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Chapter 5.



Scythian / Hun / Avar / Magyar Cultural Connections



    According to Otto Maenchen-Helfen, the Latin Chroniclers of the fifth century A.D. knew "next to nothing about the Scythians, Cimmerians and Massagetae, whose names the Greek authors constantly interchanged with that of the Huns."[1] He says that Jerome identified Herodotus' Scythians with the Huns,[2] and he himself identifies the Huns with the Royal Scythians.[3]  Rolf Rolle describes the Scythian costume, as depicted on a vessel found in the Pazyrik graves in Siberia: "The long, braided tunics are of embroidered, fur trimmed leather. Trousers, embroidered lengthways, and soft ankle-length boots complete their outfit."[4] The Hun shepherds wore a pointed sheepskin hat, sheepskin vest or tunic and wide trousers and boots. According to Gyula László, the Magyars of the time of Árpád wore a similar costume.[5]

    The Scythian horseman trained his horse to kneel down. "This was very important in battle as kneeling on command could mean the difference between life and death for a fallen and heavily armed warrior, relatively immobile on foot, who could save time getting swiftly back on his kneeling horse." This was not a custom known to the Greeks. If it had been "Xenophon would not have left us such exquisite instructions on the mounting of a horse - by clutching the mane or using the lance in a kind of pole-vault in order to catapault onto the saddle. He lays particular emphasis on 'posture'. The ancient writer warns that the rider might otherwise present 'an indecent sight from behind' since trousers were unknown to the Greeks."[6] The Scythians/ Huns/ Avars/Magyars all used saddles, stirrups and horseshoes. The Roman army, even in the third century A.D., went to war without those essential pieces of equipment, which were introduced into Europe by the Germanic people, a thousand years after the Huns.[7] The stirrup came into use in Europe around A.D. 700. The acceptance of the use of the stirrup led a whole era into Europe - the age of Chivalry, according to Viktor Padány.[8]  At this time the stirrup had been used by Turanian peoples, in particular the Uz people, for 2500 years.

     The tents of the Hun villages were on wheels and were artistically created. These yurts were comfortable and warm and contained a cooking stove and chairs. The Chinese adopted the Hun custom of sitting on chairs. The Hun families had many children. The Scythian, Hun and Magyar children rode on the backs of the sheep and learned how to use the bow and arrow.[9] There were more women around the tents than men. The women were partners to their husbands and had a voice in decision-making. Hun women had more rights than Chinese women. This is why the Chinese gave some of their women to the Huns for wives. A few of the Chinese wives even organized coups in the Hun history. The Huns had large numbers of skilled workers to supply the hundreds of thousands of soldiers with the equipment they needed, the saddles, stirrups, bits and bridles, the bows and arrows, carriages and wheels etc. Their principal foods were milk products and meat from the hunt. The Huns enjoyed their fermented milk, "koumiss", and the Scythians and Magyars likewise. They all had a custom of riding with a piece of meat under the saddle. It has been commonly believed that they did this to soften the meat and eat it raw, a custom attributed to barbarians. Who would have thought that these "barbarians" knew that the raw meat had healing properties, which eased the saddle sores on the mount's back? Recently, an Englishman has been credited with the "discovery" that raw meat heals the wounds on the backs of racehorses.

    In battle the Huns, Scythians and Magyars used the tactics of repeated attack and retreat. The horsemen must have trained rigorously and diligently to have been able to react obediently and swiftly to the signals to attack and retreat, turning their bodies in the saddle and continuing to fire their arrows as they retreated. At another signal they turned around and again attacked the enemy. This was later named the "Parthian shot" and may well be the origin of our phrase "parting shot". The Greeks called the Scythians "horse archers" because they were so skillful with their small composite bow. These horse-archers were ambidextrous and extremely accurate and their arrows traveled a great distance (over 500 meters). A practiced archer could shoot around twenty arrows a minute. According to Rolf Rolle, "a composite bow of this nature would have taken between five and ten years to produce, as special types of wood and horsehair string were used and long periods of seasoning were necessary."[10] It required a significant amount of skill to produce such a bow. The arrowheads used by the Scythians were made of bronze. The later Huns introduced arrowheads made of iron, which could penetrate metal armor.

