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  • Writer's picturepeter clings

A possible origin of the name Magyar

Updated: Dec 13, 2020

Looking at the story in the De Administrando Imperio at chapter "40. Of the clans of Kabaroi and the Turks" that made the tribal confederation that moved into Pannonia under the leadership of Arpad, the list of tribal names are as follows:

  • Kabaroi, which split from the Chazars and were the most powerful

  • Nekis

  • Megeris

  • Kourtougermatos

  • Tarianos

  • Genach

  • Kari

  • Kasi

But Turkic they were not. The Byzantine text actually mentions that very clearly at chapter "38. Of the genealogy of the nation of the Turks, and whence they are descended" where the text explicitly mentions that

"Now in this place, the aforesaid Lebedia, there runs a river Chidmas, also called Chingilous. They were not called Turks at that time, but had the name 'Sabartoi asphaloi' for some reason or another"

Except the Chazars, all the other tribes were called as Turkic but none were in fact that. They lived in the land of the Pechene. That land, one stage prior the Medieval one is specified by the local rivers given as Barounch, Koubou, Tronllos, Broutos, and Seretos. It was there that the ancient tribes elected a Prince called Arpad from among themselves to stand against the Pecheneg. It was also that time when they assumed the name of 'Turks' as to remind themselves of the previous collaboration with the Khazar Empire

The name closest to the modern day self assumed name for the Hungarians, that is 'Magyar', is 'Megeris'. From the Byzantine assessment, it must have been of a Sebiric origin of a people who lived in the close proximity of the Caucasus mountain range within or in association with the Kazar Empire

Although the image above points to the location just one removed from the modern day distribution, before that they were told to have been lived next to the Pechenegs close to the Northern banks of the Caspian Sea. That location would have made them exposed to the linguistics of the Middle East especially the very influential Persian language

In the Persian language, after the adoption of the Islam, a new words came about to describe the status of a person in relation to the faith. One of those Persian words that reverberated though the Ottoman Turkish down to the pre modern time is that of 'gaur' in the Turkish form as 'giaur'. It is a derogatory term to define non believers or the infidels

The name Magyar could be a composed one that is the Turkic negation prefix 'ma' and the Turkic 'giaur' with the meaning 'one who is not an infidel'

The Hungarian language actually preserves a few words containing the same root 'gyar' as Magyar:

  • 'Gyarmat' - (Eng. for 'Colony') which could actually mean a land of captured infidels from the composition of 'gyar' + 'mat', where the suffix means in Persian 'captured' as in the Chess game that inherits the word 'Chessmate' from 'Shahmat'

  • 'Gyarlo' - (Eng. for 'poor quality') which could actually come from the composition of 'gyar' + 'lo', where the suffix means 'horse'

  • etc

Most likely, the word 'gyar' became synonym to that of a lesser insulting 'subject of' in any court documents where the Latin word 'infidelis' is used

It is strange that the word gyar translated into Latin as 'infidel' is expressed when addressing the founder of Wallachia by the King Charles Robert of Anjou in a letter to him as „Basarab filium Thocomerii, scismaticum infidelis Olahus Nostris”. The name of the new Voievod is given as 'Basarab son of Thocomer', then it follows by an attribute describing his Christian religious confession as 'Schismaticum' (Eastern Orthodox), then by the 'infidel Olahus' or 'gyar Olahus', then the pronoun of possession 'Our'. The translation could seem the be an insult if taken out of the context of the 14th century Hungary (5 centuries remote from the Turkic past). It would be 'Basarab son of Thocomer, our Eastern Orthodox Wallahian subject'

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