Historical figures in Hungarian Early History

Árpád

Árpád (Photo credit: elmada)

Whether mythological or historical , certain figures and moments in Hungarian history are passed down through the ages from generation to generation.  A symbol of national pride or perhaps belonging, these stories carry a great deal importance to the people of Hungary.

Let’s take a deeper look into some conquests and the legends surrounding them:

Between 895 and 900′ the Magyars conquered (but did not populate) the entire area of the Carpathian Basin and additional areas.  The Magyar military defense frontier stretched to the Enns River in the west, to Moravia or today’s southern Poland in the north and beyond the Carpathians in the east and south. Archaeological findings (traditional Hungarian Equestrian graves) prove this.  That is Hungarians dominated not only the 280,000-square-kilometer area of the Carpathian Basin but also a larger area of at least 400,000 square kilometers (sparsely populated at the boarders).

The Carpathian Basin was permanently inhabited as early as 50,000 years ago.  Neanderthal man found a home in the caves of the Bukk Mountains of northern Hungary.  Traces of reindeer hunters’ settlements from the last period of the Ice Age have been uncovered.

The first princely center might have been at the Upper Tisza River region, at least the richest tombs were found there.

When the Magyars appeared in the Carpathians Basins, they inherited everything that the earlier inhabitants of the area had left on this marvelously fertile and beautiful land.  This heritage goes back 350,000 years ago, when the earliest known group of

cavemen settled in the village of Vertesszolos in northeastern Transdanubia.

Figures in Hungarian History/Legend:

  • Chieftain Almos:  According to Hungarian legend, one night a huge heavenly bird, a “turul” flew onto the Great Chieftain Ugek’s wife, Emese.  As this happened, Emese had a wonderful dream: from her body a river was flowing westwards and it flooded the Aranyos Szegellet (“Golden Corner”).  From the river, a tree was growing with golden branches, laden with golden fruit.  Nine months after the predictive dream, Almos was born.  In the symbolism of the legend, the turul (Anzu among the Sumerians) is the Messenger of Heaven, whose offspring understands the heavenly and interprets the will of Heaven.  So Almos can be regarded as the first legendary “taltos” (taltosh) (“fotaltos-chief magician priest is the highest dignitary of the ancient Hungarian holy order, not a “shaman”).  According to another interpretation, Atilla’s soul flew down into Emese’s womb to lead his far-off nation back to the Carpathian Basin.  On Atilla’s  war flag, a Turul-dynasty came alive again.
  • Chieftain Elod:  “However it is not only they who wear weapons, but the chests of the notables’ horses are also covered with iron or felt.  They thoroughly tend to practice archery from the back of the horse as well.”~Leo VI.
  • Prince Arpad:  Until 1301, Hungarian kings originated from the Arpad-dynasty.  Arpad’s memory, however, still lives on today; the symbol of the Turul-dynasty; the red and silver striped, so-called “Arpad striped” flag is part of our living traditions even today, as it is a component of the Hungarian crest.
  • Prince Taksony:  In the middle of the 10th century Taksony was at the head of the Principality of Hungary and ruled the middle part of the country.  It is a mystery of Hungarian history how this great prince-who was in the full vigor of manhood andA metal badge depicting a Turul bird. (Hungarian)at the zenith of his power-died so suddenly at the age of thirty-eight.  It is fortunate for Otto I, that Taksony’s son Geza became the new prince at the age of fifteen or sixteen.  His shield and the disk on his leather armor is decorated by a turul bird which can be seen on the finding from Rakamaz.  Up to the time of Prince Geza (Gelyse), the turul was the component of every Hungarian leader.
  • Chieftain Verbulcsu:  Western history (and unfortunately the academic Hungarian History too) tends to stigmatize the Magyar military campaign as marauding incursions.  From 937 to 955, Chieftain Verbulcsu and Lehel led military campaigns against Otto I, to prevent the unification and extreme strengthen of German provinces, which threatened the existence of Magyars.  At the same time, they tried to recapture the treasures-among them the noblest Hungarian relic, the Sacred Crown-that Charlemagne’s armies stole from the Avars, who were related to the Magyars.
  • Chieftain Lehel:  Verbulcsu’s inseparable companions were Chieftain Lehel and Botond.  In the battle at Lechfeld, Lech-medow Vebulcsu and Lehel met with heavy losses and at the promise of peace negotiations, laid  down arms.  The Germans, however went back upon their word and slaughtered the disarmed Magyars.  The Kepes Kronika (Illustrated Chronicle 14th Century) Describes that Lehel’s last wish was to blow his horn once again.  When he received his horn, he hit Konrad I. on the head with it, with such power that the Emperor dropped down dead on the spot.  After this, Verbulcsu and Lehel were excuted.  However, the Germans did not reckon with commander of the third legion, Chiefton Botond, whose revenge was sweeping.
  • Chieftain Botond:  Western historiography tends to forget about the fact that, after the “victory” at Lechfeld, Chieftain Botond devastated the German provinces.  “When these (Botond, Szabolcs, and Orkeny) moved away from Chieftain Zolta, they put Bavaria, Almania, Saxony and Turingia to the sabre again.  Then going on from here at the time of Lent, they crossed the River Rhine and with their bows and arrows they eradicated the country of Lothar too.” ~ Anonymus

Is it legend or history?  There is a heated debate!

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