Madness in the Media: An anthropological discussion of the significance of theories of cultural and historical primacy illustrated with examples of such from Hungary and Serbia

| P A P E R
Winter 2003-4

Madness in the Media:

An anthropological discussion of the significance of theories of cultural and historical primacy illustrated with examples from Hungary and Serbia


Eric Beckett Weaver


In The Open Society and its Enemies,[1] Karl Popper argued that historical determinism, the belief in the inevitability of historical development has been one of the banes of our age. As Popper was well aware, the belief that one state of being must assuredly lead to another, in logical social procession, is a common thought pattern. Nonetheless, as Popper has so eloquently argued, it is a pattern that may lead to the establishment of closed, dictatorial regimes which establish legitimacy through a belief in utopia ‘proven’ by a projection onto the past of the progress of history.[2]


Since ancient times monarchies have established divine descent for royalty through myth and ceremony.[3] Traditional monarchies have tried, from time immemorial and in differing cultures the world over, to establish their legitimacy through proof of descent from some illustrious ancestor. Such claims often include theories of divine descent,[4] and in Western society this was not only the case with the ancients, but was also popular among later dynasties.[5] Thus, at times the Habsburgs were “found” to be descended through the Roman emperors from Aeneas and the pagan Roman gods Saturn and Jove, and simultaneously (through another ancestral line) from the priests and kings of the Old Testament, thus ultimately establishing their kinship to Christ.[6]


While not wishing to overemphasize social continuity, (and rather wishing to stress the commonality of certain social thought patterns), it should be pointed out that attempts have been made to prove the divinity or divine blessedness of individual nations in newer political arrangements, where legitimacy derives from the nation and no longer the sovereign.[7] The historian Anthony Smith has said that: ‘the modern religious and even some of the secular assertions of nationalism have been influenced by these older, long-lived beliefs; and, more fundamentally, that modern nationalism has taken from these older traditions a vital component of its outlook, one that readily translates into collective tasks and visions: what we call, the “national mission”, and the “national destiny”.’[8]


Early patterns of belief may well provide a sort of template for later extremist thought. However, it might also be argued that the recurrence of such patterns indicates some deeper psychological need.  Indeed, the fact that finding ancestral links with gods appears among widely separate monarchies the world over may instead indicate that societies arranged on similar lines raise similar psychological needs.


In fact, theories on national primacy in historical terms are common. To examine them in our time there is no need to attempt to trace continuity with thought patterns under previous forms of government (such as monarchy). Some have argued that the attempt to prove that one’s own nation is ‘first’ is almost universally inherent to nationalism and seems to create histories of primacy in all things and places possible.[9] As Lord Raglan put it: ‘We thus see arrayed in defence of false genealogy the powerful forces of religion and patriotism; of custom and tradition; […] not to mention the popular love of the marvelous and the romantic.’[10]


This common belief in primacy of one’s nation may indicate a psychological state common to nationalism, or a cultural logic, rather than a continuing cultural pattern. Thus, on the need for genetic-moral superiority, preceding his discussion of continuity in Aryan theories, Leon Poliakov says: ‘[…] it is the simple expression of an urge which is universal among human groups or cultures; namely that of claiming distinctive origin, an ancestry which is both high-born and glorious.’[11]  Apparently in nationalist logic being first is best, even if those who are first are only a “we” in the distant past.  Amongst numerous other such claims, contemporary Greek claims to Hellenic heritage, Italian ‘memories’ of Roman greatness, and claims of Daco-Romanian[12], Irano-Croatian[13], or Illyro-Albanian[14] continuity fit within this general framework.


Less widespread theories of national historical primacy can gain support among certain splinter-nationalist groups, or may gain a degree of social respectability for a time.  Again, Smith has said: ‘We sometimes find examples of a symbiosis and even fusion between the earlier religious myths and the nationalist ideal.  Here the old religious myths, particularly where they are associated with the idea of a ‘covenant’ between a people and its god, have survived intact.’[15] Smith concludes: ‘My argument, then, is that modern concepts of national mission and national destiny are lineal descendants of the ancient beliefs in ethnic election.’[16]


However, in many cases it would be extremely difficult to establish a direct link between new theories of national divinity, and ancient folk beliefs or customs.  At most we can say that such theories evoke a sort of social resonance with established religious beliefs or historical tradition. For example, at times theories of descent from the ten lost tribes of Israel have enjoyed some popularity among a great variety of social groups. One such theory, that the English were descended from the lost tribes, held a surprising degree of support among a portion of the elite in Victorian Britain.  ‘Indeed, belief in the descent of the English from the Jews gained such wide currency in the nineteenth century that a movement called the British-Israelites claimed hundreds of thousands of followers, even counting Queen Victoria and King Edward VII among its patrons.’[17] Not surprisingly, then, Oxford’s Bodleian Library catalogue includes some 95 entries under the subject-heading Anglo-Israelism.  Although now almost dead in its homeland, the British-Israelite theory spread to Canada and the United States where it has proven to be very resilient, and has given birth to a number of extremist movements.[18]


