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Crafts in the Árpád-era

Fig. 90 Hunters on column capital in Bény

The craft industries of Hungary during the Árpád-era – the period spanning the
eleventh to the thirteenth centuries – left behind them few clues for posterity.
The custom of making written records of sale or other pecuniary transactions
was not established in Hungary at that time, especially in the middle and lower
thirds of the social pyramid. There was in any case a catastrophic loss of written
sources during the country’s turbulent history between the sixteenth and twen-
tieth centuries. The physical remains of craft industries are all too commonly
available solely by reconstruction from finds removed from their original place
of use – the “archaeological context”. All that is left of the original mosaic is a very
small number of arbitrarily-distributed tiles, such tiny tiles, in fact, that they can
tell us no more than the main outlines of the picture.
The problems to be solved, however, are many and far-reaching. Their sig-
nificance arises from the fundamental changes experienced in the Kingdom of
Hungary between its foundation in 1001 and the death of Andrew III, the last
king of the House of Árpád, in 1301 (Veszprémy 2000: 542–550, Engel 2001).
Before the establishment of the Christian state, the life of the Hungarian people
was best described as semi-nomadic, characteristic of the wooded steppe of East- Fig. 91 12th-century corbel from excavation by
ern Europe at that time. By the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Dezső Dercsényi at Újvidék (Novi Sad)
Hungary’s economy had fully adapted to its geographical location in the broad (Dercsényi 1946: 20)
zone at the eastern edge of Central Europe running from the north-eastern shores Fig. 92 Fragment of a capital with floral
of the Adriatic Sea to the southern shores of the Baltic. The driving force of these decoration from Székesfehérvár
changes was undoubtedly the difference between the natural environments of (Hungarian National Museum, Budapest)
the Hungarians’ old and new homelands. The climatic contrasts between the
wooded steppe lying along the northern shores of the Black Sea and the plains of
the Carpathian Basin must have generated new needs, and taken effect on both
finished products and the tools used to make them. Also promoting – indeed
urging – the transformation of craft industries in Hungary was the adoption of
the agricultural techniques customary in Central and Eastern Europe. Certain
monasteries were no doubt instrumental in this process, but again, scarcity of
data keeps the details of their activities obscure. Furthermore, Hungary became
a destination for immigrants in the eleventh century, presenting new opportu-


The discussion here reverses the order in which sources are customarily presented. Bone objects found in excavations are the primary sources for the analysis of bone-carving. although small in quantity. The justification for this approach rests on an indisputable fact. their workshop techniques and the parts of their workshop equipment that do not degrade in the soil – have to come from archaeological finds. thoroughly-observed excavation site. For their part. This is Fig. especially objects used in the making of weapons and jewellery. The operation of the kiln on 40 . 95 Painted clay bottle from Felsőzsolca– because pottery vessels – usually found as shards. and then use written sources to illuminate questions of industrial organisation and reconstruct own- ership relations and legal status. The formal-typological features they preserve tell us about the from fragments. data comes from remains of workshops found on settlement excavations. Árpád-era crafts in the light of archaeological finds Archaeology offers several different perspectives on craft industries between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries (Takács 2007). Data on iron and non-ferrous metallurgy National Museum. So much so. Instead of starting with the written sources and then bringing in archaeological artefacts to “flesh them out”. Earthenware cauldron and manufacturing procedures and workshop techniques of specific crafts. larly items of equipment and their topographical position within the settlement. Experimental archaeology starts out from the proposition that we can gain a true insight into craft procedures and workshop techniques only if we try to reconstruct the procedures themselves instead of just examining the floor plans of buildings and semi-finished or decayed products. In recent decades. and very rarely complete – are Várdomb. or more precisely the extent and nature of their services. nities to adopt foreign workshop techniques. we take archaeological finds as the primary sources for presenting Árpád-era craft industries. 93–94 The past has to be reconstructed man settlements. Kubinyi 1998: 23–64). textiles and leather trades. efforts are increasingly directed at reproducing what was originally present at a specific. particu- Billedomb (Museum of Hanság. Fügedi 1986b: 471–507. textiles and leather permit us to assemble a picture of the various branches of woodworking. the reconstruction of crafts has become an important branch of medieval archaeology in Hungary as in many other places throughout Europe. Mosonmagyaróvár) It is the potter’s craft that archaeology has the most to tell us about. Finally. Further pot fragment from excavations in Lébény. Although the scattered written records tell us about the legal status of craftspeople. The commonest sources are objects found in graves and in the fillings of the structures of excavations in hu- Fig. that practical reconstructions of various craft procedures have become one of the principal areas of “experimental archaeology” (Keefer 2006). Budapest) and its various branches can also be obtained from the study of objects made of other material. Here we note only that this channel of inves- tigation is undergoing a transformation: instead of reconstructing an “average” kiln. data on technology and production – the tools used by craftsmen. scraps of wood. We will cover the lessons learned from experimental smelting furnaces and ceramic kilns in the discussions of metallurgy and pottery below. 13th–14th century (Hungarian the commonest finds from this period. immigrant artisans tried to extract from their new king or lord a grant of the same privileges they had enjoyed in their former homeland (Fügedi 1986a: 101–118.

