The Huns appear officially
in history only when their hordes coming from the east reach the Roman
Empire and in a very short time they conquer most of Europe.
Before that time,
they have been numbered
among the nomadic tribes of the Asian steppes and their origin was
almost unknown. Now we have many research elements that have brought
more light about this people, or complex of peoples, and have discovered
that they were present in the most ancient times in Mesopotamia, and
that have even been linked in some way, though not ethnically, with
the Israelites in different times along history.
The Huns' origin
is directly connected with two well-known peoples
of ancient Middle East: the Sumerians and the Scythians, namely, in
the kingdom founded by Nimrod. Even though they belong to the Japhetic
stock and their most creditable ancestor is Magog, the Sumerian heritage
has been kept by them more than by any other people, which implies
that they are in fact the result of a mixed background. According
to their own legendary accounts (legends that are anyway founded on
true facts), it is very feasible that Magog's descent was under
Nimrod's rule, and that they kept close ties with Sumerians even for
a long time after the Sumerians disappeared from Mesopotamia as a
Their particular link with ancient Sumerians was found through the
comparison of modern Hungarian (Magyar) and other related languages
with documents of the ancient Middle East, that revealed a possible
common origin. It is evident that the language element is absolutely
not a sufficient basis to establish the origin of peoples, since language
can be lost and adopted from other non-related cultures (for example,
Yiddisch, a German-based tongue, became for centuries the language
of European Jews, who are Semitic). Therefore, other more relevant
elements like traditions, cultural heritage and, if existing, historic
documents are needed.
Taking language as the starting point,
we have to consider on one
side the whole complex of peoples that may be regarded as Huns (Hunogurs,
Bulgars, Magyars, Sabirs, etc) and on the other side, the relationship
between Sumerians, Scythians, Hurrites and Elamites.
The ancient Sumerians,
that in the dawn of history settled in Southern
Mesopotamia, in the land commonly known as Shin'ar or Chaldea, arrived
there from the north, precisely from the Ararat region, that they
called "Subar-Ki" or "Subar-Tu". This area was also named after one
of the peoples that inhabited there, the Hurri, whose language was
agglutinative like Sumerian and had many words in common, even being
a totally different tongue. Modern Hungarian shares many terms with
both, Sumerian and Hurrian, as well as with Elamite. The peoples of
that area, the Biblical Charan, were also called Subar, Supar, Sabir,
etc. For example, Assyrian documents refer to them as Sapar-da; Persian
records mention that country as the land of the Sabarda (Sabir) and
the Matiene (Mada), while the Greek historian Herodotus refers to
them as Sapir or Sabir, Makr or Magar and Matiene. One of the Subar
tribes were the Mitanni, that ruled over the Hurrites and founded
an important kingdom in association with them. Their land was then
known also as Mada or Mata (not to be confused with Maday, the Medes,
a different people). The term that may be transliterated as "mat",
"madh", "madj" means "country" or "district" in Sumerian, Subarian,
Parthian, and other related languages, and it was also used by the
Assyrians and Egyptians with the same meaning. Notice that in those
languages, the phoneme "dh" or "dj" is equal to the modern Hungarian
"gy", and "megye" is still "district" or "province" in Hungarian.
Therefore, if the denomination has been transferred along the generations,
the Magyars might be the ancient tribe of Mitanni. The territory of
the Mada or Mitanni is referred by some Egyptian documents as Magor.
Magor was also the name of one of the mythical ancestors of the Hungarian
nation according to the Legend of the White Stag.
Descendants of the
Hurrites are credited as the founders of the Central
Asian kingdom of Khwarezm, which is considered by some scholars as
the original land of the Finnic and Altaic peoples, and that is in
some way related to the Székely, one of the Hungarian tribes that
will be mentioned later in this chapter.
Among the many terms that link the
Northern Mesopotamian peoples to
modern Hungarians, it is interesting to notice the following: in Hurrian/Subar
language, the word "tarshua" means "all the people", while in Sumerian
"shag" conveyed the meaning of people as well as head or high. In
Hungarian "társaság" means "society", as "köztársaság" is "republic"
(notice that "s" in Hungarian sounds like "sh").
concerning the Hungarian prince Termatzu from
Árpád's lineage assert that the oldest name of the Hungarians was
Sabartoi Asphali, recalling their ancient Mesopotamian name Subar-tu
and Sabir-ki, while Asphali was the Arab name of the Lower Zab river.
