Lehel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the 10th-century Magyar chieftain. For other uses, see Lehel (disambiguation).
Lehel killing his captor, miniature of the Chronicon Pictum, 1360.

Lehel (or Lehal or Lail or Lehl or Lel) (died 955) was a Magyar chieftain, one of the military leaders of prince Taksony of Hungary, the descendant of Árpád. He was one of the more important figures of the Magyar invasions of Europe. During these military campaigns, the Magyars threatened much of Western Europe, therefore it was a common saying at that time: "A sagittis Hungarorum, libera nos Domine" (Lord, save us from the arrows of the Hungarians"). He died at the Battle of Lechfeld, also known as the battle of Augsburg.

Origin[edit]

Anonymus calls him the son of Tas, who was one of the "Seven chieftains of the Magyars", and descendent of Árpád. Most historians agree that there is a mismatch in the timing, so he should be the son of Tas, but the grandson of Árpád.

Dukedom[edit]

His dukedom was the Principality of Nitra, whose territory was the Kabarian part. The cities of Alsólelóc and Felsőlelóc kept the name of Lél. The dukedom could refer to the possibility of Lél being a would-be duke.

With Bulcsú and Súr, he led the Magyar forces at the Battle of Riade in 933.

Battle of Lechfeld[edit]

Lehel led the Nitrian Kabars at the Battle of Lechfeld. The commander was horka Bulcsú, who was not a descendent of the Árpád. The other main military leader was Súr.

The battle ended with the defeat of the Hungarians, but it was not an overwhelming defeat, as the Germans did not launch a campaign against Hungary for decades after the battle. However, the three military leaders were caught and were hanged at Regensburg.

The Lehel's horn myth[edit]

The horn of Lehel, kept in Jászberény

The fourteenth century Chronicon Pictum, by Márk de Kált, wrote (originally in Latin):

"In 955, (...) the Hungarians reached the city of Augsburg. Close to the city, at the Lech-field, the Germans smashed the Hungarians, part of them were killed brutally, some others were imprisoned. At that place Lehel and Bulcsú were also imprisoned, and taken in front of the emperor. When the emperor asked, why the Hungarians are so cruel against the Christians, they replied, "We are the revenge of the highest God, sent to you as a scourge. You shall imprison us and kill us, when we cease to chase you." Then the emperor called them: "Choose the type of death you wish". Then Lehel replied, "Bring me my horn, which I will blow, then I will reply". The horn was handed to him, and during the preparation to blow it, he stepped forward, and hit the emperor so strongly he died instantly. Then he said: "You will walk before me and serve me in the other world", as it is a common belief within the Scythians, that whoever they killed in their lives will serve them in the other world. They were taken to custody and were hanged quickly in Regensburg."

Lehel's horn today[edit]

Nowadays there is a horn described as "Lehel's horn" at Jászberény, in the Museum of Jász.[1] This is a Byzantine ivory horn from 10-11th century and most probably not the same as the horn from the myth.

References[edit]