Volume 4 Issue 1 CONTENTS

Tibor Takács

Them and Us: Narratives of Agents from the Kádár Era

Today a good deal of scholarly work has been published the authors of which use, as their primary sources, the documents that were created by the state security services of the communist dictatorships of East Central Europe. These documents reveal a great deal concerning the primary characteristics of the mechanisms of state security and, more specifically, the network of agents. Most of the inquiries that have been published so far have been of a moralizing nature, in that they seem to have been motivated at least in part by the desire to pass judgment on those who cooperated in an organized way with the state security services of the dictatorial states or, in some cases, to find justifications for the conduct of the people involved by offering explanations according to which they were compelled to collaborate. I have set a very different goal in this article. I examine how the people in the network interpreted their cooperation with the state. I draw on recollections that were written not after the fall of the Kádár regime, but rather in its early stages. These texts offer different perspectives on the identity of the agent and shed some light on how the collaborator him or herself understood his or her acts of collaboration with the dictatorship.

Volume 4 Issue 1 CONTENTS

Caterina Preda

Forms of Collaboration of Visual Artists in Communist Romania of the 1970s–1980s

Little attention has been given in political science analyses of communist-era Romania to the relationships between visual artists and the secret police. In this article, I attempt to address this lacuna in our understanding of the interactions between the state and artists by presenting two forms of collaboration of visual artists during the last two decades of Romanian communism: the artists’ involvement in the ideological project of the communist party and their “collaboration” with the secret police. In addition, I also examine the ways in which artists have contributed a posteriori to our understandings of the communist experience with their artworks. I offer detailed examinations of the cases of three visual artists. The approach I have adopted includes analyses of interviews with two artists who represent two opposing cases and examinations of the files that were kept on them by state surveillance organs, so as to provide a new, multifaceted perspective on the relationships between artists and the communist regime. I contend that the study of artistic artifacts can supplement traditional sources for political science analyses of the communist past and provide a more nuanced perspective on the period. The article shows that imposing artistic dogmas is not simply a top-down process, but one resulting from complex interactions between different institutional and individual actors.

Volume 4 Issue 2 CONTENTS


Anastasija Ropa

Imagining the 1456 Siege of Belgrade in Capystranus


The poem Capystranus, devoted to the 1456 Siege of Belgrade by the Ottoman Turks, was printed three times between 1515 and 1530 by Wynkyn de Worde. It survives in a fragmentary form, testifying to its popularity with the audience. Studies of the poem have tended to concentrate on its literary qualities, discrediting its historical value as an account of the siege. In this essay, I build on the work of scholars who view the narrative of Capystranus as a work of fiction, informed by the conventions of crusading romance, rather than as an eyewitness account. However, I reassess the value of Capystranus for the study of war history: I argue that, in its description of the siege, the author pictures accurately the spirit of contemporary warfare. The present essay explores, for the first time, the experiences, images and memories of war as represented in Capystranus, comparing the depiction of warfare to contemporary discourses on the law and ethics of war.

Keywords: Capystranus; Middle English romance; Siege of Belgrade, 1456; fifteenth-century warfare; later crusades

Volume 4 Issue 2 CONTENTS


Suzana Miljan and Hrvoje Kekez

The Memory of the Battle of Krbava (1493) and the Collective Identity of the Croats

The article deals with the construction of the narrative of the battle of Krbava Field, where many Croatian noblemen perished in 1493. The accounts of the battle began to spread immediately after the fighting had come to an end, giving rise to various versions of the events. The second part of the article is devoted to the rhetoric of the various retellings with which the memory of the calamity was preserved from the sixteenth century to the eighteenth century. The article then examines the circumstances leading to the increase in the political and social importance of the narrative in the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. The final part of the article focuses on the history of the narrative of the battle within the framework of the various Croatian state formations of the twentieth century.

Keywords: Kingdom of Hungary and Croatia, Battle of Krbava, Ottoman expansion, social memory, collective identity of Croats


Volume 4 Issue 2 CONTENTS


Gabriella Erdélyi

Turning Turk as Rational Decision in the Hungarian–Ottoman Frontier Zone 


This essay will attempt to offer a glimpse into the situations and considerations that played a role in the decisions of Christians, primarily women, who voluntarily stood among the Turks in the Hungarian–Ottoman contact zone. This insight will highlight marriages that spanned the Christian–Muslim borders. On the one hand because the letters of papal pardon which abandoned Christian spouses submitted to the Apostolic Penitentiary in order to gain permission to remarry serve as the basis for analysis; and on the other hand because marriage typically served as the gateway through which people entered the opposite culture. This essay places emphasis on those individual and group experiences that made voluntary movement between cultures possible and the situative character of individual and religious identity at the time.

Keywords: voluntary conversions to Islam, conversion for marriage, female agency, Christian–Muslim frontier regions.

Volume 4 Issue 2 CONTENTS


Brian Sandberg

Going Off to the War in Hungary: French Nobles and Crusading Culture in the Sixteenth Century


Crusading culture played a significant role in the conceptions and practices of religious warfare in the Early Modern Period, as French authors and militant nobles redeployed Hungary as a crucial theater of crusading war. Examining crusading warfare in Hungary reveals new facets of warrior nobles’ military activities in early modern France and abroad, building on recent studies of French noble culture. The article concludes that French readers developed notions of crusading warfare in part through reports of the war in Hungary, contributing to a burgeoning literature on the production, diffusion, and reception of early modern news and information across Europe.


Keywords: crusading warfare, Early Modern Hungary, French nobles, noble culture.

Volume 4 Issue 2 CONTENTS


Zoltán Péter Bagi

The Life of Soldiers during the Long Turkish War (1593–1606)


This study is concerned with the everyday lives, survival strategies, and social composition of the German armed forces who served in the border fortresses and field units of the Imperial and Royal Army during the wars against the Ottoman Empire that were fought on the territory of the Kingdom of Hungary in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This study shows that these troops enlisted to escape poverty and starvation, sometimes serving without weapons, and that their families often followed them onto Hungarian battlefields. As the rich source materials analyzed here demonstrate, however, their new positions confronted them with even greater challenges than they had faced previously, including the day-to-day threat of mortality, epidemics, the vicissitudes of the weather, and the constant deprivations caused by idle mercenaries. They strove to support themselves through fraud and deceit, as well as by forcefully plundering their surroundings; nonetheless, volunteering for military service did not provide them with a permanent solution to the problem of earning a living.

Keywords: Long Turkish War, German-speaking military in the Kingdom of Hungary, survival strategies, subsistence



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