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Transylvania between the Mongol Invasion

and the

Beginning of the Turkish Menace

Transylvania recovered substantially during the two decades following the Mongol invasion. Its internal order was peaceful. Its situation changed after 1260, when Béla IV. gave it to his son, István. Transylvania suffered on account of the almost endless discord between father and son. Béla IV. died in 1270, and his son ascended the throne as Stephen V. Stephen ruled only two years, 1270 - 1272. In spite of his short ruling period, he did not forget about Transylvania. He rewarded the Székelys of Kézd for their bravery against the Tatars. They were settled on a depopulated area of Torda County, the surroundings of Torockó.

After his death, he was succeeded to the throne by his son, who was called Kun László (Ladislas IV, "the Cumanian"; 1272-1290). Under his reigning period, life in Transylvania was characterized by disorder and anarchy. The royal rule and laws were replaced by the law of the club and despotism.

The cathedral of Gyulafehérvár was attacked and burned down by the Saxons in February 21, 1277. Kun László beat the invading Cumanians at Hódmez_vásárhely in 1282. The defeated Cumanians fled to the Nogaj Tatars. While beating a hasty retreat, they devastated Transylvania.

They returned in 1285. The Cumanians got as far as Pest. They were beaten by the Royal Army again. As a repeat performance, escaping from the king's troops they withdrew with large booty across Transylvania. On their way out they found time to destroy Beszterce and Kolozsvár. At the fortress of Torockó they were caught and badly beaten by the Székelys. The Székelys also destroyed another group, before they could have left Transylvania.

The Cumanian raids did not end despite their defeat by the Székelys. The Pope proclaimed a Crusade against the Cumanians. The decisive battles of the war between the Crusaders and the Cumanians were fought in Transylvania. The anarchy and chaos did not end until the death of Ladislas IV. in 1290.

Ladislas IV's successor, Andrew III. (1290-1301) travelled across Transylvania in 1291. He convoked the Parliament along with the Transylvanian estates at Gyulafehérvár. In a document he reinforced the nobles, the clergy, and the Saxons in their rights.

Andrew published another notable document, in which he mentions the Vlachs along with the nobles, Székelys and Saxons. Several Rumanian historians came to the false conclusion that the Vlachs possessed equal rights with the Hungarians, Székelys and Saxons and were considered an emancipated nation during the House of Árpád's reign, and they participated in the political and constitutional life of Transylvania as well.

The historical facts, however, show that the participating Rumanians in the assemblies were witnesses rather than legislators. They were supposed to testify to whether it was the truth or not, that the properties of Fogaras and Szombathely really belonged to master Ugrin. The assembly in question was not legislative but judicial. In the next year Vlachs were not invited to the Parliament where Transylvanian nobles, Székelys, Saxons, and indeed the Cumanians participated.

The document of Andrew III. dated 1293, casts light upon why the Rumanians were not invited to the Hungarian nor to the Transylvanian Parliaments. "Being forced by the regime's interest, with the agreement of the magnates, we order that all the Vlachs, residing on anybody's property, should be driven back to our royal property named Székes. Exempted are those sixty households, who were authorized to settle down by Ladislas IV, in Fülesd and Én_d, on the properties of the chapter of Gyulafehérvár."

This document shows - without the slightest doubt - that only the king and persons authorized by the king could give the immigrating Rumanians permission to settle down. At this time only the churches and bishops were allowed to colonize. The landowners did not have the right to harbor Rumanian immigrants yet.

On the basis of the above mentioned documents, it may be stated that the Rumanians were very small in number under the House of Árpád's reign. Also because of this fact, they could not be equal to the other three nations of Transylvania, the Hungarians, the Székelys and the Saxons. As we have already mentioned in Chapter 4., Megleno-rumanians and Arumanians came from the Balkans and occupied the area from which those 40,000 Cumanian families were settled in Hungary; they then spread over the entire Cumania.

The recently settled people were Greek-Catholic (Orthodox) with Slavonic liturgy. King Charles Robert founded the voivodship of Ungro-Vlachia in 1324, based on the Cumanians, Germans and resettled Hungarians in addition to the immigrated Vlachs. The name of Ungro-Vlachia changed later to Muntenia, in Hungarian: Havaselve (Havasalföld). The first voivod of the voivodship was Basarab, who was already in 1324 "Wallachia's only great voivod and ruler".

Louis the Great (1342-1382) organized the feudal voivodship by the name of Kara Bogdania, the later Moldavia. It was located on the northern territories of Cumania, between the eastern slopes of the Carpathian mountains and the right bank of the Prut River. By the request of Louis the Great, the Pope founded the third Catholic episcopacy at Curtea de Arge_, in Wallachia, in 1382.

According to the order of January 29, 1322 by King Charles Robert, the abbacy of Kerc 29 was placed under the protection of the king due to the "attacks of the evil".

Maria Holban dealt in detail with the argument, which had taken shape between the Transylvani Bishop and the provost of Szeben. The provost was supposed to fill the provostship's recently vacated position. On pages 262 - 263, Holban explained in detail that the abbacy of Kerc had not been endangered by the peasants nor by the actions of the Rumanian Greek-Catholics. The Transylvanian Archbishop sent an encyclical letter on November 14, 1343, in which he encouraged the people to hand back the abbacy's stolen properties and other goods, and advised them not to interfere in this abbacy's affairs (situated on the farthest border of the Hungarian kingdom). Not even from this letter one may conclude that the Rumanians rioted against the abbacy.

