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7 Invented Middle Ages in Nineteenth-century Hungary. The Forgeries of Sámuel Literáti Nemes

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Chapter Summary

Sámuel Literáti Nemes (1794-1842), a well known Hungarian antiquarian, was paradoxically at the same time a peculiar, almost a double personality, and a typical representative of his age. Besides a large number of authentic antiquities, however, he also sold a few pseudo-Hungarian "literary monuments", causing no little puzzlement and unrest in philologist circles. With this "double agency" Literáti was a typical person of those decades of the nineteenth century when many literary monuments turned up and enriched Hungarian historiography with the earliest sources of national history. And when pseudo-historical forgeries, never existed writings dubious ancient objects and invented myths initiated first enthusiasm, and later disappointment among the historians increasingly sensitive towards linguistic and philological arguments. According to those who believe in its authenticity, it contains a prayer to God, praying for the pope, for the Christians, and against the participants of the eleventh century Hungarian pagan uprisings.

Keywords: double agency; God; Hungarian antiquarian; nineteenth century; pope; pseudo-historical forgeries; Sámuel Literáti Nemes

10.1163/9789004276819_008
/content/books/b9789004276819_008
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