Volume 2 Issue 3Ethnicity

Sándor Horváth Special Editor of the Thematic Issue

Table of Contents

Articles

László Szarka

Hungarian National Minority Organizations and the Role of Elites between the Two World Wars

Abstract

Abstract

This article examines the history of the Hungarian minorities formed in three multiethnic nation states between the two world wars: the Czechoslovak Republic, the Kingdom of Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia and the Kingdom of Romania. The analysis focuses on options for political organization and the role of ethnic parties and political elites, highlighting the example of János Esterházy and his work as chairman of the Czechoslovakian Hungarian ethnic party. It specifically discusses Hungary’s “kin-state” relations with the minorities and its revisionist foreign policy. It also shows the key role of assimilation policy in the ethno-political model of the three nation states. In these twenty short years, the separate interests of the three Hungarian minority groups, as distinct from the kin state and the domicile states, emerged only at the conceptual level. The minority Hungarian ideologies which forged a program out of micro-community and multiethnic ideas—Romanian Transylvanism, “Upper Hungarian autochthonism” and “couleur locale” in (former) Southern Hungary—found no support from either Budapest or the governments of the three nation states.
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Gábor Egry    

Navigating the Straits. Changing Borders, Changing Rules and Practices of Ethnicity and Loyalty in Romania after 1918

Abstract

Abstract

This study investigates the emergence of Greater Romania from below, paying attention to certain aspects of ethnicity and nationalizing. The establishment of the new state, with its rules and practices, was a slow process that left considerable room for local groups and individuals to negotiate their positions vis-à-vis the nationalizing efforts. The analysis of how citizenship options were used to individual advantage, the conflicts that arose regarding the nationalizing of border zones and their inhabitants, and the local differences of symbolic conquests reveal the importance of local contexts and their social elements. From the perspective of these events the realities of Greater Romania are best described as an overarching legal fiction that disguised a series of local settlements and compromises regarding the nationalizing attempts. Encounters usually interpreted as expressions of national indifference were also driven by ethnicity, only the meaning and content of ethnicity remained permanently contested. One can detect two types of “nationally indifferent” behavior. One was prevalent primarily among the middle class, a claim for the right to define one’s ethnicity, and another was characteristic of the lower urban social strata and the peasantry, where it could have meant real indifference not only to the norms of proper behavior, but also to the categories used by the state, but not negligence of differences.
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Stefano Bottoni

National Projects, Regional Identities, Everyday Compromises. Szeklerland in Greater Romania (1919–1940)

Abstract

Abstract

This article analyzes the social and cultural impact of the dissolution of the Habsburg Monarchy on the overwhelmingly Hungarian-inhabited Szekler region. Although the half-million strong Szekler community found itself in the geographical center of Greater Romania, most people considered the Versailles peace settlement temporary. This created a paradoxical situation, for as the Szekler minority began to develop separately from the culture of post-Trianon Hungary, Hungarian intellectuals and former civil servants living within the borders of post-1918 Romania started to promote a cult of a supposedly “pure” and untouched Szeklerness. The first part of the article places the question of Szekler identity-building in a general theoretical framework and briefly sketches the political, social and demographic background of the community. The second part will analyze specific strategies of identity building that were pursued from outside the Szeklerland (e.g. the Szekler renaissance under the Horthy regime in Hungary) and from above (e.g. the constructions of “Szeklerness” by the intelligentsias in both Hungary and the Szeklerland). Finally, I will assess the influence of early Transylvanism on the building of Szekler identities in the interwar period.
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Klaus-Jürgen Hermanik

Arts and Artists as Intermediaries in Identity Management and Ethnomanagement in Transylvania

Abstract

Abstract

My research on arts and artists in connection with minority issues centers around the fact that both serve as crucial instruments in the creation of the collective identity of a particular ethnic group. Moreover, my results should demonstrate that arts and artists passively are used and actively act as intermediaries in the identity management and ethnomanagement of minorities. Further issues of this broad heading will be: the visible effects, if an artist belongs to a minority, if an artist feels he or she belongs to a minority, and the influence of this on his or her work. What are the reasons for an organizational commitment to the identity management and ethnomanagement of his/her ‘own ethnic group’ and vice versa? Answers to these questions are based on research on the German minority in Hungary (Ungarndeutsche) and the Hungarians (erdélyi magyarok) and Germans (Siebenbürger Sachsen, Banater Schwaben) in Transylvania. The examples will be divided on the basis of the different genres of literature and the fine arts: concerning minority literature the focus will be on the interaction of literature and the intentional use of the minority language as an ethnic marker. Furthermore, the reciprocity of minority literature and ethno-political careers will be reflected in some biographical examples. Fine arts have the advantage, unlike literature, that they are a priori a universally understandable medium, and the paper will elaborate on the following topics: the question of which artistic works (e.g. statues, emblems on buildings, monuments) are directly linked to the culture of remembrance of the abovementioned ethnic groups and to what extent is fine arts important as a means of representing the German and Hungarian minorities in public space as a form of the “visual materialization” of ethnic identity and ethnic politics?
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Leslie M. Waters

Learning and Unlearning Nationality: Hungarian National Education in Reannexed Felvidék, 1938–1944

Abstract

Abstract

Educational policy was a fundamental component of the integration of reannexed Felvidék (present-day southern Slovakia) into the Hungarian state between 1938 and 1944. In fact, the army of teachers and administrators deployed in Felvidék played a larger role in the reintegration process than Hungary’s occupying military force. The Hungarian administration’s aims were twofold: on the one hand, to instill loyalty and service to the Hungarian nation and participation in the further success of Hungary’s revisionist project, and on the other hand, to delegitimize the previous regime and encourage students to reject Czechoslovak identity. This process revolved heavily around language, making Hungarian the primary language of instruction in most of the region’s schools, devaluing knowledge of Slovak, and restricting Slovak-language educational institutions. For students in the region, the change in territorial administration resulted in a transformation in their language use. With these linguistic advantages, the Hungarian administration made tangible strides toward reintegrating Felvidék’s Hungarian students into the national body, but struggled to do so with minority students.
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Péter Apor

The Lost Deportations and the Lost People of Kunmadaras: A Pogrom in Hungary, 1946

Abstract

Abstract

The subject of this article is one of the scandals of postwar Hungarian politics and society: the anti-Semitic pogrom that took place on May 21, 1946 in the village of Kunmadaras. The Kunmadaras riot was part of a series of anti-Jewish atrocities that broke out in the summer of 1946 in the Hungarian countryside. These events, however, were comparable with similar violence against surviving and returning Jewish communities in East Central Europe, particularly in Poland and Slovakia. The scholarly literature so far has typically understood these events as the outcome of social discontent raised by economic hardships and mismanaged or openly abused and even generated by political ideologies, particularly Nazism and Communism. These descriptions rarely problematize the Jews as an obvious ethnic category and seldom ask questions concerning the ways peasant or local communities actually distanced their neighbors as “Jews” to be beaten. This article focuses on the everyday interaction through which ethnicity and ethnic identities were constructed in a village that, as the outcome of the events, was split between “Hungarians” and “Jews” in the summer of 1946. While taking the political implications into consideration, I argue that the pogrom was a consequence of the frames of traditional peasant culture, which were mobilized under the particular postwar social and political circumstances, and particularly of the culture of collective violence that was also present in the village of Kunmadaras. The second section of the article, however, concentrates on how politics abused the events during a subsequent trial and constructed a particular Hungarian version of the anti-Fascist myth without the Jewish victims themselves. As was the case all over Soviet-dominated East Central Europe, this myth built a certain level of legitimacy for Communist parties.
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Ferenc Laczó

“I could hardly wait to get out of this camp, even though I knew it would only get worse until liberation came.” On Hungarian Jewish Accounts of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp from 1945–46

Abstract

Abstract

Contrary to influential assertions on the early postwar silence surrounding the extermination of European Jewry, in Hungary, as in a number of other countries, extensive documentation of the Holocaust had already begun in the 1940s. In addition to postwar trials, published memoirs and early historical works, thousands of Hungarian Jewish survivors articulated their experiences in the offices of the National Relief Committee for Deportees (DEGOB) in 1945–46. However, these sources have not yet been systematically analyzed and early witness accounts in particular remain heavily underrepresented in historiography. This study is an effort to begin to redress this imbalance by examining 349 DEGOB accounts that discuss Buchenwald, a major Nazi concentration camp and a contested lieu de mémoire. It reveals that returnees defined, represented and assessed Buchenwald in varying ways, their perspectives depending not only on factors such as when and where they stayed in the camp and what they had to endure while there, but also on which other camp they arrived from and the conditions under which they traveled. My analysis of early Hungarian Jewish accounts of Buchenwald also reveals that while a number of interviewees understood their escape from the group of Jewish prisoners within the camp as the key to their eventual survival, others tended to use ethnic labels to identify the perpetrators of violence against them. Moreover, two major narratives were circulating regarding the liberation of the camp: the accidental Nazi failure to complete their program of extermination and another involving a successful uprising of the inmates against their tormentors. Last but not least, the paper argues that some of those who survived Buchenwald and subsequently entered the DEGOB offices showed clear awareness of the Nazi extermination program, but they preferred to discuss it in indirect ways.
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Book Reviews

