The heroification of Greek Olympic champions. Mythical beliefs - cultic adoration
Ancient Greeks showed reverence to their Olympic champions in several ways. For instance, they often erected life-size statutes for them in the Olympic grove or in their hometowns. They attributed magical power to these, making sacrifices to them, and they often attributed victories to their divine origin. From the earliest times, the following Olympic champions are known as heroes: Oibotas - running (756 BC ?), Euythycles - pentathlon (probably in 488 BC), Cleomedes - boxing (492 BC), Diognetus - boxing, too. Most cultic significance is associated with Theogenes of Thasos, who won in boxing in 480 (BC) and in professional wrestling in 476 (BC). He did not find his match in boxing for 22 years. According to legend, his father was no one else but Heracles. At his cultic shrine in Thasos, objects and inscriptions related to sacrifices made in his honour were elevated. Diagoras of Rhodes, who also won in boxing, in 464 BC, was famed for being a descendent of Hermes.
In the past 2000 years historians and artists alike have been going back to Iulius Caesar, meaning to bring into life the "great man," who cast a shadow not only on his contemporary rivals, also reaching into later centuries. Antiquity has bequeathed to us a rich portrait of Caesar and it is not easy to answer the question what his charisma consisted in. One important component of his myth is his relationship to gods as well as to religious cult. He did not oppose, in fact, he sometimes consciously furthered the legitimisation of his power by means of religion. It cannot be precluded that he was affected by the religious way of legitimising power known from the Orient which seemed to be especially amplified in the Hellenistic divine kingdoms. It cannot be argued on the basis of sources that he should have striven to win royal title or divine reverence. Thanks to his realistic political finesse, he considered old Roman traditions, although the determined defenders of Roman republic strove to denounce his activities. He based his own political line on the traditional Roman catch phrases such as dignitas, popular sovereignty, misericordia, liberalitas, dementia, within the framework of the Epicurean thought that after anarchy, undisturbed prosperity is usually guaranteed by an outstanding personality. By means of his exceptional charisma, he was always capable of achieving something new; it is hardly a coincidence that his opponents found no other way to defeat him than murdering him.
"Theodorius amator pacis generisque Gothorum." On Theodosius' policies towards the Goths
Theodosius, one of the most significant emperors of the late Roman period, is persistently labelled as a "friend of the Goths." The presents and decorations that he donated to the Gothic leaders or the peace treaty that he made with them, being a new type of alliance with them as subjects, which made allied Gothic soldiers participate in Theodosius' campaigns, all seem to support this image. However, by looking at the works of contemporary writers, we can detect several contradictions in Theodosius' policy towards the Barbarians. During his sixteen years' reign he always wished to solve the German question by using military means, and he changed this policy only under outside pressure. In 382 he made the peace treaty with the Goths only in such an emergency situation, wishing to set no precedent. He mobilized his Gothic allies because of the repeated Barbarian invasions, riots, counter-emperors, yet he placed them at the head of his troops, driving them to the most dangerous point of the battle, thus reducing the power of this tribe living within the Roman Empire. By analysing the speeches of Themistius, his official political eulogizer, we find that emphasising his friendship with the Goths was part of a conscious political propaganda serving Theodosius' absolute rule. This propaganda proved successful despite the facts, since the myth of his being "Gothic-friendly" survived in the Latin works of Greek writers and maybe in the Gothic oral tradition as well. Later writers, on the other hand, were pleased to use the topos of Theodosius as the Roman emperor who solved the Barbarian problem in a peaceful manner, making an alliance with the Goths to deal with the troubles of their own age.
