The Society of the Residence of the Transylvanian Princes in the Second Half of the Sixteenth Century
Research Institute of the Transylvanian Museum Society
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)
The central place of Gyulafehérvár1 in the history of Transylvania is well known, and there is a great deal of secondary literature based on primary historical sources which emphasizes its importance.2 The truth, however, is much more depressing: in part because of its importance, the city, which was home to the prince, perished several times in the modern era, meaning not only that its population dropped to an insignificant number and its buildings were destroyed or left in ruins, but even its archive, which reflects the history of the town, was destroyed.3
The landlord of the market town (with the exception of the area belonging to the Transylvanian Chapter) at the end of the Middle Ages was the bishop of Transylvania. Of the two types of towns in Hungary that historians have identified in the period in question based on their ground plans,4 Gyulafehérvár belongs to the group of settlements with castles in the center and outlying districts.5 The cathedral, the bishop’s palace, the houses of the canons and the altarists, the Dominican and Augustinian friaries, the hospital, and probably the chapter school were all located within the walls of the castle. The market square was located in front of the western gate6 in the area outside the castle. The townspeople of the market town lived in the western area, and the houses inhabited by the tenant peasants of the chapter and the provost were located in the southeastern area called the “Major.”7 The society of the bishop’s residence consisted of geographically distinct quarters inhabited by heterogeneous groups of clerics and laymen; the two were tied together by more or less close connections and lived under the jurisdiction of their landlords, the bishops of Transylvania.
The first basic change in the life of the settlement was the transformation of the bishop’s seat to a princely residence in 1542. After the death of János Statileo (1542), the last medieval Transylvanian bishop, the bishop’s seat remained vacant, and the bishopric’s estates and the bishop’s market town itself was given to the recently arrived Queen Isabella Jagiellon (1539–1559, the widow of King János I Szapolyai) for the upkeep of her court.8 At that time, the chapter town, which was about the same size as the market town of the bishop, had not yet been handed over to the queen. In 1551, as the queen was leaving, under the rule of the Habsburg House the city of Gyulafehérvár was again put under the authority of the bishop, but in 1556, with the return of the queen and her son and the secularization9 of the Church estates in the country,10 the town began to undergo radical changes.
The First Phase of the Urban Development after the Secularization of Church Estates Goods
The history of Gyulafehérvár as the residence of the prince of Transylvania began in 1556, although some parts of the city had already been in the hands of the rulers before the secularization of Church estates. The rise of the city as the residence of the prince is tied to the person and the second rule of Queen Isabella (1556–1559), because her overall reforms to urban policy also included changes which determined the development of Gyulafehérvár. The most important change was that as part of the process of secularization, from that time on, the entire settlement became the estate of the queen and, later, of the ruling prince of Transylvania. Because the entire settlement was brought under the rule of one landlord, the separate quarters of the city were unified under the same chief judge of the town (iudex primarius). The bishop’s market town, which previously had been under its own judge, and the chapter town11 (“Major”), which was probably led by a so-called kenéz12 before 1556, came under the authority of the town judge, although on a lower level of administration the “Major” still remained under the authority of the kenéz.13
The change in the town’s leadership and in the number of people who served as members of the inner and outer councils can also be dated to this period. In the Middle Ages, the town magistracy was led by a judge, four jurors (iurati), and an unknown number of external councilors.14 After 1556, the membership of the magistracy rose to six jurors and 20 councilors (consules),15 who were led by a judge.16 Although the surviving sources only contain data concerning the full composition of the magistrate beginning in 157117 they do at the very least indicate that before 1571 the magistrate consisted of one judge and six jurors.18 In all likelihood, the judges were elected in January,19 and immediately after fulfilling their mandates, they could not be reelected. However, there were cases when members of the magistracy who had dealt successfully with the problems which had arisen in the administration of the town were reelected after several years.20 The sources also indicate that judges in many cases were elected from members of the jurors,21 and after having served for one year as judges, they became members of the external town council, together with the so-called consules.22 On the model of the former bishop’s market town, the Gyulafehérvár court judge (provisor) became the court of appeal for the townspeople of the market town. 23
A change took place which was a decisive event in the life of the town in the mid-sixteenth century, the first sign of which is evident from the composition of the town’s government: alongside the chief judge, a judge of the townspeople of Lippa (Lipova) and of Temesvár (Timişoara/Temeschwar) appears among the members. The judge of the townspeople of Lippa also became one of the nine assessors of the court of law of the court judge, along with the chief judge and two jurors of the town, which became the court of appeal for the townspeople.24 The two judges were the heads of the quarter called Lippa, a name which appears in the sources in the second half of the sixteenth century. The name of the quarter can only be explained by the fall of the towns of Lippa and Temesvár to the Ottomans in the summer of 1552. Following this event, many refugees fled to Transylvania, and many of them settled in Gyulafehérvár and its surroundings.25 The fact that the townspeople of Lippa and Temesvár had a separate street and quarter in Gyulafehérvár suggests an organized settling process which can probably be associated with the Rascian magnate Miklós Cserepvith26 and perhaps Gianbattista Castaldo, governor of Transylvania (1551–1553).27
The sources do not indicate clearly when the inhabitants of the Lippa quarter acquired the right to elect their own representatives and when were they included in the government of the town. However, based on the reorganization of the magistracy after 1556 and the relationship of Queen Isabella and King János I Szapolyai (1526–1540) to the town of Lippa, it is reasonable to suppose that the leaders of the Lippa quarter became members of the town’s government after 1556. According to the diploma of the leaders of the quarter from 1567, the townspeople of Lippa and Temesvár functioned under the leadership of two judges and six jurors as a common municipal council.28 It is probable that the judges and jurors were elected from the former townspeople of the two towns equally (3-3). The council confirmed their diplomas with its seal.29
The return of Queen Isabella in 1556 meant the legal unification of the quarters, the reorganization of the urban government, the bestowal of economic privileges. One of the economic privileges of Gyulafehérvár was the right to have an annual fair. The “letter on the annual fair” was mentioned in the Town Book of Gyulafehérvár in 1597 and 159830 as a treasure that the judge in office takes over from his predecessor, along with the town’s archive. The letter and the archive were destroyed in 1600.31 Like the urban statutes, the privilege could have originated from Queen Isabella, and it must have specified the dates of the annual fairs. As far as we know, the town had two annual fairs in the Middle Ages.32 The annual fairs held in the second half of the sixteenth century are known from a calendar produced in the printing workshop of Gáspár Heltai.33 As the calendar was printed in 1572, it seems likely that it reflects the situation of the period of the reign of king elect János II Szapolyai (or Prince János Zsigmond; 1540–1571) or probably an earlier period. In Gyulafehérvár, three annual fairs were held in that period: the first on the day of the appearance of Saint Michael or Saint Stanislaus (May 8),34 the second on Michaelmas (September 29), and the third on Maundy Thursday.
