Back to Home 








Chapter 4.



The Huns



    History records that the Huns suddenly appeared in the fifth century A.D. "out of the shadows" and there is no knowledge of their past. Even in the Magyar Chronicles, other than a few notes about the ancestors of Atilla, there is hardly any mention of them.

    However, the eighteenth century missionaries to China had an opportunity to study Chinese history and make notes. Herbelot, Klapproth and Brouset and more recently De Groot and Chavannes have studied these notes and made available to us numerous resources which give us much more information about the Huns.

    Among the Chinese sources the Si-Ki records are the richest. Sze-Ma-csen, who lived between 145 B.C. and 87 B.C., was the writer of these notes about the Huns, which fill more than two hundred volumes. The fact that these notes are in accord with the few notes about the Huns in the Magyar Chronicles is proof that they are historically correct. There is a great distance, chronologically and geographically, between the two.

    Using the information from the above-mentioned missionaries and the Chinese Annals, Benedek Baráthosi-Balogh wrote a very complete book about the Huns- A Hunok Három Világ Birodalma.[1]

      The Chinese Annals record that the Huns, in ancient times, did not form a united nation but lived in many different tribal units. Hoang-Ti "The Emperor of the World", in about 2400 B.C. already mentioned the Hun people but called them by different names like Hi-Un-Nu, Hein-jun, Hiung-No, Hsiung-Nu and Dsongo. In time, the Dsongo Huns became known as the Csángo and they later settled in the area of Transylvania that is still called Csángo. Historians and linguists have tried for centuries to understand the meaning of the name Csángo. The Csángo dialect has the most ancient elements of the Magyar language and their folk tales are the most ancient of the Magyar folk tales. It is a well-known fact that the Csángo and Szekel people of Transylvania believe that they are direct descendants of the Huns and this was acknowledged in Greater Hungary by their tax-exempt status. It is possible that they are not the descendants of Atilla's Huns but of an earlier influx of Huns, such as the Western Huns. The explanation that the name Csángo is derived from the Magyar word "csángál" which means "wanders aimlessly away" appears to be without foundation, since it is unlikely that a people would describe itself in this fashion.

     Emperor Szun wrote that, in the 24th and 23rd centuries B.C., he went five thousand "li" west of China and conquered the Dsongo, Saca, Tik Huns and Kiongo Huns. In the north he conquered the mountain Dsongo Huns. Emperor Ju conquered the Kienlien people, the Saca, Kussu, and the Western Dsongo Huns. Later Chinese sources have clarified that the Kussu people mentioned in earlier chronicles were the Ugor people. Already by the 23rd. century B.C., there were four major peoples among the Huns - the Dsongo, Saca, Ugor and Kiang peoples.

    Emperor Hi-Fu, in 2350 B.C., acknowledged that refugees who arrived from the land of Seennar (Mesopotamia) built irrigation canals in China. Drs. Douglas and Jenks discuss the similarities between the canals in China and Sumer, the similarities between their sciences of astronomy and medicine. They also mention that Emperor Yao (2085-2005) gave an audience to twelve shepherd princes from Susa.[2] As these people migrated from Mesopotamia to China they passed through the land that is presently called Tibet. In their language the name Tibet was TO-BO-TAJ. In Sumerian and in the Hungarian language, TO means "foot of the mountain", BO means "large panorama" and TAJ means "territory". The people who lived here until A.D. 612, were called the TO-BO-TAJ people. In A.D. 612, the Kun (Cumanian) prince married the princess of China. From this time on, these people were suppressed by the Chinese and Cumanian peoples.[3] I will name a few of the Tibetan kings whose names are identical to Sumerian, Scythian, Hun, Sabir and Magyar names and also geographical names. King names: Kos, Lato, Tori, Palkor, Nyatri, Csogyal. Mountain names: Kun, Tar, Must, Korum, Jura, Gura. Lake names: Manas Sarovar, Leh, Kara, Korum. Tibetan counties: Szech, Kan, Kagyu, Sima, Ladag, Urga, Nyurga, and Bartok. Family names: Shatra, Tompa, Sur, Gyali, Csap, Punk, Pala, Rampa.[4]

