Sunday, February 10, 2013
Actual Facts c. Myth from a Scholarly book about Erzebet
From, “Bloodbaths: The Case of Elizabeth Báthory” in Kord, Susanne. Murderesses in German Writing: Heroines of Horror. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009: · Gyorgy Thurzó, Palatine of Hungary, the Hapsburg Loving King Matthias II of Hungary and the rest of the Hapsburgs had their own reasons for getting rid of Erzebet (59). · Since the death of Erzebet’s husband, “the court of Vienna had owed her the massive sum of 17,408 Gulden, a debt that she had unsuccessfully tried to collect for six years” (59). · The Vienna Court’s Debt would be extinguished if Erzebet were convicted of a crime. · Two weeks after Erzebet’s husband, Ferenc Nádasdy died, his mother, her mother-in-law, wrote Erzebet “warning her that a law was being proposed that would strip all non-Catholics-Báthory had converted to Lutheranism . . . of their possessions”(Ursula Nádasdy to Elizabeth [Erzebet] Báthory, 18 January 1604, cited in Kord 59). · “[O]ther rich widows in seventeenth century Hungary . . . were immediately after their husband’s deaths, accused of witchcraft and deposed, their lands and assets falling to their accusers” Thorne, Countess Dracula 223.246 discussed in Kord 60). · In 1604, Erzebet owned “three castles in today’s Austria, seven in today’s Czech Republic and Slovakia, three in today’s Romania and eight in today’s Hungary” (59) · “She may well have been the richest woman in her country” (59) · “Báthory was involved in anti-Hapsburg politics” (59) · Thurzó wanted to put a stop to political activities of Erzebet’s cousin, Gábor Báthory, “was involved in a plot to topple King Matthias and expand Transylvania to absorb Hapsburg lands (McNally, Dracula was a Woman 72 quoted in Kord 59). · More than three months before the official accusations against her, in September 1610, Erzebet made a will that divested her of everything, instead, leaving everything to her son and others (Kord 61). · King Matthias II gave up his attempts to drag Erzebet before an official tribunal after the will was written, and after the Hungarian Parliament convinced him that “there was no financial benefit to the crown” in doing so because Erzebet literally owned no possessions, not personal, not reality (60). · The fact alone that the only written sources documenting Báthory’s guilt were authored by those who had set out to destroy her and who stood to profit form her downfall should make us more suspicious that historians have tended to be” (61). · In the end, the “hundreds” of witnesses assembled by her enemies, which included her sons in law, did not have much to say, and the “sheer quantity of witnesses” should “not blind us to the dubious quality of their testimony” (Kord 60).