A Treatise of Schemes and Tropes This a Useful Notes page. A Treatise of Schemes and Tropes
File:Hungary-map 1061.gif

Are you hungry ?


Usual foreign reaction to any question regarding Hungary


Hungary. Not a land with a hunger problem, it's known as Magyarország by those who are from there. Most important things are covered by The Other Wiki, so there is just some basic info here.

Brief history

  • Hungarians arrived at the land which became Hungary at the end of the 9th century. They were like your typical nomad people, lots of horses and bowmanship etc.
  • About 1000, King St. Stephen (Szent István király) founded a proper kingdom, because he realised that nomadic warfare was quite ineffective against western styled knights. The Tatar (actually Mongol, but Hungarians called Mongols Tatars) attacks of 1241-1242 showed that he was not completely right, they wiped out about half of the country. This kingdom lasted mostly independently until the 16th century.
    • One of Hungary's national symbols is a crown with a wonky cross on top. This is St. Stephen's crown. How the cross got bent is a matter of heated academic debate and various folk tales (such as King Mathias hitting it with a showel when he was startled by the angels trying to crown him), but it is likely to have been during one of the period when it was hidden from one of Hungary's conquerors.
      • According the museum guide I had the pleasure to meet that cross isn't bent... just kinda wobbly. The hole is too big for the bolt that was intended to hold the cross in place. Sadly they didn't let me try. The true dream of a ten year old!
  • When the Turkish invasion tore Hungary into three parts, one controlled by the Ottoman Empire, one by Habsburg Austria, and Transylvania, a small country which was balancing between the other two, mainly to avoid destruction.
  • During the 17th century the Ottomans were defeated by the Habsburgs who reunited the three parts under their rule (To say that the relationship between them and the Austrians has had its ups and downs is one way of putting it).
  • Which led to two bigger revolutions, let's just say there was major cooperation errors between the Habsburgs and the Hungarian nobility (even though there were factions that sided with them). The later one in 1848-49 led to the export of some fine military leaders to Europe and America. (Ever wondered from where the fire lord Kossuth comes or what is the meaning of the K. in Jerome K. Jerome?)
  • After some intense peacemaking the Austro-Hungarian Empire was born. This was also thanks to the influence of Austrian Empress/Queen Consort of Hungary, Elisabeth of Wittelsbach aka Sisi, who adored Hungary so much that she spent more time in Hungarian lands than in Vienna itself. This lasted until the end of the First World War, when about three-quarters of the country was divided between the neighbouring countries, leaving large ethnic Hungarian minorities there. This is known as the Treaty of Trianon and is the source of intense Flamewars even in Hungary, not the mention some serious conflicts with the neighbours. Thing is, the Entente did the splitting intentionally, with two goals: making Hungary unable to effectively go to war ever again and creating a solution that didn't satisfy anyone in order to make them endlessly feud with each other instead of the West.
  • During World War II, Hungary sided with the losing side again and after the war became Commie Land.
  • In that most people weren't too happy, which led to The Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Crushed by the Soviets.
  • After 1956, at least, Hungary went through some more low-key reforms, and Hungary became ironically known as "the happiest barracks in the camp", under "Goulash Communism".
  • After The Great Politics Mess-Up Hungary became a democracy and a member of NATO and EU; the current[when?] government is conservative center-right with an absolute majority who are rapidly starting to become very unpopular. The second most supported party is a far-right nationalist one, (which wasn't even on the map before 2008) by the latest polls is supported by 24-26% percent of the voting population (more than the previously double-term serving socialists 22-23%).

