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King or emperor of european huns
The basics
AKA Aksungur, Aksuvar
Date of birth
Date of death 500
The details

Charaton (Olympiodorus of Thebes: Χαράτων) was one of the first kings of the Huns.

In end of 412 or beginning of 413, Charaton received the Byzantine ambassador Olympiodorus sent by Honorius. Olympiodorus travelled to Charaton’s kingdom by sea, but does not record whether the sea in question was the Black or Adriatic. As the History deals exclusively with the Western Roman Empire, it was probably Adriatic, and visited them somewhere in Pannonian Basin. Olympiodorus recounts;

"Donatus and the Huns, and the skillfulness of their kings in shooting with the bow. The author relates that he himself was sent on a mission to them and Donatus, and gives a tragic account of his wanderings and perils by the sea. How Donatus, being deceived by an oath, was unlawfully put to death. How Charaton, the first of the kings, being incensed by the murder, was appeased by presents from the emperor."

Although the text suggests certain Donatus (Δονάτ-, Turkic yonat, "horse") was previous Hunnic ruler, some scholars like Franz Altheim and Otto Maenchen-Helfen reject this assumption.


According to Maenchen-Helfen it is of undetermined origin, and may have ended in -tom, -ton, -to, -ta, and -t.

Omeljan Pritsak derived root Chara- from Altaic xara - qara, with the meaning of "black" and "great; northern". The second part -ton is Saka loanword into Turkic, thauna > *taun > tōn, "garment, clothing". In Ottoman Turkish don means "coat of a horse" and there's a concept of "horse with a black coat". Pritsak concluded as the previous ruler was called Donatus (horse), in the name of Qara-Ton (black clad; with black coat) was intentional cryptic use for horse, possibly related to Hunnic totemism.

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