chapters and monasteries). 97–98 Containers.Fig. suburbium settlements around administrative centres. Traces of craft industries (workshop waste. forges. 208). 41 . Thirdly. Esztergom and Székesfehérvár (Gömöri 2000: 58–59. which represented a heightened fire hazard. The findings show that every type of settlement in Árpád-era Hungary accommodated some kind of craft activity. The remains of waste from the workshops show that in the vast majority of cases they existed at that point in the settlement only for a short time. special fireplaces) have come to light at scattered encampment-like settlements. It is very common to find in the strata above a demolished and buried workshop traces of a new small com- munity (presumably a family) which had no connection with the craft activity previously pursued there (Parádi 1967: 24–27). village excavations. 168–177. these workshop sites were temporary. Before we can reconstruct the craft industries themselves. That means that even the potter and the smith could build their kiln or forge within the village if separated from the area of dense habitation. Győr) the site may therefore be determined from precise measurements of quantifiable parameters. and parts of the towns which functioned as seats of the kingdom – that is. we first of all have to know where craftspeople operated in the eleventh. twelfth and thir- teenth centuries. ecclesiastical centres (around bishops’ seats. 96 Árpád-era industrial archaeology sites. Map compiled by János Gömöri Fig. and perhaps most importantly. The second distinc- tive feature of these remains is that they are nearly always sited within a settle- ment. Győr–Káptalandomb (Xantus János Museum. 64–65. kilns. in the direct vicinity of royal residences or curtises. with the exception of iron smelters.

after the end of the Árpád era. Blooms were transported to various parts of the country for further processing. Győr–Homokgödrök product group. Valter 1979. very few of these survive from the Árpád era. This practice of recycling shows up in signs on many small iron objects that they were secondary prod- ucts. The composition of medieval tool finds shows that their value lay primarily in the iron material itself: the tool finds have relatively large numbers of large objects. 100 Scissors from Lébény–Billedomb County (Valter 1979). but lived and worked in villages and towns. spurs and nails. Borsod in the north. coulters and other plough-related implements. Iron smelting and metallurgy Both archaeological finds and written sources clearly bear out the central role of iron in the Árpád-era economy of Hungary (Benkő 2010. As against bloomeries. Perhaps the most important feature of these bloomeries – almost astonishing to the ex- ternal observer – is that they are so small. iron ob- jects were so valuable that they buried them in time of war or other danger. 101 Keys. These comprise tools. Iron-smelting sites have turned up in many regions of Árpád-era Hungary: Sopron and Vas Counties in the west. that the water-powered hammer arrived in Hungary. This is probably because iron implements that fell into disuse were probably returned to the smiths to be made into new ones (a fact first registered in Hungarian medieval archaeology by Méri 1964: 44). One outstand- ing smithy excavation is a row of workshop pits with hearths at Csatár in Zala Fig. Sadly. Interestingly. and – a fact at least equally important for studies of the period – iron and steel were the raw materi- als for weapons. Győr– had to be removed the hard way – by many hours of reheating and hammering. Research has divided the small bloomeries into two basic groups (and several subgroups): those originating among local ninth-century inhabit- ants.” tells us about the value of these objects to contemporaries (Müller 1975). and Somogy in South Transdanubia. Fodor 2009). but made a variety of objects. There are insufficient well-studied finds to establish the details of how semi-finished iron products were transported. including knives. Another type of find specific to the Middle Ages. the “iron tool find. the bloom. i. 691–694). artefacts and weapons. (Xantus János Museum. made from parts of older. More detailed inspection reveals that they were built in pits rather than on the surface. The end product of the iron works was a high iron-content rounded block. iron objects from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries. 42 .e. like ploughshares. i. Győr) Reconstructions of the blacksmith’s craft is based on the study of finished products. the function of the pits was determined not (Xantus János Museum. did not set up separate sites. The archaeologist concluded that the smiths did not specialise in any particular Fig. larger artefacts. Homokgödrök (Xantus János Museum. Győr) from their form but from the iron slag and wrought iron objects found in them. For the common folk of the Árpád era. unlike the smelters of iron ore. only a few Árpád-era smithies have come to light in ex- cavations (Bóna 1963.e. The microtopographical layout of these forges show that the blacksmiths. 99 Árpád-era knives and flint-steel. Győr) It was only in the mid-fourteenth century. and those started by the conquering Hungarians (Gömöri 2000). no doubt via internal trade and/or the networks that served the royal estates. the unwanted and harmful material remaining in the iron Fig. This greatly facilitated the processing of the sponge iron as it came out of the bloomery. This meant that since the slag could not flow out. It was the metal from which the tools of everyday life were made.

