Conquest (Settlement of the Magyars in Hungary) Magyar: Magyar: Honfoglalás (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
PPP: When Was Hungary
- Pre-history: It is generally believed that, during the Third Millenium BC, the Finno-Ugric group of languages originated with the ancient tribes living in the area to the west of the Ural mountains in the central-northern modern day Russian Federation. Of these surviving modern languages, Finnish and Estonian are believed to be, related to Hungarian. Before the arrival of the Slavic peoples in modern Russia, speakers of Finno-Ugric languages may have been scattered over the whole area between the Urals and the Baltic.
- A.D. 406-453: Attila the Hun, who built up a powerful empire in Eurasia, has been wrongly assumed to be an ancestral ruler of the Hungarians. The name ’Hungary’ comes from the seventh century, when Magyar tribes settled in the former land of the Bulgar-Turkish alliance of the On-Ongour, meaning ’Ten Arrows’ in Turkish, or ’Ten Tribes’. There were several tribes bearing this name living between the Dneyper and Volga rivers from the fifth to the ninth centuries, mixing with the Magyars. The terms spread into French and German through the Latin, Hungaricus, in the seventh century, and led to the confusion of the Magyars with the Huns, since Attila had occupied the Carpathian basin before the arrival of the Magyars.
- A.D. 896: The Magyars established one of the first unified countries of Europe, before the establishment of the early French and German kingdoms and the unification of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Árpád united the Magyar tribes in the Covenant of Blood, effectively creating one nation (though it wasn’t recognised as such) in the plains and hills surrounded by the Carpathian mountains.
- A.D. 955: Battle of Lechfield – the quick Hungarian (Magyar) horsemen were defeated by the heavy German cavalry. The nomadic tribes settled in the Carpathian ’basin’, beginning to farm the land. This was followed by stability and the adoption of Christianity with the foundation of a kingdom.
- 1000: Hungary was established as a Roman Catholic kingdom, recognised by Papal authority, in December of that year, with Vajk, baptised and re-named Stephen (István), receiving the Holy Crown as Stephen I. His kingdom was three times the size of the country determined by the Trianon Peace Treaty of 1920.
- 1222: Andrew II introduced the first constitution in Europe, called The Golden Bull (seven years after the Magna Carta in England). It limited the King’s power and declared the lesser noblemen equal to the magnates. They were also entitled to petition the monarch with their grievances, leading to the institution of parliament. Medieval Hungary controlled more territory than medieval France, and its population was the third-largest in Europe.
- 1526-70: Following the defeat and death of King Louis II at the Battle of Mohács, a large part of Hungarian territory was occupied by the Ottoman Empire for 150 years, with the area to the west of the Danube becoming part of the Habsburg Empire. The Ottoman sultan recognised János Szapolyai as the heir to the Hungarian throne, but many of the Hungarian nobles favoured the the Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand of Austria, in their resistance to Turkish rule. For more than a decade there was a civil war between the forces of the two kings. This ended with the capture of Buda by Suleiman II and the division of Hungary into three parts. In the west, Ferdinand continued to rule less than one third of the old kingdom, while in the east there was a vassil state of the Ottomans, which became a new Hungarian state, Transylvania, by the Treaty of Speyer of 1570. The third part, the central plain, was ruled directly and extended gradually by the sultan until 1568, when the Treaty of Adrianople determined its borders.
- 1606-64: By the early seventeenth century, the Turkish hold on central Hungary was weakening. Transylvania emerged as an important and prosperous European power, ruled by Prince Bethlen Gábor (1613-29) (picture below). He was a staunch defender of Calvinism in central Europe during the Thirty Years’ War, but was also tolerant of other churches and religions. His influence, and that of his successor, György I Rákóczi meant that the Habsburgs couldn’t enforce the Counter-Reformation as brutally in the parts of Hungary they controlled as they did elsewhere. However, in 1657 the army of György II Rákóczi was destroyed by the Tartars while attempting to seize the crown of Poland. The Turks took advantage of this defeat by invading the Principality, seizing the western part, including the town of Várad. The Habsburgs then won a surprise victory against the Turks, but the latter kept most of their gains under the settlement of Vasvár of 1664.
- 1678-1699: A young Transylvanian, Imre Thököly, raised the standard of revolt and occupied a large part of central Hungary. The Turks sent a huge army into Hungary in 1683, laying siege to Vienna, and putting the whole balance of power in Europe under pressure. However, the siege was lifted by September, 1683, due to the intervention of King Jan Sobieski of Poland, and by 1699 the Imperial forces swept the Turks out Buda (picture below) and most of Hungary, including the whole of Transylvania, which the Habsburgs now annexed.
