Andreanum – the Letter of Privilege of Transylvanian Saxons Living in the System of Ethnic Autonomies in Medieval Hungary
The Hungarian monarchy in the 13th century proved to be apt to accept in the people arriving at its territory recognizing their public and civil law norms. Some of the immigrants have become urban citizens (burghers) and the rights sticking to their person and community have developed into urban rights. Several other groups have developed their privileges included in letters of privilege into ethnical autonomy on the territories they used to live.
Among the rights that could be recognized and given by the king the free election of judges and parsons was the basis of autonomy on which the organisation of jurisdiction was built. Some groups of people have created their military ruling and jurisdiction according to their social development, these being similar in many ways and showing differences as well.
The territorial configuration and jurisdiction of people with ethnic autonomy concluded in the bench system. This insured not only their independence but it was the only way the organisation of justice could come into existence for the medieval man living in the world of common law because these people could administer justice in civil law (law of inheritance, family and property) only according to the norms known by the respective group of people. The monarchial judgement seeming wise to people of our days was the result of necessity. In return for privilege the monarch in power wanted military service that appears less or more among duties besides taxes in case of all groups of people.
The high importance of letters of privilege from the 13th century is given by the fact that the above mentioned people lived up to the end of the 19th century for about 600-650 years according to the norms included - though with certain changes and alteration. The high importance of Andreanum published almost 780 years ago lies int he fact that it contains the enlisted privileges and duties in their most complete form and for the first time.
Prince Stephen and Transylvania
(Some Remarks on the Beginnings of the War between Béla IV and Prince Stephen in 1264–1265)
The history of the dynasty of the Árpáds was frequently disturbed by armed conflicts between the members of the royal family. The last of these clashes took place in 1264–1265 between King Béla IV (1235– 1270) and his elder son, Prince Stephen, the future Stephen V (1270–1272), who governed Transylvania from 1260. The present study scrutinises the beginnings of the war. On the basis of the available sources it is clear that the war must have started on the first days of December 1264, so the wedding of Prince Béla – the younger son of King Béla IV – on 5 October 1264, contrary to previous opinions, was attended by Prince Stephen, as it is suggested by the chronicle of Ottokar von Steier.
The Pitfalls of the Early History of Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
During the past few decades the scholarly research of the medieval urban development in the Hungarian Kingdom underwent significant progress. As a consequence it was quite necessary to bring the outdated interpretation of the medieval history of Kolozsvár to a new stage, which is the main purpose of the present paper.
The town emerged as the main suburbia of the Kolozs castle, the centre of the homonym county. This is the reason why in order to understand the beginnings of the town it is necessary to clarify the history of the castle. It was an earthtimber fortification erected as early as the 11th century. Being the center of the county it housed the officials that administered the county and the large county domains of the Hungarian kings. It seems that important changes took place in the second half of the 11th century when the interior of the castle started to be used as burial place, and the existence of the interior dwellings gradually ceased. This is the period when presumably King Béla I, or Ladislas I founded a Benedictine monastery, placed in the interior of the castle. Since the existence of the county officials is still documented an important question emerges: in which way both of the institutions (that is the monastery and the officials) shared the castle at the same time? I consider that at the beginning, mainly in the 12th century, the territory of the castle was divided among them (a similar situation is supposed to be at Somogyvár). However, from the end of the 12th century the castle no more was used as the centre of the county, and its whole territory was taken over by the monks. The castle was still maintained for a while, and was finally destroyed during the Tartar invasion in 1241.
According to some earlier opinions, when the castle of Kolozs was destroyed in 1241, the centre of the county was moved to the castle of Léta (Liteni, Romania). In this case one has to consider that in the second half of the 13th century the administration and the organization of the counties of Hungary underwent serious changes, and there were no more county centers from where these territories might have been administered. So the castle of Léta never was the centre of Kolozs County, and anyway hardly could have been because it was situated in the neighbour Torda County.
Around Kolozs castle several suburbia emerged, the most important of them being Kolozsvár, that took over the name of the castle. Its early existence is documented only by archaeological finds, especially by a graveyard situated on the main square of the present day town (Főtér, Piaţa Victoriei), which can be dated mainly in the 12th century. It was inhabited by the so called castrenses, a population subjected to the castle. Their number greatly decreased during the Mongol invasion, and in order to stimulate its resettlement, Prince Stephen, the younger King of Hungary (1257- 1270) granted to the newly settled colonists (hospes) some privileges. Several years later, the same king granted the earlier inhabitants of Kolozsvár to the bishop of Transylvania, only the hospes being maintained in royal property. In the second half of the 13th century these bishops practiced quite an aggressive policy to extend their properties in the northern counties of Transylvania. The county of Kolozs was one of their favorite territories in order to push in to the background the Benedictine Monastery. By acquiring Kolozsvár and Szászfenes, the Episcopal territories got very close to the monastery.
At the beginning the social structure of the Episcopal citizens of Kolozsvár was pretty diversified. In general they were called inquillinus, and the new ones who settled there hospes. In the first half of the 14th century both of these categories merged into a new social category: the tenant peasants (iobagio). Until the mid 14th century they were subjected to the bishop of Transylvania, when they gradually emancipated and became citizens of the free town of Kolozsvár.
