Formularies of the Chancellery of the Transylvanian Principality in the Second Half of the Sixteenth Century
Research Institute of the Transylvanian Museum Society
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