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The.origins.of.Hunnish.Runic.Writing.linksite.hu
The origins of Hunnish Runic Writing   rokon lapok konkurrens lapok


INGYENES
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1. számú hely


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The origins of Hunnish Runic Writing
00 Contents /tudós.virtus.hu/
01 Preface to the English edition /tudós.virtus.hu/
02 Preface /tudós.virtus.hu/
03 History of the scientific views on the origins of Székely runic script /tudós.virtus.hu/
04 Principles of deriving the origins of Székely script /tudós.virtus.hu/
05 The development of writing /tudós.virtus.hu/
06 The shapes of runes and the objects they represent
07 The mythology, names, and sound values of runes /tudós.virtus.hu/
08 Rituals and runic script /tudós.virtus.hu/
09 The types and number of characters /tudós.virtus.hu/
10 The order of characters /tudós.virtus.hu/
11 Direction of reading and characters /tudós.virtus.hu/
12 Syllabic signs /tudós.virtus.hu/
13 The regular use of syllable and vowel signs /tudós.virtus.hu/
14 The birth of letter scripts /tudós.virtus.hu/
15 Comparing of writing systems /tudós.virtus.hu/
16 The academic historical-geographical preconception /tudós.virtus.hu/
17 The Turkish connection /tudós.virtus.hu/
18 What the historical sources say /tudós.virtus.hu/
19 Székely script of the Huns /tudós.virtus.hu/
20 The age of the development of Székely character forms /tudós.virtus.hu/
21 The age of unification of Székely character sets /tudós.virtus.hu/
22 Hungarian vocabulary connected to writing /tudós.virtus.hu/
23 Ligatures that survived millennia /tudós.virtus.hu/
24 Migrations of peoples /tudós.virtus.hu/
25 Summary /tudós.virtus.hu/
26 Bibliography /tudós.virtus.hu/
 
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English /linksite.hu/
Könyv (Book) /linksite.hu/
Székely rovásírás (The Székely Rovás Writing) /linksite.hu/
 
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a lap leírása:
Preface to the English edition

The scientific world is just beginning to recognize the historical significance of Székely (Hunnish) runic script. With the exception of some descriptions and records, the books and articles on Székely runic script, though they could fill a library, do not have much lasting value. Works on the history of writing usually just mention its name and consider it a late descendant of Old-Turkish script. However, extensive research on Székely script has led us to the conclusion that it is not a thin twig but the very stem from which the tree of writing systems has grown.

At present Hungarian researchers cannot but admit that the concept of Old-Turkish origin they have maintained for a hundred years does not hold up any longer. However, they have not worked out other theories of origin, because the special features of the Székely writing system do not fit into the present theories on ancient history. And that is exactly the significance of this nearly forgotten script. It makes possible conclusions so far not thought of.

Historical records and archaeological finds prove that the Huns, emerging from the mists of millenia before the birth of Christ, used it. This steppe nation imposed tribute on the Chinese, Persian, Byzantine, and even the Roman emperors. Is it surprising after this, that we find treasures in the Hunnish heritage?

The equestrian culture of the steppe has preserved an ancient view of the world practically unchanged. Man could conquer the steppe only after domestication of the horse, probably around 4000 BC. Thanks to the breeding of large-bodied animals, a highly developed culture developed on the steppes. However, the steppe's special resources restricted the possibilities of economic development, and thus conserved the lifestyle, as well as the millenia-old symbolism and philosophical system of the people who lived there. Thus today Székely script offers one of the best means to understand Neolithic culture and the beginnings of human civilization. The information Székely script conveys is so important, that man cannot understand his own past without knowing the origin of Székely runic script.

We can recognize this only after solving several scientific problems. Such unresolved problems are for example the similarity of characters in different linear writing systems; the relationship between Székely runes and popular artistic, religious and royal symbols; connections between script, language and mythology, etc. In possession of these new results, with the help of Székely script complex symbols on pottery from the European Neolithic or American Indian cultures can be understood and deciphered.

Scientific analysis of Székely script has not been a smooth process. Although as early as the 13th c. Hungarian chronicles mentioned a “Hunnish-Scythian” script, which was still used by Székelys, analysis of the written relics was still a discovery for “modern science.” For example in 1864 Balázs Orbán called attention to a runic inscription from 1668 in the boxed ceiling of the Unitarian Church in Énlaka. For a long time this was the only known text to prove the existence of Székely script.

This summer a short inscription was discovered on the clay nozzle of a blast-furnace from the 10th century. Today the number of runic texts mentioned by various authors is about 50.

Most of them are inscriptions painted, scratched or engraved into the walls, ceilings, stones, bricks, or tiles of Transylvanian churches from the 13-16th c., and usually have something to do with the building's construction. Letters exist from István Szamosközi, a history writer in the 16th c., and from Hungarian monks in South America, who used Székely runes as a secret writing, when dealing with sensitive questions. The Constantinople text was first copied by Hans Dernschwam in 1553. It had been written in 1515 by imprisoned Hungarian envoys who wanted to inform others about their fate. The interest of the contemporary science is illustrated by several character sets (e.g. the Nikolsburg alphabet of the 15th c.) as well as by some longer documents. The system of writing and the runic variant of the Lord's prayer has survived in Rudimenta written by János Thelegdi in 1598, while the words of a runic calendar-stick have been copied and left to us by count Ferdinando Marsigli. These records remained in manuscript form and were buried in libraries for a long time.