In comparison, among the market towns in the territory of the estate of Gyulafehérvár35 Enyed (Aiud/Engeten) also had three fairs, but otherwise annual fairs were held only in Krakkó and Tövis (Teiuş/Dreikirchen), in the former twice a year and in the latter once a year.36 For further comparison with the other towns in Transylvania and Partium,37 Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca/Klausenburg) and Várad (Oradea) both had three fairs, but with its six annual fairs, the market town of Debrecen had by far the most.38 In 1558, four annual fairs were held in Kolozsvár39 and 12 annual fairs were held in the medieval city of Várad,40 so some settlements may have had more fairs than the settlements mentioned above, but based on the comparison of medieval and early modern fairs, it is clear that the data in the calendar are accurate,41 even if the calendar does not include every single fair.
With regards to the land and estate management of the town, it is clear that before 1556, apart from the forests and meadows, properties were also used as commons in the boundary of Gyulafehérvár; there is data of a mill being donated to the town by János I.42 After the secularization of the Church estates, the town was able to acquire the former chapter school and the Holy Spirit hospital (founded by Bishop István Upori), which at the beginning of the sixteenth century also included a bath house and a slaughter house.43 The last will and testament of János Zsigmond informs us about their fate, in which he left 1,500 florins for the construction of the school of Gyulafehérvár and the needs of its students and 500 florins for the hospital.44 Both sums were handed over to the town’s leader by the executors of his last will on June 22, 1571.45
With regard to the ecclesiastical privileges of the town, as we have emphasized a number of times, until 1556 Gyulafehérvár did not have the right to elect its own priest.46 Although a number of signs suggest that the townspeople and the members of the chapter were open to the ideas of Protestantism,47 it is unlikely that the townspeople received this basic privilege, neither from Queen Isabella nor later from her son. Given that the milieu in which the prince moved was saturated with religious polemics fueled in part by Giorgio Blandrata,48 who was open to the religious reforms, it seems likely that the townspeople followed the faith of the prince. This is reflected by their strong opposition when, according to the account given by Giovanandrea Gromo, in 1565 the Protestants expelled the Catholic priests from the cathedral and smashed the altars, statues, and images they found there.49
The secularization of the castle district merits separate discussion. At the end of the Middle Ages, the ecclesiastical society of the town was concentrated in this district. Part of the castle was in the hands of the bishop, while part was owned by the chapter. In the case of this quarter, the process of secularization took years. Queen Isabella and later János II left the formerly Catholic clerics, who swore their loyalty to them for the rest of their lives, in their possessions. The possessions of the canons and the lower clergy who had to flee Transylvania, however, were immediately confiscated by the treasury and were donated to the queen’s and her son’s supporters. Among the canons who left the country, one finds Máté Báthai, canon and archdeacon of Torda (Turda/Thorenburg), and Ferenc Szengyeli, canon and archdeacon of Küküllő and Transylvanian vicar, on whom there is no information whatsoever in any of the surviving sources from after September 1556.50 The same is true of the altarists of the altars dedicated to Saint Matthew and Saint Lawrence, whose houses, which according to the sources were empty, were therefore later given away.51
The abovementioned Ferenc Szengyeli must have committed an unforgivable crime, along with György Fráter52 (1482–1551), by assisting in the exhumation and removal53 of the body of Orbán Batthyány54 (?–1547). Szengyeli’s deed is telling regarding the spread of Protestantism, as he probably aimed to set an example with this extraordinary act, and this is not our sole indicate in the sources of his anti-Protestantism.55 After the return of Queen Isabella, Szengyeli was forced to leave the town. His house, which was the residence of the archdeaconry of Küküllő, was later given to Ambrus Szabadkai Kis, the court judge of János Zsigmond, and his family.56 The date of the donation is unknown. We know only that Ambrus Kis,57 who belonged to the lesser nobility, first served Bálint Török58 (1502–1550). After Török was taken captive, Kis then served Katalin Pemmflinger, after whose death he settled in Transylvania. In 1555, he was in the service of Pál Bornemissza,59 bishop of Transylvania, in 1556 he probably swore loyalty to Queen Isabella, and in 1568 he died in Transylvania as a court judge in Gyulafehérvár.60
As a result of the royal donations, by 1556 the castle district’s population, which previously had consisted mostly of clerics, was made up primarily of high-ranking representatives of the courtly nobility. During the reign of Queen Isabella, however, very few secularized Church possessions were given away, or at least the sources indicate only a few. It hardly seems coincidental that during the last period of her reign (1556–1559), in one year’s time no more than 62 pages of diplomas were entered into the royal book (Liber Regius).61 There is no information concerning any of the estates in Gyulafehérvár having been given away by Isabella. There is only an indirect reference to this in a diploma of János Zsigmond from 1561, which mentions similar donations made by his mother. The elected king then gave his doctor for life a stone house which had belonged to the Saint Matthew altar of the cathedral, but with the specification that the doctor was only entitled to belongings in the house which had not already been given away by János II himself or his mother.62
Even at the beginning of the reign of János II, the donations (of which the example cited above seems typical), were cautious and were meant only for the lifetime of the individual to whom they were given, but not his heirs. This is also true of the Gyulafehérvár house of Ambrus Mosdósi, former dean and archdeacon of Ózd, and altarist (rector) of the Holy Cross altar. It is not clear whether he got the donation from the queen or his son, and the donation only legitimized his continuous possession of the property, but it is clear that he held the building until his death, as in 1570 it ended up in the hands of Kristóf Hagymási, captain of Huszt (Xyct).
