Martinovics, Ignác

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Martinovics, Ignác

 

Born July 22, 1755, in Pest; died May 20, 1795, in Buda. A leader of the Hungarian republican movement of 1794; philosopher and natural scientist. Doctor of theology and philosophy.

Martinovics was a professor of mathematics and natural science in Budapest, at the seminary in Brody, and at the University of Lemberg (L’vov). He was a follower of the French materialist philosopher P. Holbach. His materialist and atheistic views are presented most comprehensively in the work Philosophical Memoirs (1788). In a pamphlet published in 1790, Martinovics called for the overthrow of the rule of the aristocracy and the clergy. At first he was a partisan of enlightened absolutism and placed his hope in the Austrian imperial government in the struggle against the feudal lords and the clergy. After the accession of Francis I to the throne, he abandoned his monarchist illusions, established contacts with the radical representatives of the intelligentsia of the nobility, and became the chief organizer and leader of the anti-Austrian republican movement of revolutionaries among the Hungarian nobility. In July 1794 he was arrested and later put on trial and executed.