The Origin and Concise History of the Hungarians
The origin of the Hungarians and their language
This short summary of Hungarian history (especially in regard to their origin and early record) departs from the officially held position generally taught in schools and found in Encyclopaedias, which continues to suggest that the Hungarian people belong to the Finno-Ugric branch. However, if one looks a little deeper and examines the works of scholars specializing in this particular area of history, they find a great deal of discrepancy and uncertainty. The prevailing hypothesis that the Hungarians are related to the Finno-Ugric people is based strictly upon linguistic similarities and is not supported by written chronicles or archaeological finds. Note the following quotations from two leading Hungarian scholars offering excellent examples of the shaky ground on which this science really stands:
Dr. Ferenc Glatz, the past president of the Hungarian Academy of Science, writes in his book, A magyarok krónikája (Chronicle of the Hungarians, Officia Nova 1996.):
"Of the ancestors of Hungarians to 600 A. D., we can only speak in the realm of possibilities, based upon research in language history, archaeology and geographical flora." Furthermore, Dr. István Fodor, director of the Hungarian National Museum in the early 1990's, states in Verecke híres útján… (Through the pass of Verecke… /North-Eastern Carpathian Mountains/, Gondolat könyvkiadó, 1975): "The millennium of our early history following the year 500 B. C. at this point is almost completely a blank spot on the map of our early record. We have no written sources to rely upon, nor any archaeological findings that could be connected to ancient Hungarians without any doubt."
In a lecture at the University of Amsterdam, on November 12, 2004, Professor Angela Marcantonio, of Sapienza University of Rome, stated that the existence of the Finno-Ugric language group could not be proven and that the Hungarian language was quite different from any of the Finnish languages.
So, if scholars of the highest standing can only offer hypotheses regarding the origin and early history of the Hungarians, wouldn't it be reasonable to investigate other possibilities? Interestingly enough, by using some of our very recent advances in the scientific and medical fields, we’ve stumbled upon a new tool; today we’re digging deeper into the human record and interpreting it through genetic research. Racially, the Finno-Ugric language group is just about as diverse as humanly possible. The small tribes living east of the Ural Mountain are Mongoloids, the Finns are of Northern European stock, and the Hungarians are typical Central-Europeans. Research in the 1940's indicated that among King Árpád's people (those that conquered the Carpathian Basin eleven hundred years ago in 896 A.D.) the Finno-Ugric stock totaled just 12.5%. This accounting for only a small percentage of the total population of the Carpathian Basin, other possibilities seemingly have more to offer regarding the origin of the Hungarians and their language. Let's investigate those, along with a short recapitulation of the official version of events. As a reminder, Hungarians call themselves magyar – a name that appears often in the text.
Let us start with the results of the latest genetic research. Between 1994 and 1997, the Hungarian and Finnish government jointly conducted a genetic research project that resulted in the following findings:
"We have evaluated the deletion of the so called inter-genetic 9-bp, of which the presence or absence is a determining factor in establishing racial relationships. The Asiatic origin of 9-bp is completely missing from the Hungarian population. We have found the Asiatic M haplo-group in the Finns, the Ezras and the Lapps, but we did not find it in a single Hungarian individual tested." (The three-page summary of this joint study appeared in the weekly publication Élet és Tudomány (Life and Science) as the article titled „Népességünk genetikai rokonsága” (“Genetic Relations of our Population”); written by Dr. Judit Béres, the leading Hungarian scientist in the group; it appeared in the September 21, 2001 issue.)
In the article titled MtDNA and Y chromosome polymorphisms in Hungary: inferences from the Paleolithic, Neolithic and Uralic influences on the modern Hungarian gene pool Béres writes:
"the proto-European 49a,f Ht15 and the Neolithic 12f2-8Kb were rather uncommon in both groups; that there is a high prevalence of the 49a,f Ht11 and the YCAII a5-b1; and that the Asian 50f2/C deletion is absent.” (European Journal of Human Genetics of May 2000.)
