Július 2007
Történelmi tér, mozgástér, kényszerpálya

  Beszéljünk a muzsikáról (vers)
  Lászlóffy Csaba

  „Térbeli fordulat” és a várostörténet
  Gyáni Gábor

  A „katasztrófa” okai
  Romsics Ignác

  Európai célok – közép-európai lehetőségek
  E. Kovács Péter

  Kettős függésben: Erdély államisága a 16. században
  Oborni Teréz

  Mozgástér a kényszerpályán
  Hermann Róbert

  Egy sajátos földtulajdon: a székely örökség
  Egyed Ákos

  A Magyar Népi Szövetség kisebbségpolitikájának korlátai 1946-ban
  Nagy Mihály Zoltán–Olti Ágoston

  Keresem a metaforát (Európai Napló)
  Sz. Benedek István

  Kasstól – Kassról
  Kántor Lajos

  Elcsöndesedő falu?
  Simon András

  Julius Krohn, Róheim Géza és Mircea Eliade sámánképe
  Sarnyai Csaba Máté

  Hat elaggott férfiaknak…
  Murádin János Kristóf

Mű és világa
  Naphimnusz a Kálvárián
  Poszler György

  Rókák és struccok (Átfogó)
  Bogdán László

  Nyolcvan év nagyhatalmak érdekzónáiban
  Stanik Bence

  Az arctalan közösségtől az egyéniesített társadalom- és kultúrakutatásig
  Pozsony Ferenc

  Archetipikus szimbolizáció és reprezentációi
  Peti Lehel

  Ars peregrinandi
  Nagy Zoltán

  Olvasó kizárva
  Kovács Noémi

  A Korunk könyvajánlata

  A szabadság apostola
  Heim András

  Libertariánus honlapok
  Mihai Sârbu



  Számunk szerzői



Gábor Gyáni

“Spatial turn” and urban history


Michel Foucault asserted the primacy of space for analysis as against that of “time” so much characterizing and defining the nineteenth-century historical scholarship and humanities. The shift from the modern to the postmodern looks to necessitate an equivalent epistemological shift from temporality (history) to spatiality (geography) as the privileged guide to knowledge. The space from that special perspective is not just an empty  vacuum serving simply to locate any events. On the contrary,  it is a constitutive element of  human actions, which even tends to be the primary causal factor for many social processes. The space, in addition, is not to be assessed as an entirely homogeneous entity, as  being made up of a lot of heterogeneous places or locations.

Historians dealing with the urban past are most concerned by the spatial turn paradigm. Therefore it is an urgent task to evaluate the impact of the spatial turn, a notion initiated by some postmodern geographers (E. W. Soja), on urban history both in general and in particular.

One of the most important aspects of writing the city spatially is the unambiguously close relationship between the spatial dimension and the creation of identity. The classic conceptual approach to the modern urban domain provided both by Georg Simmel and Walter Benjamin, suggests an image of modernity which is adequately articulated or embodied by the modern urbanite being blasé (Simmel), or the flâneur (Benjamin) who is “trained” to perceive and read the city mainly visually.  There has, however, been now an increasing number of research findings in terms of the 19th and early 20th century modern European urban setting showing that (1) there was no once-for-all transition from open to closed personal contacts with the growth of the great cities at that time (criticizing this way the Simmel thesis); and (2) that the flâneurie postulated by Benjamin represented more a bourgeois or middle-class sort of mental perception than a universal culture of modernity on an extensive sociological basis.


Róbert Hermann

Chances of Hungary in 1848-1849


What were the chances of Hungary in 1848-1849 to reach total victory and to attain the independence of the country? Was it able at all to reach a so-called “military stalemate” in what the powers which queried Hungary’s independence have to find political solution and have to come to a compromise with the Hungarian party? – Was there any other perspective than what finally came? Was the Hungarian war of Liberation without any chances from its very beginning? Approaching the question from the aspect of the absolute independence, we have to give a positive answer. But the fights from September 1848 were carried for independence within and not from the Habsburg Empire. And the fight for the independence within the Empire was not chanceless. The Habsburg Empire, with the help of the Russian intervention, could only win the war but could not win the peace; that is to say it could not turn the victory on the battlefield into victory in politics. Though not as it has been formulated in 1848, the Empire had to accept Hungary’s limited independence in 1867; the independent financial, military and trade affairs became also results of the Reconciliation of 1867. With other words, Austria had to accept the force of all the aims Hungary has fought for in 1848-1849.


