Huns vs Mongols – Key Differences


Huns vs Mongols – The Huns and Mongols empires were Central Asian tribes described as nomads history has shown to have had several things in common, although they were centuries apart- before the Mongols, the Huns were. There are speculations that the communities might be related even. While both tribes originated from Central Asia, their precise locations open the floor for the differences between the Huns and Mongols. Even though, due to lack of archaeological/ written records, it is unclear exactly where on the map the Huns lived, their presence was easily traced to the western side of the region while the Mongols rose from Central Asia’s eastern wing.

Characteristics that highlight differences between Hun and Mongols include the following

Huns vs Mongols Looks

The Huns “…make deep gashes in their children’s cheeks so that when in due course hair appears, its growth is checked by the wrinkled scars; as they grew older, this gives them the unlovely appearance of beardless eunuchs”. This could not have been saying better. The Huns were said to have employed odd methods to alter their looks. Binders were placed on the heads of children. This slowly deformed their skulls, giving them terrifying appearances. Their sole aim for this was to elicit the feeling of fear in others. With dark hairs and brown eyes, the unnaturally elongated skull would stir up feelings of fear in anyone who sees them. Apparently, the Huns were sadists who believed their crude way of refashioning their appearance also gave them the ability to endure pain.

No such modifications were mentioned on account of the Mongols. They were merely described as red-cheeked because they were under direct sunlight a lot. This led to them having darker skins, which can describe as tanned.

Huns vs Mongols Language

Huns: Referred by scholars as unclassifiable, the Huns had Hunnic as their language and may have spoken 3 other tongues – Latin, Gothic and Sarmatian.

Mongol: The formal language of this group is Mongolian. Unlike Hunnic, Mongolia still serves as an official language for some regions in China. In 2010, it was estimated that about 2million people speak the language.

Huns vs Mongols Religion

The Huns are who Christians would refer to as pagans. They had no recognized religion. Albeit, some of his subjects regarded Attilla as divine and revered him.

The people of the Mongols had their officially recognized religion as Shamanism. It involves a medium who, through different conscious states, directs spirits to manifest in our world. There were other minor beliefs held in the empire and Confucianism and Daoism and Buddhism.

Huns vs Mongols Marriage

Mongols practice polygamy, and their wives are bought. They had clans divided into “wife giving” clans and “wife taking” clans. As congratulations on getting married, sons give a share of the family herd to kick off their independence.

Polygamy was not a foreign term for the Huns either. However, only elites could practice that type of marriage. Commoners stuck to the conventional one man one wife.

Huns vs Mongols Women (in Power)

The Huns like the Mongols were patriarchal societies. There is, however significant difference in how they treat their women.

The former does not mind having women as authority figures. They were bold and articulate and assisted in dealing with tributes. From women heading tribes, the Huns also accorded a lot of regard to widows. Priscus, an East Roman general, who gave account said women of Hun also moved openly with men in public places.

On the opposing team, we have Mongols who buy their wives. Once in a while, a man from another tribe comes and steals a woman for a wife. Although this ended in 1921, women in Mongol could not formally participate in the areas of politics. Their abilities to influence decisions to begin and ends in her household.

Huns vs Mongols Battle Strategy

With the beating of a kettle and smoke as signals for the commencement of the war, Mongols adopted a formation of 5 ranks. Their weapons with the highest impact were in the forefront managed by two of the five while the other three charged from the back with arrows fired aimlessly into their kill zones. 

Like the Dothraki in the beloved Game of Thrones, the Huns carry weapons that allow for swift, unpredictable, and effective movement. They attack like savages from several angles in purposefully divided groups that confused their enemies. They were also said to have used exotic women to entice foreigners across the continent of Europe in the hope of achieving a peaceful resolution of conflicts and alliances.

When Mongols took over a territory, the people of the defeated area who survived the fight were taken and made one of them instead of turning them into slaves as the Huns did with their victims.

Huns vs Mongols Geographical Location

As earlier stated, both were from Central Asia, the Huns from the west, and Mongols had the east. Notwithstanding, it worthy to note that while the Mongols were a united tribe under Genghis Khan with one name that completely absorbed conquered states, the Huns were divided into clans that went by their own names. Mongols were said to have more effective leadership and coordination. The Huns were divided into branches that went by other names but still identified as part of the tribe. Two of such names were Xiongnu and Hunas/Hephatalites.

Like the Dothraki, once again, the Mongols seemed to have their strength limited by water. The Mongols’ inability to further increase their settlement was because they never crossed the sea

Huns vs Mongols Leaders

The Mongols referred to their rulers as Khagan. Genghis Khan was the last Khagan before the empire was divided. However, some publications have it that Genghis Khan was not a reply but a title and the leader of the Mongol empire.

The Huns, on the other hand, had no particular noun for the official position of a ruler. The tiny clans they moved in had chieftains, and no single individual presided over each. Attila, the most written about the leader, was called Attila of the Huns.

Huns vs Mongols Victories

Huns: They defeated many Germanic and Scythian tribes who had their borders just outside the Roman Empire. Years later, they would set out to attack the Roman empire and fail.

Mongols: Against Iran, Russia and Eastern European armies, the Mongols fought and won.

Although the Mongols and the Huns (while Attila ruled) were both called ruthless by history and took on several fights, the Mongols secured more victories than the Huns did. As a result, the Mongols have more significant and profound footprints in history. There are speculations that if the Mongols met the Huns in a martial art fight, the Huns would be defeated.

Huns vs Mongols Written Records
The Mongols take the crown here. The Huns kept no written records. This, as earlier mentioned, is the reason for the little verified information about them and lots of assumptions. 

Mongols have a 12-chapter publication titled The Secret History of the Mongols, which is still available. It contains details on the infamous Genghis’ life, culture, lores, and people’s practices.


Huns and Mongols had impressive horse-riding skills, and their reputation in the field preceded them. Hun men sometimes slept on their horsebacks. The two were known for their famous thirst for blood, which was described to have been at its peak in each empire under the rule of Attila (for the Huns) and Genghis Khan (of the Mongols). Hard places, they say, breed hard people. The Huns and Mongols’ lands could be described as anything but hospitable to individuals who were not natives. Both groups did not care for gender in their quest for blood. Men, women, and children were not spared the brutal deaths these men brought with them. 

Thanks to fierce raids and foray, the Mongol empire enlarged its coast and was, at one point, the largest empire in the whole world. Huns did not seem to care so much about the size of their empire. History tells us that, most times, when the Huns raided territories, they seldom settle there. They were who the bible would call thieves. “… cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…”.

Huns made use of colors to tell the positions of their member communities. Those in the north were called Black Huns, the west housed the White Huns, Green Huns/ Blue Huns referred to the south, and the east or southeastern dwellers were the Red devils. The colorful Huns, according to the ancient history encyclopedia, eventually disappeared into the thin air of history after they were defeated severally on battlefields. 

Sadly (not really), with Genghis Khan’s death in 1227, the massive Mongol empire faced doom and was ultimately disbanded. Clans pulled out and scattered overseas. Actually, the clans were divided into four major groups. The had the Yuan Dynasty, Il-Khanate, Chagatai Khanate, and Golden Horde (according to Wikipedia, these clans were headed by authority figures called Khans.)

The Mongol empire lasted through out the 13th and 14th century while the Hun’s, post arrival in Europe, lingered for about 70 more years. 

Huns vs Mongols – Key Differences

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top