Saturday, April 18, 2015

P: by Pig (26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary)

Well, Boar, actually. But B was already taken.

Now here's a classic: Through the ages, the boar hunt was a favorite pastime of kings and heroes, and one of the most dangerous preys you could go after. Think of the Calydonian boar in Greek mythology (it took several heroes to hunt it down), or the Erymanthian boar, one of Heracles' labors. (Or, you know. King Robert Baratheon. Sometimes the boar wins.)

Hungarian history has not one, but two famous boar-related death cases.

The first victim is Prince Imre (St. Imre) the only surviving son of István I (St. István). He was groomed to be heir to the throne, but never succeeded his father: in 1031, 7 years before István's death, he was killed by a boar in a hunting accident. He was sainted soon after, ironically as a "virgin prince" (the guy was in his 20s and married. In the middle ages. Some chronicles say he made a vow of celibacy together with his wife, but that is very unlikely: Knowing István's anxiety about securing the royal line, my bet is he stood by the marital bed to make sure they were working on an heir...)
(Yeah, I'm Catholic. Why?)
Here is the twist: There is a theory that "boar" in this case actually referred to a person, rather than an animal. Remember Vazul and his sons? If they happened to be involved with the "boar" accident, the chronicle wouldn't say, since it was written after two of those sons became legitimate kings... Makes you wonder, doesn't it.

The second famous victim was Zrínyi Miklós (1620-1664), nobleman, politician, military leader and author. He is responsible for the most famous Baroque epic poem we all have to suffer through in high school (about the siege of Szigetvár), and took a very active role in the fight (both political and literal) against the Turks. In 1664, he went hunting with other noblemen, and one of them wounded a boar that they followed along the trail of blood. The person who describes the event was not present at the attack - he writes that by the time he got there, Zrínyi was mortally wounded, on the ground with the boar on his back. He had wounds on his legs and his head, and the one that killed him went straight through his neck from back to front, and he bled out.
Once again, many people at the time and since have theorized that Zrínyi was assassinated (for his political role), rather than killed by a boar. This one sounds more likely to be a hunting accident, though, since he was still alive and speaking when they found him... but you never know.

19 comments:

  1. Yeah, I don't know about political boars. I think they didn't take too kindly to being chased down and killed when they were minding their own business!

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  2. Hmm! We have wild boars or wild pigs on Maui, and they are vicious gnarly creatures. People do hunt them here. Also my husband killed a pig on the autobahn and it caused him to be late for his plane flight, because the car exploded in flames!
    Maui Jungalow

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  3. Maybe death by boar was a valid assassination technique in Medieval Hungary? ;)
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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  4. This gives new meaning to someone being a 'real bore'.

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  5. Goring by boar and being assassinated. How about both. They're all hunting boar and he's totally concentrating on it and whamo! dude strikes kingy from behind. He falls off horse and boar finishes him off.

    Plausible, I guess.

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  6. Wild boar are very dangerous. When they attack, you don't stand a chance unless you have a weapon and are fast.

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  7. Wild boar are very dangerous. When they attack, you don't stand a chance unless you have a weapon and are fast.

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  8. History really is written by the victor... sort of makes you wonder about a lot of stuff throughout history!

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  9. I watched Babe 2 with my son this morning. I'm trying to picture the pig from that killing somebody.

    Also, George RR Martin totally swiped the idea of royal assassination by boar.

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  10. I agree, you never know and that's why fiction is so fun!

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  11. Terrible accidents and terrible death.

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  12. Interesting both historically and the boar.
    Visiting on the A-Z
    As I See It Daily

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  13. well that's all that's left to be killed by boars :| they should've left the animals alone (or humans for that matter).

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  14. Between that picture of the boar on top and your description... hope I don't dream of death by boar tonight.

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  15. Replies
    1. Well, it sure wasn't boaring ....

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  16. Interesting. Death by boar or assassination? You decide. ;)

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  17. As cute as pigs are, boars can be really wild, scary animals. I wouldn't want to come near them.

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  18. As for Prince Imre's case, I think being killed by a "Boar Assassin" has a nice ring to it, lol.

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