Péter E. Kovács

European Purposes – Central-European Circumstances


In the course of history every ruler and politician moves on a path determined by the conditions of their reigns, of contemporary politics and so forth. Matthias Corvinus seems to have such a determined path in the historical tradition as well. What he did made him a model for the following generations and no one, including the prominent nineteenth-century Hungarian politicians Lajos Kossuth or István Széchenyi, is more popular nowadays than he.

Matthias was aware of the fact that his person was in no way negligible in European political affairs. On the other hand, we can say this about the kings of Hungary in general: her geopolitical position predestined the land to play a decisive role, for instance, in the fight against the Ottomans. The Holy See as well as the Italian city-states, or estates of the Holy Roman Empire sought Matthias Corvinus’ grace and he maintained diplomatic contacts with many European powers. Still, in spite of these facts we should not draw the conclusion that he was a key-figure of the European political scene. The Kingdom of Hungary and thus Matthias were “taken into account” only in need: when the Ottomans came, when the Hussites were to be fought with or if an ally was needed against another rival power. 

The functioning or non-functioning of the late-fifteenth-century Hungarian administration depended on the might of the king, who stood at its apex. Matthias was not a real reformer. What he did was “not more”, than making the already existing old institutions operate in the most effective manner. After his death this system could have continued to work, but Matthias’ successors lacked the ambition he had possessed. His competence, his skilfulness and his strong character enabled him to rule the medieval Hungarian monarchy within the given frameworks in the best way possible.

He was a real “prince” in the Macchiavellian sense, with European perspectives, though under the given Central-European circumstances. I presume, he clearly saw the difficulties of his situation and that is why he tried his best to get out of this vicious circle. He was intelligent, desperate, clever and shrewd, possessed all the necessary skills to reach his aims. He had been grasping every chance he got in the political constellation of the late-fifteenth century and he could use the opportunities given to him. Thinking of the history of Hungary I should say: it is not a usual thing.


János Kristóf Murádin

In order to support six old men…


One of the Hungarian historians’ unresolved tasks is to compose a list with the existing and ravaged Hungarian memorial tablets in Transylvania. The purpose of this short article is to present a memorial tablet, placed in the downtown of Kolozsvár, which was made in the year 1844. It preserves the memory of one of the first hospitals in this city. Although the institution itself is well known by historians, about those Armenian merchants who established it, there are only a few information. Through the demonstration of the memorial tablet, we are trying to create the portrait of those tradesmen (despised by aristocrats of their age) who generously offered a considerable part of their fortune to support social causes.


Mihály Zoltán Nagy–Ágoston Olti

The Hungarian People’s Union and the Nationality Rights


The documentary sources published here are debating among the same dilemma: the leaders of the Hungarian People’s Union (abreviated MNSZ) claiming to represent politically the Hungarian community from Romania since 1944 had had to choose among different means and tactics in order to achieve their strategic goal: the equality of rights for the nationalities. In deed there was a dilemma: Gyárfás Kurkó, the president of the MNSZ was forced to exercise self-critics because he hadn’t had conciliated his viws with those of the Romanian Communist Party’s leadership. In the same time, Sándor Kacsó, a representative of the inner-opposition of the MNSZ, would prefer international legal guarantees for the nationality rights. Later in 1947, the same Sándor Kacsó already president of the MNSZ saw himself to be forced upon accepting the thesis that declared: the guarentees of the nationality rights were to be relied not on the international law, but were to be resolved by the Romanian democratic regim. 