     The Hun horseman who brought home a head from battle received a glass of wine from the Senyő. There is no evidence to show that the Huns kept slaves. Bravery was held in high regard and even a brave prisoner was allowed to fight among the leaders. The Huns took care of their injured fighters, about two thousand years before the other peoples of the world. It was the soldier's duty to bring out of the battle the body of a comrade who had died. Those who brought out a corpse inherited all his movable goods.

     There is no evidence that either the Scythians or the Huns were fishermen but, according to Rolf Rolle, some Scythians were farmers. They grew barley, millet, rye, peas, lentils, beans, flax and hemp. "In recent years, indications of horticulture have been increasing. The charred pips of apples and cherries verify their cultivation; drying ovens for fruit show a kind of preserving system which is still in use today."[11] Otto Maenchen-Helfen also writes that the Huns practiced agriculture.[12] Claudius and Ammianus denied them the knowledge of agriculture.

    The Huns were the first to develop a tribal system. Later, one tribal leader became ruler over all the tribes. This unified the entire Hun people. The Magyars had a similar system. Within the empire there was a loose territorial interdependence. There was almost total autonomy from the Emperor. Civil wars between the tribes, instigated by the Chinese, caused the fall of the Hun Empire.

    A world power such as the Hun Empire must have developed an organized system for keeping order. Their military organization was based on the decimal system. That in itself shows a great level of civilization. The Chinese Annals mention twenty-four high dignitaries. Under each of these were 10,000 men. There was one commander or corporal for every ten men. (This commander in Hungarian is called a "tizedes". "Tíz" means "ten".) For every ten corporals there was one captain. (Captain in Hungarian is "százados". "Száz" means "one hundred".) Over ten captains, was the colonel. (Colonel in Hungarian is "ezredes". "Ezer" means "one thousand".) In charge of ten colonels was a commander called "tizezredes". "Tizezer" means "ten-thousand". The entire army was divided into four army corps. Each army corps had 100,000 men and a commander who was called a "százezredes". ("Százezer" means "one hundred thousand".) These four commanders reported directly to the Senyő (emperor). If the Huns were so "boorish" and "barbarian" as they are so often called, they would not have been able to develop such a precise system, and moreover maintain it for a long period of time. In later years, the Magyars also organized their armies according to the decimal system. The Chinese Annals praise the Hun laws. Between the Senyő and the nation there must have been an agreement that the new Senyő must be elected from among his descendants. In their three thousand year history there was not one occasion that the Senyő was elected from another family. The Huns, Scythians and Magyars all had the custom of swearing an oath with blood, (blood brotherhood). By drinking a mixture of wine and their own blood, into which their weapons had been dipped, they swore allegiance for life. Two warriors drank from a single drinking horn. Rolf Rolle says: "This simultaneous drinking was obviously important; it sealed the bond to the death and perhaps even beyond into the next world."[13] Rolf Rolle shows a picture of a gold plaque depicting two Scythian warriors swearing blood brotherhood. This plaque was from the Kul-Oba kurgan from the 4th. Century B.C. This shared custom of swearing blood brotherhood proves the relationship between the Huns, Scythians and Magyars more than anything else does. In a nation's history, the language might change but the customs generally survive.

     There is another custom that is shared by the Huns and the Magyars. Once a year, when the leaders came together for a National Assembly, those who did not participate were expelled from the union. The Senyő nominated his heir but the National Assembly elected him. The rite of election was not regulated. This caused the wars of succession among both the Huns and the Magyars. Benedek Baráthosi Balogh writes that the Magyars, in their thought, their customs, their laws and their temperament were completely identical to the Huns. The Huns were a warlike army people but according to the Chinese Annals, they did not have the custom of vendetta or blood feud.

