Zsófia Torma, a woman in the service of Hungarian archeology
Torma, a woman in the service of Hungarian archeology
I would like to show the life of Zsófia Torma, the world's first lady archeologist not in a chronological order, but according to subject matters:
The way it began
1. The way it began
The children of the archeologist-historian father, József Torma, liked to play with the excavated finds and pottery shards, which sometimes covered the entire floor of their room. Zsófia was 13 years old, when Flóris Rómer, a Benedictine monk (1815-1889), the founder of the preservation of Magyar archeology and ancient artifacts, visited József Torma in Csicsókeresztúr, at that time asking about his excavations. But, ten years later, it was Zsófia's famous geological and paleontological collection that he came to visit and admire in Szászváros, a collection that Zsófia had gathered, often on very tiresome journeys, which lasted several days, and from which museums and paleontological societies asked for materials.
2. Her love of family and homeland
Her father was not "just"
an archeologist, but he was also legate of Belső Szolnok County in 1848 and
a Member of the Parliament. The husband of her sister, László Makkay, was an
officer in the Freedom Fight of 1848/49 in the army of József Bem. Her brother
also volunteered at age 18 into the army of General Bem and he fought valiantly
until the Zsibó (today Rumania, Jibou) armistice. After her parents' death Zsófia
moved to her sister's home in Hunyad County, whose children she taught with
love and patience. She adopted one of the children and she took care of this
child along with her own son with great joy.
She realized the immense
importance of her homeland in the fields of archeology, ethnography and paleontology
and she wanted these to be known world wide. She felt it her duty, as a daughter
of her country, to collect the deteriorating artifacts and preserve them, and
for this she sacrificed her private life. "...instead of the fleeting
images of youth her spirit was involuntarily filled with more earnest deeds,
and she paid attention with flaming interest to everything the home soil presented
as natural uniqueness, or in the form of some antiquity..." writes
Gábor Téglás, her student, a geologist and archeologist from Déva.
In her later comparisons
she emphasized the unique Magyar features, the tulip, the Székely-gate, Attila's
Turul - Karuly bird and the tree of life that the Szászváros women embroidered
onto their linens, -- among many others. She bore the costs of her travels out
of the country, and her goal was to further the good fame of Magyar science.
3. The most important stages of her scientific work
In 1875, she began
her excavations in the Tordos ancient settlement, which had been brought to
her attention by András Vén, the Reformed teacher of her town, where, up to
that time, only two school-directors had collected a few pieces from the riverbank
of the Maros.
In 1876, she took
part in the 9th International Congress for Ancient Archeology in Budapest, with
nearly one hundred pieces of her finds.
In 1877, she was
elected honorary member of the Szeben Honismertető Egylet.
In 1879, her first
archeological work was published: Hunyadvármegye Neolith (Kőkorszakbeli)
telepei (The Neolithic Settlements of County Hunyad).
In 1880, her excavation
of the Nándor cave-complex series was published.
In 1880, she was
called to Berlin to the Great Congress of German Anthropologists, where Schliemann's
Trojan finds were also shown.
In 1882, she studied
in the museums of Germany; she took part in Frankfurt-on-Main in the XIII Great
Congress of German Anthropologists and, in the same year, she also visited the
ancient collections in Vienna, Budapest, Kolozsvár, (today Rumania, Cluj-Napoca)
and Nagyenyed (today Rumania, Aiud,)
In 1884, she received
Lajos Kossuth's first letter from Turin, paying homage to her.
In 1889, the Vienna
Congress was a great disappointment to her, since there were not even ten people
sitting on those chairs, who would have had appropriate fore-knowledge, which
would have permitted them to understand her comparisons.
In 1894, her "Ethnographishe
Analogien" was published in Jena, which was greeted mostly with praise.
On May 24, 1899,
half a year before her death, the University of Kolozsvár gave her an honorary
4. The lady-archeologist - the archeologist lady
When we hear about the
world's first female archeologist, we are interested - beyond the respect we
give her as a scientist - to find out what she was like. Zsófia Torma was intelligent,
beautiful, noble and rich, to whom 25 men proposed, but she gave her hand not
to one person, but to Magyar science. Not because she wanted to elevate herself
above the rest of humanity, since she was very modest, as the final words of
her "Ethnographische Analogien" states: "...I wanted
to omit all desire for fame and sensation. I saw the importance of my collection
only in the fact that I wanted to place my finds into safety, by rescuing them
from the waves of the Maros river, since there were no other appropriate collectors
at hand. I did this, even though many prejudices and obstacles attacked me from
many sides, and still continue against me today."
In spite of the problems
mentioned by Zsófia, it was not the jealousy of her female companions that made
her life sad. She mentions in her writing the praises she received from the
lady members of the Szebeni Honismertető Egylet. She had very good connections,
with Heinrich Schliemann's second wife, Sophie, who was also interested in archeology,
and Anna, the wife of Johannes Ranke, a German anthropologist. She certainly
handled and directed the affairs of her wealth and household with care, since
she kept the letters from Anna Ranke, the wife of the German anthropologist,
in which she sincerely thanked Zsófia for the carefully packed, beautiful fruit
she received in München, from Szászváros.