- 1703-1711: Ferenc II Rákóczi of Transylvania (below), led a peasants revolt to drive the Hapsburgs out of his homeland. He had hoped for French support, but France had been defeated at the Battle of Blenheim by the Anglo-Austrian coalition in the War of the Spanish Succession. Any chance of a reconciliation with Vienna was destroyed by Rákóczi’s election as Prince by the Transylvanian nobles in 1704. The Principality became independent until the revolt was finally put down in 1711.
- 1718-1775: The Habsburgs gradually freed Hungarian lands in the east from Ottoman rule, but tried to keep them for themselves by creating a new crownland, which they named the Banat of Temesvár. However, in 1775 the Hungarian Diet persuaded them to return this land to Hungarian civil administration. Transylvania retained a separate status, though strongly Hungarian in character. The old borderlands of Hungary were governed by Transylvania until 1732, when an Imperial agreement allowed both countries to retain a share of them, while the Transylvanian borderlands to the east remained under Habsburg military administration.
- 1780-1835: Hungary’s relationship with the Austrian monarchy had always been, in Hungarian eyes at least, a voluntary one. In the 1780s and thereafter, the attempts of Joseph II and his successors to Germanise the Magyars had met with resistance. The abolition of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 ended any territorial ambitions the Habsburgs had to expand northwest into Germany, opening the way for Prussia to assert its dominance among the German states. The Empire they were left with was a denial of the fashionable nineteenth-century doctrine of national self-determination.
- 1835-1848: Ferdinand V’s subjects spoke more than twelve different languages and belonged to four major churches, Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist and Orthodox, as well as Judaism. The Emperor could not ignore demands for language rights and religious freedoms. Although the plains of Hungary were largely monolingual, most parts of the Austrian Empire contained a mixture of peoples and languages. The Slav minorities began to assert their own identities through new national literatures, music and political organisations. Tensions between Vienna and Budapest over the Hungarians’ demands for Home Rule made relations with other nationalities still more complex. The Hungarians wanted control over all the traditional territories of their crown, and were themselves unwilling to extend equal political rights to the mix of Slavs which these lands contained. It was against this background that a series of national-liberal revolutions broke out around and within the Empire in 1848, spreading throughout Central Europe.
Géza Balázs (1997), The Story of Hungarian: A Guide to the Language. Budapest: Corvina Books.
András Bereznay, et.al. (2002), The Times History of Europe: Three Thousand Years of History in Maps. London: Times Books (Harper-Collins).
György Bolgár (2009), Made in Hungary. Budapest: Kossuth Publishing Corporation.
István Lázár (1968, 1996), Hungary: A Brief History. Budapest: Corvina Books.
István Lázár (1989), An Illustrated History of Hungary. Budapest: Corvina Books.
István Lázár (2001), A Brief History of Hungary with Sixty-two Pictures in Colour. Budapest: Corvina.
István Gombás (2000), Kings and Queens of Hungary; Princes of Transylvania. Budapest: Corvina.
Péter Hanak, et. al. (1988), One Thousand Years: A Concise History of Hungary. Budapest: Corvina.
Español: Mural a Víctor Jara, pintado en el galpón que lleva su nombre. Barrio Brasil, Santiago, Chile. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Español: sepulcro de Víctor Jara en el Cementerio General de Santiago de Chile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Marchers for Salvador Allende. A crowd of people marching to support the election of Salvador Allende for president in Santiago, Chile. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is a poem which was written for me by a visiting student leader when I was Chair (Cadeirydd) of NUS Wales (UCMC) in 1979-80. The previous September, on the anniversary of General Pinochet‘s coup, the fifty-strong community of Chilean refugees in Swansea had staged a three-day hunger strike, together with exiles worldwide, to draw attention to the unknown fate of the many ‘disappeared’ in the country. The coup had begun with the murder of President Allende and many of his supporters. Some, like the leader of the ‘New Song’ movement, Victor Jara, were tortured, mutilated and killed in the national stadium in Santiago. A concert for Chile was held in Swansea, featuring Dafydd Iwan, who had written a song in Welsh about Jara. He also sang it in English for the Chileans present. During the Falklands Conflict, in 1982/3, Margaret Thatcher made an alliance with Pinochet and prevented his extradition to France, one of the many countries who had indicted him for crimes against humanity. Those tortured by the tyrant had included the British nurse, Sheila Cassidy, and a number of US citizens working in Chile at the time of the coup. The role of the CIA in supporting the coup has been well documented and portrayed in the film, ‘Missing’ starring Jack Lemmon, based on the true story of a US Republican’s search for his son. Swansea remained one of the major centres for the exiled supporters of the Allende government, a socialist coalition, who’s President was the world’s first avowed Marxist to be elected.
