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Romanians and Power in the Mediaeval Kingdom of Hungary- The Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries


Ioan-Aurel Pop

The medieval history of the Romanians in the Hungarian kingdom still represents one of the most delicate subjects in European history. This book is the product of more than thirty years of research, and thus provides new and balanced insights into that history, revealing both the rise and the decline of communities and individuals, as well as the diversity of these borderlands of Christian Europe.


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7. The elite of the Romanians in and around Transylvania in the tenth-thirteenth centuries–landowners, fighters and political leaders


7. The elite of the Romanians in and around Transylvania in the tenth-thirteenth centuries– landowners, fighters and political leaders A Latin chronicle (Gesta Hungarorum, The Deeds of the Hungarians), written shortly after the reign of a king named Béla–perhaps, in one version, right after the reign of Béla I (1060-1063)1–speaks about a “certain Romani- an”, Duke Gelou, who, in around the year 900, had “lordship” (ruled) over the Romanians and the Slavs in the Ultrasylvanian Land, that is, in a political- ly and militarily organised region from the Cluj-Gilu-Achileu-Dbâca area or, in other words, between the Rivers Some to the north, Alma to the west and Someul Mic to the east and south. Thus, the first Romanian men- tioned by the name in the region of Transylvania was a ruler, a leader who had “lordship” (dominium habebat) and could be called both a duke (from Latin, as he appears in the chronicle) and a voivode (the Romanian-Slavic term), because the two (synonymous) notions expressed identical realities. The assault launched by Tuhutum’s Hungarian cohorts, Gelou’s defeat and death (near Gilu, at the confluence between the Cpu and the Someul Mic, on his way to his castle or fortress) led to the Romanians and the Slavs “giving their right” (dextra dandum) or shaking hands with the newcomers and continuing their life in their native places. This “giving of the right” came as a sort of pact made after the victory of Tuhutum’s cohort, that is, after...

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