State Structure of the Huns

Thursday, August 5, 2010


By Borbála OBRUSÁNSZKY

In the past few centuries many scientists — historians, orientalists — dealt with the questions regarding the Hunnic statehood. Most of the European scholars focused on Attila’s European Empire, but they have not enough historical sources in order to describe this Empire as a whole system, because the late ancient Greek and Latin historical sources (4-5th centuries) fragmentally recorded Attila’s state and its governance, hence it is very difficult to reconstruct the state of the European Hunnic Empire from these sources only. In order to reveal the managing system of the huge empire, historians and orientalists have worked out a comparative system, from which the reconstruction of the operation of the Hunnic Empire becomes fairly precise. They used the results of several scientific fields like archaeology, history, linguistics, history, numismatics, and ethnography.

Main results

Among the European scientific researchers, the first man, who composed a significant publication about the Huns was Deguignes. He collected and printed those ancient Chinese sources, which recorded the life and history of the Huns. Next to that he wrote analyses about the origin of the great people of that time. Additionally, he listed those, who could be the descendants of the Huns; he listed the Turkic people, the Mongolians and the Hungarians. His great work determined the European scientific way of thinking until the second half of the 19th century. Unfortunately, the positivist historical theory broke with the above mentioned scientific methods, which was based on historical sources, and historians “removed” Huns from the history of the world, and mentioned the Huns a few times and even then as “wild and barbaric” people. On the places the Huns populated these historians put fictive nations, and the Eurasian territory was populated with unknown Siberian people; they called them first “Finn-like people”, then Finno-Ugric, at present they are named Uralic. These peoples actually have no historical roots, we do not possess any historical sources about them, which would record their appearance in the past and the archaeological findings do not belong to them.

In the field of Oriental Studies Stein Aurel’s expeditions represented a great leap forward. Thanks to his activity, the European scholars became familiar with the documents of the Dunhuang libraries, and it became obvious, what a flourishing civilisations populated the territories of Eastern-Turkestan from the ancient times. In the written documents we read about such local people, as the Scythians2 and the Huns, and then about those peoples, who inherited their heritage. Roughly at the same time, in 1899, the first Hunnic tombs were excavated in the Russian Far-East, and in the course of the 20th century significant artefacts of the Huns ́ material culture were discovered, both quantitatively and qualitatively. The above mentioned large documents were studied by several Sinologists and historians, who researched among others the state structure of the Huns, and they clarified many issues. At present, most scientists recognise that nomadic states did exist, established by the Huns for the first time; they state moreover that later steppe empires, like Chingis Khan’s Mongolia was based on the Hun state tradition. Scholars also agree that the tribe structure could be the elementary political organisation of the Inner-Asian “bow stretching” or steppe peoples. Besides the Russians, many Americans also expressed the opinion that the steppe-empire came into existence as the result of inner development, and they did not borrow the model from sedentary people. Previously, Burham thought that nomads had a more efficient organisation than sedentary people, because horsemen had to manage huge territories. Some Russians, as Khazanov, reported that the Scythians were a state organizing people; he proved it with relevant antique sources, and archaeological findings; among the later evidences can be found dignitary insignias, diadems, etc. which refers to the fact that they lived in a developed society, and they had kings and queens as well. Such Scythian coins, on which Greek inscriptions recorded the word basileus, or name of the king, were excavated not only in Inner-Asia, but in Afghanistan and Indian territories, too. The above mentioned objects prove that they had kingdoms, hence formal state structure.

Regarding the questions of Hunnic state we need to turn our attention to a significant problem, which has divided the scholars for years. Some of them stated that the Huns, who appeared in Chinese sources as xiongnu were different from the Indian Hunas or European Huns. Thanks to the huge amounts of archaeological findings and historical evidences, nowadays most scholars recognize that the Huns created a united empire throughout Eurasia and were in contact with each other through diplomacy and trade until the middle of the 6th century AD, when Turks began to dominate Central-Asia.

