From the Peak of Self-employment on the Waves of Pension. The Way of an Entrepreneurial Family at the End of the 16th to the Beginning of the 17th C. Cover Image
  • Price 4.90 €

Von der Spitze der Selbständigkeit an die Schwelle der „Rentnerschaft”. Der Weg einer Unternehmerfamilie an der Wende vom 16. zum 17. Jahrhundert
From the Peak of Self-employment on the Waves of Pension. The Way of an Entrepreneurial Family at the End of the 16th to the Beginning of the 17th C.

Author(s): László Glück
Subject(s): History
Published by: Institutul de Cercetări Socio-Umane Gheorghe Şincai al Academiei Române
Keywords: social history; urban history; merchants; family history; social mobility

Summary/Abstract: The study introduces the history of a family, which was raised to the social stratum of renters based on the income from its economic enterprise, around the turn of the 16th-17th centuries. Their family name was Poncz, and they lived in Sighetu MarmaŃiei (Máramarossziget), in the north-eastern part of the Carpathian Basin. The town served as the centre of handicraft industry and the market-place of its vicinity. Sighetu MarmaŃiei was not developed into a real, urbanized city surrounded by walls. It had a rustic character, and was under seigniorial power. Nevertheless, its society, due to its economic role mentioned above, bore strong resemblance to that of real cities, as the determining social stratum was that of independent craftsmen and merchants. In the second half of the 16th century and at the beginning of the 17th century two consecutive heads of the family, Simon and his son, Tamás were dealing with extensive sheepbreeding, together with trading in sheepskin and wool, from which they made a considerable amount of fortune. For some time, both of them were Lord Chief Justices (fıbíró) of Sighetu MarmaŃiei. The fact that Tamás, by means of his fortune, could rise above the other citizens of his town dealing with craftsmanship or commerce is well indicated by his marriage, which was rather unusual amongst independent craftsmenmerchants, as he married into a local intellectual-bureaucrat family possessing a letter of nobility, although without landed property. (Tamás himself was not even a noble at that time.) Consequently, the Poncz family may be categorized into that narrow upper class of the wide independent social stratum living in Sighetu MarmaŃiei at the end of the 16th century, which showed a spirit of enterprise based on the general economic upswing during the 16th century, and as a result of that acquired an income being outstanding as compared to what was considered to be ordinary in its own social environment. Tamás was ennobled at the very beginning of the 17th century, but he did not abandon his economic activities. His son, György, with the help of his marriage being even more of rank than his own father’s one even acquired some landed property for his family. (The family of his wife was a one which rose into the squire hierarchy as a reward for service as a clerk in the court of the prince of Transylvania.) Having dissociated himself from the economic carrier, György lived the life of the gentlemen: he belonged to the surrounding of Count István Bethlen (the proprietor of the estate of Huszt also incorporating Sighetu MarmaŃiei), while also holding office in the leadership of Maramures county, the regional community of the nobility. The marriages contracted by the other family members in the 17th century also bear testimony of the fact that what they considered to be their appropriate social environment by that time constituted of domainial and county office-holders and the lower part of the lan

  • Issue Year: 2009
  • Issue No: 12
  • Page Range: 215-237
  • Page Count: 23
  • Language: German