When it was published in 2002 the subject of this article was somewhat
controversial, and is even more so with hindsight. The views
expressed here are the author's own. They are presented here as the
'opposition' view of Hunnic origins, a view which did not fully tie
in with prevailing thought on the Huns, and does so even less today.
For a more accurate portrayal of the Huns please see the king list
page via the sidebar links.
Although in the past the Huns are thought to have been Mongolian
emigrants, it is far more likely that they were of Turkic origin. This
point has been repeated by
thousands of historians, sinologists, turcologists, altaistics, and other researchers. Let me try to
state how this idea began with Sinology researchers.
Sinology research in Europe
While the Mongol Empire was in the ascendancy, the power of the Catholic
Church seemed to be fading, and the
power of the Pope was
somewhat shaky. At the same time, the Mongols opened
the eastern roads for travel, and the Pope decided that there were now so many
that his power in the West was under severe threat. If he could convert
non-Christians he could regain power. As a
result, Jesuit missionaries started to head east. Before spreading Christianity, they
researched Chinese beliefs. They examined Chinese history and philosophy. There were
some missioners who stayed twenty or thirty years in China, and built up
healthy relations with Chinese scholars. They also started to translate
Chinese books about both history and philosophy into Western languages.
The first translations were made in Portuguese. Then this was translated
to the other languages; Spanish, Italian and French. So the West started to
learn about China from these Jesuit missionaries.
Sin means China in Latin and
Sinology means sciences of China." Sinology mainly
started with these translations in the sixteenth century, and Turk history
became part of this study. Later, the number of
Sinology studies increased with many travellers from the West heading to China. The
book written by de Guinness in the eighteenth century is accepted as one of
the important collected studies about Turkish history. De Guinness did not
know Chinese but he wrote the history of the Turks, Mongols and
using Jesuit missionaries' translations. It was printed under the name of
"General History of Turks, Tatars and Mongols."
All the information obtained to this point by the researchers showed that
the Huns were of Turkic origin. We learn nearly
all our current knowledge on the Huns from the information left to us by
their contemporary neighbours.
For example. It is pretty definite that their
language was Turkic. Chinese annals reveals that the Hunnic language was
very close to that of the Töles, a Turkic tribe. The Byzantine Empire said
that the language of the Huns was the same as
the languages of the Bulgars, Avars, Szeklers
(the last of whom were descended from the European Huns themselves - Ed.) and other tribes which were
flooding into Eastern Europe from Central Asia. The historians of that period accepted
that these Turkic-speaking tribes were no different from the Huns because
languages were the same.
There are many words written in Chinese chronicles which were used by Huns
in daily life. These are Turkic words. K Shiratoriy, reading a Hunnic
sentence which has survived to the present day, has proven that it is
Turkic. Hunnic-runic writings belonging to European Huns in Cafcasia [sic]
read and has been proven to be of Turkic origin.
One area for backing up this claim is that of Hunnic names. It is difficult to explain the names belonging to
Asian Huns because of fact that they were translated into Chinese in the
form of Chinese names. The meanings of the names of European Huns can
be comfortably explained in Turkish. One of the most striking features
related to European Hunnic names is that they can't be explained by any
language but Turkish. Some of the names belonged to the German language due to
cultural interaction, but the majority of them were Turkish.
I will try to explain some of these:
(a famous hunnic leader) Balamir = Bala (child, kid) + Mir (king)
(the son of Attila) Dengizik = sea storm
(a general) Oniki, known to Europeans as Onegesios, = the
(the son of Attila) Csaba = shepherd
(a Hunnic leader) Atakam = Ata (grandfather, father), Kam = the
person who is responsible for the religious rituals (in shamanism)
Eskam = Es = couple + Kam = (as above)
Aybars = Ay = moon (and also the colour white in Turkish) + Bars
(or Pars) = leopard, or a wild animal
The author W Bang has proven the name of Attila's wife was Arikan
in Turkish in the result on his researches.
Some Hunnish Words