The belongings of the Saint Magdalene altar of the cathedral also remained in the hands of its rector,63 Lőrinc Szentmihályi,64 who is mentioned in a later source as requisitor of the place of authentication and court judge in Gyulafehérvár. In 1568, the prince gave him the house that had belonged to the altar and two vineyards on the edge of the town, a mill with two wheels in Felenyed (Aiudul de Sus), and one-third of a mill in Lámkerék (Langendorf/Lancrăm), on the Sebes River, which all had belonged to the Saint Magdalene altar.65 These estates were in the hands of Szentmihályi as altarist already. As in the case of Mosdósi, the donation only legitimized his holdings. The houses in the castle district that belonged to the canons and the altarists and to which manor houses, gardens, mills, tenant peasants, and vineyards in the surrounding vine slopes belonged were usually donated by the rulers with all their belongings,66 as happened in the case of the Saint Magdalene altar, but in many cases (and especially with the passing of time) only some of these belongings were given to the beneficiary.
In Gyulafehérvár, during the reigns of Queen Isabella and János II, the princely court took possession of the lodges that had belonged to the clergy until the process of secularization, but the prince did not envision keeping the center of his court as prince there for the long term. As the secondary literature has already shown, János II planned the development of a new seat at the nearby Szászsebes (Mühlbach/Sebeş), but due to his death at a young age this plan was never realized.67
The Residence of the Báthory Princes
In light János II’s plans regarding Szászsebes, it is beyond dispute that, with the death of the elected king, Gyulafehérvár remained the residence of the rulers because of the decision of the prince, István Báthory. Báthory was taking into consideration, when making this decision, that the town and the extensive lands around it were princely property.
Certainly thanks to István Báthory68 and perhaps because of the growing population of the princely center, the urban magistracy was extended to a degree that was visible in the town’s government. Accordingly, in the last third of the sixteenth century, the town’s government was represented by a judge, 12 jurors, and 40 external councilors.69 The latter appear in the sources not as consul but senator.70 The “forty men” were probably chosen from among the townsmen of the five parts of the city (fertály or quarters): the Vár (“Castle”), Tégla, Bódog, Lippa, and Tövis, as is indicated in the early-seventeenth-century entries of the Town Book.71 After 1571, Lippa quarter probably lost its right to elect its own judge and probably was only able to elect senators, like the other quarters. The chapter’s outskirts, called “Major” and geographically separate from the quarters that formed the previous market town of the bishopric, were inhabited by Romanians72 and were still governed by the kenéz, who was subordinated to the town judge and the town’s magistrate.73
Judging by their names, the 12 jurors were craftsmen (Szabó, Borbély, Nyírő, and Mészáros74) and merchants, but it is likely that most of the members of this leading elite were literate and were well aware of the town’s legal customs and the taxes and duties that were due to the prince. The jurors were probably chosen from among the senators, but the sources contain no data concerning this in the case of Gyulafehérvár.75 In the case of the judges, it was established practice that they first served as members of the body from which the jurors were chosen, and during this time they learned the ins and outs of governance. Between 1581 and 1600, of the 12 people who were elected to serve as judges76 (there were 12 individuals elected to serve as judges in this period because some of them were reelected), seven of them had served as jurors and on an average it had taken 7.7 years for them to be elected as judges. After the end of their year in office, the town judges again became jurors, and one also finds them among the town senators, a position which some of them held several times.77 The town’s notary, who kept the Town Book and the minutes of legislative protocols, had an important role in managing the town’s issues, but he was also the person to put down in writing the different court cases that were brought to the town judge, as well as the last wills.78
The judge of the town was normally elected at the beginning of the year, probably around Epiphany, and the rule according to which the same person could not serve as a judge for two consecutive years was enforced, but someone who had performed well could be reelected after a year had passed.79 In January, a judge who was leaving the position usually gave an account of the work he had done over the course of the year, and he then handed over the town’s archive and the symbol of town magistracy’s power—two swords—to his successor.80 The chest for the archive of the town contained a book bound in parchment dyed red, which András Kovács identifies as the Town Book of Gyulafehérvár,81 an “old black decorated book,” which may have included the urban statutes, a Decretum (that is, the Tripartitum82 of István Werbőczy), important privileges (such as those concerning the town’s annual fairs), the privileges concerning the ploughlands, and “some protocols,” which probably meant the legislative protocols.83
The site of deliberations concerning legislation in the second half of the sixteenth century must have been the town hall, which was by the outer market square of the town.84 In contrast with views which have gained prominence in the secondary literature,85 we believe that, based on the model of Szeben (Sibiu/Hermannstadt), Brassó (Braşov/Kronstadt), and Kolozsvár86 (the communities of which created or purchased a place for the town’s government in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries), Gyulafehérvár also must have had a similar house by at least the second half of the sixteenth century, if not earlier. The “house of the town” (város háza) referred to in the diploma cited above, therefore, must have been the town hall, not the house of a townsman which became the property of the town after his death without legal heirs (the text could also be interpreted to suggest this), because had that been the case the house would have been inherited by the landlord (the prince) and not the community of the market town. The fact that the significantly smaller market town of Sárd in the neighborhood of Gyulafehérvár also had a town hall in 158387 which was on the main square of the settlement also supports this conclusion.88
The magistracy described above only had jurisdiction over the townspeople, who were only one segment of the society of the princely market town. The most precise description of the different layers of the society was given by the magistrate itself in 1604. According to a text entered into the Town Book, the contemporaries clearly drew distinctions between “noble, urban, and military estates,”89 i.e. the nobility, the townspeople, and military men in the service of the court. And within the “urban estate” they drew a distinction between the inhabitants of the quarters listed above and the Romanians in the “Major.” 90
In the territory of the town, representatives of the three layers lived side by side,91 and although in the castle district the nobility was the clear majority, townsmen and military officers also had holdings within the walls.92 Gyulafehérvár had two main squares, one within the town walls, the other in front of the western gate (Saint Michael’s Gate). The latter also functioned as the market square of the town. The outer main square was home to various shops, which were either run by the townspeople themselves or rented by them for the periods of the annual fairs or for a year.93 The three annual fairs of the town were held here, as were the weekly markets. There we find also the cemetery and the parish church of the town (which before the secularization of Church belongings was dedicated to the Virgin Mary),94 and, as noted above, the town hall. This outer, rather long main square was not only the center of the town in an institutional sense, but was also a true reflection of the town’s social structure. While the character of the main square in the walled town was determined by the nicely reconstructed residences of magnates, which were renovated versions of houses which had belonged to the canons and altar deans,95 on the outer main square it was the court nobility, the garrisons of the court, and the richest burgesses who tried to acquire houses. There was a significant overlap among the members of the last group and members of the magistrate. The names of the judges of Gyulafehérvár are known from 1563 onwards, with some shorter and longer gaps. These are supplemented occasionally by information on the jurors and senators. The names of altogether 17 judges who served between 1563 and 1600 are known, of which nine had houses in the outer main square96 and one on the main square of the walled town.97 We know of another three who owned two plots either on the outer main square or in its immediate vicinity.98
The noble society of the princely residence, to which the rich members of the townsmen described above were trying to find their way, were identical with the nobles who were present at the princely court. The identity of the high-ranking representatives of these nobles and the locations of their houses in the castle district are familiar from the secondary literature,99 so it would be superfluous to touch on this layer here. However, the same is not true of the third group of this urban society, the military population.
