• peter clings

An interesting snapshot into Transylvania from 1138

Updated: Apr 20

I keep contributing with questions and answers at Quora and at times I get challenges from other contributor that compel me to research more. At some point I am asking

Where can I consult that catalogue of all the written sources from Medieval Hungary that pertain to Transylvania from before 1200? Are there any though?

"A co-contributor to Quora keeps referring to “On the other hand, Hungary survived everything, and literally, 10.000s of documents are available from the relevant era. This can be an explanation as well.” from to the Arpadian Kingdom (1001 - 1304 AD) which leaves me perplexed for I never read anyone pretending to know about that amount. But I give him the credit of the doubt. I don’t know of any specific written source from Transylvanian available to the public nor in relationship to it that can be dated from before 1200. But I cannot claim to be all knowledgeable in the field of archival research therefore I am asking

Actually, I’ve found a good source for it at Monumenta ecclesiae Strigoniensis

There are a handful already presented and published from it by the Romanian Academy in 1950. I am presenting here one, just to not loose my work and be able to bookmark it for future reference

It is a charter (border due) collected from some salt merchants coming from Transylvania on 2 boats to sell goods into Hungary at Sumbuth Sâmbăteni (1). It was issued by Bela II to the benefit of the Monastery of Dömös in 1138

the text translates to English as:

In the village called Sahtu there are salt transporters, the names of which are these: Subu, Mihali, Iwanus, Halaldi, Maradek, Gucur, Ceuse, Forcos, Embel, Michael, Silev, Vosos, Sima, Numarek, Bise, Pedur, Wendeg, Tuda, Kewereg, Niundi, Sumpu, Custi, Aianduk, Nicolus, Buken. These are coming back six time from Transylvania using two boats to the Sumbuth market

In the region of Transilvania there are the households that must give the salt, that is twenty four thousand pounds of salt. The names of those families are Wosas, Martin, Kinis, Besedi, Senin, Sokol, Lesin, Ginon, Fuglidi, Boch, Kosu, Himudi, Satadim, Uza, Eulengen, Vir, Emis, Vinscij, Halisa, Ellu, Wendi, Ogsan, Cesti, Orsci, Sounik, Simeon, Wasil, Isaac, Vtos, Cima

In the region of Transylvania there are people who need to give twenty beavers each yearly, one hundred belts, and a bear skin, along with one horn of a buffalo

The participants along the King Bela and queen Elene and all the Bishops, …. Macharie Bishop of the Pécs, .... Mathei the count of the New City …

All the names marked in the image could be interpreted as Romanian. Some are distinguishable Romanian such as the name of the village Sahtu (which most like is given as the very first reference to the city of Satu Mare ) with means Village in Romanian

It is interesting to note the fact that in Latin as well as in most Romance languages the letter 'H' is muted (where it exists), therefore the actual pronunciation of that village name as it was heard by the underwriter was Satu as if it was said by Romanian speakers ('Satu' means 'the Village' in Romanian). The Latin text "In the village called Sahtu there are salt transporters ..." can be interpreted as one of the first references to some Romanian merchants operating a Salt trading business in the Medieval Hungary coming from a no man's land called generically as 'ultransilvanis partibus' in 1138

A remarkable thing about the due is that it is an early Medieval snapshot on the importation of salt into Hungary by some independent merchants coming from Transylvania on 2 boats. The Hungarian King gives no indication of how those people came into Hungary, nothing about their source locations in the ‘ultransilvanis partibus’ (real names are spelled with upper case), and nothing about their ethnicity only that they were paying dues and were free to trade. Pretty sensitive taxation


1 'Salt Mining and Trade in Hungary before the Mongol Invasion', Beatrix F. Romhányi

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