The Prospects of Religious Heterodoxy in the Sixteenth Century: Andreas Dudith and Confessionalization
Focusing on the correspondence with Theodore Beza, the paper analyzes the heterodox religious ideas of the late sixteenth-century apostate bishop of Hungary, Andreas Dudith. Dudith's plea for individual religious freedom and his growing skepticism were deeply rooted in his education, his Erasmian attitude and were also profoundly linked to his intertwining scientific and theological thinking. His case seems to confirm the assertion that late sixteenth-century ideas about religious tolerance were largely influenced by the growth of skeptical thinking. Nevertheless, Dudith's skepticism continued to have strategic uses throughout his life. As a prestigious humanist, he could not afford being stigmatized as an Arian, and he also liked to be seen as an impartial judge who can easily overcome dogmatic squabbles. Furthermore, Dudith demanded more than the right of individual religious thinking: he apparently also wished to worship in an individual way. It was the strategy of radical skepticism and of refuting Nicodemism or any compromise in ecclesiastical questions that enabled him to follow a personal path to salvation and refrain from joining any religious establishment. Yet his demand for individual religious thinking and practice was made from a privileged position and had an elitist coloring, typical of a Polish Reformation dominated by the noble estate.
A Manor House as Reflected in a Contemporary Menu (Csejte, November 1, 1623–August 31, 1625)
Using a single source unique of its kind, the paper makes an attempt to grab a slice of the past. This particular source is a list of dishes made for the guests entertained and the staff working at Pál Nádasdy's estate at Csejte in the twenty two months between November 1, 1623 and August 31, 1625. This is not a mere menu listing the dishes for lunch and dinner on a particular day: the persons attending the feasts are also registered, relatively often together with the names of those arriving or leaving on a given day. The list always mentions how much beef and poultry were used for the meals. Sometimes it records if lambs, goats or pigs were slaughtered, or if new bacon or butter pots were served. The source usually makes mention of where the guests came from and where they left for.
On the basis of the menu, we can claim that the guests arriving at the estate – mostly Pál Nádasdy's familiares, who spent a day or two here doing their service – were not treated with special meals. It seems that they made the feasts more formal and distinguished according to their means. They served rarely eaten meals more often and in bigger quantity and also obtained trouts from the forbidden streams the neighboring land was abundant in.
It is surprising that even on holidays (Christmas and Easter) there was no change in the menu. A part of the estate staff spent the holidays here but they were treated with the usual meals – maybe because of the reasons mentioned above. Forty-day fasting was not observed yet they ate lighter food and less meat during Lent.
The paper analyzes in detail the seasonal characteristics of nutrition structure, which can be observed in the two-year period.
George Bánffy of Losoncz, the Governor of Transylvania
Focusing on Bánffy's political role in the 1790s, the paper has two goals. On the one hand, it tries to call the attention of scholars to the 'forgotten' governor, on the other hand, it presents new facts about his era. George Bánffy served his homeland as governor for thirty five years. In spite of this, no biographies or monographs have been dedicated to his life. Bánffy was appointed the head of Transylvania by Joseph II. After the emperor's death, it became rather difficult for him to remain in his position. But for the support of his clients and freemasons, whom he had helped earlier, it would have been even harder for him to remain the head of the gubernium. He had a lot to thank to the political ideology which enabled him to force the ruler, the Diet and the three nations of Transylvania (Hungarians, Szeklers, Saxons) to make a compromise with each other.
An Attempt at Foreign Policy on Mystical Foundations?
The Bengt Skytte's Journey to the Rákóczis in 1651–1652 The journey of the Swedish Councillor of State, Bengt Skytte to Hungary and Transylvania in 1651–1652 is well known in Hungarian historiography. Ever since the major part of his letters to Queen Christina were published in Hungarian translation at the end of the 19th century, he has been seen as a prominent source describing the foreign policy plans of George Rákóczi, Prince of Transylvania, and his brother Sigismund, who had a leading role in the politics of the Hungarian estates. Skytte himself was generally regarded as an envoy sent by Queen Christina to explore the possibilities of a cooperation between Sweden and Transylvania.
