A less heroic gesture?
The Croatian Ban and Hungarian nobleman Miklós Zrínyi/Nikola Zrinski (1508-1566) who defended the fortress of Sziget against the Ottoman army led by Suleyman the Great until a last desperate sortie in which the whole garrison perished is a national hero both of the Croatian and Hungarian Pantheon. His story was subject of many literary and artistic works, from his great-grandson Miklós Zrínyi's (1620-1664) epic poem up to the romantic dramas of August Werthes (1790) or Theodor Körner (1812). The mythization of the story begun already by 1587, when Zrínyi's son of law, Imre Forgách published a well decorated volume in Wittenberg, collecting Latin poems and historias about his father in law but censorizing them the same time: omitting e.g. from the excerpt of his brother, Ferenc Forgách's (1535-1577) Commentarii Zrínyi's negative characterization and adding to it such purely fictional moments like the story of the "amazon" of Sziget or the heroic last speech of the Ban. One less heroic particularity however missed his attention: in the Historia Sigethi of Samuel Budina (1 ed. 1568) published in this volume as well, Zrínyi, shortly before his dead exhorts his soldiers with these words: "Let out from here soldiers, let us show our middle finger to the enemy and die valiantly." Showing the middle-finger had the same meaning as nowadays. At least in Latin. But how was the sentence translated to other languages, in which Budina's Historia was published (Italian and German), if was at all? Did it appear in Budina's Croatian source, Ferenac Crnko's Povijest Segeta grada? What is the possibility that it had happened really? And finally: was it really a less heroic gesture or could it have a reasonable purpose in epical sense too?
Osoba publikująca: Janusz Smulski