March of Pannonia

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Map of Carolingian Empire showing location of Pannonian March. Central Europe in Carolingian times.jpg
Map of Carolingian Empire showing location of Pannonian March.

The Eastern March (Latin : marcha orientalis) or March of Pannonia was a frontier march of the Carolingian Empire, named after the former Roman province of Pannonia . It was erected in the mid-ninth century in the lands of the former Avar Khaganate against the threat of Great Moravia and lasted only as long as the strength of that state. It was referred to in some documents as terminum regni Baioariorum in Oriente or "the end of the kingdom of the Bavarians in the east" and from this is sometimes called the "(Bavarian) eastern march," a term more commonly used to refer to the later Margraviate of Austria, established in 976 as a sort of late successor state. The East Frankish rulers appointed margraves (prefects) to govern the March.

In medieval Europe, a march or mark was, in broad terms, any kind of borderland, as opposed to a notional "heartland". More specifically, a march was a border between realms, and/or a neutral/buffer zone under joint control of two states, in which different laws might apply. In both of these senses, marches served a political purpose, such as providing warning of military incursions, or regulating cross-border trade, or both.

Carolingian Empire final stage in the history of the early medieval realm of the Franks, ruled by the Carolingian dynasty

The Carolingian Empire (800–888), also known as the Empire of the Romans and Franks, was a large Frankish-dominated empire in western and central Europe during the early Middle Ages. It was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty, which had ruled as kings of the Franks since 751 and as kings of the Lombards in Italy from 774. In 800, the Frankish king Charlemagne was crowned emperor in Rome by Pope Leo III in an effort to revive the Roman Empire in the west. The Carolingian Empire is considered the first phase in the history of the Holy Roman Empire, which lasted until 1806.

Great Moravia 9th century Slavic state

Great Moravia, the Great Moravian Empire, or simply Moravia, was the first major state that was predominantly West Slavic to emerge in the area of Central Europe, chiefly on what is now the territory of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Serbia (Vojvodina). The only formation preceding it in these territories was Samo's Empire known from between 631 and 658 AD. Great Moravia was thus the first joint state of the Slavonic tribes that became later known as Czechs and Slovaks and that later formed Czechoslovakia.



Charlemagne, temporarily allied with Khan Krum of Bulgaria, from 791 onwards had launched several military campaigns against the Avars and had established the Avar March (Avaria) on the southeastern frontier of his realm, ruled by his brother-in-law Prefect Gerold of Bavaria. When the Avar Khaganate finally collapsed in 804, Emperor Charlemagne re-arranged Avaria into:

Charlemagne Holy Roman Emperor

Charlemagne or Charles the Great, numbered Charles I, was king of the Franks from 768, king of the Lombards from 774, and emperor of the Romans from 800. During the Early Middle Ages, he united the majority of western and central Europe. He was the first recognised emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire. He was later canonized by Antipope Paschal III.

Krum Khan of Bulgaria

Krum, often referred to as Krum the Fearsome was the Khan of Bulgaria from sometime between 796 and 803 until his death in 814. During his reign the Bulgarian territory doubled in size, spreading from the middle Danube to the Dnieper and from Odrin to the Tatra Mountains. His able and energetic rule brought law and order to Bulgaria and developed the rudiments of state organization.

First Bulgarian Empire medieval Bulgarian state that existed in southeastern Europe between the 7th and 11th centuries AD

The First Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state that existed in Southeastern Europe between the 7th and 11th centuries AD. It was founded in 681 when Bulgar tribes led by Asparuh moved to the northeastern Balkans. There they secured Byzantine recognition of their right to settle south of the Danube by defeating – possibly with the help of local South Slavic tribes – the Byzantine army led by Constantine IV. At the height of its power, Bulgaria spread from the Danube Bend to the Black Sea and from the Dnieper River to the Adriatic Sea.

