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Valentyn Stetsyuk (Lviv, Ukraine)

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Pechenegs and Hungarians


I am presenting this essay with grateful thanks to Volodymyr Bakus for the material support of the research being carried out


Among all the nations that played a big role in the Eastern European events of prehistoric time, the Pechenegs were the only ones not awarded by attention in the reviewed here research. In fairness, this omission should be amended at least in the sense of their enigmatic ethnicity. The starting material in searching for the origin of the Pechenegs may be available scanty historical information about their relations with the ancestors of today's Hungarians, whom we call the Magyars, as well as data onomastic data, often used by us in seeking a solution to similar problems.

The historically attested names of the Pechenegs were Gr. πατζινακ, Ar. beƺ'enek, Hung. besenyő. The Hungarian name was to be borrowed from the Bulgarish language (ASHMARIN N.I. 1902). In the Chuvash language, the voiced velar fricative γ developed on the place of the ancient Turkic – k, -g which fell out at the end of the word in later times, as evidenced by the Chuvash loan-word in Hungarian: Hung. borz "badger" from Chuv. *borsuγ, Hung.kút "draw-well" from Chuv. kutuγ (PALLO MARGIT K. 1985, 80). Thus, the Bulgarian name of the Pechenegs could be piçenek and its origin can be associated with Chuv. piçĕn "cirsium". One way or another, the Pechenegs, Magyars and Bulgars were supposed to be neighbors at some time.

Ethnicity of ancient peoples is determined by two factors – the anthropological look and language. Historians generally believe that the Pechenegs were Turks, anthropological prototype of which was supposed to be Mongoloid. If Pechenegs had evident Mongoloid features, their Turkic ethnicity would not cause any doubts. However, doubts arise precisely about their Mongoloid appearance. The fact that in the steppes from the Volga to the Danube in the burials of nomads of X – the first half of the XIII cent. were being found skulls as Mongoloid and Caucasoid type. During this period mainly the Pechenegs and Oguz (Guzes) could nomadize in this area, and thinking over the ethnicity of studied burials, S.A. Pletniova writes:


What kind of physical types belonged to the Pechenegs and what to the Guzes did? Obviously, in this case, you can only make a preliminary hypothesis on the forming of Pecheneg ethnic group beyond the Volga based on the lived and roamed there Sarmatians. As a result, there was formed Caucasoid steppe type with some admixture of Mongoloid. Mongoloid type, probably, was Oguzian, although clearly expressed their Mongoloid feature are not yet quite understandable for researchers, since, apparently, the two ethnic groups were cooked in one etnoproducibg pot (PLETNIOVA S.A., 2003: 128)


In other words, the Pechenegs were originally Mongoloids, but then somehow mysteriously transformed into Caucasians and thus, anthropology does not give us a clear answer to a question about ethnicity of the Pechenegs. As for the Pecheneg language, because it has not been preserved, it can only be judged by their own names, recorded in the Byzantine, Slavic, Hungarian chronicles and documents. However, it is assumed that numerous runic inscriptions on the territories populated ever Pechenegs, were left just by them. However, attempts to decipher them by the Turkic languages were in vain (PRITSAK OMELJAN, 1970: 98). Similarly, the majority of Pecheneg own names can hardly be correlated with any of the Turkic languages, although the right is stated in the Byzantine sources that the Pechenegs spoke the same language as Cumans (VASILIEVSKY V.G. 1908: 8). This statement means little in the case of a different ethnicity of Pechenegs and Cumans, as communication between people of different nationalities always premisses using a single language. And in this case – what is just it? If you put a specific question about the Pecheneg language, then you need to raise additional evidence. For example, it could be judged by place names left by the Pechenegs, but you need to be confident in their Pecheneg belonging. It is clear that such confidence can not be without knowledge of the Pecheneg language. A vicious circle, the output of which can only be found experimentally with an authentic conception of the dispersal of the various peoples in Eurasia at prehistoric times. However, the dominant idea of their spatial distribution is not valid. In particular this applies to the Turkic peoples, which include the Pechenegs. Omeljan Pritsak in his work on Pechenegs, their ancestral home placed "between the Aral Sea and the middle course of the Syr Darya River with the center near the city of Tashkent" (PRITSAK OMELIAN, 1970: 98). Why such accuracy remains unclear. L.N. Gumilyov, in his work on the ancient Turks, mentions the Pechenegs only two or three times, placing them randomly, without explanation, in the lower reaches of the Syr Darya River or in the lower reaches of the Volga River (GUMILEV L. N. 2003). Obviously, his ideas are based on data of ibn Fadlan and Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos. The last, in particular, reported that the Pechenegs first lived near the Volga and Yaik Rivers, and their neighbors were Mazara and Uzes. Subsequently the Uzes uniting with the Khazars, expelled Pechenegs from their own country (GOLUBOVSKIY P., 1884: 34).