My last blog was about the secular folklore of harvest. For me, as for many Christians, harvest festivals are not primarily about these ancient country customs, but about giving praise for our gifts from God. One hymn which appears in almost every hymnbook is Come Ye Thankful People, Come. It’s probably the most popular hymn with congregations, though We Plough the Fields and Scatter is perhaps best known for most people in Britain, from their schooldays singing in assemblies.
English: Henry Alford (1810-1871) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Henry Alford (1810-1871), who wrote the words above, was born in Bloomsbury, London, the son of an Anglican clergyman and himself became Dean of Canterbury Cathedral in 1857, where he remained till his death. A Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, he was a distinguished scholar and wrote many books, including a commentary on the Greek New Testament. A strong evangelical, he wrote several hymns, still popular today, Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand, a processional for saints’ days, was completed and published just in time to be sung at his funeral in January 1871, with startling imagery from the Book of Revelation. The opening lines and the title are suggested by the reference in chapter 5 v 11 to St John the Divine’s vision of a mighty throng of angels around the throne of God, and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand. Similarly, the ringing of a thousand harps in the second verse is taken from chapter 14 v 2.
Come Ye Thankful People, Come was first published in Alford’s own collection of Psalms and Hymns in 1844. He revised it for his poetical works in 1865, the version which is also included in his Year of Praise, published in 1867. This authentic version is the one given above rather than the one which appeared in Hymns Ancient and Modern. The fourth verse, as it appears in a third version, appearing in The New English Hymnal, is worth quoting, especially since it is reminiscent of his writing on Revelation:
The tune associated with this hymn, St George, by Sir George Elvey (1861-93), was actually written for another hymn, Hark the Song of Jubilee, and was published in 1858. Elvey was organist and choirmaster at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.
Two of Christ’s parables are echoed in the hymn: the story of the wheat and the tares (Mt 13: vv 24-30) and that of the seed which springs up without the sower knowing about it (Mk 4: vv 26-29), including the line, paraphrased in Alford’s second verse: For the earth bringeth forth of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. The graphic depiction of the growth of the ear and the corn is one which we discussed with interest in Hungary recently. Although a far more agricultural country than Britain today, many of us still struggled with the metaphor, and found Alford’s popularisation of it useful, as we had done while singing it as children in church in England and Wales (it also appears in the Church of Scotland Hymnary). In order to be harvested as pure and wholesome grain, we need to grow faithfully in the field through the natural stages until ripe. In the third verse, the full-grown weeds can be torn up, bundled and burnt, to allow the crop to be harvested. In the fourth verse, as pure grain, we can then be ‘garnered in’ into God’s granary. Here are the full texts, beginning with Mark:
The Parable of the Growing Seed
Jesus went on to say, “The Kingdom of God is like this. A man scatters seed in his field. He sleeps at night, is up and about during the day, and all the while the seeds are sprouting and growing. Yet he does not know how it happens. The soil itself makes the plants grow and bear fruit; first the tender stalk appears, then the head, and finally the head full of grain. When the grain is ripe, the man starts cutting it with his sickle, because harvest time has come.
The Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds
Jesus told them another parable: “The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A man sowed good seed in his field. One night, when everyone was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. When the plants grew and the heads of grain began to form, then the weeds showed up. The man’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, it was good seed you sowed in your field; where did the weeds come from?’ ‘It was some enemy who did this,’ he answered. ‘Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?’ they asked him. ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because as you gather the weeds you might pull up some of the wheat along with them. Let the weeds and the wheat both grow together until harvest. Then I will tell the harvest workers to pull up the weeds first, tie them in bundles and burn them, and then to gather in the wheat and put it in my barn.
Adapted from a Prayer of Confession:
If we have forgotten you in our day-to-day living,
or have not lived according to your laws of love,
Lord, have mercy upon us, Christ have mercy upon us.
We claim the promise of your Word to all who are truly sorry for having lived wrongly:
As for our transgressions, we ask you to purge them away…
Purge us, Lord, from selfishness, greed and pride,
Purify our hearts from all that blinds us to thy presence,
so that we may indeed see thy hand at work in the world about us,
and rejoice in thy goodness.
