Bálint Balassi

Bálint Balassi

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Bálint Balassi'
Start a new discussion about 'Bálint Balassi'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia


Bálint Balassi baron of Kékkő
Modrý Kamen
Modrý Kameň is a town and municipality in the Veľký Krtíš District of the Banská Bystrica Region of southern Slovakia.- Geography :It is located in the Krupina Plain on the Krtíš and Riečka rivers...

 (Kingdom of Hungary
Royal Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary between 1538 and 1867 was part of the lands of the Habsburg Monarchy, while outside the Holy Roman Empire.After Battle of Mohács, the country was ruled by two crowned kings . They divided the kingdom in 1538...

, today Modrý Kameň, Slovakia) and Gyarmat
Balassagyarmat
Balassagyarmat is a town in northern Hungary. It was the seat of the Nógrád comitatus.- History :The town's coat-of-arms bears the Latin inscription "Civitas Fortissima" , because in January 1919 Czechoslovak troops crossed the demarcation line delineated in December 1918 in preparation for the...

, (20 October 1554, Zólyom
Zvolen
Zvolen |Slatina]] rivers, close to Banská Bystrica. With its ancient castle, the town has a historical center, which represents the seat of an okres .-History:...

 (Kingdom of Hungary, today Zvolen, Slovakia) - 30 May 1594, Esztergom
Esztergom
Esztergom , is a city in northern Hungary, 46 km north-west of the capital Budapest. It lies in Komárom-Esztergom county, on the right bank of the river Danube, which forms the border with Slovakia there....

), was a multilingual Hungarian Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 lyric poet, who wrote mostly in Hungarian
Hungarian language
Hungarian is a Uralic language, part of the Ugric group. With some 14 million speakers, it is one of the most widely spoken non-Indo-European languages in Europe....

. Beside his native Hungarian, he was proficient in eight languages : Latin, Italian, German, Polish, Turkish, Slovak, Croatian and Romanian. He is the founder of modern Hungarian lyric poetry
Lyric poetry
Lyric poetry is a genre of poetry that expresses personal and emotional feelings. In the ancient world, lyric poems were those which were sung to the lyre. Lyric poems do not have to rhyme, and today do not need to be set to music or a beat...

 and the first author of Hungarian erotic poetry.

He was educated by the reformer Péter Bornemissza and by his mother, the highly gifted
Intellectual giftedness
Intellectual giftedness is an intellectual ability significantly higher than average. It is different from a skill, in that skills are learned or acquired behaviors...

 Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 zealot, Anna Sulyok.

His first work was a translation of Michael Bock's Wurlzgertlein für die krancken Seelen, (published in Kraków
Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

), to comfort his father while in Polish exile. On his father's rehabilitation, Bálint accompanied him to court, and was also present at the coronation diet
Diet (assembly)
In politics, a diet is a formal deliberative assembly. The term is mainly used historically for the Imperial Diet, the general assembly of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire, and for the legislative bodies of certain countries.-Etymology:...

 in Pressburg (today's Bratislava
Bratislava
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and, with a population of about 431,000, also the country's largest city. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia on both banks of the Danube River. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two independent countries.Bratislava...

), capital of Royal Hungary
Royal Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary between 1538 and 1867 was part of the lands of the Habsburg Monarchy, while outside the Holy Roman Empire.After Battle of Mohács, the country was ruled by two crowned kings . They divided the kingdom in 1538...

 in 1572. He then joined the army and fought the Turks as an officer in the fortress of Eger
Eger
Eger is the second largest city in Northern Hungary, the county seat of Heves, east of the Mátra Mountains. Eger is best known for its castle, thermal baths, historic buildings , and red and white wines.- Name :...

 in North-Eastern Hungary. Here he fell violently in love with Anna Losonczi, the daughter of the captain of Temesvár
Timisoara
Timișoara is the capital city of Timiș County, in western Romania. One of the largest Romanian cities, with an estimated population of 311,586 inhabitants , and considered the informal capital city of the historical region of Banat, Timișoara is the main social, economic and cultural center in the...

, and evidently, from his verses, his love was not unrequited. But after the death of her first husband she gave her hand to Krisztóf Ungnád.

Naturally Balassi only began to realize how much he loved Anna when he had lost her. He pursued her with gifts and verses, but she remained true to her pique and to her marriage vows
Marriage vows
Marriage vows are promises each partner in a couple makes to the other during a wedding ceremony. Marriage customs have developed over history and keep changing as human society develops.-Background:...

, and he could only enshrine her memory in immortal verse.

