The King of Hérmichion, his Title and Realm
(55th Meeting, 2012)
In this paper I intend to take a closer look to a group of Central Asian nomads. This people, called Red Huns (Hèrmichion, Ermichion, Hara huna, etc.), was dispersed from India to the Poetic steppes. Among the Huns, the Hérmichion people or the Red Huns are less mentioned in our Chinese, Muslim and Western sources than other groups, which historically were connected to the Huns or the Eastern or Western Hun Empires. However, by analyzing the Byzantine sources from 563, which mentioned their king, Askéltur (whose name accurs as Asceltus and Enscultor in the sources as well), the probably title of this leader can be identified as chur. This title was much used since the Turkic Empire, however, according to our indications it was known among the Huns already. As the title and the historical situation shows, he was not an independent king, but a vassal of the Turkic Empire. Although Huns, even Red Huns being more a collective – imperial name than an ethnonym, the ethnicity of his people can be decided by analyzing the sources, even if this ethnicity does not necessarily cover all the Red Huns. By analyzing the sources, it became clear that this group called Red Huns departed from Central Asia and migrated towards the West, where they occurred under other ethnic names as well. On the Pontic steppes, they had close contacts with the Avars and several Ogur and /or Bulgarian groups, and therefore they even might have been conected to the history of Transylvania.