     In the third millennium B.C., the Chinese were located south and southeast of the big elbow of the Hoang-ho River (the Yellow River). The territory south of the Chinese may have been very sparsely populated because they were never involved in a war to the south. East of the Chinese, near the ocean shore, there were very weak tribes who were soon assimilated into the Chinese people. Strong Hun tribes were living to the west and north of the Chinese. The Chinese were an agricultural people while these people, whom the Chinese later called Huns, had a nomadic lifestyle and were occupied with animal husbandry. From the beginning of the Hia Dynasty (1766 B.C.) there are regular historical records of the Huns. In early Chinese history, the Tik Huns were the strongest enemy of the Chinese. The Sang kings established principalities to defend their territories from these people. Historians have come to the conclusion that it was the struggle between the Huns and the Chinese that caused the Chinese to unite. The Dsongo Huns, the Hunik and the Kienun, first appeared as enemies of China but later became allies and helped Emperor Ven to the throne. Ven was the first Emperor to unite the Chinese but he committed a fatal error by dividing the Chinese territory among his generals, making them vassals. During this feudal rule China lost its strength. In 850 B.C., as a result of an inside struggle, the Huns broke into the border states of China. From this time on, the Huns settled in large numbers in the Chinese territories, which they had conquered. They taught the Chinese their military tactics and they slowly became assimilated into the Chinese people. In this way, they strengthened the Chinese populace and tipped the scale in favor of the Chinese. Huns fought against Huns.

    However, about two hundred years later, the Huns regained their power and the whole of China became close to becoming a vassal of the Huns. China came to the conclusion that she had to defend herself against the Huns with castles and walls. At this critical time, the Chinese were ruled by an outstanding emperor, maybe even the greatest emperor, Mu, who was famous for his wisdom. When the occasion arose, the king of the Dsongo Huns sent his most trusted man, Jin Hu, who happened to be Chinese, to Emperor Mu to find out what the Emperor was really like and what to expect from him. The Emperor showed him his cities and castles, explained the Chinese laws to him and told him that in spite of all this apparent order, there was constant turmoil in the nation. He asked what was the reason that the Huns had no inside struggles. Jin Hu answered that the Chinese had written laws but the laws, camouflaged as justice and goodness, were used to exploit the people. The situation with the Huns was the reverse. The Hun leaders tried their best to be humane and righteous. They always wanted the best for their people. As a result the people were loyal to their leaders and had sincere respect for them. When Emperor Mu heard that, he became alarmed and decided that he would not let Jin Hu return to the Huns because he would be a threat to China since he was so wise. The Emperor made him a loyal follower and Jin Hu then suggested that Mu send Chinese musicians and women singers to the court of the Hun king in order to corrupt the King. If he learned to like music and women, dissention would arise between him and his ministers and the Hun superiority could be weakened. Emperor Mu took the advice of Jin Hu and soon after that he was able to defeat the King of the Dsongo Huns and confiscate twelve countries from him. The Chinese Annals talk of twelve countries, but they probably mean twelve territorial possessions. In 600 BC., Emperor Mu caused the Red Huns and the White Huns to fight each other. The Chinese recognized five compass points, each represented by a color. Black was the color of North. West was white, South red, and East was blue. Yellow was the color of the center of the compass. The Western Huns or Ephthalita probably received their name from this. They are often called the White Huns.[5]

     The Chinese believe that Emperor Mu was born a Hun. He was the founder of the Chin Dynasty in 676 B.C. Emperor Mu introduced new burial customs to China, the Scythian/Hun burial customs. At the funeral of a deceased Emperor, his loyal men and his servants had to be buried with him. At the death of Mu, in 621 B.C., almost two hundred men were buried with him. This custom was continued until 401 B.C.

     In 617 B.C. a new Hun tribe among the Tik Huns, the Szoba, appeared in this territory. The Chinese Annals write that the Szoba-Tiks broke into China. Nations and countries received their names from their location and from the major occupation of the people. I would venture to suggest that the Szoba Huns built houses with rooms since their name "Szoba" in the Magyar language means "room" or "house" just as the Avars were later called Vár-Kuns because they built castles. (Hungarian "vár" means castle.)

    In about 525 B.C., several Hun tribes appeared as a factor in Chinese history. Such tribes were the Tali and Giku tribes. In the fourth century B.C., the Chinese started to build the Great Wall of China. The viceroy, Vuling, came to the conclusion that with infantry and carriages, the Chinese could not fight successfully against the Hun cavalry. He adopted the Hun customs and military tactics. He visited the Hun leaders and asked for their alliance, which he received. His goal was to obtain absolute rule over China. For this purpose, he abdicated in favor of his son and obtained for himself the position of commander-in-chief of the allied forces. His plan however did not succeed. After his death, the Hun alliance broke up. Benedek Baráthosi-Balogh writes that, from the time of the rule of Vuling, the Chinese Annals always call the Huns "Hungno" or "Hunno". Probably, while visiting the Hun kings to ask for their alliance, Vuling learned their actual name.

