Adrian and Marianne Stokes
Adam and Charles Black, London, 1909

Examples of Adrian Stokes' Paintings
Examples of Marianne Stokes' Paintings
Utmost Fidelity - The painting lives of Marianne and Adrian Stokes


Hungary is less frequented by foreign visitors than other great countries of Europe; still, it has charms beyond most. In spite of modern development—in many directions—the romantic glamour of bygone times still clings about it, and the fascination of its peoples is peculiar to them.

Various races inhabit the land, but the Magyars— proud, intelligent, and full of vitality—dominate it.

The entire population is about 20 millions, of which, approximately, 9 are Magyars; 5, Slavs; 8, Rumanians; 2, Germans; and 1, various others. Though these races are much interspersed, the richly fertile central plains have become the home of the Magyars; Slavs occupy outlying parts of the country, and Croatia; Rumanians, hills and mountains to the east and south-east; Germans, the lower slopes of the great Carpathians, a large part of Transylvania, and the neighbourhood of Styria and Lower Austria. Gipsies and Jews are to be met with nearly everywhere.

The landscape is of great variety. Vast plains, bathed in hazy sunlight, where great rivers glide on their way to the East; wooded hills and rushing streams; lovely lakes; sombre forests, from which grim mountains rear their huge grey shoulders in the clear air, are all to be found; and dotted about may be seen figures that recall the illustrations in an old-world Bible.

Hungarians are sensitive regarding the lack of knowledge they believe prevalent in other countries concerning themselves and their civilization, and pleased when a foreigner proves himself to be acquainted with the following facts:

Hungary is now, and has been since the year A.D. 1001, an independent sovereign State and a kingdom.

His Majesty the Emperor Franz Joseph, whose dominions include Upper and Lower Austria, Bohemia, Styria, Carinthia, Tyrol, etc., is not Emperor, but King, of Hungary.

And familiarity with a few salient points in their most interesting history would still more gratify them.

The Magyars, under Arpád, made their first appearance in Central Europe in the ninth century, about the year A.D. 896.

The cruel rapacity of those fierce horsemen during their incursions in Germany and Italy was so terrible that a new clause was added to the Litany: 'Ab Ungarorum nos defendas jaculis.'

Their power was broken by Otho the Great, German Emperor, in a battle near the River Lech, in Bavaria, in 955.

Christianity was introduced under Prince Geisa (972-995).

In the year 1001 Stephen I., the first King, succeeded his father, and was crowned by solemn sanction of Pope Sylvester II., who conferred on him the title 'Apostolic King,' and sent him the famous crown which has been used at the coronation of all succeeding Kings.

Stephen was canonized in 1083, and is the patron saint of Hungary.

By the end of the eleventh century Croatia and Dalmaţia had been added to the dominions of the crown, to which Croatia has ever since belonged.

In the twelfth century colonies of Saxons were introduced into Transylvania and the Zips country by Geisa II. (1141-1162).

The freedoms and liberties of the Magyars were confirmed by a great charter, the 'Golden Bull' of Andrew II., in 1222, only seven years later than our own Magna Charta.

The dynasty of Arpád became extinct on the death of Andreas III., 1301, and was followed by various elective Kings.

The first of a long series of battles between the Magyars and the Turks took place about the year 1366, on the Danube, near the Iron Gates.

Hollós Mátyás (Mathias Corvinus), son of the great warrior Hunyady János, defeated the Turks, and also the Emperor Frederick, and seized Vienna in 1485.

Louis II., of the House of Anjou, was killed in the great defeat of the Magyars by the Turks at Mohács in 1526, and with him fell the flower of the Hungarian aristocracy.

Ferdinand of Austria, a Habsburg, and brother of the Emperor Charles V., next claimed the crown of what was left of the Hungarian kingdom, as brother-in-law of Louis. A large number of nobles supported him, but another party chose as King, John Zápolya, and a contest divided the country for years.