Chinese scholars also brought new scientific results to light and rewrote entirely the history of the Huns; they also clarified the appearances of the names of the Huns in their own sources. They state, that the Huns have other names in the early Chinese chronicles. Regarding the periodisation of the names, Chinese scholars show that during the Shang-dynasty Huns were called as Xunyun (or Hunor),8 during the Zhou-era as Xianyun. But all these names go back to the following reconstructed form: *hun* or
*hung*;9 that is the same form as later Qin xiong-nu or Indian huna. The worldwide used expression, xiong-nu, began to be used only from 318 BC, when the independent Chinese states began to unite, and many of them used the same name or expressions for the northern horsemen. Besides xiongnu, we can find many other ancient names for the Huns, in the Qin and Han sources, as hu, bei di, xunyun, lu, etc.

Some questions regarding the chronology of the Hun Empire
It is evident from the historical sources, that Huns had significant role in world history. The steppe or bow stretching people – Scythians and Huns – established the biggest empires of the ancient period, which were greater than the Roman Empire or Alexander the Great’s occupied territory. The empires of Scythians and Huns had survived longer than the above mentioned two big ones. We know from the historical sources, that the united Hun Empire lasted until the 1st century BC, divided states from Ordos via Northern India to Caucasus existed until the 8th century AD.10 As late antique sources reveal, their power was preserved in the Carpathian Basin, too.11 Therefore it is clearly stated that the Hun state and civilisation determined the commonwealth of the Eurasian steppe belt for at least thousand years.

Some scholars opine that the establishment of the Hun state happened only in 209 BC, when Maodun became the supreme king, or shanyu of the Huns, but the Chinese sources do not prove this. As Shi Ji recorded, the event of 209 BC was only a coup, when Maodun (or Baatar) grabbed the power from his father, Touman. Moreover, Chinese sources recorded that the title of the Hun supreme king, shanyu, existed well before this date, e.g. 265 BC. The great Chinese chronicler, Sima Qian himself recorded several times that Huns had an ancient history. He wrote that the Huns had derived from the ancient Xia-dynasty, whose last king, Chunwei escaped to north and he became the king of the Huns. Sima Qian summarised the early history of the Huns as the follows: “More than thousand years past from Chunwei to Tou-man, during that time tribes divided parts, their numbers increased. That is why it is impossible to record the descendants of Hun leaders.”

The above cited dates also show us that the Hun state had already been established before the officially accepted date — 209 BC. It is best possible that we would not get any exact date to determine the beginning due to the lack of accurate historical sources. When the Huns did appear in the Chinese chronicles, they already had a well-developed state.

Tribal organisation

The first significant monograph, which deals with steppe society, was written by B. Vladimircov, who analysed the Early Mongolian social structure.14 According to him, mounted-nomads are engaged in breeding animals like horse, cattle and others, live in round-shaped tents, and developed tribal-clan organisation. They are able to create big empires on the Eurasian steppe belt during the course of history. They have a special way of life, with some variations. István Erdélyi showed samples and he
summarised some of them, and concluded his research with showing what varieties can be found in Inner and Central Asia. We can find “classical” pasture change way of life, pastoral breeding in the mountains, or the semi-nomadic form.15 The life-style greatly depended on the weather conditions of the given place. Present-day Mongolians, who live in the Gobi Desert need to move from settlement to settlement often, e.g. monthly, but those tribes, who live in the northern part of the country, are able to
stay on a particular territory longer, some half a year. Among Huns, as other people in that region, ought to be craftsmen, traders, who lived in settled places and were involved with their profession only in order to satisfy the domestic trade and military requirements.

We need to consider some very important expressions, which were widespread among the steppe people: bow-stretching in the Hunnic era and yurt-walled tribes in the Mongolian period. They designated only those ones, who lived in tents on the steppe and moved between the settlements periodically, but also those ones, who settled down, lived in cities or villages, though they preserved their ancient traditions. The above mentioned expressions help us to identify some tribes. For example, when Maodun captured the cities along the Silk Road in the course of the 2nd century BC, the population of the 26 cities and countries were not considered as foreign ones, but they called them as “bow stretching” people, who had been incorporated into the Hunnic Empire as relatives, and got equal rights with the Huns. They belonged to Sakas or Yuezhi tribes or people, who shared the same civilisation with the Huns. Hence, they did not belong to Indo-Europeans, as most scientist thought. If we consider the Hunnic ideology, and later their successors, e.g. the Mongolians, the foreign civilisations
must be captured and ruled over, but the relatives must be treated as their own tribes.

