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«De manibus Valachorum scismaticorum ... »

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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20. From acceptance to exclusion: Romanians and Transylvania’s estate assemblies in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries


20.1. “To reform the state of the inhabitants”: Transyl- vania’s estate assembly of 1291 Although gradually framed within the political-administrative compass of Hungary (starting from the eleventh-thirteenth centuries), Transylvania had always had–as seen above–distinct, specific institutions, different from those of the kingdom’s other polities. First, there was the voivode, who was appointed by the king and was one of the chief office holders in Hungary, had a precisely delineated territorial authority, a chancellery, his own court of personal high officials (a kind of voivodal council), chose his own vice- voivode, was in command of the Transylvanian army, presided over the country’s assembly, judged, and so on. After he became king of Poland (1370-1382), Louis I (1342-1382) introduced among the great dignitaries the one bearing the title of “voivode of Russia” (regni Rusciae vayvoda), to rule over the ancient territories of Galicia and Lodomeria; this was a temporary dignity, mentioned for seven years only, between 1380 and 1387.1 In addi- tion, in a gesture that had a compensatory value rather than a palpable real- ity, the more powerful kings would sometimes call the rulers east and south of the Carpathians “our Moldavian voivode” and “our Transalpine voivode”, as a token of their suzerainty-vassalage relations: in reality, though, these voivodes had never been high dignitaries of the kingdom or participated in the royal council. During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the only country within the Kingdom of Hungary ruled by a leader who was consist- ently called a voivode–just...

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