In fact, K. Porphyrogenitos told about the Geikh and Atil Rivers, which can be justly assumed the Volga and Ural (Yaik) by the names, but you can not be sure whether he imagined the location of these rivers and correctly used the names he had heard, as the names of the Volga and Ural were changed repeatedly. He himself was never in these places and his informant is unknown. The message of ibn Fadlan should be the more accurate. He participated in the Embassy of the Abbasid Caliph al-Muqtadir in Volga Bulgaria in 921-922 years, so you should first of all refer to him:


Then we crossed after that the river Djam (ie the Emba River, Kazakh Djem,– V.S.), also in the road bags, then we crossed Djahash (ie Yaik, Kaz Djayiq – V.S.), then Adal (ie. Volga, Chuv. Atăl – V.S.), then Ardan, then Varish, then Akhti, then Ardan, then Varish, then Ahti, then Vabna, and all these are big rivers. After that we came to Bajanaks (Pechenegs – V.S.), and they stayed by the water similar to a sea, not flowing, and they are dark brunettes with completely shaved beards, they are poor in comparison with Guzzes. In fact I saw some Guzzes that owned ten thousand horses and hundred thousand heads of sheep. (ibn Fadlan TRAVEL TO BULGARIA)


From the report it is clear that the Embassy met the Pechenegs already going Volga, although there is no way to identify the river called forth. Poverty of Pechenegs, said Ibn Fadlan, can only be explained by the fact that they did not have a sufficient number of pastures, it would be completely incomprehensible if they were resident in the endless steppes of Kazakhstan. However, a further description of the journey is somewhat contradictory:


We stayed with Bajanaks for one day, then we went and stopped at the river Djayh, and it is the biggest river what we saw, the widest and with the strongest current (Ibid)


Since ibn Fadlan told about a "biggest river", it would have to be the Volga, but he called to Kazakh name Djayiq of the Ural River and this brings to fallacy. Researchers assumed that the Pechenegs definitely had to be beyond the Volga, take into account only this message, withou mentioning crossing the Adal at all (MAGIDOVICH I.P., MAGIDOVICH V. I. 1970, 1970: 126-127). Thus, to understand the writings of Ibn Fadlan is impossible without arbitrary assumptions, as well as in many other messages of the ancients, all the more any source should be treated critically. Even today, it is believed that the homeland of Turks was in the Altai, where from they settled in a large area in Asia and periodically massively invaded Europe (Huns, Avars, Pechenegs, Cumans, Tatar-Mongols, etc.) From behind of the Volga allegedly came also Scythians, but they were referred to the Iranians. Research ethnogenetic processes using the graphic-analytical method (STETSYUK VALENTYN, 1998) forced to change this picture significantly.

In the process of research, it was found that the ancestral home of the Turks was not in Altai, but in the steppes of Ukraine, from where the Turks migrated not only to the east, where their history is already reflected in historical documents, but also westward and to the north. The Bulgars mainly moved to the west spread their Corded Ware culture culture in a significant area of Central and Northern Europe (see the section Türks as Carriers of the Corded Ware Cultures). Some part of the Bulgars stayed in Western Ukraine, where they became the creators of the Komarovska culture (XV-VIII cent. BC). At the end of the first third of the 1st mill. BC the Bulgars began to return to the steppes of the Black Sea region and eventually became known in history as Scythians. Ancient historians attributed to the Scythians, without knowing it, except for the Bulgars, Cumans, some Iranian tribes, as well as the peoples who spoke the Abkhaz-Adyghe and Nakh-Dagestan languages and inhabited the North Caucasus as well as the Cumans.

The ethnic composition of the population of Great Scythia is confirmed by the data of toponymy, when decoding it by means of different languages ​​it turned out that some place names can be deciphered only using the Chechen language. Purposeful searches showed that there are a lot of them and they are not located randomly, whart could indicate an erroneous interpretation, but with a certain regularity. Historical information about Chechens dwelling outside their ethnic territory is absent. Therefore an assumption arises that at some time they were known in history under an other name, but similar to the modern one, as is the case, for example, in the identification of the Mordens people mentioned by the Jordanes with the modern Mordvinians. Nothing better the ethnonym Pechenegs was found. Bearing in mind the possibility of identifying Chechens with Pechenegs, let us briefly consider the place names of the alleged Chechen origin. Below is an incomplete list.


Bezhin Lug, locality in Chern district of Tula Region, described in the eponymous story of Ivan Turgenev – Chech. bezhan "pasture grazing". The semantic proximity of the two words of the toponym (Rus lug "meadiw") confirms its Chechen origin. Many other names originate from the same appellative: Bezhanovka, a station in the town of Kirovsk in Lugansk Region, Bejan, forest reserve and the village, Bezhan-Târnăviţa in the south-west of Transylvania in Romania, Bežanijska kosa, a district of Belgrade, Bezhanovo, two villages in Bulgaria, Bezhan', a town in Briansk district of Briansk Region, Russia, Bezhanov, an abandoned village in the Naur district of Chechnya. Although Slavic origin of some of these place names is possible, some of them were definitely left by the Chechens.



Bezhin Lug. Painting by I.E. Mitryaev.


Haysyn (Gaysyn), a town in Vinnytsia Region – Chech. gIaysin "apricot" ( – a voiced velar fricative, corresponded the Arabic sound Ghayn).

Dakhno, a village in Berdiansk district of Zaporozhie Region, Dakhnivka, prior a village, now a district in the city of Cherkasy, Dokhno, a village in Chechelnyky district of Vinnytsia Region, Dokhna, a river, rt of the Southern Bug, Dokhnary, a village in Polotsk district of Vitebsk Region, Belarus, Dokhnovy and Dokhnovychi, villages in Starodub district of Briansk Region, Russia, Dokhny (Bel. Dakhny), a village in Smorgonsk district of Grodno Region, Belarus – Chech. daьkhny "property, cattle" ( – a front vowel). However, one or two names could be given by Trypillians, which language had a similar word in the meaning of "millet".

