Title: Vnímanie etnicity vo Vedomostiach Mateja Bela
Author: NAGY, Imrich
Source: Studia Historica Nitriensia, 2017, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 184-190
Abstract: In Knowledge of contemporary Kingdom of Hungary (Notitia Hungariae Novae) written in Latin, Matej Bel (Mathias Belius, Bél Mátyás) gives a detailed geographic, historical and ethnographic description of particular Hungarian counties from the position of 18’s century man (the project of his Knowledge is dated at 1723 – 1749). Ethnic identification and naming of inhabitants of particular counties and seats are part of this description. Ethnonyms Hungari, Germani and Slavi are the most frequent, but he also identifies members of other ethnic groups who lived in researched area: e.g. Bohemi, Moravi, Poloni, Croatae etc. However, the interpretation of these terms is not unequivocal in all cases. The most of questions are connected with understanding of ethnonyms Hungarus and Slavus. In the first case, Slovak historiography oscillates between political understanding (natio Hungarica, i.e. in the meaning of Hungarian citizenship) and ethnical (e.g. lingua Hungarica). In the second case, according to historical connections, we come across interpretations from the general name Slav to entirely specific Slovak. However, using these interpretative rules in Bel’s work is not always unequivocal. Bel uses ethnonym Hungarus in the opposition to other ethnonyms as a distinctive characteristic. Slavi, who are perceived as a part of Hungari, are exception (expressed by stressing of nostri Slavi). Subsequently, he assignes ethnic features to them (language, customs and history), which stresses their equality with Hungarians, who created common state with them. Bel also does not distinguish differences between terms Slav/Slovien and Slovak (that ethnonym we found in one case in the Latin form Slowakus). Only in exceptional cases, he uses specific term Slavinus that is equal to Slavs (Venedi Slavique). The starting point of his argumentation is the continuity of Slovak ethnic group since the times of Great Moravia.
Keywords: Matej Bel (Mathias Belius, Bél Mátyás); Ethnonyms (Hungari, Slavi, Germani); Perception of Ethnicity; Historiography; 18th Century;
Publication order reference: Univerzita Mateja Bela, Filozofická fakulta, Katedra histórie, Tajovského 40, 974 01 Banská Bystrica, Slovak Republic, Imrich.Nagy@umb.sk