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Although King Sigismund was attempting to maintain good relations with both the Habsburgs and the Ottoman Empire, he was also trying to secure the future of his daughter and grandson.At first, the Polish emissaries tried to persuade the parties to observe the terms of the Peace of Várad, but when Sigismund saw the escalation of events and the resistance of the Hungarian elite in 1541, he increasingly adopted the view that he should let his daughter decide whether to stay in Hungary and try to secure the throne for her son.I examine the way in which they were perceived by contemporaries.In the case of John Sigismund Zapolya, I describe how the image of the ruler, who died young, was shaped by his followers in the first years after his death, that is, in the 1570s and 1580s, and how the commemoration served the emerging political identity of Transylvania in the context of close Polish-Transylvanian ties during the reign of Báthory.I argue here mainly with evidence of contemporary political journalism. This could hardly have been possible without intense exchange with the rest of Europe.
To sum up, the papers contribute to a more nuanced history of the Polish-Hungarian relations and stereotypes, but refer to more general questions about the commemoration of a ruler (Herrschermemoria) in early modern Europe. The editors of the volumes—Gábor Almási, Szymon Brzeziński, Ildikó Horn, Kees Teszelszky and Áron Zarnóczki—are based at Hungarian, Polish and Dutch institutions of historical research.
Unlike earlier approaches to the same questions, these volumes intend to draw an alternative map of early modern Hungary.
On this map, the centre-periphery conceptions of European early modern culture are replaced by new narratives written from the perspective of historical actors, and the dominance of Western-Hungarian relationships are kept in balance with openness to the significance of Hungary’s direct neighbours, most importantly the Ottoman Empire.
The studies of this volume concern Polish-Hungarian and Polish-Transylvanian relations in the 16th and 17th centuries.
In the first paper, with reference both to older scholarship and recent research on the history of borderlands, I analyze the character and role of the Polish-Hungarian borderland.
An essential factor was the religious (Protestant, especially Unitarian) motivation of the apologists.