     Benedek Baráthosi-Balogh points out that the pronunciation of the ancient Chinese suffix "no" was "nor". Therefore the Chinese pronounced the Hun name "Hunor", just as it is written in the legend of the White Stag, which tells us that the Huns and the Magyars are descended from the sons of Nimrod, Hunor and Magor.

     Emperor Vuling intended to unite China under his rule. Emperor Si-Hoang-Ti continued this policy. In 238 B.C. after he had succeeded in suppressing the inside revolts, he concentrated on fighting the Huns. Si-Hoang-Ti hated the Huns so much that he ordered the name of the Huns, Hunno, to be abbreviated to "Hu", so that their name would not be longer than the name of his empire. The Emperor heard a prophecy, which predicted that the "Hu" would overpower him. To prevent this, he attacked the neighboring Huns with 300,000 men and conquered them, confiscating their territory. In China, he built walls around forty-one cities. He built new roads and renovated the old ones. Si-Hoang-Ti made the completion of the construction of the Great Wall a project in which everyone was forced to participate. He took hundreds of thousands of prisoners of war to help in the construction of the Wall, which took ten years to complete. One million people were constantly employed in this project and half a million died as a result of this labor. Their corpses were buried in the Wall.

     Attacked by the Chinese, the Huns retreated to the territory of the Hoang Ho river (the Yellow River) and the individual tribes ceased their attacks on China. Everywhere, in the Hun territory, the "tanhu" or "senyő", that is the Emperor of the Huns, took over the command of all the Hun tribes. In the case of danger, the individual tribal leaders united under one leader, the Senyő, as did the Magyars in later years.

    The title "Senyő" evolved into the name of a tribe and later into the personal name of a leader, which is written in the Chinese annals as LAUNTHE. This name can be found in the genealogy of Atilla and Árpád. The later Greek sources write it as HILIENTHE which is the probable origin of the later Magyar name Levente. Among the Magyars this appears as a personal name rather than as a tribal name or a title. Árpád's eldest son's name was Levente. This evolution to a personal name is similar to that of the name Zoltán that originally was "zoltán" meaning a messenger (e.g. Zoltán Kodály).

    Benedek Baráthosi-Balogh states that the unification of the Hun tribes so strengthened the Hun nation that the very existence of the Chinese was in jeopardy.[6] We do not know for sure who was the first Hun "senyő" or "tanhu" because the Chinese Annals mention only "the great Hun kings" who live "far to the north" and do not mention their names. The first leader that they mention by name was Toban. We do not know when he started his reign but in 219 B.C. he was mentioned as the absolute ruler of the Huns. The Annals mention many of his wars. When he was defeated by the Chinese, he started to extend his territory towards the West. It was the Senyő Toban who created the first united Hun empire, but we will see that his son Mo-tun (Bátor) raised the Hun Empire to almost unbelievable heights. Before I explain how he did this, I will describe the tragedy of the Senyő Toban.

     The Huns introduced the custom of polygamy in order to ensure the nation of descendants because they lost so much of their populace in the constant warring campaigns. This was the first and most important reason for the custom of polygamy. Another reason was the protection of the family of a warrior who died in battle. The deceased warrior's closest brother automatically received the responsibility of protecting the warrior's widow and children. This was a social arrangement, which was a widespread custom. The Chinese Annals relate the following story:

     The eldest son of Senyő Toban was Mo-tun. Toban's second son was his favorite. Toban intended to move Mo-tun out of the way so that the second son could inherit the empire. To accomplish his goal, the Senyő sent Mo-tun to the King of Aszi as a guarantor for peace. While Mo-tun was there, Toban suddenly attacked the King of Aszi, whereupon Aszi expressed his intention to kill Mo-tun. However Mo-tun managed to escape and ride home on a very fast steed. Toban, acknowledged Mo-tun's bravery and authorized him to be the leader of more than ten thousand soldiers. Toban believed that this honor would satisfy Mo-tun and make up for the decision to remove him. Mo-tun was not appeased. He quietly prepared himself to regain his rightful heritage.

     He used whistling arrows and commanded his men during archery practice to aim together at the object that he had marked with his whistling arrow. Anyone who refused to obey the command was beheaded. At one archery practice, Mo-tun aimed a whistling arrow at his most splendid steed. He immediately beheaded those who were afraid to shoot. Soon after, he did the same thing with his favorite wife. At that time, some of his men were afraid to shoot and they were also beheaded. Later on, during the hunt, he aimed a whistling arrow at the ornamented steed of the Emperor. His entire escort simultaneously shot at the horse. He could see then that he could trust them completely. After that, he went hunting with his father, Senyő Toban and aimed a whistling arrow at his father who died when all the escort followed suit. Mo-tun ordered his stepmother, together with her son, the favorite son of the Senyő, to be killed because she had caused the Senyő to plot against him. He also ordered the execution of any minister who refused to obey him. Then he made himself Senyő.

