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Pechenegs (pĕchənĕgzˈ) [key] or Patzinaks pätsĭnäksˈ, 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.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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