Some scholars have suggested that messianic beliefs in national superiority and holiness (such as belief in descent from the lost tribes) are more prevalent in nationalist thought in Eastern Europe. Hence Peter Duncan has written: ‘Neither suffering nor messianism are unique to the Russians. Among the East European nations the age of empire offered fertile ground for messianic dreams.’[19] In my view, a belief in divine election is only part of a general search for national grace. Such theories of ancient greatness, holiness, or divine selection often rest on similar proofs. For instance, one of the techniques employed by such theorists as the British-Israelites is ‘to look for words in different languages that sounded the same, assuming, usually erroneously, that if the sounds were similar, then the languages and their speakers had to be connected. Since similar sounds often crop up in otherwise unrelated languages they allowed [one such scholar] to claim, and to believe, that he had proved that “many of our most common [English] words and names of familiar objects are almost pure Hebrew.”’[20]


Although always present, such theories generally only gain support among a tiny minority in any given society.  If it is best to be ‘first’ in historical terms, then it would logically seem best to prove a link with the Sumerians, with whom history allegedly begins,[21] as well as to establish proof of national genius throughout the history of civilization.


Such theories as Sumerian-Hungarian[22] or Celtic-Hungarian[23] continuity theories, and such works as Serbs, The Oldest Nation,[24] Hungarian as the most ancient language,[25] The Hungarian Origins of Easter[26] and The Ancient Hungarian Origins of the Wheel[27] are supported, created, or disseminated by scholars from the Hungarian or Serbian diaspora.  This diaspora has played an enormous role in the attempt to find ancient roots in Eastern Europe. Their role amongst extremist movements is also deserving of more complete analysis than can be provided here. Thus, we have the following quote on an individual in Serbia: ‘The clinical psychologist Dr. Ratibor M. Djurdjevic […] lived in the West, mostly in America, and returned to Serbia in 1992. God Himself sent him back, he says, to help the almost extinguished ancestral Orthodox faith flare up again among the Serbs, who had been de-Christianised and paganised under communism and lived like wild creatures.’[28] 


Whatever the diaspora’s role, domestic scholars have also been productive.  Theories such as Serbs as the lost tribes of Israel, Hungarian-Etruscan continuity theories,[29] Serbian as The Oldest Language of the Bible[30] or Olympic Gods from Serbia,[31] may be generated by extremely original domestic scholarship. Such theories aim to prove the highly cultured and ancient nature of the nation. At times this goal becomes exceedingly evident. One such Hungarian scholar, a professor of anthropology Istvan Kiszely, has said of the Hungarians: ‘Our ancient history goes back 3,000 years.’[32]  Kiszely also controversially claimed to have found the Hungarian hero Petofi’s skeleton in a grave in Siberia (under DNA testing the skeleton proved to be that of a girl).[33] Nevertheless, he has been a great proponent of Hungarian identity for many years. He goes on to explain to his Hungarian interviewer: ‘We came [to Europe] with a unique food-culture that gave Europe the fork and spoon. We came with our own clothing. People don’t really consider the fact that Bill Clinton doesn’t come to Europe, to Hungary, in dress adopted from the Romans or in the clothing of furs originating from the Germans: he has “adopted” the Hungarians’ three-quarter length jacket and fine trousers of linen. And the world inherited the coat […], the hat […], and three-quarter length moccasins from us. Byzantine and Arab writers all mention the unbelievable elegance of even our common people.’[34] In Kiszely’s account Europe owes much of its high culture to the Hungarians, and should be duly grateful. Sadly, Kiszely admits that even the Hungarians do not know this history because the foreign and domestic works proving this glorious past were ‘intentionally not published’.[35]


Such theories, while shocking, are not surprising, and exist in so-called older democracies, and in transition countries alike - countries that some scholars have argued have a totalitarian legacy[36] that, as Juan J. Linz put it ‘shaped the entire social life and culture. It is that legacy – difficult to define, conceptualize or describe – that cannot be ignored.’[37]


Whatever the case, in my view the totalitarian legacy is not demonstrated by the mere existence of theories of cultural preeminence. To provide such demonstrations, one would have to show that these theories are absent from countries that lack a totalitarian past. And this, obviously, is far from being the case. One encounters them often enough in Western countries with a supposedly entrenched democratic tradition. What is surprising, however, is the degree of penetration such works achieve in some post-communist societies, or rather: the common availability of such works in a broad variety of bookstores; their serious discussion in a wide range of media outlets (television, radio, print); and their availability in otherwise seemingly highly prestigious venues.


For example, the work, Serbs, The Oldest Nation was featured for years in the shop-window of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts’ outlet, Naucno Delo, in the heart of Belgrade, and was still being sold inside the shop when I last visited in September 2002.  In Hungary the works mentioned above are available in a number of shops throughout the country, and are seriously discussed in a range of right-wing media.