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The Unfinished Revolution. Making Sense of the Communist Past in Central-Eastern Europe.
By James Mark. Reviewed by Máté Zombory

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The Politics of “National Character”: A Study in Interwar East European Thought (Routledge Studies in Comparative Political Thought).
By Balázs Trencsényi. Reviewed by Simon Halink

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Horvátország a 7. századtól napjainkig [Croatia from the Seventh Century up to the Present Day].
By Dénes Sokcsevits. Reviewed by Krisztián Csaplár-Degovics

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A szlovák nemzet születése: Ľudovít Štúr és a szlovák társadalom a 19. századi Magyarországon [The Birth of the Slovak Nation: Ľudovít Štúr and Slovak Society in Hungary in the Nineteenth Century].
By József Demmel. Reviewed by Bálint Varga

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Maps of Remembrance. Space, Belonging and Politics of Memory in Eastern Europe.
By Máté Zombory. Reviewed by Ildikó Bajcsi

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What Made the Kádár Era? Two Books on Hungary’s Recent Past. Népuralom ötvenhatban [People’s Rule in ’56]. By Éva Standeisky. Bevezetés a kádárizmusba [Introduction to Kádárism].
By János Rainer M. Reviewed by György Majtényi

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Iron Curtain. The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944–1956.
By Anne Applebaum. Reviewed by Ekaterina Makhotina

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The Workers’ State: Industrial Labor and the Making of Socialist Hungary, 1944–1958.
By Mark Pittaway. Reviewed by Sándor Horváth

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Notes on Contributors

  

 

Volume 2 Issue 4

Bethlen: The Prince of Transylvania

Teréz Oborni Special Editor of the Thematic Issue

Table of Contents

Articles

Ágnes R. Várkonyi

Gábor Bethlen and His European Presence

Abstract

Abstract

This paper studies the European presence of the most important ruler of the Principality of Transylvania, Gábor Bethlen (1580–1629) in the light of predominant developments of the Early Modern Age such as the general crisis of the seventeenth century, the Thirty Years’ War, the international networks of alliances, the absolutist governments, the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires, the nation states, the modern expectations towards governments, the new science of political cultures, the explosion of information networks and the law of concluding peace. The study gives an overview on the extreme views on Gábor Bethlen in the early modern era as well as in posterity. This ruler of the Transylvanian state—a tributary of the Ottoman Empire, but also belonging to the power sphere of the Habsburgs—was on the one hand regarded as a creature of the Turks, on the other as a monarch who had profound influence upon the fate of Europe. The paper shows how Bethlen created tranquility, security and economic stability in the country which had been ruined, destroyed by Ottoman and imperial military interventions and on the verge of civil war. Having a wide range of political experience and a good knowledge of contemporary political theories, the prince managed to accommodate absolutist government and mercantilist economic policies to Transylvanian circumstances. He was nevertheless unable to compete with the propaganda campaign against him.
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Géza Pálffy

Crisis in the Habsburg Monarchy and Hungary, 1619–1622: The Hungarian Estates and Gábor Bethlen

Abstract

Abstract

The essay examines the network of relations between the estates of the Kingdom of Hungary and Gábor Bethlen, Prince of Transylvania (1613–1629) and elected King of Hungary (1620–1621), between 1619 and 1622. Because these years in the midst of the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) represented a genuine crisis period for the Central European Habsburg Monarchy, the topic demands particular attention from an international perspective as well. Despite this, hitherto neither Hungarian nor international scholarship have examined this question. The study attempts to fill this gap on the basis of research conducted in archives in Austria, Hungary and Slovakia. First, it will demonstrate how many of the political elite in the Kingdom of Hungary supported the Transylvanian prince in 1619–1621 and in what way. Second, it will draw attention to an almost completely forgotten compromise between Emperor Ferdinand II (1619–1637) and the Hungarian estates reached at the Hungarian diet at Sopron (Ödenburg) in the summer of 1622. Finally, it will present the winners and losers of this new compromise, as well as how Emperor Ferdinand and the monarchy’s political leadership were able to cooperate with the Hungarian estates.
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Teréz Oborni

Gábor Bethlen and the Treaty of Nagyszombat (1615)

Abstract

Abstract

Gábor Bethlen made efforts at establishing a diplomatic relationship with the king of Hungary immediately after his accession, for he was as aware as his predecessors that, alongside the support of the Sultan, he should also gain recognition from the ruler of the other empire, the head of the Habsburg Monarchy. It was at the end of a difficult and conflict-ridden series of negotiations that the treaty of Nagyszombat was signed on May 6, 1615. This put an end to the military and political hostilities which had thus far torn the regions along the frontier and thereby averted the outbreak of a major armed conflict. On the other hand, it determined the legal relationship between Transylvania and the Kingdom of Hungary until the anti-Habsburg campaign of Bethlen in 1619. In the secret agreement attached to the treaty Bethlen accepted the legal arrangement, first set out in the Treaty of Speyer in 1570 and subsequently confirmed several times by Bethlen’s princely predecessors, according to which Transylvania was a member (membrum) of the Hungarian Crown, and her prince exerted his authority there with the approval of the Hungarian king.
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Gábor Kármán

Gábor Bethlen’s Diplomats at the Protestant Courts of Europe

Abstract

Abstract

This paper addresses the phenomenon that the contacts of Prince Gábor Bethlen with non-neighboring rulers were almost exclusively maintained through diplomats who came originally from a foreign country and had very little to do with the Principality of Transylvania. Through a reconstruction of ten diplomats’ biographies, I identify several categories. The Czech/Palatinate group consists of three people (Ehrenfried von Berbisdorf, Jan Adam Čejkovský z Víckova and Matthias Quadt), the Silesian group of two (Weikhard Schulitz and Heinrich Dreiling), and three of Bethlen’s envoys could be identified as “wandering diplomats,” displaying certain facets of an adventurer’s character (Jacques Roussel, Charles de Talleyrand and Lorenzo Agazza). The remaining two (Zygmunt Zaklika and Hermann Beckmann) seem to be a category unto themselves, one having a Polish background, the other coming with Catherine, the prince’s consort, from Berlin. The biographies of the diplomats show certain similarities, especially those within the Czech/Palatinate group, who had to leave their original country due to the collapse of the rule of Frederick of the Palatinate after the Battle of the White Mountain, and served several rulers in the years to come. Their loyalties lay primarily with the Protestant or the Palatinate cause and they served the rulers who seemed to be able to support this – sometimes even assuming tasks from several of them during one and the same journey. The custom to employ foreigners for the Transylvanian diplomacy with non-neighboring lands must have been motivated by the fact that they were expected not so much to negotiate specific issues as to map out possibilities for cooperation and give general information concerning the prince’s intentions. Although the system changed in the later decades of the seventeenth century, this may be the result of the fact that in this period far fewer politically engaged emigrants came to Transylvania than in the 1620s.
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Ildikó Horn

The Princely Council in the Age of Gábor Bethlen

Abstract

Abstract

The princely council of Transylvania was an advisory body of twelve members with no authority to decide. After the accession of Gábor Bethlen (1613–1629) with Ottoman support, the Transylvanian estates tried to limit his authority by enlarging the powers enjoyed by the council: in matters of great political and diplomatic importance, of appointment to the chief offices, and the granting of major estates the prince could only decide in cooperation with the council. The first part of the present study analyzes the methods by which the prince gradually altered the council in accordance with his own interests, mainly by increasing and changing its personnel. The second part examines the characteristics of the council in terms of the origins, social position, religion, age, qualifications and functions of its members. The Transylvanian political elite was fairly open throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and especially so during the reign of Bethlen, mainly because of the loss in human lives caused by the wars and internal conflicts between 1598 and 1612. Thanks to the princely religious policies pursued in the past forty years, the council was confessionally mixed, with a Catholic dominance and a strong Unitarian presence.
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Péter Erdősi