Graves are the most productive archaeological sites for data on the wearing of Árpád-era jewellery (Langó 2010: 450–452. we have concentrated on examples of Árpád-era iron work from around the time of the founding of the kingdom. Only a few Conquest-era or early Árpád-era metal objects – a total of 14 tools. In parallel with this. By forging together plates of varying carbon content. however. Changes to this situation started (Xantus János Museum. Győr) only in the second half of the thirteenth century. It should be no surprise that the metallographic examination determined that weapons and horse gear involved even more sophisticated manufacturing techniques than agricultural and household iron implements. Artefacts from the second half of the Árpád era indicate a con. horse harness items and weapons from western Hungary – have been examined to determine the exact course of their manufacture (Bartha 1958). The analysis starts from the undeniable fact that there was a constant demand for lead. 103 Spurs. gold and silver throughout the Árpád era. Eleventh-century knives. tin and even lead. was made of more than just precious metals. and the partial temper- ing of the edge. It was a process. Some researchers explain this change 43 . the current state of research gives us only a hazy picture of non-ferrous and precious metal production (Benkő 2010: 694). This brings us to the second archaeological source for Árpád-era metallurgy. 104 Corpus fragment. Győr–Homokgödrök lographic analysis. the smiths worked the iron so that it was as hard as steel but remained elastic. the study of artefacts. Győr–Homokgödrök types of object or new ways of making them. in the period following the Mongol Invasion. On all of these. So far. This is true not only of the most expensive weapons – the status symbol-category swords and sabres – but even simple things like arrowheads. The main reason why we have much more data on the eleventh century than the twelfth and thirteenth centuries is mainly a function of the very uneven time-distribution of the archaeological Fig. and there is no evidence of the introduction of either new Fig. especially in the upper third of the social pyramid. What these few material studies revealed was that great care went into the manufacture of the tools and working implements of the common people as well as the weapons and horse gear of the upper third of society. the main ingredient of bronze. Győr) with great care. Győr) tinuity in technique. tin. Non-ferrous metallurgy and jewellery Compared with the wealth of data on iron ore mining and smelting. however. the military elite. some branches of metallurgy increasingly became urban industries. The first three of these played a part in making artefacts needed in every area of life. Costume reconstructions have definitely established a major transfor- mation in the clothes people wore during the eleventh century. Ritoók 2010: 474–476). show traces of parallel cold and hot forming. Even arrowheads. sickles and spades from western Hungary were subjected to metal. The graves of the common people often yield rings and earrings made of copper. This is particularly true of copper. Fig. Győr–Homokgödrök source material. which matured only after the House of Árpád died out in 1301. produced in great quantities and presumably the cheapest category of weapon. 102 Iron arrowheads. Many of the jewellery and other prestigious artefacts of the Conquest era disappeared. Even jewellery. battleaxes and stirrups. copper. (Xantus János Museum. the edges were found to have been formed (Xantus János Museum.

The “standard practice” in archaeology is to assume that sim- pler artefacts were local products. without the original refined techniques? An indisputable fact arising from Árpád-era finds is that trade was not confined to expensive earrings and bracelets made with fancy techniques. One reason is that – to judge from foreign analogies – many could have been the work of itinerant goldsmiths who took their products from market to market. Several non-ferrous metal smelters from the eleventh to the thirteenth cen- turies have been found at Hungarian sites (Horváth 2000: 579. Győr) 44 . 105-106 Bronze bracelets and lock-rings. Győr) jewellery worn by the lower third of Hungarian society in the eleventh century did not go through nearly such a thoroughgoing change as that worn by the elite (Langó 2010: 452). 108-109 Plaited bronze rings and bronze ear buttons. fig. Furthermore. such century. a new power elite when the Christian state was founded. they would do so by inviting an eminent foreign craftsman to their court. These furnaces are mostly small. 107 Snake-head bracelets from the 11th considerations. And of course there are other Fig. 385). Győr–Homokgödrök (Xantus János Museum. in costume as a direct result of conversion to Christianity and the appearance of Győr–Homokgödrök (Xantus János Museum. Why should we assume as a matter of course that local craftsmen could only make simple cast imitations of Byzantine or Western European pieces.Fig. difficult to evaluate on the basis of archaeological finds. but this is clearly an oversimplified view of what was actually happening. the details of some expensive and highly-wrought items of jewellery demonstrate that even the highest echelons of society tried to source their jewellery locally. silver and gold jewellery from imported items. A more cautious view Győr) also takes into account factors such as the availability of precious metals after the Hungarians abandoned their foreign raids. An indication of the complexity of this issue is that the (Xantus János Museum. suggesting use in the making of jewellery and other Fig. Győr–Homokgödrök as changes in fashion. It is very difficult to distinguish domestically-produced bronze. Reconstructions of Hungarian craftsmen’s techniques give much less reli- able results for non-ferrous metal artefacts than for ironware. If they were sufficiently wealthy. Imitations made by simple casting techniques could easily have been taken to market because of the widespread demand and their low weight.