She was the only woman among
the lecturers at the 9th International Ancient Archeological Conference. The
comic papers ridiculed the 'crotchety young lady', "until the audience
got used to the fact, that in her they found not the ridiculous "blue stocking"
person of novels, but instead a real example whom they could honor and respect,
although in our society this is rare, but thank God, even here it is becoming
more and more frequent." (Gábor Téglás, student, archeologist.)
In 1896, she wrote expressly
for her female colleagues an article, published in Szolnok-Doboka County Women's
Millennial Memorial Publication, entitled "Hazánk népe ősmythosának maradványai"
(The remnants of the ancient myth of our country's people."
She was famous for her charity
work, and I am quoting Gábor Téglás again: "...goodness and mercy coming
from the heart have become regrettably sparse in the lives of the ladies coming
from the old Magyar national homes, but they remained incorporated in every
noble sense of the word in Zsófia Torma. She was there for the orphans and the
pursued; she stood as a helper to the ones who needed help and in Szászváros,
where so many families can give thanks for her rare goodness, her name will
remain in memory through the times, just because of these facts..."
The archeologist, who works
in the field with a shovel in his hands, has to have the strength of a road-builder
and the fine hands of a surgeon. Zsófia Torma stood the test from the beginning
with the men. All the neglect here at home, the constant refusal of her writings,
the belittling of her finds, even on the part of those, whom she honored most
at the beginning (József Hampel, Ferenc Pulszky, Pál Hunfalvy), broke her strength
through her soul. She came to a point in 1881, when she asked Cardinal Lajos
Haynald (1816-1891), to secure for her the job of a Magyar lady-in-waiting to
Stefania, the wife of Crown Prince Rudolf , who was a Belgian Princess. Even
though, most assuredly, she would have called attention to the virtues of her
homeland, it is good, that this action failed, since, after this time, came
her most important finds, among others, that it was not the Dacians, but a Turanian
population from 3000 years earlier, whose remains she preserved, a population
connected to Troy and Mesopotamia (Babylon, as it was called at that time),
and saved them from destruction.
I have read in several places,
that Zsófia Torma's results were attributed to her "ingenious female intuition",
as if one could gloss over the fact, that she was simply more intelligent and
more diligent than her colleagues, whom she preceded by exactly thirty years.
Her Tordos excavations, which began in 1875, were followed only in 1905, by
a similarly Neolithic excavation in Vinca, near Nándorfehérvár, in which the
written texts were much poorer.
The fruit of the work of
this diligent lady-archeologist, her collection of 10,384 pieces, was bought
by the Erdélyi Nemzeti Múzeum Érem- és Régiségtára (The Medal and Antiquities
section of the Erdély National Museum). Since she had spent her considerable
wealth on her research and charity work, she could not secure a new housing
for her collection in her older days, so she let it go for five-thousand forints
and eight-hundred forints a month life-time stipend. Counting her finds piece-by-piece,
her archeological finds would show a greater number, but many people asked samples
from her and she gladly shared them, no matter how much work was expended in
Here is an excerpt from
the letter of an Oxford archeologist and historian, Francis Haverfield: "...I
hardly dare to ask, but as you know, archaeologists are very shameless, so could
you please lend me a few pieces from these treasures? I would like to add to
my collection three more idols, three vertebrae, and that interesting, four
Zsófia lent material happily, I suppose packed, to everyone. The archeologist from Oxford never invited Zsófia to Oxford to hold a lecture; others excluded her from professional literature and Heinrich Schliemann, whom she much honored and popularized, rejected her request for a foreword for her book (1882). Whether this happened because she was a woman, and it would have been uncomfortable for the leading man of science to refer to her work, or because she was a giving, helping character, it is hard to tell for sure from a distance of 130 years.
5. Her familiarity with professional literature
Zsófia was very well versed
and up-to date in both the professional literature at home and that outside
Hungary, even though in those days there were no computers to activate and to
click the search button.
She supported her theses
with the works of Magyar, German,. French, English, Greek and Latin authors.
She was familiar with Strabo and Berossos, as well as with the writing of Kristóf
Lukácsi, based upon Armenian sources, entitled "A magyarok őselei"
(The ancestors of Magyars), the newly printed book of József Huszka, concerning
the Turanian decorative art, or the writings of Jenő Bánó, in which he compares
the identical customs of Mexican Indians and the Magyars. She studied the myths
and customs of different people, from clothing to dance.
6. Her thoroughness and method of research
One can already form an
opinion of her thoroughness in research by reading her list of sources from
professional literature. She sent her finds to scientists in this field to study
them, for example the metal objects to Otto Helmnek in Danzig or the petrified
leaf-imprints to Dr. Kurtz in Berlin.
This thoroughness led her
to use for the first time in the world the inclusion of related sciences in
her archeological work: she consulted anthropologists, zoologists, chemists,
linguists, botanists, historians, ethnographers, geologists, mineralogists,
orientalists, historical sciences, numismatists. It is their work she used,
or sent them finds to study.
