VERITAS Research Institute for History and Archives

22 February 2020

As part of the Holy Crown Afternoons lecture series, our colleague Kálmán Árpád Kovács has been invited to speak. His lecture is entitled Matthias’ Role in the Formation of the Danubian Monarchy.

Location: Kós Károly Cultural Center and Library, Szentendrei út (Road) 9, Budakalász

Date: 2 PM on (Saturday) February 22nd, 2020

In his lecture, Dr. Kovács examines three different late-Middle Ages / early New Age theories through the person of Matthias Corvinus.

1.) According to Géza Pálffy’s theory, it would have been better for Hungary to fall entirely to the Habsburgs in either 1490, 1526 or even 1540, because then they would have used every resource they had as a world power to protect Hungary. But can this theory be taken seriously? In 1490, Pál Kinizsi beat back the alleged military wunderkind Maximillian Hapsburg, with whom our own Matthias Corvinus would have had his share of difficulty, if not already preoccupied by the goings-on of the Burgund and Bavarian fronts. And let’s not go into 1527, when the Ottoman Empire, which controlled Egypt, Syria and Constantinople and possessed the most advanced and richest provinces at the time, intervened in Hungarian domestic affairs...

2.) On May 7th, 1429, Joan of Arc’s visionary Catholic policy turned the tide of the Hundred Years' War. The road to the French royal city opened. After the coronation at Reims, however, opposition intensified…

The war ended in the year the Ottoman power was able to remove the last thorn from its side, making unimpeded passage between Europe and Asia possible. All hope was lost of a pan-European crusade to free Constantinople and beat the Ottomans back into the heart of Asia. By the time the French kings could put their hands on the Burgundy inheritance, they found themselves face to face with a strong opponent on their eastern frontier, the Habsburgs…

3.) The Ottoman-Hungarian struggle intensified under the despotic centralization of the Sultan. The embarrassing fiasco (or world famous victory, depending on how one viewed it) at Nándorfehérvár, which crusaders would not be able to replicate until 1664, remained underutilized.  Moreover, following the death of Count János, who had defeated the Turks, anarchy returned to the country, the main objective of which was to weaken the Hunyadi–Szilágyi alliance.

Under these circumstances, by 1460 it had become a political necessity to unify the Danubian countries and the provinces. The main questions remained: Who would be the one capable of providing Hungary, in her geo-strategically key position, the most external support? Under what circumstances? What kind of defensive priorities? And with what kind of leadership qualifications would that individual bear?