the raw material for making ceramic pots. Vályi 1999) prove that these highly skilled craftsmen were hired by prelates. 110 Earthenware pot. far outnumbering any other finds (Takács 1996. craftsmen specialising in non-ferrous artefacts were casting such large objects as bells as well as jewellery and other small pieces. Ceramic vessels may thus reasonably be assumed to (Xantus János Museum. Drawing by Gyula László 45 . Clay. 111 Potter. The easy availability of clay also explains why brick appeared in buildings during the first century after Fig. The casting pits for bronze bells excavated at Feldebrő and Szer (Kovalovszki 1994–1995. bishops and abbots as well as the royal family. was very easily available. however. Győr–Homokgödrök surface of the Earth’s crust. being one of the most abundant materials near the Fig. Takács 2009). It is not the only reason for the great abundance of pottery shards. Pottery The prominence of pottery studies in archaeology is a consequence of the sheer quantity of pottery shards in site excavations. The fragility of ceramic material is as much an ob- stacle for archaeologists studying the form and chronology of the finds as it was an inconvenience for the original users. Győr) have been sold at much lower prices than metal vessels of the same size even in the period between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. The furnaces at Visegrád and Esztergom prove that crafts- men working with non-ferrous metals appeared in suburbs around administra- tive centres at the time the state of Hungary was founded.items of artistic value. As early as the eleventh century. taking advantage of the lively business in these antecedents of towns.

Thus the Fig. They did so by examining the pots made in it (Stanojević 1980: 89–96). 103). 1996: 15. For an external observer. 114 Container. Moson- sági Múzeum. and any wider conclusion relating to the history of pottery will require further measurements. but the structure of the kiln itself. Only at one point on the territory of the Árpád-era kingdom. it is kiln. There Fig. besides pottery fragments.. 880 oC. 112 Cross-sectional drawing of a pottery term “grill kiln” does not do justice to the Árpád-era apparatus for firing pots. Győr–Káptalandomb Fig. fits in with results from other Central and Eastern European sites. the primary distinctive feature of these eleventh-to-thirteenth century pottery kilns is the massive clay structure that divides the interior horizontally into two chambers (Stanojević 1980: 89–96. A detailed formal-typological discussion of Árpád-era pottery products far Fig. Lébény–Bille-domb (Han. This grill is often the main evidence that a kiln was used for firing pottery. we have to extend the investigation to how vessels were made and the tools that were used in the process.) more accurately described as a double flue type pottery kiln. the remains of some pot- tery kilns also survive from the Árpád era (Vágner 2002). Serbia) in the former county of Bács. To learn more about Árpád-era pottery than is possible from the nar- row chronological viewpoint referred to above. on the outskirts of Óbecse (Bečej. The resulting single data point for the firing tem- perature of Árpád-era pots. the horizontal partition is not the main object of interest. however. Lébény–Bille- (Xantus János Museum. Because brick-making was the province of organisations that grew up around the building trades. It would be going too far to give general figures on the basis of this single measurement. Óbecse (Stanojević 1980: . 113 Small pot. Stanojev. however. Győr) crafts in Hungary. Fortunately. Győr–Homokgödrök exceeds the scope of a chapter in a book presenting a survey of the history of (Xantus János Museum. the foundation of the state. 33. taking due account of the position of the grill. domb (Hansági Múzeum. 34. have archaeologists found a pottery kiln for which they have been able to determine the firing temperature. We will confine ourselves to the key facts (Takács 1996). 116 Earthenware bottle. Mosonmagyaróvár) magyaróvár) 46 . If we approach the method of firing from the point of view of combustion technology.. Győr) bottle. it is not discussed here among crafts. 115 Fragmentary earthenware Fig.