    The Huns pardoned this crime of Mo-tun's because his deeds, as Emperor, made the Hun Empire unbelievably powerful. The pronunciation of the name Mo-tun is not clear but Sinologists have recently accepted the pronunciation as Bogatur or Bátur. Mo-tun (Bátor) was the greatest figure in Hun history. Only Atilla's deeds are equal to Bátor's. "Bátor" in Magyar means brave".)

     Bátor established the great, powerful, Hun World Empire of Central Asia. At the beginning of his reign, he did not have to be concerned about Chinese attacks because the Chinese were occupied with their own inner struggles. The territories to the east and west of Bátor's empire were settled by other Hun nations. To the east was the Empire of the Tung-hu (Eastern Huns), which extended from Manchuria to North Korea. Between the Hun Empire and the Tung-hu Empire was the unpopulated Gobi desert. It was a custom of the Turanians, wherever possible, to surround their territory with an unpopulated territory. (The Magyars also used this custom when they reclaimed their homeland in the Carpathian Basin in A.D. 896. It was also the medieval defense system.) Bátor knew that, although they were separated from him by a four hundred kilometer wide desert, the Tung-hu were his most dangerous neighbors. For an equestrian people the distance was not an obstacle.

      The Chinese Annals relate a story about Bátor and the Tung-hu. They relate that when the Tung-hu learned that Bátor had killed his own father, the Emperor, they sent a messenger to him. They demanded a horse that had belonged to his father, Toban, which was able to run a thousand "li" without a rest. Bátor called his ministers to ask their advice and they announced that this horse was too valuable to give to the Tung-hu. However Bátor retorted: "Should I honor a horse more than a neighboring state?" and he gave the steed to the Tung-hu. The Tung-hu interpreted this gesture to mean that Bátor was afraid of them and they sent another message demanding his wife. Emperor Bátor again called his ministers to ask their advice and they angrily shouted that the Tung-hu had no honor if they demanded the wife of the Emperor. They called for an attack on the Tung-hu. Bátor responded: "Should I honor a woman more than a neighboring state?" and he sent his wife to the Tung-hu. The king of the Tung-hu became more arrogant and invaded the territory between his land and Bátor's. The Tung-hu, sent another message to Bátor, that this unpopulated territory was situated so far from the capital that the Emperor was hardly able to reach it, so the king of the Tung-hu claimed it for himself. When Bátor asked his ministers for their advice about this unpopulated territory, some advised him to give it to the Tung-hu. Báitor flew into a rage and shouted: "You want me to give this land, the foundation of our empire, to these people?" He ordered the execution of all those ministers who had given this advice.[7]

    Bátor attacked the Tung-hu, who were unprepared since they had considered him to be a weakling. He subjugated them and extended his border to the ocean. In the south, he re-conquered from the Chinese a territory that had been formerly populated by Huns. He broke through the Great Wall of China and re-conquered the territories that were occupied by Huns who had become assimilated into the Chinese populace. The Annals mention that Bátor had more than three-hundred thousand archers on horseback. These archers were Huns, related to the Scythians, whose archers could shoot twenty arrows a minute.

     Senyő Bátor conquered five Hun territories. After these conquests, he was acknowledged as the Senyő of all the Huns. The Hun Empire of Bátor included the entire Turanian Basin from the Caspian Sea to the Ural Mountains. The Chinese Emperor Kao attacked Bátor with 320,000 men. Bátor tricked him by seemingly retreating and caused the Chinese to follow him into the extremely cold territory of the North. Before the entire Chinese army was assembled, he counter-attacked the Chinese Emperor, Kao. He was victorious but we do not know why he spared the Emperor and his defeated troops. The Chinese Annals do not state the fact but it is obvious that from this time on, 200 B.C., the Chinese became vassals to the Huns. There are a few letters remaining from Emperor Bátor to the Empress of China, who was later widowed, and her letters to him in reply. From her letters, we find out that the Senyő Bátor, conquered twenty-six more neighboring countries, thus unifying all the peoples who used bows and arrows and they became Huns.