The basis of the free town was put by the above mentioned prince Stephen when he granted privileges to the royal hospes who settled there. These privileges were reinforced and widened by King Carol I in 1316, which is the first explicit town privilege of Kolozsvár. From now on the settlement of the royal hospes started to take shape similar to other important towns of Hungary from both legal and architectural point of view. This is the moment when the first fortification of the town was erected. From the 15th century on it was named Óvár (the Old Castle) because at that time a new fortification was built. After 1316 the citizens started to extend their ownership and authority over the whole territory of the town, including its boundaries, a process finished in the second half of the 14th century. During this process the bishop of Transylvania lost its last tenant peasants, some of them obtaining the citizenship of the town.
One of the major pending questions concerning the early history of Kolozsvár refers to its early parish church. The church is mentioned for the first time in an indulgency letter issued in 1349. In general this moment was considered as a starting point for the construction of the actual parish church. The earliest part of it was built indeed in the second half of the 14th century. However the indulgency letter mentions clearly that only those may get indulgence who shares the mass hold in the church and in its filial chapel. In consequence it's quite clear that the indulgency letter was not issued for the present day parish church, but for its antecedent. There is no unanimous opinion regarding its location: it could have been built on the spot of the actual church, or on the square of the so called Óvár.
The beginning of the 15th century marked a new era in the history of the town. A new burgess emerged and took over the lead of the town, establishing new tendencies in its evolution.
On the Familiari of the Transylvanian Voivod Tamás Szécsényi
The article presents a few completions and emendations of the archontological lists published by Pál Engel (Magyarország világi archontológiája 1301–1457 [The secular archontology of Hungary]. Budapest: MTA Történettudományi Intézet, 1996, 2 vols). These completions and emendations are based on the 2nd volume of the new corpus of medieval Transylvanian documents (Zsigmond Jakó, ed., Codex diplomaticus Transsylvaniae. Diplomata, epistolae et alia instrumenta litteraria res Transsylvanas illustrantia. Erdélyi Okmánytár. Oklevelek, levelek és más írásos emlékek Erdély történetéhez, vol. 2 [1301–1339]. Budapest, Magyar Országos Levéltár, 2004) and refer, on the one hand, to the office bearings of some 14th century Transylvanian officials, such as vicevoivodes, castellans, comites, while on the other hand – in two cases – it comes to the result that the respective office bearers belonged to other families than what was specified by Engel.
The Transylvania-picture of Late Mediaeval Descriptions
The present study seeks to reconstruct the knowledge that contemporaries had of mediaeval Hungary. It does so by gathering the information dispersed in geographical works, published in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, on one of the less known regions of Hungary, namely Transylvania. The series of general works which give information on Hungary begins with the De Europa of Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini. The great cosmographical work, which remained unfinished because of the pontificate and then the death in 1464 of Aeneas, aimed at describing the geographical, enthnographic and historical characteristics of Europe and Asia, and is regarded as one of the outstanding scientific achievements of the period. Although the part devoted to Asia appeared first in 1477 at Venice, and the first edition of the European survived from 1490, both of them were widely known before.
In Hungary the first descriptions of the country were prepared by the Italian historians of king Mathias, Pietro Ransano and Antonio Bonfini. The first to mention is Ransano's A concise history of Hungary. More or less detailed descriptions of Transylvania are contained in Bonfini, who compiled Ransano, as well as in the World Chronicle of the German Hartmann Schedel, who copied the De Europa; in the Geografia of Sebastiano Compagni; and in the True description of the battle of the Hungarians and the Turks at Mohács by István Brodarics. The author of the most detailed description, Miklós Oláh, prepared his Hungaria abroad after the deteat at Mohács (1526).
The study compares the material extracted from chronicles and geographical works with two further groups of sources which have never been studied together. On the first hand, it uses the reports of foreigh envoys who travelled through Transylvania or otherwise received information thereof; on the other hand, it relies on information gathered from contemporary maps, before all those of the Florentine Francesco Rosselli and the Henricus Martellus Germanus.
Having reviewed the various descriptions of Transylvania, we can have a general picture of contemporary knowledge. This material is surprisingly homogeneous: local and foreign authors, chroniclers and envoys spoke in similar terms. All of them emphasised the importance of mining, before all the great quantity of precious metals, as well as the Roman past, etnical multiplicity, the various features of the different ethnies, and the huge stocks of animals. They mentioned some of the towns, such as Szeben, Brassó, Beszterce and kolozsvár, and some specialities, for example the acid water and the ancient bones to be found in the caves. The most important result of the analysis is the trusworthiness of contemporary descriptions. Although all of them contain minor inaccuracies, the author did not find any major error or conspicuously false information.