Sometimes such theories are featured side-by-side in the same venue. Thus, when I purchased books elaborating Sumerian-Hungarian continuity theories with a work proving Etruscan-Hungarian continuity, the cashier at the bookshop (Feherlofia in Budapest) suggested that I narrow my selection and “start slowly as the theories might be confusing if taken all at once”. Surprisingly, attempts have been made over time to consolidate and combine such seemingly inherently incompatible theories into meta-theory.[38]


Furthermore, in Hungary evidence of the penetration of such theories into ordinary life was provided by college entrance exams for the Hungarian language that have included a question asking students to explain the false linguistic premises on which Hungarian-Sumerian continuity theories are based. The theory has apparently been so widely disseminated by its believers that, in a recent book on Hungarian culture published in English by the Hungarian Academy’s press, the editors felt compelled to include the following text explaining the false basis of the theory: ‘Another view holds that the Hungarian language is related to Sumerian. This relationship is based on the similar sounding and apparently similar words.  As such, it is convincing for those interested in, but unfamiliar with the issue of linguistic relationships. However, the relationship of languages is not proved by accidental coincidences – even if they are numerous -, but by regular similarities and differences (the so-called regular observations).’[39]


In his description of Serbian national myths the political-anthropologist Ivan Colovic has written that extremist Serbian nationalists hold that: ‘The Serbian nation is the oldest nation in the world, all other nations originated from it, just as all other languages originated in the Serbian language. But it is at the same time the youngest and freshest nation, it offers the germ of universal, or at least European renewal.  This is possible because this nation stands to one side of historical time, of the irretrievable loss of history. It lives in an eternal present, simultaneously old and young, in an eternal union of the dead, the living and the yet unborn.’[40]


Some might also point to Hungary’s relatively high levels of xenophobia[41] and racism,[42] and to Serbia’s unfortunate recent history to suggest that belief in group-superiority is a symptom of a deeper social pathology, and not just market distortions.


Anthony Smith has said that: ‘profound belief in inward superiority underpins the capacity for endurance and self-renewal found among so many ethnies in history. […] Closely allied to this belief is the idea that the community’s special destiny will see a radical reversal of its hitherto lowly or marginal status in the world.’[43] However, one would be hard-pressed to argue that Victorian British-Israelites suffered from a feeling that their community was suffering a ‘lowly or marginal status in the world’. It would seem that, no matter what the nation’s current status, nationalists simply find it ‘best to be first’.  The widespread dissemination of such theories in countries in transition is not necessarily evidence of a higher degree of social pathology, but rather a sign of the relative weakness of the market, the overarching power of certain extremist elite groups, and a low degree of media autonomy.  After all, such literature is published in a range of newer and long-established democracies. The difference here is in the availability of such “research”.


The poverty of publishers and of the very small local market, which faces a surfeit of competition, means that publishers are compelled to print virtually everything, regardless of quality, provided that the author can subsidize publication (as may be the case with many diaspora authors).  Furthermore, the continued party-centered clientelism in Central and Eastern Europe[44] means that most parties, from the extreme right to the left, have established publishing houses or gained control of newspapers, radio stations and other media outlets from whence they may disseminate their views regardless of popularity or market demand.


This attenuates the democratic crisis also common to Western democracies, summarized by a British analyst: ‘the voting system is distorted by the power of single-issue pressure groups. ’One man one vote’ conceals the reality of tightly organised interest groups exerting disproportionate influence over all the political parties.’[45]  Research on the media in countries in transition from communist rule paints a particularly gloomy picture. As Colin Sparks has put it: ‘The press market remains highly competitive, although there is a high casualty rate amongst the new foundations of 1989. The press, too, remains highly politicised and partisan.’[46]


Addressing the more specific problem of the weakness of local media in transition, Barbara Trionfi has written: ‘[…] this, in most cases, has been within very weak economic environments […] Not being able to rely on revenue from advertising has forced media outlets to seek financing from political parties or private financiers who, in return, have sought to influence the content of the news reported […] All this not only puts at risk the economic survival of independent media organisations, but also significantly lowers the quality of journalism making it dependent on external factors other than truth and accuracy.’[47] And in Hungary, a recent survey of the press and press freedom showed that: ‘half of all journalists have been menaced in one way or another, and only a third of journalists are able to resist attempts of political influencing.’[48]


The same could have been written of the book publishing market. As an example of the access to media gained by even the least popular politicians, one can again look at Hungary. It would be wrong to assume that electoral outcomes and hence party popularity are more-or-less mirrored in the market-availability of publications reflecting the views of parties. In the elections of 1998 the extremist Hungarian Truth and Life Party (MIEP) was barely able to gain the 5% minimum of votes required to enter Parliament, and in the 2002 elections was unable to garner even that minimum. Nevertheless the party’s weekly Magyar Forum[49] continues to be readily available at newsstands throughout Hungary. Furthermore, the party is also able to express its views through a variety of other associated print and electronic media, and not least through sympathetic publishing houses such as Magyar Haz (Hungarian House) and Gede Testverek (Gede Brothers).


