• peter clings

Diploma of the Knights of St. John and the Mongol Invasion

The text lists for the very first time in any official Chancellery documents the Feudal organization of Southern Transylvania and Oltenia, only 5 years after the First Mongol Invasion of Hungary (the full Latin text ). The King, Bela IV was attempting to invite to the region of Severin (the modern day Severin_County ) a prestigious European Knightly order to bulk up the defence of the region

The Knights Hospitaller were a religious order that was funded during the Crusader States in the Middle East. They recruited from France and England.


The map to the right depicts the distribution of the Templar commanding castles (source from File:Templerorden in Europa 1300.png)



The Diploma establishes the relation of power between the knights and the local Romanian leaders, the most important of which was Voievode Litovoi that seem to have ruled the territories of the Land of Hațeg and northern Oltenia, and Voievode Seneslau who seem to have ruled over Fagaraș and northern Muntenia bordering Cumanian


The existence of the two Voievode (Commanders) and their feats during the Mongol Invasion is attested by at least two independent sources, the Persian chronicle Jāmiʿ al-Tawārīkh and an Italian one. Both commanders have fought the invaders and survived relatively intact with their armies and possessions (probably retreating into the mountains). They seem to have prevented the Mongols from entering the passage ways along the river Olt and the Jiu river respectively. Only the Burzenland was penetrated, unfortunately for Pousa, son of Sólyom, the commander of the Transylvanian army did not arrived in time to join forces with the Romanians


In a nutshell, the Diploma marks the first official acknowledgement from a Hungarian King of some incipient feudal Romanian state hoods. One could not help but associate that Bela IV assumed the title of Duke of Transylvania in his youth as a recognition by the Romanians too of his over lordship at the wake of a major menace from the East

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