"Magyars in the west, and Szekelys in the east and north. I am going among the latter, who claim to be descended from Attila and the Huns"
A Szekely village in Romania
Public DomainA Szekely village in Romania - Credit: KIDB/Wikimedia Commons

The Magyars are an ethnic group of Hungary. The Szekelys are a sub-group of Hungarian people, living mainly in Transylvania. The Szekelys claim to be descended from Attila the Hun (see bookmark for page 36)


Attila was king of the nomadic people called the Huns, who migrated from Asia into Europe and formed a unified empire. They plundered Roman cities and devastated a large part of the Roman Empire before being finally defeated in Gaul.


A popular song about the Szekely family, recorded by Emily Gerard in The Land Beyond the Forest, tells of their connection to Attila and his Huns. This was apparently one of Stoker’s main influences when writing Dracula


Attila the Hun
Public DomainAttila the Hun - Credit: wikimedia commons

A noble Szekel born and bred,

Full loftily I held my head;

Great Attila my sire was he,

As legacy he left to me


A dagger, battle-axe and spear;

A heart, to whom unknown is fear;

A potent arm, which oft has slain,

The Tartar foe in field and plain.


The scourge of Attila the bold

Still hangs among us of old;

And when this lash we swing on high,

Our enemies are forced to fly.


The Szekel proud then learn to know,

And strive not to become his foe,

For blood of Huns runs in him warm,

                                                                        And, well he knows to wield his arm.