Day 4: Run for the Border??!  


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So the question is why Budapest Jimmy Buffet might of asked ?!? Well Jimmy, it is the latitude and the location!! By the way, who built this city ?!? The Roman!! But the real question is why did the Romans build here!?! That is what Mile and Bone were gonna find out this morning! Rising early, the Boys enjoyed a classic European breakfast buffet at the Hotel. Afterwards, the Boys headed to the start of the whole durned reason for Buda and Pesth!


Acknowledging Aquicinum!

As stated above, location! location!! and if you didn't catch it the first time..... LOCATION!!!!  Modern Budapest is at an interesting location in Eastern European, it where the Hungarian plains runs smack dab up against the end of the Carpathian Mountains. It is a prime location for different ancient tribes to come into Europe from Asia. Due to its strategic location on the Danube, the site became one of the most vital crossing points, allowing the Romans access to both banks.

Towards the close of the 2nd century AD, Aquincum had a population of between 30,000 to 40,000 people living within it. Archaeologists have discovered that houses had central heating and there were public baths and shops. There were even amphitheaters close by, where Romans could hold celebrations to mark social events

Now, since Mike and Bone's old buddy Hadrian thought that the Danube and Rhine rivers would be logical borders for the Roman Empire it only made sense to put forts in those areas that mass migrations seemed to occur. So they put one on the north shore of the Danube River and called in Aquicnum. This area of the Hungarian plains were originally settled by the Eravisci, a Celtic tribe who were pushed west by the Romans. Aquincum served as a military base as a part of the Roman border protection system called limes. Around AD 41–54, a 500-strong cavalry unit arrived, and a Roman legion of 6,000 men (Legio II Adiutrix) was stationed here by AD 89.


Checkin' out the Aquicnum Museum

As with most Roman forts, trade with locals built businesses and a the city gradually grew around the fortress, and after Pannonia was reorganised by the Romans in AD 106, Aquincum became the capital city of the Roman province of Pannonia Inferior, holding that position until the administrative reform of Diocletian, more than a hundred years later.


Ancient Roman Foundations

The Museum showed that the Marcommanic Wars of Marcus Aurelius showed the great importance of Danubian frontier and Pannonia often became the permanent headquarters of Roman Emperors or their appointed deputies during the 2nd and 3rd Centuries. Legio I & Legio II Adiutrix, Legio X & Legio XIV Gemina were mainly stationed in Pannonia. The great migrations and invasions of tribes from the east increased pressure on the region.

Floor Plan!

It is a significant Museum with amazing Roman era mosaic flooring hung on the walls throughout the Halls allowing the Boys to check them out in minute detail.


Pondering and Panning Pannonia!

In the Anquicum Museum, Mike and Bone marvelled and realized just how big a part of the Roman Empire this town and province was back in the day! The Museum detailed that by the 4th century AD, the people called the Sarmatians were regularly attacking the area around Aquincum, putting the Roman fort under increasing pressure. As a result, by the years 374 to 375 AD the latest Roman emperor, Valentinian I, had overseen a range of new watchtowers and fortifications built along immense stretches of the Danube in his effort to control the invaders. But during the cold and stormy winter it was reported that he could not find ways to alleviate the sufferings of the city’s population from those effects. Towards the end of century this area was given over to Gallia, the Latinized version of Gaul. But more changes were coming, so that by the early 5th century AD both the Germanic tribes and the Huns had arrived in Pannonia. Although the records state that the city was overrun, the Romanized peoples remained in the area. By the time the Huns took over the city, leaving the ruins Mike and Bone went out to check out!


Heading out into the Anquincum Ruins

By the time the Boys were finished with the Museum, it was already in the mid-80's in the late summer Sun as they checked out the ruins of Anquicum!


Anquincum's Blueprint!

Mike and Bone saw from the map above that Aquincum in its day, was a much larger city than what is nowadays visible. To-date, only a third part of city center has been excavated.


Mike and Bone wandering around in Aquincum!

 But even in this limited area of the ancient city the Boys had visited enough Roman sites to easily check out the typical Roman street layouts. (similar to what they saw in Ephesus and others) where there were little shops along each of the main roads.


Mike and Bone, with their Minds in the Sewers!

While strolling the grounds the Mike and Bone, read that the homes even had central heating, along with the public baths and shops! The ruins include certain surprises like a stone tile with a sewer grate built into it, an underground central heating system, mosaic-covered thermal baths or a marketplace. Mike and Bone thought that these were some of the most impressive parts of the ruins.