Numen and numinousity - on some religious aspects of the Roman concept of authority
This paper gives a short account of some philological and religious aspects of the concept of 'numen' defined by H. Rose as 'superhuman force, impersonal in itself, but belonging to a person (a god of some kind), or occasionally to an exceptionally important body of human beings, as the Roman senate or people'. Etymological 'numen' simply means 'nodding' or 'movement' as an act of will, e. g. like that of Iuppiter: 'adnuit et totum tremefecit Olympum' (Verg. Aen. 10, 115). The triumphator, adorned with the ornaments of the Iuppiter Capitolinus, represents in his personal appearance the numen of the god; as Spengler remarks: 'er (scil. der Triumphator) trug hier die Rüstung des kapitolinischen Iuppiter, und in der älteren Zeit waren Gesicht und Arme mit roter Farbe bestrichen, um die Aehnlichkeit mit der Terrakottastatue des Gottes, dessen numen sich in diesem Augenblick in ihm verkörperte, zu erhöhen.' The flamen Dialis represented during his life (described by K. Kerényi as 'ein joviales Leben') the permanent presence of Iuppiter, and his ritual reminded the Romans of the numinous and archetypal act of the 'hieros gamos'. The concept of the 'numen Augusti' is also based on his 'imperium' and 'auctoritas', concepts belonging to an archetypal sphere of the Roman religion.
A la hussarde … A contribution to the history of the French hussar myth
The hussars appeared in the French Kingdom in the eighteenth century, with the coming of the emigrants of the Rákóczi uprising. At the beginning of the period it was strongly held that only Hungarians could be real hussars, and the image of the hussar was linked with Hungarian national stereotypes right from the beginnings. In the wake of the French revolution, the loyal hussar regiments of Hungarian origin were turned into French national regiments that evoked their Hungarian traits only in their outlook. The memory of the early Hungarian hussars, however, left a deeper imprint in the French language and mentality. In political discourse, the republican "black hussars" at the end of the nineteenth century conveyed a denotation significantly different from the one-time monarchist one. The career of the hussar myth in literature form Stendhal to a twentieth-century group of writers is also discussed.
Tracing a stereotype: Russophobia in eighteenth-century Poland
The study aims to show that the Russophobia of the Poles was derived from a) territorial losses of the Polish nobles' republic (Rzeczpospolita), military defeats as well as diplomatic failures, in other words, political factors; b) fundamental differences from the social structure of the neighbouring countries (royal power controlled by the nobles' democracy vs. unlimited absolute power); c) religious, ideological antagonism. This last factor, which the study seems to focus on, concerned the conflict between Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic believers. The peace treaty of 1686 made by Poland and Russia secured the Russian czar's right to guard and interfere in defence of the pravoslavs living in the Rzeczpospolita. When in 1733 the Polish parliament made discriminatory laws against non-Catholics, excluding them from military promotion, diplomatic service and even from running for office in parliament, using it as a pretext, Prussia and Russia made Poniatowski Polish ruler in 1764 against the will of the Poles. Under such pressure the Polish parliament withdrew all discriminatory legislation, and as a result resistance developed all around Poland, which, in turn, made Russia increase military pressure. Anti-Russian struggle was suppressed by the partition of Poland, but Russophobia as a sentiment against the major actor of Polish politics survived.
"Kossuth - The Hungarian Moses."
The Hungarian liberal clergy's image of Kossuth in 1848-49
In this study, the author investigates the role of the Hungarian clergy in the formation of the Kossuth cult. The Stalinist view of history excluded the possibility of such studies despite the fact that Kossuth was positively featured in a considerable number of contemporary religious sermons. Our first record about the parallel established between Moses and Kossuth is from among the clergy of Debrecen, soon to be followed by similar, sometimes more radical statements from other denominations. The intensification of the Kossuth cult was the result of the intricate interplay of several factors. Besides the political achievement of Kossuth as leader of Hungary, his biblical education as well as the war propaganda contributed to the development of his cult. The role of the Hungarian clergy is significant in this propaganda because they were in daily contact with the religious people, mainly from the provinces, who were most open to the reception of such a cult. Liberal clergymen endowed Kossuth with almost god-like features, thereby mobilizing their believers for the cause of the freedom fight. It is also remarkable that in the heritage of some ministers materials can be found about the Kossuth cult. At the same time, when examining the war propaganda in Hungary, the role of the ministers is always to be examined and assessed together with lay people, since the war propaganda in 1848-49 permeated the entire Hungarian society.
