Romanians and Power in the Mediaeval Kingdom of Hungary- The Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries
22. The End
What was the purpose of this book? To begin with, it was meant to recreate a slice of the past, a segment of life. Unfortunately, for far too many of our contemporaries, the notion of the past (like that of history) is pejorative, as if denoting something worthy of pity, contempt or even hatred. This is also due, no doubt, to the fact that we, historians by profession, can rarely portray what was in an appropriate manner, that our means of showing things as they were are weak or that we fail to meet the public exigencies. As for myself, I have never ceased saying that the past is life–true, past life–but for those who lived it, it was as alive as our own. Out of respect for them we must also treat it as if it were real, “restore” it responsibly, cherish it and, especially, know it. For a nation, the knowledge of its past life can be like the existence of personal memories for an individual: it may be nostalgic, pleasing, or disturbing at times, but it is absolutely necessary. A people that is unaware of its past life is like a person without memories, or without memory itself; it is like one who cancels one’s own self, joining the ranks of the cripples and dying a slow death. By way of a comparison, let us imagine what role could someone play among people, if that person lacked the representation of his or her childhood, harbouring...
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