The Archaic Turkic Prophecy and the Sons of Attila: Analysis of the Earliest Turkic Language Data

Christopher I. Beckwith (Indiana University)

There has long been thought to be a Turkic component in the Empire of Attila the Hun (d. 453), as attested by many Turkic-sounding ethnonyms. But the names of Attila’s sons are not mere random names (or titles); they constitute a clearly Turkic set of words, with Turkic morphology, and are thus culturally and linguistically distinctive. Similarly, a prophecy recorded phonetically in Chinese (328 ce) has long been suggested to be Turkic. My former students and I have explicated this text in detail, showing that it is completely Turkic. It also shares characteristics with the names of Attila’s sons. Other data is cited which strongly confirms that the rulers of the Huns spoke a Turkic language.