Volume 7 Issue 3 CONTENTS

How to “Ravage” a Country: Destruction, Conservation, and Assessment of Natural Environments in Early Modern Military Thought

Jan Philipp Bothe

University of Göttingen

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This article examines the practice of “ravaging” the countryside as a part of Early Modern military thought. It analyses the arguments for destroying or conserving cultivated natural environments and how they were integrated into the emerging theoretical framework on war in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. I argue that depriving the enemy of local natural resources by consuming or destroying them was an extreme form of exercising control over an area which was used to exert control over both the supplies for an enemy army and the use of land by the local population. To legitimize this practice, specific arguments were used: destruction was meant to “shorten” a war, and gradually use of this tactic was confined to the home country and defense against enemy invasions. In addition, it was important which resources were targeted: while the destruction of forage and harvests was seen as a form of short-term damage, cutting down trees counted as a form of lasting damage that was undesirable. Some authors of works on military strategy started to argue that devastating the land in the enemy’s country was unpractical, and that (forced) contributions from locals were far more useful. Thus, while authors of works on military strategy did make arguments against “scorched earth” warfare and the “ravaging” of the countryside, they did so purely out of practical considerations which rested on notions of utility, rather than out of any humanitarian considerations.

Volume 7 Issue 3 CONTENTS

Not Seeing the Forest for the Trees? Ottoman-Hungarian Wars and Forest Resources*

András Vadas and Péter Szabó

Eötvös Loránd University / Central European University and Czech Academy of Sciences

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The present paper analyzes the relationship of the Ottoman wars to the loss of forests in the Carpathian Basin. An important thesis of twentieth-century scholarship was that the Ottomans were to be blamed for the crash of the so-called “traditional” landscape of the lowlands of the Carpathian Basin. The paper argues that this view needs serious reconsideration, especially in light of research into two interconnected aspects found in a Hungarian region, Transdanubia, that is the focus of the paper. First, we estimate the amount of woodland before and after the Ottoman occupation. Second, we quantify the role military fortifications may have played in wood consumption (and therefore potentially in deforestation). We focus on the central parts of the Transdanubian region. The counties to be examined in more detail (Vas, Veszprém, and Zala) were among those most significantly impacted by the continuous wars in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This area arguably could be indicative of processes in other lowlands and hilly areas in the Carpathian Basin, though bearing in mind that forest regeneration may have been fundamentally different in the territories of lowlands, hilly areas, and mountain ranges.

Volume 7 Issue 3 CONTENTS

Landscape and Fortification of Vienna after the Ottoman Siege of 1529

Heike Krause and Christoph Sonnlechner

Wien Museum and Vienna City Archives

This contribution focuses on two issues: first, the land- and waterscape of Vienna in light of modernizations to its fortification; second, the challenges faced in fortifying the city during a period now known as the Little Ice Age. The Ottoman siege of Vienna in 1529 showed that new technology in warfare combined with certain topographic features represented a danger to the town. In reaction to the lasting Ottoman threat, Vienna was fortified with bastions, curtain walls, and a broad moat. The fortifications were surrounded by the glacis, which was cleared of buildings. The emperor’s military advisers and Italian fortress architects planned and created an artificial landscape oriented towards military needs. Rivers running through this area, such as the Wienfluss and the Ottakringer Bach, posed strategic problems and had to be dealt with. The Danube floodplain to the northeast of the city was an especially difficult environment to control. Solutions for the waterscape, but also for the hilly terrain in the west had to be found. The city’s Danube front was included in the fortifications. This construction took place during a severe phase of the Little Ice Age when heavy rainfall caused frequent inundation and ice jams. High water, unstable sediments, and the erosion of foundations forced planners and builders to find solutions adapted to this special environment. Highlighting these aspects of environment and war in sixteenth-century Vienna is the aim of the paper.

