The Mighty Magyars, a Medieval Menace to the Holy Roman Empire

The Mighty Magyars, a Medieval Menace to the Holy Roman Empire

The eighth to tenth centuries in Europe were turbulent times, as Western Europe was caught in the crossfire of invading foreign entities. Many came from the north, such as the various Viking factions from Scandinavia who struck terror into the hearts of the northern Europeans. To the south the armies of Islam, under command of the Umayyad caliphs (661–750), were making their way into Spain with their eyes set on taking Frankish territory (modern day France) and furthering the spread of Islam and during the late ninth century, invaders from the east, known as the Magyars, made their appearance in Eastern Europe.

Central and Southeastern Europe around AD 850 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Holy Roman Empire

To the west in what is today modern Germany, lay what is known in history as the Holy Roman Empire. The Holy Roman Empire was not a centralized state like that of the Franks. Rather, it was a complex collection of multi-ethnic territories composed of hundreds of sub-units: kingdoms, principalities, duchies, counties, prince-bishoprics, free imperial cities, and other domains. Due to its decentralized status it was difficult to react to external threats, which invited invaders.


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