The chronicles, gestae and the rich hagiographical literature of the medieval Hungary features the abundance of different statements on the concept of nation, nationhood, and foreign nations. The paper discusses the perceptions of the nationhood and its function in the historical narratives written in Hungary between the 11th and early 16th century, focusing on the conceptional background and textual interpretations of the medieval ‘natio’. The main theoretical approach of the paper is the analysis of the appearence and memory of the ‘nations’ (Hungarians and other ethnic communities) in the analysed texts, the classification of the different cultural and political entities on the basis of dichotomies from the point of view of the medieval Hungarian historians (Christian – heathen, warlike – peaceful, friend – hostile etc.), the reflection on the actual and imagined origin of the different nations (with special attention to the ‘origines gentis’) and the interpretation of the national stereotypes describing (or sometimes depreciating) the different peoples and communities. The paper aims to give a concise overview of the memory of ‘nation’ in the historical literature of the medieval Hungary.
It is not uncommon for medieval times to have reports of battles where both sides claim they won. In the 13th-century Hungarian Kingdom there are several examples where the memory of a battle gained higher importance than its actual results. The paper will focus on cases where the author of a source shielded the king from being remembered as a loser, with comparative approach, as well as some, where the not-necessarily-appropriate actions of noblemen were described in a way, that portrayed them as heroes in order to create arguments for them to be rewarded, and viewed as such among their peers, family, and noble society.
After Kosovo Polje (1389) the threat of Ottoman devastation became appalling for Hungary. The paper investigates how the threat of the Turk led to severe disorder. The menace harshly affected the lives of the people: cities and monasteries were heavily hit, even aristocratic women were taken captive, and military officials resigned their offices or exchanged their southern estates. The shock lead to an arousal of fear, which formulated a memory of the inroads ‘with fire and sword’, bringing forth constant insecurity in relative peace-time. The image of the Turkish marauder became a lieu de memoire by the 16th century.