The former Member of the Hungarian Parliament Izabella B. Kiraly, is also a proponent of Hungarians’ cultural gifts to Europe. ‘Hungarian ancient culture has a past of several thousand years,’ she once said, going on to explain that on their arrival to Europe ‘Hungarian women wore silk panties’[50]. Unfortunately, instead of only expounding on history in her lecture, Kiraly spoke of how unfortunate it is that Jews in Hungary cannot be properly counted, and said of the skinheads in her audience that they are ‘unusually sympathetic bald boys’, with ‘national spirit’[51]. She also assured her audience that ‘the Hungarian nation is not mixed… and this is of great political significance’[52].  Here, Kiraly has clearly added a theory of racial purity to her lecture on Hungarian ancient high culture.


Other Hungarian works that show a direct link between theories of primacy and extremism might also be cited. One, The Hungarian Jesus and the Lost Tribes of Israel[53] expounds on a theory that would be familiar to the British Israelites. Another, Was Christ a Jew?[54] recycles the old argument that Jesus could not have been a Jew as no Jew could have been so noble and generous. The author ‘proves’ that Jesus in fact must have been a child of Scythians enslaved by Jews, and furthermore shows that Scythians must clearly be the ancestors of modern-day Hungarians. Here the link between primacy, superiority and anti-Semitism is unmistakably evident. 


There are even alternative versions of the theory. One of the foremost promulgators of the Sumerian-Hungarian continuity theory from the Hungarian diaspora, Professor Ferenc Badiny-Jos, expounded upon his ideas on television on Hungarian television (Z T.V.) from 11:00-12:15 on the night of 30 September – 1 October, 2003. Professor Badiny-Jos claims that the Hungarians are related to the Sumerians through the Parthians. Furthermore, according to the professor, Our Lord Jesus was not the child of a Jewess. Instead Mary was the daughter of a Parthian prince, and thus the immaculate conception happened through the body of a Parthian princess. As proof, Badiny-Jos claims that the Shroud of Turin is identical to the shrouds used to bury noble Parthians. The professor admits that there has been controversy about the shroud’s authenticity, but claims that one of the two groups of scientists who examined it, and who did all they could to prove the shroud was false, were actually descendants of those who crucified Jesus. Professor Badiny-Jos also proudly announced that the Sumerian theory is now being taught at the Humanities Faculty of the University of Miskolc.


Unfortunately, such theories have been adopted by some of the high and mighty, such as Laszlo Grespik, who unsuccessfully ran as candidate for Parliament for MIEP in 2002. Grespik was commended by Hungary’s former Prime Minister, Viktor Orban (1998-2002), for his outstanding service as head of Budapest’s Administrative Office. In addition to believing that Jesus must have been a Hungarian-Scythian-Parthian, Grespik has said that Hungarians were the ‘first people in the world to have a written culture, the first to create a state.’[55] Grespik also believes in Hungarians’ genetic superiority, for he has come to the conclusion that Hungarian and Japanese DNA is unique to humankind in that it has nine spirals.[56]


The spread of such ideas has recently evoked denunciation from the Catholic Bishop of Gyor, Lajos Pápai, who said of those who disseminate the theory of Jesus’ Parthian ancestry: ‘We cannot share space with movements or press that support, provide room for, or accept such anti-Christian attacks.’[57] Such ‘Jesus was Hungarian’ theories have given rise to neo-pagan sects. Of the several such churches now registered in Hungary, two of them were founded in the country prior to the Second World War. The Community of Hungarian Faith (Magyar Vallas Kozossege) and the Ancient Hungarian Church (Osmagyar Egyhaz), were kept alive in the West, and have recently returned to Hungary. Yet such sects have extremely small congregations, even though their supporters are able to purchase television time. And before leaping to conclusions about extremism in Hungary, we should recall the repeated publication in the United States of: Henry Ford’s International Jew,[58] the infamous Tsarist policy forgery[59] The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion,[60] and The Turner Diaries,[61] the book found with Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh at the time of his arrest.[62]  Sadly, all of these books with the exception of The Turner Diaries, are also available in Hungarian. Indeed, despite a law explicitly banning the publication of The Protocols in Hungary, I was able to purchase the book at a metro stop in Budapest in December 2001.

