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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Countess

(A movie based on the life of Erzebet Bathory 1560-1614)

“History is a tale told by the victors. Barbaric warriors, mad kings, and greedy traitors. Maybe most of our histories are made of fables fabricated by those glorious victors. ” 

Istvan Thurzo in “The Countess” the movie.

Elizabeth (Erzebet) Bathory is very popular as one cruelest woman in the history. She was said to have murdered more or less 650 women “only” because she was greedy of youth and beauty. One accident that was caused by the splashes of one maid’s blood to her face – that she thought it had remarkable effect to make her skin look younger, softer, and fresher – triggered this heartless cruel act of hers.

Some articles in the internet do not explain what caused her greed of youth and beauty. However, the movie “The Countess” illustrated it. At her 39 years of age, Erzebet fell in love with a gorgeous man who was 18 years younger. His name was Istvan. They both were depicted to very passionately love each other. However, Istvan’s father – Gyorgy Thurzo who also wanted to marry Erzebet for power and wealth, not for love – tried his best to stop their passionate love, accusing that Erzebet only played his son’s heart. Meanwhile, Erzebeth’s most trusted ‘accomplice’ – Darvulia – also doubted Istvan’s true love. “Young people easily change their minds. He will find another woman soon,” said Darvulia to Erzebet.

Istvan’s disappearance without letting her know what was going on and Darvulia’s remarks made the tough Erzebet relent. She blamed her age. She believed if only she were younger, Istvan would not leave her. Therefore, when finding out that the blood of young virgin girls could make her skin look younger and softer, Erzebet started to be thirsty of those unfortunate girls’ blood.

As a child, Erzebet was raised to have cruel and merciless heart. Since she was very young, she was ‘trained’ to see merciless treatment toward poor peasants who happened to do crimes. When she was a teenager, she fell in love with a boy coming from a poor peasant family. As a result, the boy was tortured to death before Erzebet’s own eyes, while the baby she had from the boy was taken away directly after Erzebet gave birth.

Erzebet married the Hungarian baron Franz (Ferenc) Nadasdy at 15 – their marriage had been planned since Erzebet was born – and had three children from him. Nadasdy died after he returned from a war against the Turk. As a great warrior, from the war he gained a lot of wealth that Erzebet inherited after his death. Despite the fact that in that era a woman could not become a proprietor of wealth, the King could not object it since he had a lot of debt to Erzebet after the Turkish wars.

Erzebet’s murderous act was ‘safe’ until her accomplices started arresting daughters of lesser nobility. Gyorgy Thurzo – aiming to get more power and wealth – reported to the King about it while convincing him that by taking Erzebet to court would make his debt to the widow of Nadasdy gone. Conspiracy.

History is indeed written by the victors?

Erzebet is a loser then. History has made her notorious.

LG 15.36 040212

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