Abimelech – an Habiru Leader in the Book of Judges?
The story of Abimelech in the ninth chapter of the Book of Judges underwent several revisions before it reached its current form. One of the most significant of these was the Deuteronomic redaction in the 6th century BC. But as a major part of the story predates this, it can be used in an examination of the conquest of the Israeli tribes and the establishment of the ancient Israeli kingdom.
The environs of Sichem must have been an especially difficult place in the process of the conquest where the tribes of Isreal were to experience annoying frustrations. On the one hand, the conflict of Abimelech and Sichem preserved the memory of these. On the other, Abimelech's story can be seen from the perspective of the Habiru phenomenon known from the Amarna letters, and it helps us integrate certain elements of the tribes' conquest into the information collected from other sources.
Inserted in its current place and in the context of Abimelech's story at a later date, Jotham's tale is a piece from the monarchy criticism of the Northern political elite, which had been driven out of power by the time of David. After the fall of the kingdom, during the Babylonian Captivity the deuteronomic redactor inserted the story in its current place to provide an explanation for the traumatic experiences of the Davidic dynasty's fall.
Guardians of the Law in Athens in the 5th century BC.
Notes to the History of Ephialtes' Reforms.
The paper analyses a short account by the Athenian historian Philochoros – summarized in the Lexicon Cantabrigiense (FGrHist 328 F 64) – about a board of guardians of the law, or nomophylakes. According to the Lexicon this body was set up in the mid-fifth century in order to compel the magistrates to observe the laws, its members participated in the assembly and the council with the aim of preventing the enactment of anything deemed disadvantageous for the polis or unlawful. That the nomophylakes really existed in the midfifth century has long been debated. Citing philological arguments, historians either reject or accept the authenticity of the account of the Lexicon Cantabrigiense. These philological discussions, however, do not bring us closer to whether this body functioned or not. In my view, acceptance or rejection of the nomophylakes' existence after Ephialtes' reform is rather a matter of historical probabilities. Therefore it seems more adequate to examine whether Philochoros' guardians of the law can be integrated into the history of Ephialtes' reform. On the basis of this historical standpoint, I make an attempt to demonstrate that the body of the nomophylakes emerged from an agreement of the two opposing political parties, inheriting certain functions of the Areiospagos after Ephialtes' reform.
Augustus' Plans for Conquest in the East: the Roman Campaign in Southern Arabia
The wealth of Southern Arabia had been known in the Western world for millennia. Arabian merchants acted as a mediator in the trade between the West and the East as well as Africa. It was mostly due to its products – in addition to spices, frankincense and myrrh were the most significant – that made Arabia Felix wealthy. In the paper, on the basis of ancient authors and the literature, a survey is offered of the significance, the use and the price of frankincense.
Even Alexander the Great had planned a campaign to conquest Southern Arabia, which fell through only because of his premature death. The Romans got closer to Arabia after getting hold of the province of Egypt. Augustus sent a campaign, led by the praefectus of Egypt Aelius Gallus, to conquer the rich Southern Arabian territories as early as 26 or 25 BC. He may have been motivated by both personal and propagandistic reasons. In the paper we reconstruct the course and the outcome of this expedition on the basis of reports from ancient authors as well as the latest literature. The failure of the campaign could have played a part in Augustus' decision to give up plans for conquests in the East.
We can state that during the Arabian expedition the main seat of operations for Rome was the territory of Hispania, where the princeps participated personally to suppress the revolt of the Astures and Cantabri. It must have played a part in the recall of Aelius Gallus and the army. We agree with the view that, despite its being a complete military failure, the expedition had beneficial effect on the economy and the Eastern trade of the Roman Empire, and it played a significant role in Augustus' propaganda as well. The Romans were fascinated by the fact that the army of the young princeps progressed so deep into the distant Eastern territories, which strengthened his position. In his works written later in his life, Augustus remembered the Southern Arabian campaign as a success.
Alexander the Great and the Barbarian Women
In Greek and Latin literature the notion barbarian was usually coupled with negative stereotypes: immorality, savageness and unrestraint. Whenever an author deviates from this negative representation we can always ask: why? The starting point of our paper is an example of such deviation: the way Curtius Rufus sees barbarian women, his motives to depict such women in line with or contradicting this topos. As all used Cleitarchus as a source, I also compare Curtius Rufus' account with the parallel passages from Diodoros and Justin.
On the basis of the comparison, we can establish that Curtius Rufus used the representation of women as a means to portray Alexander whose metamorphosis into a despot was due to luck and Eastern morals. The negative stereotype of the barbarians is used as a vehicle for this in the case of Cleophis, Thais, Thallestris and the wifes of Sisimithres and Spitamenes. But the representation of beautiful and moral barbarian women is equally deliberate. The appearances of Sisygambis and Stateira highlight Alexander's initial eminence. While the wife of Hystaspes can still provoke generosity in the ruler, with the appearance of Rhoxane we already see the Alexander turning into a tyrant. Semiramis, who urges Alexander into constant rivalry, is also included with a purpose.
