The ancient constitution of Hungary consisted of the mutually recognised rights and obligations of two actors: the Crown and the nobility. The reformers aimed at creating a Hungarian civil society through legislation. Conversion meant the replacement of the constitution, based on rights, by another system, based on statute laws. The April Laws broke the back of the old social order based on hereditary right and laid the foundation of the new Hungary.
Central Europe (Europe-Between, Zwischeneuropa) belonged to the sphere of German cultural influence. Western intellectual trends came also through German language areas either directly or indirectly by transmitting ideas (e.g.: the products of Renaissance intellectual trends or the ideas of the Enlightenment). At the same time the peoples of the region were also in direct connection with one another. In several cases the rulers of Hungary, Bohemia and Poland had been the members of the same dynasties but there were periods when personal union was the form of governance. The institutionally organised protection of the mother tongue, the establishment of national literature and science took place at different times and lasted from the beginning of the sixteenth century until the end of the nineteenth century, with the exception of the Czech language. This vision of cultural history is presented in this lecture by comparing the similarities and the differences in reading history of the region. The first examples are taken from the Protestant Reformation and its preceding Spiritual and Humanist movements. I will discuss the direct connections between Hungary and Livonia (through the two examples of the Hungarian translation and publication of Georg Ziegler’s book and the Hungarian students of the Papal Seminary of Riga) touching also upon the shared university studies of students from several nations of Europe-Between (in Bologna, Padova, Wittenberg, Heidelberg, Strasburg, etc.).