Assembling in Assembly Hall (but no Hoosiers)

It was obvious to the Boys that due to its strategic location on banks of the Danube, Aquincum became one of the most vital crossing points, allowing the Romans to control both banks. By the end of the 2nd century AD, Aquincum had a population of between 30,000 to 40,000 people living within it. After walking the entire grounds, it was getting close to 1:30 and it was getting really hot. What better way to cool off then by checking out what happened after the Romans left the area at the Hungarian National Museum!


HUNgering for more HUNgarian History!!

The Hungarian National Museum focuses in the history, art, and archaeology of Hungary, Since Mike and Bone were hungry for more, off they went!  The first big exhibit was on the countries "supposed" namesake, the Huns!


When is a Hungarian, not a Hun?!? (Always???)

There is an interesting fact about the modern Hungarians,,,,, THEY AIN'T THE HUNS!!!  Nope, modern Hungarian peoples are actual direct descendants of a tribe that came into the region looong after the Huns, called the Maygars. So then, who da heck are the Huns?!?! The tribe that drove the Romans to fits that to this day you will hear trouble makers called "they are acting like Huns," and Atilla is up there with other historical figures like Genghis Khan, Napoleon, and Hitler, actually have common roots with their mongol brothers from Central Asia.

The Huns were a nomadic people who lived in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Eastern Europe between the 4th and 6th century AD. According to European tradition, they were first reported living east of the Volga River, in an area that was part of Scythia at the time; the Huns' arrival in Europe is associated with the migration westward of an Iranian people, the Alans. By 370 AD, the Huns had arrived on the Volga, and by 430, they had established a vast, if short-lived, dominion in Europe, conquering the Goths and many other Germanic peoples living outside of Roman borders and causing many others to flee into Roman territory.

The Huns, especially under their King Attila, made frequent and devastating raids into the Eastern Roman Empire. In 451, they invaded the Western Roman province of Gaul, where they fought a combined army of Romans and Visigoths at the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields, and in 452, they invaded Italy. After the death of Attila in 453, the Huns ceased to be a major threat to Rome and lost much of their empire following the Battle of Nedao. Shortly after Huns disappeared from the World’s stage and seems to have been absorbed by other ethnic groups such as the Bulgars.


Attila's Not So Brotherly Love

It interesting that one of the most famous figures in Hungary is not only not Hungarian, but you really do not see a lot written or moments to Attila in Budapest.  Even the locals didn't like him! Since the Boys were checking him out in the Museum with very little information, it worth just taking a few minutes on good ole' Attila.    

Attila was born during the Hun’s mass migration' from Central Asian into Eastern Europe. His father Mundzuk was the brother of kings Octar and Ruga, who reigned jointly over the Hunnic empire in the early fifth century. This form of leadership was common with the Huns and explains why for a short time Attila ruled the Hunnic Empire with his brother Bleda   Attila grew up in a rapidly changing world. His people were nomads who had only recently arrived in Europe. They crossed the Volga river during the 370s and annexed the territory of the Alans, then attacked the Gothic kingdom between the Carpathian mountains and the Danube. They were a very mobile people, whose mounted archers had acquired a reputation for invincibility, and the Germanic tribes seemed unable to withstand them. Vast populations fleeing the Huns moved from Germania into the Roman Empire in the west and south, and along the banks of the Rhine and Danube. In 376, the Goths crossed the Danube, initially submitting to the Romans but soon rebelling against Emperor Valens, whom they killed in the Battle of Adrianople in 378. Large numbers of Vandals, Alans, Suebi, and Burgundians crossed the Rhine and invaded Roman Gaul on December 31, 406 to escape the Huns.

The Roman Empire had been split in half since 395 and was ruled by two distinct governments, one based in Ravenna in the West, and the other in Constantinople in the East.

The Huns dominated a vast territory with nebulous borders determined by the will of a constellation of ethnically varied peoples. Some were assimilated to Hunnic nationality, whereas many retained their own identities and rulers but acknowledged the suzerainty of the king of the Huns. 

The Huns were also the indirect source of many of the Romans' problems, driving various Germanic tribes into Roman territory, yet relations between the two empires were cordial: the Romans used the Huns as mercenaries against the Germans and even in their civil wars. Thus, the usurper Joannes was able to recruit thousands of Huns for his army against Valentinian III in 424. It was Aëtius, later Patrician of the West, who managed this operation. They exchanged ambassadors and hostages, the alliance lasting from 401 to 450 and permitting the Romans numerous military victories. The Huns considered the Romans to be paying them tribute, whereas the Romans preferred to view this as payment for services rendered. The Huns had become a great power by the time that Attila came of age during the reign of his uncle Ruga, to the point that Nestorius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, deplored the situation with these words: "They have become both masters and slaves of the Romans".