In this study, samples were taken from the mixed population of Budapest and more homogenous population of the Palóc. Genetically, the European population divided into two major groups; western and eastern. Some of the genetic markers that are high in the western population are low in the eastern and vice-versa. About 94% of Hungarians belong to the eastern group. Interestingly enough, the YCII a5-b1 frequency is very high, 69.8% in Hungarians while in the population of the Basques it is 78%. However, this result is not representative of the total Hungarian population, because the study involved only a small segment of it. Furthermore, it does not specify which wave of Neolithic settlers carried the same haplotype. Obviously, more studies are needed which should be based on the cross section of the total Hungarian population.
Thus, the latest scientific research refutes the claim that Hungarians are genetically related to the Finno-Ugric peoples including the Finns. Actually the Poles, the Ukrainians and the Croatians are a lot closer to Hungarians. Logically, this fresh information should call for a new review and revision of from where exactly the Hungarians originated and to whom they are related.
Based on archaeological evidence, it can be safely stated that humans have inhabited the Carpathian Basin for the last several hundred thousand years. Traces and fragments of a human skull and footprints were found in 1963 at Vértesszőlős (Northwestern Hungary); radiocarbon dating suggested that this early man lived about 350 thousand years ago. Remains and tools of the ancient Neanderthals have also been found in the Carpathian Basin, along with those of the Cro-Magnons, from whom modern humans are directly descended. About 40,000 years ago, in North-Central Hungary, a culture evolved that excelled to the highest levels of its time; the people of this civilization are famous for their fine stone tools and arrowheads; true works of art - such fine tools have not been found anywhere else in the world dating from this period. In a nearby cave in the Bükk Mountains, archaeologists also found a three-holed whistle made of bone; incredibly, five notes can still be played on it. Although the Carpathian Basin was wooded tundra during the last Ice Age, it was capable of supporting some inhabitants. It has been established that humans inhabited caves throughout the Carpathian Basin for many thousands of years; artifacts of early man have been found near warm water springs dating back to the Ice Age.
Exhibit 1: The last Ice Age: Blue, ice cover; pink, tundra with frozen ground; brown, wooded tundra; yellow, tundra near by the ocean; green, tundra without frozen ground.
The major change of climate came about 12,000 years ago, which brought an end to the last Ice Age, and slowly the temperate climate had set in. The lowlands of the Carpathian Basin first became swamps as a result of melting ice and snow on the mountains. Then a slow dry up began and in the meantime the flora and fauna – indigenous to the temperate climate – was also forming. About 8,000 years ago, the area became more hospitable to human habitation. So large numbers of people migrated from the south and settled in the Hungarian Great Plains. It seems the original homeland of these early settlers was Northern Mesopotamia – indicated by the black elliptical on the map. (Exhibit 2) - where a population explosion occurred some 10,000 years ago, which was the result of the development of early agriculture.
Exhibit 2: The early farmers expanded out of Palestine some 10,000 years ago. Crossing the islands of the Mediterranean Sea and Anatolia they reached the southeastern points of Greece 9,000 years ago. From there they expanded northward reaching the Carpathian Basin 8,000 years ago. Following the valley of the River Danube, eventually they populated all of Europe.
The introduction of agriculture in human development was a significant achievement, which may have started in the Middle East some 11,000 years ago. In the age of the hunter-gatherers, it took 10 km2 to support one person. With animal husbandry and agriculture, the people were able to produce some of their most essential foodstuffs, bringing about a population explosion. With this achievement, 1 km2 was enough to support one person; however, each geographic area has its own limitations as far as how many people it is capable of supporting. When population density and the life sustaining capability of a given area reaches its breaking point, people begin to search for a land that is not populated, or is only sparsely so. These early farmers expanded to Northern Mesopotamia to the valleys of the River Tigris and its tributaries, then to Anatolia (today's Turkey), and even more importantly across the islands of the Aegean Sea, to the Balkan Peninsula and from there to the Carpathian Basin - reaching it about 8000 years ago. The question we are pondering here is: what language did these people speak and could they be among the ancestors of the modern Hungarians? About 8000 years ago, the first farming communities began to develop in Mesopotamia also.
