Search Results

Latin at the Crossroads of Identity

The Evolution of Linguistic Nationalism in the Kingdom of Hungary


Gábor Almási and Lav Šubarić

From the late 18th century in the multi-ethnic Kingdom of Hungary, new language-based national identities came to dominate over those that had previously been constructed on legal, territorial, or historical basis. While the Hungarian language struggled to emancipate itself, the roles and functions of Latin (the official language until 1844) were changing dramatically. Latin held a different significance for varying segments of society, from being the essential part of an individual identity to representing an obstacle to “national survival”; from guaranteeing harmony between the different linguistic communities to hindering change, social and political justice. This pioneering volume aims to highlight the ways language debates about Latin and Hungarian contributed to the creation of new identities and ideologies in Central Europe.

Contributors include Gábor Almási, Per Pippin Aspaas, Piroska Balogh, Henrik Hönich, László Kontler, István Margócsy, Alexander Maxwell, Ambrus Miskolczy, Levente Nagy, Nenad Ristović, Andrea Seidler, Teodora Shek Brnardić, Zvjezdana Sikirić Assouline, and Lav Šubarić


Jan Klapste

This book offers a key to several important chapters of the history of Czech lands, firmly anchoring them in a broad European context. The Medieval transformation that impacted the Czech lands mostly in the 13th century is seen as a broad cultural change in which domestic preconditions encountered a system of innovations already evolved in West Central Europe. The main topics analysed are the onset of landed nobility, the transformation of the rural milieu, and the early history of towns. This analysis draws on every source category, including written testimony, archaeological findings, and architectural monuments. Inspired by microhistorical methodology, it does not indulge in general schemes but studies carefully chosen samples of the transformation and its natural differentiations.

Winner of the 2012 Book Prize of the Early Slavic Studies Association.


Borbála Zsuzsanna Török

Exploring Transylvania by Török reconstructs the fissured scholarly landscape in one of the most culturally heterogeneous regions of the Habsburg Monarchy. The author creates an original model of the structure and historical dynamics of an East-Central European province in the republic of letters by tracing the activities of learned societies engaged in the exploration of their fatherland and their connections to national academic centers outside Transylvania. Analyzing the entangled history of the local German, Hungarian, and Romanian scholarly cultures, the book demonstrates how a persisting politics of difference, practiced by various political regimes over the long nineteenth century, solidified national hierarchies and exacerbated endemic tensions both in the Transylvanian intellectual milieus and in scholarship itself.


Dušan Zupka

In Rituals and Symbolic Communication in Medieval Hungary under the Árpád Dynasty (1000 - 1301) Dušan Zupka examines rituals as means of political and symbolic communication in medieval Central Europe, with a special emphasis on the rulers of the Árpád dynasty in the Kingdom of Hungary.
Particular attention is paid to symbolic acts such as festive coronations, liturgical praises, welcoming of rulers ( adventus regis), ritualised settlement of disputes, and symbolic rites during encounters between rulers. The power and meaning of rituals were understandable to contemporary protagonists and to their chroniclers. These rituals therefore played an essential role in medieval political culture. The book concludes with an outline of ritual communication as a coherent system.


Vladimir Biti

After the First World War, East Central Europe underwent an extensive geopolitical reconfiguration, resulting in highly turbulent environments in which political sacrificial narratives found a breeding ground. They engaged various groups’ experiences of dispossession, energizing them for the wars against their ‘perpetrators’. By knitting together their frustrations and thus creating new foundational myths, these narratives introduced new imagined communities. Their mutual competition established a typically post-imperial traumatic constellation that generated discontent, frustrations and anxieties. Within the various constituencies that structured it through their interaction, this book focuses on literary narratives of dispossession, which, placed at its nodes, develop much subtler technologies than their political counterparts. They are interpreted as individual and clandestine oppositions to the homogenizing pattern of public narratives.


Petr Charvát

The emergence of the Bohemian state is a long-discussed topic with many obscure points. Though significant progress has been reached in recent decades, the interpretations proposed are far from satisfactory. Important new information is still awaiting inclusion in explanatory schemes. In addition to that, treatises on the origins of Bohemian state have frequently failed to take account of studies of scholars from abroad. Taking account of all this, the author proposes a fresh look on some of the essential data provided by history, archaeology, art history and cultural or social anthropology. What emerges is a nuanced perspective of the rising of one of central Europe´s first states, attempting to avoid the pitfalls to which traditional research has been falling, with emphasis on a broad scope of vision taking account of research results reached far and wide.


Phyllis G. Jestice

Examining a central change in European religious thought, this study investigates the changing roles of monks in society to help understand the reform of Christian ideology. It is based on extant monastic writings, including hagiography and polemics.
The book explains the diversification of monasticism in this period as an outgrowth of a shift toward greater interest in lay religious life. Focusing on the German Empire, it examines monastic values in such areas as missionary work, public preaching, pilgrimage, and the polemics of the gregorian reform.
The sections on the role of polemic as a catalyst and reflection of monastic change and on missionary activities as part of ecclesiastical reform are especially important for the historian of religion. The book fills an important gap in the study of central European monasticism.


Jan den Boeft, Jan Willem Drijvers, Daniël den Hengst and Hans Teitler

Book 29 opens with the judicial terror in Antioch following the discovery of a plot against the emperor in the East, Valens, who played an active role in hunting down and executing the culprits. The account of these internal troubles is balanced by two long chapters at the end of the book dealing with warfare in Africa and Central Europe. The general Theodosius mercilessly crushed the revolt of the Moorish prince Firmus, while the emperor in the West, Valentinian, had to deal with violent invasions of the Quadi and the Sarmatians. The two central chapters are devoted to different aspects of Valentinian’s character, his cruelty on the one hand, his diligence in reinforcing the border defenses on the other.


Börries Kuzmany

An urban biography, Brody: A Galician Border City in the Long Nineteenth Century reconciles 150 years of the town’s socioeconomic history with its cultural memory. The first comprehensive study of this city under Habsburg-Austrian rule, Börries Kuzmany advises against reading urban history solely through the national lens. Besides exploring Brody’s extraordinary ethno-confessional structure—Jews, Poles, and Ukrainians—Kuzmany examines the interrelation between the city’s geographical location at the imperial border, its standing as a key commercial hub in East-Central Europe, and its position as a major springboard for the dissemination of the Haskalah in Galicia and the Russian Empire. After delving into the contradictory perceptions of Brody in travelogues, fiction and memory books, Kuzmany uses contemporary and historical photographs to provide an illustrated walking tour of this now Ukrainian town.


Lisa Marie Anderson

This book reads messianic expectation as the defining characteristic of German culture in the first decades of the twentieth century. It has long been accepted that the Expressionist movement in Germany was infused with a thoroughly messianic strain. Here, with unprecedented detail and focus, that strain is traced through the work of four important Expressionist playwrights: Ernst Barlach, Georg Kaiser, Ernst Toller and Franz Werfel. Moreover, these dramatists are brought into new and sustained dialogues with the theorists and philosophers of messianism who were their contemporaries: Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, Martin Buber, Hermann Cohen, Gershom Scholem. In arguing, for example, that concepts like Bloch’s utopian self-encounter ( Selbstbegegnung) and Benjamin’s messianic now-time ( Jetztzeit) reappear as the framework for Expressionism’s staging of collective redemption in a new age, Anderson forges a previously underappreciated link in the study of Central European thought in the early twentieth century.