Pannonia Superior

Pannonia Superior, lit. Upper Pannonia, was a province of the Roman Empire. Its capital was Carnuntum. It was one on the border provinces on the Danube. It was formed in the year 103 AD by Emperor Trajan who divided the former province of Pannonia into two parts: Pannonia Superior and Pannonia Inferior. The province included parts of present-day states of Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

Enns (river) river in Austria

The Enns is a southern tributary of the Danube River, joining northward at Enns, Austria. The Enns River spans 253 kilometres (157 mi), in a flat-J-shape. It flows from its source near the towns of Gasthofalm and Flachau, generally eastward through Radstadt, Schladming, and Liezen, then turns north near Hieflau, to flow past Weyer and Ternberg through Steyr, and further north to the Danube at Enns.

Vienna Woods mountain range near Vienna, Austria

The Vienna Woods are forested highlands that form the northeastern foothills of the Northern Limestone Alps in the states of Lower Austria and Vienna. The 45 kilometres (28 mi) long and 20–30 kilometres (12–19 mi) wide range of hills is heavily wooded and a popular recreation area with the Viennese.

The eastern part of the former Khaganate between the Danube and Tisza Rivers was occupied by the Bulgars.

Danube River in Central Europe

The Danube is Europe's second longest river, after the Volga. It is located in Central and Eastern Europe.

Tisza river in Europe

The Tisza, Tysa or Tisa is one of the main rivers of Central and Eastern Europe. Once, it was called "the most Hungarian river" because it flowed entirely within the Kingdom of Hungary. Today, it crosses several national borders.

In 817 Emperor Louis the Pious granted Bavaria with Avaria to his minor son Louis the German. When the Avars disappeared in the 820s, they were replaced largely by West Slavs, who settled Pannonia from the state of Great Moravia.[ citation needed ] From 819 Lower Pannonia was the site of a rebellion led by Duke Ljudevit Posavski against the rule of Duke Cadolah of Friuli and his successor Baldric.

Louis the Pious Holy Roman Emperor

Louis the Pious, also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of the Franks and co-emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813. He was also King of Aquitaine from 781. As the only surviving adult son of Charlemagne and Hildegard, he became the sole ruler of the Franks after his father's death in 814, a position which he held until his death, save for the period 833–34, during which he was deposed.

Louis the German King of Germany

Louis "the German", also known as Louis II, was the first king of East Francia, and ruled from 843–876 AD. Grandson of emperor Charlemagne and the third son of Louis the Pious, emperor of Francia, and his first wife, Ermengarde of Hesbaye, he received the appellation Germanicus shortly after his death in recognition of Magna Germania of the Roman Empire, reflecting the Carolingian's assertions that they were the rightful descendants of the Roman Empire

West Slavs group of Slavic peoples speaking the West Slavic languages (Czechs, Poles, Slovaks, Sorbs, Kashubians, Moravians, Silesians), separating from the common Slavic group around the 7th century in Central Europe

The West Slavs are a subgroup of Slavic peoples who speak the West Slavic languages. They separated from the common Slavic group around the 7th century, and established independent polities in Central Europe by the 8th to 9th centuries. The West Slavic languages diversified into their historically attested forms over the 10th to 14th centuries.

By resolution of an 828 Imperial Diet, Baldric of Friuli was deposed and the March of Pannonia was set apart as a frontier march against Moravia within the Frankish regnum of Bavaria. This march, already called marcha orientalis, corresponded to a frontier along the Danube, from the Traungau and the former Slavic principality of Carantania to Szombathely and the Rába River including the Vienna basin. The Bavarian prefects had to face the rising threat by the Moravian ruler Mojmir I, who pursued separatist policies in the Eastern March. In turn, King Louis the German had the Slavic Duchy of Lower Pannonia established in 839, ruled by Mojmir's opponent Prince Pribina with his residence at Zalavár on Lake Balaton. By the 843 Treaty of Verdun, the Pannonian march together with Bavaria became part of Louis' kingdom of East Francia. Meanwhile the Moravian threat continued; in 854 Prefect Radbod was even accused of having forged an alliance with Mojmir's successor Prince Rastislav and deposed.

Imperial Diet (Holy Roman Empire) general assembly of the Holy Roman Empire

The Imperial Diet was the deliberative body of the Holy Roman Empire. It was not a legislative body in the contemporary sense; its members envisioned it more like a central forum where it was more important to negotiate than to decide.

