The people who invaded the eastern Roman Empire around
372–453 C.E. and were particularly ruthless and effective in
their war campaigns under the leadership of Attila. Modern
day Hungarians claim ancestry dating back to the Huns.
Ancient historians recorded legends that grew out of the severe
stress the Huns created in all those whom they fought
against. They credited the Huns with a supernatural origin.
The Huns were referred to as ‘‘children of the devil,’’ because
it was said that they were born of a union between demons and
hideous witches, the latter cast out of their own country by
Philimer, king of the Goths, and his army. The old writers state
that the Huns were of horrible deformity and could not be mistaken
for anything but the children of demons. The German
historian C. Besoldus (1577–1638) claimed that their name
came from a Celtic or barbaric word signifying ‘‘great magicians.’’
Many stories are told of their magic prowess and of their
raising specters to assist them in battle.
Manchen-Helfen, Otto. The World of the Huns Studies in
Their History and Culture. Berkeley University of California
Press, 1973.

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