The exact number of texts can hardly be determined. New discoveries are reported in the media almost every year; their interpretation is regularly late or ambiguous, which hinders their classification. What makes our work even more difficult is that the principles of script-classification have not been elaborated yet. Székely runes are letters and hieroglyphs at the same time, which have been used either as symbols, complex signs or decorative motifs. The inventory of texts is much longer if these latter relics are also included. Otherwise we will find ourselves in the odd situation that an easily readable and comprehensible text is not considered writing just because its letters are composed in a floral pattern.

The present Hungarian academic-scientific point of view on this subject is characterized by perplexity, as it cannot explain the recently recognized connections between signs and symbols. For instance the frame on the Énlaka inscription, which has been regarded as a decoration so far, has been deciphered only recently, despite the fact that it has been the most often mentioned Székely text in the last 125 years.

The stakes are high, since the parallels of the Énlaka flower-like sign-montage can be found in the 4000-years old Hittite rock-pantheon in Yazilikaya and the rock-drawings in Khwarism…


***


"A thousand years for you is like the passing of yesterday"

(9 0 . Psalm)

To the memory of Szabédi László, persecuted to death for his book



Preface [1]


Clarifying the origins of Székely runes is a question of major significance for the history of civilization. Finding the answers should be a task for Hungarian scientists, however there is not much we can really be satisfied with.

Our arrears is not only due to the relatively small amount of data [2] ; it may also be related to the fact that in Hungary there is no state institute to carry out researches on runic script; there is no training for historians of writing. Besides, research on the history of writing is poorly funded even in wealthier countries. According to a script historian, I. J. Gelb, the study of writing does not exist as a science, because inventorying writing relics - and avoiding the crucial questions at the same time - cannot be regarded as science (Gelb/1952).


Fig. 1 Early writing relics with the equivalents of Székely runes: from Alvao, Portugal (4000 BC, Jensen/1969, above), Neolithic pot from Dhimini, Greece (Clarc/1977/122, on the left), and a model of the world painted in a Chinese bowl (4000 BC, Tregear/1980, on the right)

Taking stock of all runic script relics still lies ahead; theories about the possible origins of Székely script all show caution, lack of information, lack of methodology and preconceptions of their authors. This attitude will change [3] only if the dominating theory of research goes beyond the ancient preconception that presumes an early homeland in the North.


Fig. 2 The hieroglyph representing a semi-finished metal ingot gave rise to three steppe runes with the same form but different sound value, and the Chinese pictogram for "cauldron."

(ox-hide shaped metal ingots from the Aegean-Anatolian region; Urartian hieroglyph representing a ingot; Székely "v" /vas/; Turkish "lt /ld" /temir/demir/; German "e" /eisen/; Chinese "cauldron" /Karlgren/834h/)

[1] This study is the result of 25 years of research. During that time, as my critics will mention, I have gone far. Therefore, sometimes I may seem to be able to talk about this topic only with our long dead forefathers.

However I do not think I have to prove to readers eager for the truth that I am not aiming to build national glory. It took a step by step, years-long contemplation until I could persuade even myself that the surprising conclusions tat follow are acceptable. I could not find any other logical explanation for the connections I had to face all the time, and which have compiled into a self-sustained system through the years.

[2] We possess masses of data that have not been examined by researchers of origin, or which, for lack of a theoretical basis, have not been considered hard facts.

[3] The use of writing and its evaluation has always had political significance.

When Kuteyba of Arabia occupied Khwarism in 712. AD, he barbarously demolished the libraries in Khwarism, which also bore evidence of the ancient history of Magyars. As Al-Bíruni wrote, " he pursued and slaughtered all who knew the literature of Khwarism, or kept their traditions, all the scholars who had lived among them, so all became covered by darkness, and now nothing is certain about the facts concerning the historical times before Islam reached them" (Al-Bíruni, 36).

Hunfalvi (Hunsdorfer) Pál had a similar role in Hungarian scientific life after the suppression of the 1848-'49 Hungarian War of Independence, who thought, " bluntness and nationalistic blindness dominated the writings of incompetent people proud of the fictitious Scythian-Hunnish-Székely letters" (quoted in: Kiszely/1996/375). The nearly life-size canvas of Hunfalvi still occupies at a central place, and his ideas are still dominant at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

***

History of the scientific views on the origins of Székely runic script


Chronicles traditionally mention Hunnish or Scythian script. It chimes in with the views of Thelegdi János, the scholar, " On Hunnish letters, which are also called Székely letters in common language", and that of his colleague, Baranyai Decsi János, who writes about " Scythian alphabet" in the preface (Thelegdi/1598, 1994/7, 15). Bél Mátyás also mentions Hunnish-Scythian script in his influential work published in 1718.

Nowadays the terms “Hunnish” and “Scythian” are considered blanket terms; they are separate from each other and also from “Hungarian.” The fact that Hunnish and Scythian scripts had existed was suppressed for a long time though both are known from antique sources and archaeological finds. Székely runes were simply regarded as figments of imagination - in spite of indisputable data in various chronicles. Due to these widely accepted but unjustified preconceptions, the terms Scythian and Hunnish do not provide sufficient information in our present way of thinking. At best they refer to steppe origin, and many still doubt that the first Hungarian settlers in Hungary were literate.

As late as 1986, Ligeti Lajos still expressed similar opinions. As he wrote, phonetically the Hungarian word betű (letter) could be a loan word of Turkish origin, but " there is no satisfactory substantive proof to support this theory; what sort of written texts can we talk about in that early era?" (Ligeti/1986/262).