The arrest of Louis Kossuth and the first phase of his trial in the eyes of French contemporaries
The study provides insight into the foreign reception of Louis Kossuth's trial yet unexamined by scholarship during 1837 through sources such as diplomatic reports by Saint-Aulaire, French ambassador to Vienna as well as articles from periodicals issued in France. An analysis of the weekly diplomatic reports reveals that in 1837 seven of these provided significant coverage of Hungarian affairs. The first letter, dated 11 April 1837 mentioning Kossuth for the first time, calls him the leader of a 'national network of correspondence,' while the letters written in autumn 1837 clearly treat the arrest and trial of Kossuth, a complete unknown for the French that far, as the year's political event of decisive importance. At the same time, daily newspapers may have had a far greater influence on the French public than the diplomatic correspondence reaching a rather limited readership. In 1827, the Journal des Débates, leading French conservative paper, devoted six of its Hungary-related twenty-two articles to Louis Kossuth. It informed its readers about the arrest of Kossuth as early as the 22nd of May; later about reactions to it as well as about the beginnings of his trial. The tone of the reports depended on the reporters' attitude towards the Hungarian idea of reform. In sum, it can be concluded that Kossuth's trial proved newsworthy both in diplomacy and in the daily press of France, but with the Hungarian reaction to the affair declining, interest in France also petered out. The French were interested in Kossuth only as long as responses to his trial evoked nervous reaction in the Hapsburg government. At the same time, through these reports, the greater public became aware of Kossuth and from this time on, reports on the struggle between Vienna and the reform opposition became regular.
Passive resistance - a myth from the age of neo-absolutism?
The study investigates elements of the passive resistance of the Hungarian nobility to Hapsburg neo-absolutism in the wake of the revolution and freedom fight of 1848-49. In the first part, it is shown that Ferenc Deák, who is associated with the launching of passive resistance in mainstream historiography, never called for boycotting officeholding. Instead, he recommended political passivity for the Hungarian political elite. The third chapter details certain elements of passive resistance. It is shown that behavioural patterns associated with it were not part of a conscious policy. Instead, in the first place, they could have been automatic reactions to any kind of oppressive power; in the second place, they are to be seen as the consequence of the making of civil government and the establishment of equality before the law, which the Hungarian civil political forces could not carry out as a result of the Hapsburgs' military intervention in 1848-49. Also, the changing of the elite during neo-absolutism was due to the changing personal requirements accompanying the making of the modern state. The study concludes that passive resistance cannot be regarded as a political movement, since it was without a programme or clearly defined mass base. Hungarian society simply had to accustom itself to the existing system of neo-absolutism, even though without identifying with it. Naturally, there were such people who had the chance to withdraw, but any lesser noblemen that refused to hold office could not afford to stay away from the state for economic reasons. In the wake of the emancipation of serfs and the establishment of the modern system of government, the old life style of the lesser nobility could not have survived under any form of government. Their exclusion was due not only to absolutism.
The magic cross of Limpias and the sufferings of Hungary
The study investigates pilgrimages to the statue of Christ at the church of Limpias, a town in Spain, after1919. The shrine was visited in great numbers by losers of the Great War, including Hungarians. An analysis of related sources reveals how religious devotion, national traumas (revolution, the loss of parts of the country) and political commitment were intertwined: Hungarian Catholic pilgrims connected their visits with pleading for the return of the lost territories, as well as visiting the Hapsburg family in exile at the nearby town of Lekeito. The second part of the study is an analysis of the religious elements of the Trianon cult primarily as they appear in iconographical works with results confirming those coming out of the analysis of the pilgrimages: the emphasis shifts from the cult of Mary to Christ, the identification of the country's fate with Chris's sufferings as well as the intensifying political connotations of the symbols of piety. It is shown how old and new symbols and figures standing for the nation and the country meet with one another: the country, the people, the female figure of 'Hungária' as well as St. Stephen all appear as Christ. Connecting religiosity with political messages was an opportunity that did not escape the attention of contemporary commentators of public influence.
Elmélet és módszer