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“Choreographies of Shared Sacred Sites: Religion, Politics, and Conflict Resolution. Edited by Elazar Barkan and Karen Barkey. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. 440 pp.”

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“Choreographies of Shared Sacred Sites: Religion, Politics, and Conflict Resolution. Edited by Elazar Barkan and Karen Barkey. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. 440 pp.”
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  Hungarian Historical Review 5, no. 4 (2016): 882–932 882  http://www.hunghist.org  BOOK REVIEWSSlavery in Árpád-era Hungary in a Comparative Context. By Cameron Sutt. (East Central and Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages 31.) Leiden– Boston: Brill, 2015. 240 pp.  This study, which is based on a Cambridge dissertation supervised by Nora Berend, takes up a discussion—now more than one-hundred years old—about the actual status of persons called servi, mancipia, or  ancillae   in the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries in Hungary. To put the issue in a wider context, the author rst summarizes older and more recent research on the conditions of dependent labor in early medieval Western Europe. As his ndings demonstrate, one should be cautious with any unequivocal or general denition of these people’s social positions: even historians working with a signicantly wider array of sources than those available in Hungary have failed to reach any consensus on the question of whether or not these people could be accurately characterized as slaves, serfs, or any of the other names that have been given to them. Then, in contradiction to the contention that very little research has been devoted to this question in Hungarian historical scholarship (p.1), Sutt gives a thorough and informative survey of the literature from the beginning of the twentieth century to, roughly, the present day (pp.7–18).  A crucial subchapter follows on the denition of slavery (pp.18–32). Much of the debate rests on semantics. Most historians have tended, tacitly or otherwise, to equate the notion of slavery with the Antique Roman slave bands or the African plantation slaves of America. Sutt widens the discussion by introducing evidence from ancient Mesopotamia to present-day (or recent) slave-holding societies in Sub-Saharan Africa. As with other similar comparisons between ancient states or contemporary “societies without writing” and medieval Europe, I am not sure that these are as useful as the author believes. (The debate on this question, however, is far too broad for me to cover it in any detail here.) Sutt ends up with a four-point “denition” (p. 32): 1 a slave was property, and as such could be bought, sold, and traded in whatever manner his or her owner desired;2 a slave was separated from his or her kin. Slaves may have children, but cannot establish the broader relationship of kin. Separation from kin found manifestation primarily in the inability of a slave to participate  BOOK REVIEWS 883 in the rights of patrimony. A slave could enjoy certain limited rights to property, and this property could be sizeable and may even have consisted of land in some form, but all of a slave’s property was merely part of his or her  peculium  . A prime characteristic of  peculium  was that a slave could not bequeath it to succeeding generations;3 the labor of a slave depended solely upon the will of his or her master. Slaves could be required to perform all sorts of tasks, both heavy and light, but their master alone determined both the nature and the amount of work demanded of them;4 slave marriages were not secure in all societies. This criterion must be qualied because, as we have seen, some societies allowed the legal protection of the union between slaves. Serfs, by contrast, always had such legal protection. Thus, while the presence of protected marriages does not necessarily indicate serfs, the forcible break up of unions does indicate slaves.  With these criteria in mind, the author peruses the laws of St. Stephen (pp.52–90), St. Ladislas and Coloman (pp.91–108), and other Hungarian records, always comparing them to the Lex Baiuvariorum   and related sources, as  well as evidence from Carolingian French territories. This inquiry is prefaced by a chapter on “Árpádian Hungary and the Land” (pp.35–51), which presents the discussions on the nomadic or semi-nomadic character of the Hungarians in the ninth and tenth centuries, the development of ecclesiastical and lay landed property, and their structure. In the subsequent three chapters the evidence is analyzed topically, according to the author’s denition. He presents evidence suggesting that servi    were regarded as “things” (  res   ) (pp.109–22), i.e. they could be bought and sold even without land, that their labor obligations were mostly undened, though less so on church property (pp.123–30), and that their families (pp.131–58) were systematically split up. The last point is the most contradictory, and is supported by the least reliable evidence. One frequently nds mention in the sources of married servi   or ancillae  , but some of these unions may have been between manumitted servants.On the basis of the very systematic and exhaustive (as exhaustive as reasonably possible) survey of the scattered sources, Sutt nds evidence in the laws and charters of Árpádian-age Hungary for almost all of the points in his denition, although never for all. There is, however, evidence to the contrary as well, even apart from the exceptional case of a servus   being in charge of a castle (Stephen II: 18). For example, when a distinction is drawn between Hungarian servi   and others, the Hungarian servi   are clearly regarded as persons,  884 Hungarian Historical Review 5, no. 4 (2016): 882–932 even though in another source they are listed together with cattle and tools. Surely, the Hungarian evidence points to conditions fairly similar to those of (earlier) Western European ones, in which there were very signicant differences in the statuses of servile populations. From what can be established, the legal division of liber   and servus   was unequivocal, but that may not have covered the actual social and economic reality. (As in later centuries, the legal notion of nobilis   covered great landowners and one-plot peasant-noblemen alike.)  