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Obsidian Mirrors (part 1)

June 3, 2011

It’s difficult to say precisely where or how the Magyars came into existence as a people—most of the available evidence is based not on genealogical fact but on linguistic and ethnographical relationships to other nations. (Thus the relationships may be strictly areal). Loose connections with Sumerian languages and legends have given rise to a belief in the Magyars’ Mesopotamian origin, but this is no more than hypothesis.

In 895 AD, the seven tribes are known to have crossed into the Carpathian basin, where the sparse Slavic population existing there was either destroyed or enslaved. Records indicate that the distinct tribes became one under Árpád, a union which was symbolically enforced by a rite in which the leaders of the seven tribes drained blood from their wrists into a communal cup, which was then passed among themselves. The Magyars[1] then launched a series of devastating raids which penetrated as far west as Italy. With the battle of Augsburg these raids tapered off, and the Magyar nation—then the third largest in Europe—began a steady defensive against increasingly aggressive surrounding countries. From that time to the present the nation has suffered invasion and/or occupation by the following nationalities sequentially: the Mongol Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Austrian Empire, the Russian Empire, Romania (twice), Germany, USSR (twice).

My papers, which I received from an old friend of the family in the Erdély/Translyvania region of Romania, contain mundane but useful information on the day-to-day existence of the tribes shortly after they arrived in the Carpathian basin. I know, for example, what game they stalked, their earliest methods of crop cultivation, a basic understanding of communal life during eras of peace and violence, the basic duties of men and women, some of the lesser Pagan rituals and rites, the hierarchies of class, the prestigious role of the horseman and the archer. The basic runes look like this:

I’m particularly intrigued by the personal records of one named Álmos, whose identity I can only piece together from the fragments of his writing which have survived in the Érdely these many centuries. Strange ciphers are intermingled with the typical runes, and I’m often left unsatisfied in my translations and interpretations of his texts. Nevertheless, I’ve provided as sound a translation as I alone am able, for I do not trust the original copies of the records to any but myself. What I have discovered in them deeply disturbs me. There are, to be certain, unsettling accounts in the text itself, but I am more concerned with the white space, where the runes are indecipherable—where the past and present lie indistinguishable and uncertain in a fog. The story is, as far as I can tell, a half-story—a story without beginning or end. This endlessness—the vague omnipresence of the events—is what most disturbs me. Álmos’s account, of which I have copied only that which seemed of some particular significance, runs thusly:

 (part 2 will be posted Monday, June 6th)

[1] Of the population I refer to as Magyars, probably only 80% were of that tribe. Modern day Hungarians still refer to themselves as Magyarok, or Magyars.


© Trent R. Leinenbach, Ashen Apples, 2011.

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