Kairy, villages in Hornostayevka district of Kherson Region and Komintern district of Odessa Rerion – Chech. gІayrē "an iseland".

Kerch, a city on the Kerch Peninsula in the east of the Crimea – Chech. kkherch "hearth, stove".

Kobolchin, a village in Sokiriany district of Chernivtsi Region – Chech. qoboldan "to approve".

Massandra, a part of the city of Yalta – Chech. massakhāra "verywhere". Inconsistency in one sound compensated by the full likeness of the other. The motivation of the name can be interpreted in different ways.

Mozdok, a village in Uvarov district of Tambov Region and a town in Kursk Region, Russia – Chech moz "honey" and dog "a heart, core". This deciphering is confirmed by the location of the city of Mozdok in North Ossetia near Chechnya.

Sabynino, a village in Yakovlev district of Belgorod Region, Russia – Chech. sābin "soapy".

Tuskar', a river, rt of the Seym River and Lake Tuskar' near – Chech. tuskar “basket”.

Yalta, a city on the Black Sea coast – Chech. yalta "crop".

The possibility of Chechen origin of each of the names can be discussed, but there is a particularly questionable cases that are given just not to lose sight of them:

Berda, a river flowin into the Sea of Azov, the city of Berdiansk on it, villages Berdianka in Lugansk, Kharkov, and Kursk Regions – Chech. berd "a bank, steep". It is doubtful that all these names originated from a particular Slav. berdo "a detail of the loom," or similar words meaning "hill, mountain" because all of these place names are located in flat terrain, but it may be appropriate for names of rivers with steep banks and settlements on them

Lugan', Luganka, several rivers and settlements in Ukraine and Russia – the names of Slavic looks, but the suffix -an' is more suitable for the name of a place, it is not typical for hydronyms. For the interpretation of place names can be considered Chech. logan, an adjective from the log "neck".

Sudzha, a town in Kursk Region, Russia and a river, rt of the Psel River – similarity to several names of settlements and rivers Sunzha suggests their common origin. The Sunzha River in Ingush, akin Chechen, is called Sholzha khiy that is translated as "ice water" (Ing. sha "ice", shiyla "cold", Chech. Shēlō "colgness", Ing. khiy, Chech. khi "water"). That is the origin of the name is clearly Nakh and the original name of the river had to be exactly Sholzha khiy and the forms Sunzha and Sudzha were evolved from it.

The territory of the spread of alleged Chechen place names is largely coincides with the territory populated by the Pechenegs at a certain time:


At the end of IX century Pechenegs, as it is known, dominated the whole space of the Black Sea steppes from the Don River to the area Etelköz, ie approximately till the Dniester (RASOVSKIY D.A., 2012, 41)


It is characteristic that just direct evidences of settlements of the Pechenegs can be found in places of multitude of Chechen place names. Some of them lead in this work Omeljan Pritsak:

Pechenegy, a town in Kharkiv Region.

Pechenezhets, a forest near the Rosava River, lt of theRos', rt of the Dnieper.

Pechenezhin, a town in Kolomia district of Ivano-Frankivsk Region.

Pechenihy, a hill near the town of Bibrka in Lviv Region.

Pecheniky, a village in Starodub district of Briansk Region, Russia.

Pecgenia, a village in Zolochiv district of Lviv Region.

Pecheniuhy, a village in Novhorod-Siverski of Chernihic Region.

The highest density of the alleged Pecheneg place names falls on the territory of the former Chernigov Principality, and a chain of ancient hillforts of the Saltovo-Mayaki culture, which existed in the VIII-X centuries, bordered the Pecheneg settlemnts to the south-east along the Seversky Donets River. It can be created by the Pechenegs for defense against the attacks of the Khazars. According to the chronicles, at a later time the Cumans often "took charge" in Chernigov Principality, they also participated in the campaigns of local princes to Smolensk and Kiev (ISTORIYA SSSR. 1966: 593). Good relations between the principality and the Cumans are very doubtful, because it waged constant wars with them. At the same time, the Cumans ousted other nomads from the steppes who sought refuge in the Siverian land where Chernogov Principality lay (ibid: 591). These numerous aliens were adapted by the Pechenegs and became allies of the Chernigov princes. Naming them "Cumans" in the Kiev annals should be considered an understandable generalization of the "pagans".

The annalistic mention of the participation of the Pechenegs in the campaigns of the Siverian princes explains the spread of Chechen toponymy over a wide area of Russia. There are few alleged Chechen names north of the Novgorod-Seversky principality, but their convincing transcript says that these are not accidental coincidences. For example, in the northern regions of Russia there are five from eight present in East Europe settlements containing in their name the root evla or evlash, well matching Chech. evla "village" (pl. evlash). Nothing suitable for deciphering the others was found in the Russian and Finno-Ugric languages too. Obviously, the mentioned campaigns contributed to the resettlement of the Pechenegs to the north. Noteworthy is the presence in Russia of the names of the settlements of Chechenino, Chechen, Chechino (five cases). So they could be called because they were inhabited by Chechens. In this regard, it can be assumed that the name of the Pechenegs, formed in the south, turned into "Chechens" in the northern regions, and it was this word that was fixed to the Pechenegs and has survived to this day for the name of the Chechens. This should indicate that the Chechens were identified by the Russians as a specific people continuously since the time of the Pechenegs. The Pechenegs did not have their own written language and therefore did not leave written evidence of their history, but they were given to us by toponymy.

