Tales of a peasant revolt. Taboos and memories of 1514 in Hungary

Erdélyi, Gabriella (2013) Tales of a peasant revolt. Taboos and memories of 1514 in Hungary. In: Memory before Modernity: Practices of Memory in Early Modern Europe. Brill, Leiden, pp. 93-109.

Text (Gabriella Erdélyi, Tales of a peasant revolt. Taboos and memories of 1514 in Hungary)
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The ruling elite, who had learned to fear the peasants in 1514, engineered the staging of the dramatic memorialisation of the Revolt and then of its stigmatisation in subsequent centuries. Public executions were designed to deter crime and to legitimate power by reminding people of the consequences of rebellion and making them recoil from any repetition. We do not know how ordinary folk responded. If early modern spectators remembered, identified with and experienced the pain when it was displayed on stage, as several scholars have suggested, they may have felt that this suffering contributed to their purification and salvation.51 In terms of the psychological concepts current today, the repeated recollection and staging of such painful events would have hindered mental healing and we would expect the pre-modern practice of public execution as a commemorative ritual to have worsened any collective traumas. But if ‘nations can [freely] repress [and forget] with psychological impunity’,52 as Iwona Irwin-Zarecka has recently argued, we may have to conclude that the self-image of early modern society in Hungary was in fact stabilised by the cultivation in text, image and ritual of the martyr Dózsa and his crown of thorns.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: D History General and Old World / történelem > D4 Modern History / új- és legújabb kor története
Depositing User: Dr. Gabriella Erdélyi
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2014 21:42
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2014 21:42

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