To replace the Hunnish and Scythian theories of origin, present-day researchers have tried to connect Székely script to peoples which are known to have used writing.

Following tradition, Fischer Károly Antal mentions Hunnish-Hungarian writing in his work (Fischer/1889).

In 1890, Nagy Géza compared Székely runes with Turkish signs. He based his research on the slight resemblance of characters. Superficial as those comparisons may have been, it was useful to make them before deciphering Turkish script and elaborating the principles of comparison, but it did not help establish a hypothesis of origin.

Thorma Zsófia recognized the images of four Székely runic signs -"c", "ny", "t", "zs"- in the Neolithic pots of Tordos, which she had discovered (in fact the number of parallel features are over ten, see Fig. 35). Due to lack of interest in Hungary, her book, which also discusses the eastern connections of linear characters, was published in German, and it (Thorma/1894).

In 1914 Debreczeni Miklós used Hungarian to decipher the inscription on a 3000 year-old Scythian hatchet decorated with ligatures, which were interpreted by Pataky László essentially the same way in 1971.

As early as 1915, Sebestyén Gyula formulated some basic principles that must be taken into consideration when examining the origin of a writing system. " First we analyzed the system of the Hungarian runic script, then we tried to find its place in the world history of writing following the usual method, and we placed it along the line of general development." Analyzing the system of Székely script, he pointed out that it was a runic script, and as such " it remained in existence for a long time". He considers the Turkish and Székely vowel characters as letters of Greek origin and comes to the conclusion that these two steppe script systems were not vowel-dropping. This conclusion, however, needs some correction. The fact that Székely vowels are practically identical with the Greek ones does not lead to the conclusion that Székely script was originally not vowel-dropping. Vowels existed in syllabic scripts prior to Greek script, but they were rarely marked since they were to be indicated by syllable signs. Vowels were indicated only in special cases, e.g. in syllables with long vowels (as it can be observed in early Székely texts, too).

So it follows that Székely and Turkish writing practice, which possessed vowels but dropped them in writing, is rooted in much earlier times than Greek and Phoenician systems. In accordance with Sebestyén Gyula' s systemic theory, the reasonable conclusion is that the Greeks may have borrowed their vowels from Székely script, but it could not have happened the other way around. Both the Székely practice of vowel-dropping and its set of vowels are in relationship with syllabic systems (possibly Hurrian?) which precede the Greeks and Phoenicians.

Sebestyén Gyula tries to back up the theory of Phoenician-Greek origin with the consonant 'f', which existed in Székely but was missing from Old Turkish for linguistic reasons. However, the sound 'f' cannot be found either in Old Greek or in Phoenician. The 'f' character (precisely: 'ph') which appeared later in classic Greek is different in form from the Székely 'f' character, a cross in a circle, but in fact it is identical with the form of the "us" rune (cf. Jensen 1969/443). The sign of the cross in a circle existed in both Phoenician and Greek, but it always stood for 't' or 'th' sounds (Fig. 20). These characters are therefore not suitable for proving the Phoenician-Greek origin of Székely script.

In the spirit of the theory which presumes that the Székelys were originally using Turkish, Sebestyén Gyula argues that before they fell under Hungarian influence, Székelys had brought along the knowledge of Turkish runic script from the East, and thus they may be the inheritors of Hunnish-Avar traditions. (The hypothesis that Székelys were originally using Turkish language has no foundation, but the theory of Hunnish-Avar origin has proven to be right.). In his opinion, the Hungarians acquired runic script from Western Turkish (the language of Turks around the Azovian area) which had preserved more antique features of languages around the Mediterranean than the Old Turkish system of Central Asia (by which he means the age of sign forms). However, the connection to the Western Turks has not been successfully proven, and that idea has remained a hypothesis without foundation.

According to Melich János (1925) the runic characters 'e' and 'o' come from Samaritanian.

Aczél József, who identified 3000 word-stems identical in Hungarian and Greek in his work published in 1926. At the end of his book he also compared Greek characters with Székely ones. He wrote, " When analyzing the two scripts, sound groups of the same origin have to be compared ... the character 'g' in Old Greek should not be compared with the character 'g' in Székely, but the sound group k, g, kh should be compared with the similar sound group of the other alphabet ... The similarities between vowel characters are especially remarkable" (Aczél 1926/182). That is, the Greeks could have adopted the vowels that were generally missing from Semitic scripts from the ancestor of Székely script or from its relatives.

In 1934, Németh Gyula classified runic script as a member of the Turkish family of writing on the basis of the mostly presumed resemblance of sixteen runic characters. He found the origins of the characters 'e' and 'o' in Glagolitic, because he found similar characters in that language. Glagolitic script, however, was not used in the territories where, in his belief, the Hungarians lived. That is why he thought, " we should assume" a Slavic monk working in South Russia and fluent in Glagolitic script, who enriched the runic character set.

The theory of identifying Hunnish and Avar with Székely was not accepted by contemporary scientists, though chronicles prove that the Huns and the Avars used Székely runes and were also in contact with Slavs who used Glagolitic. Therefore, the hypothesis of originating characters from several different sources forced its creators to deal with some more insoluble contradictions. It is hardly possible that the Turks, the Greeks, the Slavs, and the Eastern Hungarians assembled at the same place and, of course, at the same time to invent Székely script. It is also highly improbable that our forefathers waited centuries for their character set to gather.

That "gathering" theory would be consistent if it claimed that the character for 'us's was obtained from the Hittite, 'ty' from Chinese, and 'tprus's from Egyptian, and presuming the visit of a Hittite, a Chinese and an Egyptian "monk," respectively.