In 1574 Bálint was sent to the camp of Gáspár Bekes
Gáspár Bekes
Gáspár de Kornyath Bekes was a Hungarian noble who fought with Stephen Báthory for the throne of Transylvania after the death of John II Sigismund Zápolya in 1571...

 to assist him against Stephen Báthory; but his troops were encountered and scattered on the way there, and he himself was wounded and taken prisoner. His not very rigorous captivity lasted for two years, during which he accompanied Báthory where the latter was crowned as King of Poland. He returned to Hungary soon after the death of his father, János Balassi.

In 1584 married his cousin, Krisztina Dobó, the daughter of the valiant commandant, István Dobó
István Dobó
Baron István Dobó de Ruszka Baron István Dobó de Ruszka Baron István Dobó de Ruszka (c. 1502 - Szerednye (today, Середнє (Szerednye / Serednie, Ukraine), mid-June 1572). Hungarian soldier, best known as the successful defender of Eger against the Ottomans in 1552. Dobó was a member of the...

 of Eger
Eger
Eger is the second largest city in Northern Hungary, the county seat of Heves, east of the Mátra Mountains. Eger is best known for its castle, thermal baths, historic buildings , and red and white wines.- Name :...

. This became the cause of many of his subsequent misfortunes. His wife's greedy relatives nearly ruined him by legal processes, and when in 1586 he turned Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 to escape their persecutions they slandered him that he and his son had embraced Islam. His desertion of his wife and legal troubles were followed by some years of uncertainty, but in 1589 he was invited to Poland to serve there in the impending war with Turkey. This did not take place and after a spell in the Jesuit College
Collegium Hosianum
The Collegium Hosianum was the Jesuit collegium in Royal Prussia, Poland, founded in 1565, 1566 by Cardinal Stanislaus Hosius in Braniewo . The city of Braniewo was then part of the Diocese of Warmia , a semi-autonomous part of Poland with cardinal Hosius as its prince-bishop...

 of Braunsberg
Braniewo
Braniewo is a town in northeastern Poland, in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, with a population of 18,068 . It is the capital of Braniewo County...

, Balassi, somewhat disappointed, returned to Hungary in 1591. In the 15 years war he joined the Army, and died at the siege of Esztergom
Esztergom
Esztergom , is a city in northern Hungary, 46 km north-west of the capital Budapest. It lies in Komárom-Esztergom county, on the right bank of the river Danube, which forms the border with Slovakia there....

-Víziváros
Víziváros
Víziváros is a neighborhood of Esztergom, Hungary on the right bank of the Danube, under the royal castle and the St. Adalbert Primatial Basilica. The name Watertown derives from the numerous hot springs in the area.-History:...

 the same year as the result of a severe leg wound caused by a cannonball. He is buried in Hybe
Hybe
Hybe is a village and municipality in the Liptovský Mikuláš District in the Žilina Region of northern Slovakia.-History:The village of Hybe was first mentioned in historical records in 1239....

 in today's Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

.
Balassi's poems fall into four divisions: religious hymns, patriotic and martial songs, original love poems, and adaptations from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 and German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

. They are all most original, exceedingly objective and so excellent in point of style that it is difficult even to imagine him a contemporary of Sebestyén Tinódi Lantos
Sebestyén Tinódi Lantos
Sebestyén "Lantos" Tinódi was a 16th century Hungarian lyricist, epic poet, political historian, and minstrel.- Biography :...

 and Péter Ilosvay. But his erotics are his best productions. They circulated in manuscript for generations and were never printed until 1874, when Farkas Deák discovered a perfect copy of them in the Radványi library. For beauty, feeling and transporting passion. there is nothing like them in Magyar literature until we come to the age of Mihály Csokonai Vitéz
Mihály Csokonai Vitéz
Mihály Csokonai Vitéz was a Hungarian poet.Having been educated in Debrecen, where he was born, Csokonai was appointed while still very young to the professorship of poetry there...

 and Sándor Petőfi
Sándor Petofi
Sándor Petőfi , was a Hungarian poet and liberal revolutionary. He is considered as Hungary's national poet and he was one of the key figures of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848...

. Balassi was also the inventor of the strophe
Strophe
A strophe forms the first part of the ode in Ancient Greek tragedy, followed by the antistrophe and epode. In its original Greek setting, "strophe, antistrophe and epode were a kind of stanza framed only for the music," as John Milton wrote in the preface to Samson Agonistes, with the strophe...

 which goes by his name. It consists of nine lines a b c c b d d b, or three rhyming pairs alternating with the rhyming third, sixth and ninth lines.

Family tree


The family tree of the Balassi family: