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Publisher Matica Slovenská 1995
This book is in English
The book (102 pages)  

33 tales from the legend of famous outlaw captain

At the time of Jánošík’s life, what is now the Slovak Republic was part of Uhorsko (old Hungary), which also included Hungary, Transylvania, southern Poland, and Zakarpathian Ukraine. Slovakia did not exist as a state and the official language spoken by the nobility was Hungarian, the serfs spoke Slovak. Uhorsko was associated with Austria under the Habsburg Em­peror Karol VI and took part in the war for the Spanish throne after the death of the Spanish King Charles II. The war plundered the serfs who had to contribute as well as the lower nobility. According to the law of the time the serfs had to pay tithes and taxes and were also forced to work on the landlords’ fields by the drábi. The Hungarian nobility then used the serfs in the revolt against the Habsburgs led by Rákoczi who ruled over the land in 1703 and 1704. He was winning until 1706 but was defeated in 1708 by the Austrian army (near Trenčín). The war ended with the signing of the peace at Szatmár by the Habsburgs in 1711. Jánošík lived in the period of late feudalism, the last phase of serfdom. He robbed for six years and fought against the oppression of the lords in north‑west Slovakia. The tradition of Jánošík’s struggle was against feudalism and later became national and so­cial.
As a stranger to Slovakia the discovery of the tale of Jánošík is an impor­tant part in learning about Slovak history and culture. One of the most in­teresting aspects of this story is that the personality of Jánošík and the many tales and legends, which have formed about him, are based on a real and de­terminable person. Juraj Jánošík, the son of a peasant (serf), was born in the small village of Terchová in 1688 and executed in 1713. From 1706 to 1708 he was in the revolutionary kuruc army of František Rákoczi II. After the suppression of the kuruc uprising in 1711, in the town of Bytča he met a kuruc named Tomáš Uhorčík who he helped to escape from prison. He later joined up with other kurucs who had formed a band of outlaws with Uhorčík, possibly to keep the spirit of the revolt alive, and became their captain. They robbed noblemen and rich townsmen in middle and northern Slovakia, Poland, Silesia, and Moravia and (accord­ing to legend) gave to the poor. In winter they hid in villages and out of ­the way places, moving often. In October 1712 Jánošík was arrested by the drábi and imprisoned, but he managed to escape. He was caught again in early 1713 in the region of Liptov and taken to the county court in Liptovský Mikuláš where he stood trial and was executed on March 17. He refused to answer his accusers, even after being tortured, and died hung by his lower rib on a hook. He is the hero of many tales and legends and is ce­lebrated in songs and dances, literature and art. The tradition of Jánošík is still alive today and can be observed in many areas of Slovak Life.
Perhaps the most significant aspect of Jánošík’s story can only be formulated as enigmatic question; why did this man, above all others, become the focal point for so many tales and legends?

John L. Doyle

Hard cover, 102 pages, the book is 8 1/4 x 11 1/2 inches


COST US $39.95
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