Foreign travelers who described Gyulafehérvár recurrently mentioned that there were many garrisons and comparatively few townspeople in the city.100 At the end of the Middle Ages, the military command of the castle of Gyulafehérvár was under the authority of its castellan.101 The function existed during the reigns of Queen Isabella and János Zsigmond, and sources indicate that in 1562 (i.e. during János Zsigmond’s reign), the garrison of the princely court consisted of approximately 1,500 men, of which 500 were footmen and 1,000 were cavalrymen. Between 1564 and 1567, 200 footmen and 100 cavalrymen served under the Italian mercenary leader Gromo.102 As the difference between the numbers is big (1,000 cavalrymen vs. 100), it is likely that the cavalry consisting of 1,000 men was not permanently present at the court, and according to medieval customs, the closest members of the noble retainer of the king also had to have cavalrymen, though we do not know who served as their leader.103 Sources indicate that the castellan of Gyulafehérvár existed as a function until the death of János II,104 the castellan may have been in command of the 500 footmen. Sources also mention castellanus from the period after the death of János II,105 but by then the castellanus was in charge of the watch of the two town gates and was not the military leader of the town and castle.106 Between 1556 and 1571, the castellan not only had military duties but also was involved in the administration of justice, as he had a seat among the assessors of the court judge.107
After the death of János II, the courtly military and its leadership was reorganized to meet newly arisen needs, and two chief captains were appointed to lead the courtly military. One led the cavalrymen, the other led the riflemen, known as the pedites pixidarii or by their other name, the presidiaries (praetoriani) or blue guardsmen, who formed part of the footmen. From then on, the title of castellan ceased to exist, but probably the former function of the castellans survived in the title of the two castellans of the town gates, who were probably the closest subordinates of the head of the blue guardsmen. There is no other explanation for the statement made by Farkas Bethlen,108 according to which 600 men were in charge of protecting the gates of Gyulafehérvár, as the number of the blue guardsmen was 600 altogether.109 The sources also contain information concerning the subordinates of the castellans of the town gates, such as the corporal, Tamás Dévai, who served at the Saint Michael’s Gate in 1591.110
After the death of János II, György Bánffy became the first chief captain of the cavalry. The sources give indications of his role in this position as of 1572.111 The function sometimes is also referred to by the sources as the captain of the noble retainers,112 which clearly shows that the leading officers of the princely court had to hire cavalrymen themselves,113 who were led by the abovementioned chief commander of the cavalry. There are also data concerning the deputy of the commander of the cavalry; in 1583, László Brinyi, courtly vice-captain, served in this position.114 According to the account of Pierre Lescalopier from 1574, the cavalry numbered 600 men, two companies of which were formed by Polish pike-bearers.115 The size of the cavalry remained the same in later times; in 1585, István Báthory, when organizing the new government in Transylvania, ordered János Ghiczy116 to have 600 cavalrymen paid on a monthly basis kept at the princely court.117 Two expense lists from 1586 somewhat contradict these numbers, as according to the first 670 cavalrymen had to be hired and according to the second 255, but the contradiction can be explained if the first included all the cavalrymen, while the second included only the cavalrymen who resided at the princely court.118
In the town books, contemporaries write about the layer of courtly footmen as the third constituent of the society of the town.119 Their chief captain from the reign of István Báthory until his death in early 1585120 was certainly János Sasa.121 The abovementioned castellans and their captains, corporals,122 and billeters123 served under the chief captain of the courtly riflemen. Not all of the cavalrymen and riflemen who served at the court owned a residence at the princely seat. The billeters had to arrange their lodges, which meant numerous impositions. In 1589, the widow of Mátyás Szinyei Szabó, the late preacher of Gyulafehérvár, sold her house in the walled town at Szentegyház Street partly because of her poverty and debts and partly because, as she emphasizes, she could not bear the rowdiness of the people to whom she provided lodging.124
The members of the military who owned houses were not concentrated in a separate quarter or street of the town. Sometimes they lived in adjacent houses,125 but this was not a general trend. However, real estate owned by the representatives of this social stratum changed hands among members of this stratum, which can be partly explained by their personal ties (e.g. Albert Király, the chief captain of the cavalrymen was the legal guardian of the orphans of the late István Károlyi, chief captain of the riflemen126) but also by the fact that the house of a military man was expanded with annexed buildings, which fitted their lifestyles. Accordingly, in 1585, as ordered by his last will and testament, the widow of the aforementioned János Sasa, chief captain of the riflemen, sold her house on the outer main square for 320 Hungarian florins to rifle captain Bálint Rácz.127 Two years later, Bálint Rácz sold the house again to a military man, István Károlyi, chief captain of the riflemen, this time for 425 Hungarian florins,128 and in 1591 the house was purchased by Benedek Mindszenti, who served as captain of the castle of Udvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc) at the time and who paid 500 florins for it.129
The chief captains of the courtly military also belonged to the nobility or gained nobility in recognition of their heroic deeds. A diploma on the outer main square stone house of István Károlyi specifically mentions that the owner came into possession of the building through his heroic deeds.130 Using their wages, the corporals and the captains who belonged to the mid-layer of the riflemen tried to get by either in the territory of the town or in its surroundings.131 In many cases, they may have married women from among the townswomen, as did literatus Péter Sólyomkői, for instance, who served as riflemen second lieutenant and then captain, and who married132 the daughter of Ferenc Pontyos, judge of the refugees from Lippa.133 He received a noble manor house for his service at Borosbocsárd (Bucerdea Vinoasă), when he sued Mihály Pontyos for the house of his father-in-law, Ferenc Pontyos. The house stood on the outer main square, and Mihály Pontyos sold it without asking him.134 Sólyomkői may have sold his house in Borosbocsárd in 1591 in order to cover his expenses connected to the protracted lawsuit.135
