Volume 8 Issue 2 CONTENTS

Notevole larghezza, notizie così gravi e gelose and un uomo che amava spacciarsi: Human Resources of Diplomatic Exchange of King Alfonso V of Aragon in the Balkans (1442–1458)*

Nada Zečević
Royal Holloway, University of London
ZecevicN
@ceu.edu

During his reign in Naples, between 1442 and 1458, King Alfonso V of Aragon exchanged a series of diplomatic communications with the Christian East, namely with Byzantine Emperors John VIII (1425–1448) and Constantine XI Dragases (1449–1453) and their close kin, but also with the most prominent feudal lords of the Balkan peninsula (Herzeg Stjepan Vukčić Kosača, George Castrioti Skanderbey, etc.). The basic historical details of these missions are largely known to modern scholarship, which usually regards them as part of the king’s attempt to secure individual allies in his planned anti-Ottoman crusade and expansion towards the imperial throne in Constantinople. Scholarship, however, is limited on the details of these relations, partly due to the fragmentary nature of the sources and partly because of the missions’ secret character. In this paper, I am attempting to learn more about King Alfonso’s attention to the Balkans by observing the human resources which sustained not just his missions, but also other forms of the kingdom’s exchange across the Adriatic. The inquiry, which is based on the study of the available prosopographic data concerning individuals who appear to have been prominent in this, indicates that the basic circle which sustained this process consisted of Catalan bankers and highly ranked notaries, all resident in Naples since Alfonso’s access to the throne of the kingdom in 1442, but this circle also received several local commoners loyal to the king, with Simone Caccetta as their leading figure. His networks show that the king’s diplomatic exchange with the Balkans was largely characterized by a specific form of corruption, by which the bankers who invested their money in the king’s diplomatic activities in the Balkans received lucrative positions in the royal customs and local administration of Puglia, which they further used to enhance their access to the kingdom’s economic exchange with the Balkans and, consequently, to augment their wealth. This process was heavily scrutinized by Simone Caccetta, who involved in it an entire circle of small traders and soldiers directly loyal to him, thus affirming their positions but also his own position in the Aragon service and Aragon courtly society.

Keywords: Alfonso V of Aragon, Aragon Naples, diplomacy, Medieval Balkans, feudal lords in the medieval Balkans, prosopograph

 

Volume 8 Issue 2 CONTENTS

Militarization of the Serbian State under Ottoman Pressure*

Miloš Ivanović
Institute of History Belgrade
misaveritatem
@gmail.com

After the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, Serbian territories were under strong Ottoman pressure. Turkish vassals soon became their rulers. Under these circumstances, they endeavored to fulfill their obligations to the Sultan and to strengthen the defense of their states. For these purposes, the ruling families, the Lazarevićs and Brankovićs, introduced new taxes during the last decade of the fourteenth century. Also, Despot Stefan Lazarević (1389–1427) established a different type of military service, placing emphasis on the defense of the country’s borders. Based on archaeological material and written sources, one can conclude that Serbian rulers paid great attention to the construction and restoration of fortresses. In the first decade of the fifteenth century, Despot Stefan began to reform the local government system. The new administrative units were organized according to the model of former marches (krajišta), which were headed by voivodes. Finally, the fresco painting of Serbian monasteries also offers evidence of the militarization of Serbian society during the period of the Ottoman threat.

Keywords: Militarization, Serbia, Ottomans, Hungary, taxes, warriors, fortresses, marches

Volume 8 Issue 2 CONTENTS

Colluding with the Infidel: The Alliance between Ladislaus of Naples and the Turks*