Arab and Persian records also mention the tribe of Mager in the area
of Azerbaidzhan. Until the
15th century c.e. there was a county in Armenia called Madzhar Agadzor, whose
people believed that their origin was from one of Nimrod's sons, which
coincides with the Hungarian legends. There are still geographic names
in the Caucasus related to Magor and Nimrud.
The Magyar and Sabir peoples'
names have been found in Northern Mesopotamia
since the dawn of history, and then their traces lead eastwards to
the Turkestan, where even today there are geographic names which attest
their presence. Indeed, it is after the Sabirs that Siberia has been
called like that.
Greek records mention two peoples called "Tibar and Moser"
who were metal workers of the Caucasus; these names have an interesting though
maybe only apparent resemblance with the Biblical Tuval and Meshek.
In the chapter "The Peoples of the North", we have seen that Tuval is identified with the Tybareni,
and such is actually the very name given by the Greeks, Tibar. These
are believed by some historians to be the distorted names of Subar
(Tibar) and Machar (Moser), which can also mean varieties of smiths
in the Hungarian language: "mozser" meaning sword smith, "tibor" meaning
smith in the past, but not in modern language. Similarly in Sumerian
"tibir", smith, and Turkic "timur", iron. It is an interesting fact
that the Subarians of the Caucasus were skilful metal smiths, and
some metals names come from their language: in Sumerian "subur", bronze
is apparent in the Hungarian "szobor", bronze statue. In the time
of the Hungarian resettlement, the kind of steel used to make swords
was called "sabura-kan". In the same way, the Subarian peoples were
expert horsemen; and the Hungarian words for horse, warhorse and chariot
are all from Northern Mesopotamia.
The Hungarian chronicles say very little
about the early history of
the Magyars. The main references to that period are found in two accounts,
one of which is the Legend of the White Stag
that suggests the unification of three nations: Magyars, Huns and
Alans. Of course, the integration of Alans with the Hun/Magyar tribes
refers not to the whole people of the Alans, but only to some of their
tribes. A valuable document about the story of the magical hunt in
early versions was taken from the Hungarian Royal Library captured
by the Turks and re-published under the title "
Tarihi Üngürüs" (History of the Hungarians), now in the Topkapi Museum of
The other reference to that period is very interesting since it mentions
ancient rulers and Biblical patriarchs. That document starts with
Tana, who is identified with Kush, the father of Nimrod - undoubtedly,
the same as the Sumerian Etana of the city of Kish (Kush). The Kushan
Scythians also had an ancestor called Kush-Tana. The Sumerian Etana
was the first mighty one on earth who wanted to visit heaven, and
did - this coincides with the Biblical account concerning Nimrod,
and his role in the construction of the Tower of Bavel. In the Hungarian
account, his son is called Ménrót (Nimrud), whose sons were Magor,
Hunor, and the ancestors of the Iranians. This resembles the myths
recorded by Berosus, the outstanding historian of Babylon. Even the
wife of Nimrud (Anuta/Bau) has similar names in the Hungarian version,
Eneth/Boldog-asszony. Assyrian accounts refer that Nimrud had twin
sons, one of whose names is Magor. Following this mythical ancestor
there is a short list of patriarchs who can be associated to early
Scythian ones as recorded by Herodotus. This period then is followed
by the better documented historic Avar-Hun rulers, concluding with
the early Hungarian leaders before and after the settlement in the
Danubian Basin. They emphasize the strong dynastic bonds with the
Huns. The Hun tribes were the heirs of the Scythians by culture and
consanguinity. An interesting reference is the burial rites of Scythians
and Huns, that were quite similar: the same barrows, burial frames
of logs and thick timbers, burial blocks, sacrificial horses etc.
The name of Árpád, the founder of the modern Hungary, can be found
in ancient records, from Egypt to Northern Mesopotamia. According
to the Hungarian legend of the Turul Hawk (a mythical bird which corresponds
to the Sumerian "Dugud"), Ügyek, the descendant of king Magog (the
Scythian king Magog lived in Northern Mesopotamia, according to Assyrian
records) and a royal leader of the land of Scythia, married the daughter
of Ened-Belia, whose name was Emeshe (a word that means "priestess"
in Sumerian language). From her was born their first son Álmos. Álmos,
who was Árpád's father, is said to be a descendant of Attila the Hun.