The sources contain little information concerning the lower ranking riflemen of the court. We know only which parts of the princely center one of them owned a house or a plot in.136 They also got some share of the lands on the edge of the town, which were assigned to the military population, as sources from 1604 mention that the three urban estates divided the lands on the boundary of the town among themselves.137 This is probably why the town council decreed in 1596 that the land called Csigás should be divided up among the townspeople so that if one of them were to die and his widow were to remarry a military man they would not have the right to hold the land in question, rather it would come back into the possession of the town, which then would redistribute it among the townspeople.138
The non-noble riflemen, like the inhabitants of the other settlements of the domain, had to pay seigniorial dues and the tithe as a tax on their houses, so like other segments of the population of the market town, they complemented their incomes with agricultural work. Interestingly, however, the sources offer no indication of any riflemen owning vineyards on the boundary of the town. These vineyards, it seems, belonged to the townsmen and the nobility. We do not know whether there was some kind of related regulation in the urban statutes,139 but it is clear that viticulture required more work and care than other agricultural activities, and this may explain why the group that was mostly involved in soldering did not have similar holdings.
The princes took care of their merited soldiers themselves, as was common practice at the time. The Polish king István Báthory wrote to the Triple Council (hármas tanács) of Transylvania in 1583, noting that he had “ordered a place” for his guardsman, Péter Szerémi, in Saint George’s Gate, so they should give him a salary. The guardsman had to be given a place because, in the words of the king, “he already was gnawed by the wounds he suffered in our army.”140 The order was executed, as in 1586 Péter Szerémi took part in an interrogation as a townsman of Gyulafehérvár; he was approximately 35 years old at the time.141
Instead of a conclusion, we have tried to determine the approximate number of people who lived at the princely seat. Many of the factors concerning the population are highly uncertain, so we use only the data which seem precise. At the end of the fifteenth century, the town, including its ecclesiastical lower and middle classes, was home to approximately 1,000 people.142 Due to a mid-sixteenth-century wave of refugees and the presence of the princely court the population of the market town certainly rose. We estimate the population to have numbered at least 1,500 people. The minimum of the military population may have been 755 and its maximum 1270, and it is worth noting that we did not count the family members of the cavalrymen and the foot soldiers, because we do not even have an approximate number for them. As at the end of the Middle Ages the ecclesiastical society in the territory of the castle numbered at least 100 people (and this number may have doubled with the retinue of the bishop and later the queen), and since we also have to assume that there were at least as many inhabitants in the castle in the second half of the sixteenth century, there must have been a total of approximately 200 people living within the walls of the castle. If one adds these three numbers together, the population of Gyulafehérvár came to at least 2,500 to 3,000 people.
The transformation of the bishop’s seat into a princely residence brought a number of changes. This process can be divided into two development phases. We have put emphasis on the description of how this transformation influenced the development of the society of the princely center in the two periods of the town. Drawing on this data, we tried to estimate the population of the town.
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1 The literature on European princely residences and courts includes (and this list is hardly exhaustive): Elias, Die höfische Gesellschaft; Idem: The Court Society; Ritter von Žolger, Der Hofstaat; Asch–Birke, Princes, Patronage and the Nobility; Starkey, The English Court.
2 Some of the important works on the history of the town include Entz, Székesegyház; Kovács, “Középkori székhely,” 191–201; Kovács, “Az építkező Bethlen Gábor,” 276–94; Kovács, “Fejedelmi udvar,” 235–58; Kovács, “Fejedelmi nyomda,” 178–88; Kovács, “Gyulafehérvári séta,” 418–23; Lakatos, “Hivatali írásbeliség;” Lakatos, “Önkormányzati testületek,” 495–530; Erdősi, “Udvar a városi térben,” 185–203; Kovács, Gyulafehérvár város jegyzőkönyvei.
3 The privileges of the town perished due to the destruction wreaked by the Heyducks in 1600 at Tótfalud (Tăuţi), close to Gyulafehérvár, to where the chief justice of the town had the documents taken for safe refuge after he had gotten news of the loss at the battle of Sellenberk (Şelimbăr/Schellenberg; October 28, 1599). Kovács, Gyulafehérvár város jegyzőkönyvei, 38–39.
4 Erik Fügedi distinguishes two basic ground plan types: castles with outlying areas (e.g. Gyulafehérvár, Győr) and sprawling settlements that grew together [e.g. Várad (Oradea)]. Fügedi, “Városok kialakulása,” 319.
5 The town and the castle can be identified on the early eighteenth-century map of Giovanni Morando Visconti. Kovács, “Fejedelmi udvar,” Picture nr. VII.
6 Saint Michael’s Gate, the western gate, was under the authority of the bishop, while the eastern gate, Saint George’s Gate, was in the hands of the chapter. Kovács, “Fejedelmi udvar,” 236–37.
7 Kovács, “Fejedelmi udvar,” 240, 246, 250.
8 Szilágyi, Erdélyi Országgyűlési Emlékek, 1:189.
9 I. e. the confiscation for the princely treasury.
10 Szilágyi, Erdélyi Országgyűlési Emlékek, 2: 64–65.
11 On the identity of the kenéz the first data comes from later, only from 1585: Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 426.
