Roman Europe, feudal Europe, barbarian Europe
The author believes that researches on Germanic and Slavic societies should be harmonized, and the results of German researches applied to Slavs as well. An excellent starting point for that is provided by the studies of Reinhard Wenskus, although he does not differentiate among the territories of Barbaricum, which lay outside of the Roman world. The various zones within Barbaricum can be distinguished on the basis of how the influence of the old Roman institutions made themselves felt in them.
The kingdom of the Franks wished to introduce Roman institutions in the Germanic parts, i.e. in Austrasia and then in Saxony, as well, but with little success because collective jurisdiction, which was of tribal origins and based on relations among neighbours, survived. The expansion, starting from Frankish Gaul, and within it from Austrasia (from what Walter Schlesinger called "Roman Germania") managed, however, to assimilate "Germanic Germania", and then, three hundred years later, with the mediation of the latter, "Slavic Germania". The sources indicate that originally the Germans and the Slavs (the Saxons, on the one hand, and the Obodrit and Liutich, on the other) had similar political and social structures. The advance of expansion in both cases went conspicuously hand in hand with the loss of rights and the degeneration of the free, with the expansion of landownership, and with the appearance of new structures based on immunity, territorial authority. The greater part of the Slavic world, however, as well as the territories under the similar Hungarian rule, and Scandinavia was beyond the scope of the Frankish and/or German expansion. The influence of Roman structures is very slight in those areas. Initially, the new states resisted the power aspirations of the aristocracy, and controlled the population of the country relying on the traditional tribal, neighbourhood, and peasant communities (opol, osada, mir). These rustici provided service for the court of the ruling prince and its local representatives (comites), and were subject to communal jurisdiction. One part of the aristocracy regarded the offices distributed by the ruler as the common property of the most distinguished families, but despite their resitance, the other part, which started to draw the peasant population under its control through the mediation of the state, through gaining immunities, was increasingly gaining ground. The church was playing a pioneering role: since bishops could not be removed by secular powers, the authority of castellanus granted to them was alienated from the monarchy. The gaps made in the system of "principal right" (ius ducale) helped the spreading of western models of immunity and landownership (although not that of feudalism and beneficium), which would become decisive in Central Eastern Europe by the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
Az Aetas nem kapott engedélyt a kiadótól az írás elektronikus változatának a közlésére.
God's Peace and Treuga Dei in 11th-century France
The movement called pax Dei in Latin started from South France in the tenth century as an answer to the violence afflicting society in general and the Church in particular. According to the traditional interpretation, its cause was the disintegration of the Carolingian administration system as well as the undermining of public order by the rivarly among local authorities emerging around castles. Wanting a strong central power, and in the best position to mobilize society, the Church tried to restore peace. Bishops used councils to persuade the feudal lords in their dioceses to accept resolutions that protected social groups incapable of self defence, and to swear oaths to keep them. Those who violated the peace, had to face ecclesiastical punishment, i.e. anathematization or excommunication. From the 1040s on, a new phase in this process, treuga Dei, was meant to prevent all sorts of bloodshed on church holidays.
The two movements, though, cannot be considered, even separately, as a unified series of events, because individual councils or convocations in various regions, driven by diverse interests, tried to enforce different restrictions on chivalry. Studying the texts, one gets the impression that peace councils were only another, new means of the already known practises of the exercise of power, not independent from rivalry within the aristocratic elite, and the movement contributed to the growth of the bishops' secular powers. The forthcoming resolutions, and especially some formal innovations (the great number of relics, the joint oath of knights and bishops), moreover, did not find total support even within the Church. Besides, it seems that not only did the movements take place at different times in the northern and the southern regions, but the councils of the two regions attempted to find solutions to different problems. In the north, where regional power was traditionally stronger than in the south, and Carolingian structures also survived to a larger extent, they did not try to prevent military violence,which heavily oppressed the poor and the Church but rather attempted to put an end to faida, i.e. blood feud,which decimated the families of the chivalry.
Peace movements did not bring about the total termination of war in the long run, but contributed to making violence the monopoly of one narrow group of society.
Inheritance of Landed Property and Filial Quarter: An Attempt for Interpretation of a Medieval Hungarian Legal Institution
The main purpose of the paper is to describe the development and functioning of a peculiar Hungarian legal institution, the so-called filial quarter from the thirteenth to the beginning of the fifteenth century. Filial quarter was a kind of compulsory share due to noblewomen from the landed properties of their fathers. They were not to receive their quarter in landed property, however, since customary law prohibited land donations to women. This prohibition was principally due to the special hereditary system of the Hungarian nobility, in which every member of the kindred had hereditary rights in the estates that were inherited from their common ancestor. This system strongly prohibited the alienation of estates, and, consequently, land donations to women, since the estates given to them would have passed to another kindred with their marriage.
The filial quarter appeared abruptly in the sources in the first half of the thirteenth century, first in a royal decree from 1222, and a few years later in charters as well. It had a strong customary character already at that time, which seems to imply that its formation had begun earlier. Several suggestions have been made with regard to its origins, from the possibility of an origin in Roman law to the idea that it was the result of the internal development of Hungarian customary law. In the absence of earlier sources, however, neither of these suggestions can be corroborated or rejected.
A quantitative analysis of the sources seemed to be the most appropriate method for the research of filial quarter. The examination covered about six hundred cases. The analysis led to an unexpected finding: in the period between 1222 and 1416, in more than 50% of the filial quarter cases, land was donated to daughters. This seemed to contradict both customary law as reflected in its only medieval collection, the Tripartitum of Stephen Werbőczy, and the results of recent social historical researches on the hereditary and possessory system of medieval Hungarian nobility. The explanation for this discrepancy, the present essay suggests, is that medieval customary law was much more flexible than is often thought. It not only allowed but actually preferred the consent of the parties or arbitration to judicial decision. Disputes were settled by consent or arbitration in the majority of the filial quarter cases. The actual interests and needs of the parties influenced the result to a great extent. The most important of these interests and needs was probably familial affection: the father wanted to provide for his descendants, his daughters as well as his sons, even if this injured the "solidarity" of the kindred and the interests of his collateral relatives.
The results of the present study have two main implications. The first is that the "solidarity" of the kindred was not as strong as customary law and traditional historiography suggest. As recent social historical researches have also shown, the collective hereditary rights of the kindred were often limited by other interests of the individual members. In order to understand better the structure of medieval Hungarian nobility and the changes in this structure, these modifying factors should also be taken into consideration. The other important implication is that our view of the social position of medieval noblewomen must also be modified. The inheritance and the possession of land apparently secured some power for women, and this power has never been examined by historians; the practice of giving out the quarter in land would indicate that women were not always in such a subordinate position in their families as has previously been assumed.
Elmélet és módszer