Emir O. Filipović
University of Sarajevo
emirofilipovic
@gmail.com

In October 1392, King Ladislaus of Naples (1386–1414) sent letters and an embassy to the court of the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid (1389–1402) offering to establish a pact against their common enemy, King Sigismund of Luxembourg (1387–1437). According to the “indecent proposal,” this “unholy alliance” was supposed to be sealed and strengthened by a marriage between King Ladislaus and an unnamed daughter of the sultan. Though the wedding never took place, messengers were exchanged and a tactical pact did materialize. It was manifested through military cooperation between Ladislaus’ Balkan supporters and the Ottoman marcher lords, who undertook joint attacks against the subjects of King Sigismund and their territories. Although mentioned briefly in passing, this incredible episode and the resulting alliance have never before been analyzed in depth by historians. Attempting to shed some light on the topic in general, this article proposes to examine the available narrative and diplomatic sources, assess the marriage policy of the Ottoman sultans as a diplomatic tool in the achievement of their strategic goals, and the perceived outrage that news of the potential marriage caused among the adversaries of King Ladislaus. In addition to studying the language of the letters, which extended beyond subtle courtesy, the essay will also explore the practical effects and consequences of the collusion between Ladislaus and the Turks for the overall political situation in the Balkans during the last decade of the fourteenth century and first decade of the fifteenth.

Keywords: King Ladislaus of Naples, King Sigismund of Luxembourg, Sultan Bayezid, Stephen Lackfi, John Horváti, Hrvoje Vukčić, Kingdom of Hungary, Kingdom of Naples, Ottoman Empire, Kingdom of Bosni

 

Volume 8 Issue 2 CONTENTS

Border by the River – But Where is the River? Hydrological Changes and Borders in Medieval Hungary*

András Vadas
Eötvös Loránd University / Central European University
vadas.andras
@btk.elte.hu

Medieval estate borders were mostly formed by natural borders, such as hills, ditches, forests, meadows, etc. Of course, in many cases trees were marked in some form, or small mounds were built to clarify the running of estate borders. Almost none of these would seem at a first sight as firm as a border along rivers and streams. However, a closer look at law codes, customary law collections, and legal disputes that arose in connection with estate borders makes clear that, as borders of estates, bodies of water could be a basis for conflict. In this essay, I discuss sources from the medieval Kingdom of Hungary from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries that concern the problem of the change of land ownership as a consequence of changes in riverbeds.
In the late medieval compilation of the customary law of Hungary by Stephen Werbőczy, the Tripartitum, a surprisingly long section is dedicated to this problem. He clearly suggests that landownership does not change if a piece of land is attached to another person’s land by changes in the course of a river. Historians have drawn attention to this section of the Tripartitum and have suggested that this is one of the few parts in which Werbőczy does not apply Hungarian customary law, but rather uses Roman law. In my paper, which is based on a collection of similar lawsuits, I aim to demonstrate that there are a number of examples of cases in which Roman law prevailed before Werbőczy’s work, and, thus, the land in question was left in the hands of the previous owners as well as decisions according to which the shifting riverbed went with a change in ownership.

Keywords: Legal history, water history, customary law, rivers, boundaries

Volume 8 Issue 2 CONTENTS

Debates Concerning the Regulation of Border Rivers in the Late Middle Ages: The Case of the Mura River*

Bence Péterfi
Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
peterfi.bence
@btk.mta.hu

It has been well known for ages that atypical elements of a border line, such as ditches, large trees etc., may have served as points for orientation. Literate societies, however, have had the privilege of conserving the knowledge not only by oral tradition but also by various kinds of written word. In the following, I present an especially well-documented conflict between Styrian and Hungarian families regarding the riverbed of the River Mura, which was the border of the two polities for some 20 kilometers. The debate emerged in the beginning of the sixteenth century and lasted until 1546. The Mura-question was one of the most permanent ones in the political discourse of the first third of the sixteenth century. Although we can grasp hardly any of it, the conflict involved a fear on the part of the estates of both countries that they might lose lands. First, my goal is to show the dynamics of such phenomena as an archetype of border conflicts in a nutshell. Second, I seek to identify the main reason why the conflict was so protracted and explain how eventually the issue was addressed in order to put an end to the conflict in 1546.