Adapted from Prayers of Intercession:
We pray for all who work on farms and crofts, in gardens and forests,
For those who gather the harvest of the seas and lakes,
For those who work in mines and quarries,
And for all the scientists, engineers and technicians who serve and help them.
Through the toil of all these men and women:
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.
Inspire us, and thy Church all over the world, to demonstrate
How to live in love for all people, that your kingdom of justice may be furthered,
And all may see what is the Father’s will for His children.
Through the work of your Church, O Lord:
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.
We pray for the governments of the world,
For the work of the United Nations, especially its Food and Agricultural Programme,
For the work of international charitable organisations,
May the powers of this world be more and more conformed to the power and glory of your kingdom,
Where all care for each other in brotherhood and sisterhood,
as the Father wills.
Through the work of all peace-makers,
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.
Now, blessed be your glorious name for ever,
Let the whole earth be filled with the glory of the love of our Father, in whom we are one,
Of the Son, who shares our sorrows and griefs,
Of the Holy Spirit of love and power,
One God for ever.
Ian Bradley (2005), The Daily Telegraph Book of Hymns. London: Continuum.
David Cairns, et.al. (1972), Worship Now. Edinburgh: The St Andrew Press.
Good News for Modern Man
I missed the chance to write about Labor Day on Monday (it’s always on the first Monday in September). This was partly because I was too busy putting together resources on the Civil War anniversaries which happened during the school holidays here in Hungary, most notably, of course, that of the Battle of Gettysburg.
However, I have just started planning two courses on History and ‘Civilisation’ , one for primary pupils and one for secondary students, so I was pleased to find a child’s story connecting Labor Day to the Civil War. Apparently, the origins of the Day go back before the development of the Labor Movement in the USA to an eleven-year-old boy selling newspapers in New York City. The son of an Irish immigrant who had just enlisted to fight in the Civil War, Peter McGuire had to help his mother with six brothers and sisters. At that time, children like Peter worked in factories, cloth and steel mills, coalmines and in construction. The conditions were often appalling, and the hours long, as many as fourteen per day, seven days a week. There were few breaks, and no vacations or benefits. There was no concept of workers’ rights, and factory owners could hire and fire, and treat workers as they wished. Immigrant workers were especially vulnerable. They were effectively white wage slaves.
Peter J. McGuire (July 6, 1852 – February 18, 1906) was an American labor leader of the nineteenth century, the founder of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America and one of the leading figures in the first three decades of the American Federation of Labor. He is credited with first proposing the idea of Labor Day as a national holiday in 1882. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When Peter was seventeen, he began an apprenticeship in a piano shop. This was better than his previous factory jobs, because he was learning a trade, but he still had to work long hours with low pay. At night he went to meetings and classes in economics. One of the main social issues of the day was that of labor conditions. Workers had become tired not just of the low pay and long hours, but also the unsafe and insecure nature of their working environments. They therefore began to organise themselves into unions to improve these conditions. In the spring of 1872, Peter McGuire went on strike with a hundred thousand other workers, marching through the streets to demand a decrease in the working day.
English: Labor Day Parade, Union Square, New York, 1882 (Lithographie) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
He spent the next year speaking to crowds of workers, including those unemployed, and lobbied the city government for jobs and relief money. He was labelled a ‘disturber of the public peace’, developing a reputation as a troublemaker, unable to find a job in his trade. So he began to travel up and down the East Coast speaking to laborers about joining the union.
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In 1881 he moved to St Louis, Missouri, and began to organise carpenters there. They held a convention at which a national union of carpenters was founded. He became General Secretary of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. After that, the idea of trades unions spread throughout the US. Factory workers, dockworkers and toolmakers all began to demand an eight-hour working day and a secure trade. Peter McGuire and other labor leaders decided to plan a public holiday for workers, both as a tribute to their contribution to the nation, and as a way of bringing more public awareness to their struggles. They chose the first Monday in September, half way between Independence Day and Thanksgiving. On September 5th, 1882, the first Labor Day parade was held in New York City and in 1894 Congress voted the first Monday in September as a national holiday. Although some cities still host parades, rallies and community picnics (including Irish Stew with homemade bread and apple pie!), most Americans treat it as an end-of-summer long weekend, a chance for one last family beach party before the new school year begins on the Tuesday following.
hire and fire
to go on strike
to lobby for
Brenner, Ford and Sullivan (eds.) (2007), Celebrate! Holidays in the USA. Washington: Office of English Language Programs, US Department of State.