Transylvanian Review nr. 3/2009


Ioan-Aurel Pop, A Few Considerations Regarding the Name of Matthias Corvinus, p. 3

AbstractA Few Considerations Regarding the Name of Matthias Corvinus – The family of King Matthias Corvinus (1458–1590) has long been the object of complex investigations, but also of historiographical and even political-national disputes. The debate has been structured on several levels, focusing on the ethnic origin of the family, on its place of origin, on the denomination embraced by its members, on the precise identity of the paternal grandmother of Matthias, on other relatives of the Hunyadis, and even on the names they bore. No serious his¬torian would nowadays question the Romanian origin of the family, even if they may rightfully discuss the importance played by this ethnic origin at that time. In Romanian historiography, the name of King Matthias Corvinus has always been a particular and distinct issue, given certain specific circumstances related to the specificity of the Romanian language, the origin of his family, and certain Romanian-Hungarian controversies that emerged together with nationalist doctrines in Central and Eastern Europe.

Keywords: Matthias Corvinus, Hunyadis, Antonio Bonfini, medieval Hungary

Balázs Nagy, The Problem of the Financial Balance in the Foreign Trade of Late Medieval Hungary: A Century-Long Historiographical Debate, p. 13

AbstractThe Problem of the Financial Balance in the Foreign Trade of Late Medieval Hungary: A Century-Long Historiographical Debate – The study explores the commercial interactions of Hungary and the adjoining regions in the second half of the 15th century on the basis of custom registers and other sources. The late medieval commercial balance of Hungary was the object of intense controversy in the historiography of the last decades. In 1902, Ferenc Kováts published the thirtieth customs registers (1457–1458) of Bratislava (Pressburg, Pozsony). As the surviving customs registers and the other sources on these matters are few in number, reconstructing these foreign commercial connections is mainly a question of hypotheses. Different authors acknowledge variable characteristics of trade relations. One of these points is that the balance of foreign trade was negative, demonstrating a very definite surplus of imported goods (89%) in contrast to the export values (11%). It is also commonly accepted that most of the imported merchandise was manufactured goods, mainly textiles, especially cloth and metal wares, while the export was dominated by animals and not by manufactured primary products. Still, though the surviving customs registers are among the most important sources of commercial history, one should consider the fact that the trade balance is not the only characteristic of medieval foreign trade. In this respect, the thirtieth customs registers of 1542 can modify our knowledge of the composition of foreign trade.

Keywords: Matthias Corvinus, East-Central European trade, thirtieth customs registers, medieval Hungary

Benjamin Weber, La papauté en Hongrie (1453-1481) : engagement financier ou militaire ?, p. 21

Abstract The Papacy in Hungary (1453–1481): Financial or Military Commitment? – Being the main representative of the struggle against the Turks, Matthias Corvinus quickly became the champion of the popes, who placed in him all of their hopes and offered him increasing support. Best known in this respect is the economic aid, which in fact represented only a part of a much larger and comprehensive policy. However, as time went by and various popes occupied the Holy See, the forms of this assistance evolved considerably, and direct financial aid became dominant over the other forms of support. Still, this change should not be seen, as it is often the case, as indicating the disengagement of a papacy no longer interested in the struggle against the Turks, but rather as a new strategy demonstrating that the papacy had adapted to the new context from the second half of the 15th century.

Keywords: Paul II, Matthias Corvinus, Depositeria della Crociata, the Late Crusade

Ovidiu Mureşan, Der junge Mathias Rex in den historischen und autobiographischen Werke des Humanisten Enea Silvio Piccolomini, p. 32

AbstractThe Young Mathias Rex in the Historical and Autobiographical Work of Humanist Enea Silvio Piccolomini – Before he became, as Pope Pius II, an inspiration source and a protector for the historians at the papal court, Aeneas Silvio Piccolomini himself was involved in the tumultuous history of the first half of the 15th century, as the secretary of Cardinal Domenico Capranica, at the Council of Basel, of anti-pope Felix V, of Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg and also of other high-ranking prelates. These experiences shaped his image of Christendom and of crusading, largely influencing his political choices as well as directing his attention towards the Hunyadi family. In this respect, Matthias Corvinus’ figure was a virtually constant and rather strong presence in the vast historic work of the future pope or in his vast diplomatic and personal correspondence. Piccolomini, prior to and after his election as pope, can be regarded as a relatively trustworthy source for medieval history, because, to a certain degree, he was either an eyewitness or, at least, contemporary to most of the events he described in his works or in his letters.