Németh Gyula briefly described Turkish and Hungarian script but did not mention major differences between their systems and other issues which question their relationship.

In 1971, he drew attention to similarities to Khazar characters. By doing so he only proved the unstable foundations of the Turkish-origin theory, because there are no reliable data about Khazar script and language. Besides, his method, which was based on a few slight similarities in shape, led to nowhere.

According to Ernst Doblhofer, the similarity between Turkish and Székely scripts is " really so remarkable that none can question it" (Doblhofer 1954, 1962/312, 313). However, he does not follow up this superficial reasoning with thorough analysis.

On the other hand he found that most Hungarian characters could not be derived from Turkish, Glagolitic or Greek script, and " their models have not been found yet". Even this counter-argument is weak, for even dissimilar characters can be in relationship. It also reveals a typical preconception. Namely, he suggests that a rule exists that an external source must be sought, regardless whether the runes resemble characters in other scripts or not.

" Runes surely cannot be related to the script of the Hunnish king, Attila, and Hunnish troops", wrote Doblhofer. This sentence -as we shall see- shows two things. First, Doblhofer had never compared signs and characters in Hunnish and Avar archaeological finds with Székely runes. Second, the word " surely", even if uttered by an internationally known historian of writing, is not a scientific argument.


Fig. 3 The hieroglyphs representing "man" are not similar in various scripts. (Sumerian, Egyptian, Hittite, Chinese)


According to Dezsõ Csallány " Székely runic script belongs to the Turkish family of writing, as it has already been proven by many scientists" (1963). He is referring to Németh's book mentioned above, which by no means can be taken as a reliable foundation as neither Németh nor others have been able to describe "the Turkish family of writing" adequately. Therefore, it has remained an undefined term as to origins, relationships, distribution and other features as well. Classifying Székely script into the family of Turkish scripts is only an ill-considered idea without any serious proof.

In his work published in 1974, Vásáry István gave an excellent summary on the history of researches. About the question of origin, however he wrote vaguely, "We should follow Németh Gyula's basic findings and analyze those Turkish runic scripts which are peripheral compared to Turkish writing and which could have been the direct source of Hungarian runes. Thus, by the step by step critical and comparative analysis of each character, we could get closer to the origin of Székely runic letters ... This method ... requires a good command of different Turkish and "Turkish-like" runic scripts. ... In most cases alphabets are compiled by one or more scientists, and they, unlike linguistic facts, are not the results of organic development. Remember the activity of Cyrill, the apostle of the Slavs. Likewise, the formation of Székely runic script is due to the activity of a similar scientist.


Fig. 4 The map of Eden (left) and its symbolic variations: a painted egg of Gyimesbükk with decorations identical with runes "j" and "m" (middle), and a Kyrgyz carpet with the variations of the runes "s", "j", "nt", and "ak" (right)


Thus, when we said that Székely runic script is related and connected to Turkish, we did not mean a direct genetic relationship, but that the creator of this script took one of the local varieties of Turkish runic script as a basis, altered it and completed it with new characters. ...it is essential to try to restore the original letter shapes; unfortunately it is not always successful.

The evidence we can build on are five letters [1] which are completely identical (both in sound and form) with Turkish letters of the Yenisey area, while there are 10-11 more letters which are very likely to have an equivalent. Note that even if all similarities are accepted without doubt, these 16 letters amount to less than the half of the characters in Székely runic script, let alone complex characters called "capita dictionum" [2] . The above clearly shows that Székely alphabet must have been an independent system, and not a mechanical adaptation of Turkish runic alphabet [3] . ...

Three characters were borrowed from the Greek alphabet (f, h, l) ... The characters denoting e and o were adopted from the Glagolitic alphabet. ...

The question arises where Székely runic script could have evolved. ... We can think of the native land in the Carpathian basin. ... however we should not forget about the growing influence of Latin literacy, which was changing the letters to more and more cursive [4] and also caused the insertion of vowels." (1974/168-176).

If we subtract the required respect for the great turcologist colleague from Vásáry István's words, the only thing that seems certain from his thoughts is that Székely script cannot be traced back to any known Turkish script. The author only hopes that with the analysis of the unspecified peripheral Turkish or Turkish-like (Khazar?) script characters, we could get closer to the origin of Székely script. However, it is not more than wishful thinking, as there is no evidence that could support these hopes.

While in one sentence Vásáry István posits an unknown, peripheral Turkish runic system as the direct source of Hungarian runic script, he emphasizes Szekely script's independence in another. The careful reader is given the opportunity to choose between the two seemingly opposite theories of origin or to neglect the Turkish influence. Although the author supports neither answer with cogent arguments, even the fact of raising the question deserves attention.

The fact that Slavic script is a scholarly product seems certain from the sources. However, it does not follow from this fact that Székely script cannot be "the result of an organic development". Vásáry István's statement that Székely script, just like Slavic script, was compiled by one or more scientists has no foundation. On the other hand, its opposite is verified by the internal linguistic and mythological connections among Székely runes, which form an antique type of system (see later).

In 1977 Püspöki Nagy Péter evaluated his predecessors' work as follows: " About the literature of runic script we can say that there is enough of it to fill a library room, but none of the authors have realized that a book which is about a writing system should be written in the framework of at least sufficient knowledge of the general study and history of writing. If ... we concentrate only on the scientific studies or the one or two books of high standard, we cannot be satisfied either. Even these selected works show the authors' ignorance of the study of writing (general theory and history of writing). ...

