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The Avarmark at the time of Charlemagne

The Avarmark ( Avaria ) was first a Franconian and later an East Franconian border mark . Other names were "oriens", "terra avarorum", "provincia avarorum", "plaga orientalis" ("Ostland") or "Pannonian Mark". The area included what is now Lower Austria , Burgenland and north-west Hungary . The mark was originally intended to protect the imperial borders against the Avars ruling Pannonia and Eastern Central Europe . After the end of the Avar Wars, the Avarmark also comprised large parts of the defeated former Avar Empire itself.


Battle on the border between Franconia and Avars

Representation from the Stuttgart Psalter : Battle between Franks and Avars

The Avars invaded by about 560 from Central Asia to Europe before. In the 7th and 8th centuries, the entire area of ​​the later Avarmark was part of the Avar Empire. From the middle of the 8th century, the Avars increasingly threatened the interests of the Franks in strategically important regions of Central Europe . Already at the time of the Bavarian Duke Tassilo III. had Graf Ottocher , founder of St. Poelten (771 Monastery of St. Hippolytus ), the Avars on the Ybbsfeld defeated and behind the Kamp and the Vienna Woods pushed back. To protect his empire against the Avars, Charlemagne began to set up a border guard after the armed conflict of 788. Karl's father-in-law, Count Gerold in der Baar , who had been Prefect in Baiern since Tassilo's disempowerment in 788 , was responsible for protecting the border. After Gerold's death, this function was divided between Count Werner I , who was stationed in Lorch, and Goteram . Lower Pannonia was under the Duke of Friuli.

Expansion and expansion of the Grenzmark

Submission of the Avars

In several stages it was possible to subdue the Avars. The first advance took place under Charlemagne in 791. Further campaigns followed in 796, 803, 805 and 811. In the course of these wars, the border area, which had come under the Franconian sphere of influence, was successively advanced far into Pannonia . Karl's Avar campaigns ended with the submission of the Chagan and other Avar dignitaries. Even before their final submission, Karl had established an Avar tributary principality. Between 799 and 803 the Avars rebelled again. In the year 805 a dependent principality was created between Carnuntum and Sabaria within the Avarmark. The Christian Kapchan Theodor, later Chagan Abraham, held the sovereignty over it. In church terms, the area between Enns and Raab was subordinated to the Diocese of Passau . The Archbishop of Salzburg was responsible for the area around Lake Balaton and between Raab, Danube and Drava , the Bishop of Aquileia for the area south of the Drava.

Independent Grenzmark

After the end of the Avar Wars, the former Avar Empire was incorporated into the Franconian Empire as an independently organized Grenzmark and subordinated to Count Werner I, Prefect. As successors of Werner, who as prefect of the Bavarian Ostland were also responsible for the administration of the Awarenmark, are known: Albrih, Gotafrid , Gerold II (from 826 to 832/33 at the latest), Ratpot (832/833 to 854) and Karlmann ( from 856). The seat of this prefect was Lorch . The feudal bearers ( counts ) of the Mark had special military tasks and powers, for which they were allowed to raise taxes (Marchfutter). In the Avarmark, in addition to the "old settlements" from the Avar times, new settlements of Bavarians and free Slavs, who had been driven out by their old Avar masters, arose . But there were also common settlements of Bavarians and Slavs.

Ludwig the German

In 817 King Ludwig the Pious hands over the Bavarian homeland of Tassilos III to his son Ludwig the German . ( Nordgau ) and the Bavarian Ostland including Awarenmark with its semi-autonomous Slavic peoples.


The "old settlers" of the country were mainly Slavs and their Avar masters. With the increasing influx of the Franconian population, the name Pannonia became common . In the years 819 to 823 the fighting between the Franks and Prince Ljudevit von Sisak threatened the Franconian rule in Lower Pannonia. But the Franks remained victorious. In 828, Charles Avaria was incorporated into the Marchia orientalis (Bavarian Ostland, Ostmark) and thus part of the Duchy of Bavaria, together with the Karantanien region , which also included Slavonia . With the Treaty of Verdun in 843, the Avarmark and Baiern came to Eastern Franconia under Ludwig the German . In the year 870 the name plaga orientalis can finally be traced and the name Avarmark slowly disappeared. The march was incorporated into the following area constructions and shared history with the Marcha orientalis as an integral part of it.

Territories of the Mark

In the east, the Avaria probably extended beyond Lake Balaton . In the southeast it extended to Croatia and Slovenia . In the south-west it joined Charles’s former Lombard northern Italy. Charlemagne had already given part of the Mark (an area in the Wachau ) to the Bavarian monastery Niederaltaich . The Avarmark was divided into:

These areas were partly even further subdivided into sub-counties.


  • Manfred Scheuch : Historical Atlas Austria . Verlag Christian Brandstätter, Vienna 1994. Licensed edition: Austria - Province, World Empire, Republic. A historical atlas . Verlag Das Beste, Vienna 1994, ISBN 3-87070-588-4 . ( Settlement by the Slavs approx. 550–906. P. 20 f., Avar rule and invasion of the Magyars 582–955. P. 22 f.)

Individual evidence

  1. Kleindel: Austria, Numbers - Data - Facts , special edition A&M 2004, ISBN 3-902397-49-7
  2. ^ Rolf Bauer, Harald Knoll: Austria. A millennium of history in the heart of Europe Authors. Heyne, Munich 1994 ISBN 3-453-08387-3 , p. 23.
  3. a b c d Andreas Schwarzc: Pannonia . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages (LexMA). Volume 6, Artemis & Winkler, Munich / Zurich 1993, ISBN 3-7608-8906-9 , Sp. 1655-1657.
  4. a b c Herwig Wolfram: Salzburg, Bavaria, Austria. The Conversio Bagoariorum et Carantanorum and the sources of their time. Verlag Oldenbourg, Vienna / Munich 1996, ISBN 3-486-64833-0 , p. 47.