A quarter of a century ago, the Soviet Union dissolved and the Cold War ended. Now the current political era involves a broad challenge to liberal democracy in the European Union. Central European countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Republic of Poland, and the Slovak Republic (‘the Visegrád Group’) joined the EU in 2004 with the hope that the post-Cold War era would be one of peace and stability in Europe, including (most importantly) the expansion of Europe’s democracy. A turning point came in 2014, however, when the Syrian refugee crisis hit the EU and caused a political ‘about face’. The European refugee and migrant crisis have strengthened right-wing populism among the European countries, including the Visegrád group. Obviously there are certainly similarities between the populist rhetoric of Hungary’s ruling party, Fidesz, and the Law and Justice party (known as PiS) which is governing the Republic of Poland. The two countries appear to be following the same path of becoming ‘illiberal democratic’ states. The templates of authoritarianism which both countries have adopted involve the following: the restriction of civil society and the independence of the media, control of the judiciary and the court system, together with the transformation of the constitutional framework and electoral law in order to consolidate power. This paper analyses two examples of authoritarian populist leaders: first, Viktor Orbán, the Prime Minister of Hungary of the Fidesz Party and, second, Jarosław Kaczyński, a leader of the Law and Justice Party (PiS) in Poland. A brief description of each is provided as a background for the discussion which follows.
Genocide perpetrated against the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire was both gender-oriented and age-oriented. The Armenian male population was generally killed before or at the beginning of deportation, while women and children, as well as being massacred, were also subjected to different forms of physical and sexual violence during the death marches. Children were also forcibly transfered to the enemy group, while women were abducted or forcibly married. The experiences and fates of Armenian women and children offer a perspective on how complex and multi-faceted the phenomenon of genocide is. Based on the surveys of rescued Armenian women kept in the archives of the League of Nations, this article will present the fate of women during and after the Armenian Genocide.
Several scholars have studied Pietro del Monte’s works, but only a few have focused on his military career. This article contextualises his career as a condotierre, primarily by collecting and commenting on narrative sources describing his life. From the Italian and Spanish courts where he mingled with the brightest minds of his time, to the Italian Wars where he met his death on the battlefield, Monte lived as an acting commander, a respected scholar, and a renowned master at arms.
The Italian Pietro del Monte left us a wonderful work on the martial arts of the late XVth century. Writing on weapons, gear, and fighting techniques, he gives special attention to horses and horseback fighting. In this succinct article, the goal is to present the two different types of cavalry that are covered directly or indirectly by Monte and to show his wide experience in the field, which led him to suggest some pragmatic techniques and not just write a book showing a wide range of technical and tactical possibilities.
The works of Pietro Monte had been forgotten for many centuries, and only recently have their merits been recognised again. This research note presents a newly discovered manuscript, the Libro del exercicio de las armas, a 19th century copy of the Spanish vernacular version of the Collectanea known as the “Escorial Manuscript”. The discovery is introduced by a brief survey of the citations of this manuscript and its source in the historiography and by a map displaying the known printed copies of the Collectanea. A review of the bibliography and provenance of the manuscript contributes to our understanding of its historical importance.
The non-lethal simulated training of lethal reality, whether it be single combat or war, was historically a question of life and death.
We provide an analytical framework for evaluating historical precedents in fight simulations by focussing on two key questions: What was the philosophy guiding the conception of reality – in particular, did historical practitioners see reality as deterministic, and if not, how did they see it? And how did the simulations deal with the elements of quantity, quality, timing, and information?
The analysis shows that our ancestors’ perception of the reality of fighting chan-ged over time, as their interpretations of reality for the world at large changed. Considerable intellectual effort and ingenuity were invested into attempts to understand reality and formulate corresponding realistic simulations, making these ludic artefacts reflective, sometimes iconic for, and occasionally ahead of their historical-cultural context. Seemingly irrational phenomena, such as the persistence of lethal duelling, had perfectly pragmatic elements.
Today we know much about the culture of the Viking Age, but there are still gaps to fill. One of them is what the legendary weapon called atgeirr in Icelandic sagas really was. Nowadays researchers prefer to view atgeir as a kind of spear. But the defining features of atgeir are not clearly described and the range of different kinds of spearheads suggested as related to this weapon is frustratingly wide.
This paper draws on saga material with the aim to describe essential characteristics of atgeir which differentiate it from the spear. This would allow to considerably narrow down the list of proposed candidates for the role of atgeir among archaeological finds from the Viking Age and to recognise it as a special type of weapon, just as it is referred to in Icelandic sagas