Among the very few records attesting the earliest presence of the
Huns in western Asia, there are some Persian documents: at Persepolis,
there are written on the walls the names of some of the subject nations,
among which Sapardia and Hunae. Being mentioned one next to the other
may indicate that they were neighbours. Scythia, which early Hungarians
called Hetmagyar ("Seven Magyars", of whom we speak furtherly) is
recorded in the ancient legends of Persia, the Zend Avesta, under
the name of "Haetumat", and located in Sakastan (Scythia).
The territories of the Huns at various times stretched from Central
Asia to Central Europe, from Siberia and China to North India. To
consider them as barbaric "nomads" actually means to ignore their true
history and to underestimate them. Modern researchers in the Huns'
old homelands have found quite the opposite: paved streets, stone
buildings, agriculture, metallurgy, and even writing. Much less sheep-breeding
than the later Mongols who replaced them after they left. Europeans
often equated and degraded all horsemen as "nomads and barbarians"
even though there were sometimes great cultural differences between
different groups. The Chinese historians clearly distinguish between
Mongols and Huns, stating that the earlier Huns were much more advanced
than the Mongols who came after them.
As stated previously,
the Huns were indeed a complex of peoples rather
than a single nation. After their arrival in Europe, the Hun tribes
developed their own history and identity; some of them achieved in
establishing themselves as an organized state, others were assimilated
by non-related nations. Their heritage has been transferred to many
Eurasian peoples, including the Uyghurs of Western China and several
Turkic and Ugro-Finnic tribes. Indeed, they were no longer regarded
as "Huns" and were considered separately. Two of them have given their
name to modern European states: the Bulgars and the Magyars.
The Bulgar Huns appear
in early times in the Caucasus, from where they subsequently expand
towards the Volga Basin, in the territory that approximately coincides
with a great part of Khazaria. The first historical accounts that
refer to them come from Armenian and Syrian documents. There are also
Chinese sources since the first century b.c.e. until the eighth century
c.e. that mention the Bulgars dwelling in the Uyghur territories,
too. Regarded as direct descendants of the Sumerians and the Scythians,
the myth of their origins roughly reproduces the legends of the Magyars.
The Bulgars were, or became, the main component of a larger ethnos
known as Hunogurs or Onogurs, and were closely related to the Khazars.
There is also a controversy about the original Bulgars being Huns
or not; nevertheless, if they were not, and however closely related
to them, they joined the Huns in early times and reached Europe together
One of the most valuable documents regarding their early history is
the "Church History" by Zachariah the Rhetor, written in Assyrian
language (Syriac Aramaic) in the sixth century c.e., and describes
the Caucasus as the "Huns' lands", listing thirteen peoples: Abdel,
Alan, Avar, Avgar, Bagrasir, Bulgar, Dirmar, Hephtalit, Khazar, Kulas,
Kutargar, Sabir and Sirurgur. Some of these peoples are not Huns,
like the Alans and Avars (or the Hephtalites, improperly called "White
Huns"), others are tribes of a larger ethnos, like the Kutriguri,
a branch of the Bulgars. He mentions also the Avnagur, who are clearly
identifiable with the Hunogurs, and of whom Armenian records attest
that they dwelled in the Caucasus. The earliest references are found
in the work of Egishe, written in the fifth century c.e., which states
that in the mountain land by the Caspian Sea dwelled the Huns
Hajlandur'k - the resemblance with the term "Highlander" is pure coincidence
-, ruled by a royal clan and in good relationship with the Kushan.
The Hajlandur people are identified with the Hunogurs according to
related history texts.
The texts also mention a people north of
the Caucasus called the Unogundurs.
