Contains two very different narratives; both are for the first time presented in an updated Latin text with an annotated English translation. An anonymous notary of King Bela of Hungary wrote a Latin Gesta Hungarorum (ca. 1200/10), a literary composition about the mythical origins of the Hungarians and their conquest of the Carpathian Basin. Anonymus tried to (re)construct the events and protagonists—including ethnic groups—of several centuries before from the names of places, rivers, and mountains of his time, assuming that these retained the memory of times past. One of his major “inventions” was the inclusion of Attila the Hun into the Hungarian royal genealogy, a feature later developed into the myth of Hun-Hungarian continuity. The Epistle to the Sorrowful Lament upon the Destruction of the Kingdom of Hungary by the Tartars of Master Roger includes an eyewitness account of the Mongol invasion in 1241–2, beginning with an analysis of the political conditions under King Bela IV and ending with the king’s return to the devastated country.
Anonymus and Master Roger