Page:A history of Hungarian literature.djvu/12

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2
HUNGARIAN LITERATURE

at the golden gate of Constantinople. They forced their way through the Pass of St. Bernard and through the Pyrenees, and wherever they went, they were as victorious on their steeds as the Vikings in their ships. But as soon as the predatory warriors, who had watered their horses in the Ilissus, Ebro, Elbe, and Tiber, settled down within the borders of Hungary, they founded there a strong and lasting state.

Many another race had from time to time inhabited the plains of the Danube and the Tisza before the Hungarians, but none of them had succeeded in creating a state. The Celts had found a home there, but disappeared thence as from most other regions. At the time of Augustus, the brass eagles of the Roman legions visited the virgin forests of Pannonia. It was there that the wisest and noblest of rulers, Marcus Aurelius, wrote the greater portion of his philosophical works. There, too, was born that unlucky successor of the great Augustus, Romulus Augustulus, the last ruler over the Empire founded by Romulus, and with the pitiable figure of that shadow-like emperor the Romans vanished altogether from Pannonia.

Then the blood-red waves of the migration flooded the country. The Huns came; their greatest leader, Attila, and his followers, built their wooden houses on the plain between the Danube and the Tisza, but they soon disappeared, to be followed for short periods by the Longobards, the Gepida, and the Jazyghiens. Next came the Avar race, but only to be overthrown by Charlemagne.

Last came the Hungarians, who alone succeeded in holding their own, and the state they founded became, through the excellence of its constitution, one of the most powerful in Europe. In the fourteenth and fifteenth