Avar territory c. AD 600.

The Pannonian Avars also known as the Obri (in Ruthenian chronicles), the Abaroi and Varchonitai (Warhonits) (in Byzantine sources), and the Pseudo-Avars (Varchonites) (by the Göktürks), were a group of Eurasian nomads of unknown origins during the early Middle Ages. The name Pannonian Avars (after the area in which they eventually settled), is used to distinguish them from the Avars of the Caucasus – who may have been an unrelated people.

They established the Avar Khaganate, which spanned the Pannonian Basin and considerable areas of Central and Eastern Europe from the late 6th to the early 9th century. They were ruled by a khagan, who was assisted by an entourage of professional warriors.

They first entered history in the mid-6th century, on the Pontic-Caspian steppe, as a band of warriors who wished to escape the rule of the Göktürks.

The Avars' language or languages are unknown. Historical sources suggest that ruling and subject clans spoke a variety of languages. Proposals by scholars include Caucasian, Persian, Mongolic, Tungusic, and Turkic. However, over time, Proto-Slavic became the lingua franca of the Avar Khaganate.

Avars in "Islands in the Sea"[]

The Avars, like their neighbors the Bulgars, maintained their independence as late as AD 769. They were ruled by a khan.

Avars in Thessalonica[]

The Avars were a barbarian tribe in northeastern Europe. Though few in number, they became dominant over the far more plentiful Slavs and led the Slavs on an invasion of the Byzantine Empire. In both the army and in the clergy of this invasion force, the pattern was for a few powerful Avars to command large numbers of Slavs.