The name Onghondor-blkar in the Armenian geography is a variant of
the older Vh'ndur-bulgar in the History of Moses Horenaci and both
terms are transcribed in Greek as Unogundur or Unogur. These are just
two denominations of the same tribe, the Hunogurs or Onogurs. After
the departure of the Huns for Central Europe, a group of Unogundurs
occupied the plains of maritime Daghestan and became known to Egishe
under the name Hajlandurs. Almost all chroniclers identify the Unogundurs
with the original Bulgarians. Even the khan of the Great Bulgaria
Kubrat was called "the ruler of the Unogundurs".
were displaced from the Caucasus by the Sabirs
and other Hun tribes, and migrated northwards to the steppes of Southern
Russia, though some of them settled in Armenia. Their heritage in
the Caucasus is represented today by some peoples in Daghestan and
mainly by the Karachay and Balkar, both of them associated with Circassian
tribes in autonomous politic entities [Kabardino-Balkarskaya and Karachayevo-Cherkesskaya].
The relics of Hun burials and typical Hun monuments have been found
in the territory of both these republics. These peoples are the rich
mixture of different Hun/Hunogur/Bulgar tribes, with the contribution
of Khazars. Indeed, one of the Khazar tribes called "Basi" or "Bas"
is reflected in the name of a legendary Balkarian hero, Basiat, and
in the way Georgians call Balkarians, Basiani. According to many scholars,
Khazars and Bulgars were almost the same people and spoke one language.
Their settlement in the area of the Volga river is however connected
to Attila the Hun. In his time, the Huns intermarried with the peoples
of the steppes, including the Sarmatians, acquiring new cultural features.
According to tradition, he divided his hordes among his sons, giving
to Ellak the Sabir peoples, to Dengizik the Kutriguri, and to Irnak
the Utiguri. Concerning the latter tribes, Procopius said that one
of the Hun kings had two sons, Utihur and Kuturhur. After the death
of their father, the tribes subject to them consolidated into two
separate tribes, which became the two branches of ancient Bulgarians.
These two peoples were often at war against each other, what caused
their weakening and subsequent displacement westwards after the Avars
overran their lands. A large number of them were carried by the Avars
to the Danubian plains.
One century later, Bulgars achieved in re-organizing their kingdom
in the Northern Caucasus area, but the rising power of the Khazars
subdued them. Then, the Bulgars split into three groups: a large number
remained within the Khazar Empire; a second group re-settled by the
Volga river beyond the northern boundary of Khazaria and founded Bulgar;
the third branch, led by Asparukh, migrated westwards and established
their kingdom in Moldavia. The Volga Bulgarians became powerful after
the collapse of Khazaria, and their capital, Bulgar, was the main
commercial centre between the Baltic and the Caspian Seas. The Bulgars
of Moldavia crossed the Danube, where they met remnants of Attila's
Huns, and defeated the Byzantines, establishing the nation that is
called Bulgaria until today.
Since then, these three branches followed separate ways: The Kuban
Bulgarians, identified better as Hunogurs, became with Magyars and
Khazars the people known today as Hungarians. The Volga Bulgarians
slowly assimilated with other Uralic peoples into the present-day
Bashkirs, Tatars and Chuvash. The Balkan Bulgarians were completely
Slavicized in a relatively short time; their old language was replaced
by the modern Slavonic Bulgarian by the tenth century c.e., and are
now considered a Slavic people.
See map showing the
migrations of the Bulgars.
Huns, Hunogurs and Magyars
of the Hungarian Nation
The Hungarians have
an interesting and complex history about their origins, that in different
versions, historic or legendary, always indicate an association of
two main peoples, to which other tribes joined. In the dawn of history,
they are directly related to Sumerians and Scythians, with contribution
of Subartians, Mitanni, Hurrites and Elamites. After their long "wandering"
in Asia, they make irruption in European history in different migratory
waves, first as Huns and then as Magyars, but also Onogurs (all these
groups related to both Scythians and Sumerians), and mixed with Khazars,
Alans, Avars and other Turkic tribes, including the Hurritic Khwarezmians.
In fact, their nation is still widely recognized under two different
names: Magyarország and Hungária. The controversy still subsists,
if the Magyars were Huns or not. There are elements that suggest that
Magyars and Huns were one and the same people in ancient Mesopotamia,
and that in early times migrated in different stages, thus becoming
separate groups that developed independently, though being always
in touch with each other. Conventionally, we have to give a name to
that original stock (being itself a mixture of Sumerians and Scythians),
and either that name is Hun or Magyar is of secondary importance,
though the term "Magyar" seems to be the oldest of both. Nevertheless,
this term became the name of one single tribe, while Huns is suitable
to the whole; therefore, we can define the Magyars as one of the Hun
tribes, probably, the Sumerian/Mitanni component of the Scythian tribes
that later became the Huns.
