The Turul appears in Emese's dream. Artwork: Gyula László

A Hungarian legend tells the story of Emese, wife of Ügyek the descendant of Atilla, who once had a dream in which a Turul appeared to her. In this dream, a crystal-clear stream started to flow from her, and as it moved Westward, it grew into a mighty river. This dream represented her symbolic impregnation by the Turul, and meant that she would give birth to a line of great rulers. Emese later gave birth to Álmos, who was the father of Árpád, the great leader of the Magyars and founder of Hungary. This story reaffirms the Hun-Magyar kinship, and the knowledge that the Magyars reconquered Hungary as their rightful inheritance from Atilla's great Hun Empire.

Silver disks with the Turul, Hungary, 9th-10th c.

The Turul carrying the Sword of God

The great mythical Turul bird of prey is one of the most important symbols of the Hungarians. It represents their god's power and will. The Turul was seen as the ancestor of Atilla, and it was also the symbol of the Huns. The Hungarian Turul is often represented carrying the flaming Sword of God.

Gold vase detail illustrating the Turul legend (Hungary, 9th c. AD.

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Hungarian Mythology The White Stag The Sword of God The Return of the Huns