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March of Pannonia

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Title: March of Pannonia  
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Subject: Pannonian Croatia, Battle of Pressburg, March of Carniola, Louis the German, Arnulf of Carinthia
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March of Pannonia

Map of Carolingian Empire showing location of Pannonian March.

The March of Pannonia was a frontier march of the Carolingian Empire, named after the former Roman province of Pannonia. It was erected in the mid-ninth century in the lands of the former Avar Khaganate against the threat of Great Moravia and lasted only as long as the strength of that state. It was referred to in some documents as terminum regni Baioariorum in Oriente or "the end of the kingdom of the Bavarians in the east" and from this is sometimes called the "(Bavarian) eastern march," a term more commonly used to refer to the later Margraviate of Austria, established in 976 as a sort of late successor state.


Charlemagne, temporarily allied with Khan Krum of Bulgaria, from 791 onwards had launched several military camapaigns against the Avars and had established the Avar March (Avaria) on the southeastern frontier of his realm, ruled by his brother-in-law Prefect Gerold of Bavaria. When the Avar Khaganate finally collapsed in 804, Emperor Charlemagne re-arranged Avaria into:

The eastern part of the former Khaganate between the Danube and Tisza Rivers was occupied by the Bulgars.

In 817 Emperor Louis the Pious granted Bavaria with Avaria to his minor son Louis the German. When the Avars disappeared in the 820s, they were replaced largely by West Slavs, who settled Pannonia from the state of Great Moravia. From 819 Lower Pannonia was the site of a rebellion led by the Croatian prince Ljudevit Posavski against the rule of Duke Cadolah of Friuli and his successor Baldric.

By resolution of an 828 Rastislav and deposed.

Two years later, King Louis ceded the march directly to his son Carloman of Bavaria, who had the fortifications of Herzogenburg and Wilhelmsburg erected along the Traisen River by the Wilhelminer margraves William and Engelschalk I. Likewise, the castle of Tulln on the Danube is documented in 859. In 871 William and Engelschalk died in battle against the Moravians, whereafter Carloman vested their rival Aribo of Austria with Upper Pannonia. When his father Louis died in 876, Carloman succeeded him as East Frankish king and gave Lower Pannonia to his son Arnulf of Carinthia. From 882, the rule was enfeebled by the Wilhelminer War of Margrave Engelschalk II against the Aribonids, whereafter Prince Svatopluk I of Moravia took the occasion to invade the Pannonian lands. In 893 Arnulf, East Frankish king since 887, installed Margrave Luitpold.

By the 890s, the Pannonian march seems to have disappeared, along with the threat from Great Moravia, during the Hungarian invasions of Europe. Upon the defeat of Margrave Luitpold at the 907 Battle of Pressburg, all East Frankish lands beyond the Enns river were lost. The Pannonian march itself does not appear to have survived into the eleventh century.

Margraves of the marcha orientalis

This list is incomplete.


  • Reuter, Timothy. Germany in the Early Middle Ages 800–1056. New York: Longman, 1991.
  • Medieval Lands Project: Nobility of Austria.
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