12 In this case, the name kenéz refers to the leader, the judge of the Romanian quarter.
13 Bogdándi and Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 875.
14 Lakatos, Hivatali írásbeliség, 62.
15 MNL OL, GyKOLt, Cista Comit. (F 4), Comit. Alb., Cista 4. Fasc. 5, no. 61.
16 Kovács, Gyulafehérvár város jegyzőkönyvei, 250.
17 MNL OL, GyKOLt, Cista Comit. (F 4), Comit. Alb., Cista 4. Fasc. 5, no. 61.
18 For 1568: SJAN-CJ, Arch. Béldi (Fond 324), no. 89–128. no. 101; SJAN-CJ, General collection (Fond 546), no. 57. For 1569: MNL OL, GyKOLt, Centuriae (F 3), D. 29; Fejér, Rácz, and Szász, János Zsigmond, no. 96, 222.
19 The town judge, Gergely Igeni, appears as the leader of the town on January 14, 1571. MNL OL, GyKOLt, Centuriae (F 3), D. 26.
20 April 5, 1575. MNL OL, GyKOLt, Centuriae (F 3), H. 79; November 27, 1568. SJAN-CJ, General collection (Fond 546), no. 57.
21 August 24, 1568. SJAN-CJ, Arch. Béldi (Fond 324), no. 101; April 3, 1570. SJAN-CJ, Arch. Gyulay and Kuun (Fond 351), no. 216; MNL OL, GyKOLt, Centuriae (F 3), D. 9. There is not enough data to suggest that judges were only elected from the jurors.
22 MNL OL, GyKOLt, Cista Comit. (F 4), Comit. Alb. Cista 4. Fasc. 5, no. 61.
23 Kovács, Gyulafehérvár város jegyzőkönyvei, 7.
24 SJAN-CJ, General collection (Fond 546), no. 57.
25 Gálfi, “A Lippa-fertály,” 143–49.
26 Councilor (1556–1558), ban of Karánsebes (Caransebeş) (1559) and Lugos (Lugoj) (1558). Trócsányi, Központi kormányzat, 26; Fejér, Rácz, and Szász, Báthory Zsigmond, no. 50
27 July 9, 1552. Letter of Castaldo to archduke Maximilian: “Nicolaus Cheprevith mihi scribat circa duo Rascianorum millia cum uxoribus et familiis servasse et versus Lippam duxisse, ubi munitionem arcis non parum adiuvant, pro quibus petit aliquem locum in regno isto ubi habitare possunt”. HHStA. Hungarica. Fasc. 66. Konvolut A. f. 5. r. I thank Klára P. Kovács for sharing this data with me.
28 Pál Szabó, János Zilay, Demeter Nyerges, Ádám Mészáros, Ferenc Pontyos, Pál Tollkötő, Gál Somogy and Bálint Harany. SJAN-SB, ColDocMed, U IV. no. 1123.
29 “…according to our oath, we have it sent to you under our seal” (kegyelmednek hitünk szerint pecsét alatt küldettük). SJAN-SB, ColDocMed, U IV. no. 1123.
30 “vásárról való levél” Kovács, Gyulafehérvár város jegyzőkönyvei, 26–27.
31 Kovács, Gyulafehérvár város jegyzőkönyvei, 38–39.
32 Weisz, Vásárok, 143.
33 Calendar for 1573 from Szaniszló Iacobeus. RMNy I. no. 315. and RMK 1. no. 93. http://dspace.bcucluj.ro/handle/123456789/26168 (accessed: December 11, 2018), its edition: Binder, “Régi kalendáriumok,” 111–24.
34 Binder, “Régi kalendáriumok,” 113–14.
35 Gyulafehérvár, Enyed, Abrudbánya (Abrud), Zalatna (Zlatna), Krakkó (Cricău), Igen (Ighiu), Sárd (Şardu), Tövis.
36 Binder, “Régi kalendáriumok,” 113–14.
37 Partium is the part of the country that once belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary, hence its name (Partes/Partium Regni Hungariae). Unlike other parts of Hungary which belonged partly to the Habsburgs and partly the Ottomans, this region was part of the Principality of Transylvania.
38 Binder, “Régi kalendáriumok,” 113–14.
39 Jakab, Oklevéltár. 2: 34–35.
40 Lakatos, “Hivatali írásbeliség,” 252.
41 For the survival of medieval fairs, see the fairs of Várad held on Epiphany (January 6), Pentecost, and on Saint Francis’ day (October 4), the fair of Zilah (Zalău) on Saint Margaret’s day (July 13) and that of Kolozsvár on Iudica Sunday and Saint Emeric’s day (November 5). Weisz, “Vásárok,” 139–40, 148, 164. Binder, “Régi kalendáriumok,” 113–14.
42 Gyulai, Erdélyi királyi könyvek, 10: 68–69.
43 Batthyaneum, IV, no. 3.
44 Heckenast, “Végrendelet,” 324–25.
45 MNL OL, GyKOLt, Cista Comit. (F 4), Comit. Alb. Cista 4. Fasc. 5, no. 61.
46 Gálfi, “Gyulafehérvár a középkor végén,” 35; Gálfi, “A Lippa fertály,” 149.
47 Several canon are known to have had a positive attitude towards Protestantism, such as Mihály Csáki, the future chancellor, and Márton Kálmáncsehi Sánta, but Ambrus Mosdósi, the former canon and archdeacon of Ózd also belongs to this group. Horn, Tündérország útvesztői, 23–32; Gálfi, Levélkeresők, 48–52.
48 Jakó, “A Hoffhalterek,” 241–60.
49 Entz, Székesegyház, 131–32, 205.
50 Máté Báthai appears as canon and archdeacon of Torda for the last time on September 25, 1556 in a diploma of Ferenc Szengyeli. Jakó, Adatok a dézsma, 12.