The comparison with “serfs” (already used in the denition and then in the last chapter) is also problematic. To use this category—different from “slave”— in the Hungarian case is highly problematic. Calling the dependent tenants of the later Middle Ages and beyond—i.e. the  jobbágy/jobagio  peasants, who had de facto inheritable plots and the freedom to move (or be moved) to other lords—  serfs is denitely misleading. Might it not be more useful, even in the case of periods as early as the rst centuries of the kingdom, to speak of slave-like and serf-like dependencies among the servile laborers and peasants, but clearly to distinguish them from the later (from the late thirteenth century onwards) peasants? The attempt to make them  ad glebam astricti   and disarmed (in 1514) clearly suggests that their position was different before (and, in fact, did not even change for the worse in general thereafter).The study closes with a discussion of the disappearance of servi   (pp.159–210), already touched upon. Sutt persuasively dismisses the inuence of the Church, drawing on a wide array of theological sources and canon law. He also offers a good survey of the relevant debates and argues that in essence the servi   disappeared because of changes in agriculture and settlement patterns (i.e. the end of the small  praedia   ).  The book also includes a good index and a map of thirteenth-century Hungary. (It is, however, puzzling how northern Transdanubia became “Burgenland.”) My critical remarks notwithstanding, I regard this study as a very important one. Sutt is right to urge an up-to-date inquiry into this long-debated issue in a European context, and he has made a substantial contribution. By having made both the older Hungarian discussions of this question and his own extensive research accessible to the scholarly public beyond Hungary (the studies in Hungarian are almost entirely unknown abroad, as Sutt notes on p.1), he has done a valuable service for social and legal historians worldwide.  János M. Bak Central European University, Budapest  BOOK REVIEWS 885 Koldulórendi konfraternitások a középkori Magyarországon (1270 k. – 1530 k.) [Mendicant confraternities in medieval Hungary (ca. 1270 – ca. 1530)]. By Marie-Madeleine de Cevins. Pécs: Virágmandula, 2015. 308 pp.  The French historian Marie-Madeleine de Cevins is well known among Hungarian medievalists. She is one of the few Western European historians whose research eld is in East Central Europe, more precisely in medieval Hungary. She has dealt with questions of ecclesiastical history for the last twenty or so years. In addition to a number of articles and a book on the church institutions in the Hungarian towns, she published a thick volume on Franciscan Observants in Hungary (  Les Franciscains observants hongrois, de l’expansion à la débâcle [vers 1450 – vers 1540]   Rome [2008]), and she also organized a research group dealing with mendicant economy in East Central Europe, nanced by the French Agence National de Recherche (   Marginalité, économie et christianisme:    La vie matérielle des couvents mendiants en Europe centrale   ). The question of mendicant confraternities came up in the framework of this research. Almost as if showing respect for a long tradition, works on medieval Hungarian history often begin with the contention that sources are scarce either because they never existed or because they did not survive the upheavals of East Central European history. Certainly there are far fewer written sources in this part of Europe than in the Southern or Western regions of the continent. However, there are some exceptions. The subject of de Cevins’ book seems to be one of them. Although confraternities are documented in Western Europe centuries earlier, the adoption of this form of piety in the mendicant orders seems to have found much less expression there than it did in East Central Europe, especially in Hungary. The book consists of seven chapters, including a conclusion and a long appendix of nearly seventy pages containing tables, maps, graphs, photos of documents, followed by the publication of sixteen charters. Between the two sections, there is a fteen-page bibliography which lists both published and unpublished sources, as well as works of secondary literature mainly in French, Hungarian and English, but there are also German and Flemish titles. In the rst chapter one of the main questions is the terminology, since confraternities need to be distinguished from other forms of piety such as, for instance, pro anima donations. In fact, one of the difculties is that the sources are not only very uneven, but they also contain very few details. Sometimes even  886 Hungarian Historical Review 5, no. 4 (2016): 882–932 the name of the beneciary is missing, not to mention the circumstances under  which he or she joined the mendicant community. The rst half of the chapter offers a short history of the confraternities and their monastic roots. The second part gives an overview of the historical research with a brief discussion of the secondary literature in English, French, Danish, Polish, and Czech, with a special focus on the works in Hungarian. The second chapter enumerates the sources themselves, from the normative texts, which are very few in number, through the charters, the registers, and the  formularia  , including the relevant sources issued by the Pauline Order. De Cevins’ scope is larger here than the mendicant confraternity charters stricto sensu  , partly due to the fact that the sources survived in very different forms and under  very different circumstances. In this context, she also discusses the problem of conating the confratres   with the “simple” benefactors   of the orders; this aspect is important when categorizing the sources. Finally, there is a short summary of the formal characteristics of the confraternity charters. The third chapter, entitled “The success of mendicant confraternities in Hungary till about 1530,” is the main thematic part of the book. It discusses the chronology, spatial distribution, and social background of the phenomenon.  As far is this last aspect is concerned, de Cevins underlines that the nobility is clearly overrepresented in the source material. This is not simply a Hungarian phenomenon. De Cevins quotes the English and Burgundian examples, but she notices an important difference, namely the relatively low number of aristocrats and, in contrast, the strong presence of the nobility. I agree with her contention that further research is needed in order to determine whether this phenomenon  was a Hungarian peculiarity or not, but whatever the case, this detail ts well into our image of late medieval Hungarian society.  The following three chapters analyze the process of how one joined the confraternity and the levels of beneces (Chapter 4), the connections between the orders and their confraternities, including the mutual services (Chapter 5), and the religious aspects, the “value” of the confraternity from the point of view of the lay members (Chapter 6).  The conclusion focuses on three aspects. The rst is the disciplined use of the confraternity as a religious institution. The hesitancy to issue blank charters contributed to the late medieval success of confraternities in Hungary, especially among nobles and aristocrats. Secondly, this group was particularly susceptible to this form of piety because of earlier monastic traditions (the high prestige of kindred monasteries) and the social demands of the elite. And thirdly, de
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