Hungary Dantesque Encyclopedia

Hungary Dantesque Encyclopedia

Carlo Martello points out to D. the Hungary like that land that the Danube lines / then leaves the German banks (Pd VIII 65-66), giving us a fairly precise picture of the geography of the region. It is inhabited by the ‛Ungari ‘who belong to the great family of peoples who speak languages ​​derived from that of the jo (VE I VIII 4).

Hungary proves to have a good knowledge of the historical situation of the region when he exclaims, in enumerating the unjust principles in the sky of Jupiter, O blessed Hungary, if he does not allow himself to be beaten up! (Pd XIX 142), alluding in all probability to the contrasts that hindered the accession to the throne of Charles Robert of Anjou. According to Sapegno, however, this expression, connected to the immediately following one relating to Navarre, has an exhortative value, meaning that the Hungary he must defend himself from the bad governance of the French house; but this interpretation contrasts with the affectionate atmosphere with which D. surrounded the figure of Carlo Martello, initiator of the Angevin dynasty in the Hungary – although he never managed to take possession of the kingdom (Fulgeami already in front of the crown / of that land that the Danube row, Pd VIII 64-65) -, and consequently that of his son Caroberto; and it also contradicts the historical reality contemporary to the writing of the song: in fact the reign of Caroberto was the beginning of a period of prosperity in the Hungarian kingdom (see the entries ANDREA III; Carlo Martello d’angiò; Carlo Roberto d’angiò).

In 35 BC the Romans conquered the territory between the Sava and the Danube, previously inhabited by the Illyrians and then by the Celts, founding the province of Pannonia. The Roman dominion was later consolidated by Trajan between 101 and 105 AD, but during the crisis of the Empire those Danubian provinces were invaded first by the Goths, then by the Huns in the century. V, from the Avars in the sec. VII and VIII. Near the end of the century. IX it seemed that the Slavs could settle there, when a population of Finno-Ugric lineage broke from the Carpathians, the Magyars, semi-nomadic, Uralic speaking, divided into six tribes, led by Árpád, chief of the Magjar tribe, the most important, from whom the name of the people. With Prince Geza (971-997) the unification of the people began, but it is up to St. Stefano (997-1038) the merit of having given laws and regulations.

With the death of Stephen the kingdom was troubled by dangerous discords, until with s. Ladislao (1077-1095), having overcome the internal contrasts, the expansionary momentum was resumed with the occupation of Slovenia (1089) and Croatia (1091). His successor Colomanno (1095-1116) conquered some Dalmatian cities and islands, involving his kingdom in centuries-old conflicts with Venice and therefore with Byzantium. The expansion policy, however, wore away the royal power and in 1222 Andrew II with the Golden Bull faced the reform of the state, establishing the Hungarian feudal noble statute. During the government of Bela IV (1235-1270) the invasion of the Tartars (1241) deeply shook the kingdom, which could only recover a few years later. In 1301 with the death of Andrew III the Árpád dynasty died out, thus giving rise to difficult and conflicting successions. Thanks to the family ties that had already been close at the time of Bela IV between the Árpád and the Anjou of Naples, through the marriage of Maria, sister of Ladislao IV, with Charles II the lame, in 1308 after bitter fights he was able to ascend the throne Carlo Roberto d’Angiò.

Dante’s fortune in Hungary. – It is logical that in the environment of the Hungarian Angioni, at the court of Caroberto’s son, Luigi d’Angiò known as ‘the Great’, the memory of D., who in Paradise had declared himself a friend of Carlo Martello, flourished. Around 1353 a Hungarian soldier – who had taken part in the Neapolitan expeditions made by Louis of Anjou to avenge the murder of his younger brother Andrea in Aversa – wanted to atone for the crimes he had committed in southern Italy with a pilgrimage to the cave of St. Patrick’s in Ireland. The Hungarian soldier, called Krizsafánfia György (George, son of Krizsafán), saw a wonderful female figure among the feverish dreams he had in the cave; and this figure undoubtedly has common traits with Beatrice, especially in that she gave him the illusion of wanting to lift him from the state of profound abjection into which he had fallen. The Journey of the soldier George produced a wave of ‘visions’ of the afterlife, which evidently responded to the stormy problems of an age of transition, and which are also those recognizable in Dante’s poem.

At the beginning of the century XV another Hungarian knight, notable of the court of Emperor Sigismund, Lörinc Tari, having lost a person very dear to him, doubted the fate of his soul and decided to make a pilgrimage with the intention of ending it at the grotto of St. Patrick.

However, the first sign of the cult of D. in the Hungary can be traced back to the second decade of the century. XV. Giovanni Bertoldi da Serravalle, who went to the Council of Constance, translated the Comedy into Latin (January-May 1416), dedicating the version to Sigismondo King of Hungary, and accompanying it with an extensive commentary (composed between February 1416 and January 1417) by Ghibelline tendency, derived from that of Benvenuto (see BERTOLDI, Giovanni).

Another element of the cult of D. is constituted by a precious code of the Monarchy today in the library of the National Museum of Budapest (code 212) originally offered – according to the conjecture of Iózsef Kaposi – to Albert II of Habsburg, king of Germany. The codex was exemplified around the end of 1438 or early 1439, and was probably put together in Bohemia. A rather significant circumstance is that the Dante text is accompanied by Joachimite prophecies.