51 MNL OL, KmKOLt, Cista Comit. (F 17), Comit. Alb. K. 18.; F 3. D. 32.
52 Or György Martinuzzi, bishop of Várad, cardinal, royal governor, great supporter of János I, who, after the fall of Buda (1541), had an important role in the formation of the Transylvanian state. For the most recent monograph on his career, see Oborni: Az ördöngös barát.
53 According to a letter by Anna Nádasdy, György Fráter had the body of Orbán Batthyány, who had been buried in the “monastery” in Gyulafehérvár, exhumed and had his body re-buried in manure. Bunyitai, Rapaics, and Karácsonyi, Egyháztörténelmi emlékek, 5: 1; Mihalik, “A kanonok két leánya,” 154; Entz: Székesegyház 192–93.
54 Member of the court of János I, later confident of Queen Isabella and supporter of Protestantism. He had a role in the murder of Imre Czibak, bishop of Várad (1534).
55 Because of their stubbornness, Ferenc Szengyeli excommunicated János and György Macskási of Rápolt. Bunyitai, Rapaics, and Karácsonyi, Egyháztörténelmi emlékek, 5: 289. (no. 211)
56 Kovács, “Fejedelmi udvar,” 251. (Note 111.)
57 Bessenyei, Enyingi Török Bálint, XXX, no. 30, 279, 281, 283, 289, 313.
58 A magnate who later became a member of the barons of the country and courtier to the queen. After the death of Louis II (1526) he was first a supporter of János I and then of Ferdinand I, and finally again János I until his death. After the fall of Buda in 1541, he was captured by the sultan. He died in Istanbul.
59 MNL OL, GyKOLt, Cista Comit. (F 4), Comit. Alb. Cista 2. Fasc. 3. no. 38.
60 SJAN-CJ, General Collection (Fond 546), no. 57.
61 Fejér, “Regisztrumvezetési gyakorlat,” 5, 19.
62 MNL OL, KmKOLt, Cista Comit (F 17), Comit. Alb. K. 18.
63 A diploma in 1563 mentions him as the dean of the Saint Magdalene altar. MNL OL, GyKOLt, Centuriae (F 3), L. 20.
64 Gálfi, Levélkeresők, 55.
65 Fejér, Rácz, and Szász, János Zsigmond, no. 57–58.
66 SJAN-CJ, Arch. Béldi (Fond 324), no. 101.
67 Jakó K., Az első kolozsvári egyetemi könyvtár, 6.
68 We do not know exactly when the magistrate of the town was transformed but it is certain that for 1585 more than six jurors were identified in the sources. Determining the date is difficult, because the diplomas on urban legal matters list the judge and only one to three jurors, who in many cases were the same people. MNL OL, GyKOLt, Cista Comit. (F 4), Comit. Alb. Cista 5. Fasc. 1, no. 18, and GyKOLt, Centuriae (F 3). D. 7; Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 426; Batthyaneum, VI, no. 81, 82.
69 Kovács, Gyulafehérvár város jegyzőkönyvei, 7.
70 The earliest data is from July 12, 1581. Bogdándi and Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 286.
71 Kovács, Gyulafehérvár város jegyzőkönyvei, 30–31.
72 “in suburbio Valachali eiusdem civitatis Albensis Maior vocato” Bogdándi and Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 717.
73 Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 426.
74 I. e. Tailor, Barber, Snipper, Butcher.
75 This was the practice in the case of Torda (Thorenburg/Turda): “iuratus civis e numero quinquaginta electorum patrum.” Bogdándi, A kolozsmonostori konvent, no. 669.
76 Péter Gyógyi, Márton Mészáros/Németi, Ferenc Vajda, István Nyírő, Ferenc Csányi, László Betlen/Szabó, Gergely Mészáros, Bertalan Mészáros, János Kovács, János Lippai Szűcs/Siska, János Nyírő, István Baranyai Szabó. SJAN-CJ, Archive of the town of Beszterce (Fond 44), no. 5435; Batthyaneum, VI, no. 42; MNL OL, GyKOLt, Centuriae (F 3), C. 36, D. 7, D. 9, H. 79; MNL OL, GyKOLt, Cista Comit., (F 4), Comit. Alb. Cista 4. Fasc. 5, no. 61; Cista 5. Fasc. 1, no. 61. and Cista 4. Fasc. 5, no. 63.; Fejér, Rácz and Szász, Báthory Zsigmond, 7/3, no. 192; Bogdándi and Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 268, 441, 451, 676, 743; Kovács, Gyulafehérvár város jegyzőkönyvei, 18–19, 22–24, 26–27; Szamosközy, Erdély története, 293.
77 E.g. András Bányai was judge in 1578 and senator in 1581. SJAN-CJ, Arch. Bánffy (Fond 320), Fasc. 61, no. 2; Bogdándi and Gálfi: Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 286. János Nyírő/Szabó was judge in 1598, and juror in 1600, Kovács, Gyulafehérvár város jegyzőkönyvei, 27.
78 Kovács, Gyulafehérvár város jegyzőkönyvei, 4, 10–11.
79 Ibid., 22, 26–27.
80 Ibid., 27.
81 “öreg bogláros fekete könyv” Kovács, Gyulafehérvár város jegyzőkönyvei, 3–5.
82 Assembly of Hungarian customary law, edited in 1514 by István Werbőczy.
83 “valami prothocolumokat” Kovács, Gyulafehérvár város jegyzőkönyvei, 26–27.
84 November 8, 1590. “domus huius civitatis nostrae” Fejér, Rácz, and Szász, Báthory Zsigmond, no. 1298.
85 Kovács, Gyulafehérvár város jegyzőkönyvei, 8; Petrovics, “A város története,” 188.
86 Sigerus, Nagyszeben krónikája, 16; Nusbächer: Rathaus. 1–26; Kovács: “Kolozsvár városképe,” 47; Flóra, “The Town Hall of Kolozsvár,” 5–6.
87 “domus publica eiusdem oppidi” SJAN-CJ, Collection of Hanging Seals (Fond 560), no. 130., Fejér, Rácz and Szász, Báthory Zsigmond, no. 389.
88 “in theatro oppidi” SJAN-CJ, Collection of Hanging Seals (Fond 560), no. 130.