    "Whosoever raises his sword against another shall be killed. Whosoever steals from another, his family shall be taken (probably as servants). For smaller infringements of the law, the penalty is a whipping; for larger ones, execution. The longest term of imprisonment was ten days and very few prisoners could be found."[14] The Szekel Chronicles of Csik, about 1796, state that the Szekels are the descendants of the Huns and one of their laws stated: "To be born as a Szekel means to be born free." The chronicles do not mention imprisonment as a punishment for crime. It is commonly believed that the name Székely (Szekel) is derived from Scytha (Scythian).

    As for the religion of the ancient Scythians, they worshipped the Sun-God and they also had a custom of sacrificing a white horse. In China, the Huns did likewise but the Magyars no longer sacrificed horses. They honored the white horse and valued horses so much that they buried many horses along with their master. Some of the Hun/Scythian burial customs were continued by the Avars and Magyars, who also buried servants, horses and treasures along with their lord. "The Hun custom of disfiguring their faces with deep wounds as an expression of mourning was also found among the Magyars. Jordanes mentions it in "Getica."[15] The Scythians also practiced similar mourning rituals of disfigurement.[16] The Scythians, Huns and Magyars all believed in life after death and provided the corpse with all the comforts he would need on his journey to the next world. They regarded the cemetery as sacred ground. The Huns and Magyars also practiced religious tolerance. Among the Huns of Atilla, Buddhism, Nestorianism, Manicheism and Christianity were all accepted. Manicheism, which was the practise of Christianity excluding the Old Testament, originated in the Parthian Empire. Nestorianism was a similar religious philosophy. When the Sassanid dynasty of Persia broke up the Parthian Empire in A.D. 302, the Parthians, who were also known as Aparni, Avars, Huns and Magyars, formed a new empire in the Carpathian Basin, which became known as the Avar Empire, and they brought with them these sects of Eastern Christianity. (The Magyars were just as tolerant as the Huns and the Avars. In 1568, at the National Assembly at Torda, Hungary was the first country in the world to announce freedom of religion) The Senyő of the Huns greeted the rising sun every morning with open arms and every month he greeted the new moon in the same manner. The Huns believed in the spirits of Heaven and Earth. They believed in foretelling the future by the stars. This was a very ancient custom. There were Magi (shamans) among the Huns as among other Turanian peoples.

    When the history of the Eastern Huns came into public knowledge, it was not accepted by many of the Western historians because some of the dates did not correspond with those of Western history. The major reason for this reluctance to accept it was that, on the borders of Europe, Hun tribes were found at the time that they were recorded to have existed in China. Western historians did not realize that the Hun Empire was so large that it reached almost to the borders of Europe. Finally it was a historian named Hirt who clarified the information about the Huns by establishing data about certain historical events of which the Western historians were unaware. In About A.D. 452, the King of Suk-tak sent an envoy to the Hsiung-Nu Huns to ask the Huns to release the merchants who were captured at the Conquest of Kutsang. The country of Suk-tak was the country that the Western historians called the country of the Alans. Because the King of the Alans died fighting against the Hsiung-Nu Huns, his country became part of the Hun Empire. We know from the Western Chronicles, that the Huns, together with the Alans, attacked the Eastern Goths in A.D.375.

    The people of the Csitki Huns, in the middle of the first century before Christ, disappeared from the records of the Chinese. In 91 B.C. the same thing happened with the people of the Northern Huns. They ceased to be mentioned in the Chinese chronicles. In A.D. 261, the Topa peoples were pressing all the peoples who were in their way, including the Huns. At this time, the Black Huns were living in the territory of the Urals. The White Huns were living on the Eastern shores of the Caspian Sea. Ammianus Marcellinus records the home of the Huns to be beside the Caspian Sea. Marcianus Heracleata writes that the Huns lived in the Boristhenes territory after the Alans. The Magyar Chronicles from A.D. 373 on, record that the Hun leaders were the ancestors of the Magyars.[17] They mention Béla, Köve, Kadicsa, and also a leader named Kádár. The Chronicles mention that two Hun families were eligible for the election of the Senyő, Zemény and Érd. Senyő Kun originated from the Zemény family and also Karotán, Uld and Rugacs. With Rugacs, the family died out. The Érd family was well known for the Senyős Oktár, Rof, Etele (Atilla) and Buda.