Zápolya appealed for help to Sultan Soliman, who overran the country.

During the life of John Zápolya's son, Hungary was divided between the Magyars, the Austrians, and the Turks, into three parts.

In 1619 Ferdinand II. became Emperor, inheriting the crowns of Hungary and Bohemia; but, later, many Magyar nobles elected Bethlen Gábor of Transylvania to be their King. Frederick's persecution of the Protestants led Bethlen to unite with the Bohemians against him.

At the battle of the White Mountain, Bohemian independence was lost, and Bethlen was forced to renounce his claim to the throne of Hungary. He was succeeded by the celebrated George Rákoczi, who entered into negotiations with France and Sweden. The Turks, however, invaded Transylvania, and Rákoczi was killed.

The greatest advance of the Turks was marked by their siege of Vienna in 1683, after which, overpowered by the Imperial forces and Magyars combined, they were rapidly driven back beyond the Save and the Danube.

During the times of trouble and confusion covered by the preceding events the Magyars never slackened in their brave struggle for national and religious liberty.

Servians helped in the successful wars against the Turks, and colonies of them were invited to settle in Hungary.

Transylvania was added to the Austrian crown. An insurrection immediately broke out, led by the popular hero Francis Rákoczi.

In 1707 the Diet of Hungary deposed Joseph I., but though Rákoczi was practically ruler of the country, he was not offered the crown.

Joseph I. was in 1711 acknowledged King, while he agreed to restore the ancient rights of Hungary.

The next King, Charles VI., recognized the electoral rights of the Magyar magnates, but secured the succession of his daughter by Pragmatic Sanction. Nevertheless, the accession of Maria Theresa was opposed by Bavaria, Prussia, and France. She appealed for help to the Magyars, whose loyalty secured her the throne. Her husband became the Emperor Francis II.

Maria Theresa was ever grateful to her Hungarian subjects, and delighted to receive the great Magyar nobles at her Court in Vienna.

Joseph II. (1780-1790) introduced reforms which had little success in Hungary. He refused to be crowned with the crown of St. Stephen, and declared that the proper function of the Diet was to deliberate on matters submitted by him. This led to a great Nationalist revival.

In the Napoleonic wars the Hungarians distinguished themselves wherever engaged, and Napoleon, after his entry into Vienna, tried vainly to seduce them from their allegiance to the Habsburgs, promising them a national King.

The Magyar language was for the first time used in the Hungarian Diet, in 1825, by Count Stephen Széchény. A national academy and theatre were founded at the same date.

Joseph II. had attempted to make German the national language, and employed Austrian Government officers throughout the country; and Francis II. (1792-1835) instituted a system of absolutism without more success.

The national opposition culminated in the revolution of 1848, led by Louis Kossuth. Only with the help of Russia was the republic overthrown in 1849.

In the present reign the unhappy wars of 1859 and 1866 led to better feeling, and a party, headed by Francis Deák, brought about reconciliation with Austria and the famous Ausgleich of 1867, which is the foundation of the present system.

I am indebted for many of the details in the above slight historical sketch to 'The Whirlpool of Europe,' by Archibald Colquhoun and Ethel Colquhoun (Harper and Brothers),—to which admirable and concise work I would refer any readers interested in the origin, history, and politics of the various nationalities comprised in the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary.

The high tide of Hungarian greatness was reached during the reign of Louis the Great (Nagy Lajos)—1342-1382. His rule extended from the North Sea to the Black Sea, and from the Black Sea to the Adriatic.

It was to this period the poet Petöfi referred when he sang:

'Oh nagy volt hajdan a magyar
Nagy volt hatalma, birtoka;
Magyar tenger vizében húnyt el
Ejszak, kelet a dél hullócs illaga.'
(Oh, great was once the Hungarian,
Great were his power and possessions;
In the waves of Hungarian seas
Sank the stars of North, East, and South.)