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  • Writer's picturepeter clings

Romanian peasants in a Royal Charter from 1293

I was intrigued by the text of a royal charter issued by Andrew III of Hungary, the last king in the Arpadian dynasty, regarding some 60 Romanian households settled on the lands of the Chapter of the Bishopric of Transylvania

The Latin text is displayed in the images below

My English translation is next

"Andrew, by the Grace of God, king of Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia, Rame, Serbia, Galitzia, Lodomeria, Cumania and Bulgaria, to all faithful of Christ who will read this letter salvation through the provider of Salvation. God from his highest grace guiding with wisdom and ordering all with tenderness though He granted us the rule of the Kingdom at the height of our royal standing, we have made good of the priceless gift of the godly blessings with the rightfulness of humility. And this we fulfill with good use if we extend over the saintly and giving mother church branches more comprehensive, and if we keep unshakably those that have been already given to it by a pious past decision

For that reason with this letter, we will acknowledge all that we forced by the thorns of rule that we have taken upon us, after consultations with all our barons who met with us, we have ordered that all the Romanians settled on the estates of the nobles or of all others to be recalled, brought back and forced to return against their will to our royal estate named Scekes, if they don’t concede to that order

Still, for we have been informed that the deceased Ladislaus, the shining king of Hungary, our beloved cousin has allowed as a gift to the Chapter of the Church in Albensis in Transylvania for sixty Romanian families to reside on the lands belonging to the Chapter at Fylesd and Enud, for sixty Romanian families relocated there from other estates to remain free and undisturbed, and those Romanians to be regarded as except of any royal dues, that is the one fifteenth due, or any other, as it was stated in the letter of the mentioned Ladislaus, issued with that occasion and reestablished with this one. We consider that the Charter of the mentioned King Ladislaus has been with use and that our reign is better protected by the praises of the Church more that the help from other people, willing with this to come in the footsteps the mentioned King in this regards, enforce and validate the granting of sixty Romanian households to the Chapter, with the same exceptions, freedoms and bounties which had been explained above in detains, and we confirm with this grant with our royal privileges

For that we will and order, that no collector of the royal due or any other, that will have that work, to not dare to harass the Romanian settled on the lands of this Chapter, to the established number, and to not dare to collect the one fiftieth due from them nor any other dues

For that reason, in order to this confirmed decision to acquire the power of a perpetual application, and for nobody to be able to forfeit it over time, we issued this letter with the power of our double seal

Given by the sound mind of this man, our beloved and faithful magister Teodor the Preposit of the Church in Alba, vice Chancellor at our Court, in year 1293, in the seventh day of November, the forth year of our reign"

Why was the King so willing to have the Romanian families return to the royal estate in 1293 so that to be compelled to write am order as Royal Charter to all local Barons? The text seems to be clear of that. I highlighted in the English text the reason. The Royal Estate at Scekes had been in disuse for a while because the workforce had fled to other estates in the previous decade. The reason for that is that the predecessor of King Andrew III, Ladislaus neglected the royal properties in Transylvania to the local barons being confronted by the Cuman Uprising of 1282 and the Second Mongol Invasion of Hungary (1285–1286)

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