The Theme of Youth and Court Life in Historical Literature Regarding Gábor Bethlen and Zsigmond Báthory

Abstract

Abstract

This study explores the causes of the sharp disparity that emerged in assessments of two rulers of the early modern Transylvanian state, Zsigmond Báthory and Gábor Bethlen, in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Hungarian historiography. The author compares two aspects of the images of the princes—their childhood and youth and their courts. Bethlen, born in 1580, grew up in Báthory’s princely court and stood in his service between the years 1593 and 1602. The life paths of the princes of Transylvania were thus interconnected, though biographical constructions originating over subsequent generations symbolically separated them. These constructions highlighted the malleable character and weakness of the disdained Báthory in connection with his youth and court. The fiction-laced development history of the venerated Bethlen, contrarily, depicts the antecedents of exemplary rule, while illustrations of his princely court also serve to emphasize the prince’s virtues. The examined contrasts in the established images of Báthory and Bethlen are a product of a polarizing approach to history by which the tarnishing of Báthory has enhanced the brilliance of Bethlen.
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András Kovács

Gábor Bethlen and the Construction of the New Seat of the Transylvanian Princedom

Abstract

Abstract

The development of the town of Gyulafehérvár into a town of central importance in the middle of the sixteenth century took place at the same time as the formation of the Transylvanian principality. The town became increasingly important as the princes of Transylvania consolidated power, first in the time of the rule of the Báthory family and then under the rule of the Bethlen and Rákóczi families. This essay presents the measures that were implemented by Gábor Bethlen, his predecessors, and his successors in the interests of developing and fortifying the town and transforming it into a fitting site for the court of the prince.
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Zsuzsanna Cziráki

Prince Gábor Bethlen’s Visits to Brassó as Reflected in the Town Account Books

Abstract

Abstract

This study deals with one of the most remarkable periods in the history of the Principality of Transylvania, the reign of Gábor Bethlen. At the center of the study is an occurrence during Bethlen’s reign that might be described as ordinary: the reception of the Transylvanian prince in Brassó, one of the most important towns of his land and of the territorially autonomous Saxon Universitas (Saxon Land). As an organic part of the princely services encumbering the Saxon towns, hosting the prince was a basic component of the relationship between the Saxon communities and the prince. Accordingly, a more thorough understanding of these events also sheds light on the prevailing relationship between princely power and the Saxon communities. The basis for the analysis is provided by a distinctive group of sources, the account books of the chief economic official of Brassó, the Stadthann (also villicus, quaestor). The entries and comments contained in the account books help to familiarize us with the ceremonial framework for the distinguished guest’s stay in Brassó, the organizational tasks performed by the town as well as the mechanisms of town administration behind them. At the same time, they also offer a glimpse into the eating habits of contemporary Brassó and the lifestyle of the locals, thereby bringing into proximity the everyday life of a seventeenth-century East Central European urban community.
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Book Reviews

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Erdélyi külpolitika a vesztfáliai béke után [Transylvania’s Foreign Policy Following the Peace of Westphalia].
By Gábor Kármán. Reviewed by András Péter Szabó

A rohonci kód [The Rohonc Code].
By Benedek Láng. Reviewed by Dóra Bobory

Határok, vándorok, kémek. A magyarokról és a románokról alkotott kép Luigi Ferdinando Marsigli írásaiban [Frontiers, Wayfarers, Spies. The Image
of Hungarians and Romanians in the Writings of Luigi Ferdinando Marsigli].
By Levente Nagy. Reviewed by Mónika F. Molnár

Studies in the History of Early Modern Transylvania.
Edited by Gyöngy Kovács Kiss. Reviewed by Angelika T. Orgona

A városi élet keretei a feudális kori Magyarországon. Kassa társadalma a 16. század derekán [The Settings of Urban Life in Feudal Hungary. Kassa (Košice) Society in the Mid-Sixteenth Century].
By György Granasztói. Reviewed by András Vadas
Note on Nomenclature

Notes on Contributors

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Volume 3 Issue 1The History of Family, Marriage and Divorce in Eastern Europe

Gabriella Erdélyi and Sándor Horváth Special Editors of the Thematic Issue

Contents

Articles

András Péter Szabó     

Betrothal and Wedding, Church Wedding and Nuptials: Reflections on the System of Marriages in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Hungary

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of the present study is to sketch briefly the relationship between the ecclesiastical and secular elements of the marriage customs in the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Kingdom of Hungary and Principality of Transylvania with the help of the sixteenth-century nuptial invitations preserved in the town archives of Beszterce (German: Bistritz; today Bistriţa, Romania), the specialist literature and ethnographic analogies. The common Hungarian and Latin designation for the betrothal and the church marriage (kézfogás/desponsatio) indicates that the two concepts had not separated completely. The terminological uncertainty can be explained by the slow implementation of canonical requirements: in practice the betrothal, adopted in the twelfth century, originating in Roman law, only gradually earned its place. The Reformation gave further impetus to doctrines proclaiming the binding force of betrothal, perhaps also connected with this is the fact that a binding form of betrothal also existed alongside that corresponding to today’s version for a very long time in both Transylvania and Hungary. Betrothal accompanied by church ceremony in this case was followed as a second phase by a purely secular wedding feast. Only after the wedding subsequently became permanently embedded in the wedding feast did the church ceremony become the central element in the series of events.
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György Kövér    

“A Satisfactory Combination in Every Respect…” The Spouse Selection Dilemmas of a Young Man of the Christian Middle Class at the Turn of the Century

Abstract

Abstract

This case study looks at how a late nineteenth-century diarist from Hungary approached the problem of finding a wife. His system was to make lists of the ladies he met in various social circles, and appraise their potential benefits and drawbacks. In later life, he also left memoirs of his youth, although these make few references to the dilemmas he faced in choosing a wife. The literature on spouse selection focuses on the relative weights of socio-economic motives and “emotional-affective” conditions in courtship. How much did parents and relatives have a say in the choice, and how much did the decision rest on the young people’s individual will, or feelings of love? How much were the norms and the actual relationships differentiated by social class and gender? What was the balance between interests and emotions in the final outcome? Alajos Paikert (1866–1948), taken as a representative of the non-gentry middle class, did attempt to meet family expectations, but did not leave the choice to his parents. He wanted to find his future partner himself. The diary is a document of internal struggle, but is less concerned with feelings than with desires, possibilities and calculations. By bringing in other sources, however, the historian can try to work out what lay behind the words.
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Mikołaj Szołtysek,  Siegfried Gruber

Living Arrangements of the Elderly in Two Eastern European Joint-Family Societies: Poland–Lithuania around 1800 and Albania in 1918

Abstract

Abstract

This paper re-addresses the nature of joint-family systems in historic Eastern Europe. It identifies two “hotspot” areas of family complexity and uses census microdata to shed light on attributes of household organization and living arrangements of the elderly in a comparative perspective. A detailed examination of various demographic components of the joint-family systems under discussion reveals important inter-societal differences and suggests that “de-essentialization” of the notion of the “joint-family system” might be necessary when discussing the geography of family patterns in this part of the continent.
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Levente Pakot    

Family Composition, Birth Order and Timing of First Marriages in Rural Transylvania. A Case Study of Szentegyházasfalu (Vlăhiţa) and Kápolnásfalu (Căpâlniţa), 1838–1940

Abstract

Abstract

In this article I explore the roles of family composition in the timing of first marriages in two mountain villages in the eastern part of Transylvania (in present-day Romania) between 1838 and 1940. Using micro-level data based on family reconstitutions, I found evidence suggesting the dominant role of family composition in the decision to marry in the case of both males and females. Although strong age norms existed with regards to marriage in the settlements in question, the results of multivariate analysis show that ordinal position of birth, number of siblings, parental presence, and the historical period during which a marriage was concluded, all played decisive roles in determining the age at the time of marriage of males and females. The effect of ordinal position of birth differed by gender: first-born males tended to marry at an older age than their brothers, as opposed to first-born females, who normally married at a younger age than their younger sisters. The death of one or both parents was an inducement among males and females to marry. This response to a family crisis reflects the acceleration of the inheritance process and an effort to maintain the viability of a rural household.
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Stanislav Holubec    

Between Scarcity and Modernity: Working Class Families in Prague in the Interwar Period

