Transilvania nevrotica: Danubia, a Personal History of Habsburg Europe

Transilvania nevrotică, plus cea mai bună descriere a bisericilor fortificate săseşti, de la un istoric englez (Simon Winder) intr-o carte trist-amuzanta si geniala: Danubia, a Personal History of Habsburg Europe. Nu intelesesem niciodata care era figura cu cetatile taranesti pana n-am citit aici. Lectura obligatorie.
One of the world’s most introvert, besieged lanscapes, south-east Transylvania is like a physical expression of mental breakdown. It bristles with bastions, walls, watchtowers and crumbling gateways, picturesque remaiders of a stiflingly militarized and suspicious past. It is beautiful but not happy… Habsburg colonization projects could go absolutely wrong as a change in military fortunes would expose entire populations to catastrophe – with areas like Banat first filling with German farmers and then being completely ravaged. From sec 12 on the only way to start afresh was to offer extraordinary privileges to a new and hopeful group – generally from sufficiently far away that they might not have a clear grasp what they were letting themselves in for… The strange, insecure Saxon atmosphere is still most clearly visible in their fortified villages and churches. The plan was never to defeat attackers, but to hold them long enough to make it not worth their while. Slave-raiders like the Turks or Tatars had no interest in the place per se and if checked would simply head off to find a less well-defended place… A proper army would not want to be distracted by besieging such minor obstacles. So the defences were in some measure a bluff… though the stakes would be highest. Until the end of the Habsburg-Ottoman fighting in the 1790s it was understood that defeat meant invariably the murder of the wounded and enslavement of the rest, ie complete depopulation, an entirely different war code to that in Western Europe.”

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