In other languages usually both names are used to identify the nation,
though it seems that in the Middle Ages they were not exactly equivalent,
and that Magyar-related terms referred to the language most widely
spoken by the inhabitants of the Hun-related lands. It is a commonplace
that the name Hungaria is connected with the Hun peoples. When in
the year 4656 (896
c.e.) the Magyars, coming from the east, started
multitude of raiding parties that recalled to Western Europeans' mind
the invasions of Attila, they were called "Hungars", not Magyars.
Of course, Hungarus is not exactly Hun; and even though the two names
resemble each other, there is a "g" added to "Hun" that has not any
apparent linguistic explanation. Where this "g" might have come from
will be explained furtherly.
5248 (1488 c.e.) it was published a printed chronicle,
Chronica Hungarorum (Thuroczy,
1488). All the four authors
were high members of the royal administration; so the texts must reflect
the official opinion about Hungarian history. All of them suggest
a direct connection between Attila the Hun and the Hungarian kings.
The chronicle was written in Latin. It is recurrent in the text the
"Hunni, sive Hungari" expression, that does not need any explanation
because of the similarity of the names. However the usual Magyar translation
is "hunok, azaz magyarok", "Huns, namely Magyars", which means a nontrivial
identification. Still, this equation is also explicit in the chronicle,
that refers to the two forefathers of the nation, two Biblical patriarchs,
Nimrod the "great hunter before Elohim" (and king of the Sumerians)
and Magog, son of Yephet (ancestor of the Scythians). Nimrod's wife
was Eneh, and their two sons were Hunor & Magor. Once they went
to hunt a white female deer, who led them to new lands in the marshes
of Maiotis. Thence came the Hungarian nation, according to the legend.
Nevertheless, the term "Hungarus" may have another origin: Attila's
son Irnak re-organized the Hun hordes in the Volga-Don area. According
to Bulgarian history, Asparuch, the founder of present Balkan Bulgaria
in 4441 (681 c.e.) belonged to the lineage of Irnak, who
was the head of the Bulgarian dynasty. Therefore, it is certain the
fact that Irnak organized a new tribal alliance in the Maiotis region.
The tribes associated in this "Bulgarian" alliance are called Onogur.
"On Ogur" means Ten Tribe[s] or Ten Arrow[s], tribes symbolised by
arrows. Even though in modern Turkish the expression would be On Oguz,
the form "ogur" is characteristic for a well defined minority group
of Turkic languages, of which a surviving one is the Chuvash, spoken
by the direct descendants of the Volga Bulgars. Being these ten tribes
an alliance of Hun peoples (or predominantly composed by Huns), they
are as well called "Hun Ogur", meaning Hun Tribe[s]. Therefore, the
name "Hungaria" may come from Hunogur, and the "g" missing in the
word Hun is now explained. Notwithstanding, some Magyar historians
that are overcautious about Hun-Magyar connections, suggest that the
name of Hungary comes from Onogur, being the "h" a later addition.
Indeed, in some languages the initial "h" is missing, like in German
(Ungarn) or Romanian (Ungur), and the initial "u" became "v" in Slavic
Some historians suggested a possible identification of the Huns with
the Xiung-nu (or Hsiung-nu) of the Chinese chronicles, but it has
still not been proven. Nevertheless, there is another people in China
closely related to the Huns, and recent discoveries show amazing resemblances
with Hungarians: the Uyghurs, whose land is historically called "Dzhungharia".
Uyghurs played important roles in the Asiatic Hun empire during about
six centuries, and then in the Kök Turk kingdom, from which Khazars
arose. Even being so far away, their relationship with Huns and Khazars
are significant so much that they seem to be the eastern counterpart
of the Magyars. The Uyghur archaeological evidence is important to
confirm the Hun-Magyar connection as well, crediting the historicity
of the original account from which the Hungarian legends came.
There are two main mythical accounts regarding
the origin of Hungarians: one is the legend of the "
Stag", frequently mentioned
before, that describes the story of Nimrod's sons, Hunor and Magor.