Maria Holban also demonstrated that the abbacy of Kolozsmonostor had been attacked by Rumanian and Hungarian peasants from the neighboring estate, not by those who had been living on the abbacy's property. Why were only the Hungarian Catholic abbacies the targets of riots and peasant revolts? Why were only the abbacies of Kerc and Kolozsmonostor attacked? Why didn't the peasants turn against Rumanian churches, monasteries or abbacies?

Another very important question can be asked. Why did Maria Holban write about the Rumanian-Hungarian, Transylvanian-Rumanian-Hungarian connections of the 13th-14th centuries? Why did she not write about connections, for example, in the 10th-11th or the 11th-12th centuries? This would be more relevant in the efforts to prove the Dacian-Roman Continuity Theory.

On the basis of the 1332 and 1337 Papal Tithe Collector's list, in his work mentioned above, Péter Pál Domokos (p.60) showed the religious composition of the people living in Transylvania on the territory of the Transylvanian Bishopric. By that time, the reign of the Árpád's had just ended with the rise of the Anjou rule. According to these data, 310,000 Hungarian Székelys, 21,000 Saxons and 18,000 Rumanians lived in Transylvania [61]. The low number of Vlachs suggests that they could not have been present among the conquered or surrendered people in the time of Árpád's conquest of Hungary, and could scarcely have any cultic places or church organizations. Even if they had been present, their number would have been insignificant. With the knowledge of these data we have to dispute the statement of the Rumanian historian Radu Popa. He said that during the 11th and 12th centuries "...headquarters, fortified courts, chapels and small monasteries, serving as spiritual centres [62] had been built by Roman Kenez families" in Máramaros, Fogaras, Bihar, Bánság and Hátszeg (Hunyad county). The statement's indefensibility was also felt by the author, who added: "...these wooden buildings were rebuilt as stone and brick buildings during the 13th-14th centuries."

As regards Máramaros, any such building is excluded by the fact that the Rumanians did not immigrate there until the last quarter of the 13th century. The old Russian chronicles tell us that Ladislas IV. the "Cumanian", being afraid of another Mongol invasion, asked for help from Rome and Constantinople in 1284-85. After evaluating his request, a large army was sent to him by Constantinople from the Ibar region, (in present day Serbia). These Vlachs, fighting together with the Hungarians, defeated the Mongols in the upper Tisza valley. Since they did not want to return to their homeland, the king settled them in Máramaros.

We know from a document dated 1335, that Mikola's son, voivod Bogdan settled with his Rumanians in Máramaros as frontier guards against the Mongols. They emigrated from here to Moldavia in 1348; moving slowly towards the south, they met the Rumanians living in Wallachia.

Beginning with the early 15th century, they occupied the territories which later (after 1859) were called Rumania (the United Principalities) and became a politically distinct nation. That is the reason why the Rumanian cultic places appeared 2-3 centuries later than the Hungarians'. Radu Popa's statements would probably be true, if he had referred to the Ibar Region in Serbia. It may be enough to refer to Romulus Dianu's work, in which he said that the monastery in Peri (Körtvélyes) had been built in 1391, at the end of the 14th century, and was a donation of voivod Drago_ [63]. In the same writing of Romulus Dianu, the author mentions that the Transylvanian Greek-Catholics (Orthodox) were considered schismatics - heretics - by the "Papal Princes". "The Bishops of Buda forbade the Rumanians the building of churches in the towns. This sentence of 1279 had a binding force of law until 1848" [64]. It is our duty to stop here, and enlighten Dianu's superficial reasoning and baseless assertions.

It can be determined that Buda did not have any bishops, not even one. Philip of Fermon, Papal legate convoked a council in the Castle of Buda in September, 1279. Dianu might have been referring to this event. The council's primary goal was the correction of the life and morals of the Polish-Hungarian churchmen and laymen, "...in order to protect the Catholic faith and clerical freedom" [65].

Dianu sarcastically condemned the "Papal Princes" and the "Bishops of Buda". The plain truth is that Philip was Bishop of Fermont, therefore he did not live in Hungary, nor was he a Hungarian. He was neither "Papal Prince" nor "Bishop of Buda". The council's verdict "...dealt mainly with the third estate, its tasks and the observance of the church services." Paragraph No. 126. deals really with the schismatical priests and the authorization of the houses of prayer and chapel buildings they wanted to erect, but not in the form as presented by Dianu. He wrote that "the Bishop of Buda had forbidden the Rumanians to build churches in the cities." Such a resolution was not passed by the council. The resolution did not say a word about the Rumanians. It simply ordered that a schismatical priest should not be allowed to "deliver divine service" in the Catholic Church, and that the schismatics could only build their temples with the authorization of the diocesan bishop. There is no word of Rumanians, cities or prohibition of church buildings. The resolution disposed of the building of houses of prayer and of chapels, not churches. According to Dianu, the resolution had binding force of law until 1848. If this had been true, "schismatical" Rumanian churches could not have been built - for example - in Kolozsvár in 1797, in Marosvásárhely in 1811-1814, etc.


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