The difference here is not in content, but rather the share of the market such works enjoy, and the prominent place they are given in the market. As is the case of pornography, there is a mutually reinforcing reaction between the dissemination of such views and their adoption by certain sectors of the public.  Thus, the widespread and party-driven (as opposed to market-limited) dissemination of hatred may have a long-term effect on society, and the widespread distribution of such theories can evoke resonance among those who may never otherwise have been exposed to them. This is why racist theories from the West, disseminated by the wealthy Western diaspora, present a threat to the fledgling democracies of transition countries. This is why theories such as those spread by the same ethnic-Serbian American mentioned above, Dr. Ratibor M. Djurdjevic, are significant. Dr. Djurdjevic has ‘published some thirty books in Serbian […]. The same story recurs, with variations, in all of them: Western Europe and America are today governed by ‘Judeo-bankers’ or ‘Judeo-masons’, descendants of the Pharisees who over three centuries (the 18th to the 20th), have succeeded in dividing the West from Christianity.’[63]


In such an environment, then, the results of a non-representative survey of secondary school students carried out in Budapest and Belgrade in 2000 are hardly surprising. In that survey some 13% of Hungarian youth and some 30% of Serbian youth believed that over the centuries their own nations had given birth to the greatest number of saints. Some 33.8% of Hungarians and some 48% of Serbs felt their own nations had the most geniuses per capita. And some 22% of Hungarians and 21% of Serbs felt their own country had the most Olympic gold medals per capita.[64] Interestingly, by the 2002  survey only 5% of Hungarians felt their country had produced the most saints, while the the number of those who felt Hungary had the most geniuses per capita had risen significantly, to 37%. The dramatic fall in the percentage of young Hungarians who feel the country has produced the most saints be the result of religious education, which is an optional subject in Hungarian schools now. Sadly, the author was unable to gain funding to carry out the survey in a Western country as well, which would have highly improved the chances of discovering whether the Hungarian and Serbian samples were to any extent “deviant”, or merely fit within a general international norm.


The editor-in-chief of one of Hungary’s outstanding weeklies bitterly commented on the situation in Hungary after a decade of democracy: ‘contrary to the widespread misconception, in Hungary no proper press market has been established. By “proper” press market I mean that eventually a newspaper should be maintained by its readers, both directly, by paying money for the copies, and indirectly, as data on the audience and reading are determinative in regard to advertising. Hardly any part of this scenario has been realized […]. Advertising receipts […] are still, or even more than before, the result of political affiliations and subsequently the publisher is a key figure […] who is more committed to his own economic and political interests than to authentic information.’[65] Indeed, in his survey of journalism throughout the region Peter Gross has noted that: ‘Worse yet, journalists in the region believed, with their Hungarian colleagues, that freedom of the press meant “freedom to write anything without attention to truth and privacy.”’[66]


In her comment on the situation since the changes in Serbia, Miljenko Dereta recently remarked ‘Unfortunately, there wasn't [the] expected professionalization of the media. On the contrary, there are more and more links between individual media and centers of power, followed by manipulation of the public.’[67] Meanwhile, the Hungarian editor previously cited went on to finish his bleak picture of the press in Hungary: ‘even though, as we know, there are no Russians [in Hungary] any more, there is no Brezhnev, no Warsaw Pact. There is something else now. With the exception of a few fanatics, there is sinecure and acquaintanceship.’[68] In short, while the country is no longer under Soviet occupation, market reforms have not yet led to a fully autonomous press. Instead of the old single-party-line the press (with some outstanding exceptions) now serves party and corporate interests.


To close, Popper identified a pattern of thought that can pose a threat to democracy and liberty.  But theories of linear descent from ancient peoples appear to arise from the logic of the nation state itself, and as such are likely to remain with us for some time to come. Pathological theories arising from this logic are bound to arise.  But to publish and widely disseminate pathological theories arising from this logic in countries with relatively weak markets and media, there is no need for popular support or a market. All one needs is a little cash or a little influence. Herein may rest one of the differences between ‘established democracies’ and countries still struggling with ‘transition’.


An earlier version of this article was published in RFE/RL East European Perspectives, vol. 4, no. 3, (13 November 2002), available online at: 


[1] Karl Popper, The Open Society and its Enemies, (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973)

[2] On nationalist dreams of past utopia, see: Anthony Smith, 1997, ‘The “Golden Age” and National Renewal’, in Geoffrey Hosking and George Schöpflin (eds.), Myths and Nationhood, (London: Hurst and Company, 1997), pp. 36-59

[3] For a description of ceremony related to the veneration of kings, see: Sergio Bertelli, The King’s Body: Sacred rituals of power in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, trans. by R. Burr Litchfield, (University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001). For a theory of the social origins of royal divinity, see chapter in Arthur Maurice Hocart, Kings and Councillors: An Essay in the Comparative Anatomy of Human Society, ed. by Rodney Needham, ([1936] Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1970), pp. 86-101. Also see: Sir James G. Fraser, The Golden Bough, A study in magic and religion, (London: Macmillan and Co., 1941), esp. pp. 139-159

[4] See, for instance: Arthur Maurice Hocart, Kingship, ([1927] repr. London: Watts and Co., 1941). Hocart also suggests that the divinity of kings may have given birth to gods. For a purely non-European example of such, see: Clifford Geertz, 1980, Negara: The Theatre State in Nineteenth-century Bali, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980), esp. pp. 11-33.