Carantania former country

Carantania, also known as Carentania, was a Slavic principality that emerged in the second half of the 7th century, in the territory of present-day southern Austria and north-eastern Slovenia. It was the predecessor of the March of Carinthia, created within the Carolingian Empire in 889.

Szombathely City with county rights in Western Transdanubia, Hungary

Szombathely is the 10th largest city in Hungary. It is the administrative centre of Vas county in the west of the country, located near the border with Austria. Szombathely lies by the streams Perint and Gyöngyös, where the Alpokalja mountains meet the Little Hungarian Plain. The oldest city in Hungary, it is known as the birthplace of Saint Martin of Tours.

Two years later, King Louis ceded the march directly to his son Carloman of Bavaria, who had the fortifications of Herzogenburg and Wilhelmsburg erected along the Traisen River by the Wilhelminer margraves William and Engelschalk I. Likewise, the castle of Tulln on the Danube is documented in 859. In 871 William and Engelschalk died in battle against the Moravians, whereafter Carloman vested their rival Aribo of Austria with Upper Pannonia. When his father Louis died in 876, Carloman succeeded him as East Frankish king and gave Lower Pannonia to his son Arnulf of Carinthia. From 882, the rule was enfeebled by the Wilhelminer War of Margrave Engelschalk II against the Aribonids, whereafter Prince Svatopluk I of Moravia took the occasion to invade the Pannonian lands. In 893 Arnulf, East Frankish king since 887, installed Margrave Luitpold.

By the 890s, the Pannonian march seems to have disappeared, along with the threat from Great Moravia, during the Hungarian invasions of Europe. Upon the defeat of Margrave Luitpold at the 907 Battle of Pressburg, all East Frankish lands beyond the Enns river were lost. The Pannonian march itself does not appear to have survived into the eleventh century.



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Aribo was margrave of the Carolingian March of Pannonia from 871 until his death. He is recognised as a progenitor of the Aribonid dynasty.

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Luitpold, Margrave of Bavaria German noble

Luitpold, perhaps of the Huosi family or related to the Carolingian dynasty by Liutswind, mother of Emperor Arnulf of Carinthia, was the ancestor of the Luitpolding dynasty which ruled Bavaria and Carinthia until the mid-tenth century.

Eric was the Duke of Friuli from 789 to his death. He was the eldest son of Gerold of Vinzgouw and by the marriage of his sister Hildegard the brother-in-law of Charlemagne.

The Luitpoldings were a medieval dynasty which ruled the German stem duchy of Bavaria from some time in the late ninth century off and on until 985.

William (II) was the margrave of the March of Pannonia in the mid ninth century until his death on campaign against the Moravians in 871. In his day, the march orientalis corresponded to a front along the Danube from the Traungau to Szombathely and the Rába river and including the Vienna basin. It was a military frontier zone against Avaria.

Engelschalk I was the margrave of the March of Pannonia in the mid ninth century until his death on campaign against the Moravians in 871. In his day, the march orientalis corresponded to a front along the Danube from the Traungau to the Szombathely and Raba rivers and including the Vienna basin. It was a military frontier zone against Great Moravia.

Wilhelminer War was a minor war fought in the March of Pannonia from 882 to 884. It was initially a rebellion of the sons of the margraves William II and Engelschalk I, led by Engelschalk II, against the new margrave Aribo. Svatopluk I of Great Moravia intervened as an ally of Aribo because he had been at war with William and Engelschalk when the two died in 871. The "Wilhelminers" were the descendants of William I, father of the two late margraves.

Engelschalk II was the margrave of the March of Pannonia in the late ninth century in opposition to Aribo. In his day, the march orientalis corresponded to a front along the Danube from the Traungau to the Szombathely and Raba rivers and including the Vienna basin.

March of Friuli

The March of Friuli was a Carolingian frontier march, established in 776 as the continuation of the Lombard Duchy of Friuli, established against the Slavs and Avars. It was ceded to the Duchy of Bavaria as the March of Verona in 952. Its territory comprised parts of modern-day Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.