With these she established
connections between different fields, and a greater opportunity arose to study
the origins of different cultures. This method led to her conclusion that the
Tordos, Trojan and the earliest Sumerian cultures originated from a common source.
In her "Ethnographische Analogien" we find comparisons in religious,
astronomical and anthropological writing, linguistics, decorative arts and even
7. Her scientific correspondence
Besides this complex, many
sided and comparative method, she also elevated to a scientific research level
her correspondence with her colleagues. To accomplish this she needed to be
in command of at least three languages and the professional international language
of archeology. Her partner in correspondence was the already- mentioned John
Lubbock (1834-1913), an English scientist, who, when he was elevated to lordship,
chose at his initiation the name of Avebury, a stone circle akin to Stonehenge,
and, in his book, entitled: Prehistoric Times, he showed Campagna's axe-cover
on which there was rovás (runic) writing, which can be presented as being connected
to the Magyar rovás.
Furthermore, she corresponded
with Archibald Sayce (1845-1933), an English linguist and Sumerologist; Francois
Lenormant (1837-1883) a French archeologist and Sumerologist, who determined
the identity of the Sumerian and the Ural Altaic languages; Heinrich Schliemann
(1822-1890), who found Troy in 1871 (under the hill of Turkey's Hissarlik);
and the one, whose letters compensated her for all the slights she had suffered,
the then 82 year-old Lajos Kossuth (1802-1894), who was also interested in ancient
8. Her views of ancient history
The excerpts below are not
exact quotations from her writing entitled "The remnants of our people's
ancient myth", from 1896. (Babylon = Mesopotamia, Sumer), Babylon's ancient
people were, according to cuneiform scripts, the Sumerian-Akkadian people, who
belonged to the Turanian race whose beliefs, ceremonies, writing and customs
still reverberate, after 6000 years in the ethnology, life and customs of our
Aryan people.(She used the expression "Aryan" to refer to people who
started out, as she called it, on the Turanian plateau, the Scythian-Hun-Avar-Székely-Magyar
who also belonged to the Altaic family of nations, were of Turanian race, and
it is from here that some Akkadian elements found their way into the Magyar
language. (It was not known in those days, that the Akkadian belonged to the
Semitic race, and the language and writing was not their own, they only adopted
them.) She wrote the following of the Sumerian-Akkadian language: "That
much is certain, that they stood closer to the East-Indian Dravidians, than
the Türkish, or the Finno-Ugrians." Interestingly, this coincides with
the opinion of another scientist who was persecuted by the Hungarian Academy
of Sciences, Bálint Gábor Szentkatolnai of Erdély, who believed that the language
of the Tamils, the Dravidian, is related to the Magyar language. Although I
have no knowledge that these two - Szentkatolnai and Torma - knew one another
in person, they had a common friend: Antal Hermann (1851-1926), historian of
literature and ethnographer. According to Zsófia Torma, the Székelys are Magyar
groups, who, as the remaining Huns of Attila, settled in the eastern border
mountain regions of Erdély, even before Prince Árpád's arrival, and still live
there. The Magyars, upon their return, found Scythian people in the Duna-Tisza
region, and as related people, assimilated into them.
"The noble status
of the number seven originated in the number of Babylonian planets, and became
part of our ancestors' thinking, like the seven groups, seven dukes.... and
the seven lions of the ancient Magyar coat-of-arms, representing their family."
"But if the identical
finds appear in so many group-forms, as in the cultic connections of my collection,
where the Babylonian influences are so striking, it is without any doubt, that
the makers of these finds, their creators, acted upon the same influences, and
that these artists, or master craftsmen belonged together, and the racial identity
of their peoples cannot be in doubt, based upon the above."
The very early presence
of the Magyars in the Carpathian Basin was established by Zsófia Torma, when
she discovered that the deer, the carved antler of which was found in the Nándor
Cave, and which lived in the last Ice Age, was familiar to the inhabitants of
Erdély, and they used the form of the deer as decoration on their clay vessels,
clothes and carpets, a decoration that was not derived from "cultural influences."
9. Decorations, master-signatures or writing?
Zsófia Torma was steadfast
in her belief that the signs on the Tordos vessel fragments are writing-signs
or letters. The non-Magyar scientists, with the exception of Lubbock, were not
familiar with the ancient writing of the Magyars, the rovás-writing, and so
they could not support her in this subject. The English linguist, Orientalist
and Sumerologist, Archibald Sayce acknowledged that some Asian letters may be
related to the signs on the Tordos finds, but because of the repeated use of
the Zs and T rovás letters, he concluded that they must be decorations. Among
the scientists at home, her brother, Károly Torma, who was an archeologist,
was willing to accept these inscriptions to be only signs of names, master-signatures.
Pál Hunfalvy strongly stated, disallowing the possibility of contradiction,
that the Magyars did not have any writing before becoming Christians, and that
the Hun-Székely rovás was invented by some scientists of the 17th century.