     Not only are similarities in customs an obvious connection between the Huns, Scythians, Avars and Magyars but also similarities in the motifs in their art and music. Dr. Miklós Érdy has conducted research in Central Asia in Uiguria, Chorezm, Turkistan (Bukharia), and East Turkistan. He collected folk motifs in embroidery and folk songs that are identical to Hungarian folk motifs and brought them back to Hungary. On one of his journeys, Dr. Érdy became acquainted with Du Yaxiong, who conducts research in Chinese folklore and music, and who, contrary to the usual lines of research, is researching the connections between the Hun and the Magyar folk music following it from East to West. Du Yaxiong has stated that the structure of the Magyar folk songs, which are on a pentatonic scale, strongly resembles that of the Uigur folk songs. He supports the statement of Zoltán Kodály that the Magyar folk music is "totally different" from the Finnish folk music. In 1987, Zoltán Kallós, a Hungarian ethnographer, also emphasized that there was no relationship between the Hungarian and Finnish folk music. Where similarities between the folk music of these two peoples were apparent, it was concluded that they were due to the Turkish influence on both. Du Yaxiong states that the Uigur language was "the same as the Hun but with a slight difference."[18] Dr. István Kiszely also supports the relationship between the Uigur and Magyar folk music and folk motifs in embroidery.[19]

    Both Béla Bartok and Zoltán Kodály noticed that the character of the Chinese folk songs and Hungarian folk songs was very similar but neither of them suggested the influence of the Huns' migration to the West. Kodály said: "Time wiped the Easterners' character from the Hungarian people's faces, but cannot stop the flow of melodies from the depths of their hearts and thus shows the ancient East." He also said that the Hungarian folk music was "the ancient tributary of that great thousand-year old Asian music and culture."[20]

      The Huns began to move towards the West in A.D. 91. The characteristics of the songs of the Hun peoples remained in the folk music of the Uigurs and the Magyars. According to the French and American history books, the Uigurs in the sixth century were the teachers of the Asian countries. In their zenith they were more advanced than the Indians and Chinese, and the Arabs learned from them. Dr. Érdy states that the German researchers support the Hun-Magyar connection. The research of the Chinese folk music indicates that the Magyar folk music is rooted in the Hun music. There are numerous written documents dating back more than a thousand years, the Magyar Chronicles, the legend of the Enchanted Stag, the writings of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, all of which support the Hun-Magyar connections. Constantine Porphyrogenitus called the Magyars "Sabir-Asphaloi". It is a known fact that the Sabirs or Subareans were a Hun people.

     In the Hungarian folk art, the favorite motif is the tulip. Ethnographers believe that this tulip motif is one of the most ancient ornamental motifs of the Magyars. In spite of its ancient origins, historians state that tulips were introduced into Hungary in the seventeenth century from Holland. In his Asian research, Dr. Érdy has found that the tulip motif is a very old motif. The home of the wild tulip is in Central Asia, where there can be found a hundred and twenty five varieties. Royal Hungarian ornamental objects from the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, along with money and paintings, have been found bearing the tulip motif. The ivy motif was the favorite motif of the Árpád dynasty. It was found on Atilla's sword and other articles. The tulip motif can be found on the coronation robe of Saint Stephen, which was made in the 11th century. This tulip motif can be traced back to the 5th and 4th centuries B.C. In the Pazyrik mound graves of Huns or Scythians in the Altai Mountains, carpets were found ornamented with this motif. According to the design on one carpet, the dead Hun or Scythian ruler, on his horse, is riding before God who, sitting on a throne, is handing him an ivy vine, with the flower of life, the tulip, at the top. That symbolized life after death.[21]

