IX, 2013, 1

Contributions to the Dating of the Donation of Ciceu and Cetatea de Baltă to Stephen the Great | p. 91–112

Cetatea de Baltă, Ciceu, John Corvinus, Matthias Corvinus, vassalage


Historians have suggested the dating of the donation of Ciceu and Cetatea de Baltă castles in Transylvania to 1475, 1484, 1486, or 1489. The year 1489, which gathered the most followers, was chosen because of the estimate dating of the return of the ruler of Moldavia, Stephen the Great, to vassalage towards the king of Hungary, Matthias Corvinus. A document from 26 July 1489 regarding the clarification of the status of a village neighbouring the castle of Ciceu, which we edit in the appendix, allows us to date the donation of the Ciceu estate in the summer of 1489. The stake of this donation was the oath Stephen the Great took to support the succession to the throne of Hungary of Matthias’ illegitimate son, John Corvinus. The intercessor of the oath and of the donation was, most probably, Bartholomew Drágfi, whose daughter was married to Alexander, the Moldavian ruler’s son. Cetatea de Baltă has been awarded in the summer of 1482, when the king of Hungary, very concessively, manifested his availability to give Stephen the Great a castle in exchange for the latter’s allegiance, of which he expected to receive practical proof. Cetatea de Baltă was to play the role of a refuge place when necessity would arise. Also in 1489 King Matthias awarded Stephen the Great with all the royal revenues from the two estates. According to some fiscal records of the royal treasury from 1494–1495, these royal revenues amounted to about 1700 florins, of which approximately 1500 florins represented the one florin tax, while the rest were collected from the so-called lucrum camerae tax paid by the Hungarian serfs and from the quinquagesima of the Romanian serfs. In 1492 King Vladislaus II confirmed the possession of the ruler of Moldavia through a new donation, meant to keep Stephen the Great as his vassal.