They were pursuing a female stag that led them into a foreign land
and there she vanished without leaving any trace. The disappointed
hunters met there two sisters, princesses of the Alans, kidnapped
and married them. Thus they became the forefathers of Huns and Magyars.
There is another version of this legend (in Simon Kézai's "Gesta Hungarorum"),
according to which the two brothers arrived in the marshes of Maiotis
while pursuing a hind that they did not find any more. Anyway, they
found the land suitable for raising livestock, and settled there.
After some years, they married the two daughters of the prince of
the Alans, and became the forefathers of all the Huns (Magyars are
not mentioned in this version).
This legend in both versions acknowledges a third party,
the Alans, who actually contributed to the ethnogenesis of modern Hungarians.
The stag is relevant in Scythian mythology, and this legend remarks
the Scythian origin of Hungarians.
The second account is the legend of the Turul Hawk,
that belongs to the Sumerian ancestry. The Turul is the symbol of
both the house of Attila the Hun and the Magyar dynasty of Árpád.
The mythical story explains that Ügyek, a descendant of Magog, was
the king of Scythians and married Emeshe, a Sumerian princess, from
whom Álmos was born after a Turul hawk came from heaven and made her
fertile. In the same vision, she saw her descendants to be kings in
a far away land in the west. The characteristic aspect of this legend,
that credits the actual Sumerian origin of Magyars, is that Álmos
is described as dark complexioned and black-eyed (indeed, it would
seem rather unexplainable that Hungarians and Ethiopians share a common
ancestor, Kush, but the original nations should have been very few
in the dawn of history, becoming many diversified peoples by migration
and mixture). It is also remarkable the fact that in modern Hungarian
the name Álmos means sleepy/dreamer, but the ancient Ugrian form of
the word dream was Adom, Adam, similar to the Hebrew for "man". Álmos
was the father of Árpád, the founder of modern Hungary.
call themselves "Magyar". This name, as it was said
before, is likely related to the ancient land of Magar or Matiene
and the Mitanni people in Northern Mesopotamia. However, since their
myth of origins is more explicitly referred to the ancient Sumerians,
it is interesting to notice that Sumerians called themselves and their
language "Emegir" (a word with apparent resemblance with Magyar),
and their country was called Kiengi.
With certainty, Hungarians had multiple origins.
The Magyars were
the leading tribe of the alliance that conquered the Danubian Basin
They found there the remnants of the Avars, from
and also the Hunogurs dwelling there from
c.e.). Hunogurs and Magyars indeed shared a long-lasting relationship
in Khazaria, either alliance or rivalry. Magyars were first allied
with the Khazars against the Hunogur/Bulgar tribes, in a subsequent
period the rebel Khazars (Kabars) and Hunogur clans joined the Magyars.
-The term Hunogur is often used as equivalent to Bulgar, what is not
thoroughly exact. Bulgars had for a long time a prevailing position
in the Hunogur complex, but in later times the Hunogurs sealed alliance
with the Magyars.-
Magyars were organized in a confederacy of seven tribes.
The Alliance of Hetmagyar [Seven Magyars] was a border defender ally of Khazaria
mainly during the reign of Kings Bulan and Ovadyah. The Alliance of
Seven Magyar consisted of the following tribes: Jenô, Kér, Keszi,
Kürt-Gyarmat, Megyer, Nyék, Tarján. The Kabars joined them
later, when they turned against the Khazars. Some of these seven tribes
were probably part of the On-Ogur [ten tribes], consequently, Magyars
took the leadership of part of the Hunogurs dwelling in Khazaria and
started their move to the west. When they reached the Carpathian-Danubian
Basin, they came across other Hunogur tribes dwelling there since
about two centuries before, and those settled there with the Avars.
The migration from Khazaria and Levedia to the present-day Hungary
was completed after the collapse of the Khazar Empire, with many Khazars
taking refuge in the realm of their old allies and rivals. Other groups
like Kiptchaks (Kumans), Yazygs (Sarmatians), etc. added their contribution
in composing the modern Hungarian nation.