Keywords: Pius II, crusading, Matthias Corvinus, John Hunyadi, Ottoman Empire, Humanism

Michel Balivet, Georges de Trébizonde : un Grec ottomanophile au temps de Mathias Corvin, p. 42

AbstractGeorge of Trebizond: A Turcophile Greek at the Time of Matthias Corvinus – The present article discusses the consistency (or the absence thereof) of the political ideology of George of Trebizond (1395–1472 or 1473). On the one hand, his increasingly turcophile actions eventually led to his imprisonment in Rome. On the other hand, he favored King Matthias Corvinus and Hungary, the main obstacles to the Turkish advance in the Balkans and in Central Europe. The present analysis draws on the text addressed by the Greek philosopher to the sultan, as well as on his correspondence.

Keywords: George of Trebizond, Matthias Corvinus, Mehmed II, Rome, Constantinople, Buda

Borislav Grgin, The Croatian Nobility and King Matthias Corvinus: Between Cooperation and Confrontation, p. 52

AbstractThe Croatian Nobility and King Matthias Corvinus: Between Cooperation and Confrontation – The rule of Hungarian and Croatian King Matthias Corvinus (1458–1490) had a profound impact upon his kingdom, upon the region, and upon the whole of Europe. Croatia was no exception to this. The paper analyzes the relations between Matthias, the Croatian magnate families, and the lesser and middle nobility. One might conclude that the Croatian nobility gradually started to develop a specific border mentality, coupled with fear, anxiety and insecurity for the future of their homeland. It seems that Croatian society became confronted with multiple challenges that surpassed its ability to cope. Matthias’ part of the blame was that, as in the rest of the kingdom, he left the country financially exhausted and the magnates dissatisfied with his rule. The fact that Croatia and its nobility were in serious trouble started to be clearly visible immediately after 1490.

Keywords: Croatia, magnates, nobles, King Matthias Corvinus, Ottomans

Alexandru Simon, Les Roumains entre Istanbul et Buda après la mort de Mathias Corvin, p. 61

AbstractThe Romanians between Istanbul and Buda after the Death of Matthias Corvinus – The Ottoman Empire was always reluctant to include both Wallachia and Moldavia, as lands under joint Ottoman-Hungarian suzerainty, in the treaties concluded with the kingdom. It was only after 1503 that this inclusion became common diplomatic practice, but still with much resistance from the Ottoman side. In this respect, although it does not represent a diplomatic watershed, the source from 1492 discussed in this article allows us to consider such issues from different perspectives. At the same time, maybe more interestingly, the source directs our attention to the areas south of the Danube line.

Keywords: Bayezid II, Wladisław II Jagiełło, Matthias Corvinus, Vlachs (Wallachians), Venice, Milan


Ioan Bolovan and Sorina Paula Bolovan, Transylvania Until World War I: Demographic Opportunities and Vulnerabilities (III), p. 67

AbstractTransylvania Until World War I: Demographic Opportunities and Vulnerabilities (III) – For centuries, the diversity of traditions and cultures has been one of the major assets of both Europe and Romania. The study examines, in a broad historical perspective, the demographic situation of Transylvania, a multiethnic and multilingual territory. Attention is given to popula¬tion structure and to the status of the various ethnic groups in the statistical era, between 1850 and 1910. An interesting insight into the demographic and psychological behavior in Transylvania in the decades prior to World War I is offered by the matter of religiously and ethnically mixed marriages. We believe that this historical-demographic study, as well as other similar analyses, should offer both politicians and regular citizens of this country information and solutions for the present day.

Keywords: historical demography, Transylvania, ethnic minorities, mixed marriages


Vasile Boari, The European Identity in Crisis: From the “Soul of Europe” to the “Europe of the Treaties”, p. 82

AbstractThe European Identity in Crisis: From the “Soul of Europe” to the “Europe of the Treaties” – Europe is confronted with a profound identity crisis, manifest in the recanting of its historical roots and in a lack of spirituality. Metaphorically speaking, the Old Continent, which was the first Christianized continent, is in danger of losing its soul. Although it has been called Christendom even until the 18th century, Europe is now the most secular and Christophobic continent in the world. Christianity provided Europe with a spiritual identity (Europe was actually the first entirely Christianized continent, although it is indeed also the first de-Christianized one, so that some authors speak now about a “post-Christian Europe”) and, alongside Judaism, it provided Europe with a moral identity—two capital faces of collective identity that proved to be the most perennial components of it. The dismissal of any explicit reference to the historical fundaments of the European identity from the European Constitution draft and later from the text of the Treaty of Lisbon de¬ter¬mined many analysts to speak about a “crisis of the European identity.” One thing, however, is certain: this identity crisis will not be easily overcome and, certainly, it cannot be overcome solely by politico-administrative measures.