indeed throughout the Middle Ages. Most of the large ceramic Fig. The products of an “average” master wheels for the rapidly-spinning foot-driven potter’s wheel. the Hun- new technologies. an industry where the work of a craftsman producing for a small area was not threatened by competing craftsmen. Competition from by nuns of a royal nunnery led by the queen the towns gradually required all village potters to exchange their old. Finds in Hungary related to weaving looms. no doubt convenient for the producer. but this largely took place in the fourteenth century. are mainly found in prehistoric sites. we can identify two categories of archaeological finds which tell us. was the commoner of the two. Vessels made using these appeared first in towns and artwork of the analysed era. The former. but this was an ex. and many reconstructions have been based on precise observation and documentation of their location within the site. craft industries developed. however. weaver were less artistic. the clay bowl and the small ceramic pot or beaker. Cooking vessels had a similar form in neighbouring Central and Eastern European countries and elsewhere in Europe at the same time. formed on slow-moving wheels. however. and so fall outside the present discussion. With some generalisation. is based not on the location of weights. by Valter Endrei. Spinning and weaving The tiny amounts of data to be gleaned from pieces of fabric found in archaeo- logical excavations do not. 118 Fragment from Coronation Mantle. and characteristically include the weights used on the loom. hand-driven herself. The old types of vessels. and the other textile remains that have corroded on to various metals.were two types of cooking vessels in the Árpád era: the pot and the clay cauldron. The thirteenth century did bring Concerning the textile production. Győr–Homok- pots were imports from Lower Austria. The relatively large number of these finds have allowed these weights to be classed by type. This unusual situation. as elsewhere in Europe. (Hungarian National Museum. No such weights tend to be found in Árpád-era strata. This category included the flask. which resembled a modern flower vase. in the form of the foot-driven potter’s wheel and garian coronation mantle is the most peculiar bright-firing clay types. The figure of King (Saint) Stephen i. There were also large ceramic pots which can reasonably be presumed to have had a storage function. eventually changed as towns and urban Fig. This strongly implies that the loom itself changed in form between the Iron Age and the early Middle Ages. tremely slow process. The surviving kilns which have been excavated tell us quite clearly that pottery was a village craft. outside the chronological scope of this chapter. imitating a metal cauldron in its form. or rather could tell us. but on an analysis of the post-holes in the interior of a sunken house at Tiszalök–Rázom (Endrei 1961). probably brought into the kingdom along gödrök (Xantus János Museum. One of these comprises the remains of weaving looms. which was used to cook food above an open fire. Budapest) only disappeared in the last third of the fourteenth century. about the history of the textile indus- try. Several aspects of this technology change therefore occurred after the House of Árpád died out in 1301. unlike the round- bottomed. unfortunately. 117 Earthenware cauldron. Other vessels in Árpád-era Hungary were for serving and consuming food. The ceramic pot was used in a closed oven. Győr) the Danube waterway (Takács 1995). This mantle was – according to some medieval sources – produced then in the households of surrounding villages (Holl 1963). Throwing doubt on the credibility of the reconstruction is the large number of post-holes found on the floor of the house. clay cauldron. This makes it very hard to decide whether some of these holes really were the places where the legs 47 . reflect the importance of the associated crafts. mainly iron objects. The only Árpád-era loom reconstruction.

Some bone items substituted for more expensive metal fittings. must have been the work of craftsmen. Legal status did not correspond to wealth. and buttons (K. Above them came the warrior middle section. we must know something about the basic outlines. 13th century (Hungarian National Museum. At the bottom of the pyramid were the common people. Zsitvabesenyő. The small top layer of society were the officials in charge of counties and sections of the royal court: they were defined by law as dignitaries and ispáns (comes). These are mostly sharpened sheep leg bones. On the other hand. The common freemen were not neces- sarily more wealthy than some serfs. Knotik 1975). especially among the lower third of society (Bolla 1983). Karos ii. usually in unworked condition. however. 67. and mounted. however. for stiffening archery bows. The favourite bone artefacts of the Árpád era were bone plates Fig. Of these. These rather simple artefacts were not the only things made out of bone. of a weaving loom were driven into the ground. 1. whose ability can be appreciated even a thousand years later. Bone carving Animal bone remains are fairly common finds in excavations of Árpád-era set- tlements. even though the latter were the property of their lords. are found at nearly every site. The others. Árpád-era crafts through written sources To understand the social position of craftspeople in the Árpád era. Bone carving pursued as a specialised craft involved several phases. 3–4. of social structure. the textile fragments corroded on to Árpád-era iron implements are pieces of simple linen that either made up a small detail of a dead person’s clothes or were part of the shroud. but the horns. Tiszaeszlár. Bone skates were probably the result of similar home-craft activity (Stanojev 1996: 56. Fig. known as milites. armed serfs. most likely used as needles or punches (Méri 1964: 8. Their way of life in many respects resembled that of the middle section of society. preparation of the material by softening and working the prepared material on the lathe are processes that can be approached via archaeologically evaluable waste (Gróf – Gróh 2004). These needles or punches were probably home-made. Under the laws of the eleventh century. Only one study has succeeded in identifying a strip woven from linen and silk which may be interpreted as the remains of a cloth belt (T. These were probably for piercing leather rather than cloth. the work of a skilful member of the family who used them. belt ornaments. Illustrative examples are the serf-class armed troops belonging to monasteries or castle districts. 78). there are no coherent sources from which we can reconstruct the social movements of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The freemen divided into three groups. 2. antlers and teeth of game animals. There is a third type of object classified among archaeologi- cal finds: the bone spike used to untie leather straps. 120 Gold-plated bit from Zsámbék. Hungarian society consisted of freemen and serfs (Györffy 1983). if not every detail. Németh Budapest) 2005: 275–288). table 9). Some carved bones. 48 . The raw material (Nevizánszky 2007: 13) was not just the bones of domestic animals. buckles. Unlike the eleventh-century laws. even if they had no personal freedom. usually carved from cattle or horse shin-bones. 119 Bone covering of a quiver.