Even though the largest number
of the Magyars migrated westwards,
many remained in the Caucasus and others moved north between the Volga
Bulgarian land and the Ural Mountains, present-day Bashkiria. Indeed,
four of the seven Hungarian tribal names (Yeney/Jenô, Djurmati/Gyarmat,
Tamyan/Tarján, Girei/Kér) are still found in Bashkiria. The very term
"Bashkir" is a Turkic misspelling of Magyar, and neighbouring peoples
call the Bashkirs in a similar way as Hungarians call themselves (Mozerjan/Magyar).
When the Mongols invaded Hungary they had previously run over the
Bashkirs' land, and applied the same name to both Hungarians and the
Bashkirs of the Urals. Early Persian and Arab references relate both
peoples as the eastern and western branches of the Hungarians. However,
modern Bashkirs are quite different from their original stock, largely
decimated during the Mongol invasion, and assimilated into Turkic
The definitive establishment of the Hungarian nation in the Danubian
area was completed with the "Hungarian Resettlement"; nevertheless,
in the Carpathian Basin, usually defined as Transylvania (Erdély, Ardeal),
there is a consistent Hungarian population that is historically not
related to the Seven Magyars alliance: they are the Székely,
the main ethnic component of the Hungarian minority in
Romania. They are fully acknowledged as Magyars, and according to
their own tradition, they are Huns - thus explicitly confirming the
identity of Magyars as a Hun tribe.
The legend of their origins identifies
in a mythical way Irnak (Attila's son) with an ancient legendary hero, Csaba, thus tracing their own
ancestry back to a much earlier age, relating themselves not only
with the Huns, but with Hurrians and Sumerians as well. Indeed, the
legend of Csaba the shepherd and guardian of the people was originally
written in Sumerian. He married a Khwarezmian woman, and Khwarezm
was founded by the Hurrians. There are also Indian accounts that credit
historicity to the origin of this legend, regarding the Scythians
of the Csaba tribe from Khwarezm, part of which migrated and settled
The Székely people's tradition states that after Attila's empire collapsed,
his youngest and favourite son Ernák (Prince Csaba), led them to settle
in Transylvania, and they consider themselves to be the descendants
of the army of Csaba. He left Örmedzur as their chief. The Hungarian
term "ör" means guard, "medzur" actually sounds like an archaic form
of Madzar (Magyar), the ruling tribe found amongst eastern Scythians
. Therefore, Ör-medzur is likely a title meaning "Magyar guard".
The Székely people's
origin is a matter of historical controversy.
It is certain that they were settled in the Carpathian Basin in early
times, not only long before the Seven Magyar tribes left their homeland
in Khazaria and Levedia, but also before the Bulgarians reached the
Balkans. Scholarly accounts of Székely sources state that they were
Huns, disclaiming any other possible ethnicity. When the Seven Magyars
met them, they found a people speaking the very same language, and
having the same Runic writing system, called Rovás (Hun/Magyar/Székely
Rovásírás). Also the "
confirms the great affinity between both peoples and their common
language, a remarkable fact considering that they were geographically
separated from each other for at least three or four centuries.
To conclude, we can
say with certainty that the Magyars were originally Huns, and probably
one of the Hunogur tribes, consequently, very closely related to the
Bulgars. Their ancestry concerning Biblical patriarchs can be traced
to Kush, forefather of the Sumerians, and Magog, the Scythians. Since
the Alans have also contributed, their third ancestor is Meshekh.
As it was stated in the beginning of this chapter, they have been in
some way related with the Israelites in different times along history.
In fact, Avraham was an inhabitant of Ur and had Sumerian neighbours;
then he settled in Charan, that is Subartu and Magor, the land of
the Hurrites and Mitanni. Centuries later, the Northern Israelites
were exiled in Assyria and Media, and from those lands most of them
migrated eastwards, as many of them have been living in China until
recent times. It is even possible that intermarriage occurred with
Huns, as well as with Khazars. Since the fifth century b.c.e., Jews
settled in Central Asia and around the Caspian Sea established peaceful
exchange with the Huns and the other peoples of the region. Then,
the Khazar leadership adopted Judaism. After the Khazar Empire collapsed,
many Khazarian Jews took refuge in Hungary. The Hungarian Jewry enjoys
a rich cultural heritage from both east and west, and has actively
contributed in the development of modern Hungary.
See map showing the
migrations of the Hungarian peoples.