I was reading the Wikipedia entry on Charlemagne, as one does, and noticed his sword had a name: "Joyeuse". Joyous one. And, since "épée" is feminine and Charlemagne was not, it is the sword who is joyous.
Named sword. So far, so cool. Hey, it says "sword in Vienna" (I used to live in Vienna). Let's check that out:
Sword in Vienna
Before the Miholjanec legend had been regarded, the so-called sword of Attila in Vienna was known as the sword of Charlemagne.
The what now? Let's click on "Miholjanec legend". It leads to a Wikipedia entry on the Croatian village of Miholjanec. But there is no mention of a legend (the URL leading me there contained the fragment #Legend, but that now leads nowhere).
What is this about the sword of Attila?
The real historical events of the discovery of this sword will probably remain unknown. More information about the origin of the sword is a legend about a locality of finding, see Miholjanec#Legend, because before this legend had been regarded, this sword was known as the sword of Charlemagne known as "Joyeuse".
That same broken link.
Before we click onwards: note that the sword of Attila is supposedly in the Imperial Schatzkammer in Vienna. Just like one of the items claiming to be the Spear of Longinus, the Spear of Destiny, the Holy Lance. And regarding Charlemagne's Joyeuse we know that "some legends claim [it] was forged to contain the Lance of Longinus within its pommel". So these two swords and the Spear of Longinus are related.
What does the history of the Miholjanec page tell us? There was a change on the 20th of November 2013:
"Deleting "Legend" section: unsourced and doesn't improve article"
So what was this legend?
A legend about Miholjanec describes the discovery of an unknown ancient castle in 1270, when the King personally visited Miholjanec is also a legend:
On the dreary heights of Grga was once a handsome village, whose inhabitants were elated. The abundance of gold and shiny possessions let the fear of God and morality dwindle more and more, and it attracted all sorts of wickedness and vice, as a permanent guest in the homes.
What do we get when we search "legend of Miholjanec" on Google?
The first hit I get is, OF COURSE, from the Bungie forums.
There is a legend that tells of a locality where an ancient sword, in some tongues known as the Sword of the War God, was found...
And then what looks like the deleted legend from the Wikipedia page, plus an interpretation of how this legend "embodies the resurrection of Christ and the coming end of the world in Revelation".
There's also a video, which looks like a Croatian powerpoint presentation about a city. I have no idea.
Back to Google. The second and third hits are Wikipedia pages we've already seen.
The fourth hit is an extract from "Zoroaster 177 Success Facts - Everything you need to know about Zoroaster" by Gary Holt, on Google Books. It says:
According to the Miholjanec#Legend|Miholjanec myth, Stephen V of Hungary had in fore of his marquee a made of gold plate with the inscription: Attila, the boy of Bendeuci, grandson of the significant Nimrod, born at Ein Gedi|Engedi: By the Grace of God King of the Huns, Medes, Goths, Dacians, the terrors of the planet and the flogger of God.
The English is a bit awkward, and the pipe characters look like Wikipedia-style text markers. It looks like someone did a very bad job taking text from Wikipedia and turning it into a book. And that looks like it might again be the link to the Wikipedia page.
The story of Stephen V of Hungary was indeed on the deleted legend part of the Miholjanec Wikipedia page.
Let's briefly search for this Gary Holt and his Zoroaster 177 Success Facts on Google. The Amazon US and DE pages say nothing about the book or the author, and list no other books by Gary Holt. It's a Print On Demand book, apparently. The Amazon UK page describes it as:
A New Benchmark In Zoroaster Biography. This book is your ultimate resource for Zoroaster. Here you will find the most up-to-date 177 Success Facts, Information, and much more.
In easy to read chapters, with extensive references and links to get you to know all there is to know about Zoroaster's Early life, Career and Personal life right away.
Emereo Publishing looks like a mediocre website for mediocre books - like something generated. And funnily enough I can't find Gary Holt's book there.
Back to our search for "legend of Miholjanec".
There's a forum entry on a Catholic forum, in a discussion titled "Why are humans tribal?"
The entry contains a quote from a Wikipedia page, a quote we've seen before:
According to the "legend of Miholjanec". legend, Stephen V of Hungary had in front of his tent a golden plate with the inscription: "Attila, the son of Bendeuci, grandson of the great Nimrod, born at Engedi: By the Grace of God King of the Huns, Medes, Goths, Dacians, the horrors of the world and the scourge of God.
Which made me wonder whether Gary Holt wrote his book or copied and pasted it from Wikipeda?
But what struck me more was that this is supposedly a quote from the Wikipedia page on the biblical king Nimrod. And yes, there it is. And with the same broken link to the Miholjanec Wikipedia page. Nimrod has all kinds of connections to the Hungarians, Freemasonry, Finnish demons, etc.
Back to "legend of Miholjanec".
There's an extract from a book, again on Google Books, called "The Esoteric Codex: Magic Objects" by Mark Rogers. The extract looks like a copy of the Wikipedia page for the Sword of Attila.
Then there's an extract from a book called "Attila the Hun 170 Success Facts - Everything you need to know about Attila" by Ralph Vaughan.
Wait, what? Oooooh. That explains the stupid title of the book on Zoroastrianism. And yes, it's the Wikipedia page on the sword of Attila again.
And the next hit is "Boudicca 52 Success Facts" by Russell Leon, with our by now old friend the sword of Attila.
The second page of Google search results for "legend of Miholjanec" doesn't give me new information. This is all automated circle-jerking leading back to that deleted part of the page on Miholjanec.
So who wrote that?
It turns out the part about the legend was added on October 13th 2011 by an anonymous contributor. A lot of other changes to that page were made from the same IP address. This person or persons seem to know a lot about Miholjanec.
Funnily enough, that IP address is associated with UPC Telekabel in Vienna, Austria! Which is not a huge surprise since there are enough Croatians in Austria.
And that's where I will stop, before I have to do *real* research.
What have I learned?
Well, mysterious content is mysterious, briefly, and automated content is horrible.
And I've learned that Miholjanec is a pretty interesting place even without the legend. It's been around since the Iron Age, the Knights Templar were there, it has ancient vineyards. If I were doing a Kenneth Hite-style roleplaying campaign, it would be a cool location.