From historical sources it is also known that in the 9th cen. the Magyars populated Levedia, which was somewhere between the Don and the Dnieper. In any case, this is not far from the ancestral home of the Hungarians, which was determined using the graphic-analytical method in the ethno-producing area on the left bank of the Don between its tributaries Khopyor and Medveditsa (see the section The Finno-Ugric and Samoyed Tribes). At different times, the Magyars migrated from their ancestral home in two directions – along the Volga to the Kama region and to the Northern Black Sea coast. Initially, some of them moved north along the right bank of the Volga. This path is marked by such toponyms:

Karnovar, a village in Neverkinsky district of Penza Region – Hung. káron vár "ruined fortress".

Kanasayevo, avillage in Nikolayevsky district of Ulyanovsk Region – Hung. kanász "swineherd".

Ulyanovsk (the primordial name Sinbirsk) – Hung. szín "coloured", pír "blush, flush".

Undory, a village of Ulyanovski district and Ulyanovsk Region – Hung. undor "disgust".

Syukeyevo, a rural locality in Kamsko-Ustyinsky District of the Republic of Tatarstan, – Hung. sük "narrow".

Apastovo, a town, the administrative center of Apastovsky district of Tatarstan – Hung. apaszt "to decrease, reduce".

Moving to the left bank of the Volga, the Magyars settled in the basin of the left tributaries of the Kama and became the creators of the Kushnarenkovo and Karayakupovo cultures widespread there. The rest of the Magyars in the ancestral home passed to the right bank of the Don in Scythian time. In the interfluve of the Don and Seversky Donets there is an accumulation of toponyms decoded using the Hungarian language:


Eritovka, a hamlet in Millerovo dstrict of Rostov Region – Hung. ér "stream", iz "joint".

Gotalski, a hamlet in Millerovo dstrict of Rostov Region – Hung. gátol "to hinder".

Mastyugino, a village in Ostrogozhsky district of Voronezh Region – más "other", tőgy "udder".

Setraki, a hamlet in Chertkovo district of Volgograd Region – Hung szétrak "to spred, place".

Rossosh', a town and a village in Voronezh Region, a village and a hamlet in Rostov Region, several rivers in the Voronezh, Belgorod and Rostov Regions, in the Krasnodar Kray – the origin from the word sokha "plow" is too far-fetched, a large number of toponyms and the fact that a similar name is found in the Transcarpathian Region on the border with Hungary makes it take the Hungarian origin of the word– Hung. rossz "bad", -os – the noun suffix.

Shebekino, a town in Belgorod Region – Hung. sebek "wounds".

Urazovo, a town in Valuysky District of Belgorod Region – Hung. úrak "gentlemen".

Valuyki, a town in Belgorod Region, a village in Starobilsk district of Luhansk Region – Hung. vályú "a manger, trough" (from *vályuk, cf. Chuv. valak "gutter, trough"), maybe also "hollow, ravine", -i – adjective suffix.


It was in the field of the distribution of these toponyms, at least partially in the territory of the Chernigov principality that Levedia was supposed to be. Hungarian place names are mixed with Chechen ones and, obviously, the Magyars, like the Chechens, were in the service of the Chernigov princes and took part in their campaigns to the north. This may be evidenced by a chain of alleged Hungarian place names:

Terepsha, a village in Zolotukhinsky of Kursk Region – extinct Hung. terepes "vast" (ZAICZ GÁBOR. 2006: 740). Terebes is an integral part of many place names on ethnic Hungarian territory.

Retinka, a village in Pokrovsk district Of Orel Region and a town in Shchyokino district of Tula Region – Hung. réten "on meadow".

Ferzikovo, a town in Kaluga Region – Hung. férges "wormy".

Erdovo, a village in Medyn district of Kakuga Region – Hung. erdö "forest".

Valuyki, a village in Volokolamsk district of Moscow Region and a village in Staritsky district of Tver Region – Hung. vályú (from *vályuk) "gutter, trough".

Driven out of Levedia by the Pechenegs, the Hungarians moved across the steppes of Ukraine and further along the Dniester to the Carpathian region. Hungarian place names marks this path and their small cluster in the middle reaches of the Southern Bug suggests that some of them settled in these places:

Holdashivka, a village in Bershad district of Vinnytsia Region – Hung. hold "moon".

Holma, a village in Balta of Odessa Region – Hung. holmi "a thing".

Kidrasivka, a village in Bershad district of Vinnytsia Region – Hung. kiderül "to emerge".

Konceba, a village in Savran of Odessa Region – Hung. konc 1. "a peace of meat", 2. "gain, spoil". The Hundarian word was borrowed from a Slavic tribe of Ulichi or Tiverthsi populated this area (Sl. kąs "a piecxe)".

Savran, a town in Odessa Region – Hung. sarv "horn".

Sabadash, a village in Zhashkiv district of Cherkasy Region – Hung. szabadas "free". The word is clearly borrowed from the Slavic svoboda "freedom", but the borrowing did not take place in the new homeland of the Magyars, but in Levedia, when they were neighbors of the Ukrainians.

Salkovo, a town in Hayvoron district of Kirivohraf Region – Hung. sálka 1. "a splinter", 2. "fish bone".

Farther Hungarian place names interspersed with Chechen goes along the Dniester River to the Western Ukraine, including such as Vendychany (Hung. vendég "guest"), Korman' (Hung. kormány "rudder"), Kelmentsi (Hung.kelme "textile"), Boryshkivtsi (Hung. borús "cloudy, morose") a.o.

