Volume 7 Issue 4 CONTENTS

The Organization of the Central Court of Justice in Transylvania in the Second Half of the Sixteenth Century

Zsolt Bogdándi
Research Institute of the Transylvanian Museum Society
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This study analyzes the organization of the independent Transylvanian central court of law, the so-called Royal/Voivodal/Princely Table (Tabula) and its court of appeal, the court of personal presence (personalis presentia), in light of the modest secondary literature, the dietary decisions, and archival sources. We offer a sketch of the organization of the Hungarian royal and Transylvanian voivodal court of law in order to present the model on which the central court system was established in the period of the Principality. We also present the characteristics of the functioning of the central court that can be attributed to the special features of Transylvanian society and the newly emerging state.

Keywords: Principality of Transylvania, Age of Principality, umpirage, courts of law, Princely Table

Volume 7 Issue 4 CONTENTS

Did Romanians Living on Church Estates in Medieval Transylvania Pay the Tithe?

Géza Hegyi
Research Institute of the Transylvanian Museum Society
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The Romanians of Transylvania, who were followers predominantly of the Orthodox rite, did not pay tithe to the Western Church in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. However, again according to the secondary literature, beginning in the fifteenth century, two groups of Transylvanian Romanians were obliged to pay this tax: those living on church properties and those who had moved to settlements formerly inhabited by Catholics (referred to as “terrae Christianorum”). This study deals with the issue of the first group, analyzing the only source that would support the thesis in question, namely a letter of King Sigismund of Luxembourg (which in some editions was dated to 1398 and in others to 1425 or 1426). Although the facts described in the document would correspond to realities from 1426, the contradictory dates, the confusing language, and the absence of the original (the earliest manuscript copies of the text are from the eighteenth century) arouse suspicions. Even if we accept it as authentic, the phrase “decima Volahorum,” which is used in the letter, cannot be interpreted as an ordinary tithe, but only as a royal tax. Neither the late medieval registers of revenues of the Alba Iulia chapter nor the urbaria of the estates of the Transylvanian bishopric offer any evidence in support the thesis according to which Romanians who lived on church properties paid the tithe.

Keywords: Transylvania, tithe, Romanians, church property, source criticism

Volume 7 Issue 4 CONTENTS

The Participation of the Medieval Transylvanian Counties in Tax Collection

András W. Kovács
Research Institute of theTransylvanian Museum Society
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In Transylvania the county authorities had to assist in collecting royal (state) taxes owed by the serfs of noble estates (like in other parts of Hungary). In 1324 the king exempted the Transylvanians from paying the tax called collecta that they previously had to submit to the voivode. (Based on analogies, it can be suggested that this tax was collected either because of the cancellation of the yearly renewal of money or the refusal of the compulsory exchange of older money.) From 1336 the yearly renewal of money and with this the compulsory exchange of the former money ceased to exist. In order to compensate this profit of the treasury (the chamber), King Charles I (1301–1342) assessed a new tax, which similarly to the previous one was called the chamber’s profit (lucrum camerae), but the “gate” (household or porta) became the taxation unit. This tax, according to the lease contract of the Transylvanian chamber from 1336, was also collected in Transylvania, but in 1366 King Louis I (1342–1382) exempted the Transylvanians from paying it. In 1467 the king tried to have the tax called tributum fisci regalis (that substituted the chamber’s profit) collected also in Transylvania, whereon an uprising broke out. This latter tax and the more and more frequently collected extraordinary tax (subsidium, contributio, taxa) usually made up one florin per household. For the upkeep of their delegations sent to the king, the Transylvanian counties collected an occasional tax, the so-called courting money (pecunias udvarnicales), from their serfs. There is data of its collection from the fifteenth century on. These taxes, normally collected from estates located in territory of the counties, were exempt from payment because of royal privilege or because they belonged to the town of Szeben (Sibiu/Hermannstadt), the Seven Seats (‘Sieben Stühle’), but estates of the towns of Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca/Klausenburg), Brassó (Braşov/Kronstadt), Beszterce (Bistriţa/Nösen, Bistritz), and Medgyes (Mediaş/Mediasch) were also exempt. These settlements’ exemption from paying the taxes had to be confirmed by recurrent voivodal (or sometimes royal) mandates sent to the vicevoivodes of Transylvania, the county authorities, the tax assessors, and tax collectors.

