Monday, April 27, 2015

W: by Wedding and Wine (26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary)

Okay, so this is technically not the middle ages, and also technically not Hungarian, but hey, we like to claim what we can.
You have heard about Attila the Hun before, right? Probably as a barbaric and terrible king that fought against nice innocent Romans.
Well, hands off, because we like him. In fact, he is one of our favorite kings.

Attila was a Hun, which, according to our legends, is a brother tribe to the Hungarians, and we have several stories about him. He had his royal capitol somewhere in which is now Hungary, probably between the Danube and the Tisza rivers. He ruled over a large empire and many different tribes of people, and died in 453 AD - on his wedding night.
After the death of his most beloved queen, Réka, he was set to marry again, this time to a woman named Krimhilde (or Ildikó) - she is also featured in medieval legends such as the Niebelungenlied, where it is claimed she married Attila to get his help in avenging the death of her first husband, the hero Siegfried. Whatever the case, there was a wedding, and the Huns knew how to party.
Legend says that Attila drank too much and passed out on his wedding night. As he slept, his nose started to bleed, and since he was lying on his back he drowned in his own blood. Others say that he had a stroke from all the alcohol, or even claim that the foreign woman poisoned him.
Whatever the case, the king of the Huns died with no wound on his body, and the wedding turned into a funeral.

The funeral of Attila is another very well known image in the Hungarian mind. Legend says he was put in a coffin on gold, a coffin of silver, and a coffin of iron; then the river Tisza was diverted from its course, and a grave was dug for the king; once buried, the river was returned to its bed so no one could ever find (and rob) the final resting place of Attila. The slaves that dug the grave were shot dead with arrows after the funeral, so no one could tell the secret.

Some people still love to dig around for Attila's grave, and every once in a while fake news pop up about it too. On a more entertaining note, last year during A to Z I wrote some book recommendations for those who would like to read great historical fiction (in English), and want to hear a story about Attila where he is not the villain...

20 comments:

  1. Somehow when they taught us about Attila the Hun in school, this chapter was left out. Thanks for sharing the info.

    @msdeniseh553
    Life After Retirement - My Russian Adventure

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  2. Now there's a king who knew how to party! He went out like a rock star.

    Way netter than being pushed down a hill in a f***ing cart.

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    1. There are still a bunch of people in Hungary named Attila :) It's a popular name. I guess we like a king that knows how to party. And, you know. Conquer. XD

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    2. He looks like a rock star, and the Hungarians have a rockopera too about him. :)

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  3. Atilla the Hun wasn't studied much when I was in school. lol that wonderful gory history was sanitized or was USA-centric. Bleh have to read all the awesome stuff in book or on history shows.

    Have you ever watched the USA channel's atilla? It has Gerard butler and powers booth in it. It's been a while but I think he was portrayed more hero like than villain. It's most likely historically inaccurate and they added a bit of -- I want to say magic or mysticism to it-- but it was an okay movie for all that.

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    1. Hope the link works. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0259127/

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  4. *sighs* That's why you should never drink so much that you pass out.

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  5. Well, I learned something new today. I hope Attila died before having to deal with a hangover. That way he went out partying and having a great time.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

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  6. Huns have negative connotations but your stories can bring clarity to disputes and ignorance.

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  7. I've never had much of an opinion about Attila being good or bad, but thank you for pointing out the connection b/w Hun and Hungary. I've been meaning to tell you that you've been doing such a good job of making Hungarian history interesting and readable. When I had a Hawaiian history class in school, it was so boring and awful that it turned me off Hawaiiana for years. Not until I moved back to Hawaii, did I become interested in Hawaiian culture.

    Do they make Hungarian children listen to Wagner's Niebelungenlied? What is it, 22 hours long, or something like that? It seems like it could be a school punishment for misbehaving.
    Maui Jungalow

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    1. We listened to some of it in Music class, but definitely not all :D

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  8. That was a memorable wedding. At least he died having a good time!

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  9. Funny, I did the same over-drinking thing on my wedding night (seriously, it was a little embarrassing). Luckily I was still able to wake up the next day.

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  10. That is what you get from drinking

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  11. That sounds like the kind of story my awesome European History AP teacher would've told. He loved telling stories about historical figures and bringing them to life, beyond the traditional pages of a history book.

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  12. It's amazing how different cultures tell different histories isn't it - all depending on alliances. It sounds like a sad way to go for a great king.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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  13. I'm glad Atilla the Hun isn't vilified everywhere. I don't really know enough about him, but there are always two sides of a story, and it's great hearing about a less-heard one.

    Poor guy. Though, honestly, it sounds better than dying from a sword going through your face, but that's just me.

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