Quadragesimal Sermon Series of Saint John of Capistran in Wroclaw
Between January and August, in 1453 John of Capistran (1386–1456) – as one of the most important sites of his North European circuit (1451–1456) – visited and resided in the Silesian capital, in Wroclaw, where he delivered preachings on each day of the Lent. The notes (reportationes) written down about his sermons are extant in various versions. The mere fact that such reportationes have survived at all can be regarded unique in the history of medieval preaching, at least, as far as Central Europe is concerned. It is also remarkable, that unlike the general practice, the reportationes were prepared on the basis of Latin and not vernacular sermons, since Capistran did not speak German. Moreover, besides the fact that the reportationes were recorded for less experienced preachers, they were also necessary for the interpreters. The first part of the paper analyses these reportationes by separating the functionally distinct layers of the text, and afterwards, the author makes an attempt to reconstruct the process of the compilation of the presently known reportationes. The second part of the article focuses on the sermons from the point of view of sins, the central theme of quadragesimal sermons. The main question raised by the author is what kinds of schemes of the sins, suitable for comparison and systematization, are presented in the reportationes for the listeners of the sermons, that is how their ethical teachings are helped to become perspicuous and evident.
Suspicious Affairs: Legal and Illegal Communication in Late Medieval France
The author first presents the general practice of late medieval intelligence, private correspondence and political conversations. The most suitable types of sources for such investigation are the records of the administration of justice, the documentation of lawsuits and the letters of pardon containing detailed descriptions of cases.
During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries official spies acted in large numbers among the warring parties, though espionage was not limited to their activity only. Many war prisoners had to provide information in return for their ransoms. On the other hand, the inner conflicts dividing France as well as its internal and external wars brought about the denunciation and general distrust as a widespread practice among the civil population as well.
In the Middle Ages only the official and commercial correspondence had their own, permanently functioning channels of communication. The central and local powers, the princes as well as the companies involved in long-distance trade often employed numerous official messengers. Private persons, however, relied upon occasional dispatch-runners. It might be an established practice that those setting out for a longer journey offered their acquaintances to deliver their letters. The analysis of the judicial sources reveals numerous, closely interwoven channels used in correspondence, where – besides the written word – the verbal message and the objects sent in order to certify authenticity also played an important role. Sending a message was per se regarded a suspicious activity, therefore, when the domestic political situation seemed more dangerous, the local powers tried to control entirely this way of communication.
The borderline between political discourse and high treason, or even conspiracy, was rather uncertain. The receptive atmosphere of urban taverns, as far as wide social layers are concerned, often provided shelter for perturber speeches. The conversations frequently focused on the atrocities of soldiers, or discussed the misdeeds of the government, or even the king himself. The interest in political issues was a characteristic feature of all social layers.
Having outlined the general practice, a case study is presented analysing a lawsuit on espionage that happened in Paris in 1415–1416. The defendant was an astrologist who had been accused of giving advice to the English before the campaign against France in 1415. As the questions of the judges aimed at disclosing the stages of how a learned intellectual became a spy, they – at the same – expose for us what sort of activity was attributed to a secret agent at that time. The defendant, in his answers, rendered the suspicious activities to be fully accepted, moreover, the diplomatic delegation, he was the member of, not only tolerated but also used for its own purposes his communicational activity.
The changes in high politics of the period, the rapid transitions from peace to war, or from hostility to friendship, made it quite difficult for the society to establish the borderlines between legal and illegal communication. The general insecurity generated by the ruling power affected the entire activity of dispatch and made it suspicious as a whole. Therefore, individuals and social groups had to elaborate their own communicational strategies adjusting them to the ever-changing balance of power during the Hundred Years' War.
Cruciferi domus hospitalis per Hungariam et Sclavoniam.
The Hospitallers in Hungary up to the End of the Fourteenth Century
On the basis of a currently running doctoral project, the present study aims at outlining the history of the Hospitallers in the medieval Kingdom of Hungary – on the basis of written sources – from their appearance in the realm up to the end of the fourteenth century.
The first Hospitallers arrived to Hungary, similarly to Austria and Bohemia, around the mid-twelfth century, most probably for the call of Queen Euphrosine, wife of King Géza II who, along with her daughter, quite often practiced the virtue of caritas. As a Central European characteristic, royal support proved to be long-lasting in the development of the military-religious orders, since they lacked private donations throughout the Middle Ages. In the case of the Hospitallers in Hungary, royal generosity helped to establish some twenty commanderies by the end of the thirteenth century. After the acquisition of the houses of the dissolved Order of the Temple, this number reached three dozens. However, by the end of the fourteenth century, it fundamentally decreased and slackened.
The compound of the leadership of the Hungarian–Slavonian Priory and that of the personnel of the commanderies clearly shows that this province was an integral part of the international network of the Order. Until the end of the thirteenth century, the common feature of the Hungarian–Slavonian priors was their supposedly foreign, admittedly non-identifiable, or rather obscure, origin. Presumably, most of them arrived from France, and later from Italy. Their provenance became more transparent during the early fourteenth century. At least two dozens of Hospitallers of Italian origin can be identified in Hungary between 1315 and the 1340s. Most remarkable of them are perhaps the Italian Gragnanas or the Provençal Cornutis and Beaumonts. From the late fourteenth century onwards, on the basis of an agreement enacted in 1373, the priors were elected alternately from the langues (linguae) of Italy and Provence. It seems that disregarding the period of the Great Schism (1378–1418), the agreement was in operation well into the fifteenth century.
Elmélet és módszer