After this, let’s investigate the intriguing mysteries surrounding the Hungarian language. The Hungarian language stands alone in Europe (as a matter of fact in the whole World) as one of the most unique languages; the tongues that are related to it can only be considered second cousins at best. The observations of independent sources may shed some light on the origin of this mysterious language.
Many scholars have noted the uniqueness of the Hungarian language. It may take a while yet to unravel some of the mysteries that surround it, so in the meantime, here are some opinions of reputable scholars: The English philologist, Sir John Bowring (1792-1872), spoke many languages, Hungarian being one of them. He translated many Hungarian poems into English and in 1830 he published a literary chrestomathy. In its Foreword he wrote:
"The Magyar language stands afar off and alone. The study of other tongues will be found of exceedingly little use toward its right understanding. It is molded in a form essentially its own, and its construction and composition may be safely referred to an epoch when most of the living tongues of Europe either had no existence, or no influence on the Hungarian region."
Sir William Dawson of Canada wrote in his book titled, Fossil Men and Their Modern Representatives, (Hodder and Stoughton Montreal, 1883, p.310.)
"Further, a very slight acquaintance with these languages (native American) is sufficient to show that they are connected with the older languages of the Eastern continent by a great variety of more permanent root words, and with some even on grammatical structure. So persistent is this connection through time, that pages might be filled with modern English, French, or German words, which are allied to those of the Algonquin tribes as well as to the oldest tongues of Europe, Basque and Magyar,…”
More recently Professor Grover S. Krantz, anthropologist at Washington State University, studied the history and origin of the various European languages and published his findings in the book, Geographical Development of European Languages (Peter Lang, 1988). Professor Krantz set up certain guidelines, which he used diligently in his analysis, applying them uniformly to all European languages. He structured and based these guidelines on human behaviors and life-sustaining requirements such as climate, the length of the growing season, and the quality of land for herding or agriculture, etc. Regarding the Hungarian language, he arrived at the following conclusion; on page 11 he writes:
"It is usually stated that the Uralic Magyars moved into Hungary from an eastern source in the 9th Century A.D. I find instead that all the other Uralic speakers expanded out of Hungary in the opposite direction, and at a much earlier date."
Furthermore, on page 72, we find the following observation:
"Given these objections the actual Uralic-speaking distributions would allow only one alternative explanation - that the family originated in Hungary and spread out in the opposite direction. This poses no serious problem if the time for this origin and dispersion is put at the earliest Neolithic. If this is true it means that Hungarian (Magyar) is actually the oldest in-place language in all of Europe."
Krantz believes that the ancient shepherds of the Hungarian Great Plains spoke the Proto-Hungarian tongue. Closer examination of this question suggests that the early settlers from the south, shepherds and farmers alike, spoke the very same language.
Sadly enough, Hungarian scholarship has failed to investigate these possibilities and for that reason it is not widely known. Perhaps the answer lies in the old tradition, when most noblemen and intellectuals generally spoke Latin and very little Hungarian. To illustrate this attitude we could cite the following:
Cardinal Giuseppe Mezzofanti of Italy, the director of the Library of the Vatican, spoke many languages - among them Hungarian. In 1836 he wrote to the Czech poet, Augustine Frankl: "The Hungarians do not even know what cultural treasure their language possesses." The Cardinal made this statement following an encounter with some Hungarian noblemen on their visit to Rome; as he looked up and began to address them in the Hungarian tongue, Mezzofanti quickly discovered that these gentlemen spoke perfect Latin, but very little Hungarian.
The above quotations imply that the Hungarian language is indigenous to this region of Europe. So, here is a scenario regarding language development, impacted by several factors such as (a) geographic location, (b) life-supporting capability of a given area, (c) population density, (d) distance, and (e) time.
The early hunter-gatherers, because of their lifestyle, sparsely populated the planet and have had very little, if any impact on language development of the later times. The central question is: what tongue did the early farmers of Anatolia speak where the Neolithic population explosion, then expansion began?