Keywords: European identity, identity crisis, Christianity, Christophobia, Constitutional Treaty, Treaty of Lisbon

James Koranyi, Byzantium 330–1453, London, Royal Academy of Arts: A Commentary on Europe, p. 98

AbstractByzantium 330–1453, London, Royal Academy of Arts: A Commentary on Europe – The paper discusses an exhibition currently hosted by the Royal Academy of Arts and devoted to over one thousand years of Byzantine art, featuring the most important and wide-reaching collection of artifacts from the Byzantine period displayed in Britain over the last fifty years. The exhibition is revealing not merely because of the objects on display, but also because of what it says in connection to our contemporary understanding of Europe itself. The study suggests that the exhibition is indicative of a shift in the images of East and West. This is not to say that we are witnessing an end to the intra-European divide between East and West, but rather that the current geopolitical context has accentuated the notion of a division between Europe and Islam. Thus, the public are inadvertently presented with the false yet dominant idea that Islam represented and still represents the end or at the very least a caesura of European culture. A deeper insight into history, however, reveals a very different picture, as the persistence and legacy of Byzantine art and religious life were more or less guaranteed under Ottoman rule.

Keywords: Royal Academy of Arts, exhibition, Byzantium, Orthodoxy, image of the other


Andrei Marga, Joseph Ratzingers Methodologie, p. 106

AbstractThe Methodology of Joseph Ratzinger – The analysis of the works of the incumbent pope concentrates on what is perhaps the best-known title among his recent book (Jesus of Nazareth) without overlooking the older consideration of the commentator in what concerns the work of German theologian. Consequently considerable attention is given to the development of the Ratzinger’s thought in response to the dilemmas faced by Christian analysis and perception during the last century (starting with Adolf von Harnack’s book from the year 1900) and especially to the issue of the path (by no means of no return) “from, Christ to Jesus.” The principle of self-criticism and the competition for the title of “the best philosophy” play a seemingly central part in this context as the analysis concentrates on the essence of the search for the great answers which must take into account the whole.

Keywords: Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), methodology, biblical exegese, theology, hermeneutics


George Achim, Dystopian Discourse and Its Actuality, p. 124

AbstractDystopian Discourse and Its Actuality – The paper discusses the seemingly inevitable transformation of utopia into dystopia, a process seen as a necessary step for the survival of the utopian genre. Responsible for this process are the totalitarian and authoritarian tendencies intrinsic to the utopian discourse, which holds in it substance the seeds of its own destruction. As recent history came to demonstrate the nefarious consequences of virtually all attempts to put into practice utopian designs of any kind, the pursuit of a perfect society was replaced by the hyperbolic projection of the nefarious consequences of such attempts at social engineering. The actuality of the dystopian genre stems from the fact that its approach reflects the turmoil experienced by the modern conscience, turning it into a literary transfiguration of the fears and anxieties of the contemporary period.

Keywords: utopia, dystopia, utopian discourse, totalitarianism, cult of personality

Florian Kührer, „Vom avea grijã de voi“: Russland und Sowjetunion in der stalinistischen rumänischen Historiographie, p. 133

Abstract„We Will Take Care About You“: Russia and the Soviet Union in the Romanian Stalinist Historiography – The article analyses historiographical innovations in the period of Romanian Stalinism under Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej‘s leadership on the basis of contemporary historical textbooks. For that purpose three chapters of the Romanian history will be discussed: the Romanian Middle Ages, the period after 1821 und the change of 23 August 1944, when Romania decided to switch sides and came under Soviet influence. The survey shows the break with the paradigm of pre-communist historical narration and its return after the end of the internationalistic Dej-era. Thus the influence of political mainstream trends is to be reconstructed and highlighted.

Keywords: Romanian historiography, communism, Mihail Roller

Book Reviews, p.147

Contributors, p. 160

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