In conclusion, we can claim that Curtius Rufus skillfully uses the opportunities offered by the topos. Whenever they support his message, he accept them, and when they do not fit into his historiographic concept, he makes modifications, in line with the objectives of moralizing historiography, so as to instruct his readers rather than just providing a chronicle of events.
Military Marriage Lawsuits in the Age of Maria Theresa
Our paper explores military marriages that came to a conflict in the age of Maria Theresa. As can be seen in military and ecclesiastical court records, the plaintiffs were often maids employed by military officers who eventually declined to marry them most probably because of their inferior status. Women abused by their husbands are also recurring participants in the lawsuits. Most of the military and ecclesiastical court cases were filed because of a proposal or because the woman became pregnant – but pregnancy was much easier to prove than the offer of marriage.
Besides the ghost of a marriage of unequal rank material factors were also common causes for the lawsuits at the ecclesiastical courts. The – mostly male – losers of the cases had opportunity for settlement if they could make an agreement with the plaintiff. In these cases, the party in a tight corner could escape the legal consequences in exchange for a considerable sum.
The losers in the lawsuits filed because of proposals and unexpected pregnancy were mostly men, too, as it was through these charges that the women bearing their child wanted to rise to a higher status or at least to secure steady financial support. Divorce proceedings had much more diverse outcome. There were examples when the wife simply wanted to get rid of her husband, but in most cases the husband was aggressive and brutal: beating, scolding, drinking and threat were the most typical charges, and running into debt was not uncommon either.
If a husband made a custom of beating his wife, the competent church authority temporarily separated the spouses. Unhappy wifes often applied for an extension of the temporary separation but it was only for a well-grounded reason that the court was willing to grant that. It is a comfort to the reader that it is only those military marriages that reached a crisis and not military marriages in general that are offered a glimpse of in this examination of sources from military and church authorities.
Books and Aristocratic Erudition: The Private Library of Count György Festetics before his Joining the Imperial-Royal Army
This paper intends to throw some light on the intellectual background to the Hungarian Enlightenment through the analysis of the library of a young Hungarian aristocrat, Count György Festetics (1755–1819). Festetics became a crucial figure in Hungary's intellectual revival when he founded the first Hungarian agricultural college and went on financing the publication of Hungarian newspapers as well as supporting new Hungarian literary attempts. Although trained at the Collegium Theresianum, founded by Queen Maria Theresa, in Vienna, Festetics decided to change careers by leaving his post at the Royal Croatian Council in Zagreb to join the Imperial-Royal Army in 1778. For this reason, he commissioned one of his secretaries to compile a catalogue of his private library. The works listed in this catalogue show the influence of his education in Vienna preparing him for the services of the Habsburg Empire and court life. His former teachers, Carl Anton Martini and Joseph Sonnenfels, or the Jesuit mathematician Pál Makó were the authors of some of the legal, economic and scientific textbooks. However, his library also included a large number of books by the authors of natural law, such as Pufendorf, Thomasius, Wolf etc. The works written by the most prominent figures of the French and Scottish Enlightenment, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Rousseau, Home, Hume and Smith were also well known to Festetics, just like the philosophical works of John Locke.
It also seems clear that Festetics had a sound knowledge of several languages, so he could read not only French, Latin, German or Italian treatises, novels, dramas or poems, but the classic works of contemporary English novelists such as Fielding, Sterne, Smollet and Richardson as well. The variety of authors and the subjects of his books reflect the immense erudition of a former Collegium Theresianum student.
The History of an Election in Trencsén.
The Charge of Pan-Slavism and the Truth
The paper discusses the political quest of Eugen Gerometta (1819–1887), a Catholic priest in Nagybiccse in the county of Trencsén and through this – with a microhistorical approach – it attempts to describe the dilemmas of the Slovak intellectuals living in Reform Period Hungary.
Through his grandfather, Gerometta was of Italian descent, but he was a priest with Slovak identity. Pursuing the development of education for and fostering the culture of the Slovak people, he played an important role in the Slovak national movement. Examples of this activity are his involvement in a society, called Tatrín, supporting the talented Slovak youth as well as his articles on the Slovak language and education or his fight against alcoholism widespread among Slovaks living in Upper Hungary. But unlike most Slovak intellectuals in ©túr's circle, he had close connections with the reform nobility, and – according to a confidential report – he was one the four most active members of the opposition in the county of Trencsén in the second half of the 1840s. This explains why it was he in 1848 whom the comitatus commissioned to translate into Slovak and proclaim the April laws and why he was nominated in the Biccse constituency for the June elections.
As a Slovak intellectual, Gerometta made attempts to become a member of the Hungarian Parliament to promote, within the existing political framework, the bettering of the status of the Slovaks. That is, he meant to leave the path followed by ©túr's circle, who had been preparing armed resistance against Hungary for some time.