The steppe people kept track of ancestors orally, and then when literacy spread among them, they recorded tradition in written form. It was an elementary need of the whole community, in order to keep count line of the legal king, who rules for the benefit of all. Among the leading tribes, which originated directly form the Hunnic royal clan – or Maodun in Asia and Attila in Europe, a man had the chance to become the emperor. If we follow the line of Hunnic shanyus in the history, as Friedrich Hirth did, we can see that Attila and the later Hungarian leading clan, Árpád, belonged to Maodun’s clan.

When we analyse the nomadic society, we must clarify a further issue. These empires contained lots of ethnic groups, who differed from each other anthropologically. When we talk of the leading tribes of the empire, we must concentrate on the leading allied tribes, which concluded agreements and assigned the characters of the empire, and chose the emperor from among themselves. The whole community got its name after the leading clan or tribe.

Establishment of the state

Sworn brotherhood – the act through which two or more men, who are not relatives, become brothers by mixing their own blood – was the main important act for establishing a state in steppe society. It is impossible to follow entirely the historical process of this custom, because we have no written sources of that time. It is likely that this kind of form was used in the period of tribe-organisations, in order to strengthen the friendship between two or more leaders. When the tribes developed and entered into a higher stage, the leaders of the tribe-alliance concluded an alliance among them and thus created the state, which was regulated in the beginning by spoken oath (oral constitution). They chose a king or princess from a highly respected clan, who had outstanding ancestors as Maodun, Attila or later, Chingis Khan. It was obligatory for both parties to keep the oath. According to the remained texts these alliances served multiple purposes: military alliance, union of clans or tribes, or as I mentioned above, create the state. Because the bow stretching people or steppe people concluded their agreements orally, – when this custom was recorded later, firstly by foreign chroniclers, then by Hunnic people or their descendants themselves – the recorded customs exhibit various forms. The steppe people of the Eurasian steppe belt used the words ant or and for sworn brotherhood ship. The etymological dictionaries defined these words as oath. It is possible to have another meaning, as friend, as the Hungarian dialect shows it. The first mention of the word ant in written sources can be traced back to the Turkic period; in one Avarian tomb in Zamárdi, Hungary, archaeologist unearthed a belt with inscription, where the word ant was imprinted into a belt-hook with runic script. Other evidence for early appearance of this word can be found in Turkic texts in Siberia. They refuted Wang Kuo-wei’s earlier theory, that words ant, and originated from the Khitan language.

Among ancient historians Herodotus was the first, who recorded the custom of sworn brotherhood among Scythians. He summarised the elements of the alliance in the following way: they pricked themselves, or cut a wound in their body (mainly arm), their blood was poured into a vessel and mixed with wine. They dipped their sword, bow, bard or lance into the mix, and then the parties proclaimed the purpose of their alliance, and finally drank the mixture of blood and wine. Besides the external
sources there is also an inner one about the existence of sworn brotherhood among Scythians; archaeological findings from Russia contain Scythian artefacts on which Scythian craftsmen portrayed that scene. Among the later ancient writers, Pomponius Mela and Solinus recorded the Scythian sworn brotherhood. Sima Qian and later other Chinese sources dealt with the customs of the Huns, where that kind of alliance can be found, too. Huns offered sacrifices to the Heaven (Tengri) at that occasion and sacrificed white horse on that occasion. If we investigate the friendship alliance among the bow-stretching or steppe people, we can find it at each of them. We do not know exactly how many alliances were established within the steppe state. The Hungarian scholar Hóman Bálint mentioned, that the Hungarian tribes probably concluded lots of treaties through their history, until they established the state of Seven-Hungarians (Dentü Magaria or Hétmagyars).