     Bátor accomplished the reorganization of his empire. From among his sons and brothers, he appointed four viceroys to rule over four territories in the four directions of the compass. The Annals mention that these viceroys were called left and right "hien" kings, and left and right "kokle" kings. Apart from these four kings, there were six more kings ruling over the six corners of the empire. These six were called the left and right "dsitok" kings, "unguthe" and "cienciang" kings. According to the Hun beliefs, the left side of the body is more important. So among all the viceroys, the left side kings, or "hien" kings were next in importance to Bátor. Most often the heir to the throne held this title.

    If the Huns had a preference for the left side, and the Magyars believe that they are related to the Huns, then this preference has to be reflected in the customs of the Magyars. In the earlier-mentioned frontispiece of the Képes Kronika, the leaders of the country were pictured with Árpád, with the most important personages to his left.

    Here we should mention an interesting connection. Because certain information, data or facts were not written or were lost in the course of history, the small mosaic pieces of the past must be found and put together. One such mosaic piece is the custom of giving more importance to the "left side" of the hierarchy, as was mentioned in the Chinese Annals. This ancient custom probably originated from a religious belief. Dr. Sándor Nagy states that the worship of the god Bál, Baal or Bél was so widespread and fervent before Christianity among the ancient populace of the Carpathian Basin that in the territory of present day Hungary alone, fifty-eight geographical names begin with the prefix "Bál" or "Bél" e.g. the village of Bálványos, Beled, Bélmura, Bakony-Bél, and Lake Balaton (Balaton means "the lake of the god Baal".[8] The ancient people honored and worshipped the god Baal so fervently that they named the left side of the body, where the heart and the feeling of love is located, after their god. "Left" in Magyar is "bal". More importance was given to the left side of the body. It is easy to see that this custom originated from religious beliefs. It has continued in the Carpathian Basin throughout the ages and is obvious in the burial customs of Árpád's Magyars.

     Gyula Lász1ó's recent excavation of numerous Magyar graves of the tenth century revealed that the custom of placing the more important personages to the left of the leader was widespread. The dead always looked toward the east, the direction of the sunrise, waiting for their resurrection. To the left of the most important grave, the graves were richer than those to its right. The number of projectile points and ornamented articles indicated the rank of the deceased. Women were always buried to the right of the leader.

     After Bátor's death, in about 174 B.C., his son, Kiok, still led successful campaigns but during the reign of Kiok's heir, Losang, the Hun influence began to decline. In 147 B.C. the five Hun kings who had become vassals of Bátor, left the Huns and allied themselves with China. Vei-ching, the Chinese Emperor of the Han dynasty, learned the military tactics of the Huns or Hunors. In the spring of 124 B.C., he broke into the Hun Empire with 30,000 men. Another two regiments attacked from the north. The Hien king of the right side was not prepared for the attack because he was expecting the arrival of the Chinese only a few days later. Vei-ching, during the night, encircled the sleeping Huns. The Hun king was able to break through the encircling Chinese but his entire army was annihilated. Year after year, newer and newer campaigns were launched from both sides. Slowly the Huns lost their dominance. De Groot writes that China at that time did not regard the Huns as uncivilized barbarians. On the contrary, those Huns who went over to the Chinese side received the full trust of the Emperor and received high rank and positions. Many aristocratic Hun families settled into China and received the rights of Chinese citizens.[9] The Chinese trusted them so much that they appointed them to be border guards.

    In A.D. 68, Senyő Ajente died. His younger brother, Hilikuanko, according to Hun traditions, married his widow, who was until that time the "first lady". Hilikuanko took this title away from her and gave it to his first wife. The former empress was hurt and took revenge. She convinced the kings of two Hun territories, Kuszu and Bor, to rebel and join the Chinese. Hilikuanko, during his short life, did a lot to reinstate the hegemony of the Huns but he was poisoned. He was the last ruler who could have done something to reinstate the power of the Huns.

    The Chinese caused ongoing struggles within the Hun Empire by supporting an upstart Senyő. Unable to defeat the Huns by military means, the Chinese, by causing these fratricidal wars, weakened the Hun Empire. In about A.D. 44, the Chinese of the Han Dynasty and the Eastern Huns made a blood union. The Chinese delegation and the Senyő went up to the top of a mountain where they slaughtered a white horse. They mixed the blood of the white horse with wine and they all drank of the mixture from the same cup. Then the Eastern Huns left their territory on the borderline of China and resettled further to the west where they regained their power. They made an alliance with the king of Khong-Ki and together they conquered Osun. The rest of the smaller kingdoms in that area united with them voluntarily. At this time, the Emperor of the Huns became the only ruler of the whole of Central Asia.

