Political Uses of Historical Comparisons: Medieval and Modern Hungary

János M. Bak

Abstract


János Bak offers a sketch of the politically charged deployment in Hungary of medieval and later myths of national historical origin beginning with the anonymous Gesta Hungarorum of c.1200, which traces the Magyars back to Scythia and which was printed and then translated into Hungarian in the eighteenth century during a period of Romantic nationalism. Bak further discusses the late thirteenth-century Gesta of Simon of Kéza, which links the Hungarians to the Huns, as well as the Cronica de introductione Scytarum in Ungariam et Judaeorum de Aegypto, the rhymed Latin chronicle of the sixteenth-century Calvinist minister András Farkas, which draws parallels between Hungary and the Israelites. Bak concludes by turning to the debates among twentieth-century historians concerning the effects of the recent use of such myths for political propaganda.

Full Text:

PDF