In 1963, Nils Runeby published an account of Skytte's journey, in which he argued that the Swedish Councillor was not sent by the Queen to Eastern Europe, but rather he came on his own initiative. He was influenced by the ideas of a radical Protestant group around Jan Amos Comenius that seen Sigismund Rákóczi's marriage with Henrietta Maria, the sister of the Elector Palatine, as a sign of the fulfillment of their dreams, a renewed Protestant cooperation against the Catholic Habsburgs. The present study is a critical re-reading of Runeby's thesis, contrasting it to – mainly Hungarian – sources that were not at his disposal at the time of writing. Runeby's theory that Skytte was not the Queen's envoy seems to be well-founded, and the most probable hypothesis for the explanation of his journey is also the one offered by the Swedish scholar. Unfortunately, due to the lack of any data about the connection between Comenius and Skytte, the last word in this question remains to be told. Nevertheless, Skytte's information, supported by other contemporary evidence, remains an important source about the alternatives Transylvanian foreign policy had in the early 1650s.
Additions to the Operations of the Turkish Force in Hungary in 1683 (from the Letters of Vice General Ferenc Gyöngyösi Nagy)
After the Ottoman Empire's unsuccessful campaign against Vienna in 1683, the period of the so called reconquering wars began. The Ottoman attacks that year were one of the last trials of the Hungarian defense system, and increased the pressure on the border lands facing Kanizsa in Western Transdanubia, which were to protect Austria as well. The captain-general of the border lands was Kristóf Batthyány at the time, while Ferenc Gyöngyösi Nagy, captain of the castle of Szentgrót, which itself was part of the border fort system, was appointed his deputy in 1681. Gyöngyösi Nagy held this position for one and a half decades.
In the paper I analyze his letters written between June 4 and June 21, 1683 to his superior. In these, the vice captain-general describes in detail the state of the border forts, the preparations for the campaign and the steps taken to counter the Ottoman advances until the auxiliary forces from the border forts joined the Hungarian army gathering in a camp at Vát. These sources show that the military resources available in the border land facing Kanizsa could fulfill their duty in smaller skirmishes along the border only and were insufficient to resist a large-scale Ottoman attack. The possibilities of the vice captain-general, heading a border fort army small in number and poorly supplied, were limited. Espionage, which had played an important role in the organization of the defense at the border lands, started late and was insufficient this time. From the correspondence of the vice captain-general we can learn valuable pieces of information about not only the reasons that led to the collapse of the border lands facing Kanizsa in 1683, but also why it became necessary at the end of the century to restructure the border fort system.
Turkish Garrisons in Ottoman Hungary as Reflected in a German Register from 1576/1590
The paper analyzes three lists from a German-language register of the castles north of the Drava in Ottoman Hungary. The register is found among documents from 1590 but is dated from 1576. The lists contain the names of 48 castles with the number of guards garrisoned in them. In the paper, these data are compared to two previously published German-language castle registers, the published Turkish defters of soldier's pay and the headcount numbers from the register of the Hungarian castles. In the 48 forts the lists record 19,341 soldiers altogether, 9809 cavalrymen, 9387 infantrymen and as few as 145 artillerymen. Within the cavalry beshlis, sipahis, the horsemen of the pasha, bey or voivode as well as regular cavalrymen were listed. Under the heading infantry, we can find the categories of hisar eris, Azabs, marauders and regular infantrymen. Even though the overall headcount in our register is close to the estimated size of the occupation army in Ottoman Hungary (20-25,000), this is somewhat misleading as on the one hand the lists overestimated the defensive power of most castles, on the other hand only about half of the castles and hill forts in Ottoman Hungary are listed in the registers (Buda, Esztergom and Szeged are the most notable ones missing). As a result, this source does not provide accurate information about the defensive power of the castles. Yet it reflects the pieces of information the court in Vienna and the military leadership could gather from spy reports about the castles in Ottoman Hungary, the number and composition of guards garrisoned in them, which they could use for planning their defensive measures.
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