Those who prefer to link the Old Turkish script with the Hungarian, even when taking the greatest academic liberties, could identify only 15-16 tenuous connections among the 32 characters of Hungarian script. However, actual identity in form and sound only occurs in the case of five characters, 'e', 'j', 'n', 's', 'sz'. Thus Hungarian script means a writing system whose 24 to 27 characters are special and independent formations and which, on the basis of letter components and other features of writing, is connected to the mainstream of Mediterranean linear writing culture."

He mentions important differences between Hungarian and Turkish writing systems. He is referring to ligatures and name initials found in early texts, which he traces back to the era of Charles the Great as the earliest. (However, Székely ligatures - as we shall see - did not appear as a result of the use of Latin script in Frankish times. They inherited a much earlier eastern tradition.)

At the end he declares that Hungarian script is the descendant of a script from the age of great migrations (mentioned as Avar by Cyrill, also called Constantine, in Venice in 872.), which was already used in the age of Charles the Great and also later in the age of King Mathias - " therefore it was not primarily Hungarian in all probability".

In his book published in 1983, Forrai Sándor says that Székely runic writing " has links to almost every other runic (linear -VG) script". He presumes that the Hungarians (whom he identifies with the Sabirs, probably coming from the Southern part of the Caucasus, according to Halieva and Diakonov) may have gotten acquainted with runic script earlier than Turks and Sogds, presumably before the 4. c., and they may have reached the land of Phoenicia as well (Forrai/1983/13). In 1994, in a revised edition of his work, he wrote, " The origins and relationships of Hungarian runic script date back to much earlier times and spread over a much larger area than we have ever thought" and " can be traced back to a common source". With reference to the mathematical analysis carried out by Nemetz Tibor and Varga Géza, he rejects the possibility of accidental coincidences in succession (Forrai 1994/108-109, Varga/1993/202).

According to the study of Ferenczi Géza and Ferenczi István, published in 1979, " Among the 37 characters of Hungarian runic script [5] , 21 were undoubtedly borrowed from Old Turkish, 3 from Middle-Greek, and 3 from the Glagolitic alphabet."

In 1997 Ferenczi Géza wrote the following about their earlier work, " In that book we dealt with the origin of runic script to the best of our knowledge at that time. So far it has been impossible to track development from the appearance of the unknown "first" runic alphabet to the present."

His thoughtful and often justified assessment of the works of Forrai and Csallány can also be applied to his work. It is unfortunate that we can only partly accept the results of this well-known writer' s hard work. Regrettably the results of his otherwise devoted, respectable and conscious work can be treated only with suspicion and care.

The only conclusion we can draw from Ferenczi Géza's sentences quoted above is that in the question of origin even the opposite of our "scientific" authors' results can be true. What they called "undoubted" is doubtful, and what they called "impossible" is possible (cf. Ferenczi/1972/12 and Ferenczi/1997/5, 34).

In 1987 Vékony Gábor ruled out a direct link between Turkish and Székely scripts. He presumed that Turkish script, which had been created on the Sogdian model, was connected to the Székely script system through the Nagyszentmiklós script, which was close to Khazar and Parthian script. He found the origin of both Parthian and Sogdian script in Aramean. However, he provided no proof for his theories, and his reasoning could not be reconstructed from those he did provide. It is quite clear that he relied on some external similarities of characters, as usual.

Due to its obvious impossibility, he did not even try to find in Aramean, which contains only letters (in fact syllable characters), the origin of ancient word characters such as "us" or "tprus" (he described the latter as the mark for the Latin word temporus (time) in a 1998 lecture which was a part of the lecture series about the history of writing organized by the Nap Fiai [Sons of the Sun] Foundation). Instead, he did not even mention word characters.


Fig. 5 The letters, ligatures and hieroglyphs of the "alphabet" of Nikolsburg


He brought up a new and important idea when he compared the character order of the Nikolsburg alphabet with that of the Khazar alphabet, which had appeared in Central-Asia. In his opinion the original source of the Khazar alphabet was not a traditional Aramean (e.g. Hebrew) alphabet, but a variation of Aramean which cannot be defined more precisely yet. However, from the Khazar alphabet he referred to the Székely alphabet of Nikolsburg, which contains more symbols and in some cases shows significant differences, cannot be derived; we can only see that the two alphabets are related (Fig. 19).

Thus, Vékony Gábor could have recognized the insuperable difficulties of deriving the Székely character order from Aramean. He tried to surmount them by Hungarian linguistics' typical method: by presuming a more suitable ancient source. In this way our linguists have "invented" about half a dozen Chuvash-like languages to be able to connect to a Turkish language some of those words that cannot be traced back to standard Turkish or are missing from Chuvash. Gábor Vékony's presumption that Aramean had a variety from which we can deduce the character order of Székely script is without foundation.

He rejects the Glagolitic origin of certain characters, " We know that Constantinos, the inventor of Glagolitic script, visited Khazaria in 861. He invented the first Glagolitic script after that journey. Constantinos must have met runic script in Khazaria; moreover we also know from his biography that he was actively interested in any kind of written relics." He presumes Székely script adopted the characters 'a', 'f' and 'l' from the Cyrillic script used by Rumanians in Transylvania (Vlachs) just when the use of Blach characters dates from according to Kézai's chronicle. It is not more, however, than a witty guess (see p. 60 for the possible solution for this question).