The blood alliance was an ancient agreement within the steppe community that prescribed the rights and obligations for the concluding parties. They had to say the oath together, in which they listed the purpose of the alliance, including the tasks. At the end, they proclaimed a curse form, which contained the punishment of those who broke the alliance. The orally concluded oath was to be sealed by blood, as I mentioned above.

The sworn brotherhood was an effective protection mechanism for the steppe tribes, and contributed greatly to the establishment of a nomadic or bow stretching state, because the equal tribes-leaders united their powers and elected a khan or king above themselves. This kind of alliance not only helped the unification, but also functioned as a safety-valve against the dictatorship of the ruler. In the course of Eurasian steppe history it can be observed that the elected emperors did not have limitless powers, and those questions, which affected the whole community – like wars, reforms, modifying administration or code, etc. – were decided together at the parliament or kurultay.

Legislation

The earliest legislative organisation of the bow stretching or steppe people was the tribal assembly, which was derived from an early clan forum. In these meetings, whose early Mongolian name was eye, Hungarian was ser (szer) – the free herdsmen and clansmen took part.25 The word ‘eye’ means unity, which refers to the fact that the participants of the meeting must decide commonly in significant matters like war or alliance, etc.26 From eye developed the organisation of steppe parliament, which got the name kurultay in the Middle Ages.27 The legislation of the steppe people – compared to other societies in the world – was a democratic one, because the participants chose the emperor, who became the military and administrative leader, they decided in the matter of war and peace, and solved critical questions. The decisions of the assembly had to be accepted by everybody. If the emperor or khan died without nominating his successor, the kurultay had to deal with that issue. The Russian Vladimircov coined the term steppe democracy, which is a very felicitous word, because the assembly was a very effective forum of local political agency.

This kind of assembly can be found in the Hunnic state, as well. In the Chinese ancient chronicle, Shi Ji, it is recorded that Huns had three big parliaments, where they argued the military, political and economical affairs, and offered sacrifices to the ancestors and gods. “During the first month of the year different leaders held a little assembly in the tent of Shanyu and offered sacrifice. During the fifth month
they held a great assembly in Longcheng, where they also offered sacrifices to Hunnic ancestors, Heaven and Earth, and Gods and ghosts. In autumn, when horses are fat, they held a great assembly again. That time they rode horses around a forest and performed other sacrifice.”28 Although, the Chinese historian emphasized the religious deeds, maybe he was able to see only that part of the event. We have knowledge from historical and ethnographical analogies, when leaders discussed important affairs there. We also know from later analogy that the country leaders discussed state affairs at the beginning of the year, in autumn when they gathered the duties, and counted livestock. The Chinese chronicles recorded that Huns in this assembly decided about peace and war, and they discussed with whom to conclude alliance. It is obvious from these sources that already in the Hun period the assembly had the right to elect the emperor, so this was the only legal way for a danhu or shanyu to become king of the whole empire. As I mentioned above, the decision of the assembly was compulsory for everybody, and the happenings there were secret to the outside world. The individual, who told about the events at a kurultay to an external person, lost the right to enter there again. After the meeting was completed, the participants drank together, in that way they pledged their word and consecrated the decisions. This
kind of consecration appeared in the Chinese sources. Section 94 b of Han shu recorded that after the death of the Hunnic Hulugu danhu the decision-making Hun nobles elected Hun Yan Di32 as a new emperor, they drank an “oath-cup” together, this way they consecrated the election. The Hungarian legal tradition also preserved this ancient custom. Anonymus’ Gesta Hungarorum recorded several times a similar kind of this pledge, when Hungarians lived under Árpád’s leadership. The survival of this custom is proved, moreover by the decree of Torda in 1545, which prohibited the application of the above mentioned “pagan” tradition in the private treaties. The decree declares that the Hungarian-Székely (Siculus) leaders kept themselves to this Scythian custom.

Chinese chronicles recorded counsellors of the shanyu/danhu, they created the organisation of the Wisemen Council. According to Shi Ji, their number reached 24, and called them da chen, or ministers. Omeljan Pritsak called them “majesty”. According to him they were the main counsellors of the emperor, who helped him in administration and gave advices before the session began in the parliament.