Abstract

Abstract

This study investigates the life experiences of working class families in Prague in the interwar period with particular emphasis on processes of family formation and sustainment. With regards to the notion of “family formation,” I examined in particular the search for partners, patterns of cohabitation, and sociological aspects of partner’s choice. I analyzed the life course of workers´ families with a focus on child births, questions pertaining to health, and divorces and other non-traditional forms of family. Working class families are interpreted as having undergone and reacted to different aspects of modern social change. These include demographic transition (declining infant mortality, declining fertility), the adoption of modern values (individualization, rise of divorce rates, secularization, female emancipation, multiple identities), the effects of World War I (material scarcity, high mortality), local circumstances (housing shortages), and persistent traditional patterns and values in the mentality among the working class (gender inequality and family hierarchies).
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Mónika Mátay    

The Adventures of Dispute: a Marriage Crisis

Abstract

Abstract

Various developments in the study of history over the past few decades have borrowed theoretical assumptions and methodological innovations from cultural anthropology. Similarly, some of the leading scholars in the field of legal history have done the same.
In this article I investigate the avenues of dispute within a Calvinist burgher family from Debrecen, the biggest Hungarian city at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I try to reconstruct the individual strategies they adopted in order to achieve their goals and the means and tactics they used against each other in business, defamation conflicts or a divorce case. I approach the legal construction as a creative moment, a formative period in which the combination of central legislation and local statutes offered a space for individual strategies and legal maneuvering. In the analysis, I scrutinize both the disputing habits and the internal motivations of a quarreling couple, the Ladányis, to take their private matters and conflicts to the court, as well as the mutual influences of social actors and increasingly modern social institutions, more precisely, the city court and the legal profession.
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Sándor Nagy    

One Empire, Two States, Many Laws. Matrimonial Law and Divorce in the Austro–Hungarian Monarchy

Abstract

Abstract

Following the Compromise of 1867 between the Habsburg House and the parties pressing for Hungarian independence, the territory of Austria and the territory of Hungary constituted separate jurisdictions, thus it is not surprising that matrimonial law developed differently in the newly sovereign Kingdom of Hungary. In Austria the 1811 civil code specifically circumscribed the right of Catholics, who constituted the overwhelming majority of the population and were only able to “separate from bed and board,” and non-Catholics to dissolve the bonds of marriage. In contrast, in Hungary as of the middle of the nineteenth century Catholics were also able to dissolve the bonds of marriage. In this article I examine the evolution of matrimonial law as well as the influence of the economic and social transformations of the nineteenth century on divorce rates and the spread of divorce. The introduction of the matrimonial law of 1895 and the easing of divorce proceedings in 1907 were direct causes of the steep rise in the already higher rates of divorce in Hungary around the turn of the century. While the higher divorce rates in the larger cities were influenced by industrialization and urbanization, in rural areas, where the rise in divorce rates was not negligible, other factors must be sought. After the adoption of the Hungarian matrimonial law, the number of divorces among Catholics grew and the number of divorce proceedings initiated by members of the lower classes, in particular peasants and agricultural workers, also rose. In general, the data indicate cultural divergences in the practice of divorce and reveal the significance of the differences between the lifestyle customs and legal traditions of different denominations on the one hand and on the other the importance of efforts on the part of the state to reconcile these differences and foster social integration.
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Book Reviews

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Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin.
By Timothy Snyder. Reviewed by László Borhi

Régi könyvek, új csillagok [Old Books, New Stars].
By Gábor Farkas. Reviewed by Benedek Láng

Köleséri Sámuel tudományos levelezése 1709–1732 [The Scientific Correspondence of Sámuel Köleséri].
By Zsigmond Jakó. Edited by Zsuzsa Font. Reviewed by Mihály Balázs  

Unfinished Utopia. Nowa Huta, Stalinism, and Polish Society, 1949–56.
By Katherine Lebow. Reviewed by Róbert Balogh

Hungary and Romania Beyond National Narratives: Comparisons and Entanglements.
Edited by Anders E.B. Blomqvist, Constantin Iordachi, and Balázs Trencsényi. Reviewed by R. Chris Davis


Notes on Contributors

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Volume 3 Issue 2Fabricating History

Péter Apor
Special Editor of the Thematic Issue

Contents

Articles

Krzysztof Brzechczyn

The Reliability of “Files” and Collaboration with the Security Service (SB) in Poland: An Attempt at a Methodological Analysis

Abstract

Abstract

Over the course of the last decade, the disclosure in Poland of information regarding the secret collaboration of public figures with the Security Services (SB) has triggered emotional discussions on the reliability of the archival records stored in the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN). Analysis of these discussions enables one to draw a distinction between two opposing views. According to the first, documents stored in the archives of the IPN are incomplete and devoid of accurate information. According to the second, documents produced by the repressive apparatus of the communist state constitute a new type of historical source and contain reliable information.
However, these discussions concerning the reliability of “files” lack methodological rigor and precision. I consider the reliability of the “files” in the light of Gerard Labuda and Jerzy Topolski’s concepts of historical sources. According to this analysis, the “files” do not constitute a new type of historical source requiring a radical rethinking of existing classifications and new interpretive methods. However, one precondition of an adequate interpretation is the acknowledgment of the purpose for which they were created and the functions they played in the communist state. The repressive apparatus collected, selected and stored information on society if they considered this information useful in the maintenance of political control over society. Ignorance of or failure to acknowledge this specific social praxis (and its different forms: manipulation, disintegration, misinformation, etc.) performed by the secret political police is one of the reasons for methodical and heuristic errors committed by historians: the uncritical application of the vision of social life and processes presented in these sources for the construction of the historical narrative.
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Maja Gori

Fabricating Identity from Ancient Shards: Memory Construction and Cultural Appropriation in the New Macedonian Question

Abstract

Abstract

In the Republic of Macedonia, the use of archaeology to support the construction of national identity is a relatively new phenomenon, but it has been steadily growing since the declaration of independence in 1991. In sharp contrast to the nation­building process of the Greeks, Serbians, and Bulgarians, whose main ideological components were drawn from a “glorious past,” Macedonian nationalism in the mid-twentieth century looked to an equally “glorious future.” This paper analyzes the construction of popular archaeology in the Republic of Macedonia, and particularly the creative mechanisms driving it, its relation with the national and international academic world, its spread to a public of non-specialists through new media, its reception by society and its political utilization in constructing the national identity.
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Zsolt K. Horváth

The Metapolitics of Reality: Documentary Film, Social Science Research and Cognitive Realism in Twentieth-Century Hungary

Abstract

Abstract

The article explores how, given the absence of a proper public sphere, twentieth-century Hungarian social research began to use the notion of “reality” in populist socio-reports, the documentary films of the 1970s, and sociological debates. These discussions all shared the assumption that contemporary political elites ignored the “real” conditions of society. Thus it was the duty of social research (socio-reports or sociology proper) to reveal these facts in a manner that was free of ideology. Whereas in North America and Western Europe during the 1960s and 1970s the notion of a directly accessible “reality” had been thrown into question, in Hungary scholarship insisted on this kind of cognitive realism because of social and political reasons. As they argued, “reality” was to be interpreted not as a universal epistemological category, but according to particular terms of the sociology of knowledge. This article explores how the detection of “reality” and “facts” became an ethical vocation within these interrogatory frameworks.
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Péter Apor

Spectacular History: Photography, Film and Exhibitions in Representations of the Hungarian Soviet Republic after 1956

Abstract

Abstract

The article explores the implications of communist representations of history as it relates to representation and evidence in historical theory. It investigates the attempts of the party historians to establish a historical connection between the “counterrevolutions” of 1919 and 1956: as they argued, the counterrevolution that had been born in 1919 and ruled the country until 1945 and, subsequently, been forced “underground” by the Soviet Red Army and the new communist power, was able to “resurrect itself” once again in 1956. It examines how they attempted to authenticate this historical abstraction through various historical, mostly visual, records: photography, film and exhibitions. The article argues that an unusual attitude towards evidence prevailed in these historical works. Although communist historians boasted of referring to an abundance of original source material, their narrative frames of representation proved to be fictitious: sources were selected not in order to draw conclusions regarding historical processes, but instead to illustrate various pre-figured abstract constructions of history. The aim of this method was to maintain the separation of the empirical source base and the philosophical-theological imagination surrounding the meanings of history in order to unbind the latter from evidence and tie it to political ideologies and commitments.
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Martina Baleva

Revolution in the Darkroom: Nineteenth-Century Portrait Photography as a Visual Discourse of Authenticity in Historiography