Random notes on language and culture

  • Hungarian language is a Finno-Ugric one, related only to the Finnish and Estonian ones in Europe, as well as several minority languages in the European part of Russia (in fact the two languages that are most closely related to Hungarian, Khanty and Mansi, are spoken in the Asian part of Russia). This makes it ideal for Fun with Foreign Languages or As Long as It Sounds Foreign. Check out the homepage in Hungarian.
    • "Related" here meaning "linguists say they're related, we just have to believe they know their stuff". A Finn or Estonian can't understand Hungarian if they haven't learned it, and vice versa.
      • Being related doesn't mean that speakers of the languages magically understand each other. Languages evolve and all that. Brits don't understand German unless they've learned it and vice versa, nevertheless English and German are very closely related. (And how about French and Greek? Irish and Russian and Sanskrit? All parts of the same language family and they have the similarities and regular differences to prove it.)
        • In other words: Finnish/Estonian and Hungarian have similar grammar and almost completely different vocabulary.
  • The word Hungarian has nothing to do with the huns. That's a rather wishful Retcon from the 13th century.
    • Actually it is a bastardisation of the external name, onugor (which in Turkish means ten tribes) and was never used by the Hungarians themselves - magyar being the local version. See German Ungarisch, French hongrois.
  • Family name first. Yes, there are massive inconsistencies with the translation of Japanese names.
    • And the transliteration of Japanese (and Chinese) names. Argh.
    • And that isn't even mentioning the romanization. There's seems to be a pretty strong dispute over this, as there are people who insist that all languages (hungarian includes) must follow the Hepburn romanization for the Japanese language and write all Japanese names in western order, despite the fact that written Hungarian uses it's own alphabet with many letters used to represent completely different sounds than in english (most common being 'c' instead of 'ts', 'dzs' instead of 'j', 's' instead of 'sh' and of course 'j' instead of 'y' and 'sz' instead of 's', all of which are common in Japanese).
  • All pronouns are gender-netural but the language in general uses a metric fuckton of inflections.
    • The latter makes Hungarian an excellent language for cursing the hell out of someone when used by a verbally creative person. Kinda like French in this regard...
  • Alien Among Us: Hungarian scientists were jokingly referred as Martians during their stay in the States. Since there were a lot of Jews in Hungary, and Hungary was a Nazi ally puppet state during World War II, there were understandably quite a lot of Hungarian Jewish scientists (and frequently their Christian colleagues) heading to America. The most famous are the (highly eccentric) mathematicians John von Neumann and Paul Erdõs (Neumann János and Erdõs Pál in Hungarian) the (batshit insane) Edward Teller (Teller Ede).
  • GulaschSuppe: The single most famous Hungarian dish, mostly written exactly like that for foreigners. In Hungarian it is gulyásleves. In English it's called "goulash", though in North America the word refers to a totally different dish.
  • Puskás Öcsi: The single most famous Hungarian person ever. (Not counting Johnny von Neumann. And Bela Lugosi. And Edward Teller. And Franz Liszt)
  • Stephen Colbert: The person who almost had one of the main bridges named after him on the Danube. Hell, everyone in the country voted for him in the online poll. 1.7 times.
  • Pole and Hungarian are two brothers, they fight and drink together. ;) There's even a Day of Polish-Hungarian friendship in both countries.
    • To confused non-Magyars/non-Poles: "Poles and Hungarians are brothers, they fight and drink together", or something like it, is a short rhyme in both Polish and Hungarian, and a symbol of the traditional good relations between the two countries. Possibly originated in the middle ages when for a while the two countries were ruled by the same king.
    • Somewhat more unsettlingly, it was a Hungarian (the aforementioned batshit-crazy Edward Teller) and a Pole (Stanis³aw Ulam) living in America who came up with the first design for the hydrogen bomb. To be fair, the Russian Andrei Sakharov had the same idea independently almost immediately afterward (which is why the H-bomb is called the "Teller-Ulam Design" in the West but "Sakharov's Third Idea" in the former Soviet bloc). On the other hand, while Ulam and Sakharov later forswore nuclear research (and Sakharov became an anti-nuclear campaigner[1]), Teller started advocating ever more deadly weapons (he was the one who convinced the US Air Force to seriously pursue the H-bomb in the first place), including the notorious "Star Wars" anti-missile system in The Eighties. Like we said, batshit.
  • On the other hand, Hungarians and Romanians don't exactly get along that well. A centuries-long dispute over rightful ownership of Transylvania (with all the attendant Misplaced Nationalism and abusive historical Ret Cons), the fact that it was settled by the Trianon treaty at the small price of having Hungary lose 72% of its territory (something that Hungarians can be a bit bitter about) and a Curb Stomp War in 1919 with a side helping of Romanian occupation, plundering (in retaliation for the Central Powers doing the same thing during WW 1) and harsh armistice terms didn't help.
    • Important note: don't confuse Budapest (capital of Hungary) with Bucharest (capital of Romania) in earshot of the locals. They tend to get... twitchy.
  • Hungarian characters in foreign works rarely have authentic Hungarian names, the writers usually settle for Slavic or German cognates. The reason for this is partly that foreigners often find Hungarian writing/pronunciation very confusing, and partly that the writers Don't Do The Research. The first one is kinda ironic if you consider that Hungarian writing is almost perfectly phonetic.
  • Reported incidents of seizing vital regions are somewhat exaggerated.
  • One of the more interesting things about Hungarians is the Hussars. Unrelated to Polish winged hussars they were more like the Cossacks in Russia. They were herdsmen enlisted under various local nobles first to fight border wars against the Turks and their clients, and latter against European enemies. They made a famous name as light cavalry and soon enough other Kingdoms were not only forming light cavalry regiments but designating them "hussars". To this day armies with a taste for the Good Old Ways will designate a unit as "hussars", often one that plays a similar tactical role, like scouting and skirmishing.
Flag of Hungary

The Hungarian flag


  1. And then human-rights campaigner and democracy activist in the Soviet Union, earning him a Nobel Peace Prize and exile to Siberia
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