If one looks at the (a) geographic map of Asia Minor and Europe (Exhibit 2), two larger pieces of land stand out as a unique, self-sufficient (b) area with natural borders. One of them is Mesopotamia; the other one is the Carpathian Basin. Both of them have ample fresh water, rivers and lakes, capable of supporting more than the average (c) population density. Population density enhances human development, because it makes it possible to exchange thoughts and experiences among a larger number of people. But the natural borders seal these areas off from the surrounding areas to a certain extent, which is a decisive factor for the culture and language to develop in its own distinctive way. The next factor is (d) the distance. How far are these self-contained areas from each other? Do they have any influence on each others’ development? And of course there is (e) time. How much time passed since they migrated from the ancient homeland, where they spoke the same language, and had the same culture?
To better understand the expansion, or at times perhaps some low scale migration of the Neolithic people, one must take a closer look at the area in question. As was mentioned above, a warming trend set in about twelve thousand years ago, which brought an end to the last Ice Age. The Carpathian Basin was one of the most significant areas affected by the climatic change. The mountains surrounding the Great-Plain had a stabilizing affect on its climate. Besides the normal rainfall, the melting snow and ice from the mountains distributed by rivers and lakes provided plenty of moisture, which in turn created dense vegetation. The vegetation provided food for a large variety of animals, and the lakes and waterways were rich in all sorts of fish.
The Carpathian Basin became one of the most desirable places to live in Europe and capable of supporting a significantly larger than average number of people. The early settlers came from the south, most likely from Asia-Minor (today’s Turkey), through the Balkan Peninsula in the valley of the River Morava. Once they reached the lower Danube, some continued their journey to the Carpathian Basin; others followed the River Danube in the eastern direction, and settled on the fertile land on both sides of the river. Then they kept expanding between the eastern Carpathians and the Black-Sea northward, then to the east. There was another expansion toward the east from Northern Mesopotamia, south of the Caspian Sea, and these two branches probably met again on the Plains east of the Caspian Sea. Eventually, they reached Northwestern China some 4000 years ago, at the land of the Uygurs.
By the time of the mid-Neolithic period, the Carpathian Basin was heavily populated; therefore some of these settlers continued their journey along the banks of the Danube all the way to the River Rhine and populated basically all of Central-Europe (Exhibit 2). In view of all of these points, it is safe to say that the Carpathian Basin was one of the most, if not the most, significant centers for population dispersion.
The Neolithic cultures had begun to evolve in Hungary approximately eight thousand years ago. About seven thousand five hundred years ago a distinct culture was flourishing in the lower region - between the river Danube and the river Tisza, the lower region east of the Tisza, and in Transylvania (belonging to Romania today). It is known as the Körös culture. People of this culture lived in small tent-like or vertical wall houses. In Transylvania, they even used stone to build houses with a fireplace at the center. Besides hunting and gathering, these people provided for themselves by practicing agriculture and by domesticating animals. The artifacts of this society show a close resemblance to those of the Mesopotamian culture. In 1963 at Alsótatárlaka (Transylvania. Exhibit 3.) on the river Maros, three clay tablets were found with pictographs on them. According to radiocarbon dating, these tablets are nearly seven thousand (7,000) years old (although some archaeologists are still debating this date); yet, this finding may suggest that the cradle of writing may very well have been the Carpathian Basin, in view of the oldest Sumerian tablets being ‘only’ about 5,500 years old. With their pictographs evolving into an intricate cuneiform writing, it is an accepted fact that the Mesopotamian Sumerian culture is the oldest, most highly developed ancient society known to us today. Could it be possible that these tablets point to an advanced civilization in the Carpathian Basin that predates the Sumerian society?