Volume 7 Issue 3 CONTENTS

Contextualizing the Mongol Invasion of Hungary in 1241–42: Short- and Long-Term Perspectives*

József Laszlovszky, Stephen Pow, Beatrix F. Romhányi, László Ferenczi, Zsolt Pinke

Corresponding author József Laszlovszky

Central European University

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The Mongol invasion in 1241–42 was a major disruption in the Kingdom of Hungary’s history that brought serious changes to many facets of its political, demographic, and military development. It became a long-lasting element of collective memory that influenced modern historical discourse. Nonetheless, questions remain about the level and distribution of destruction and population loss, the role that environmental factors played in the invasion, the reasons for the Mongol withdrawal, and how this episode can be used for interpreting later thirteenth and fourteenth-century phenomena. The present article aims to discuss these four issues, employing a combined analysis of the wide-ranging textual material and the newer archaeological and settlement data in their regional context.
We contend that new data supports the idea that destruction was unevenly distributed and concentrated in the Great Hungarian Plain. Furthermore, we express skepticism that environmental and climatic factors played the decisive role in the Mongol withdrawal in 1242, while we acknowledge the evidence that long-term climate change had substantial effects on Hungary’s settlement patterns and economy as early as the mid-thirteenth century. We conclude that a nuanced multi-causal explanation for the Mongol withdrawal is necessary, taking greater consideration of local resistance and the military failures of the Mongol army than has previously been represented in international literature. Lastly, we uphold a viewpoint that the Mongol invasion brought many catalysts to Hungary’s rapid development in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries.

Volume 7 Issue 4 CONTENTS

From Courtship till the Morning After: The Role of Family, Kin and Friends in the Marriages of László Székely

Andrea Fehér
Babeş-Bolyai University
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This study presents the different stages of the eighteenth-century Transylvanian marriage rituals, from betrothal, wedding ceremony, and bedding until the morning after. It also examines the roles played in this process by the “kinship-family.” The study draws on a wide range of published and unpublished biographical works from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Among these diaries, autobiographies, and memoirs written by members of the political elite, the unpublished autobiography of Count László Székely stands out, as it provides a considerable amount of data regarding some customs and traditions related to Transylvanian marriages and marriage rituals. Building on the count’s very personal and emotional narratives, we offer a sketch of the ways in which Transylvanians entered into marriage. We consider marriage a long process rather than a single act, in which family, friends, and kin played a significant role.

Volume 7 Issue 4 CONTENTS

The Society of the Residence of the Transylvanian Princes in the Second Half of the Sixteenth Century

Emőke Gálfi
Research Institute of the Transylvanian Museum Society
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The aim of this study is to present the society of the town of Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia/Weissenburg) in the fifty years following the secularization of the holdings of the Church. The transformation of the episcopal estate into a princely domain brought a number of changes in the life of the settlement, such as the reorganization of its government and the acquisition of legal and economical privileges. In the period of the Báthory princes (1571–1602), the town was again transformed to meet newly arisen needs.

Keywords: princely estate, society of market towns, secularization, urban government, Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia/Weissenburg)

Volume 7 Issue 4 CONTENTS

Formularies of the Chancellery of the Transylvanian Principality in the Second Half of the Sixteenth Century

Tamás Fejér
Research Institute of the Transylvanian Museum Society
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In this essay, I examine the formularies that were used in the chancellery of the Transylvanian Principality which took form at the end of 1556 during the first 50 years of its existence. I offer brief descriptions of four of these formularies in which I indicate their length and present the most important aspects concerning the nature of the information they contain. I also offer a detailed presentation of one of them in order to call attention to the importance of the rigorous study of every detail of these sources. Historians cannot afford to ignore these sources, which contain over 1,100 formulas, as they are vital to the study of the history of law and the history of the chancellery itself. They offer glimpses into the work of the chancellery, the ways in which charters were produced, and the processes according to which the texts of the charters were transformed into formulas, processes over the course of which, for the most part, the compilers “cleaned” the documents of their specific details (i.e. proper names, place names, and dates), keeping only the essential elements on the basis of which they would be able to compose the texts of new charters.

Keywords: formulary, formula, chancellery, documentary practice, Early Modern Era, Transylvanian Principality



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