SAINT STEPHENS


By John Papantonakis:
 

 

 

 

Hungarian people were not always inhabiting the present state of Hungary. Their origins trace back to Asia. As a matter of fact, their origins are traceable to be a mix of Urals and Altaics (Kovacs, 17). These two Stocks formed the Magyars which were the ancestors of the Hungarians before Saint Stephens. The problem with the Magyars was that they were a nomadic peoples that settled in the Carpathian Basin; as a result, they were not used to the western style of feudal government (19-21). So, the Magyars chose to raid their European neighbors, as was consistent with tribal people.

 

 

We stated before that Saint Stephens changed all this by creating the Hungarian State. The question is how did he do it? First of all, the Magyars were a set of tribes which did not necessarily get along, as is typical with nomadic peoples. Various tribes in the late tenth century were in serious competition for the lead role. Prince Geza, Saint Stephen's pagan father was the victor in the end. (21) His son Vajk (Saint Stephens was the inheritor of tribal leader. The situation of the tribes that settled in the Carpathian Basin was getting dangerous.

 The German emperor, Otto the Great, was getting impatient with the tribal warfare and the insecurity that it brought to feudal Europe. Yet, before the German emperor could order an invasion of them, Saint Stephen asked to be coronated by the emperor. The result would be the recognition of the Hungarian State to feudal Europe. The 'Holy crown of Hungary" was sent by Pope Sylvester II, with the emperor recognizing the kingship of Saint Stephens as an equal among his empire (21).

 

The Hungarian figure did not stop at just saving his peoples' ejection from Europe, he went further to firmly establish statehood in his people. He laid the foundations of a modern state by dividing the clans into "Franks." That is, he divided the land into counties. This eventually led to the abolishment of the clan system and the evolution of the modern state (22). He welcomed with open arms all foreigners. The King's stress, though, was not to abolish his people's way of life, but to create a modern one. After Saint Stephens, the pagans and clans would be past way of life. He gave Hungary a State with cities. He gave it western culture (Christianity). Yet, Saint Stephens also gave Hungary a new way of thinking, while still keeping its own way of life.

 

Bibliography:
Kovacs, Imre. FACTS ABOUT HUNGARY: chapter 1: History Of the Hungarians pp.13-26. 1959.

 

 

 

 

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