Exhibit 3: The clay tablets of Alsótatárlaka
Early scholars in the middle of the nineteenth century, while deciphering the Sumerian writings, recognized that the Sumerians spoke an agglutinative language similar to Hungarian and Turkish; hundreds of Sumerian words still exist in the Hungarian language today. The French scholar, Francois Lenormant, spent some time in Hungary in order to achieve a better understanding of the Hungarian language. Some believe the English scholar, A. H. Sayce, did the same; the fact is, Hungarian proved to be a useful tool in deciphering the ancient Sumerian language. When deciphering the Sumerian cuneiforms, each of the two pioneers (in the mid 19th century), Englishman Henry C. Rawlinson and Frenchman Jules Oppert, had Hungarian co-workers: Jácint Rónay and Flórián Mátyás, respectively. No wonder that, presently as in the past, some believe that the Hungarian and the Sumerian languages are closely related, and this could only be explained if the early farmers are taken into consideration. Others, nevertheless, continue to debate the matter.
Exhibit 4. The fertility goddesses from Mesopotamia (left), Hungary (middle) and from Crete. All bearing the triangle on the lower body.
The Körös culture was followed by the Culture of the Great Plain (“Alföldi vonaldíszes edények műveltsége”) about a thousand years later. Artifacts of this culture also closely resemble the Sumerian artifacts. Appearing on many sacred artifacts, especially on the little idols representing the goddess of fertility, one of the most widely known symbols from this period is the triangle . The triangle is used to "write" or to represent the woman in pictographs. Also found in the Culture of the Great Plain is another striking symbol that resembles the capital M in the Latin alphabet. This symbol first appeared about 5,500 years ago in the Carpathian Basin, disappearing around three hundred years later. At about the same time, it appeared in the Mesopotamian Uruk culture, suggesting that there may have been some contact between the people of these two regions. What is interesting about this mark is that no one knows its meaning; it remains a riddle. What follows is an exploration of what this symbol may actually mean and represent.
The symbol resembles the capital M; thousands of years later it evolved into the capital M of the Latin alphabet suggesting that it represented the name of someone or something very important, which started with the ‘m’ sound. 5,500 years ago the most significant driving force in social development was the fertility culture that embodied the struggle for life - for one's own and for mankind's very existence. It would be logical to look for an explanation within that circle of thought and ideas. Mater in Latin, Mutter in German, Mother in English and nagy-mama (grand-mother) in the Hungarian language seem to indicate that the symbol in question represents motherhood: the mother goddess in the fertility culture. So it seems that it has a similar meaning to that of the triangle, which is internationally accepted. Question: Why didn't scholars recognize this obvious possibility? Could it be that there is another meaning behind that ancient symbol?
First, however, take a close look at an Egyptian idol, which symbolizes the goddess of fertility; it may help to decipher the meaning of the two aforementioned symbols. The idol is about 5,500 years old and is made from the mud of the river Nile. This statue, shaped like a seed, shows a figure raising its arms with closed fingers suggesting that this goddess is saying something. There must be a message behind that striking position of the arms. Commonly recognized today by hieroglyphics experts, the Egyptians used animals, human body parts, and tools - and so on - as symbols to relay messages. When examining our Egyptian idol further, we notice that the head of this statue is an eagle head. The eagle represents the letter A. In Reading Egyptian Art, by Richard H. Wilkinson, we find that the meaning of the arm is ka, i.e. kar, or plural karok (arms) in Hungarian. A hand with closed fingers could have several meanings: khefa which means grasp, or amem meaning seize. In the Hungarian language, however, grasp = markol. If the Egyptologists were to use Hungarian (as some Sumerologists did in the 19th century), would the language help in deciphering the Egyptian hieroglyphs more accurately? Perhaps they then might read the symbol in question as marok or markol instead of khefa. This may seem farfetched. Nonetheless, let’s continue this unraveling of riddles using the Hungarian language as our codebook, so to speak.
Exhibit 5: Goddess from Egypt and the Bull Plate.
