These were divided into the Hephthalites or White Huns, who invaded the Sassanid empire of Persia, and the Black Huns who invaded Europe. The Hephthalites may have been Mongol rather than Turkic in origin, but they were said to have fairer complexions than the northern steppe nomads and spoke a Turkic language. The Black Huns were Mongoloid in appearance according to Roman writers. After the Huns divided, a Turkic-speaking tribe called the Onugurs ('people of ten arrows') took control of the Finno-Ugric speaking Magyars. The Magyars eventually absorbed the Onugurs but their name was adopted by the western world, which still calls their territory 'Hungary'.
Some historians believe that the ancient state of Bulgaria (not to be confused with the modern Slavic state) was also formed by the Onugurs in combination with the Bulgars who were of Turkic or Ural-Altaic stock. There is also a theory that the Hsiung-nu, who lived on the northern borders of China at the beginning of the first millenium A.D, may be ancestors of the Huns. They were overthrown by other Turco-Mongol peoples and were lost to history but may have reappeared in Europe. They were described as having western features by the Chinese but the Europeans thought they had a strongly Asiatic appearance. They also wore their hair in pigtails which the Huns did not. The Hunnish warriors scarred their faces and practised a from of cranial deformation which elongated their skulls.
The Huns first recorded appearance was in the C2nd BC when they raided across the Great Wall into China. Around 372 AD, they entered Europe and settled in what is now Hungary, imposing their supremacy on the Ostrogoths and other Germanic peoples. Under their leader, Attila, they attacked the Byzantine empire, invaded Gaul and threatened Rome, but after Attila's death in 453, a revolt by subject peoples broke their power.
This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
tekeli.li home|Onomastikon home