Sándor Klára started studying the origins of Székely script on the influence of Róna-Tas András. As she wrote, " My aim was to sum up the tasks we must complete before searching for the alphabet which could have formed the basis of the earliest variety of Székely runes ... I am leaving out of consideration the dilettante theories (presuming Sumerian, Japanese, Etruscan relationships) appearing nowadays in an increasing number" (Sándor/1992/79).

She regards Székely runes as borrowed characters, though no other data refer to that but Kézai's mysterious sentence (mentioning Blachs), and she regards the possibility of independent development not even worthy of consideration. She fails to consider that Székely script contains syllable and word characters as well, which could not have been borrowed (or developed) from any foreign "alphabets".

In her essay, it is only the name of the runic script that appears; the uniqueness of the script is not realized by the author, that is why her essay cannot be regarded more than a heap of worthless conjectures. For example, if the transmission of script occurred before the Hungarian conquest of Hungary, " it could not contain characters of Glagolitic and Cyrillic origin ... the language of the people transmitting the script could have been non-Turkish or Turkish".

It is clear from the study that her research of academic intentions cannot name the archetype of Székely script, and that the academic work of some authors hardly mean more than establishing unjustifiable prohibitions and calling others "dilettante".

Róna-Tas András, who in 1992 wrote an essay on the etymology of the Hungarian words ír (write) and betû (letter) titled " On the Turkish Origin of Hungarian Literacy", wrote the following in 1996, " The origin of the script is still unclear. From the script itself we can only tell that the form of the letters were greatly influenced by the facts that the characters were notched, the writing was running from right to left [6] , vowels were rarely written out, were indicated mostly when marking long vowels. That shows a relationship with the Semitic family of writing. On the other hand, the runes have several letter combinations and abbreviations which are characteristic of mediaeval Latin letter writing, so Székely script must have developed or improved under the influence of Latin script. ... Only two very simple characters (sz and n) can be successfully compared with Eastern Turkish runic script. Four letters (a, e, o, f) were certainly [7] , two were probably borrowed from the Greek alphabet through the medium of the Slavs." (Róna-Tas 1996/338).

Instead of the Turkish family of writing, some authors have started to relate Székely script to the Semitic family of writing, but they still have not been able to determine any known script as its origin. As suitable principles and data are lacking, they have not even tried to offer scientific proof. In fact, some features of Székely script show similarities with the Semitic family of scripts or its predecessors, while other features show similarities to the Turkish family of script, and yet others to Egyptian, Chinese, Sumerian, etc. writing systems. When Róna-Tas András selects, overemphasizes and misinterprets one or two such features while leaves other features unmentioned, it helps us understand the author's intentions but not the origin of Székely script.

As far as the influence of mediaeval Latin letter combinations on Székely is concerned, Székely symbols are characters and also hieroglyphs at the same time. Therefore it is not the origins of letter combinations, but that of sign combinations that should be sought. That phenomenon is characteristic of Chinese writing, which employs a special montage technique to indicate concepts that otherwise cannot be expressed with simple signs (e.g. the combination of the signs for "ear" and "gate" mean "to hear something").

Due to these sign combinations, present-day Chinese writing contains about 56.000 signs, though early word and syllable scripts could do with 700-2500 signs. As the Huns and Avars also used the archetype of Székely script (Figs. 22, 25), and unquestionable connections can be demonstrated between Székely and Chinese script (Figs. 9, 20, 27, 29, 30), the possibility of a connection between Hunnish, Avar and Székely ligatures and Chinese montage technique cannot be excluded. There are enough Eastern examples (or Hungarian examples of Eastern origin) of sign combinations and hieroglyphs made up by signs to regard it not as a "Latin influence" but as a much earlier tradition widespread in the steppe (Figs. 9, 11, 15, 30, 31, 36). The "Latin influence" presumed but not proven by András Róna-Tas is only a seemingly useful but actually poor device to explain features of Székely script which cannot be derived from Aramean.

The essay "On the Origin of Székely Script" by Simon Péter was published in 1993. It evaluates those theories of writing system comparisons, which are restricted to comparing only character forms, " The number of common characters in two or more scripts is a sure sign of their - closer or more distant - relationship, but it is only one of possibly several items of evidence, and relationship does not necessarily mean that one script originated in the other. When analyzing or comparing scripts, it is essential to examine which trend of writing development their system represents. Before doing that, the characteristic features of their systems must be analyzed." Later he declares, that Old Turkish scripts are somewhere between letter and syllabic scripts. Their systems are essentially different from that of Székely writing, (Aramean-Sogd) Pehlevi writing, or of any other letter scripts of Semitic origin. It is impossible that the complicated Turkish syllable script developed from letter writing, especially in an era when letter writing had already been widespread.


Fig. 6 The newer characters of Székely alphabet listed in the order of the Latin alphabet, with reconstructed character names


Comparing the Székely characters, which are very different from Northern Semitic scripts, with Tartar, Egyptian, Cretan, Cypriot, Hittite, Phoenician, Southern Semitic, Greek, Etruscan, Iberian, German scripts, he argues that Székely script is not likely to belong to the Semitic family of writing, but developed in the first half of the 2nd millennium BC directly from hieroglyph scripts used in the area of the Eastern Mediterranean, South of the Black Sea and the Caucasus and North of the Damascus-Babylon line (Simon/1993/42-51.).