A closer look at the Fragmentary Bull Plate (Exhibit 5) from the Predynastic Period of Egypt, one can see that the five hands are "grasping" a rope (Wilkinson’s explanation) - remember, this = markol in Hungarian. After analyzing the clues and uncovering the meanings behind the identifiable symbols found on the idol, a possible reading could be attempted. However, keep in mind that in interpreting the ancient pictographs and symbols, occasionally only part of the word (a syllable) should be used for proper reading. The eagle head is A=the, the hand with closed fingers is ma-rkol=grasp, the raised arms are karok and the statue itself is the goddess, in Hungarian Istennő or Nagyasszony. If you put it all together, it now reads: A makarok (Magyarok) Istennője, or A Magyarok Nagyasszonya, i.e., The Goddess of the Hungarians. Some scholars believe that the people who established the Egyptian culture came from a river called Netra. It is possible that some small creek or spring exists by this name (one not listed); however, the only river listed in the World Atlas similar to this name is Nyitra in the Carpathian Basin.
Although the interpretations of these inscriptions seem convincing, we must add another possibility. According to Adorján Magyar and Dr. András Zakar, in Old Greek, makar or magar means happy, which is boldog in Hungarian. Therefore the meaning could be interpreted Boldogasszony instead of Nagyasszony. Boldogasszony is highly revered in the Hungarian culture, so much so that the Catholic Church was not able to diminish the devotion to her for centuries, so they equated her with the Virgin Mary. It is also worth noting that Hungarians use an expression for a pregnant woman: boldogasszony, literally meaning ‘blessed woman’. Seemingly, this is directly connected to the idea of the mother goddess of the fertility culture, Boldogasszony. It is very possible, that the Hungarian people’s name, Magyar, is derived from this goddess’ name, Makar, Magar or Magyar.
Exhibit 6: Goddess from Çatal Hüyük.
In addition to the above-discussed hypothesis, there is yet another idol from Anatolia (modern day Turkey), which is equally striking and relevant to the discussion here. A number of these mother goddesses were found at the Çatal Hüyük archaeological site. Archaeologist James Mellaart interprets the figurine as "woman giving birth". In Hungarian: szülő asszony. Surely, enough of a child's head is seen between the legs of the woman to give this reading validation. Mellaart failed, though, to note the arches on the knees and on the belly of the woman. Could it be the triple mountain that in pictographic writing symbolizes 'field' or 'land'; in Hungarian: föld? If so, the reading of the two words szülő and föld in combination, results in the following meaning: szülőföld, the precise Hungarian expression for motherland. In addition, on the side view of the idol, photographed from an angle, the capital M-like symbol can also be seen. Perhaps because the leopard's sagging belly and front and rear legs create the M-like shape, it may seem the character is somehow unintentional. However, because the three arches were engraved intentionally, and while the leopard's belly is not a perfect reverse arch, the break or angle in it can only be intentional also. The symbol found again is that of the capital M. Thus, the reading Magyarok szülőföldje (Motherland of Hungarians) or more probable is Boldogasszony szülőföldje (Motherland of Boldogasszony) cannot be ruled out as an interpretation of the message she is trying to convey to us, so many years after her initial creation.
Exhibit 7: The neck of the clay jar bearing the symbol M and the triangle.
The next archaeological object clearly shows a wide area of cultural connection among these people in the Neolithic. The great similarities and, even more importantly, the message that is inscribed on them, are very striking and meaningful. The collection for example of the Damjanich János Museum of Szolnok in Hungary includes an exhibit containing the neck of a large clay jar (Exhibit 7) that was used to store grain some 5,500 years ago. On this piece of pottery, the capital M symbol is engraved in such a way that it is also a part of the triangle. The V angle of the M forms the bottom lines of the triangle; enclosed by the decorative top line above it are two engraved, triangle-shaped eyes, a horizontal mouth and a nose shaped out of clay. Now, if the two symbols represent the same thing, why did they use them in combination? Is it possible that there is another logical explanation to this question? What could be the significance behind the meaning of the capital M symbol? It is a fact that this ancient symbol resembles not only the capital M of the Latin alphabet, but also looks very much like the letter M = in Hungarian runic writing. If you recall, Hungarians call themselves Magyar - a word also starting with the m sound. Could it be possible that behind this ancient symbol M, we should look for the word Magyar? In this case, if we use the meaning Magyar (Hungarian) for the capital M, and the meaning Istennő or Nagyasszony (goddess) for the triangle, the combined reading would be Magyarok Istennője or Magyarok Nagyasszonya (Goddess of the Hungarians), or simply Boldogasszony. This is exactly the same reading as on the Egyptian idol discussed previously; both artifacts being 5,500 years old seem to validate the reading. Could it be – if the readings of these two artifacts are correct, which is by no means certain –, that the people of the Carpathian Basin already called themselves Magyar 5,500 years ago and spoke an early form of the Hungarian tongue? One thing that can be stated for certain is this: if we combine the meanings of the signs and symbols, we find perfect Hungarian sentences or arrive at the highly respected Boldogasszony.