Abstract

Abstract

Historical photography has always played a crucial role in historiography, in the creation of collective memory, and in the perpetuation of historical traditions. Of all the photographic genres, portrait photography is the most prevalent genre and remains the “vera icon” of illustrated histories. The significance of portrait photography in historiography is amply illustrated by its use in the creation of so-called “Bulgarian national heroes,” historical figures that acquired an almost mythic significance largely through their depictions in photographic portraits. In this article I examine the specific use of this particular photographic genre in Bulgarian illustrated histories and provide analyses of the motifs and symbols of the portraits themselves, both as historical primary sources and as epistemological instruments that have had a decisive and continuous influence on the historical process of the creation of “true” national heroes. My aim is to outline the genesis of these photographic portraits in order to shed light on the process of their framing within the historical imagination as authentic representations.
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Łukasz Sommer

Historical Linguistics Applied: Finno-Ugric Narratives in Finland and Estonia

Abstract

Abstract

Finno-Ugricity is one of the linguistic concepts whose meaning and usage have been extended beyond the boundaries of linguistics and applied in identity-building projects. The geographically and historically related cases of Finland and Estonia provide a good illustration of the uses of linguistic scholarship in the service of nationalism. More elusive than ties of “Slavic kinship” and not as easily translatable into a pan-ethnic ideology, the concept of Finno-Ugric kinship has nevertheless had a steady presence in the development of Finnish and Estonian identities throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, entangling the two countries’ linguistic traditions in a web of national engagements. In both cases, the original idea of linguistic kinship was subject to non-linguistic interpretations so as to highlight and contextualize various aspects of the Finnish and Estonian self-images, notions of collective past, and cultural heritage. In both cases, the concept proved highly flexible.
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Book Reviews

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Abolish the Past Once and for All. A kommunista aszketizmus esztétikája [The Aesthetic of Communist Asceticism].
By Dávid Szolláth. Reviewed by Tamás Kisantal

Tudomány és ideológia között. Tanulmányok az 1945 utáni történetírás történetéről [Between Scholarship and Ideology. Essays on the History of the post-1945 Historiography]. By Vilmos Erős and Ádám Takács.
Reviewed by Anna Birkás

The Holocaust in Hungary: Evolution of a Genocide. By Zoltán Vági, László Csősz, and Gábor Kádár.
Reviewed by Ferenc Laczó

Gendered Artistic Positions and Social Voices: Politics, Cinema and the Visual Arts in State-Socialist and Post-Socialist Hungary.
By Beata Hock. Reviewed by Péter Apor

Vezércsel. Kádár János mindennapjai [King’s Gambit. The Everyday Life of János Kádár].
By György Majtényi. Reviewed by Tibor Takács

Politikai rendőrség a Rákosi-korszakban [Political Police in the Rákosi Era].
By Rolf Müller. Reviewed by Éva Tulipán

Trianon Again and Again. Rozpad Uhorska a Trianonská mierová zmluva. K politikám pamäti na Slovensku a v Maďarsku. [The Disintegration of Historical Hungary
and the Trianon Peace Treaty. Politics of Memory in Slovakia and Hungary.]
Edited by Miroslav Michela and László Vörös. Bratislava: Reviewed by Csaba Zahorán

Rozpad Uhorska a Trianonská mierová zmluva. K politikám pamäti na Slovensku a v Maďarsku. [The Disintegration of Historical Hungary and the Trianon Peace Treaty. Politics of Memory in Slovakia and Hungary.]
Edited by Miroslav Michela and László Vörös. Bratislava: Reviewed by Adam Hudek


Notes on Contributors

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Volume 3 Issue 3Identity, Loyalty, State: The Balkans in and after the Ottoman Empire

Gábor Demeter and Krisztián Csaplár-Degovics
Special Editors of the Thematic Issue

Contents

Articles

Judit Gál
The Roles and Loyalties of the Bishops and Archbishops of Dalmatia (1102–1301)

Abstract

Abstract

This paper deals with the roles of archbishops and bishops of Dalmatia who were either Hungarian or had close connections with the Hungarian royal court. The analysis covers a relatively long period, beginning with the coronation of Coloman as king of Croatia and Dalmatia (1102) and concluding with the end of the Árpád dynasty (1301). The length of this period not only enables me to examine the general characteristics of the policies of the court and the roles of the prelates in a changing society, but also allows for an analysis of the roles of the bishopric in different spheres of social and political life. I examine the roles of bishops and archbishops in the social context of Dalmatia and clarify the importance of their activities for the royal court of Hungary. Since the archbishops and bishops had influential positions in their cities, I also highlight the contradiction between their commitments to the cities on the one hand and the royal court on the other, and I examine the ways in which they managed to negotiate these dual loyalties.
First, I describe the roles of the bishops in Dalmatian cities before the rule of the Árpád dynasty. Second, I present information regarding the careers of the bishops and archbishops in question. I also address aspects of the position of archbishop that were connected to the royal court. I focus on the role of the prelates in the royal entourage in Dalmatia, their importance in the emergence of the cult of the dynastic saints, and their role in shaping royal policy in Dalmatia. I concentrate on the aforementioned bishops, but in certain cases, such as the examination of the royal entourage or the spread of cults, I deal with other, non-Hungarian bishops of territories that were under Hungarian rule. This general analysis is important because it provides an opportunity for a more nuanced understanding of the bishopric role and helps highlight the importance of the Hungarian bishops, who constitute the main subject of this essay.
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Antal Molnár
A Forgotten Bridgehead between Rome, Venice, and the Ottoman Empire: Cattaro and the Balkan Missions in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

Abstract

Abstract

A key element in the history of the missions that departed from Rome as of the middle of the sixteenth century is the functioning of the mediating structures that ensured the maintenance of the relationship between Rome as the center of the Holy Roman Empire and the territories where the missionaries did their work. On the Dalmatian coast of the Adriatic Sea, Ragusa, which today is the city of Dubrovnik, was the most important bridgehead, but Cattaro, today Kotor, also played a significant role as a point of mediation between Rome and the Ottoman Empire. My intention in this essay is to present the many roles of Cattaro in the region, focusing in particular on its role in the maintenance of communication between Rome and missions to the Balkans. Cattaro never lost its Balkan orientation, even following the weakening of economic ties and the loss of its episcopal jurisdiction, which had extended over parishes in Serbia in the Middle Ages. Rather, in the sixteenth century it grew with the addition of a completely new element. From 1535 to 1786 Cattaro was the most important center of the postal service between Venice and Istanbul. As of 1578, the management of the Istanbul post became the responsibility of the Bolizza family. Thus the family came to establish a wide network of connections in the Balkans. I examine these connections and then offer an analysis of the plans concerning the settlement of the Jesuits in Cattaro. As was true in the case of Ragusa, the primary appeal of the city from the perspective of members of the Jesuit order was the promise of missions to the Balkans. In the last section of the essay I focus on the role Cattaro played in the organization of missions for a good half-century following the foundation of the Propaganda Fide Congregation in 1622. Four members of the Bolizza family worked in the Balkans as representatives of the Propaganda Congregation in the seventeenth century: Francesco, Vincenzo, Nicolo and Giovanni. I provide a detailed examination of the work of the first three, including the circumstances of their appointments, their efforts to unite the Orthodox Serbs with the Catholic Church and protect the Franciscan mission to Albania, their roles as mediators between Rome and the areas to which missionaries traveled, the services they rendered involving the coordination of missions, their influence on personal decisions and the appointments of pontiffs, and their political and military roles during the Venetian–Ottoman war.
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Dževada Šuško
Bosniaks & Loyalty: Responses to the Conscription Law in Bosnia and Hercegovina 1881/82

Abstract

Abstract

Doing military service to protect the borders of a state and the security and safety of its citizens is a clear indicator of loyalty. Furthermore, military service is a measure of the extent to which a citizen identifies with the norms and values of a state. When Austria–Hungary, as a leading European power, was granted the right at the Congress of Berlin to occupy and administer Bosnia, the Muslim Bosniaks, who once had been the guardians of the westernmost border of the Ottoman Empire, suddenly had to deal with non-Muslim rulers and found themselves a religious minority in Austria–Hungary, an overwhelmingly Christian empire. A key occasion to demonstrate allegiance to their new state came in 1881 with the issue of the Conscription law. Bosniak Muslim soldiers had to serve in an army led by non-Muslims. An insurrection occurred and a heated discussion was initiated to find an acceptable answer to the question of whether or not it was permissible for a Muslim to live under non-Muslim rule and whether a Muslim could serve in the military under a non-Islamic flag. Thus, modernist and reformist thought became an important force in assessments and reassessments of traditional concepts of Islam. Contemporary fatwas, newspapers, witness reports, and archival documents offer crucial insights into the discourses and reasoning of the Bosniaks at the time when these changes were taking place. Many important political decisions concerning Bosnia and Hercegovina were discussed in the Gemeinsamer Ministerrat. However, its proceedings during the years in question have not yet been edited and remain inaccessible. Nonetheless, the accessible sources in Sarajevo shed light on the efforts of the Bosniaks to accommodate themselves to the new ruler and adapt to and identify with “Western” norms and values. Furthermore, these sources demonstrate that as long as the territorial integrity of Bosnia and the religious rights of the Muslim communities were respected, Bosniaks displayed loyalty, military courage, and devotion to the state.
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Klara Volarić
Between the Ottoman and Serbian States: Carigradski Glasnik, an Istanbul-based Paper of Ottoman Serbs, 1895–1909

