Zsolt Bogdándi - Emőke Gálfi: The Alba Iulia Chapter of Authentication after Secularization (p. 290-304)


Beginning with the end of the twelfth century, the more important collegiate and cathedral chapters had undertaken the task of compiling charters and diplomas concerning private legal transactions. Thanks to their reputation, both ecclesiastic and secular persons had turned to them in order to have legal documents compiled. Confidence in them was rooted in the fact that these institutions had housed, beginning with the eleventh century, the rites of ordeal; it was here that the ordeal of the red-hot iron, used as supreme evidence during trials was held, and the results of such trials were minutely recorded. At the beginning of the thirteenth century, the Benedictine, Premonstratensian and knightly orders also participated in the emission of documents and diplomas. Social need for the preservation of documents guaranteeing rights and privileges led to the practice of placing a copy of the emitted diploma or a summary of its contents in the archives of the emitting institutions. Thus, the archives of chapters and convents of authentication were the institutions which preserved copies of diplomas and signatures. These copies, in the form of volumes, contained the abbreviated or complete texts of emitted documents. Until the secularization that occurred in 1556-57, the activity of charter emission of Transylvanian chapters of authentication had remained largely unchanged, in accordance with medieval Hungarian practice. In their study, the two authors analyze the activity of the Alba Iulia chapter of authentication in the period following the secularization based on the registers or protocols which preserved the copies and/or the regesta of the documents. They also show the reasons why from the early registers of the Transylvanian chapter only fragments survive, especially in the private archives of the Transylvanian chapter, preserved in the Alba Iulia (Gyulafehérvár) Batthyaneum and in the collections DL (Diplomatikai Levéltár/Diplomatic Archive) and DF (Diplomatikai Fényképgyűjtemény/Diplomatic Photo-Library) of the Hungarian National Archives. Bogdándi and Gálfi also present the activity of the requisitors, and the most prominent figures among them. They conclude that requisitors had served as the prince's familiars, and their service as custos of the archives was remunerated with the grant of estates, rather than with a regular, established stipend. Thus, ‘letter-searching' was regarded as something more akin to today's part-time jobs; presumably, it was their conscientiousness that determined the way they worked. Another segment of the two authors' study is dedicated to the problem concerning the reorganization, on a secular basis, of the chapter of authentication from Alba Iulia. The best way to do this is to compare the different manners of the reorganization process in the three chapters of authentication  from the Transylvanian principality (Alba Iulia, Cluj-Mănăştur, Oradea). Bogdándi and Gálfi concluded at the end of their study that the reorganization closes the medieval evolution of the Transylvanian loca credibilia, opening a new chapter.