38. King (1.that is. 122 The structure of Árpád-era Hungarian society (after Dienes 1972).Székesfehérvár) ii. 36. i. Above the tenant peasants came the inhabitants of market towns and “fully-fledged” towns. after the first century following the foundation of the state. the state of the serfs. Palatine 2. the question we must examine is where the craftsmen lay in this social structure. So much so that some mounted warrior serfs worked their way into the military middle section of society in the thirteenth century. On the other side. 6. the latter two classes being distinguished not so much by wealth as the fact that the inhabitants of market towns were legally tenant peasants. the lower nobility. The middle section of the social pyramid comprised the large number of small landowners.seats of duxes and dioceses iii. For present purposes. and in many respects up to the middle of the nineteenth century. There is a wealth of data in the form of surviving grant charters and estate censuses telling us about native Fig. In reality. Secular lords’ folk) 49 . Estate organisation v. craft work was not simply confined to the trades that these “guests” brought with them. Almost the only people who could avoid this fate were foreign craftsmen and traders who came into the country as “guests” (hospites) and were granted privileges by the crown (Fügedi 1986b). Budapest) Fig. Lord chief treasurer 5. warrior peasants iv. the only reference to craftspeople was in connection with foreign settlers. Military retinue. Church folk. 2nd half of 12th century (Hungarian National Museum. of course. the “yoke of servitude”. Master of the horse 7. Commoner villages (35. The bottom of the social pyramid comprised the bonded agricultural class known from the thirteenth century as iobagi (ten- ant peasants). This trans- formation has to be inferred from scattered references in charters documenting legal transactions (Bolla 1983). King . By the second half of the thirteenth century. Court servant folk. Castle folk. often with large estates. known in the sources as “barons” from 1216. Among its consequences was the increasing number of freemen who fell into bondage. A great upheaval among both the common free- men and the serfs started in the twelfth century and reached its final outcome in the thirteenth. Warrior peasants vi. Princes . In the above sketchy and necessarily incomplete ac- count of the social pyramid. Hungarian society had established a pattern which was to stay in place until the Ottoman occupation. 121 Processional cross from the tomb of Béla iii. At the top of the pyramid was the elite office-bearers of the royal court. Master cup-bearer 4. 37. became increasingly structured and varied. Lord chief justice 3.

“We have gathered there [to Tihany – m. It should be noted 50 . let us look at a short excerpt from one of the earliest grant charters. one goldsmith. And that in the course of time they will suffer no disputes as regards what we have given to the aforementioned church for the reverence of Christ and the maintenance of its inhabitants and their servants. such as Födémes (bee-keeper). including in its supply of craft products. Hungarian craftspeople. etc. authenticity but considered by many historians to date from the early eleventh tine abbey of Tihany. twenty vineyardists with vineyards.] a body of monks to give diligent and tireless reverence to God and glorification and reverence of the saints. Another logical reason for settling them in the same village was to facilitate the gathering of finished products from craftspeople of the same trade. ten fishermen. so that they will not slacken in their service to God and have no cause for indolence therein. As far as we can tell from such a short text. two millers with mills. a hundred cattle. the making of precious-metal liturgical objects and candles. the deed of foundation of Tihany Monastery. three shepherds. two coopers. the serfs are described as living in groups of tens and Hungarian Benedictine Order’s Archives of Pannonhalma Abbey) hundreds. To give an impression of this bond of duty. the craftsmen who would have supplied cooking pots for the monks’ kitchen and the serfs’ households. t. Even the potters are omitted from the list. Andrew i (1046–1060). two cooks. two swineherds. Thus there are twenty ekes [plough measures] of land. a document of disputed Fig. The total number of servants of the church is a household of a hundred and forty. we have listed them each and all on this parchment in the scribe’s hand. and that is toponyms (Heckenast 1970). have as their subject a village or part of a village.” This list of serfs conjures up the everyday life of the abbey. We have granted all of these to the aforementioned monastery by our own gift. The craft industries included in the grant would not have supplied it. Gelencsér (potter). something that is difficult to comprehend from a modern perspective. seven hundred sheep. the abbey could not in fact have been fully self-sufficient. a hundred pigs and fifty beehives. Other acts of donation and estate censuses – although not the Tihany charter – tell us that there was an attempt to settle craftsmen in groups (Györffy 1983). A substantial proportion of Árpád-era Hungarian place names refer to crafts. from 1055. two smiths. one washer of clothes. There is also a set of non-documentary sources that give evidence of the serfs settling in groups. For example. 1055 (Congregation of century (Györffy 1992). In this document. The wide range of grants clearly shows that Andrew i intended Tihany Abbey to be self-supporting. two wood-turners. productive work – as de- fined in the charter. Furthermore we will give fifty foals a year from the royal stud for the needs of the monks. three cowherds. among them the serfs (Györffy 1992). Tímár (tanner). 123 Deed of foundation of Benedic. two bee-keepers. in fact not primarily. lists the properties he is granting. Kovácsi (blacksmith). two tanners. for example with raw materials such as iron or precious metal. These were people who owed their lords a service – or in modern terms. clothes and food. and with royal bounteousness have provided for them everything needed for their food. but more importantly the serfs who lived there. Furthermore thirty-four messengers with horses. in the deed of foundation of Pécsvárad. with one and the same village indicated as their place of residence. drink and clothing. twenty mounted serfs. using the first person plural. This is because grants made in the eleventh and twelfth centuries did not only. five equerries. one furrier and ten servants. with sixty household servants.

