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Quest for a Suitable Past, edited by Claudia-Florentina Dobre and Cristian Emilian Ghiţă
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Pagans and Christians in the Late Roman Empire
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The Elefanthy
The Hungarian Nobleman and His Kindred

Erik Fügedi and edited by Damir Karbic

In an exploration of the life and customs of the Hungarian nobility, this book compares historical reality and legal literature on the example of one noble kindred the Elefánthy kindred from northern Hungary (present-day Slovakia). The author begins by outlining the customary laws regarding noble status, inheritance and marriage, as summarized in the famous code of Stephen Werböczy (1514). He then compares these norms with the documentary evidence and establishes the fact that the legal literature differs in regard to social mobility and kindred solidarity.

With this frame of reference in mind, the fate of the Elefánthy family is traced through several generations, enabling the author to make some general statistical statements on inheritance, the rise and fall of various branches, marriage strategies, and the "survival skills" of the kindred. In his summary, the author outlines some of the major avenues for further research, including the peculiar Hungarian form of retainership (familiaritas), and the relationships between noble fam-ilies and between the nobility and local communities.

"...offre une etude for complete sur l'organisation de la noblesse en Hongrie au Moyen Age. Meme si elle ne s'applique qu'a un cas unique, cette demarche est interessante. Car elle nous eclaire sur une organisation de la noblesse differente de celle que nous connaissons dans les royaumes occidentaux, mais qui se retrouve a la meme epoque dans d'autres pays d'Europe centrale. Le livre d'E.F. se lit aisement, il n'est pas trop long et est presente tres clairement. Nul doute qu'il vienne completer la liste des etudes consacrees a la noblesse europeenne au Moyen Age." - Le Moyen Age

"A unique contribution to medieval studies, highly recommended."
- Julian Wasserman, Loyola University of New Orleans

1998
174 pages
ISBN 978-963-9116-20-7 cloth $39.95 / €33.95 /£30.00

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