Teréz Oborni

Double dependency: Transylvania’s statehood in the 16th century


In the decades that followed the battle of Mohács (1526), where Sultan Süleyman’s (r. 1520-66) military destroyed the Hungarian army, the eastern parts of the medieval Hungarian Kingdom seceded from the country’s central and western parts. By the 1570s these eastern parts had evolved into a new state, the Principality of Transylvania. The first step of this long process was the separation of the territories controlled by the two legitimate Hungarian kings, János I Szapolyai (r. 1526-40) and Ferdinand I of Habsburg (r. 1526-64), respectively. The former ruled over the eastern parts of Hungary along with the adjacent Transylvania, while the latter controlled western and northern Hungary. The actual separation of the eastern Hungarian lands was caused by the decision of Sultan Süleyman, who, following his capture of the medieval Hungarian capital Buda in 1541, bestowed Transylvania and the territories between the rivers Maros and Danube to Isabella, King János I’s widow and her infant son. The sultan thus created the territorial framework of the new state that the estates of Transylvania were to establish in the coming decades. The founding of the new sate started in the legislative assemblies of the estates, held between 1542 and 1544, and known by 1544 as general diets (congregatio generalis), where the Transylvanian estates created a new constitution, based on the constitution of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary.

Throughout its existence in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Principality of Transylvania remained the vassal of the Ottoman Empire. When in the mid-16th century the Transylvanian estates repeatedly attempted, on the initiative of Vienna, at joining the remaining parts of the Hungarian Kingdom under Habsburg rule, the Ottoman government intervened. Constantinople made it clear that the two parts of Hungary could under no circumstances be held by the same ruler. Yet despite its obvious limited sovereignty and dependence on the Ottoman Empire, the Principality of Transylvania established special relations with Habsburg Hungary. This special relationship was acknowledged in the treaty of Speyer, concluded in 1570 by János (John) Sigismund, son of János I Szapolyai and ruler of Transylvania and Maximilian II (r. 1564-76) of Habsburg. In this treaty, János Sigismund renounced his title of “elected king of Hungary” (electus rex Hungariae) and contended with the title of Prince of Transylvania and of the Adjacent Parts of Hungary (Princeps Transylvaniae et partium regni Hungariae eidem annexarum). He also acknowledged that Transylvania was part (membrum) of the Hungarian Crown and that the Hungarian king was his sovereign. Thus the sovereignty of the Principality was limited by both the Ottoman Empire and the Hungarian Kingdom under Habsburg rule.


Ignác Romsics

Gyula Szekfű: Three Generations


The book Three Generations (1920), Gyula Szekfű’s interpretation of nineteenth and early-twentieth century trends and developments in Hungary has proved to be the most influential of all interwar Hungarian historical syntheses. It has lived through several editions and quickly became the historical foundation of the conservative-national identity community of the Horthy era. Searching for the roots of the collapse of the old order in 1918, Szekfű interpreted the period between the Hungarian Age of Reform, starting around 1825 and the dissolution of the Habsburg Monarchy and historic Hungary at the end of the 1st World War as a long „Age of Decline”. He divided the epoch into three sub-periods, coinciding with the deep-reaching influence and work of three distinct generations of Hungarian intellectual and political leaders. As to the basic cause of the decline Szekfű identified leftist radicalism, a term which for him included „revolutionary liberalism”. In his view the „Magyar soul” – one of his ahistoric terms derivative the metodology of the Geistesgeschichte School he espoused – was basically traditionalist, cautiously progressive and anti-revolutionary. Thus, any theory that promoted radicalism and revolution was fundamentally alien to it. Therefore, the adoption of any radical or revolutionary ideology could only lead to catastrophe – as it did both in 1849 and 1918. According to his theory, the „eternal” and „unchanging” Magyar features were best represented by Count István Széchenyi while the deviation from them manifested itself most clearly in the political actions and habitus of Count Mihály Károlyi. In sum, taking Szekfű’s methodology and his strong ideological motivations into consideration, the book Three Generations cannot be regarded as a scholarly mainstay of modern Hungarian historiography. It is rather a great creative work with obvious political goals.