The presence of the Magyars in Western Ukraine is confirmed by names containing the roots of Ugr (Uhr), Uger (Uher) from Ukr. Uhor "Hungar": the villages of Uhryniv in Sokal district, Lviv Region, in Horokhiv district of Volyn Region, in Tysmenytsia district of Ivano-Frankivsk Region, the village of Uhryn Chortkiv district, the village of Uhrynkovtsi in Zalishchyky district of Ternopil Region, the village of Uhersko (formerly Ugriny) in Stryi district, the village of Ugry in Gorodok district of Lviv Region. In addition, the villages of Green Guy in Gorodok district and Nagirne in Sambir district of Lviv Region, previously having the names Uhertsi Vinyavski and Uhertsi Zaplatinski respectively.

There can be found in the area of these place names such ones which can be decoded by means of the Hungarian language. For example the villages Libohory in Turka and Skole districts of Lviv Region have good Hungarian match in the name of the plant Stellaria media (Hung. libahúr). The following place names also can have Hungarian origin:

Cherlany, a village in Horodok diatrict of Lviv Region – Hung. czere "change", leany (lány) "a girl". When dominant exogamy in ancient times a custom to marry a girl of another tribe was practised. The village of Cherlany could be a place where Hungarians and Ukrainians of neighboring villages exchanging girls for marriage.

Tershakiv, a village in Horodok district of Lviv Region – Hung. térség "space, area".

Terebezhi, villages in Brody and Busk districts of Lviv Region – extinct Hung. terepes "vast".

Tsykiv, villages in Busk and Nostyska districts of Lviv Region, The village of Tsykova in Chemerovets district of Khmelnytski Region – Hung. cikk "a thing, commodity". The origin of this word is supposed German (Zaicz Gábor. 2006) from infrequent Ger. Zwick "a wedge (clothing)". This is a very questionable parallel according the sense. Perhaps the Hungarian word, as well as Rus.tiuk orinate from Turk. tüg "a bundle".

Voluyky, a village in Busk district of Lviv Region – Hung. vályú "a manger, trough", cf. Valuyky.

The surname Telefanko is very common in villages of Popovychi in Mostiska district and Drozdovychy in Gorodok district of Lviv Region. It can be found also in other villages and towns nearby. This name stands for good with the help of the Hungarian language – Hung. tele "full, filled up" and fánk "a donut". This is additional evidence that the Magyars remained in these areas before the arrival of the Ukrainians, and then they were assimilated by them. There is a possibility of Hungarian origin and the name of the city of Sambor. Although we have no reliable decoding for it (relationship of Hung. sam "number" and bor "wine" is questionable ), such assumption is not without foundation, since the cities Old Sambor Sambor are located among clusters of other Hungarian place names.

There are so many place names of alleged Hungarian origin in the Upper Dniester basin and the surrounding area that the historical Etelköz, should be placed here. At the same time, the Magyars lived in close proximity with the Ukrainians for a long time, as evidenced by Ukrainian borrowings in the Hungarian language. In this regard, the name of the city of Zhydachev is indicative (the first references as Udech or Zudechev). The primary name is well deciphered with the help of the Hungarian language – Hung. üde "fresh" and cséve "spool", cső "pipe". At first glance, there is no semantic connection between these words, but in fact it is. Hungarian words are borrowings from the Slavic language and the original word has the meaning "duct" (ibid: 123). In the Ukrainian language there is the word tsivka "trickle", therefore, the original Hungarian word and the borrowed from Ukrainian are combined in the name of the city, and the name can be interpreted as "fresh stream".

Zhydachev is located on the Stryi River, the valley of which leads to the Verecke Pass, on which stands a monument in honor of the passage of the Magyars through it during the “acquisition of the homeland”.


At left: Verecke Pass. Memorial of the 1100th anniversary of the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin in 895


The Magyars used the path along the Stryi valley several times, as evidenced by the names of the settlements along the river, which can be translated using the Hungarian language – Turady, Teisariv, Semigyniv. There is also the village of Uherske.

Not only in place names did the Pechenegs and Magyars leave traces of their former settlements. As shown by a study of the code of Ukrainian surnames, quite a lot of them can have Hungarian and Chechen origin. Information on their availability and distribution throughout the territory of Ukraine is provided by Map of Distribution of Surnames of Ukraine. Unfortunately, such a map has not been compiled in Russia, so it is not possible to judge how widely the names of Hungarian and Chechen origin are represented in Russia. In Ukraine, among the indigenous population, one can encounter quite a lot of surnames of Hungarian origin. Most of them are in Transcarpathia, but they cannot indicate the presence of Hungarians in Ukraine in ancient times. However, outside Transcarpathia, more than two thousand carriers of the surname Sabadash were recorded , while the phonetically correct Hungarian form of Szabados (888 cases) occurs almost exclusively in Transcarpathia. On the contrary, the surname already mentioned Telefanko is recorded only once in in Transcarpathia, while in the Lviv region there are 49 carriers of this surname. Hungarian surname Lakatos evenly distributed throughout Ukraine – Lviv (16 carriers), Novi Sanzhary district of Poltava Region (21), Putyvl district of Sumy Region (12), Piatykhatky district of Dnipropetrovskyi Region (12), Oleksandria district of Kirivohrad Region (8) and in many other areas there are a few people with that name. Of the more than eight hundred carriers of the surname Buta most of all dwell in Transcarpathia and Bukovina, but also a lot in Western Ukraine – in Lviv (40), Radekhiv district of the Lviv Region (38), less in the eastern regions – in Kiev (17), Dnipro (7). Of the other Hungarian surnames found far beyond the borders of Transcarpathia (Sumy, Donetsk, Lugansk regions), although in small numbers, one can note the following: Vitash (a total of 56 carriers), Habor (over a hundred), Kochish (35), Sokach (77), Feher (36), Fey (11), Fekete (29), Forkosh (64) and some others.