     There was a conspiracy in the country of Khong-Ki against the Hun Senyő Csitki and his empire. This conspiracy must have been very serious because, when he discovered it, the Senyő executed his wife who was the daughter of Khong-Ki. China became jealous of the power of Csitki in Central Asia, and again used formerly successful maneuvers to weaken the Huns. The Chinese Emperor influenced all the kings who were vassals of Csitki to join in a unified uprising against Csitki. Fifteen countries launched an attack from the north and from the south and were joined by a Chinese army from Turkestan. This action was so skillfully accomplished that Csitki did not even suspect that it was planned. He had only a few thousand men in his castle when he was attacked. He had no choice but to fight to the end. This became the greatest epic in the history of the Eastern Huns, according to the Chinese annals. Csitki flew the five-colored flag from his castle, which signified that he was the Senyő of the Huns and the Lord of the World. A small cavalry tried to break out of the castle, and attack the 60,000 men surrounding it. They were beaten back but, during the night, they made another attempt, in vain. In defending the castle Hun women were fighting alongside Hun men. The little group had to give up the outer walls of the castle and retreat into the keep, where they fought to the end, burning the castle around them. Csitki fought valiantly and, although covered with blood, he attacked the incoming enemy. A Chinese officer cut off the head of the Senyő. The last independent Senyő of the Eastern Huns met an honorable death.

    The Chinese annals record that there were 1518 Hun deaths and 145 prisoners from about 3000 people in the castle. The annals do not mention that the unified armies killed more people than were recorded, nor do they mention that they annihilated the Hun populace, although it was a Chinese custom to boast about how many people were killed in battles. The Chinese warrior had to give the exact count of how many of the enemy he killed, or else he would lose his head. This would lead us to believe that the majority of the populace of the Huns survived. Only the personal bodyguard of Csitki, the people in the castle, were killed or captured. If the populace survived then they must have fled in a direction where there were no enemies. The countries of Tavan and Assun were enemies of the Eastern Huns, so they could not flee to the east. The country of Assun had 188,000 soldiers. Tavan had 60,000. Khon-Ki closed the route to freedom with 120,000 men. On the territory of the Aral Sea, was located the enemy nation, the Hops, in the northeast direction, the KiuKuns, and in the north the Tinglins. Only one route was open for escape, the Baks Creek, which led into the Steppes, into Baskiria, where the Ugor-Magyars were living.[10]

     This fact is very important for the clarification of the Hun-Magyar relationship. All contemporary writers called these people Scythians, Huns, Avars, Parthians and Magyars, interchangeably. That was not disputed until 1849 when the Magyars were declared to be a Finno-Ugric people, and their relationship to the Huns was denied. The Árpád Magyars, in A.D. 896, came into the Carpathian Basin as Hun-Magyars, to reclaim their homeland. The Hungarian legend of the Enchanted Stag tells us that the Huns and the Magyars were brother nations. Maybe this is why the Huns of Csitki found refuge with the Ugor-Magyars where they lived together for several centuries, learning each other's customs. One hundred and twenty-six years later, another group of the Eastern Huns, those who had been left behind when Csitki's Huns fled into Baskiria, decided to take the same route to join the Ugor-Magyars and the Huns and they settled into the Irtish-Ural territory. This combined group of Huns and Magyars became known as the Western Huns.

     In A.D. 104, the Western Huns conquered Kis Bukharia. It was this territory of Kis Bukharia which Sándor Kőrősi-Csoma, the famous writer of the Tibetan Dictionary, named in his will as the territory which later researchers should investigate for the possible origin of the Magyars. Presently, Dr. Miklós Érdy and Dr. István Kiszely are trying to prove that the Magyars originated from the Uighurs who lived in Kis Bukharia (Dzungaria) but it is obvious that the Huns and Ugor-Magyars conquered these people and settled among them. In A.D. 120, the Western Huns unified under their rule the territory between the Lop Lake and the Caspian Sea. In A.D. 261, the Sienpi people forced the Huns to move out of the territory that they occupied. They were unable to move to the south because the strong Persian Empire blocked their way. Baskiria was not large enough to support them, so they were forced to move to the territory north of the Caspian Sea where the Alans were living. The legend mentions that Hunor and Magor married the daughters of King Dul of the Alans. From this time on, the Chinese Annals do not mention the Huns but we can follow them in the European sources.