    Dr. Érdy describes how the people of the Steppes celebrated the coming of spring. After a long, cold winter, in the middle of April, when the sun warms up, millions of multi-colored flowers cover the Steppes. The people living there count this flowering as the beginning of their year. They count their years, not from the rotations of the moon or the earth, but from the number of times the Steppes have flowered. This is why the tulip flower became known as the flower of life.[22]

    The Hun peoples brought with them from the Steppes the motifs of the ivy and the tulips. According to Gyula Németh, the ancient name of the tulip was "Lola", and it remains in the Persian and Arab languages as "Lola", later becoming a girl's name. In the Turkish language the tulip is called "la-le".

     Besides the tulip, there is another ornamental motif on the coronation robe of Saint Stephen, the bird motif. Until recently, it was thought to be used as a filler, having no significance, yet in heraldry, birds have an important position as protectors. On each side of the tulip, they stand in a watchful stance with their heads turned backwards facing the tulip. The "daru" (crane) is the noblest species of the protecting birds of heraldry because of its extraordinary vigilance. Between the tenth and fourteenth centuries it was widely favored among the Magyars as a domesticated bird used for warning against strangers because its hearing was even sharper than a dog's. This is why it was given a place on the coronation robe as a guard-bird. Two species of these cranes were widespread in Hungary. One was the common grey crane (Grus g. grus) and the other was the demoiselle crane (Anthropoides virgo). Both species made their nests in almost all the territories where the wild tulips grew. The grey crane nested more to the north of the demoiselle crane. The Magyar people became acquainted with these birds on the Steppes of Central Asia and came to like them. An interesting fact is that the Goths were also steppe people originally, but in the German folk motifs or religious heraldry, these guard-birds can be found only in a few places. At the same time they are widespread in Hungary.

     From the early Western European, Byzantine, Armenian, Arab, and Persian sources, it can be shown that the Magyar folk-poetry, folk-tales, folk-art, archeological findings such as swords and arrows, horses, dogs, Magyar burial customs, their horse burial customs all show connections with the Huns. In caves in China, used by the Huns, Dr. Érdy discovered cave drawings depicting the legend of the Enchanted Stag. He found these drawings in Cave No. 249 at Dun Huang, in the county of Gasu, in northwest China and published his findings in 1984.

    Another Hungarian legend, the dream of Emese, can also be found among the legends of the Buryats in Mongolia where the highest shaman was supposed to be born from a mother who was inseminated by an eagle. According to the Hungarian legend, Ugyek, the descendant of Atilla, took Emese as his wife. On their wedding night, Emese was visited by a great bird, the TURUL bird, a huge eagle, which descended upon her, covering her with his black wings. Half asleep, half awake, Emese had a dream. It seemed that a crystal spring had sprung from her loins and began to flow toward the West, growing bigger and bigger, into a swelling stream, flowing over snow-covered mountains, finally reaching a beautiful plain. There, the river stopped, and a magnificent tree sprang up from its waters. Every branch and leaf of that tree was of pure gold, as was the fruit, which grew abundantly on the miraculous tree. Emese, in her dream, lay down under that tree, in the middle of the beautiful land, and fell asleep. When she awoke, she was back in her husband's tent. The memory of that dream stayed with her forever. Nine months later, a son was born to Emese, the first-born son of Ügyek. He was named ÁLMOS (Boy of Dream) and became the father of ÁRPÁD, who led the Magyars across plains and mountains into that beautiful land which once belonged to the Huns and which was, according to the minstrel's songs, their rightful inheritance.[23]

     In 1983 and 1984, Dr. Érdy researched the Hungarian folk motifs. He found 23 basic motifs identical to the Scythian, Hun, Subarean and Altaic peoples, and none that were similar to those of the Finno-Ugric peoples. In 1989, Dr. Érdy presented the results of his researches to the Hungarian Academy of Science, and opened a new avenue of research.