Keywords: Austria, Styria, Hungary, River Mur(a), river regulation, border dispute

 

Volume 8 Issue 1 CONTENTS

Migration and Urbanization in Industrializing Bulgaria 1910–1946

Penka Peykovska
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Historical Studies
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Urbanization is among the most important demographic phenomena of the modern age. Today, half of the world’s population lives in cities, and by 2050 this share is expected to reach 70 percent. Urbanization theorists see this as a consequence of three mutually impacting processes: natural growth (population growth as a result of birth rates exceeding mortality rates), migration (mainly from the villages to cities), and reclassification (the administrative mechanism for giving urban status to former villages or urban settlements) – whose relative contribution to the urbanization process varies depending on the environment.

The processes of urbanization and internal migration in Bulgaria in 1910–1946 have not often been made the subject of rigorous study, perhaps because the scale of urbanization at the time was small and the pace slow compared to the period after World War II. At the same time, however, the first half of this period was characterized by intensive waves of refugees and immigrants (Bulgarians, Russians, and Armenians). Having in mind the lack of attention which this question has been given in the secondary literature, in this paper I examine the urbanization processes in Bulgaria at the time and the role of migration to and within the country in these processes. In particular, I monitor the significance of gender, nationality/“nationalité ethnique” in urbanization in Bulgaria and the roles of smaller and larger cities and the capital, Sofia. I rely heavily on the five censuses carried out between 1910 and 1946, which drew a distinction between local-born and non-indigenous populations, including people who had been born abroad. In other words, the data contain information on native-born people (i.e. born in the locality where they were enumerated or, as one might say “locals”), people who were enumerated in a locality different from their birthplace within the country (i.e. internal migrants, in-migrants), and people who were foreign-born (i.e. external migrants, immigrants).

Concerning the role of migration to and within the country in the urbanization process in Bulgaria, my quantitative analysis shows that urbanization in Bulgaria was influenced by migration (mainly internal migration), partly by the waves of refugees and immigrants during the war and in the interwar period, which accelerated the growth of cities. At the same time, the urbanization of small towns was due primarily to immigration. The trend towards urbanization (albeit at a slow pace) in Bulgaria was a result of the migration of the predominantly ethnic Bulgarian population from villages to cities, but the contribution of Armenian and Russian refugees was also notable.

Keywords: internal and external migration, immigration, in-migration, Bulgaria, urbanization, towns, cities, ethnicity, sex, 1910–1946

Volume 8 Issue 1 CONTENTS

Inner Territory and What Lies Behind It: An Inquiry Into the Hungarian Urban Hierarchy in 1930

Gergely Károly Bán
University of Debrecen
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The study of the emergence of the Hungarian urban hierarchy raises a number of methodological questions concerning the complex settlement structure and the unique urban development of the Carpathian Basin. Research on the Hungarian urban hierarchy reveals a strong positive correlation between the position of the cities in the hierarchy and the complexity of their urban functions. The aim of my inquiry is to provide a complex picture of the Hungarian urban hierarchy of the 1930s, or, more precisely, the potential hierarchies. I approach this issue from various perspectives. As there are different definitions of cities in judicial (administrative), statistical, economic, sociological, and geographical contexts, the questions remain open: what do we consider a city, and what makes a settlement a city in the interwar period in Hungary? One of the cornerstones of my research is the issue of the outskirts. In administrative terms, we can speak about a unit, but due to the differing patterns of urban development in Hungary, the relationship between the core territory and its periphery is complex. Since the classic homestead theory has been challenged, hierarchical investigations have had to address the problems involved in dividing the data between urban cores and urban peripheries. Hierarchic rankings based on the incorporation of outskirts are quite different from rankings which omit the latter zones, which tend to be dominated by scattered farms not linked functionally to the urban core. The differences also show strong regional patterns. This study, based on statistical data, tries to highlight these differences in the urban hierarchy using this new approach. This way, it becomes possible to put the study of the Hungarian urban hierarchy in the interwar period on a new methodological footing which differs in several significant ways from the foundations of earlier research on the subject in Hungary.

Keywords: periphery issue, settlement structure, urban hierarchy, Hungarian urban network, historical geography.

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