So Zsófia remained alone
with her opinion, according to which, on her numerous clay disks, the ancient
Magyar rovás writing and numerical signs can be found, among which she identified
the following letters: NY, ZS, T and C. Apart from these, Sándor Forrai identified
the rovás letters A, B, C, D, F, G, J, P, SZ, thanks to Mrs. Fehér, Anna Walter,
who made 150 drawings accessible. János Makkay, professor of archeology, published
in his wonderful book of 1969, entitled The Tatárlaka Finds a sign-collection,
which he named the Tordos sign-group.
American researcher, Shan
M. M. Winn published a book in 1981, in which he collected the signs of the
Tordos-Vinca culture. He copied 320 signs from their fragments and grouped them
according to various aspects. In addition to the previous ones, I found the
CS, GY, I, end K, middle K, M, O, Ö, R, S, U, Ü, V, Z letters, and the BL, IB,
ID, JD, ISZ ligatures; furthermore, the words BABA and SAS (doll and eagle)
in cleverly drawn ligature form. So with the exception of E, LY, N, TY, 28 letters
of the presently-called Székely-Magyar rovás writing can be identified on the
Tordos, and the M in the Nándor find, which is also in Zsófia's collection.
It can be certain, that during another research, focusing on the rovás writing,
the missing four letters would surface on the objects, on which the 1, 2, 3,
4, 5, 10, 20, 50, 10 rovás numbers can also be identified.
In modern times, Gábor Szakács
had the opportunity to study the rovás letters in the Sun pyramid in Bosnia
and, based upon these letters, the mutual consensus is that the Tordos-Vinca
culture spread far more to the south, than it has until now been believed.
10. Those who acknowledged and appreciated her
First of all, those of her homeland, the people of Hunyad County, who were interested in archeology and ancient history.
Flóris Rómer(1815-1889), the founder of Magyar archeology.
Count Géza Kuun (1837-1905), archeologist, Orientalist, Academician and Member of the Upper House of the Parliament.
Gábor Téglás geologist, archeologist and professor at Déva (1848-1916).
These last two were colleagues of Zsófia in the writing of the first volume of the book: History of Hunyad County.
Bishop Arnold Ipoly, author of the Magyar Mythology, who declared of Zsófia's study concerning the Neolithic settlements of Hunyad County (1879): "I have never read a better, up to the point study about ancient archeology."
Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902), German anthropologist, university professor.
Lajos Kossuth (1802-1894), premier of Hungary .
Pál Gyulai archeologist, writer, the editor of the book "From Zsófia Torma's Correspondence." (1972).
Mrs. Fehér, Anna Walter who translated the Ethnographische analogien in 1973, with the professional added text of Gábor Jáki and published it in Buenos Aires.
Miklós Érdy, doctor, archeologist, historian.(1974)
Shan M.M. Winn,who worked up the Tordos sign-system and who mentioned Zsófia Torma in his book, which was published in 1981 in America.
György Mandics, mathematician, wrote the following in 1987: "The discovery of the European Neolithic age began in April of 1875, when András Vén, teacher in Tordos knocked on the door of Zsófia Torma with a knapsack full of broken pottery...".
János Makkay, professor of archeology, published his book entitled: Studies in Memory of Zsófia Torma in 1999.
Ida Bobula and Veronika Marton, Sumerologists.
Magdolna Tulok remembered her in 1999 in the Havi Magyar Fórum, on the 100th anniversary of her death.
Ferenc Badiny Jós gallantly stood up for her in his book: Mahgar a Magyar, because Géza Komoróczi, the professional mocker of the Sumerian-Magyar relationship, called Zsófia obsolete.
Some other people who praised her were Irén Kiss and László Tábori, who organized in 2007 a memorial conference in the Magyarok Háza (Hungarian House) in Budapest.
Along with Gábor Szakács, I called attention to Zsófia Torma's work and its significance in some 400 lectures concerning rovás writing, and exhibited her enlarged portrait along with that of Sándor Forrai in the lecture hall.
11. Disregard for her work
Zsófia Torma stood by her
opinions, which she had formed in the course of her excavations, the collection
of material, the study of her finds, and in her reading of the works of scientists
in affiliated fields, whom she honored. Thus, she came into opposition with
many honored authorities, who were considered at the pinnacle of their fields,
and one of them caused not only damage to Zsófia Torma, but influenced the entire
international judgment of the Magyar ancient history, which still has its marks
today. In 1876, when she sent her finds to the Budapest Ancient Archeological
Congress, she planned to arrange her exhibition according to the proper excavation
order, the order in which she had discovered the finds. Archeologist, József
Hampel, on the staff of the Magyar National Museum, editor of the Archeological
Journal, took out two samples from the Neolithic collection, an urn with a face
and a segment of an idol's head, stating, that they were Roman remains. Zsófia
Torma demanded the replacement of these objects to their original place, since
these were the two pieces the scientists of this field were most interested
in. Hampel caused her harm after this episode whenever he could. He did not
allow her to publish and, even after her death, he made sarcastic remarks about
Gábor Téglás and Antal Hermann, who always mentioned Zsófia with words of praise
at Hunyad County's Historical and Archeological meetings, stating that Zsófia
was the Pallas Athena of the Magyar Scientific Olympus, the Jeanne d'Arc of
Erdély's archeology. Hampel stated of Zsófia Torma's great work, which also
included a rich illustration of 2500 drawings, and of her studies, that "they
are not worthy of publication!" By denying her publication, Hampel
achieved his goal in establishing that the Vinca site, which was discovered
30 years later, is accepted - without merit - as preceding the Tordos Neolithic
sites, as far as importance is concerned, and it was never recognized that our
country, Hungary, gave the first lady-archeologist to the world.