It is likely that logades in Priscos’s record had the similar role in Attila’s court, because those people had high ranks in the Hunnic state. The above mentioned title is unknown to the scientists. In the Greek language there is no such word or root as “logad” or “lo”; it must be a foreign Scythian or Hunnic word. It would be interesting to investigate the parallel with the Hun descendant Székelys (Siculus), who had the following title as “lófő” (head of horses); they had the same role as logades or dachen in the course of the Middle Ages in the Hungarian Kingdom.

Administration

The analysis of the Hunnic administration was not a popular topic in the literature. In the past few years Eastern researchers (Russian, Japanese, Korean, etc.) analysed very deeply that question. They used their own traditions and written sources from various periods, and brought to light new results. They began to analyse this question form the earliest times, and according to them the bow stretching state came into existence in the time of the Huns. The heads of the Hun state as well as their descendants divided territories into three parts (Mongolian: gar, Turkic and Hungarian: kar). The Chinese sources give the exact places of the locations of the gars or wings; according to that, the eastern wing stretched from Ordos to Korea, the right one united people from the right bank of the Yellow River to the yue-zhi land (present-day Chinese Xinjiang).36 The main wing – in the opinion of most scholars – was situated in present day Northern China, it is most likely that that was the Ordos plateau, and sometimes they chose as centre the surroundings of the Yin-shan Mountain. The main wing was managed by the Hunnic emperor, whose title in Chinese sources is shanyu/danhu37; his court being the capital of the empire; the name of the center was called ordu or hordu. As the Inner Mongolian linguist, Uchiraltu, expressed, Chinese recorded the word as yutu, which is the equivalent of the above mentioned ordu. The name ordu can be found later, Turkic, period, with the meaning of tribal or principal court. Later it became the mean military camp both in Mongolians and Osman Turkic. The Turkic word orta as center is similar to that, where the word refers to the main position of the emperor’s court. The Russian gorod, or town, center belongs to that group; its ancient form was “ghordos”, which derived from the word ordu/hordu. It is doubtful that the city suffix grad in the Carpathian Basin was the heritage of Slavs,
because thousand years before them the bow stretching people had ruled the Eastern-European steppe and the Carpathian Basin as well.

We can summarise from the above mentioned information that the Huns and their descendants held parliament (kurultay) in the main court or ordu and it functioned as administrative center of the empire.

The two main wings were managed by the xian wang (or wise king)41; generally they belonged to the Hunnic ruling clan. According to the Hun tradition, the left wing was the place for the leading prince, the descendant of the emperor; he was the left sided xian wang. The power division was done with purpose, to allow the crown prince to prepare for the later tasks. The leader of the wing had to manage the civil and military administration, and the judicial system. Such a concentrated power was assigned to the Transylvanian gyula and Hungarian bans in the Medieval Hungarian Kingdom. Chinese sources know that wise in Hunnic language is tuqi42. Lots of scholars tried to explain the meaning of the word during the last 150 years. Uchiraltu showed the connection with the Hunnic and Turkic title tegin (prince) and Early Mongolian sechen (wise).

But János Fogarasi thought that the root of the tuqi was similar to the Hungarian “tud” (to know), and its parallel roots can be found in the Mongolian tüsimel or officer, or Mongolian todun (clear, known). He
found connection with the title tudun, which was a high rank among Avars and Turks, who reigned over a huge territory.

Concerning the title wang, it appeared in the history of the Huns, according to some scholars, when the Huns borrowed it from the Chinese. If we check it in the Chinese dictionary of titles, we can find that it is a rank with an unknown origin; it is possible that that title arrived from the steppe and spread over through the wandering period. The Chinese wang has various forms as bán/ban in Parthia, Persia, but also in the Eastern-European states of the Avars, Croatia or the Hungarian Kingdom. According to some Hungarian scholars’ point of view, Avars brought that title in the 6th century, but the Chinese sources point to its origins to an earlier period, probably from the Hunnic period. In the Medieval Hungarian Kingdom ban was the leader of an autonomous region. Regarding the origin of ban in Hungary, János Fogarasi showed its connection with Mongolian and Persian. He was the first, who stated that the Chinese wang and Hungarian ban had the same root. According to him the meaning of the title was the following: “lord, leader or prince”. His theory was proved by foreign scholars, later Littleton and Malcor thinks that ban was a Sarmatian title in the course of late antiquity.