89 “nemes és városi és darabont rend” Kovács, Gyulafehérvár város jegyzőkönyvei, 32.
90 Ibid., 32.
91 Erdősi, “Udvar a városi térben,” 192–95.
92 Fejér, Rácz and Szász, Báthory Zsigmond, no. 1356; MNL OL, GyKOLt, Cista Comit. (F 4), Comit. Alb. Cista 4. Fasc. 5, no. 46; SJAN-CJ, Archive of the town of Beszterce (Fond 44), no. 5435.
93 Kovács, Gyulafehérvár város jegyzőkönyvei, 28.
94 Gálfi, “Gyulafehérvár a középkor végén,” 34–35.
95 Kovács, “Fejedelmi nyomda,” 178–88; Kovács, “Gyulafehérvári séta,” 418–23.
96 István Sipos, Gergely Igeni, Ferenc Pontyos, Ferenc Csányi, István Szabó/Nyírő, László Bethlen/Szabó, István Baranyai Szabó, János Szilágyi Nyírő, Gergely Mészáros. Kovács, Gyulafehérvár város jegyzőkönyvei, 18–19, 22, 29–30, 180; Bogdándi and Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 594, 866, 936; Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 39. MNL OL, GyKOLt, Cista Comit. (F 4), Comit. Alb. Cista 5. Fasc. 1, no. 52, 61.
97 János Lippai Szőcs/Siska. ErdKáptJkv, 8/2, no. 117.
98 Ferenc Csányi, István Szabó/Nyírő, László Bethlen/Szabó. Bogdándi and Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 384, 866, 936; Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 39; Fejér, Rácz and Szász, Báthory Zsigmond, no. 877, 1488.
99 Horn, Tündérország útvesztői, 9–144; Kovács, “Fejedelmi nyomda,” 178–188; Kovács, “Gyulafehérvári séta,” 418–23; Erdősi, “Udvar a városi térben,” 193, 195–97.
100 Erdősi, “Udvar a városi térben,” 194.
101 Batthyaneum, V. no. 26.
102 Sunkó, “Udvari hadak,” 101.
103 Kubinyi, “A királyi udvar,” 309–37; Sunkó, “Udvari hadak,” 111.
104 The last bit of data on a castellan of Gyulafehérvár comes from January 1571. MNL OL, GyKOLt, Centuriae (F 3), D. 26.
105 Bogdándi and Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 860; MNL OL, GyKOLt, Cista Comit. (F 4), Comit. Alb, Cista 4, Fasc. 5, no. 29, 30.
106 Kovács, “Fejedelmi udvar,” 237.
107 SJAN-CJ, General collection (Fond 546), no. 57.
108 Transylvanian chronicler (1639–1679) and chancellor of Transylvania (1678–1679).
109 Bethlen, Historia, 241–42.
110 Bogdándi and Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 835.
111 SJAN-HN, ColDoc, IX. no. 9.
112 Bogdándi and Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 740; Fejér, Rácz, and Szász, Báthory Zsigmond, no. 1227.
113 Sunkó, “Udvari hadak,”110.
114 Fejér, Rácz, and Szász, Báthory Zsigmond, no. 403.
115 Lescalopier, 91.
116 Governor of Transylvania (1585–1588).
117 Szilágyi, Erdélyi Országgyűlési Emlékek, 3: 64–65; Bogdándi and Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 406.
118 Sunkó, “Udvari hadak,” 107.
119 Kovács, Gyulafehérvár város jegyzőkönyvei, 32.
120 Fejér, Rácz and Szász, Báthory Zsigmond, no. 604; Bogdándi and Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 390.
121 Sunkó, “Udvari hadak,” 101.
122 Fejér, Rácz and Szász, Báthory Zsigmond, no. 1440.
123 Ibid., no. 901.
124 MNL OL, GyKOLt, Cista Comit., (F 4), Comit. Alb. Cista 5, Fasc. 1, no. 41.
125 Fejér, Rácz, and Szász, Báthory Zsigmond, no. 1440.
126 Ibid., no. 1487.
127 Bogdándi and Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 390.
128 October, 4 1587. Bogdándi and Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 520.
129 Fejér, Rácz and Szász, Báthory Zsigmond, no. 1487.
130 Ibid., no. 1487.
131 Bogdándi and Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 834; MNL OL, GyKOLt, Cista Comit. (F 4), Comit. Alb, Cista 3, Fasc 4, no. 7.
132 Bogdándi and Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 834.
133 SJAN-CJ, General Collection (Fond 546), no. 57.
134 Kovács, Gyulafehérvár város jegyzőkönyvei, 18–20, 22–24.
135 Bogdándi and Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 834.
136 MNL OL, GyKOLt, Centuriae (F 3), D. 7, 52; MNL OL, GyKOLt, Cista Comit. (F 4), Comit. Alb. Cista 4, Fasc. 5, no. 63; Comit. Alb. Cista 4, Fasc. 5, no. 70. Bogdándi and Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 520.
137 Kovács, Gyulafehérvár város jegyzőkönyvei, 32.
138 Ibid., 25.
139 According to the statutes of the market town of Tasnád (Tăşnad), from 1591 “there is no way to dispossess a vineyard from a townsman who has planted one unless he commits a capital crime.” As Tasnád, like Gyulafehérvár was the bishop’s market town in the Middle Ages, it is reasonable to suggest that the town of the bishop’s seat also had a similar privilege. Fejér, Rácz, and Szász, Báthory Zsigmond, no. 1413.
140 “hadainkban talált sebek miatt immár megnehezedett” Batthyaneum, VI. no. 52.
141 Bogdándi and Gálfi, Az erdélyi káptalan, no. 472.
142 Gálfi, “Gyulafehérvár a középkor végén,” 33.
Map 1. Giovanni Morando Visconti: the ground plan of the town of Gyulafehérvár at the beginning of the eighteenth century
A. Cathedral which at the time belonged to the Calvinist Church B. Jesuit church C. The palace of the prince M. Saint George’s gate N. Saint Michel’s gate O. Saint Michael’s Church (during the time of Visconti), the parish church of the Blessed Virgin and the surrounding churchyard before the secularization of the Church belongings. The outer city square, marked as Borgho on the map