Invasion of the Barbarians or The Huns approaching Rome - Color Painting
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The idea that Hungarians are connected to the Huns has been around for a long time. Although it has never been definitively proven, attempts to find proof resurface time and time again. However, some question whether it is about true scientific interest or rather serves a political agenda.
According to HVG, mentions of a possible Hun-Hungarian connection first surfaced in the writings of Anonymus. Anonymus connected the Árpád dynasty’s ancestry all the way back to Attila. He also calls the Szeklers Attila’s tribe. Simon Kézai was the one to further go into detail about the Hun origins at the end of the 13th century, and by the 15th century, being connected to Attila became an essential part of noblemen’s ideology. Chronicles of the time further strengthened the idea. For instance, János Thuróczy called King Matthias the second Attila, presumably not irrespective of what the king himself wanted.
Later, literary works further cemented the idea. For instance, in Kölcsey’s national anthem, the lines “By Thy help our fathers gained / Kárpát’s proud and sacred height; / Here by Thee a home obtained / Heirs of Bendegúz, the knight.” also refer to a Hun-Hungarian connection, as Bendegúz was the name of Attila’s father.
However, from the 19th century on, both linguists and historians were of the idea that the ideology of Hungarian ancestry that dominated for centuries was based on false conceptions. Proving the Hungarian language’s Finno-Ugric origins contributed to the conviction that a Hun-Hungarian connection had no actual historical foundation. For many, this development was hard to swallow, and they still work on proving that the Huns were, in fact, the ancestors of Hungarians.
Now, the institute researching Hungarian ancestry has set out to prove the connection once and for all. The archaeogenetics research centre, led by Endre Neparáczki, takes the task very seriously. Neparáczki said in an interview that archaeogenetics research is the way to go, as genomes of the findings from Hun times will clearly signal whether Huns had anything to do with the Hungarian conquerers.
However, the problem lies exactly there. Hun findings are not actually findings from Hun times.
There will be matches, for sure, but just because some of the nomadic tribes that came from Asia to Europe belonged to the Hun empire and happened to take part in the Hungarian ethnogenesis, too, it does not equal a direct Hun-Hungarian lineage. This suggests that the research most likely serve a political agenda.