    Most modern western historians take their knowledge from the Roman historians. Otto J. Maenchen-Helfen has written a comprehensive study of the Huns, which corrects many of the misconceptions handed down throughout history.[11] He says that Claudian and Jordanes echoed Ammianus Marcellinus when they called the Huns "the most infamous offspring of the north" "fiercer than ferocity itself". They said: "They were a faceless mass, terrible and subhuman." Otto Maenchen-Helfen says: "Ammianus' description is distorted by hatred and fear."[12] J.O. Thompson believes almost every word of it and places the Huns of the latter half of the fourth century in the "lower stages of pastoralism". They lived, he says, "in desperate hardship, moving incessantly from pasture to pasture, utterly absorbed by the day-long task of looking after the herds. Their iron swords must have been obtained by barter or capture, for nomads do not work metal."[13]

     Otto Maenchen-Helfen disputes this view concluding that if the Huns had not been able to forge swords and cast arrowheads "they never would have crossed the Don." "The idea that Hun horsemen fought their way to the walls of Constantinople and to the Marne with bartered and captured swords is absurd. Hun warfare presupposed a far-reaching division of labor in peacetime."[14]

     Thompson stated that the Huns could not weave because they had no time for it. Maenchen-Helfen points out that in the Sarmatian (Hun) graves: "many hundreds of spin-whorls have been found made of stone, alabaster and cut from the bottom of clay vessels." The Huns spun the wool of their sheep and also made linen. Ammianus speaks of their linen clothes and the fact that they had all kinds of domesticated animals.[15] Priscus Rhetor, a Roman historian, was sent by the Roman government with a message to Atilla in A.D.448. He described the woolen mats in the house of Atilla's wife and the handmaidens embroidering linen cloths. He wrote that Atilla slept on a bed covered with linen sheets.[16]

     Claudian and Ammianus denied that the Huns practiced agriculture. Maenchen-Helfen says that they did so and quotes several sources for this information - Sinitsyn, 1960, Stilor, 1959, Csallány, 1961, who found sickles, corn grinders and hoes in their graves.[17] Ammianus said "...the Huns are never protected by any building...not even a hut thatched with reeds." Maenchen-Helfen contradicts this statement: "In South Russia, the Huns had no permanent dwellings but they certainly had shelters, tents of felt and sheepskin, materials which probably most of them were still using after they had settled in the Hungarian plains."[18] These felt tents or yurts are quite comfortable, spacious, well-aired and easily kept clean. They are still used today as dwellings by many people in Central Asia and China.[19] By the middle of the fifth century, the Hun nobles had houses in villages. "Attila's 'palace' consisted of a single square or rectangular room, furnished with seats and a bed or couch, screened off at one end of the room by tapestries."[20] Priscus Rhetor described Atilla's residence: "It was made of polished boards, and surrounded with wooden enclosures." He mentioned that not far from the house was a large bath built by Onegesius "who was second in power among the Scythians".[21]

    Western historians represent Atilla as a barbarian but the Magyar Chronicles describe him as a humanitarian, just and merciful ruler. György Zászlos-Zsóka states that Atilla never annihilated a nation entirely as did the Romans when they overcame the Carthaginians and the Etruscans.[22] Atilla listened to the pleas of Saint Genevieve and spared Paris. He spared Rome at the pleading of Pope Leo.

      Otto Maenchen-Helfen describes Atilla as unpretentious and liking simplicity: "Attila wore neither a diadem nor a crown; his dress was plain; his sword, the clasps of his shoes and the bridle of his horse were not, like those of the Hunnic nobles, adorned with gold and gems. He drank from a wooden goblet and ate from a wooden plate."[23] Priscus Rhetor describes a meal at Atilla's table: "The cupbearers gave us a cup, according to the national custom, that we might pray before we sat down." "A luxurious meal, served on silver plate, had been made ready for us and the barbarian guests, but Attila ate nothing but meat on a wooden trencher. In everything else, too, he showed himself temperate; his cup was made of wood, while to the guests were given goblets of gold and silver. His dress, too, was quite simple, affecting only to be clean. The sword he carried at his side, the latchets of his Scythian shoes, the bridle of his horse were not adorned, like those of the other Scythians, with gold or gems or anything costly."[24] Priscus was surprised that the Huns were able to speak several languages: "I was amazed that a Scythian spoke Greek. The Scythians are a colorful mixture of people. They generally speak, beside their mother-tongue, the Gothic and Latin languages."[25]

     More recently, Wess Roberts, writing of Atilla says: "Attila was less savage than the Romans, who cast thousands of Christians to wild animals for mere entertainment. In comparison, he was less cruel than Ivan the Terrible, Cortes or Pizarro." He goes on to say: "In his sparing of Rome, he showed more mercy than did Denserich, Belizar, the Norsemen, the Germans and the Spanish mercenaries who all pillaged it without regard."[26]