Surnames of the Chechen origin may include:

Borts, in Ukraine 16 carriers of this surname were recorded, namely in Kharkov (5), Mariupol (3), Sumy (2) and in other settlements for 1-2 persons – Chech. borts "millet".

Bertsan, 16 carriers of this surname were recorded, eight each in Zaporozhye and in the town of Vradiivka of the Nikolaev region – Chech. bertsan Gen. from borts "millet", taking on the meaning of a relative adjective.

Borts, in Ukraine 16 carriers, namely in the cities of Kharkiv (5), Mariupol (3), Sumy (2) and in other settlements for 1-2 persons – Chech. borts "millet".

Bukar, 134 carrier, most of all in the cities of Kherson (13), Balakley, Kharkov region (13), and in the town of Troitske of Lehansk Region – Chech. bukara"hunchbacked, stooped." The abbreviation of the Chechen word is associated with the morphological features of the Ukrainian language.

Vezarko, 18 carriers, most of all in the Semenovsky district of the Chernihiv Region. – Chech. vēzarg "lover, beloved".

Govras, 122 carriers, most of all in Kiev (21), but not all of them are indigenous people, in the village of Vyazevok, Gorodishchensky district, Cherkasy Region (17) – Chech. fovrakhь "horseback" from govr "horse", obviously a derivative word had the meaning "rider".

Degan, 8 carriers, almost all residents of the village of Pismechevo, Solonyansky district, Dnipropetrovsk Region. (7) – Chech. degan "cordial".

Dzhima, 281, carriers, most of all in the cities of Bila Tserkva (79), Chernihiv (24), Zvenigorod district of Cherkasy region (18) – Chech. zhima "young".

Zaza, 25 carriers, most of all in the cities of Dnipro (5), Romny (24), Lviv, and Horlobka (3) – Chech. zaza "flower" (of flowering tree), "flourish".

Ken'a, 227 carriers, most of all in Chernihiv Region (Snov district – 36, the city of Chernihivв -21, Horodnia district – 16), in the towns of Seredyna Buda (22) and Shostka (20) of Sumy Region – Chech kъēna "old man".

Nazha, 59 most of all in the city of Cherkasy (12) – Chech. nazh "oak".

Other surnames of possible Chechen origin may be: Bukartyk (226), Bursa (504), Goma (437), Gotha (77), Cerlan (68), Kizya (48), Metza (17), Metzan (17), Mokha (59). This list will be continued as searches for Chechen surnames in Ukraine continue. All toponymy and anthropony data are put on Google My Map (see below).

These place names together with the decrypted above Chechen ones were placed on the Google map (see. below).





The map shows place names decrypted with the Chechen language or contain a root pechen or chechen (red signs). The territory of Chernigov principality is highlighted in orange. Blue color indicates the alleged territories of Levedia and Etelköz. Red line marks the boundary of the settlements on the Pechenegs by data of A.M. Shcherbak (FEDOROV-DAVYDOV G.A. 1966: 140, Fig. 20). Dark green signs indicate place names decrypted using the Hungarian language or having other traces of the Magyars.
A chain of black signs along the Seversky Donets River are the hillforts of the Saltovo-Mayaki culture.
Dots of light green color indicate the settlements in which surnames of Hungarian origin are found. Orange dots indicate places of distribution of surnames of possible Chechen origin.


According to historical information, the Pechenegs settled Levedia, crowding out the Hungarians who inhabited it. It is logical to assume that the Pechenegs did not occupy that space where Hungarian place names have survived to our time. Their accumulation on the right bank of the Volga raises doubts that the Pechenegs, who came from beyond the Volga, as is commonly believed, did not primarily inhabited its right bank, forcing the Hungarians to move westward. In addition to general considerations about the periodic appearance of nomads from Asia, confidence in the Turkic ethnicity of the Pechenegs is reinforced by the decoding of this ethnonym on a Turkic basis – Turkic bečanag "brother-in-law" (FEDOROV-DAVYDOV G.A. 1966: 136, PRITSAK OMELIAN, 1970: 95). However, it is completely unclear how this word could arise in the Turkic languages, without having among them etymologically related. Most likely, the Bulgarian name Pechenegs Piçenek was the basis of this Turkic word. This is a fairly common occurrence during exogamous marriages, when the nationality of the brother-in-law is transferred to the term of kinship. The reverse phenomenon is unbelievable – to call an entire alien tribe by brothers-in-law ofillogical. An attempt to explain the ethnonym on the basis of the languages ​​of the Ugric group as “pine people” is also unconvincing (GOLUBOVSKIY P. 1884: 34). Suitable words are absent in the Hungarian language, and the involvement of the Khanty one is not entirely correct, especially since such an interpretation is phonetically faulty. All these circumstances give reason to believe that the Pechenegs did not move from the east, but from the south, that is, from the Ciscaucasia, being one of the Chechen tribes that left their ancestral home in the North Caucasus and, for various reasons, took a long trip from the Don to the Danube and further. Since the Chechens called themselves Nokhchi, they did not need to use a common, but alien, word for self-name.

