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Western view

The Huns are thought by many historians to be the first Turkic people mentioned in history. References in Chinese sources to a people called the Xiongnu (Hsiung-nu) go back to 1200 BC, and these people may be the ancestors of the later, better-known (to western scholars) Huns, though not all scholars agree.

A group called the European Huns and led by Attila the Hun is considered, with little certainty, to be the western extension of the Huns. Establishment of the first Hun state is one of the first well-documented appearances of the culture of horseback migration[?] in history. These tribespeople achieved superiority over their rivals, most of whom were highly cultured, by the help of their splendid state of readiness and amazing mobility. According to traditional Hungarian history (http://www.hunmagyar.org/hungary/history/controve.htm), the Huns, Magyars, and Avars were all part of the same people.

Subsequently the term "Huns" became a derogatory term for Germans. It was common among the Allied Forces during World War I and World War II, but this usage has declined recently. (See also Kraut.)

Eastern and Chinese view

The earliest reference in Chinese sources to a people called the Xiongnu (Hsiung-nu) goes back to early 12th century BC , in writings about the campaign by King Wuding (武丁 wu3 ding1) of the Shang Dynasty against the Gui Fang 鬼方 (gui3 fang1) tribe, which is regarded as another name of the Huns. This account is supported by some vague archeological sources but has yet to be proven. Bronze incriptions and oracle turtle-back bones on polytheistic worship prove the historical existence of the campaign but the Gui Fang may not be Huns.

Many scholars believe that the Xiongnu and Huns were the same group of people because of similar descriptions of their appearance and living habits. (more input here....) Other scholars argue that their appearance and habits can also be found in other tribes residing on the Mongolian steppes, rather than being identified as characteristics of the Xiongnu and Huns. Nevertheless all agree that the two peoples shared aspects that are more than a coincidence.

See also: Wu Hu

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