Administration and War Finance: Extraordinary Taxes in Hungary at the Beginning of the Reign of King Matthias (1458–1466)
Research Centre for the Humanities
In the first decade of the reign of King Matthias Corvinus, extraordinary taxes were imposed to provide revenues with which the state could recover the Holy Crown, fund the campaigns against “Czech” mercenaries who were causing upheavals in the northern parts of the kingdom, and make preparations for imminent conflicts in the south because of the continuous threat of Ottoman attacks. The extraordinary taxes were mostly used for military purposes, more specifically, to finance the wars and military campaigns against the Czech warbands and the Turks. However, the manner in which these taxes were administrated varied considerably, as did their scope. During the period in question, there were particular taxes for some counties or rather regions (especially for the northeastern) and countrywide levies. Furthermore, it was possible for the nobility to be granted an exemption from the obligation to serve in the military in person or provide soldiers for the military (the so-called militia portalis) by paying an extraordinary tax (and thus essentially purchasing this exemption). There was a close connection between the administration of the extraordinary tax and the process of recruitment. Members of the royal court who served as officers in the royal army often took part in the taxation as tax collectors, and they probably used these taxes directly to pay their mercenaries.
Keywords: Taxation, extraordinary tax, medieval Hungarian Kingdom, Matthias Corvinus, militia portalis, military obligation of the nobility, royal campaigns