Jenő Szűcs. we may reasonably infer that the tens-hundreds organisation and the grouped settlement of craftspeople was also a feature of royal estates at the time of the foundation of the state (Györffy 1983). this word origi- nally meant the lord’s residence and the home farm around it. operated on the same principle as the estates belong- ing to the royal court and the counties (Györffy 1983). Solymár (falconer). the serfs acquired their own houses and land. Charters concerned with minor landholders – most dating from Fig. effectively impenetrable barrier of lack of sources. Halász(i) (fisherman). for their 51 . Bolla 1983: (Magyar Országos Levéltár. Since the vast majority of deeds of grant con- cern estates and serfs that came into possession of a monastery by royal grant. The praedium was an estate centre – equivalent to the demesne. that the great ecclesiasti- cal estates whose picture emerges from grant charters and censuses. The defect of the above overview is that the written sources it relies on solely concern large ecclesiastical estates. who first rec- ognised this curious duality. most of them concern agricultural work or now-extinct occupations. It is reasonable to presume – there being many examples from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries – that craftsmen also laboured in the fields. Indeed. such as Daróc (=hunter. the praedium was a place inhabited by serfs who carried out all the activities required for the estate farm (mostly extensive animal breeding and crops). serfs with the relevant skills produced craft products. we can reasonably extrapolate it back to the eleventh. twelfth and thirteenth centuries. gamekeeper). Szántó (ploughman). with their devolved structure (i. such as textiles and pots. If we turn our attention away from these two types of estate and try to deter- mine what the smaller lords possessed. 1243 to large royal or ecclesiastical estates (Szabó 1963: 1–49. and so we may reasonably suppose the existence there of various workshops. In Hungarian Latin. 12th century among the smaller estates the kind of concentration of serfs represented by the (Hungarian National Museum. Budapest) tens-hundreds organisation and the settlement of the same craftsmen in the same villages. or in modern-age Hungary the majorság – where repairs would sometimes be required for the working of the farm. called such people “peasant artisans” (Szűcs 1955). or the farm worked by the lord’s serfs. Budapest) 96–172).e. 124 Earring from Esztergom. however. Vadász or Vadászi (hunter).that occupation-related toponyms do not all refer to crafts. 125 Andrew ii grants noble title to gold- the thirteenth century – use a word praedium which rarely appears in relation smith Scemeyts. Another point to consider is that craftsmen of many trades did not make their entire living from them. we run into the much larger. mostly to supply their own families or the people around them. Although he developed the concept for the fifteenth century. Later. and paid food rent instead of yielding their entire la- bour. Here. 301–337. Certainly we should not expect to find Fig. consisting of several smaller properties) but nonetheless aspiring to self-sufficiency. Thus in the period following the foundation of the Christian state of Hungary. Szőlős (vineyardist). And therefore.