     In 1988, Professor Izabella Horváth, an art historian, in a paper entitled "From Inner Asia to the Carpathian Basin" presented the results of her research into the art of the Magyar people and contested the theory that it was influenced by the Byzantine, Persian and Islamic art.[24]

     Izabella Horváth and her colleagues collected animal motifs in the territory of Eurasia. They studied artifacts from the museums, and pictures in archeological reviews. They developed three charts showing those cultural characteristics, which they intended to analyze. The thirty-eight animal motifs were divided into five groups. The chart showed that the motifs of the Scythians, Huns, Avars and Magyars were for the most part identical. The second chart showed so few resemblances between the Finno-Ugric and Magyar motifs, that they could be disregarded. The third chart showed much less of a resemblance to the Sassanid, Persian, Byzantine and Islamic art than to the Scythian-Hun-Avar art. In the first chart, the griffin motif appears in a substantial number of designs, more than any other animal. The second chart compares the griffin motif in the same way as the first chart. Here it can he seen that the griffin motif appears more often in the art of the Huns, Scythians, Avars and Magyars than it does in the art of any other people. Griffins are often depicted guarding the Scythian gold. Again it was very obvious that in the Byzantine and Islamic art, the griffin motifs were much fewer in number than in the art of the people of the Steppes. In the German or Carolingian arts the griffin motif appeared even less often, yet Minns, Fettich Nándor, and Talbot Rice, stated that the arts of the Germans originate from the Scythian art.[25] They based their assumption mainly on animal motifs. Yet in the Hungarian folk art the griffin appears in much larger numbers than among the Germans. This is why it is advisable to reexamine the former conclusions.

    Western historians have attributed the origins of the Hungarian folk arts to the Byzantine folk arts, because it never even occurred to them that a "barbarian, nomadic people” with "Finno-Ugric" origins could have developed such beautiful motifs.

    It is a well-known fact that among the peoples of the Steppes, birds of prey signified godly origins. The lion and the tiger signified the power and strength of royalty. This is why in the folk art, the bird of prey and the lion or tiger blended into a single motif and the griffin evolved with a bird's head and a lion's body. The griffin came to signify the godly origin and power of the royalty and the griffin motif was found most often on royal possessions and garments, for example the Hungarian coronation robe, the artifacts in the Pazyrik graves of the Scythians and the Noi-ula Hun graves.

     In the Magyar legend of the dream of Emese and the legend of the origins of the Buryat people, the nation originated from God in the form of an eagle. The doe was the ancient mother of the nation. The leader whose father was the Turul bird or eagle, (legend of the dream of Emese) and whose mother was a doe, (legend of the Enchanted Stag) must have had great power at that time. The pair of Griffins guarding the tree of life is a motif that often occurs in the folk arts of the people of the Steppes and the Magyars. The conception of Álmos, the son of Emese, by the Turul bird, signifies his heavenly origins. Arnold Ipolyi describes Álmos and Árpád as priest-kings.[26]

     In the folk arts of the Steppe people, the griffin motif indicates the duty of the priest-king towards his people. This cannot be found in the art of the Ostyak and Votyak people living near the river Ob in Siberia, who are supposedly the ancestors of the Magyars. Álmos originated from the TURUL clan from which the Turks, who ruled for a long period in the territories of the steppes of Eurasia, also originated. Csernyecov demonstrates that the Steppe peoples migrated from the south and east towards the north and not, as the Finno-Ugric linguists state, from north to south.[27]