Pál Hunfalvy also recognized
early on that Zsófia's finds and their comparison with Troy and Mesopotamia,
with their signs and letters scratched onto the bottom of vessels, posed a danger
to the Finno-Ugrian theory.
The Ethnographic Society
(Néprajzi Társaság) for two years continued to allow her to believe that they
would publish her work, which finally was published in Germany in the German
language. József Szinnyei, a Finno-Ugrian etymologist, whose name was changed
from Ferber to the afore-mentioned Magyar name, as the editor of the Erdély
Museum Association, refused to publish her work. On behalf of the 2500 illustrations
- which were the work of Gábor Szinte, art teacher in Déva --, along with with
her main work, entitled Dácia a római foglalás előtt (Dacia before the Roman
Occupation), she corresponded with the Ministry and the Academy for eight
years, and took her manuscripts three times from Szászváros to Pest, in vain.
Paul Reinecke, a German archeologist spent considerable time at Zsófia's house,
enjoying her hospitality, and spent quite some time studying her material, receiving
explanations from her. After all that, he published a study in 1896, at age
24, about Tordos, without mentioning its excavator and researcher or the elderly
lady-scientist's name. Reinecke probably achieved success in his own country
with similar methods, and had an unbelievable career, living 86 years.
Hubert Schmidt also achieved
scientific success from Zsófia Torma's material, without mentioning her deserved
merits, as did Miloje Vasics, a Croatian archeologist, who excavated in Vinca
from 1908 on.
Sir Gordon Childe, the Australian
archeologist was thoroughly familiar with the cultures of the Carpathian Basin,
and this is supported by his work, entitled The Danube in Prehistory,
a 480 page work, published in Oxford in 1929. He writes ten pages about Tordos
but does not mention the name of Zsófia Torma, even though his findings never
supersede those of this lady-archeologist. He cites Márton Roska, Director of
the National Museum of Erdély, who did some excavation in 1910 in Tordos, and
published a book in 1927 about the Neolithic Age. If we follow the time line,
Nándor Kalicz published a book in 1980, entitled: Agyag istenek, (Clay Gods),
in content dealing with the Neolithic and Copper Age cultures of Hungary, in
which the mention of Tordos and its excavator's name is glaringly missing, even
though he mentions Vinca and, in his bibliography, Márton Roska's book about
Torma's collection. It is even more peculiar that, in the chapter, entitled:
Troy and the Carpathian Basin, one cannot find Zsófia Torma's name, even
though we can thank her alone for making this connection known to the public,
and it was she, who, on account of this, suffered attacks and scornful derision.
Sir Colin Renfrew, Professor
of Archeology at Cambridge University, refers to the "clever minds"
of Vasiesra, Hubert Schmidt and Childe, when talking in detail about the Tordos-Vincsa
culture, under the title "Before Civilization" (A civilizáció előtt)
in 1999. He did not know of Márton Roska, nor did he know that six or seven-thousand
years ago, there were no Trianon borders, because he constantly talks about
Tatárlaka as a Rumanian archeological location. One main reference of Marija
Gimbutas, the Lithuanian lady-archeologist was the work of Zsófia Torma, even
though in her books she deals mostly with Vinca. For example in The Neolithic
Cultures of the Balkan Peninsula(1972) Old Europe, ca.7000-3500 BC.(1973) The
Gods and Goddesses of Old Europe 7000-3500 BC.(1974) Ideograms and Symbolic
Designs on Ritual Objects of old Europe (1976) Old Europe in the Fifth Millennium
BC. (1982), but we look in vain for her mention of our lady-archeologist
and, in her reference list, it is only Márton Roska, who is mentioned. Gimbutas
also places the Trianon borders in the Neolithic Age. The young English anthropologist,
religious historian and ancient historian, Richard Rudgley, born in 1961, followed
the footsteps of Zsófia Torma. He visited Hungary, met László Vértes, Gyula
Mészáros and János Makkay, who are all part of the reference list in his book
entitled Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age (Kőkor elveszett civilizációi),
so he cannot be accused of being superficial. He does know about Zsófia's work,
since he starts his chapter about Tatárlaka with the following sentence: "Signs,on
clay vessels of prehistoric times were discovered in 1870 in Erdély, more closely
in Torda, near Kolozsvár." It is true, that Torda is not near Kolozsvár,
but at about 150 kilometer distance, but at least he did not write Rumania.