Abstract

Abstract

In this essay I investigate Carigradski glasnik (Constantinople’s Messenger), an Istanbul-based periodical written by Ottoman Serbs between 1895 and 1909. This journal was a direct product of Serbian diplomatic circles in Istanbul aimed at audiences in Ottoman Macedonia, a region which was claimed by Greek, Bulgarian and Serbian countries as their own national territory and which soon became a political arena for the spread of national propaganda intended to persuade the Slavic-speaking Orthodox population of its respective Greek, Serbian, or Bulgarian national roots. Carigradski glasnik propagated the idea of Serbian nationhood and fought for the establishment of a Serbian Millet. Essentially, it was an attempt to create nationhood from above, propagating “Serbianness” as envisioned by its editors and Serbian diplomats. It was engaged in the dispute over Ottoman Macedonia, which in the historiography is known as the Macedonian question.
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Nadine Akhund
Stabilizing a Crisis and the Mürzsteg Agreement of 1903: International Efforts to Bring Peace to Macedonia

Abstract

Abstract

In 1903, the Macedonian Question was at the roots of the first concerted European international intervention. The Mürzsteg Agreement, which was signed by the six great powers and the Ottoman Empire, was an attempt at common European diplomacy.
The Mürzsteg Agreement, which was reached following the failure of the Illinden uprising launched by the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, placed the three vilayets of Macedonia under the collective control of the great powers. Drawing on diplomatic reports, in this essay I emphasize the “spirit of Mürzsteg” and trace the process of the establishment of an international military and civil administration. The Mürzsteg Agreement gave a substantial peace-keeping role to a large group, including diplomats, military missions, two Civil Agents and their Ottoman counterparts. The paper studies the implementation of the Agreement. How did the ill-defined document lead to the emergence of new maps of Macedonia? In addition to the existing Ottoman administrative map, two others appeared as the three vilayets were divided into five international sectors, each of which was under the control of one of the great powers, and a “religious or mental map” of the region the site of bitter, violent religious-civil conflict began to emerge in 1904, when the two Orthodox churches of the Patriarchate and the Exarchate launched a campaign to convince the populations to declare themselves either Greek or Bulgarian.
In conclusion, the paper assesses the legacy of the Mürzsteg Agreement. This short but meaningful episode represented an innovative approach in the policy of the great powers that was based on emerging concepts such as negotiation, collective action, and dialogue in a recognized international mandate. The concerted intervention of the six great European powers in Macedonia belongs to a broader process of evolution in the history of European international relations, a process that yielded more palpable results after 1918 with the establishment of the League of Nations and the emergence of a new, if short-lived, international order.
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Gábor Demeter and Krisztián Csaplár-Degovics
Social Conflicts, Changing Identities and Everyday Strategies of Survival in Macedonia on the Eve of the Collapse of Ottoman Central
Power (1903–12)

Abstract

Abstract

The present study aims to identify certain social dividing lines, fractures and motivations that accelerated the rise in political murders and everyday violence after the Ilinden Uprising. The contribution of foreign intervention (including both the attempts of the great powers to settle the question and the propagandistic activity of neighboring small states) and local traditions (customs) to the nature and extent of violence are also investigated. The authors will also consider the shift in the support policy of neighboring small states from construction to destruction—including the issues of economic benefit and local acceptance at a time when selection of an identity no longer entailed only advantages, but imposed threats as well. During this period the boundaries between the various types of violent action triggered either by religious and school conflict or customs gradually faded, while Chetas became highly organized and self-subsistent through cultivation and smuggling of opium and tobacco and expropriation of state and private property. In order to trace the territorial and cultural patterns of violence as well as specific and general motives, the authors conducted a statistical analysis of quantitative data regarding victims and perpetrators.
The study is based on the comparison of Austro–Hungarian and Bulgarian archival sources in order to check the reliability of data. The study area—the Sanjak of Skopje in Kosovo Vilayet—is suitable for examining problems related to the birth of modern nations: the ethnic and religious diversity of this sanjak makes it possible to investigate both the tensions that existed within and between the Eastern Orthodox and Muslim religious communities as well as the impact of small states with territorial pretensions on this region.
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Gábor Egry
Phantom Menaces? Ethnic Categorization, Loyalty and State Security in Interwar Romania

Abstract

Abstract

In this article, I analyze practices of defining and applying concepts of ethnicity, loyalty and state security in Greater Romania. While state policies were based on a basic assumption of the equation of ethnic belonging and loyalty (Romanians being loyal, non-Romanians disloyal), the complexity of the very administrative apparatus and the problems of unification opened up a space in which the concepts of loyalty and ethnicity were contested. The case studies of the use of the term irredentist and the language exams of minority officials in the mid-1930s shed light on a related but different question. The basic equation of loyalty and ethnicity resulted in the use of an otherwise empty concept of irredentism as a term to denote little more than ethnic “otherness,” a vagueness that enabled local authorities to apply it deliberately, either to restrict or to permit members of minorities to engage in activities that had some bearing on questions of identity. The ways in which the language exams were administered indicate the existence of a large group of non-Romanian public officials who were treated by their colleagues and immediate superiors as equal members of a public body serving the nation state, people who in exchange redefined their loyalty and identity as one based primarily on this professional group membership while still preserving their ethnic belonging. These deviations from the basic equation also reveal how the layered and geographically diverse nature of the state administration influenced the contested nature of the ethnic categories.
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Penka Peykovska
Literacy and Illiteracy in Austria–Hungary. The Case of Bulgarian Migrant Communities

Abstract

Abstract

The present study aims to contribute to the clarification of the question of the spread of literacy in East Central Europe and the Balkans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by offering an examination of Bulgarian migrant diasporas in Austria–Hungary and, in particular, in Hungary, i.e. the Eastern part of the Empire. The study of literacy among migrants is important because immigrants represent a possible resource for the larger societies in which they live, so comparisons of the levels of education among migrants (for instance with the levels of education among the majority community, but also with the levels of education among the communities of their homelands) may shed light on how the different groups benefited from interaction with each other. In this essay I analyze data on literacy, illiteracy and semi-literacy rates among migrants on the basis of the Hungarian censuses of 1890, 1900 and 1910. I present trends and tendencies in levels of literacy or illiteracy in the context of the social aspects of literacy and its relationship to birthplace, gender, age, confession, migration, selected destinations and ethnicity. I also compare literacy rates among Bulgarians in Austria–Hungary with the literacy rates among other communities in the Dual Monarchy and Bulgaria and investigate the role of literacy in the preservation of identity. My comparisons and analyses are based primarily (but not exclusively) on data regarding the population that had reached the age at which school attendance was compulsory, as this data more accurately reflect levels of literacy than the data regarding the population as a whole.
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Book Reviews

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Земята и хората през ХVІІ – първите десетилетия на ХVІІІ век. Овладяване и организация на аграрното и социалното пространство на Централните и Южните Балкани под османска власт, Академично издателство [Land and People – in the Seventeenth Century and the First Decades of the Eighteenth Century. Reclamation and Organization of the Agrarian and Social Space in the Central and Southern Balkans under Ottoman Rule]. By Stefka Parveva.
Reviewed by Gábor Demeter

Hungarian–Yugoslav Relations, 1918–1927. By Árpád Hornyák.
Reviewed by László Bíró

Notes on Contributors

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Volume 2 Issue 1Reformations

Gabriella Erdélyi Special Editor of the Thematic Issue

Table of Contents

Articles

Zoltán Csepregi
The Evolution of the Language of the Reformation in Hungary (1522–1526)

