Your RDA of Irony

Lose a War, Lose Your Identity

Starting on this day in 955, the Magyars resigned themselves to being called Hungarians. Lose a war, lose your identity.

A simple smash-and-grab invasion of Bavaria was ruined by the inconvenient arrival of the Emperor Otto and his army. Worse, Otto had a talent for strategy, placing his army on the Magyars’ line of retreat. German heavy cavalry versus Magyar light cavalry. If you would like to reenact the battle from the Magyars’ perspective, try mugging a tank.

The battle of Lechfeld is not celebrated in Budapest.

So, why were the Magyars renamed the Hungarians? That was what the Byzantines called them, thinking that the marauding Magyars were the descendants of the Huns. The Germans would certainly not dare question the Byzantines. (They were the Ivy Leaguers of the Middle Ages.) Besides, the Germans were becoming accustomed to erroneous names. After all, they never called themselves Germans. (Damn Romans.)

And the victorious Deutsch could have come up with worse names: “Paprika schwillt Vagabunden” (That translates to Paprika-swilling vagabonds.) However, that actually would have been more accurate. The Magyars were not related to the Huns. In fact, they were Turks–although the current nationalist government in Budapest isn’t embracing that heritage.

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