Papal Letters in Hungary Concerning the Teutonic Knights’ Stay in Transylvania (1211–1225) Cover Image

Папские послания в Венгрию, касающиеся пребывания тевтонских рыцарей в Трансильвании (1211–1225)
Papal Letters in Hungary Concerning the Teutonic Knights’ Stay in Transylvania (1211–1225)

Author(s): Roman Hautala
Subject(s): History
Published by: Издательство Исторического факультета СПбГУ
Keywords: relations of the Latin world with the nomads in the Middle Ages; Cumans; Teutonic Order; Kingdom of Hungary; Transylvania

Summary/Abstract: The author of this article analyzes the content of papal letters to Hungary concerning the issues of the Teutonic knights’ stay in Transylvania from 1211 to 1225. Analysis of the information contained in these letters shows that the Hungarian king Andrew II invited the Teutonic brethren in the Burzenland (located on the southeastern tip of Transylvania, in close proximity to the territory controlled by the Cumans) with the apparent aim to organize an effective defense of Transylvania against the frequent Cuman raids. Based on information from historical documents, the author concludes that the Cumans regularly invaded Transylvania precisely through the Burzenland and that these nomadic raids showed the ineffectiveness of the former defensive system of the region, thereby influencing the Andrew II’s decision to entrust the defense of Burzenland to the Teutonic Order, which possessed significant military capability. At the same time, the Hungarian monarch granted the brothers with a number of privileges, attempting to create in such a way favorable conditions for increasing the local population in order to ensure a constant flow of material resources and manpower to the Teutonic brothers. The content of papal letters evinces an obvious satisfaction of the Hungarian king in respect of the Knights’ military successes expressed in the provision of additional privileges a year later after the brethren arrival in Transylvania. In parallel, historical documents indicate that the collision between the brothers and Cumans (who, apparently, sought to prevent the Teutonic knights to gain a foothold in the Burzenland) adopted a more toughened character. However, the same documents ascertain the fact that the Knights gradually took control over the Burzenland. Thus, the papal letters gives an insight into the evolution of the military successes of the Teutonic brethren in their struggle against the Cumans. In addition, historical documents provide valuable information about the further expansion of the Knights beyond the Carpathian Mountains after the final establishment of control over the Burzenland. Apart from consideration of military clashes between the Teutonic knights and Cumans, the author of this article devotes considerable attention to the analysis of the reasons, which prompted the Hungarian king Andrew II to expel the brothers from Transylvania in 1225, despite their distinguished services to the Kingdom of Hungary.