However, this delicate balancing between the two movements had to come to an end: his opponent in the elections, Bernát Marsovszky – with whom he must have been on good terms before – accused him of Pan-Slavism, and though the charge was groundless, Gerometta was forced to escape. Because of the electoral fraud he turned first to the county leaders then to the government for remedy but his request was ignored. As a result, though our sources are uncertain about this, he most probably joined or at least supported the Slovak legion when it launched an attack against the country at Myjava in late September. His story is a good example for the possibilities and the eventual failure of Hungarian– non-Hungarian concord in the Reform Period.
Slovak Anti-Hungarian Military Operations in 1848-1849
The Revolution and War of Independence of 1848-1849 is well documented and has a rich literature. The Croatian, Serbian, Romanian etc. political and military objectives have also been thoroughly studied. When compared with these, the three "Slovak" military operations, the so called autumn, winter and summer "uprisings" organized by the "Slovak triumvirate" (Ąudovít ©túr, Jozef Miroslav Hurban and Milan Miloslav Hodľa) as well as their role in this are unresearched.
Accordingly, the author attempts to describe in an overall picture and in their progression those reasons and factors a combination of which resulted in the disjunction and a conflict of Hungarian and Slovak national-political objectives and eventually led to armed confrontation.
The paper, containing five chapters, primarily used Hungarian-, Slovak- and Germanlanguage sources, contemporary reports, memoirs, correspondence, diary entries as well as Hungarian and Slovak works. As far as it was possible, the author tried to draw a subtle picture about the reception in Upper Hungary of the March Laws; the radicalization of Slovak nationalist demands and the reaction of the Hungarian government; the strengthening of Slavic solidarity; the political preparations for an armed uprising; the activities to build up the social base in Upper Hungary; the unsuccessful armed "uprising" in September; the preventive steps of government commissioner Lajos Beniczky; the conflicts within the Slovak National Council, the body leading the revolt; the winter and summer "campaigns" in cooperation with the Austrian army; the troubles of Besztercebánya; and last but not least: after several occasions of contravening the regulations and looting, the disarmament of the Slovak irregular forces in October 1849.
Austrian Diplomatic Efforts to Prevent the Escalation of the War of Schleswig in the Spring of 1849
The Danish-German war of 1848-1850, which broke out because of the Schleswig question and over the issue of who should control the duchy, was such a serious international affair that European powers deemed it one of their most important tasks to secure its peaceful settlement. Belonging to the Danish Monarchy, the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein were significant because of their geostrategic location: they guarded the outlet to the Baltic Sea and the undisturbed naval trade routes leading through it. In the first place, it was the free passage of the Russian naval fleet and the Russian military control over the Baltic territories that were jeopardized by the efforts of Prussia and the Frankfurt Parliament to strengthen the German naval force through getting hold of the Danish territories and the Kiel harbor.
The conflict was a serious challenge for the Austrian foreign policy. Though Austria had no direct geostrategic interests in the area, as the presiding power in the German Confederation (and to secure its position) it was forced to get involved in this rather delicate affair. As a European power – just like England, France and Russia – it had an interest in preserving the integrity of Denmark. But as a German power it could not declare this openly as the separation of Schleswig from Denmark had became a symbol of the German unity. In the beginning, the armed resistance in Italy and Hungary provided a good excuse for Austria to remain strictly neutral in the war. But in the winter and spring of 1849 Schwarzenberg, being afraid that a Northern war of coalition powers would distract the Russian tsar's attention from the Hungarian question, started lively diplomatic maneuvering to prevent the rejection of the Malmö Armistice and the escalation of the war. However, after his worries had proved to be groundless and Austria had been stabilized with the help of Russia, he rearranged his priorities. From that time on, the Schleswig conflict played a subordinate role in his politics: he used it as a weapon against Prussia helping restore his supremacy in Germany.
"Even the inhabitants of the zoo have convened to elect a warden to promote their interests." The Memory of the Hungarian Soviet Republic in Jokes Circulating after the Fall of the Dictatorship
During the Hungarian Soviet Republic, which lasted for 133 days in 1919, several jokes criticizing and attacking various aspects of the regime were born. After the fall of the dictatorship, complete joke series dealt with the period of the Soviet Republic. Some attacked and made fun of the events and people of the dictatorship era: the leaders, the state of internal affairs, and various episodes in culture, foreign policy and warfare. These are the subjects along which it is worth classifying the jokes. But they can also be categorized according to how their creators relate to these subjects: whether they show or criticize the phenomena in a descriptive way, or whether they express some sort of hope or desire (for the fall of the dictatorship, for example) and attack the regime this way. The jokes can also be classified by their textual structure. The paper also examines how single jokes in the series relate to various, but primarily humorous works (jokes, anecdotes, pictures etc.) created either during the Soviet Republic or in other periods as well as to the fake news that were spreading in Budapest during the dictatorship. It also discusses how the jokes were handed down to posterity.