It is interesting to note that those dot-like engravings falling out of the triangle are like seeds falling out of the hand of a farmer while sowing his fields. It can be stated with near certainty that the owner of the clay jar was asking for the blessing of the goddess for a good harvest.
In the book entitled The Danube in Prehistory, the British archaeologist Gordon Childe explained in 1928 that in the great triangle (Mesopotamia, the island of Crete, and the Carpathian Basin) ‘similar cultures’ existed in the Neolithic period. A similar culture does not necessarily mean that these people spoke the same tongue; still, based on what the previously deciphered artifacts suggest, it cannot be ruled out entirely from the realm of possibilities.
At the time of the culture of the Great Plain, a separate society flourished west of the river Danube: the Culture of Dunántúl (“Dunántúli vonaldíszes edények műveltsége”). Artifacts from this culture have been found in Central Europe as far west as the River Rhine. Although on the surface these artifacts do not bear a striking resemblance to those of Mesopotamia (like the ones from east of the Danube River), nevertheless, they unmistakably bear similar signs and meanings found in the fertility culture. This society built large houses out of timber, cultivated land, and domesticated animals. Later on, as time passed, the original three cultures in the Carpathian Basin became more colorful and distinct as borne out by the localized characteristics increasingly appearing in its pieces of arts and crafts. Around four thousand (4,000) years ago, large numbers of immigrants arrived from the south; these were the people of the Pécel culture. Their massive numbers seemingly were the final and determining factor in establishing the Hungarian tongue in the Carpathian Basin. The population of the Carpathian Basin became dense enough with these arrivals that future conquerors and immigrants, though perhaps leaving their mark on the already dominant language in some, could not completely change it. It is reasonable to conclude that this language was Hungarian or, shall we say, a prototype of it. Ancient geographic and place names also found throughout the Carpathian Basin seem to support this theory.
Exhibit 8: The headdress of the Hungarian maiden and the Scythian Queen
From the plain of the east (Ukraine), around 900 B.C., the Cimmerians invaded the Carpathian Basin. The Scythians followed them in 500 B.C. Although the Scythians dominated the Carpathian Basin for over 500 years, their settlers heavily populated only Transylvania and the area surrounding the Mátra Mountains. Some believe that Hungarians are of Scythian origin and this obviously has some merit; five hundred years could not have passed without some mingling with the indigenous population. One example to show this relationship is the traditional headdress of the maidens living around the Mátra; it is very similar in style to that of the Scythian Queen. The Celts, the Sarmatians, and then the Huns followed the Scythians. Although the Carpathian Basin was under the control of the Huns for about eighty years, only the last twenty or so saw Attila (433-453 A.D.) setting up his headquarters on the Hungarian Great Plain. After the demise of the Hun Empire, some of the Huns returned to their previous homeland north of the Black Sea. It is quite reasonable to suggest that they are the ancestors of Árpád's people; of course, they thought of themselves as the descendants of the Huns, and probably rightly so.