We cannot read the name of Zsófia Torma in his writing either, but he talks
about Marija Gimbutas at every turn and mentions her as the brilliant Lithuanian
Nicolae Vlassa, the Rumanian
archeologist of the Historical Museum of Kolozsvár, excavator of the Tatárlaka
cremation grave was also not in a hurry to publish Zsófia Torma's main work,
still in manuscript form, even though it was accessible to the museum. Mrs.
Fehér, Anna Walter asked him in a letter in 1961 about the manuscript. Vlassa's
answer was, that it was in a state of deterioration, the pencil drawings were
fading, but the Kolozsvár Museum did plan to publish the entire work in one
piece. Since then - regrettably - both Mrs. Fehér and Vlassa have died, and
one cannot know where the deteriorating manuscript is located, the location
where it lies and fades further - this manuscript with which Zsófia Torma offered
to the Academy for eight years, and through which, after a few years and a few
decades so many built their own careers . We can also read from Mrs. Fehér,
Anna Walter, that Zsófia Torma rests in an unmarked grave in the Szászváros
cemetery. In connection with this, Irén Kiss and László Tábori learned, and
brought to the attention of the participants at Zsófia Torma's conference, that
the earthly remains of the lady- archeologist were transferred by the descendants
of the family into the family vault in Csicsókeresztőr.
It is interesting to read
the opinion of Marco Merlini, an Italian researcher on the webpage: www.prehistory.it/ftp/tartaria_tablets_
He mentions that, according to some scientists, Vlassa, as the archeologist
of the Historical Museum of Kolozsvár, had access to the Zsófia Torma collection,
which was stored there in the basement and that Vlassa, himself, took from here
and placed into her grave the three Tatarlaka tablets. This would indicate that
the famous disks with rovás signs and Sumerian pictographs were found by our
One can find some further
thoughts on Zsófia's work in the professional literature of several non-Magyar
authors, a bibliography edited by Márton Roska (1881-1961), archeologist, ethnographer
and also the director of the Erdély National Museum. The title of his work:
A Torma Zsófia gyűjtemény az Erdélyi Nemzeti múzeum Érem és Régiségtárában
, (The Zsófia Torma collection in the Medal and Antiquities department of the
Erdély National Museum.), 1941. Archeologist Pál Patai, in the Archeological
Journal published in 1942, next to his acknowledgment, mentions some incorrectness
and reminds us that Márton Roska is unable to prove that the ancient population
found by Zsófia Torma was Finno-Ugrian!
With the sponsorship of
the weekly Magyar Demokrata of 2006, the writer of this article and Gábor Szakács
went to Tordos, Szászváros and Kolozsvár. In Tordos, even the old people no
longer speak Magyar. The church seems to have been forsaken for years. The river
Maros can be reached only at the ferry landing; the rest of the shore is closed
by house owners living there. At this time coke bottles are floating where the
world's most significant archeological excavations were held 140 years ago.
In Szászváros also, we could
find no-one, who spoke Magyar. The Reformed Church seemed to have been closed
for a long time. In the Kolozsvár Historical Museum, several Zsófia Torma finds
are visible, among them pottery-bottoms with rovás inscriptions too, and one
of them is identical with the "l" rovás letter in the Bosnian Sun
pyramid.. Nowhere is the name of the lady-archeologist, Zsófia Torma, mentioned.
The Magyar Academy of Sciences
never forgives anyone, who does not walk on the stagnant road of their required
Finno-Ugrian theory. So we cannot find our lady-archeologist's name mentioned
in the book: Erdély története, published by the Akadémia Publishers in
1986, in three volumes, a work of 2000 pages, which deals with the history of
Erdély, even though it contains significant archeological materials.
Some conceal the significance
of Zsófia Torma, others misrepresent her thoughts according to their own goals.
Regrettably, her main work, entitled: Dacia, before Roman occupation, is turning
into dust. The students of the Daco-Roman theory take hold of this title, even
though in Zsófia Torma's age, the historical records name Dacia the territory
of Erdély, which is bordered by the River Tisza, the lower flow of the Danube
and the Dnyeszter River. Mesopotamia in those days was called Babylon; the Sumerologists
were called Assyrologists; the language of the ancient Sumerian population was
Sumero-Akkadian, since in those days it was not known that the Akkadians belonged
to the Semitic group. Returning to the Dacians, they were fighting the Romans
in 10 B.C. The battles had different outcomes, and ended in 107 A.D. with the
victory of Emperor Trajan, and with the assimilation of the Dacian population.
The capital of Dacia was Sarmisegetusa, and Zsófia Torma decuced from this name,
that it was founded by the Sarmatians, in other words by Scythians. As she writes:
"In the cultural layers of Tordos, the Dacian strongholds were not even
present, and we cannot consider the Dacians for this reason ancestral inhabitants
of our nation...as Herodotos mentions, the Agathyrs are the oldest population
of our homeland... (they too are Scythian people.) According to Herodotos,
the Scythians originated from Herakles and Hulaja, the Snake-goddess, and they
had three children: (Agathürsos, Gelónos and Szkűthes).