Abstract

Abstract

The spatial framework of this study is the strip of towns lying in the region that used to be known as Upper Hungary (today Slovakia), communities that in the sixteenth century had German speaking minorities. At the time in question, there were numerous events and historical texts in which one can discern the use of a new ecclesiastical language. These sources are given voice with the help of philological methods, for instance intertextual analysis. A letter written by Bartholomeus Francfordinus Pannonius in 1522 constitutes the first example of church language reform in Hungary, though his words exemplify more the linguistic tendencies of Humanism than of the Reformation. A letter written by Mary of Habsburg in 1523 demonstrates the queen’s interest in and understanding of religious reformation, but also her desire to maintain her distance as sovereign. According to the views revealed during the inquest against alleged heretics in Sopron in 1524, traditional Franciscan criticism of the Church had intermingled with ideas deriving from Lutheran thought. At the time of the mining town revolt (1525), miners used (for instance) Saint Paul’s apostolic greeting (Romans 1:7) as a sign of difference and usually included them in the introductory section of letters to their comrades. As the sources make evident, the apostolic greeting served as a form of identification within the Evangelical Movement. These textual analyses illustrate the significant impact of the Reformation in Hungary in the period before the Battle of Mohács (1526).
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Gabriella Erdélyi
Lay Agency in Religious Change: the Role of Communities and Landlords in Reform and Reformation

Abstract

Abstract

In this essay I seek to illuminate “from below” the process of growing lay agency in matters of religion within the frame of a case study. Although the expansion of lay control over church affairs is usually considered an urban phenomenon, I focus on the Hungarian countryside, on how peasants living in villages and towns under feudal authority participated in late medieval reform and sixteenth-century reformations. I contend that the late medieval observant reform of the mendicant friary of the market-town of Körmend was initiated by laymen, and the process of reform itself took place primarily in the interplay of the social and religious needs of the community and landlord. In order to assess on a more general level the role of lay participation in church affairs, I test my findings against village parish religion.  I investigate negotiations between peasant communities and landlords over issues related to the election of the local parish incumbent, as well his livelihood and the maintenance of the parish church. I conclude that the high level of lay participation and investments in matters of local religion made it possible for Luther to speak about communal rights and transform locally diverse practices into a universal Christian norm.
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Pál Ács
Holbein’s “Dead Christ” in Basel and the Radical Reformation

Abstract

Abstract

My intention in this essay is to examine Hans Holbein’s painting Dead Christ (1521–1522) from a new point of view. Earlier interpretations of the painting which approached it from various perspectives, ranging from late medieval piety and the Renaissance to the Reformation and early modern “modernism,” have proven unsatisfying. I suggest, as an immediate context for the interpretation of the message of the painting, the so-called “Radical Reformation,” the views of which were closely linked to the notions of Erasmus advocating the spiritual reformation of humankind. I argue that both Erasmus and his portrait painter Holbein belonged to the same intellectual group and the painter sought to emphasize the real death and true Resurrection of Christ as a human being. By doing so with great artistic force, he got close to the central message of the radical Reformation, namely the denial of the divinity of Christ and the recognition of his human nature. Consequently, Dead Christ also captures the central tenets of the spiritualism of the Radical Reformation.
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Mihály Balázs
Tolerant Country – Misunderstood Laws. Interpreting Sixteenth-Century Transylvanian Legislation Concerning Religion

Abstract

Abstract

In this essay, I offer a new interpretation of the religious laws that were passed in Transylvania between 1568 and 1571. I conclude that the interpretations that have been ventured so far in the secondary literature have failed to provide a concrete analysis of the relationships between different confessions, either because of national prejudice or because of general ignorance of prevailing conditions at the time. As a consequence, a view has gained acceptance in several comprehensive works according to which, by recognizing the four confessions in Transylvania, lawmakers sought to ensure the survival of the newly emerged principality. I offer a thorough study of the texts of the laws in support of my contention that this is not the case. The laws include no specific list of the four confessions. The first such list dates from 1595, the year after which the laws make mention of the Orthodox religion of the Romanian speaking population as a tolerated religion. As my analysis clearly demonstrates, up until the end of the century the most important goal of the laws was the continuous assertion of the Protestant identity of the Principality, and paradoxically this did not even change in 1571, when the Roman Catholic István Báthory came to the Transylvanian throne. Until the middle of the 1570s this Protestant identity was essentially undivided due to the unparalleled slowness (in comparison with the rest of Europe) of the spread of confessionalism. It is worth noting that until the early 1570s the prince and those closest to him saw the restoration of Protestant unity in Europe as the mission of Transylvanian Protestantism, and this meant attempting to spread Protestantism among the Orthodox communities of the country. At the same time, the estates in Transylvania, a principality that saw itself as fundamentally Protestant, sought to ensure the preservation of conditions necessary for the survival of the religious lives of the dwindling number of Catholics.
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Réka Kiss
“The women do not want to go to church.” Church Discipline and the Control of the Public Practice of Religion in the Calvinist Diocese of Küküllő in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

Abstract

Abstract

The Calvinist model of Church discipline introduced a considerably more intensive and elaborate system of enforcing moral rules and controlling social behavior than the one that had formerly prevailed. Its religious, cultural, and social role and the regional variants have remained subjects of debate to this day. In this essay, I examine a form of this institutional system that is unique from many perspectives, using as my sources the seventeenth and eighteenth-century visitation records and diocesan court documents from the Hungarian Reform Diocese of Küküllő (the name of which is taken from Küküllő River, in Romanian the Târnava River). In the first half of the essay I offer an overview of the peculiarities of the Transylvanian church organisation and the institutional system of church discipline, addressing in particular the question of the extent to which these institutions differed from or resembled Western European models. In the second half of the essay I survey the guiding role of the Church and the relationship between norms and actual practice as seen through the study of efforts to supervise and enforce religious conformity. By analyzing seventeenth and eighteenth- century documents pertaining to the control and sanction of participation in public Church rituals, I seek to provide a nuanced image of the religious practices of the era and further an understanding of how Church surveillance was asserted in the everyday lives of members of local communities.
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Gábor Tüskés
Narrative Literature and the Reformation: Focal Points of an Interdisciplinary Discussion of the Scholarship

Abstract

Abstract

The roots of the current discussion of the scholarship on narrative literature and the Reformation stretch back into the last third of the twentieth century. This discussion has been ongoing in several disciplines, often working independently of one another and to some extent on different levels of inquiry, and sometimes with only minimal exchange of findings and conclusions. These studies are significant first and foremost because the operative terms themselves denote a field of inquiry in which one can trace processes of the history of science that are not sufficiently understood, processes the further mapping of which can lead to a better understanding of events in literary history and the history of ideas in the early modern era. The goal of my survey here is to examine the conceptual formation of the relevant terms and shed light on their development within the history of science. I also identify some lacunae in the scholarship and formulate several hypotheses. I have concentrated in my inquiry on German speaking areas, with some consideration of the situation in Hungary.
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Book Reviews

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A zászlós bárány nyomában. A magyar kálvinizmus 17. századi világa [Following the Flag-bearing Lamb. Hungarian Calvinism in the Seventeenth Century]. Speculum Historiae Debreceniense 6.
By Dávid Csorba. Reviewed by Zsombor Tóth

Magánélet a régi Magyarországon  [Private Life in Old Hungary]. Magyar történelmi emlékek: Értekezések 2. By Katalin Péter.  Reviewed by Gábor Kármán

Identitás és kultúra a török hódoltság korában [Identity and Culture in the Age of Ottoman Rule in Hungary].
Edited by Pál Ács and Júlia Székely. Reviewed by Gábor Kiss Farkas

A művelt arisztokrata: A magyarországi főnemesség olvasmányai a XVI–XVII. században [The Erudite Aristocrat: The Reading Materials of the Hungarian Aristocracy in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries].
By István Monok. Reviewed by András Koltai

Egyház és közösség a kora újkorban: A küküllői református egyházmegye 17–18. századi iratainak tükrében. [Church and Community in the Early Modern Era: the Calvinist Diocese of Küküllő as Reflected in its Records from the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries] Néprajzi Tanulmányok.
By Réka Kiss. Reviewed by Dávid Csorba

 

Notes on Contributors

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Volume 2 Issue 2Angevin History

Tamás Pálosfalvi Special Editor of the Thematic Issue

Table of Contents

Articles

Attila Zsoldos
Kings and Oligarchs in Hungary at the Turn of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries

Abstract

Abstract

In the decades around the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries Hungarian royal authority sank into a deep crisis. While previously the king had been the exclusive supreme lord of the country, from the 1270s on some members of the nobility managed to build up powers in the possession of which they could successfully resist even the king. The present study explores the road which led to the emergence of oligarchical provinces. It presents both the common and the individual features of these provinces, defining the conceptual difference which apparently existed between the oligarchs who opposed royal power and the lords of territories who remained loyal to the ruler. Consequently, the study analyses the measures which were taken first by the last Árpáds, and then by the first member of the new, Angevin dynasty, Charles I, in order to neutralize oligarchical powers. By the end of the study it becomes apparent why it was Charles I who finally managed to break the power of the oligarchs and dismember their provinces.
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Renáta Skorka
With a Little Help from the Cousins – Charles I and the Habsburg Dukes of Austria during the Interregnum

Abstract

Abstract

With the death of King Andrew III of Hungary in January 1301 the male line of the Árpád dynasty that had ruled the Kingdom of Hungary for precisely three centuries died out. It was self-evident and natural to everyone that a ruler who was linked to the Árpáds through the female line must be elected to head the kingdom; however, opinions were divided as to who actually should wear the Hungarian crown. One of the important factors of the interregnum prevailing in Hungary in the first decade of the fourteenth century examined below is the support for royal candidates arriving from outside the country’s borders, which in many respects contributed to the coronation of the last remaining candidate in accordance with expectations and traditions in 1310.
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György Rácz
The Congress of Visegrád in 1335: Diplomacy and Representation

Abstract

Abstract

The Congress of Visegrád, held in 1335, was one of the outstanding diplomatic events in Central Europe in the fourteenth century. The present study, after outlining the general historical developments which characterized the kingdoms involved, namely Bohemia, Hungary and Poland, in the early decades of the fourteenth century, retraces the immediate preliminaries of the diplomatic summit, before all the efforts at eliminating the political and territorial conflicts which opposed Poland and Bohemia on the one hand, and Poland and the Teutonic order on the other hand, through the mediation of Charles I of Hungary, the senior ranking ruler of the region. The study examines all the chief agreements concluded during the conference, on the basis of all the available charters and the narrative sources, carefully accounting for the differences of viewpoints which characterize the narratives of chroniclers from the various countries. It comes to the conclusion that, contrary to Hungarian historiography, although the conference did have a commercial aspect, it was certainly not the main thrust of the events at Visegrád. Finally, the study makes an effort at establishing, upon the amounts of food consumed,  the number of the respective retinues of the Polish and Czech rulers, and thereby determine whether the numbers involved could be regarded as average or whether they implied a conscious show of strength on the part of the two kings.
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Boglárka Weisz
Mining Town Privileges in Angevin Hungary

Abstract

Abstract

The present study examines the privileges obtained by the mining towns during the Angevin Era. It also looks at the extent to which these privileges diverged from those granted to other towns, and how all this led to the development of the mining town as a distinct class of towns. The question itself is interesting not only with respect to urban history, but also because it brings us closer to an understanding of why these towns acted jointly in defense of their interests, and how all this led to the formation of leagues of mining towns, which by the fifteenth century were organizing themselves on a territorial basis. After a detailed examination of the legal, ecclesiastical and economic privileges the study has come to the conclusion that in the area of both legal and economic privileges significant differences and divergences can be discerned in comparison to privileges bestowed on other towns. The reason for the differences naturally is to be sought in mining, and in the need to secure the royal revenue stemming from it. From a legal standpoint, this shows up not only in the appearance of offices linked to mining, but also in the emergence of comites or rectores appointed by the king to head the mining towns. In discussing economic privileges it may be observed that, whereas other towns were motivated primarily by a desire to obtain commercial privileges (e.g., right to hold markets, exemption from tolls), mining towns were moved by the need to secure the rights connected to mining. Thanks to their special freedoms, the mining towns differed from other towns while also forming an organic part of the urban network.
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Gábor Klaniczay
Efforts at the Canonization of Margaret of Hungary in the Angevin Period

Abstract

Abstract

St Margaret of Hungary, the daughter of King Béla IV offered to the service of God, who lived her life in the Dominican convent at the Rabbits’ Island near Buda, constructed for her, and died in 1270, followed the vocation of her aunt, St Elisabeth of Hungary, who was by then one of the most popular saints in Europe. The official investigation around Margaret’s sanctity, supported by the Dominican Order, her brother, King Stephen V, and other royal families, started in 1273, first with a local inquiry, then with a witness hearing in 1276 by papal legates. Nevertheless, this process—as many other similar ones—remained unfinished in the Middle Ages, and after repeated attempts from the Hungarian kings and the Dominicans, the canonization of Margaret only succeeded in 1943. The present study is discussing a chapter in these efforts, the ones during the period of the Angevin rulers, for whom the cult of saint ancestors has been more important than for any other Hungarian royal dynasty. New studies on the canonization processes in general, and new studies on Saint Margaret in particular allow us now to see more clearly three such Angevin attempts, one in 1306, even before their accession to the Hungarian throne, one around 1340, which has been brought by Viktória Hedvig Deák in connection with the Legenda maior of Margaret, written in Avignon by Garinus, and a third in 1379, at the beginning of the Great Schism, the documents of which have recently been discovered by Otfried Krafft.
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Vinni Lucherini
The Journey of Charles I, King of Hungary, from Visegrád to Naples (1333): Its Political Implications and Artistic Consequences

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of this article is to reconstruct the journey of Charles I, King of Hungary (1310–1342), from Visegrád to Naples in the year 1333. Through an analysis of documents written in the Angevin Chancellery in Naples from 1331 to 1333 (all physically lost, but accessible through transcripts published during the 1800s both in Naples and in Budapest), papal letters of the same period, and some major medieval and modern narrative sources, I try to understand the reasons that brought Charles I to Naples and to clarify the strong political implications, even long-term ones, that the journey had for the history not only of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and Sicily but of the Kingdom of Hungary as well. Looking closely at an Angevin document from 1333, never contextualized in the historical moment it was issued, I will formulate new hypotheses concerning the artistic consequences the journey had on the funerary politics of Robert of Anjou, King of Sicily (1309–1343), and on the commissioning of monumental tombs intended to solemnly guard the remains of prominent members of the Angevin dynasty in the cathedral of Naples.
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Veronika Csikós
The Bishop and his Chapel: The Hédervári Chapel in Győr and the Episcopal Chapels of Central Europe around 1400

Abstract

Abstract

Among the spectacular life stories of the prelates of Central Europe, that of János Hédervári, bishop of Győr (northern Hungary), is remarkable from several perspectives. He was one of the bishops who played an active political role in the history of his country and, as a figure of the church who founded a private chapel, also a representative of an important tradition of Central European episcopal patronage. The first part of my paper deals with János’s life, which has not yet been made the subject of detailed study. More precisely, I will emphasize János’s role as a confidant of Queen Elisabeth and someone who assisted as such in her endeavor to hinder the future king, Sigismund of Luxemburg, from seizing the Hungarian crown. János managed to become bishop just a few months before Sigismund ascended to the throne, but he was to spend the first two decades of his episcopal rule in the shadow of political neglect. During these two decades, however, János nurtured a remarkable artistic culture in his episcopal town. Between 1386 and 1403 the Gothic building of the Győr Cathedral was built, as was the delicate structure of the Holy Trinity Chapel, the chapel he himself founded. Through an architectural analysis of the chapel in the second part of the paper, I aim to demonstrate that a structurally complex and prestigious building was constructed under his auspices – and in spite of the fact that the diocese of Győr was by no means the richest among the bishoprics of the country. Furthermore, I will argue that the Holy Trinity Chapel not only integrates the latest architectural features of its era, but also mingles them with a unique structure and adaptations from non-episcopal architectural models, which lends it an individual character and makes the chapel an interesting Hungarian case of episcopal patronage in the late fourteenth century.
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Book Reviews

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A kalocsai érseki tartomány kialakulása [The Formation of the Archiepiscopal Province of Kalocsa].
By László Koszta. Reviewed by Dániel Bagi

Vásárok és lerakatok a középkori Magyar Királyságban [Markets and Staples in the Medieval Kingdom of Hungary].
By Boglárka Weisz. Reviewed by Judit Benda

A Szapolyai család Oklevéltára I. Levelek és oklevelek (1458–1526) [The Archives of the Szapolyai Family I. Letters and Diplomas (1458–1526)].
By Tibor Neumann. Reviewed by Tamás Fedeles

The Parish and Pilgrimage Church of St Elizabeth in Košice. Town, Court, and Architecture in Late Medieval Hungary.
By Tim Juckes. Reviewed by Zsombor Jékely

 

Notes on Contributors

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