    Again, Roberts says: "Attila's legacy is generally unfamiliar to us in the Western World. We are naďve about his historical importance as a genius civilizer, his open-mindedness and richness of views, in all of which he far exceeded Alexander the Great or Caesar." [27]

    The physical description of the Huns as sub-human monsters, found in the writings of Ammianus and Jordanes reflects their intense hatred of their enemies. The Germans and Italians, enemies of the Magyars, called them "a monstrous nation, a horrid tribe, a tribe more cruel than a wild beast." In the Chinese Annals, the Huns are described as tall, with light brown hair, suntanned skin and large noses. Of course, this is from the standpoint of another culture.  Otto of Friesing called the Magyars monsters "but Gardisi, a disinterested observer, called the Magyars handsome and pleasant-looking."[28]

    Dr. István Kiszely, an anthropologist who excavated two Hun cemeteries in Central Asia, found that the contents of the graves were identical to those of Scythian graves. He researched the Hun Empire, which existed during the period between the fourth century B.C., and A.D. 91. So far there have been no Hun cemeteries found in Hungary and anthropologists have surmised from this that the Huns cremated their dead. However, in Central Asia, the Huns did not cremate their dead and it is not likely that, when they returned to the Carpathian Basin with Atilla, their customs changed. It was reported that no Hun graves were found in the Carpathian Basin but, in that territory, Hun graves were labeled Sarmatian graves. According to the anthropological data, the Sarmatian graves in the Carpathian Basin are totally identical to the Hun graves in Central Asia. Therefore, we can state that the Carpathian Basin "Sarmatians" were actually Huns. Otto Maenchen-Helfen states that the pottery, agriculture, costumes and dwellings of the Huns were similar to those of the Sarmatians.[29] The anthropological material unearthed in Mongolia indicates that Huns lived there before the Mongols. The Huns were city dwellers at that time and they were identical to the Western or Ephthalita Huns who, in A.D. 568, as Avars, entered the Carpathian Basin. Anthropologically speaking we should not talk of a first or second "conquest" of the Carpathian Basin. We should talk of a continuous resettlement of the ancient people under different names.

     The religious beliefs of the Huns in Central Asia can be analyzed from the 9000 rolls of parchment which were found by Aurel Stein in cave churches of Central Asia, especially those found in the cave church designated as No. 15. In these parchment rolls nineteen tribe names can be linked to Scythian names. In 1957, the Hungarian Academy of Science received the 9000 rolls of parchment, which they have not yet studied. However, the study of these parchments could be a decisive factor in the determination of the origin of the Magyars.





[1] Baráthosi-Balogh, Benedek: A hunok Három Világ Birodalma, Buenos Aires, 1974.

[2] Douglas and Jenks: The History of Nations, New York, Vol VII, China, p. 4. quoted

by Imre Szelényi in Sumer-Magyar Rokonság, Munich, 1961, p. 25.

[3] Szelényi Imre: Op. Cit. p. 26.

[4] Ibid. p. 27.

[5] Baráthosi-Balogh: Op. Cit.

[6] Ibid. p.44.

[7] Ibid. p.48.

[8] Nagy, Sándor:The Forgotten Cradle of the Hungarian Culture, p.40-41.

[9] Baráthosi-Balogh, Benedek, Op. Cit. p. 73.

[10]  lbid. p.106.

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

[12] Ibid. pp.10-11.

[13] Thompson, J.O. History of Ancient Geography, Cambridge, 1948, pp. 41-43. quoted by Maenchen-Helfen,

    Op. Cit. p.11

[14] Maenchen-Helfen: Op. Cit. p.12.

[15] Ibid. p. 171-172.

[16] Robinson, James Harvey: Readings in European History, 1904, quoted in "Ősi Győker", Vol 1, 1980. p.14

[17] Maenchen-Helfen: Op. Cit. pp.174-177.

[18] lbid. p.179.

[19] "Wool - Fabric of History", National Geographic, May 1988.

[20] Maenchen -Helfen, Op.Cit. p. 179.

[21] Robinson: Op.Cit.

[22] Zászlos-Zsóka, György: Toszkánai Harangok, Astor Park, Florida, 1983.

[23]  Maenchen-Helfen: Op.Cit. p.271.

[24]  Robinson, Op. Cit.

[25] Doblhofer, Ernst: Byzantinische Diplomaten und Ostliche Barbaren, Graz, 1955.

[26] Roberts, Wess: The Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, Warner Books, 1989.

  p.12, 13

[27] Ibid. p. 13.

[28] Maenchen-Helfen: Op. Cit. p. 363.

[29] Ibid. pp. 169-179.