Castle Bálványos (Unguraş) and the High Politics
The Struggle of the Families Dezsőfi de Losonc and Várdai de Kisvárda for the Domain and Castle. According to the conclusions made by Hungarian specialists, the local (regional) power of aristocracy from medieval Hungary was based on three pillars: the court offices they performed; their domains and castles; their suite based at the institution of familiaritas (a kind of vassality). This study – reconstructing a concrete instance – tries to follow the interactions between these factors and to introduce the reader in the strange world of medieval Hungarian noble society with its legal procedures, practical solutions, family links, policies and rivalries. One of the conclusions I made, is that from these factors the primary and the most active one is that of court connections of aristocratic people and their political roles. They had chances to obtain new estates (conserving they actual power) and to protect their interestes only being in this status. Another conclusion is, that political changes on the national level (in the royal governement, for ex.) had an instantly effect on the regional situation, on the fate of some estates, on the family policies and regional balance of forces.
The family Dezsőfi de Losonc (a powerfull aristocratic family with traditional interests in Transylvania) wanted to get castle Bálványos (on the actual area of Romania, northern part of Transylvania) and its domain for a long time, because they were after local hegemony in this part of the kingdom. Finally they reached this purpose only partly, because the donation (12th November 1456) was made for the Várdai family, too (coming from the middle nobility, entering the royal court only for a few years). But the resistance of the fomer possessor's daugthers and frantic happenings on high political level (the coup d'etat made by László Hunyadi and the rebbellion started by his party, after he was executed) stopped both of the families to enter the real possession of their own domain (there existed a local rivalry between the Hunyadi and Dezsőfi families). Finally – seing that legal processes cannot solve the situation – they succeeded to get the castle (only on the end of 1457) by corrupting its castellan.
Than was following another sudden change: Mathias Hunyadi was elected as king and he donated the castle to his relative: John Geréb de Vingárd who occupied the domain by force. The two damaged families started a long struggle for their own legal possession. Because of the political instability of the first few years of king Mathias's reign, this process followed a very fluctuating way. Only in 1461 they fell in agree with Geréb and got back the castle.
The Dezsőfi family didn't possess this disputed domain for a long time: in 1467 they revolted against king Mathias and their estates were confiscated.
Price of the Rebellion
The study describes the process of retorsion and reconciliation after the collapse of the rebellion that has been arisen against the rule of King Matthias in 1467. It briefly reviews the motive which has led to the rebellion: the decreeing of the collection of the King's tax called "lucrum camerae" under a new designation, as a tax of the King's treasury. This new type of tax, which was mainly new in its designation, terminated the exemption of the Transylvanian serfs from the payment of the "lucrum camerae", which freedom they have enjoyed since the rule of King Louis I. At the same time they were obliged to pay the new tax. The decision that has come in the 1st of April, 1467, in Buda, has led to general discontentedness in the country and undisguised resistance in Transylvania.
After the breaking down of the armed resistance Matthias has started to the punishment of the rebels at the beginning of October. Twelve people died on the block and as a general punishment the blood-wit of the Transylvanian nobility – which was 200 golden forints consistently with that of the nobility living in the western parts of Hungary –, has been reduced to 60 golden forints. (The executions has happened in three places: in Nagyszeben, at the second half of October, in Brassó, after Christmas and in Kolozsvár, sometime in the middle of January.) The confiscation of the demesnes of the rebels has started at the end of September, and the distribution of their properties has lasted for more than a year. During the confiscation the owner of twelve castles from the Hungary and Transylvania has been changed and the number of the smaller and bigger tenures (market-town, village, farmstead) which had got new owners, exceeded the three hundred.
The Transylvanian Dominican Friaries at the End of the Middle Ages and Martin Bartók's Reports from 1718
At the beginning of the 18th century a movement started to emerge in order to re-establish the former Dominican contrata of Transylvania and its friaries. The friars and their supporters joined their forces for this common purpose, but they fault to achieve that. In the second decade of the 18th century the active leader of this re-establishing movement was a Dominican friar, Martin Bartók. At the beginning of the summer of 1718 Bartók visited the former Dominican friaries and their churches from Transylvania, and wrote an exhaustive report to the master general of the order about the remarks made during his journey. At the same time, he composes a shorter report addressed to the Hungarian Provincial, Dominic Twinger. Both of the Latin reports are almost the same concerning their contents. Bartók's remarks are quite precisely if we compare them with other sources regarding these friaries. Nowadays, both of the reports are to be found in Archivio Generale Ordinis Praedicatorum in Rome.
During the journey, Bartók had a clear purpose: to make a chart of the old Dominican friaries and churches in order to regain them by the proper owners. He visited five of the altogether nine late medieval friaries of Transylvania: Kolozsvár, Brassó, Beszterce, Gyulafehérvár, and Szeben. In the present paper I set up three topics that concerns Bartók's reports. The first one is dealing with the relationship between the late medieval and the 18th century condition of the friaries. The second topic is referring to the changes in the status of the buildings that occurred during the period between mid-16th century and the beginning of the 18th century. The final one is dealing with Bartók's proposals and plans concerning the future of the Dominican Order in Transylvania. Some parts of the reports were already published by Béla Iványi. Being an important primary written source about the Dominicans who at the beginning of the 18th century tried to gain ground in Transylvania, Bartók's reports were never analyzed from this point of view. Beside this, the reports set a new light on the recatholization process in Transylvania demonstrating the presence of a new competitor alongside the Jesuits and Franciscans in this phenomenon.