Also found in: Wikipedia.


(pĕchənĕgz`) or


(pätsĭnäks`), nomadic people of the Turkic family. Their original home is not known, but in the 8th and 9th cent. they inhabited the region between the lower Volga and the Urals. Pushed west (c.889) by the Khazars and Cumans, they drove the Magyars before them and settled in S Ukraine on the banks of the Dnieper. They long harassed Kievan Rus and even threatened (934) Constantinople. After unsuccessfully besieging Kiev (968) and killing the Kievan duke Sviatoslav (972), they were defeated (1036) by Yaroslav and moved to the plains of the lower Danube. Attacked (1064) by the Cumans, many Pechenegs were slain or absorbed. After once more besieging Constantinople (c.1091), they were virtually annihilated by Emperor Alexius I. Later there were significant communities of Pechenegs in Hungary.



(also Petchenegs), a tribal union that formed in the Trans-Volga steppes when Turkic nomads merged with Sar-matian and Finno-Ugric tribes. Ethnically, the Pechenegs were Europeoids with a small Mongoloid admixture, and they spoke a Turkic language. In the eighth and ninth centuries they lived between the Volga and the Urals, subsequently moving west under pressure of the Oghuz, Kipchaks, and Khazars. After defeating the nomadic Hungarians in the Black Sea steppes in the ninth century, the Pechenegs occupied a huge area from the lower Volga to the mouth of the Danube.

The Pechenegs were nomadic livestock breeders who lived according to a clan system. In the tenth century they were divided into eastern and western branches, which consisted of eight tribes, comprising 40 clans. The tribes were headed by grand princes, and the clans by lesser princes. The princes were elected by tribal and clan assemblies, although hereditary rule also existed. Prisoners captured by the Pechenegs in time of war were sold into slavery or sent home in exchange for ransom. Some captives were accepted into clans with complete equality of rights.

The Pechenegs invaded Russian lands in 915, 920, and 968. In 944 and 971 the Kievan princes Igor’ and Sviatoslav Igorevich led detachments of Pechenegs on campaigns to Byzantium and Danubian Bulgaria. In 972, at the instigation of the Byzantines, Pecheneg forces led by Khan Kura annihilated Sviatoslav Igore-vich’s druzhina (army) at the Dnieper rapids. In 1036, Iaroslav the Wise inflicted a crushing defeat on the Pechenegs near Kiev and put an end to their raids on Rus’.

In the 11th and 12th centuries many Pechenegs were settled in the southern part of Kievan Rus’ to defend the borders. In the tenth and 11th centuries Byzantine emperors tried to use the Pechenegs as allies in the struggle against Rus’ and Danubian Bulgaria. In the tenth, 11th, and 12th centuries the Pechenegs penetrated into Hungary, where they were settled both along the borders and within the country. In the 13th and 14th centuries the Pechenegs ceased to exist as one people, having merged partly with the Torks, Polovtsy, Hungarians, Russians, Byzantines, and Mongols.


Golubovskii, P. Pechenegi, torki i polovtsy do nashestviia tatar. Kiev, 1884.
Vasil’evskii, V. G. Trudy, vol. 1: Vizantiia i pechenegi. St. Petersburg, 1908.
Rasovskii, D. A. “Pechenegi, torki i berendei na Rusi i v Ugrii.” In Sb. st. po arkheologii i vizantinovedeniiu (Seminarium Kondakovia, vol. 6). Prague, 1933.
Pletneva, S. A. “Pechenegi, torki i polovtsy v iuzhnorusskikh stepiakh.” In Materialy i issledovaniia po arkheologii SSSR, no. 62. Moscow-Leningrad, 1958.
Pashuto, V. T. Vneshniaia politika Drevnei Rusi. Moscow, 1968.
Fedorov-Davydov, G. A. Kurgany, idoly, monety. Moscow, 1968.


References in periodicals archive ?
He discusses the ideology of the ninth and tenth centuries: the difficult reconciliation of steppe traditions with Judaic monotheism, the Pechenegs in Khazar history, Khazaria and international trade in eastern Europe, the Khazar economy: economic integration or disintegration, and the "internal" ethnic communities in Khazaria.
Besides the loans stemming from the Ottoman occupation, there are loans from the Cumans and the Pechenegs.
While part of the Pechenegs population proceeded deeper into the Balkans, the rest settled around Crimea in the early 10th century.
In the first half of the first Christian millennium, when the Romanian people was taking final shape on the Lower Danube (on both banks of the river) and around the Carpathians, these lands were reached by additional migratory populations, such as the Bulgarians (Proto-Bulgarians), the Hungarians, and--after the year 1000--by the Pechenegs, the Cumans, and others.
Turkic-speaking peoples and others reached the areas of the Kingdom of Hungary in several waves: the Pechenegs (besenyak) (10th-11th centuries), the Cumanians (kunok), and the Alanians (jaszok) (13th century).
A substantial body of research concerning the interactions of the Slavic sedentary peoples with the nomads of the Pontic steppe (Khazars, Pechenegs, Polovtsy, and especially the Mongols/ Tatars) has now emerged.
Neither was I told that relations with Pechenegs and Khipchaks remained very important indeed for early state formation in the 11th' 12th and 13th century, that what we now refer to as the Golden Horde actually referred to itself as the Khipchak Khanate or that the translatio imperii from the Khipchak Khanate to Muscovy was a key source of legitimation for the early tsars.
Bulgarians, Russians, Pechenegs, Avars, Seljuk Turks, and many others attacked the empire and the queen of cities, and Byzantium saw its share of internal revolts and coups d' etat as well.
The Khazars proper are portrayed as ruling over a multi-ethnic empire, comprising Caucasian Alans, Hungarians, Pechenegs, Volga Bulgars, Crimea Goths, and a number of Slav tribes.
Until now, the only monograph on Pechenegs and Cumans available in English was Andras Paloczi-Horwith's Pechenegs, Cumans, Iasians, published fifteen years ago.
When, after all the missed opportunities and failed contacts, Ivan Kotelko finally meets his grandson, Ben, the topic of their conversation is the past--not only the personal past that unites them, but the national past that begins with the princes of Kyiv, Pechenegs and Khazars (252).
The Esclavoy were the Slavs, Sorbies and Soy the Serbians and Serbs, the Ermines and Ormadens were the Armenians, the Turs and Pers were the Turks and Persians, the Pinceneis were the Pechenegs, the Avers the Avars, the Hums and Hangies the Huns and Hungarians, the Astrimnoies were the people from Strymon in Macedonia.