Historian Miklós Oláh, the
Bishop of Esztergom writes in his Hungaria (1536) that the Vlach population
was settled by the Romans, not the Dacians, because those were expatriated by
the Romans, and not settled. The Romans settled among the Vlachs in the 2nd
and 3rd centuries, so they could not have lived here before Christ. But we also
have other data; one would never believe that Pál Hunfalvy might have had a
good idea. According to him, the Rumanians arrived only after the establishment
of the Magyar state in the 10th and 11th centuries and only then wandered into
The little book: Torma
Zsófia levelesládájából (From Zsófia Torma's Correstpondence), prepared
by Pál Gyulai, an archeologist from Kolozsvár, is a wonderful work. It provides
many missed data. Still, he has some sentences, which need to be questioned,
and they may have gotten into his book through the Bucharest edition. For example:
Zsófia Torma "discovers ,while researching the origin, the meaning and
the survival of the mythological symbols, that the basic symbols can be found
in the folk art of the Erdély inhabitants, especially in the Rumanian folk art."
(p.30) "Among the archaeologists, she was the first to recognize the connection
between the Rumanian folk art, the folk-customs and the civilization of the
Dacians, who at one time established a state in Erdély, and their descendants."
(p.48) Contrary to this, Zsófia Torma writes, for example of the weapons-dance
of the Erdély young men, the "kaluzsér" dance: "The kaluzsér
dance cannot be connected with the so called Roman continuity, but it is a remnant
of Babylonian origin. Because the word kalutyer in Rumanian means a monk, many
believe that this is the dance of monks."
The falsification of Zsófia
Torma's ideals can be seen in the following sentence too: "...in her
search for truth she reached the acceptance of the most advanced theses of natural
sciences of her time, the recognition of the correctness of the Darwinian teaching."
An inquiring mind, like hers, who was deeply engaged in the research of
ancient life-forms, had to arrive at the question: "creation, or evolution".
But exactly because of her wisdom, she could not have been satisfied with these
two possibilities. We cannot see in her original writings now at hand even a
hint that she was a Darwinist or materialist. This is also contradicted by her
good connection with Cardinal Lajos Haynald, whom she probably considered her
The over-emphasis on her
love for the Rumanians can be attributed to the fact that the daughter of her
brother, Károly Torma, married Victor Babes, a Rumanian doctor. It is very possible,
that Babes could thank Zsófia for his skyrocketing career, the pinnacle of which
was that he was able to work under the hand of the world-renowned German anthropologist,
Rudolf Virchow. Virchow corresponded with the lady-archeologist, was her admirer,
and visited her in her last year, when they walked together on the banks of
the river Maros, the first location of the discovery of the European Neolithic.
What is then the short summary of the significance of Zsófia Torma's activities? The greatest intellectual revolution of our planet that we know of took place 8-9000 years ago, with a starting point in the Carpathian Basin. The proof of this fact was first discovered by Zsófia Torma. These archeological proofs and their ethnographical comparisons show the close connection with Troy, the Aegean cultures and Mesopotamia. The significant part of her finds consist of the disks and broken clay vessels, with their inscriptions, which connect the Carpathian Basin's Mesolithic, and Neolithic cultures to the culture of the present population living there. We call these inscriptions the Székely-Magyar rovás, and this script is the proof of Magyar presence of at least 8-9000 years in the Carpathian Basin.
14. Our mission
1. To spread the
information about Zsófia Torma's work in as wide a circle as possible. Lecturers
talking about Magyar ancient history should mention her significance.
2. The publishing
of her hitherto unpublished, main work (which contains 2500 drawings). Its possible
location is the Kolozsvár Historical Museum, Múzeum-Strada Daicoviciu 2, (old
name: Bástya u.)
3. Erection of a
statue. This I have discussed conditionally with Judit Józsa, ceramic artist.
Új életrajzi adat
In the regrettably few
lexicons and professional literature, in which Zsófia Torma is mentioned, 1840
is mentioned as her date of birth. Maybe our lady-archeologist, looking down
from a distant beautiful star, will not mind if this is modified. The new date
is going to show her nine years older, with a birth date of 1831. The base for
this modification is the obituary of November 15, 1899. Her adopted son, László
Makrai wrote the following text:
" Dr. Zsófia Torma
from Csicsó-keresztúr, a member of several scientific and charitable societies
fell asleep for ever in her 68th year, after a short period of suffering due
to a stroke, on November 14th of this year, at three-thirty this afternoon.
Love for work and knowledge,
love and charity were her main characteristics. With inherited passion and untiring
persistence, she collected the objects of her archeological museum and these
she tried to organize, and make them a common wealth for all, from the aspect
of anthropological sciences, with hard work which used up much of her life and
strength. But she felt truly happy only when her heart could sacrifice on the
altar of love for humanity and charitable work.
The glowing flame of
scientific passion and the noble fire of her heart, distributing blessings is
now forever quenched, and her cold body will rest in the local cemetery of the
Roman Catholic Church, where she will be brought on Thursday, for temporary
placement, on the 16th of this month at 3 pm, after a final ceremony held at
her home. A Holy Mass for her soul will be celebrated on Friday, the 17th of
November at 10 o'clock at the local Roman Catholic Church, the Patron Church
of Csicsó-keresztúr in honor of the Lord of Heaven.