Other moments of D.’s fortune in the Hungary already lead us to the Hungarian Renaissance environment. Not much later Giano Pannonio (1434-1472), the most distinguished figure of Hungarian Humanism, a pupil of the school of Guarino Veronese, in one of his heroic poems, Panegirico su Jacopo Antonio Marcello, represented the protagonist of his poem, a hero eager to discover a new world in the sea of ​​the West, modeling it on Dante’s Ulysses. At the court of Mattia Corvino Pannonio found an environment that was very favorable to D.: the Neoplatonic group of the court, in fact, was in active correspondence with Marsilio Ficino, preferred D., studying his Monarchy, which Ficino himself had translated into the vernacular. A humanist of the court, Galeotto Marzio (about 1427 – 1497), he was profoundly influenced in various of his works by Dante’s Convivio. Another humanist of the court, Aurelio Brandolino Lippo (1440-1497), in the work De Comparatione rei publicae et regni highlights some affinities between the Monarchy and the Comedy.

A sumptuously illustrated codex of the Comedy belonged to the royal library, the so-called Bibliotheca Corvina, currently in the Egyetemi Könyvtár (Ital. I, formerly Lat. 33). In the Libellus on the dignity of the Apostles (1521) we find the first quotation by D. in Hungarian (Pd XXII 46-48). At the beginning of the century XVII is the next important datum of D.’s fortune in the Hungary: Jànos Rimay and even earlier his teacher, Bálint Balassi, the first Hungarian poet of European importance, refer to D. as the supreme model of love poetry in vulgar. The reasons for this admiration are to be found in the interest aroused by the De vulgari Eloquentia, already known at that time.

Apart from some episodes of negligible importance, a real eclipse in the fortune of D. took place in the Hungary from the seventeenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth. But the renewed interest in the work of D., favored in Italy by the new romantic and Risorgimento ideology, consequently promoted a new fervor of studies also in the Hungary Luigi Kossuth was an attentive reader of the Comedy and the Monarchy; Sándor Petöfi, who can be considered the greatest Hungarian poet of the century. XIX, he admired in D. the creator of Hell and the poet of Veltro. In the writings of István Széchenyi the ability of the poet of Hell to render the painful human condition, the pain caused to oneself by men or by a foreign power that oppresses the homeland, is highlighted. Contemporary to the awakening of interest in the D. more properly ‛political ‘ it is the effort of some scholars to translate Dante’s texts and interpret them historically and aesthetically. Gábor Döbrentei was the first to translate cantos I and V of Hell and passages from III, IV and XIX into prose (1806). Historical and aesthetic judgments on the Comedy begin to emerge in the magazines of the Hungarian Risorgimento. For Hungary 2019, please check

However, the first high-level translations of D.’s works into Hungarian are due to another poet, Ferenc Császár, of Rijeka origin. His translation of the New Life is worthy of all attention because it has a high artistic value; and important is the “letter” of Ferenc Toldy introduction to the translation, which presents us with a D. that concludes the Middle Ages and leads to the New Age: this is precisely the conception that will become dominant in Hungarian dantology. The Császár also translated the first seven, the XXXIII and part of the XV canto of Hell.

The first complete translations of Gyula Bálinth’s Hungarian Comedy in hexameters (1868-76), the other by János Angyal (1878) proved inadequate. The first translator capable of the serious task was Károly Szász (1872-1885, 1891). Last in chronological order (1966) the excellent translation of Cantos IV of Hell by Sándor Weöres. To remember the poems of János Arany (Dante, 1852; A kis pokol; Arany also translated the first triplets of Hell, 1856); the essay by Jenö Péterfy, occasioned by the translation of the Szász (1886). The 1913 translation by Mihály Babits (Komédiája Elsöresz: A pokol) published several times until 1923 and became a classic work of Hungarian literature. The translation of the Babits seems more tortuous than the original, more nervous, it does not reach the robustness of D., yet the flexibility of the language, the extraordinary rhyme technique, the fidelity to the text and, at the same time, the creative freedom make this translation exemplary. The subsequent fortune of D. in Hungary is to be connected to it.

Among the monographs, noteworthy is that of József Kaposi, Dante Magyarországon (cit. In bibl.); and equally important is the album published on the occasion of the sixth centenary of the death of D., Dante-Emlékkönyv, szerkesztette Reiner János (Budapest 1924), in which there are some very important essays, those for example. by Gyözö Concha, Dantis Florentini de Monarchia libri tres and that by Jenö Kastner, Dante realizmusa (Dante’s realism).

Other works by D. were also translated into Hungarian: La Monarchia, by György Balanyi (1921), La Vita Nuova, by Zoltán Ferenczi (Budapest 1921), then repeatedly by Zoltán Jékely (ibid. 1944). The first complete edition of D.’s works in one volume was first published in 1962 and the second time in 1965 BC. by Tibor Kardos, in translations by Mihály Babits, Gyözö Csorba, Zoltán Jékely, Amy Károlyi, László Mezey, Mihály András Rónai, Géza Sallay, Mihály Szabó, Dénes Szedö, György Véghö, Sándor.

The most notable fruit of Dante’s philology in the Hungary is the volume prepared for Dante’s seventh centenary: D. a középkor és a renaissance között (D. between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance), Budapest 1966, whose conception follows the Hungarian tradition of considering D. last synthetic genius of the Middle Ages that opened the Renaissance. The collaborators of the work are: Imre Bán, Ferenc Baranyi, Vittore Branca, Fredi Chiappelli, László Gáldi, Tibor Kardos, Jenö Koltay-Kastner, Giorgio Padoan, Giuseppe Petronio, György Rába, László Rajnai, Zoltán Rózsa, Géza Salályza,, József Szauder.

Hungary Dantesque Encyclopedia