A brief history
1. The Prehistory of the Region
2. One Must Descend from Some Place
3. "From the Arrows of the Hungarians"
4. Saints out of Wolves
5. Cursed and Blessed Kings
6. The Fleur-de-lis and the Raven
7. In the Wan Light of the Crescent
8. Hey, Thököly and Rákóczi
9. Maria with a crown, Joseph with a Hat
10. Hang the Kings!
11. The Compromise and the Millennium
12. From Sarajevo to Trianon
13. The Red and the White
14. Death Bend
15. Almost Half a Century, or My Lifetime
List of Kings
Foreign Queens of the House of Árpád
Horsemen. On short-legged, shaggy, brawny horses sweating mud, they climb upward among the mountains, following a path edged with dense pine forests. They stop on the height of the pass, in the dividing ridge. They look ahead intently and cock their ears to the rear. Are they the advanced guard or the main force? Are they only soldiers or everyone together: the elderly, children, women, and wagons loaded with belongings? Are they forging ahead, bent on conquest? Are they fleeing in defeat? Let's not begin with questions or inquire about details, circumstances, or causes, whether we know the answers or not.
Horsemen. On their shoulders, reflex bows composed of layers of sheets of horn cemented together with glue rendered from fish, hide, and bone, strengthened with coils of stag's sinew, and their tips and grasps made of antlers. On their left side, bundles of iron-tipped arrows in quivers; on their right, oriental sabers with curved, single-edged blades. Their saddles are high and rise sharply in front and back. This saddle and the Avar-type stirrup make it possible for both hands to be free in battle with reins flying to tear along hurling a shower of arrows in an attack on their enemy or, half-turned on their horses, to do so backwards fleeing from a superior force or feigning flight deceptively. They have become one with their horses, like centaurs; their horses, on pressure from their knees or on command, wheel, stop dead, and start off.
Horsemen. Their hair braided into pigtails held together on two sides by brass disks, those of the chiefs by gold ones. At their waists, the many studs on their leather belts as well as the embossed, stamped and paunchy U-shaped plates on leather satchels containing their smaller belongings flash in the sunlight. They are hardy, like the wolves on the plains. They are fond of splendor, like the potentates of the East.
They are forging ahead from the east toward the west, meanwhile having to cross the mountain range from north to south. They are the ones about whom the chant of supplication fearfully concluded at this time in the monasteries and churches of Christian Europe with two lines: "From the arrows of the Hungarians...", the precentor shouted to Heaven, and "... spare us, Oh Lord!" the choir boomed thereupon.