It was a state of constant readiness that meant. of Esztergom despite the dearth of sources referring to them.) These craftsmen had no fixed legal status. A lesser-known fact relating to those times is that the preponderance of large royal and ecclesiastic estates and their aspirations to self-sufficiency did not entail the complete absence of central settlements with lively industrial and trade activ- ity. own everyday needs and – something at least as important – repaired or even made agricultural implements. For example. He wanted no more than that the tools needed for agricultural operations be kept in working order. One report of 52 . the miner hospites in Nagybánya (Baia Mare. The first arrival of the hospites settlers to Árpád-era Hungary cannot be dated with full precision. but one circumstance can be inferred with confidence. It is that division of labour in such workshops did not progress in the direction of spe- cialisation. turn of the 13th century writer Abu-Hamid al Garnati (c. It was not in the interests of the owner of such a praedium for such workshops to produce artefacts in quantities that could be taken to market. Asszonypataka (“lady’s river”). 126 Fresco of rampant lion from the royal even including itinerant Arabs. There are few records of foreign craftspeople. The adoption of Western European practices in craft industries occurred largely via incoming craftsmen who had enjoyed certain privileges in their original homeland and attempted to secure the same or even greater privileges in Hungary (Fügedi 1986b. The inhabitants of such proto-urban centres must have been highly diverse. 127 Residential tower of the Royal Castle craftsmen in suburb settlements between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. The latter are worth mentioning because the chapel. for example. if the associated interpretation is correct. Romania) explained the meaning of their town’s former name. This suggests that neither the artisans organised into groups on the large ecclesiastical and royal estates nor the serf craftsmen on the praedia could have been the springboard for further develop- ment. There are no sources to back up this assertion. One of the earliest mentions of the hospites appears in a source from 1096. Kubinyi 1998). Kubinyi 1990. Szende 2010). The vast majority of these suburbs grew up “under the castle” of the ispán (comes). Neither can there be any doubt about the existence of native Hungarian Fig. The settlers themselves attempted to date this to as far in the past as possible. but written sources tell of foreign traders living there. That is because they could be completely free men. even though the town itself had an owner – usually the king. There are insufficient sources to back up this line of thought. but sometimes one of the higher clergy. The earliest data of any reliability comes from the turn of the elev- enth and twelfth centuries. once again owing to the dearth of written sources. Fügedi 1993. Esztergom) period and gave a very good description of twelfth-century Hungary (Dubler 1953). 1080–1170) lived among them for an extended (Royal Castle Museum. that at harvest time those who would normally have worked as craftsmen were ordered out to the fields. We have looked at two kinds of estate that in the thirteenth century completely died out or were radically transformed. (Supporting evidence comes from indirect references in the town privilegial charters discussed below. and many historians doubt its authenticity. as referring to their ancestors having been invited there by St Stephen’s wife Gisella (Györffy 1994). which was the seat of the county (K. Fig. This role was assumed by the craftspeople living in urban settlements. This implies that the overriding characteristic of production in praedium workshops was dominance of short-term considerations and ad hoc decisions.

was Bána. “Frankish village”. 131 The grand seal of Újbánya (Nová than 27 town charters whose first version. It was as a result of these privileges that a distinctive feature of medieval Western Europe.) stood at this site later in the Middle Ages. 128 Cushion capital from St Andrew’s Monestary.Fig. despite the economic boom associated with the formation of royal free towns. We will confine ourselves to the final outcome: that the success of many such communities in securing the rights of free election of judge and jury. and permission to allow freemen to settle in their community. Since a hospes settlement called Nagyolaszi (now Mandjelos. the royal free town. This was specifically a development of the thirteenth century: there are no less Fig. Budapest) determining who were the “Italians” who appeared at many points in twelfth- century Hungary. and remained in the market-town category. many industrial and trading centres remained in the possession of landowners. It would be stretching the boundaries of this discussion to include the details of each hospes community’s privileges and to show how they managed to convert these prototypical community rights into the privileges of what became towns. Serbia. The granting of privileges set off a major organisational change in urban craft industries. 13th century Hungarians at the time. 11th century (King Matthias Museum. many settlements providing significant urban functions did not attain this rank. The Walloons. Hungarian historians secured definite evidence that these olaszok came not from Italy but Wallonia. Organisations that separated one craft from another emerged almost at the same time as the issue of the town charters. The two versions of the name may be reconciled if we accept that the ethnic group referred to as Frankish by Fig. Visegrád) the march of the First Crusade mentions a Franca villa. The origins of guilds for dif- ferent craft industries in Hungary go back to the thirteenth century. was established in Hungary. In this way. included vineyardists and burgh- ers. between the Danube and the Sava (Takács 1994: 477). It was an idiosyncratic feature of medieval Hungarian urban (Hungarian National Museum. had more than legal consequences. the latter including artisans and traders. Miklós Takács 53 . 129–130 The double seal of the Latin the Western European chronicler was regarded as “Italian” (olaszok) among burghers of Esztergom. Slovakia). through which artisans plying specific trades protected their interests. the southern part of modern Belgium. After some initial uncertainty. it is likely that the version of the name noted in 1096 indicated the presence of hospites. speaking Old French. although it was only in the fourteenth century that the guild system itself took shape. furnishing some level of privileges. Budapest) development that. jurisdiction over all of their court affairs. in the southern part of the kingdom. 14th century issued in this period. The interpretation of this 1096 record is thus crucial to (Hungarian National Museum. And a crucial feature of royal free towns was the regulated operation of craft industries. Guilds. Syrmia. will be covered in subsequent chapters of this book.

Fig. 132 IDE MÉG KÉP JÖN 54 .