March of Carinthia

The March of Carinthia was a frontier district (march) of the Carolingian Empire created in 889. Before it was a march, it had been a principality or duchy ruled by native-born Slavic princes at first independently and then under Bavarian and subsequently Frankish suzerainty. The realm was divided into counties which, after the succession of the Carinthian duke to the East Frankish throne, were united in the hands of a single authority as a march of defence against the Slavs of Pannonian Croatia. When the march of Carinthia was raised into a Duchy in 976, a new Carinthian march was created. It became the later March of Styria.

Margraviate of Austria Southeastern frontier march of the Holy Roman Empire, 976–1156

The Margraviate of Austria was a southeastern frontier march of the Holy Roman Empire created in 976 out of the territory on the border with the Principality of Hungary. Originally under the overlordship of the Dukes of Bavaria, it was ruled by margraves of the Franconian Babenberg dynasty. It became an Imperial State in its own right, when the Babenbergs were elevated to Dukes of Austria in 1156.

The Wilhelminers were a noble Bavarian family of the 9th century. They rose to prominence mid-century under the brothers William and Engelschalk I, sons of William I, the founder of the family. The family held the March of Pannonia until 871, but their possession of it was the cause of a dispute, the Wilhelminer War, with the Aribonids. In the dispute the Wilhelminers had the support of Arnulf of Carinthia and Svatopluk of Moravia.

Avar March former country

The Avar March was a southeastern frontier district of the Carolingian Empire, established in the late 8th century by Charlemagne against the Eurasian Avars on the Danube River, in what is today Lower Austria.

The Aribonids were a noble family of probably Bavarian origin who rose to preeminence in the Carolingian March of Pannonia and the later Margraviate of Austria in the late ninth and early tenth centuries. The dynasty is named after its ancestor Margrave Aribo of Austria. The Aribonids maintained influence in the Duchy of Bavaria, the Austrian march, and other parts of Germany until the early twelfth century, when they disappear.

Lower Pannonia was an entity located in the southwestern parts of the former Roman province of Pannonia, held by Slavic rulers between the fall of the Avar Khaganate starting in the 790s, and the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin in the 890s. The Slavic counts were predominantly under Frankish suzerainty, part of Frankish Pannonia, and are known from Frankish primary sources. In the mid-9th century, Lower Pannonia was inhabited by a Slavic majority.

Radbod was the East Frankish prefect of the Eastern March, the Bavarian frontier towards the Slavs, appointed in 833. He had been appointed the office after Louis the German's conquest in 828, and subsequent Christianization of the Moravians (828–33). In 833, according to the Conversio Bagoariorum et Carantanorum, a Slavic prince, Pribina, had been "driven across the Danube by Mojmir, duke of the Moravians", and fled to Radbod in East Francia around 833. Radbod introduced him to King Louis the German, who ordered that Pribina should be "instructed in the faith and baptized", and that he serve with his followers in Radbod's army. Before long, however, Radbod and Pribina fell out, and the latter, fearing for his life, fled with his son Koceľ to the First Bulgarian Empire, and then to Lower Pannonia ruled by a Slavic duke, Ratimir. Since Lower Pannonia was part of Radbod's prefecture, Ratimir's harboring of Pribina was tantamount to rebellion, therefore, in 838, Louis the German sent Radbod at the head of a large Bavarian army to crush Ratimir, but Pribina and his followers took refuge with the count of Carniola, Salacho. In short time the latter brokered a reconciliation between Radbod and Pribina, and Louis solved the ongoing instability by appointing Pribina as his faithful dux with lands in around the Zala river. Radbod held contacts with Rastislav, ruler of the Moravians, who had long posed a danger to Bavaria. According to the Annals of St-Bertin, in 853 Charles the Bald, king of West Francia, bribed the Bulgarians to ally with the Slavs and together attack Louis the German's kingdom. In the course of the Bulgarian–Moravian attack, Louis the German deposed Radbod in 854 for infidelity, after an uprising. Radbod then formed a rebel alliance with Rastislav. In 855, Rastislav (Rastiz) rebelled, and Carloman was made prefect in Radbod's place in 856. Carloman's 858 campaign forced Rastislav to make peace.