The “early” Avars followed the Huns in 568 A.D. under the leadership of Kagán Baján; they established an empire from the Western Alps, the River Elb to the Caspian Sea. These early Avars were heterogeneous in their ethnic composition. Some of them were the descendants of the Jouan Jouan from the Xinjiang province of today's northwest China (based on Chinese chronicles, the Jouan Jouans spoke Turkish and Mongolian languages). Others belonged to a Northern Iranian stock of people and may have been the descendants of the Parthians, mixed together further with a small number of Huns. The second wave of Avars appeared around 670 A.D. Some believe, because of their great numbers – based on archaeological evidence –, that they were the first large body of people in the Carpathian Basin to speak the Hungarian language; however, the ethnic makeup of these peoples is just as diverse as the first wave of the Avars. Based on archaeological findings, some may have come from the area of present day Iran, others from the region of the River Volga, while their leadership was of Hun origin from north of the Caucasus Mountains. In 1963, an archaeologist found a needle case of sheep bone with runic inscriptions on it from the late Avar period. Many people deciphered it, but with widely different results. Hungarian interpretations varied from one another while others thought that it was written in Turkish. For this reason, it is very unlikely that the establishment of the Hungarian language in the Carpathian Basin could be contributed to the second wave of Avars.
Now, the above-mentioned people deserve a little closer examination. Many people in Asia, like the Uygurs, the Koreans, the Japanese, some groups in India and Pakistan and so on, consider the Hungarians as their kinfolk. Actually they know far more about this relationship than Hungarians do. It is not taught in Hungarian schools. It is very interesting to note, for example, the name of the country; Japan. The country of the rising Sun: Nip pon. In Hungarian: Nap hon or Naphon, meaning; Country of the Sun. Nip = Nap (Sun), pon = hon (country). There are some structural similarities between the Japanese and Hungarian languages too. And in Nepal there are the Magars. These people provide most of the leadership and military. They bury their dead instead of cremating them like rest of the population, and they use wood as grave markers, similar to the ones that Hungarians use in Transylvania: kopjafa. The parallels of costumes, pentatonic music, even food of similar make and taste could be found amongst the people of Asia. So, there is no doubt that there are some connections between Hungarians and these people. The question is: What are the historical facts behind them? What was the place of origin from where these costumes and culture dispersed?
Exhibit 9: Mummies from the land of the Uygurs
Perhaps, the study of the geographical map (exhibit 2) may provide some answers. The early farmers of the Neolithic after the last Ice Age, expanded solely toward the East from the Zagros Mountains, south of the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian Sea. Around 2000 B.C., they reached the Xinjiang province in Northwestern China, the land of the Uygurs. Another expansion route was between the Eastern Carpathian Mountains and the Black Sea, but they probably reached the same destination at a much later time. In the past decades, Chinese archaeologists have excavated numbers of mummies of white (“Caucasian”) people in this region preserved by the desert sands. So, could these people be the ancestors of the Huns, the Avars, the Sarmatians and even the Turks? If so, the solution is at hand. Expanding eastward through thousands of years, their culture and language were subjected to different effects than the ones that stayed behind, for example, in the Carpathian Basin. Nevertheless, they have retained much. They also intermingled with the People of Asia. So, by the time they returned as conquerors to Europe, they were racially mixed and some of their costumes and language had changed. They probably spoke Old Turkish, the tongue that was related to the Sumerian, which is the oldest written language, which is also closely related to the modern Hungarian language. The study of Grover S. Krantz may prove to be correct; that is that the Hungarian language in the Neolithic expanded eastward, instead of coming from the east.
There are those, even today, who seemingly disregard the above known facts, and claim that Árpád’s people were the first Hungarian speaking people in the Carpathian Basin when they arrived in 895 A.D. The other claim has been that they found a large number of Slavic speaking common people in the Carpathian Basin; this was taught in schools, too. So, in 1959, a Hungarian archaeologist, Béla Szőke, finally realized that if they were Slavic speaking, then Hungarians wouldn’t be speaking Hungarian today. The language of Árpád’s people – whatever it was – would have melted into the Slavic tongue. This realization came to the dislike of the official hierarchy, so they had a solution to the problem and quickly proclaimed: the peasants came with Árpád’s people, also. Actually, they were looking for them all along. The problem was that the women of these peasants were buried with metallic headbands. Such burial customs simply did not exist in Etelköz – today’s Ukraine – where Árpád’s people came from, so they could not have come with them. Therefore, they were most likely the ancient settlers from the Neolithic.