[5] On the dubiousness of ancient pedigrees in general, see: Lord Raglan, The Hero: A study in tradition, myth and drama, ([1936] repr. London: Watts and Co., 1941), esp. pp. 16-29.

[6] Marie Tanner, The Last Descendents of Aeneas: The Habsburgs and the Mythic Image of the Emperor, (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1993), esp. p. 97. See also: Leon Poliakov, The Aryan Myth, A History of Racist and Nationalist Ideas in Europe, translated by Edmund Howard, (London: Chatto-Heinemann for Sussex University Press, 1974), p. 18.

[7] For a classic description of the process of transfer in legitimacy and power from monarchy through crown to state and nation, see: Ernst H. Kantorowicz, The King’s Two Bodies: A study in mediaeval political theology, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997). On the end of royal divinity, see also Peter Burke, “The Demise of Royal Mythologies”, in Allan Ellenius (ed.), Iconography, Propaganda and Legitimation, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), pp. 245-254.

[8] Anthony D. Smith, “Ethnic election and national destiny: some religious origins of nationalist ideals”, in Nations and Nationalism, 5 (3), (1999), pp. 331-355, (349)

[9] For example, see: David Lowenthal, The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History, (Cambridge: CUP, 1998)

[10] Lord Raglan, The Hero, p. 29.

[11] Leon Poliakov, The Aryan Myth, p. 2.

[12] See: Walter Kolarz, Myths and Realities in Eastern Europe, (London: Lindsay Drummond Ltd., 1946), pp. 171-188. For short outlines of the political use of Daco-Romanian continuity theories see: Katherine Verdery, National Identity Under Socialism, Identity and Cultural Politics in Ceausescu’s Romania, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), pp. 31-33; and Andrew Ludanyi, ‘Ideology and Political Culture in Romania: The Daco-Roman Theory and the “Place” of Minorities’, in Transylvania: The Roots of Ethnic Conflict, ed. by John F. Cadzow, Andrew Ludanyi, and Louis J. Elteto, (Kent, OH: The Kent State University Press, 1983), pp. 229-244.  For a specific example of the theory see: Ion Pachia Tatomirescu, Dacoromani lui Regalian, (Regalianus’ Dacoromania), (Timisoara: Editura Aethicus, 1998). On theories of Romanian as the source of all languages, see: Andrei Oisteanu, Cosmos vs. Chaos, Myth and magic in Romanian traditional culture. A comparative approach, translated by Merela Adascalitei, revised by Alexander Drace-Francis, (Bucharest: The Romanian Cultural Foundation Publishing House, 1999), pp. 232-247.

[13] For example: Dr. Josip Lucic et al., Hrvatski povijesni zemljovidi, (Zagreb: Hrvatska skolska kartografija, 2000), esp. maps on p. 6 and text on p. 56.

[14] As elaborated by (among others) Shyqri Nimani, Albanian Lands in Maps and Emblems through Centuries from Strabo and Ptolemy to Our Time, (Prishtina: Institute of Text-Books of Kosova, 1997); and Asllan Pushka, Kosova and its Ethnic Albanian Continuity, (Prishtina: Kosova Information Centre, 1997). On the establishment of such myths see Noel Malcolm, ‘Myths of Albanian National Identity: Some key elements, as expressed in the works of Albanian writers in America in the early Twentieth Century’, in Albanian Identities, Myth and History, ed. by Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers and Bernd J. Fischer (London: Hurst and Company, 2002).

[15] Anthony D. Smith, “Ethnic election and national destiny”, p. 332.

[16] Ibid., p. 350.

[17] John M. Efron, Defenders of the Race: Jewish Doctors and Race Science in Fin-de-Siecle Europe, (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1994), p. 39. See, for example: Rev. Bourchier Wrey Savile, Anglo-Israelism and the Great Pyramid: an examination of the alleged claims of H.M. Queen Victoria to the throne of David and of fixing the end of the age in 1882 (London: Longmans, 1880).

[18] Michael Barkun, Religion and the Racist Right: The Origins of the Christian Identity Movement, (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1994). See also David S. Katz and Richard H. Popkin, Messianic Revolution: Radical religious politics to the end of the second millenium, (London: Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, 1999), pp. 170-204.

[19] Peter J.S. Duncan, Russian Messianism, Third Rome, Revolution, Communism and After, (London and New York: Routledge, 2000), p. 1. See also George Schöpflin, ‘The Functions of Myth and a Taxonomy of Myths’, in Geoffrey Hosking and George Schöpflin (eds.), Myths and Nationhood, (London: Hurst and Company, 1997), pp. 19-35.