The Chinese Shi Ji recorded the division of the Hunnic state; there we met the expression of luli or guli wang. It was a fairly high rank: second only to the xiang wang. The meaning and function of this rank remains an unsolved question among scholars. According to the Hungarian scholar Katalin Csornai, the reading of this expression in Old Chinese pronunciation would be gyiukla, and sounds in present-day Chinese as yuli-wang. She found it as guli, kokli, luli and other transcriptions, but the sign has not only “gu” but “yu” phonetics, as well.

The title has parallels among steppe society, the Hungarian gyula, or the Hephthalite gula (or gollas in Byzantine sources)50, which remained in Mihiragula’s name. Its parallel can be found in the Jula personal name in the Mongolian Jangar epos, or the Mongolian expression “joloo”, which means rein. As previously Gyula Németh showed, the Hungarian gyula has connection with the Old Turkic “yula”, or Khitan clan name, Yila. This title appeared earlier as the Turkic Empire was established. The title was known not only by those people, who arrived to Europe, but among those ones, who remained in Asia as well.

In the steppe history the choban or shoban title occurred many times among Huns and their descendants. For the first time the ancient Chinese sources recorded it as zhai-wang, etc., which exhibits similarities with the above mentioned ones. The Han dynasty, which has Southern-Hunnic origins, used the expression zhao-wang as title and ruling epoch, the same one, or supan, appeared among the Persians. Later, through the Middle Ages we find the word Choban in the Persian and Caucasus region.

Some Hungarian scholars thought that those ones were analogous to the Hungarian choban, moreover Géza Fehér pointed to Attila’s third son’s name, Chaba, a variant of the choban. The antiquity of the title choban confirms the tribe name of the Pechenegs, Choban. Some Hungarian scholars have drawn the attention to other information that nobody used it as evidence. Gyula Moravchik published two variants,
choban or chaban from the 6th century. Later, Louis Ligeti recorded, that an Onogur prince was named Chupan, but nobody used that important data,57 despite the Hunnic origin of the title. Recently, the Hungarian historian Jenő Darko drew the attention to similarities between the personal names Chaba from the Hungarian historical chronicles and tradition and the title choban. The above mentioned scholar referred to the story of Bahram Chobin, Persian king, who fought with Byzantine in the forefront
of the Caucasus.

Justice

The historians, who deal with the steppe people, tried to reconstruct the justice system of the Huns. Most of them realised that the provision of justice happened first at tribal level, but after the establishment of an empire, the representatives of the local decimal organisation were given power. Analogously with some historical people in Inner Asia, we can assume that the fundament of the judicial system was the local custom (Mongolian yosun). As we can see from the Chinese historical sources, a central code existed in the Hunnic Empire, which was valid all over the empire. The Shi Ji chronicle, then the later Chinese sources recorded some “brutal” acts regarding Huns, because those legal customs were unknown for them. The Shi Ji noticed that Hun statutes are easy to keep with, so in their view, the governmental deeds are very easy for the Huns.

The 110th chapter of the Shi Ji recorded some Hunnic statutes as the following: “Regarding the Hun statutes, the man who pulls his sword from sheath in peaceful periods more than half sing, is sentenced to death. Who is condemned for theft, all his property will be expropriated. Custodial sentences of minor crimes included the crushing of the ankle-bone. Those who committed serious crimes were always sentenced to death. Nobody was imprisoned for longer, than 10 days, and no more than a handful of people were incarcerated in the whole empire.”

As we can see from above, in case of theft, serious crimes, the judges sentenced to death the guilty persons; this legal practice and the philosophy of the punishment is quite similar to the later Mongolian Code, Jasag, which is based on the local custom, too. Probably, the nomadic lifestyle of the steppe empires is not consistent with the practise of imprisonment, and they favoured quick decision: the guilty has to be executed or he had to compensate the victim directly.

