We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about the Turul.
A Turul is a legendary creature from Hungarian folklore, usually depicted as a large black falcon. It is a divine messenger and perches on top of the Tree of Life. It represents power and strength and is seen as a protector of the Hungarian people.
It was a symbol of the Árpád dynasty of kings because there is a legend that a Turul appeared to the mother of the first Árpád king and told her she would bear a long line of great rulers. Hungarians also use the Turul to signify their kinship to the Huns and their famous leader Attila, who was said to be descended from a Turul. There are several legends about a Turul leading the Hungarian people to the area of present-day Hungary, reconquering a portion of Attila’s empire. Often a Turul is depicted wearing Attila’s crown and carrying Attila’s flaming sword in its talons.
A Turul is still used in the coats of arms of several Hungarian government offices and the Hungarian Army, as well as the coat of arms of Transylvania.