     The data from the folklore show that there is a resemblance between the Magyars and the Eastern peoples.[28] The tale of the Tree that reaches to Heaven is the most often mentioned. A dragon kidnaps a girl and carries her to the top of the tree that reaches to Heaven. Those who started out to try to save her all died in the attempt. Finally the little swineherd tried to free her. With his axe, he cut steps in the trunk of the tree and climbed higher and higher, reaching the different levels. On each level was a different world. On one level lived the Wind, on another, the Moon, and on another, the mother of the Sun. These all helped the little swineherd to reach his goal. The researcher stated that this folk-tale represents the ceremony of the táltos or shaman (holy man). The shaman, in a similar way, climbed higher and higher up a tree that was raised in the middle of the tent. This folk-tale preserves the beliefs of the ancient religion. The ancient people believed in the tree of life, which was the life-giver and preserver of every living creature. That there were connections to the cosmos is shown by the fact that on the seventh and ninth branch of the tree lived the Sun and the Moon. Adorján Magyar has related the legend of the Enchanted Stag, which remains as yet unpublished, in which he describes the twins, Hunor and Magor, growing up into hunters. He describes their adventures as small children, climbing higher and higher up the mountain in search of the mother of the Moon and the mother of the Sun.

     The archeological findings seem to prove that the people who used the griffin and ivy motifs were made up of people from three different territories that were far from each other. The people who used only the griffin motif came from the territory of the Iranian plateau into the Carpathian Basin, but not by a direct route. They first went to the territory called Magna Hungaria where they joined with the people who used the ivy motif and here a people who used the acanthus motif, who originated in the Caucasus, obtained power over them. This consolidated group, now called Avars, then migrated to the Carpathian Basin to rejoin their brother-peoples in the land of Atilla.

     Those who used the griffin motif came from a territory where there was no forest and birds of prey were dominant. This is how they developed the griffin motif. Those who used the ivy motif came from a territory of dense forests. The griffin is connected to the Magyar legend of the Turul bird and the ivy to the legend of the Tree of Life.

     Géza Radics writes: "Herodotus, the father of history writing, in the 5th. century, mentions a revolution which broke out among the Scythians. As a result of this revolution, the Scythians were forced to leave their territory north of the Black Sea. According to Herodotus, the Scythians settled in the above-mentioned territory of Magna Hungaria. It is not impossible that the ancestors of the people of the griffin motif could be found among these Scythians, who were living near the people of the ivy motif in Magna Hungaria or even together with them until they went together to the Carpathian Basin. It is probable that the Scythian/Magyar identity evolved from here."[29]

     Géza Radics does not believe it possible that the people who used the griffin motif who came from the Iranian plateau, the people who used the ivy motif who came from the Volga territory, and the people of the Caucasus who used the acanthus motif all spoke the Magyar language.

    However, the story of the tree of life was widespread in almost every territory where the Magyar language was spoken. At the time of the people of Árpád, it must have been even better known. This is why we would expect the ornaments of the Arpád era to reflect the knowledge of this tree of life, just as it is reflected in the folk-art of the Eastern peoples. However, in the folk art of the Arpád era, not one artifact represents the tree of life. In the folk-art of the Árpád people, the palm motif was often used. Among the early Avars, we can find the motif of the tree of life carved on bones, and also among the later Avars, carved onto belts and belt-buckles. Gyula László writes that wherever the motifs of the griffin and ivy were found, the language was Magyar and suggests that the Magyars inherited the story of the Tree of Life from the Avars.[30]

    Historians have stated that the legends of the Tree of Life, the Turul bird and the Enchanted Stag are actually totem legends. The progenitress (ancestress) of the twin brothers, Hunor and Magor, was the Doe that led them through the Meotis Marsh. The belt buckles of the later Avars carried the design of the doe. We may conclude that the legend of the enchanted stag and the legend of the tree of life both originate from the later Avars.

     In Hungarian territory, archeologists have found belt buckles of the later Avars, ornamented with animal representations such as the deer, the bird, the lion, the wild boar and others. The Árpád Chronicles only mention one totem animal, the Turul bird, which Árpád inherited from Atilla. The origins of the belief in the totem animals go back much further than the time of the homecoming of Árpád. Among the Szekel Hungarians there is still the belief that they are of Hun origins.