What A Bro”! When Attila took the throne he had to share it with his brother Bleda. They set up camp right next to the now abandoned Anquincum. Attila wasn’t really good with sharing his toys and decided it would be more fun to rule by himself, so he killed his brother Bleda. But being a good sport he did name the camp which turned into a city after his brother, which was changed a little into Buda.

The irony is that that town got old and run down and then they built another town next to it that they also called Buda, with the old one to this day called Obuda! Pest is quite likely another family name that Attila called Buda on occasion. Attila was a pain to the Romans to his very end. His death is epic and suspicious.

The conventional account from Priscus says that Attila was at a feast celebrating his latest marriage, this time to the beautiful young Ildico (the name suggests Gothic or Ostrogoth origins).  In the midst of the revels, however, he suffered severe bleeding and died. He may have had a nosebleed and choked to death in a stupor. Or he may have succumbed to internal bleeding, possibly due to ruptured esophageal varices. Esophageal varices are dilated veins that form in the lower part of the esophagus, often caused by years of excessive alcohol consumption; they are fragile and can easily rupture, leading to death by hemorrhage. A knife in the heart from an unwilling young bride is also a likely cause. Like everything he did, his death was epic!

Needless to say the rest of Hungary in the Museum, wasn't quite so colorful!


A Post Attila Hungary

Needless to say the rest of history of Hungary in the Museum, wasn't quite so colorful! Next were the Maygars.

The Magyars are another Central Asian tribe that came into the Hungarian plane around 853, where they immediately got into a war with the current residences the Pechenegs around 854. The fact is since the Romans left and the Huns scoured the area the plain was constantly changing hands with different Asiatic and Slavic tribes. For example there was a tribe called the Avars that ruled the area and drove the Eastern Roman Empire crazy all the time. The downfall of the Avar Khaganate at the beginning of the 9th century did not mean the extinction of the Avar population. According to the archaeological evidence, the Avar population survived the time of the Magyarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin. In this power vacuum, the Hungarian conqueror elite took the system of the former Avar Kaganate, there is no trace of massacres and mass graves, it is believed to have been a peaceful transition for local residents in the Carpathian Basin. The Hungarian conquerors together with the Turkic-speaking Kabars integrated the Avars and Onogurs.

So, why then are they called Hungarians, not Maygarians?

The foundation of the Hungarian state is connected to the Maygarian conquerors, who arrived from the Pontic steppes as a confederation of seven tribes. Under the Grand Prince Álmos and his son Árpád, they became founders of the Árpád dynasty, the first ruling dynasty and the Hungarian state. The Árpád dynasty claimed to be a direct descendant of the great Hun leader Attila. Árpád, Grand Prince of the Hungarians, says in the Gesta Hungarorum:

“The land stretching between the Danube and the Tisza used to belong to my forefather, the mighty Attila”.

Hence Hungarian, not Maygarian!

By now, Mike and Bone were historied out, needed a beer, and what better place to celebrate than in the place the Attila’s murdered brother was named for, Buda Castle high up on the Mighty Danube River!


Carousing Castle Buda!! 

Buda Castle maybe the best view in the whole damned city, a picturesque mountain top overlooking the Hungarian Parliament, smack dab in middle of the pretty city.  Buda Castle is the historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian Kings in Budapest. It was first completed in 1265 by the infamous King Bela, although the massive Baroque palace today occupying most of the site was built between 1749 and 1769. The castle now houses the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest Historical Museum, where they have a changing of the guard similar to Buckingham Palace.

The hill is linked to Clark Ádám Square and the Széchenyi Chain Bridge by the Castle Hill Funicular. The castle is a part of the Budapest World Heritage Site, so declared in 1987.


The Deep Blue Danube!

The view from Buda Castle hill is looks down onto Clark Ádám Square and the Széchenyi Chain Bridge. It is little wonder that in 1987 Buda Castle has been classified as a part of the Budapest World Heritage Site. Mike and Bone marveled at the entire panorama of the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains and the Hungarian Parliament!


The Famous Széchenyi Chain Bridge!

But one thing was missing, What could it be?  It was hot, Mike and Bone needed something,,,,,,,,,,,,,,they needed BEER!


"Two Liters please of your coldest and finest Paulaner!!"

Ain't nottin' better to get rid of the thirsties and the "hots" than a cold draft, german beer! Paulaner the famous Muenchen Malty beverage in super cold liter mugs provided Mike and Bone a the perspective needed for a hot late afternoon!

