the ‘sz’ pronunciation should be used which, in that document, was written with – ‘sc’ -, while in the document of 1421, it was written - ‘s’.   This –‘sc’ – both Wenczel and Sörös mistakenly understood as ‘st’.  The ‘sc’, however, is similar to ‘z’, as is shown in many Hungarian language remains e.g. the Halotti Beszéd: Scerelmetes, scegin read: szerelmetes, szegin (PAIS: Ősmagyar olvasókönyv 70) and in the 13th century, served as ‘sz’.  The name ‘Scar Duna’ for the name Szerduna, however, is very clear.  The word ‘szar’ as we have mentioned in the text, in the earlier sources meant ‘bald’ ‘bare’, e.g. Szárhegy (mountain without trees), Szár László (László the Bald) etc.  The Szár Duna therefore, was the name of a branch of the Danube, or in this case the name of an island, surrounded by the Danube, on which there were no bushes or trees.  (For the meaning of the word ‘szár’, see Kálmán Béla: Nevek világa. Budapest 1973. 159  and  FNEtSz 596.)  The reading Stara Duna for  Scar Duna is based on a mistake and is the result of a forced interpretation of the text and is therefore untenable.


100 AÉ Budapest 1970. 161-190

101 Peter Ratkos has spread his false statements only in sensational newspapers, as if the statements of Imre Boba and those who agree with him are not supported by contemporary sources, but by later, doubtful accounts.  For example, his article, which appeared in the Pozsony Vecernik, January 8, 1982 issue, on page 8, with the convincing title: “Vel’ká Morava bola na nasom územi. Presvedcivé argumenty proti názorom pseudovedcov.”  (Great Moravia was on our territory.  Convincing arguments against the views of the pseudo-scholars.) 

102 „Svoju obhajohu vsak uskutocnuje neobvyklym, jemu vlastnym sposobom ... usiluje sa spochybnit vsetky vysledky, ktoré som v svojej práci dosiahol. KUCERA, MATÚS: Nad otázkami nasich vcasnostredovekych dejín (Questions about our History in the Middle Ages)  Poznámky k úvahe Petra Ratkosa (Notes for Peter Ratkos’ reflection) Historicky casopis. Bratislava 1977. 73.  (The Question of the Border of Great Moravia and Bulgaria)

103 For example:  RATKOS, P.: K otázke hranic Vel’kej Moravy a Bulharska.  (The Question of the Border of Great Moravia and Bulgaria)  Historicky casopis III. (1955)- 206-218.  We have quoted this source several times.

104 Irodalmi Szemle. Pozsony XXI (1978). 564

105 See note number 2 for data about his book.