In addition to the common name of the Pechenegs Constantine Porphyrogenitus uses the word kangar only for a part of their tribes. To decrypt such a name well suited Chech. qānō "an elder (of a kin)" and gāra "kin, clan", while they again are unsuccessfully searching an explanation for this word in the Turkic languages (FEDOROV-DAVYDOV G.A. 1966: 136). It is difficult to get out of captivity of traditional ideas, but one should be guided by facts, not by an established opinion.

Currently, the Chechens are quite small people, but the history of their alleged ancestors is rich in dramatic events from ancient times to the present day. According to V.O. Kluchevskiy, there is in some editions of Russian chronicles evidence that the Kievan princes Askold and Dir "beat a lot of the Pechenegs" in 867. Therefore, he concludes that "the Petchenegs about half IX cent moved close to Kiev cutting of the Middle Dnieper space from its Black Sea and Caspian markets" (KLUCHEVSKIY V.O., 1956: 131). The role of the Pechenegs in the further history of Eastern Europe is highly appreciated:


About half of the IX century Pechenegs crossed the Danube. This event, ignored by all new historical writings, had tremendous significance in the history of mankind. It is almost as important in its consequences as the transition of the Visigoths across the Danube (VASILIEVSKI V.G., 1908: 7-8).


Anyway, the Pechenegs "for quite some time exerted enormous influence on the fate of Byzantium» (VASILIEV A.A. 1998: 396). Accordingly you can find a lot of information about the Pechenegs in the Byzantine sources, in the same way as in Ruthenian annals. In particular, the are names of the Pecheneg khans and chiefs of lower rank, some of which, having no reliable deciphering by means of the Turkic languages, can be explained Chechen. However, some names have obviously Türkic character (Ildey, Kuchuk, Temir). This is not surprising, since the Pechenegs often acted in alliance with the Turkic tribes of the Uzes, Berendeys, etc .:


In these decades (40-60-ies of XI century – V.S.) it is impossible to determine exactly – what kind of nomads made their forays deep into Ugria or crowded the Byzantine frontier. Magyar sources mixed them calling as the Besses or Kunes, but Byzantine unite all them in the common classic name of Scythians. Sometimes, indeed, various nomadic tribes joined together to make any foray and so have made even more confusion in the terminology (RASOVSKIY D.A., 2012: 57)


Such attitude to the nomads was typical, Walter Pohl writes the same (POHL WALTER, 2002: 4). In addition, we can not exclude cases of borrowing personal names among the ruling tribal elite:


Let no one say that this name is quite foreign to the Gothic tongue, and let no one who is ignorant cavil at the fact that the tribes of men make use of many names, even as the Romans borrow from the Macedonians, the Greeks from the Romans, the Sarmatians from the Germans, and the Goths frequently from the Huns. (JORDANES, 1960, IX, 58).


With all this in mind, we take not too strictly the fact that only a few names of famous Pechenegs can be quite believable decrypted using the Chechen language. To those following can be assigned:

Batana, one of Pecheneg rulers – Chech. betan an adjective from bat "mouth", "face"; bettan "lunar".

Gosta, the name of a Khan of Pechenegs, the first mentioned in the sources – Chwch. kost "assignment". Perhaps this was not a Khan, but only warlord runding Khan's errand.

Kegen, a Khan, Tirakh's rival – Chech. qēgina "shining, flashing"

Kildar, Tirakh's father – Chech. gIeldar "weakening, fatigue". The name is not very suitable for a Khan, but it is necessary to analyze the context, if it is not a word for definition of an aging Tirakh's father Tirah.

Kuela, one of Pecheneg rulers – Chech. qulla "source, spring".

Kur'a, a Pecheneg Khan smashed the squad of Prince Svyatoslav in 972 – Chech. kura "proud, arrogant".

Metigay, a Khan, who was baptized by Prince Vladimir the Great– Chech. mettig "place", "case".

Tirakh, a Khan, in the service of the Byzantine at some time – Chech. tērakh "date, number".

Apparently, both toponymics and anthroponymics testify to the Chechen ethnicity of the Pechenegs. This assumption can be confirmed by further research as place names in the known places of the presence of the Pechenegs, and the possible matches between the Chechen language and the languages of other peoples inhabited Sarmatia. First of all, they need to be looked for in Hungarian and you can find them quite easily. Below is a list supplied by Chechen words which have matches found in the etymological dictionary of the Hungarian language (ZAICZ GÁBOR. 2006.), as uncertain or unknown origin.

Chech. aьsta "a mattock", akhka "to dig" (aь – a front vowel) – Hung. ásó "a mattock".

Chech. baqō "right, law" – Hung. bakó "an executioner". Exact phonetic matching, although the semantics is remote, but an executioner administers justice.

Chech. berch "a wart" – Hung. bérc"a rock".

Chech. bēzam "simpathy", "love" – Hung. bezalom "trust".

Chech. boddan "to be worn out", "to lose cheerfulness" – Hung. bódít "to drug".

Chech. bog "a bump, lump, knar" – Hung. bog "knot", boglya "stack, rick".

Chech. borc "millet", burch "pepper" – Hung. borsó "pea", bors "black pepper" (maybe, all words from Cuv. пăрçа "pea").