Szekeres István states his case in the same book as follows, " Hungarian research on writing history, just like the international, usually restricts its study of script relationships to comparing character forms and sound values of two writing systems. ... Studies explaining the origins of steppe scripts are confined to repeating earlier statements without verifying them. This is how such "results" could develop and spread as Old Turkish and also its relative, Székely runic script had derived from Aramean after all. ... The formal identity or similarity of characters, however, does not mean much in itself. In the case of antique writing systems, no more than some statistical data can be expected from theories which are based only on the formal similarities of characters and which do not even try to explore what contemporary concepts meant. ... The reasons for divergence and exceptions are generally not explored. They do not even try ... to explore other possibilities for explaining the development of these scripts; they do not use the 'method of linguistic cross matching' [8] as they do not realize its benefits" (Szekeres/1993/56-59.).

My own summary at that time is identical with my present views, " The Hungarian language developed and progressed in an area where the influences of historical upheavals caused essential changes in the most important writing systems. ... that is why the Hungarian set of symbols and Székely script are connected to ... Southern geographical regions and early historical eras. In accordance with these connections, the events of the Ural and Finno-Ugrian era took place somewhere in the mountains South of the Caucasus. The transition period before the Ugrian era (between 2000 and 1000 BC) could be the era of moving from Anatolia towards the steppe. During that period our cultural and/or ethnic forefathers reached the Carpathians and China. The steppe period ... may already have started ... as early as around 4000 BC. ...the different influences continually arriving from the South for thousands of years overlapped each other and became integrated ... The cradle of Székely runic script was rocked somewhere in the Middle East between 5000 and 600 BC. ... If a more precise definition is required, the middle of the second millennium BC, i.e. the time of the Hurrian (Sabir) migration to the steppe can be chosen. ... Székely runic script must have reached China with metallurgy, the spread of horse raising and populating the steppe from the South, then reached Europe with the waves of the great migrations." (Varga/1993/142, 145)

Benkõ Elek referred to our joint volume mentioned above as an example of studies " unquestionably amateur in their conclusions" (Benkõ/1994), but - lacking cogent arguments - he was not prepared to offer scientific criticisism. However, in his half-sentence referring to the most important topic of the book, the question of origin, he considers Székely script "still of unclarified origin". After the editorial of the magazine Hunnia (“Explosion in the History of Writing, 1996. 02. 02., p. 53) the author backed down, " As yet we do not have an unambiguous picture about when and in what conditions this special form of writing developed. A dominating trend of research agrees that the majority of Székely runes are of Turkish origin, and the rest are of Greek and Glagolitic ... origin." (Benkõ/1996). Though he does not reveal which authors belong to the " dominating trend", Róna-Tas András (1996), Sándor Klára (1996) and Ferenczi Géza (1997) gave up their earlier views at about that time, and Vékony Gábor, Püspöki Nagy Péter, Simon Péter had not believed even before that " the majority of Székely runes are of Turkish origin". If Németh Gyula - who developed three different theories of ancient history in his life - could had been still alive, he would certainly have given up the idea of Turkish origin himself.

The chaos created by the researches inspired by the academy is characterized by Ráduly János's controversial assessment. He has gained ever-lasting distinction for discovering new runic relics and in maintaining public interest, but could not see through "scientific" theories of origin. In his book published in 1995, he wrote, " I have tried to present arguments of evidence to prove that we have and have always had a runic writing, which is not Pecheneg, but Hungarian to the core." Some pages later he wrote, " It is well-known that the bulk of the Székely (Hungarian) alphabet system is ... of Turkish origin." (Ráduly/1995/5, 19). That was really the public opinion, but that public belief has no basis in reality, and by the time his book was published even those "scholars" had abandoned this disbelief, who had started to popularize it.

Today only the alternative scholars who are called outsiders, dilettantes and amateurs, can claim a hypothesis (based on a range of evidence organized into a systematic academic theory) that is also - and it is essential - confirmed by the chronicles.

That is, the century-long - but leisurely - efforts of Hungarian "science," which is unable to get rid of its mistaken historical preconceptions in its search for the origin of our runic script, has resulted in zero. The greatest achievement of the "Hungarian study of writing" is the acknowledgment of the fact that Székely script has existed not only in imagination but also in real life, as the chronicles wrote of it centuries ago. It could be regarded as a hopeful sign that the latest studies at least seem to recognize this complete failure. János Ráduly (1998/65) could agree with Sándor Klára (1996) that regarding Székely (Hungarian) script " every basic question is unclarified". This opinion clearly reflects the present-day position, situation and perplexity of academic research. At the same time, the authors indicate that they still refuse to accept the Hungarian historians' data referring to the origin of Székely script and to pay attention to the results of scientists that do not belong to their circle. They consider the tradition and the latest scientific results as non-existent, though they can presumably neither understand nor refute them.

"Science" is of course not obliged to refute the hypotheses of "outsiders." However, in the case of such an indisputable failure, aristocratic seclusion is not enough to save imaginary scientific prestige. It only shows that the well-known authors cannot overcome their own limitations. As long as it remains so, they cannot be expected to reconsider and complete the outsiders' answers to the basic questions.

It is exactly the history of writing research that sets several precedents of great scientific discoveries of "people outside the guild". Doblhofer, for example, wrote about the birth of one of the most important research result in the following - simplified - way, " And then comes Grotefend. Not even an expert! A country schoolmaster, a secondary school teacher. He has no idea about oriental studies; he is only a dare-devil who makes a bet with his drunken friends, goes home and deciphers cuneiform writing." (Doblhofer/1962/106)

The basic problems of classifying Székely script have already been solved. The chronicles explicitly mention writing of Hunnish-Scythian origin, whose type Thelegdi defined as letter- and syllable-script as early as 1598. Syllable scripts using a method similar to Székely vowel-dropping described by Németh Gyula among others are known to come from the area where Scythians (whom Mészáros Gyula identifies as the Hattians) set off.