[20] Michael Barkun, Religion and the Racist Right, p. 7.

[21] Samuel Noah Kramer, History Begins at Sumer, (London: Thames and Hudson, 1958, repr. 1961)

[22] For example, in order by publishing date: Dr. Kalman Gosztony, Osszehasonlito szumer nyelvtan, (Fahrwangen, Switzerland: Duna Konyvkiado Vallalat, 1977); Dr. Ida Bobula (copyright Prof. Francisco J. Jos Badiny), Sumer-magyar rokonsag, (Buenos Aires: Esda, 1982); Ferenc Jos Badiny, Kaldeatol Ister-Gamig, (3 volumes; Budapest: Orient Press, 1997); Veronika Marton, A sumir kultura tortenete, (2nd ed., self-published, 2000); Attila Foldes, Nyelvi es genetikai oseink a sumerek, (2nd ed., Budapest: Anahita-Ninti, 2002). Note the differing spellings of Sumerian in the various titles.

[23] Sandor Timaru Kast, Kelta Magyarok, Magyar Keltak, (Budapest: Magyar Haz, 1999)

[24] The work of a Sorbonne graduate, Olga Lukovic Pjanovic, Srbi…narod najstariji, (3 volumes; Belgrade: “Miroslave” [Kosmos], 1993)

[25] For example: Tibor Barath, A magyar nepek ostortenete, Tatarlaki agyagtabla 3,600 eves magyar rovasirassal, (The ancient history of the Hungarian peoples, A clay tablet from Tatarlak with 3,600 year-old Hungarian runes), (New York: Somogyi Zoltan, 1997); or Janos Madarasi, Paleo-Hipotezisek, (Paleo-Hypotheses), (Budapest: Quark Bt., 1997)

[26] Piroska Baranyai Gyimesi, A Husvet magyar eredete, (Philadelphia: Regos Nyomda, 1986)

[27] Tamas Zoltan Forray, A kerek osmagyar eredete, (Toronto: Huankara, 1997)

[28] Ivan Colovic, The Politics of Symbol in Serbia, Essays in Political Anthropology, translated by Celia Hawkesworth, (London: Hurst and Company, 2002), p. 203.

[29] Dr. Karoly Szabo, Etruszkok es Magyarok, (Etruscans and Hungarians), (Budapest: Design and Quality, 1997); Gyorgy Zaszlos-Zsoka, Az Etruszkok, A toscaniai harangok, (Etruscans: The bells of Tuscany), (Budapest: Anahita-Ninti Bt., 2001)

[30] Andelija Stancic Spajiceva, Najstariji jezik Biblije, (Belgrade: “Miroslave” [Kosmos], 1994)

[31] Antonije Skokljev and Ivan Skokljev, Bogovi Olimpa iz Srbija, (Belgrade: Nauka, 1998)

[32] Istvan Kiszely, interviewed by Lajos Arany, in Hajdu-Bihari Naplo, 12 November 1999

[33] See: Istvan Rev, ‘Parallel Autopsies’, Representations, 49 (Winter 1995), pp. 15-39.

[34] Istvan Kiszely interviewed by Lajos Arany.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Perhaps most convincingly, Juan J. Linz and Alfred C. Stepan, Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America, and post-communist Europe, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996)

[37] Juan J. Linz, Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes, (Boulder and London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2000), p. 35.

[38] For example: Istvan Foyta, Honnan szarmazunk, Mit adtunk a vilagnak, Kik a rokonaink, [Where we originate from, What we have given to the world, Who our relatives are], (Buenos Aires: Batori Testverek, 1961)

[39] Jeno Kis, ‘The Relatives of the Hungarian Language’, in Laszlo Kosa (ed.), A Companion to Hungarian Studies, (Budapest: Akademiai kiado, 1999), pp. 35-37, (36)

[40] Ivan Colovic, The Politics of Symbol in Serbia, p. 7.

[41] On levels of xenophobia in Hungary see: Zoltán Fábián, Endre Sik, Judit Tóth, ‘Uniora varva: eloitelet, xenofobia es europai integracio’, in Lukács, E. and Király, M. (eds.), Migracio es Europai Unio, (Budapest: AduPrint, 2001), pp. 395-412; Endre Sik, ‘The level and social basis of xenophobia in contemporary Hungary’, in Zsolt Enyedi and Ferenc Eros, (eds.), Authoritarianism and Prejudice, Central European Perspectives, (Budapest: Osiris, 1999), pp. 193-213; and György Csepeli and Endre Sik, ‘Changing Content of Political Xenophobia in Hungary – Is the growth of xenophobia inevitalbe?’, in Refugees and Migrants: Hungary at a Crossroads, ed. by Maryellen Fullerton, Endre Sik and Judit Tóth.