Chech. borsh "bull-calf" – Hung. borjas "a cow with young" (from borjú "calf", borrowed from Chuv. păru "calf").

Chech. buьrka "a ball" (the ergative case – буьрканē) – Hung. burgonya "potatoes".

Chech. guьla "pack of dogs" – Hung. gulya "herd".

Chech. dac "no", "not is" – Hung. dac "obstinacy".

Chech. kert "fence", "yard" – Hung. kert "harden".

Chech. sākkhō "control, oversight, supervision" – Hung. szakács "cook".

Chech. khottar "connection" – Hung. hotár "border".

Chech. shayn "their" – Hung. sajat "own"

Chech. shach "sedge" – Hung. sás "sedge"

There may be other examples of Chechen-Hungarian lexical matches, but one should keep in mind that some of them may indicate contacts of the Khazar period or have a common source of borrowing. In addition to the above-mentioned Chuvash parallels, others can also be found that can also refer to Khazar times, but the links between the Chechen language and the languages ​​of peoples whose contacts with Chechens are not witnessed in history will be of great significance. This is the subject of research by specialists, but such a lexical match has already been discovered: other-English tulge "strong" – Chechen. tIulg "stone". In addition to Old English, some language matches must be found in Romanian, Bulgarian, Greek. The undoubted connections of the Chechen language with the Ossetian can have a different explanation.

If we agree with the Chechen ethnicity Pechenegs, the question immediately arises whether only the Chechens were among many peoples of the North Caucasus, who left inhabited places and set out to find new ones. It remained in the annals information about the peoples who participated in the historic events in Eastern Europe together with the Pechenegs. This is primarily the Polovtsy, and then the so-called Chorni Klobuky ("black hoods") including the Berendei, Torki, Kovui oand others. Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos also named the Kawars or Kabars. He pointed out that the Kawars "derived from the genus of the Khazars", which can speak not about the origin but the place of their previous stay. Then they can be associated with modern Kabardinians, whose ancestors the Adyge, already took part in the campaigns of the Cimmerians in Asia Minor (see the section Cimmerians)


Constantine Porphyrogenitus notified that all the Pechenegs are divided into eight tribes: Ertim, Tzour, Gyla, Koulpeï, Haraboï, Talmat, Hopon, Tzopon. Their hypothetical settlement by the data of A.M. Shcherbak are shown on the fragment of his map left.

More or less satisfactory, we can decipher by means of the Chechen language only some of them:

Tzour – Chech. chūra "inside".

Gyla – Chech. gyla "slabsided".

Tzopon – чеч. chopanan "foamy"

Such rulers stan at the head of these tribes: Baïtzas, Kouel, Kourkoutai, Ipaos, Kaïdoum, Kostas, Giazis, Batas. Their names also can not have a good decoding. Obviously, other languages of the peoples of the North Caucasus, as Turkic as Dagestan and Abkhazian-Circassian should be involved for this.

Epigraphy Northern Black Sea coast may indicate that the Chechens remained among the Sarmatianі long before they became known in history as the Pechenegs. In the list of personal names of the Sarmatian time (ABAYEV V.I. 1979) about five percent of words can be deciphered only using the Chechen language, here are some of them::


Αρδοναστος (ardonastos), Tanais – Chech. ardan "to act", aьasta "hoe".

Γοργοσας (gorgosas), the father of Khakh (see Χαχας), Gorgippia – Chech. gorga „round”, āsa „belt, stipe”.

Θιαγαροσ (thiagaros), Midakhos' father (see. Μιδαχοσ), Tanaida – Chech. thæghara «the last, past»

Μιδαχοσ (midakhos), the inscription in Phanagoria, the son of Thiagar (see Θιαγαροσ) – Chech. mettakh, the derivative of mettig "place".

Οχοαρζανησ (okhoardzane:s), Tanaida – Chech. oьkhu "flying", æaьrzu «eagle», æaьrzun «eagle» (adj).

Παναυχος (panaukhos), the son of Ardar (see Αρδαροσ), Tanais, Latyshev – Chech. pāna "novel", ōkhu is the participle from ākha "to plow".

Πατεσ (pateis), Okhordzan' father (see Οχοαρζανησ), Tanaida – since the name of Okhordzan is well explained by the Chechen language, his father's name should also be of Chechen origin. In this case, you can keep in mind Chechnya. pott "tree block" in the oblique case with ending. –e.

Στυρανοσ (sturanos), Gorgippia – the father of Midakh (see Μιδαχοσ), Phanagoria; Sozomon's father Gorgippia – Chech. steran – g. of stu «bull».

Χαχας, the son of Gorgos (see Γοργοσασ)- Chech. khēkhō "watchman", khьakha 1. "to languish," 2. "to doom".


The presence of Chechens in Sarmatia also has historical evidence. In the "Armenian Geography", which was apparently written by A. Shirakatsi, who collected data from Ptolemy, some Nakhchmatyans are mentioned (PATKANOV K.P. 1877). This name should be referred the ancestors of modern Chechens, who call themselves Nokhchi, while Chech. mott means "language" and -yan is the Armenian suffix. This fact was not ignored by historians, but was considered doubtful as the ancestors of the Chechens couldn't reside at the mouth of the Don River in the 7th cent. AD, because at that time they were supposed to inhabit modern Chechen-Ingushetia. (KRUPNOV E.I. 2008). However, taking into account the analysis of onomastics and other historical evidences, this fact has to be accepted.







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