Eternal blessing to her
For this important date on the obituary notice, we thank Irén Kiss, culture-historian and László Tábori orient-researcher who organized the Zsófia Torma memorial conference on May 18, 2007.
Júlia Fülöp, pharmacist and local historian of the city of Szászváros, the local president of the Erdélyi Magyar Közművelődési Egyesület (EMKE, Transylvanian- Hungarian Cultural Society) has done a lot of work for the preservation of Zsófia Torma's memory and to widely distribute information about her work. One of Julia Fülöp's goals is to replace the memorial plaque on the house of Zsófia Torma. It was also she who gave correct date of her birth - on September 26, 1832 -, based upon her official birth certificate, which was found by Károly Fabich's research.
Our website: www.rovasirasforrai.hu
Translation of the title is in italics, after the original title.
Zsófia: A nándori barlang csoportozat (Kolozsvár,1880, Különlenyomat) The
Nándor cave complex
Torma Zsófia: Hazánk népe ősmythosának maradványai 1896. (In: Érdy M.: A sumir, ural-altáji-magyar rokonság története, New-York,1974) The remnants of the ancient mythology of our people.1896 (In M. Érdy, History of the Sumerian, Ural-Altaic and Magyar relationship, New-York 1974)
Torma Zsófia: A tordosi őstelep és hazánk népe ősmythosának maradványai (1897, In: előző mű) The ancient settlement of Tordos and the remnants of ancient mythology of our people. 1897
Torma Zsófia: Sumer nyomok Erdélyben-Ethnographische Analogien,(Jéna,1894, Fehérné, Walter Anna Kiadása, Buenos Aires,1973) Sumerian traces in Erdély - Ethnographische Analogien,(Jena,1894, Published by Mrs.Fehér, Anna Walter,Buenos Aires,1973)
Badiny Jós Ferenc: Mah-gar a magyar (2003) (Mah-gar the Magyar)
Childe, Gordon: The Danube in Prehistory (Oxford, 1929)
Érdy Miklós: A sumir, ural-altáji- magyar rokonság története (New-York, 1974) History of the Sumerian, Ural-Altaic and Magyar relationship, New-York 1974)
Fehérné Walter Anna: Az ékírástól a rovásírásig (Buenos-Aires,1975) From the cuneiform to the rovás writing.
Forrai Sándor: Az ősi magyar rovásírás az ókortól napjainkig (Antológia Kiadó, 1994) The ancient Magyar rovás-writing from ancient times to today.
Gimbutas, Maria: The Gods and Goddesses of old Europe (Berkeley and Los-Angeles, 1974)
Gyulai Pál: Torma Zsófia levelesládájából (Bukarest, 1972) From Zsófia Torma's Correspondence
Kalicz Nándor: Agyagistenek (Corvina,1980) Clay Gods
Makkay János: A tartariai leletek (Akadémiai Kiadó, 1990) The finds of Tartaria.
Oláh Miklós: Hungária 1536, (Magvető,1985)
Patay Pál: Torma Zsófia gyűjteménye (Archeológiai Értesítő, M.T.A.,1942) Zsófia Torma's collection
Renfrew, Colin: A civilizáció előtt (Osiris,1995) Before Civilization
Roska Márton: A Torma Zsófia gyűjtemény az Erdélyi Nemzeti Múzeum Érem és Régiségtárában (Kolozsvár, 1941) Zsófia Torma collection in the Erdély Museum's medal and antiquities section.
Rudgley, Richard: A kőkor elveszett civilizációi (Gold Book, évszám nélkül) The Lost Civilisations of the Stone Age (Gold book with no date)
Téglás Gábor: Dr. Torma Zsófia emlékezete (Déva, 1901) In memory of Dr. Zsófia Torma
Tulok Magdolna: Száz éve halt meg az első magyar régésznő, Torma Zsófia (Havi Magyar Fórum, 1999 november) The first Magyar lady- archeologist, Zsófia Torma died one hundred years ago
Winn, Shan M. M.: Pre Writing in South-eastern Europe (Western Publishers,1981)
Friedrich Klára: Torma Zsófia igazsága Zsófia Torma's truth (Magyar Demokrata, 2001, 51-52., In: Friedrich Klára-Szakács Gábor: Kárpát-medencei birtoklevelünk, a rovásírás (2003) Our letter of ownership in the Carpathian Basin is the rovás writing.
Friedrich Klára: Zsófia Torma, a woman in the service of Hungarian archeology. (Honlevél, Magyarok Világszövetségének lapja, Journal of the World Federation of Hungarians, 2007/july)
Friedrich Klára: Zsófia Torma, a woman in the service of Hungarian archeology. (Erdélyi Örmény gyökerek, Armenian Roots in Erdély, brochures, yr.XIII, pp.149-150, 2009, Budapest.)
Zsófia Torma, a woman in the service of Hungarian archeology