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

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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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15. “Our loyal guests”: The image of the outlanders or foreigners in Transylvania and Hungary

Extract

The Kingdom of Hungary had a strong tradition of the peaceful coexistence among different ethnic and religious (confessional) communities and, then, of the colonisation–out of its own, internal initiative–of some foreign groups. Even the founding king–as is well known–was credited with the idea that a country with a single language was weak and fragile, and this formu- lation suggested covertly the acceptance of the other, of the one who was different. In fact, Hungary–generically called as such–had always been a “country of countries”, a sort of “federation”, which had brought together, under its sovereigns’ sceptre, diverse kingdoms, distinct regions, territories with various legal statutes, and so on. The eleventh-thirteenth centuries faced the sovereigns and the other high officials with important undertakings for the state of the kingdom, for its prosperity, production of wealth, and balance of power, as well as for the protection, consolidation and expansion of the country. All these objectives could only be met with the support of the local population the Hungarians had found in the territory of their settlement and conquest. The dismount- ing (founding) Hungarians were too few, and the local population was too uncertain and frustrated, after so many military defeats, seizures of estates and confiscations of ancient freedoms. Still, clusters of Hungarians coming from the west had been steadily infiltrated in Transylvania, the Banat and the Western Parts between the eleventh and the fourteenth centuries. The most spectacular implantation was that of the (Turanian) Szeklers, who had...

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