Keywords: Middle Ages, Transylvania, tax collection, counties, pecunia udvarnicalis, taxa, contributio, subsidium

Volume 5 Issue 4 CONTENTS

 

1956 and the Collapse of Stalinist Politics of History: Forgetting and Remembering the 1942 Újvidék/Novi Sad Massacre and the 1944/45 Partisan Retaliations in Hungary and Yugoslavia (1950s–1960s)*

Árpád von Klimó

The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC

 

Two acts of mass violence that occurred during World War II have strained relations between Hungarians and Serbs for decades: the murder of several thousand civilians in Novi Sad (Újvidék) and the surrounding villages in January 1942, committed by the Hungarian army and gendarmerie, and Tito’s partisan army’s mass killings and incarceration of tens of thousands civilians, most of them Hungarians, at the end of the war. Remembering these atrocities has always been difficult and strongly politicized, but this was particularly the case when the Communist regimes in Hungary and Yugoslavia based the legitimation of their authority on anti-Fascist narratives and interpretations of the war. The conflict between Stalin and Tito, and the anti-Stalinist revolution of 1956 made it even more difficult to propagate the original Stalinist narrative about the war, which stood in ever starker contrast to everyday realities. When Kádár began to revise the political justification of his regime with a narrative that was both anti-Fascist and (moderately) critical of Stalinism in the 1960s, the remembrance of the 1942 massacre changed. In Yugoslavia, the weakening of the central government in the 1960s contributed to a local re-appropriation of the memory of 1942, while the 1944 killings remained a strict taboo until 1989.

Volume 5 Issue 4 CONTENTS

 

Rokossowski Coming Home: The Making and Breaking of an (Inter-)national Hero in Stalinist Poland (1949–1956)

Jan C. Behrends

Centre for Contemporary History, Potsdam

 

At the beginning was the Great Terror of 1937/38. It meant both the arrest of a Soviet officer of Polish origin, Konstantin Rokossowski, and the destruction of interwar Polish communism.1 While Rokossowski was freed before the German invasion and survived to serve as a distinguished commander in World War II, Polish communism did not recover from Stalin’s onslaught. It had to be reinvented and rebuilt during the war, and it underwent nationalization, Stalinization, and de-Stalinization in the period between 1941 and 1956. This essay uses the tenure of Rokossowski as Polish Minister of Defense between 1949 and 1956 to shed light on the tension between nationalist rhetoric and Sovietization and the ways in which Polish society and popular opinion reacted to these processes.

Volume 5 Issue 4 CONTENTS

 

In the Pull of the West: Resistance, Concessions and Showing off from the Stalinist Practice in Hungarian culture after 19561

Róbert Takács

Institute of Political History, Budapest

 

The article explores the representation of Western culture in Hungarian journalism, print media, and public life in the months following the 1956 revolution, when the party lost its strict control over Hungarian society and only gradually was able to reassert its dominance in all spheres of life. Did representations of Western culture really constitute a kind of resistance, or should they perhaps be understood as concessions to prevalent public opinion? Or did they in fact harmonize in some way with the actual intentions of the people who crafted cultural policy? How did the content of newspapers begin to change in November 1956, clashing with the earlier “socialist cultural canon” by presenting formerly censured or anathematized Western cultural products and actors? How was the supply of movies adjusted to public opinion and then slowly readjusted to correspond to former norms? How did theater programs and plans for book publishing reflect the uncertainty of the period, resulting in the publication of works and performance of productions later criticized for bringing values to the stage that were contrary to the spirit of socialism? In this paper, I analyze a provisional period in which earlier norms of journalism, print media, and cultural life were partially suspended and the party made little or no real attempts to reassert Stalinist norms. Moreover, in this period the party did not deny or bring a stop to the de-Stalinization of cultural life, although it did repress open forms of cultural resistance to the Kádár-government.

Volume 5 Issue 4 CONTENTS

 

Phantom Voices from the Past: Memory of the 1956 Revolution and Hungarian Audiences of Radio Free Europe

Gábor Danyi

Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest

 

Following the short period of consolidation under János Kádár in the immediate aftermath of the 1956 revolution, expressions of the legacy and memory of the uprising were no longer permitted in the public sphere and had to be confined to the private sphere. The activity of émigré actors and institutions, including the broadcasts of Western radio stations, played a crucial role in sustaining the memory and the mentality of the revolution. In 1986, thirty years after the national trauma of 1956, Radio Free Europe broadcasted an array of programs commemorating the revolution, while the official socialist media in Hungary contended again that what had happened in 1956 had been a counterrevolution. This study primarily investigates two questions. Firstly, it casts light on the importance of the RFE’s archival machinery, which recorded on magnetic tape the broadcasts of the Hungarian radio stations during the revolution in 1956. Sharing these audio-documents with audiences 30 years later, RFE could replay the revolution, significantly strengthening the interpretation of the events as a revolution. The idiosyncratic voices of the key figures of the revolution guaranteed the authenticity of the commemoration programs even for members of the younger generation among the audiences. Secondly, this study sheds light on the counter-cultural practices through which listeners tried to reconstruct the “body” of the “specters” of the suppressed cultural heritage and eliminate the asymmetry between the radio’s accessible voice and its non-accessible physical vehicle.

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