The question of the Scythian original homeland and nationality is much debated, and it is not necessary to be deeply involved in that debate. Still, note that according to Diodorus of Sicily, Scythians " originally ... lived by the river Araxes, ... (then) conquered the mountains up to the Caucasus, ... and the rest of the area up to the river Tanais". Bartal György, referring to Herodotus (IV.100.) and Curtius (VII.3.), asserts that the oldest Scythian land was located starting from the mountain Taurus (Bartal 1862/6) [9] . According to Constantinus Porphyrogenitus, the old name for Hungarians was savartü asfalü (Sabir, that is Hittite; cf. Zsukov/1962/305.). Pliny (VI. 19.) wrote that Sarmatians are the descendants of Medes. The history drove all these peoples to the Carpathian Basin, and they have been living on in the Hungarians. The Hungarian features of the great number of inhabitants who remained here after the Scythian and Sarmatian era were presumed by Marjalaki Kiss Lajos (cf. Bakay/1997/185) and are also supported by geographical names (e.g. Balaton, Pelso, Pilis, Duna) the predate the Latin era (Varga/1998).

In a study published in 1991 and reprinted in 1993 I have already refuted the possible counter-argument of "casual coincidences." In 1993 and in 1996, I have already covered the questions of using the Székely runes as hieroglyphs, of their Hunnish and Avar occurrences, of their relationship to our national and regal symbols, and of our character names forming a Hungarian mythological system. What is needed to either accept or refute the already clarified foundations of the history of writing is not Grotefend's drunkenness, but his sharp intellect, untiring industry and honesty.

In the “scientific-political” situation following the withdrawal of the Soviet Army, two academic trends appeared. First, the theory of the Semitic origin of Székely script was spread, in the same way as the idea of Turkish origin had been for a hundred years. Second, underestimating its significance, some people tried to present the whole question as negligible.

Two typical examples of these trends can be found in Róna-Tas András's work. He writes the following about the first Hungarian settlers of Hungary, " We cannot exclude the possibility, that some among the Hungarians knew some kind of writing, moreover some could have got acquainted with Latin writing during their campaigns in the West. They may have had captives or servants who could read and write. But the general use of writing could not have spread. However, runic script may have been widespread." (1996/289) " Gesta Hungarorum was written about 270 years after the Hungarian conquest of Hungary. It is still certain that the traditions of the prince's, or later the royal court had been well-known even before the first written notes. These traditions meant that the history of the prince's clan was performed by professionals. The chronicler usually relied on his memory when narrating the historical traditions at different occasions, but he may have used some means to support his memory. He could have used drawings, tallies, or the stories' rhythmical forms, colored with returning elements." (1996/321) The author must know the notion of writing and must be fully aware of the fact that runes are considered as " writing", while tally-sticks and books of tally-scores are considered as " written notes". If he still repeatedly differentiates between writing and runic script, he must have non-scientific reasons for doing so. It follows from the fact acknowledged by him that his earlier work lacked " theoretical basis" because of " ideological constrains" (1996/9).

That is why Nemeskürty István wrote that our national script " was a primitive runic script, which was unsuitable to express complicated connections" (1997/13). The well-known author did not reveal what he meant by complicated connections. What is certain, however, is that in Székely script, as it is a perfect letter-script, every work that has ever been or will ever be written in Latin letters, can be published.



[1] In 1996, Róna-Tas András considers only two letters as surely identifiable (see below)

[2] That is, at most 5 characters among the 46 characters of the runic alphabet of Nikolsburg, or the 65 characters described by Thelegdi can be identified with Turkish signs. The author fails to mention that most of the incompatible characters show similarities with Sumerian, Egyptian, Chinese or Hittite writing.

[3] There is no evidence for the Greek and Glagolitic origin of the five characters mentioned. It is not more than an unproved guess, as similar characters can be found in other alphabets as well, and it is not clear why the author selected Greek and Glagolitic as transmitting languages. The mere similarity of a few characters does not give information about the direction of transmission.

[4] Runic characters became more cursive not under the influence of Latin writing, but that of giving up runic technology and changing the materials used for writing -the spreading of the custom of writing in ink on paper.

[5] To this day the Hungarian “science of writing” has not been able to add up the number of characters in Székely runic writing. The syllable and word characters, which serve as the basis for identifying the links to other writing systems, are mentioned, but are usually not included in the character sets. This error influences the theories of origin as well. They also regularly lack the search for the parallels with Magyar syllable and word characters.

[6] That is only a general statement, which is true in the case of most texts that survived, but cannot be stated so categorically almost as a rule. Writing technologies used thousands of years ago could have required completely different direction of writing. Line direction might have changed several times throughout the history of Székely writing. In accordance with that idea István Szamosközy wrote about a top-to-bottom writing direction, which Róna-Tas András leaves unmentioned.

[7] In Constantin's legend, who created Glagolitic writing in 861, Magyar and Avar writings are mentioned as earlier forms of writing. That is to say that some characters could have been adopted from Székely writing to Slavic, but it could not have happened vice versa. Péter Püspöki Nagy is the only author who refers to that well-known fact.

[8] The author means the realization of linguistic connections through acrophony (c.f. Fig. 2., 7.).

[9] However, according to the Hungarian edition of Herodotus published in 1989, " The country of the Scythians starts from over the land of the Tauruses ", and the previous chapter locates the Tauruses in the Crimea.

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