Overlooking the the mighty Danube, there was a fine Hungarian troubadour strummin' his six string, while Mike and Bone got their swing, with their one liter curls! After several long drafts of their draughts, they needed a repeat of the the one liter treats and so it went for the next couple of hours as the sun began to wane, and the thoughts of chicken paprikash and goulash filled their heads so they now needed to fill their besotted bellies! 


The Dazed Duo Looking for Dinner!

Mike and Bone found a little outdoor restaurant where they supped on the Hungarian specialty chicken paprikash, with a few hungarian beer chasers! The chicken and beers were awesome but after 3 litters of german beer earlier in the afternoon, they were about to burst!  So a walk down across the iconic Chain Bridge was in order to watch the sun go down on the mighty Danube while walking of their bloat! 


The Founder of Hungary, St. Stephen!

Walking down from Castle Hill, Mike and Bone passed through an iconic neighborhood. One of of the many statues in this neighborhood isthe founder of the modern nation of Hungary, St. Stephen the 1st. Stephen I, also known as King Saint Stephen was the last Grand Prince of the Hungarians between 997 and 1000 or 1001, and the first King of Hungary from 1000 or 1001, until his death in 1038.

After succeeding his father in 997, Stephen had to fight for the throne against his relative, Koppány, who was supported by large numbers of pagan warriors. He defeated Koppány with the assistance of foreign knights. He was crowned on 25 December 1000 or 1 January 1001 with a crown sent by Pope Sylvester II. In a series of wars against semi-independent tribes and chieftains—including the Black Hungarians and his uncle, Gyula the Younger—he unified the Carpathian Basin. He protected the independence of his kingdom by forcing the invading troops of Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor, to withdraw from Hungary in 1030. His “sainthood” is based on his forcing the spread of Christianity in Hungary.

Stephen established at least one archbishopric, six bishoprics and three Benedictine monasteries, leading the Church in Hungary to develop independently from the archbishops of the Holy Roman Empire. He encouraged the spread of Christianity by meting out severe punishments for ignoring Christian customs. His system of local administration was based on counties organized around fortresses and administered by royal officials. Hungary enjoyed a lasting period of peace during his reign, and became a preferred route for pilgrims and merchants traveling between Western Europe, the Holy Land and Constantinople.

He was canonized by Pope Gregory VII, together with his son, Emeric, and Bishop Gerard of Csanád, in 1083. Today, Stephen is a popular saint in Hungary and neighboring territories. In Hungary, his feast day (celebrated on 20 August) is also a public holiday commemorating the foundation of the state, known as State Foundation Day.  Finally getting down to the river level, Mike an Bone now got to go, from Buda to Pest! A whole 'nother latititude!


Walking the Famous Chain Bridge

Mike an Bone now got to go, from Buda to Pest! A whole 'nother latititude! The Széchenyi Chain Bridge spans the River Danube between Buda and Pest. Designed by English engineer William Tierney Clark and built by Scottish engineer Adam Clark, it was the first permanent bridge across the Danube in Hungary. It was opened in 1849.

It is anchored on the Pest side of the river to Széchenyi Square (formerly Roosevelt Square), adjacent to the Gresham Palace and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and on the Buda side to Adam Clark Square, near the Zero Kilometre Stone and the lower end of the Castle Hill Funicular, leading to Buda Castle. The bridge opened in 1849, after the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, becoming the first permanent bridge in the Hungarian capital. At the time, its center span of 663 feet was one of the largest in the world. The lions at each of the abutments were carved in stone by the sculptor János Marschalkó  and installed in 1852. They are similar in design to the bronze lions of Trafalgar Square. Once across they were bedazzled by the amazing Hungarian Parliment!


"Parlimentary Dear Watson!" The Damned thing is Gorgeous!!

The Boy next traipsed up to the House of Parliament, home to the Hungarian National Assembly! It is deservedly considered one of the most stunning such buildings of the world, as an European icon on the banks of the Danube, that is now a World Heritage Site, and designated so in 2011. Built by the Hapsburgs at the end of the 19th Century, the House of Parliament is home to Hungary’s legislative body and still the Hungarian Holy Crown (say that three times when over-served!)


"Nodding to a Nightcap!"

After Parliament, the Boys  wandered by a few monuments into the heart of Pest. By now the sun had set and the many, (many!) beers had worked their charm, and after stopping in a quaint little outdoor bistro for a final malted grain beverage, Mike and Bone walked all the way back to the Hotel around 10:00PM! Tomorrow, the next Roman Border town on the Danube, Vindobona, otherwise know today as Vienna!