Ignác Martinovics

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Ignác Martinovics (Serbo-Croatian: Ignjat Martinović, Игњат Мартиновић; 20 July 1755 – 20 May 1795) was a Hungarian philosopher, writer and a leader of the Hungarian Jacobin movement. He was condemned to death for high treason and beheaded on 20 May 1795, along with count Jacob Sigray (Hungarian: Sigray Jakab), Ferenc Szentmarjay, Joseph Hajnoczy (Hungarian: Hajnóczy József) and others.


His father Mátyás Martinovics was one of the nobles of Albanian descent who settled in Délvidék in the 17th century after the Great Turkish War by the large migration of Serbs[1] led by Arsenije III Čarnojević.[2][3] He and his family moved to Pest in the second half of the 17th century. There he married with Mária Poppini[2] , a commoner from Buda, they had five sons and two daughters. Ignác Martinovics was born in Pest, after finishing the first classes in a Piarist school, he chose to enter the Franciscan order. Martinovics took theological studies in the university of Buda from 1775-1779. From 1783 he was a teacher in natural sciences at the University of Lemberg.

Martinovics worked as a secret agent for Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II until 1792. In his Oratio pro Leopoldo II he is explicit that only the authority that follows from a social contract should be recognized; he saw the aristocracy as the enemy of mankind, because they prevented people from becoming educated. In another of his works, Catechism of People and Citizens, he argued that citizens tend to oppose any repression and that sovereignty resides with the people. He became a Freemason. He was in favour of a federal republic for Hungary. A member of the Hungarian Jacobins, he was considered an idealistic forerunner of great thought by some, and an unscrupulous adventurer by others. He was in charge of stirring up a revolt against the nobility among the Hungarian serfs. Emperor Francis II dismissed Martinovics and his boss, Ferenc Gotthardi, the former chief of the secret police, for these subversive acts. He was executed, together with 6 other prominent Jacobins, in Budapest on 20 May 1795.


A masonic lodge of Budapest belonging to the Hungarian Grand Orient is named after him.[4] Two postage stamp were issued in his honour by Hungary; on 12 June 1919[5] and on 15 March 1947[6].


  1. ^ "Koncepcije o Srpskoj Vojvodini, Iliriku, Dunavskoj konfederaciji, Istočnoj Švajcarskoj..." Kulturni centar Novog Sada (in Serbian). 2018-09-07. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  2. ^ a b Vilmos Fraknói, Martinovics élete, p. 11, Budapest, 1921, Az Athenaeum Irodalmi És Nyomdai R.-T. Kiadása, [1]
  3. ^ Dr. Zsigmond Várady, Martinovics Ignác, p. 19, 1909 Deutsch Zsigmond és társa könyvkereskedése, [2]
  4. ^ http://szabadkomuvesseg.hu/
  5. ^ https://colnect.com/en/stamps/stamp/190131-Ignác_Martinovics-Social_Revolutionists-Hungary
  6. ^ https://colnect.com/en/stamps/stamp/179863-Ign%C3%A1c_Martinovics_1755-1795_philosopher-Hungarian_Freedom_Fighters-Hungary

Sources : 'Paul Lendvai Die Ungarn. Ein Jahrtausend Sieger in Niederlagen. C. Bertelsmann Verlag, München 1999.

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