     The legends of the Enchanted Stag and the Tree of Life, and the folk music all indicate Avar-Hun connections. The Saint László legend also reveals pagan connections. Saint László, the blond horseman, fought against the black-haired Kun (Cumanian) horseman who had kidnapped a Magyar girl. Originally the legend probably had pagan protagonists, but in the eleventh century, Saint László was the hero. This was originally a cosmic drama in which the light fought against the darkness and good against bad. Both warriors were invincible but the Kun had only one vulnerable point, his heel tendon. The Magyar girl cut this tendon and the Kun warrior was defeated. The horses followed their masters' example and fought each other, biting and kicking each other. This legend is also found among the Scythians who predated the Greeks. The Greek legend of Achilles must have been adopted from the Scythians.

     These data are important for several reasons. Firstly, because the date of the Magyars' reclamation of their homeland is about four hundred years earlier than is now accepted. Secondly, the Carpathian Basin was not a sparsely populated area occupied by Slavs, as is commonly believed and thirdly, the Magyars who reclaimed their homeland were not barbarians but had connections with the Scythians, Huns, Avars and the ancient populace of the Carpathian Basin who had lived there for millennia.




[1]  Maenchen-Helfen, Otto: The World of the Huns, University of California Press, 1973. p.6

[2] Ibid. p.4.

[3] Ibid. p. 125.

[4] Rolle, Rolf: The World of the Scythians, p.58

[5] Lász1ó, Gyula: A honfoglaló magyar nép élete, Budapest, 1944, p.371.

[6] Rolle, Rolf: Op.Cit. p.104.

[7] Csobánczi, Elemér: Ősturánok, Garfield, N.J. 1964, p.108; Deanesly, Margaret: History of 

    Medieval and Modern Europe, Vol. I. London, 1956, p.8.  10. Rolle, Roll Op. Cit. p.66. 11. Ibid. p.110.

[8] Padányi, Viktor, Dentumagyária, p. 406.

[9] Lász1ó Gyula, Op. Cit. p.268.

[10] Rolle, Rolf:  Op. Cit. p. 66.

[11] Ibid. p.110.

[12] Maenchen-Helfen, Otto: Op.Cit. p. 174-176.

[13] Rolle, Rolf: Op. Cit. p. 62.

[14] Baráthosi-Balogh, Benedek: Op.Cit. quotation from the Chinese Annals.

[15] Maenchen-Helfen, Otto: Op. Cit. p. 274

[16] Trippett, Frank: The First Horsemen, Time Life Books, 1974, New York, p. 118.

[17] Baráthosi-Balogh Benedek: Op. Cit. p. 134-135.

[18] Du Yaxiong: Comparative Research of Chinese Folk Songs and Hungarian Folk Songs,  Argentina. 1985, quoting from The History of the Wei Dynasty.

[19] Kiszely, István: A Huszonnegyedik óra után, 1988

[20] Du Yaxiong: Op. Cit. from Kodály, Zoltán: On the Hungarian Folk Music.

[21]Trippett, Frank: Op.Cit. Picture on p. 132.

[22] Szittyakürt, 1989, Mar-Apr. p.8

[23] Hungarian Legends, Florida, 1971.

[24] Lász1ó, Gyula: Népvándorláskor Művészete Magyarországon, 1968; Dienes: Honfogla1ó Magyarok, 1972; Arady: A Művészet Története Magyarországon, 1983.

[25] Minns: The Art of the Northern Nomads, 1942; Fettich, Nándor: Tanulmányok a Késői Hun

     Fémművesség Torténetéhez, 1951; Rice, Talbot: The Scythians, 1968.

[26] Ipolyi, Arnold: Magyar Mytho1ógia. 1854.

[27] Csernyecov: The Prehistory of Western Siberia, (1974). Izabella Horvath: Op. Cit.

[28] Berze-Nagy, János: A Magyarság Néprajza III, Ch.3, "A Mese" (The Folk Tale), Mossy,

     Sándor: Keleti Elemek Népmeseinkben (1927), p.38-43.

[29] Radics, Géza: Az Eredetünk és Őshazánk, U.S.A. 1992, p.43.

[30] Lász1ó, Gyula: Op.Cit. p.119-120, quoting K. Éry, Kinga: Demográfia Folyóirat 1971, p.l-2.