In the early period, the head of the Judge was the Hun shanyu or danhu. According to the sources, the eastern wing of the Empire, the Hu-yan, and the western one the Xu-Bu tribe led the justice. The Shanyu orally appointed them and often controlled their work, and in some cases the shanyu judged. In the administration the leader (wang) of the wings was responsible for this task. In the course time, the shanyu transferred these tasks to reliable officers or relatives, so in the decades of the 1st century AD, an independent justice chief was established. The Japanese Yamada thinks that originally the head of the tribe worked as judge, which is underscored by the above mentioned sources, but he refers to Hou-Han-shu, where the leading clans (Hu-yan, Xubu and Lan) took part in judicial activities among the Southern Huns. Regarding the Hu-yan name, Katalin Csornai has found an interesting data. The old Chinese pronunciation of that is similar to the old Hungarian title, horka, which was the leading judge
among Hungarians. Hungarian scholars related that word to a Turkic one, but it is likely to be an earlier, Hunnic version, like the above mentioned titles. Therefore, as we can see from above, for the first time, besides the Shanyu, only the head of the wings got judicial rights in their appointed territories.

In the late history of Huns, regarding its function, other name of the title appeared: gudouhou. As Sima Qian Shi Ji wrote, gudouhou assisted the shanyu in governance. Probably, it was the first stage of those title bearings. Later, the gudouhou became the leading judge of the empire. According to Uchiraltu, the gudouhou took part in judicial activities, and the pronunciation of the name was kutugu; he also found
that from the 2nd century AD the Chinese sources mentioned it as the leading judge, and the name was preserved until the Mongolian Empire, too.65 Some Chinese scholars are of opinion that there are other variants of qudouhou, like kadagu or katagu, etc, among those Huns, who moved westwards. The data of the ancient Hungarian historical chronicles reinforce the above mentioned scholars’ point of view. They preserved a very significant tradition concerning the name and function of the Hunnic judge. The
Hungarian Kézai-Simon’s Chronicle and the Képes Chronicle, which were composed from ancient sources and traditions, the Huns, after they had entered the Carpathian Basin, chose a chief-judge, who was Kadar, from the Torda-clan. In these stories the title remained in use as a personal name. Besides the Hungarian sources there are many evidences that kadar was the name of the leading judge among Huns and their descendants. Gyula Moravcsik found such a Hunnic tribe as kadourioi in Theophanous’
chronicle; they lived in the 5-6th centuries at the border of Persia. It is very likely that the Khazarian title kadir was derived from it, because they lived exactly at the border of Persia, and they were one of the descendants of the Huns. As the Hungarian historian, Györffy György stated, the Khazarian kadir title is related to the Hungarian kadar. It is an important result, which means that variants of the name for judge existed in Inner Asia. The following list of kadar-like titles shows its significance: there is kadar in the Uyghurian history, as Kharjaubay presented it. When he analysed the Uyghurian names, he realized that one name of the Uyghurian tribe was not kutugu, but we had to read it as kadar. The Secret History of the Mongols recorded some tribal names, which might have connections with the Hun kutugu. We
must notice that the chronicle was written down in the 13th century, but it preserved early customs, and names. That is why we find kutuktu, kutu, kadagin, katagin, etc. forms inside it. Therefore, we have some evidence that the Huns and their descendants preserved the name of the judge in various kinds of forms, as personal or tribal name.

Borbála OBRUSÁNSZKY,
Historian, orientalist. She completed her studies at the University Eötvös Loránd in Budapest between 1992 and 1997 in history and Mongol civilization. This is followed by a postgradual study at the Mongol State University, where she is awarded a Ph.D. degree in 1999. Between 2000 and 2002 she worked as external consultant of the Asia Center at the University of Pécs, and organized the Mongol programs of the Shambala Tibet Center. During this period she participated in several expeditions in Mongolia and China. Ms. Obrusánszky is member and/or founder of several Hungarian scientific associations and she is author of numerous books and articles, and regularly provides analyses on Central-Asia in the scientific press. Next to that she is the editor-in-chief of an educational journal.


(JOURNAL OF EURASIAN STUDIES January-March 2010)


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