[42] On anti-Roma racism and anti-Semitism in Hungary see Zoltán Fábián and Zoltán Fleck, ‘Authoritarianism, socio-demographic variables and socialization in the explanation of prejudiced attitudes: Antisemitism and Anti-Gypsy attitudes in Hungary’, in Enyedi, Z., and Eros, F. (eds.), Authoritarianism and Prejudice, pp. 231-254.

[43] Anthony D. Smith, ‘Ethnic election and national destiny’, p. 336.

[44] On clientelism see András Sajó, ‘Clientelism and Extortion: Corruption in Transition’, in András Sajó and Stephen Kotkin (eds.), Political Corruption in Transition: A Sceptics Handbook, (Budapest: CEU Press, 2002), pp. 1-21.

[45] Ralph Harris, ‘Democracy does not merit even two cheers now’, The Times, 10 October 2002

[46] Colin Sparks, Communism, Capitalism and the Mass Media, (London: Sage, 1998), p. 175.

[47] Barbara Trionfi, ‘Freedom of the Media in Central and Eastern Europe’, in Peter Bajomi-Lázár and István Hegedus, (eds.), Media and Politics, (Budapest: Uj Mandatum, 2001), pp. 93-99 (95)

[48] László Seres, ‘The Freedom of the Public Media in Hungary: A Libertarian Approach’, in Bajomi-Lázár and Hegedus (eds.), Media and Politics, pp. 147-157 (155); for the original study see Mária Vásárhelyi, ‘Ujsagiro-kutatas 2000’, Jel-kep, 2001, no. 4, pp. 53-71.

[49] Magyar Forum can be found online at:

[50] Izabella B. Kiraly, quoted by Ferenc Hajba, in Nepszabadsag, 22 March 1993. Among her other sponsors, Kiraly was also invited to speak on this occasion by the youth wing of the then governing MDF party.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Lajos Biro, A magyar Jezus es Izrael elveszett torzsei, (Budapest: Magyar Haz, 1999)

[54] Ferenc Zajti, Zsido volt-e Krisztus?, [Was Christ a Jew?], (reprint; Budapest: Gede Testverek, Bt., 1999)

[55] Cited in: A. Gero, L. Varga and M. Vince (eds.), Anti-Semitic Discourse in Hungary in 2000, (Budapest: B’nai B’rith, 2001), p. 150.

[56] Ibid., p. 150

[57] Lajos Pápai as cited in János Dobszay, ‘Mi van a rovásukon?’, Heti Vilaggazdaság, 27 September 2003; also see Szilard Szonyi, ‘Árpád népe, hej!’, Heti Válasz, 26 September 2003

[58] Henry Ford, Sr. (publisher), The International Jew, The World’s Foremost Problem, (reprint: Boring, Oregon: CPA Book Publishers, 1995)

[59] The Protocols was first shown to be a forgery in English by Philip Graves in a series of articles in The Times of London from 16-18 August 1921. For an expose of the forgery in Hungarian, see Vlagyimir Burcev, A Cion bolcseinek jegyzokonyvei kozonseges hamisitvany (Racskovskij fabrikalta, es Hitler tette vilaghiruve A Cion bolcseinek jegyzokonyveit), (Budapest: Mult es Jovo), translated into Hungarian from the Russian original of 1938. Also see Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide: The Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracies and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, ([1967] reprint, London: Serif, 1996)

[60] Nilus, Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, translated by Viktor E. Marsden, ([1934], reprint, Boring, Oregon: CPA Books).

[61] Andrew Macdonald (William L. Pierce), The Turner Diaries, (Hillsboro, West Virginia: national Vanguard Books, multiple editions, 1978, 1980, 1985, 1987, 1990).

[62] David S. Katz and Richard H. Popkin, Messianic Revolution, p. 200.

[63] Ivan Colovic, The Politics of Symbol in Serbia, p. 204.

[64] Eric Weaver, “All You Need is Love”: Hungarian nationalist expression in the mirror of nationalist symbolism and ideologies in Serbia, (M.A. thesis, Budapest: Central European University, 2000)

[65] Zoltán Kovács, ‘Press, Ownership and Politics in Hungary’, in Bajomi-Lázár and Hegedus (eds.), Media and Politics, (Budapest: Uj Mandatum, 2001), pp. 135-146 (139-140).

[66] Peter Gross, Entangled Evolution:, Media and Democratization in Eastern Europe, (Washington D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2002), p. 105.

[67] Interview by Stojan Obradovic, ‘Long Road of Changes’, in The Network of Independent Journalists for Central and Eastern Europe - Weekly service, no. 299, (December, 2002),

[68] Zoltan Kovacs, ‘Press, Ownership and Politics in Hungary’, p. 146; For a similarly dark overview of the press in post-communism, see Colin Sparks, ‘Media and Democratic Society: A Survey of Post-communist Experience’, in Democratic Reconstruction in the Balkans, ed. by Margaret Blunden and Patrick Burke, (London: Centre for the Study of Democracy, 2001), pp. 147-163.