Bayan I


Bayan I (reigned 562/565-602 CE) was a king of the Avars, a confederation of heterogeneous people who migrated from the region of Mongolia, north of China, in 552 CE and came in contact with the Eastern Roman Empire c. 557 CE. Bayan I is considered the greatest king of the Avars for his military and political skills. He not only protected his people from the Gokturks, who pursued them from Mongolia after the fall of the Rouran Empire (known as the Rouran Khaganate) in the east, but he led them in a series of successful campaigns to defeat the Gepids of Pannonia, outwitted the Lombard king, Alboin, for control of the land, and challenged the supremacy of the Eastern Roman Empire. He founded the Avar Empire in the region of Pannonia, establishing his capital at the same spot that Attila the Hun had claimed as his own, and expanded that empire to encompass territory far beyond the original borders of the Pannonia they had first arrived in. After Bayan I's death in 602 CE, the Avar Empire began to decline until it was finally conquered by the Franks in 796 CE, and the Avars ceased to exist as a distinct cultural and political entity.

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