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CISTERCIANS AND NOBILITY IN MEDIEVAL CROATIA: THE BABONICI FAMILY AND THE MONASTERIES OF TOPUSKO (TOPLICA) AND KOSTANJEVICA (LANDSTRASS) IN THE THIRTEENTH AND EARLY FOURTEENTH CENTURIES

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CISTERCIANS AND NOBILITY IN MEDIEVAL CROATIA: THE BABONICI FAMILY AND THE MONASTERIES OF TOPUSKO (TOPLICA) AND KOSTANJEVICA (LANDSTRASS) IN THE THIRTEENTH AND EARLY FOURTEENTH CENTURIES
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  Cîteaux: Commentarii cistercienses , t. 61, fasc. 2-4 (2010) *  This article is extended and improved version of the paper given at  Medieval and Renaissance  History Seminar  , School of History, University of Leeds, 9 December 2009. The author wishes to express his gratitude to Dr. Emilia Jamroziak for her suggestions and help in improving this article. These materials are based on work financed by the National Foundation for Science, Higher Education and Technological Development of the Republic of Croatia. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The National Foundation for Science, Higher Education and Technological Development of the Republic of Croatia. In this paper modern versions of the names for both monasteries have been used because it is these versions which are commonly used in modern Slovenian and Croatian historiography. Nevertheless, author is fully aware of possible confusion which can arise because names Toplica and Landstrass are more familiar to the western European scholars. See notes 2 and 3 for explanations. AbbreviationsA N C I C , “Cistercitska opatija”  Mladen A  N C I C , “Cistercitska opatija u Topuskom do pretvaranja u komendu [ The Cistercian abbey in Topusko until its conversion into commende ]”,  Radovi Zavoda za hrvatsku povijest   27, Zagreb 1994, p. 29-42. CD    Diplomati c  ki zbornik Kraljevine Hrvatske, Dalmacije i Slavonije.   Codex diplomaticus regni Croatiae, Dalmatiae et Slavoniae  vol. 2 (1904), 3 (1905), 4 (1906), 5 (1907), 6 (1908), 7 (1909), 8 (1910), 9 (1911), 10 (1912), 11 (1913), 12 (1914), ed. Tadija S MI C IKLAS , Zagreb; vol. 13 (1915), ed. Marko K  OSTREN C I C , Emilij L ASZOWSKI ; vol. 14 (1916), 15 (1934), 16 (1976), ed. Marko K  OSTREN C I C ; vol. 17 (1981) ed. Stjepan G UNJA C A ; vol. 18 (1990), ed. Duje R  ENDI C -M IO C EVI C K  EKEZ  Hrvoje K  EKEZ , “Izmeÿu dva kralja: plemi c ki rod Baboni c a u vrijeme promjena na ugar-sko-hrvatskom prijestolju, od 1290. do 1309. godine [Between two Kings: The Baboni c  Family in the Period of Dynastic Succession to the Croatian and Hungarian Throne, 1290–1310]”,  Povijesni prilozi , vol. 35, Zagreb 2008, p. 61-89. CISTERCIANS AND NOBILITY IN MEDIEVAL CROATIA:THE BABONI C I FAMILY AND THE MONASTERIES OF TOPUSKO (TOPLICA) AND KOSTANJEVICA (LANDSTRASS) IN THE THIRTEENTH AND EARLY FOURTEENTH CENTURIES * Hrvoje K  EKEZ In early spring of the year 1269 two members of the noble Baboni c i family, the  brothers Jacob and Christian, were summoned into the presence of Duke Bela, son of the Hungarian king Bela IV, to defend themselves against accusations that they held certain lands in the Una river valley illegally. Accused by a group of lesser nobles from Dubica County, the brothers tried to defend themselves by claiming that these lands were their property by hereditary right, given to them in legacy by their grandfather, Lord Stephen I of Gori c ka; the Baboni c i brothers further asserted that they held several grants issued by successive Hungarian kings. When Duke Bela asked them to produce these charters, they stated that they did not have them in hand because they were kept at the Cistercian abbey in Kostanjevica. Duke Bela  258 HRVOJE KEKEZ 1  This event is described in a charter issued by Lord Bela, Duke of Slavonia, Dalmatia and Croatia in the first half of 1269, and will be discussed in context below. ( CD  5, p. 514-516). 2  The present-day city of Topusko is called Toplica  or a variation ( Toplicza , Töplica ) in all surviv-ing medieval documents. The name came from the Slavic (Croatian) word for a spring ( toplice ); there are many natural springs in that area which were used as bathing resorts even in the Roman period. Despite the legend that the name Topusko came from the Slavic word for cannon ( top ), which can be connected with the cannons that were used by Ottomans in the 16 th  century, there is more scientific explanation. Michael VON  K UNNITS  wrote that the srcinal Slavic name ( Toplicza  or Toplika ) was changed via the influence of the Hungarian language, most likely in the late Middle Ages, to become the current Topusko ( Toplica   →   Tapolca   →   Topolca   →   Topuzka   →   Topusko ). Michael VON  K UNNITS ,  Povijesno topografski opis mineralnog kupali s  ta Topusko [  Historical and topographical description of the mineral baths in Topusko ] , Topusko, 1827 (reprint: 1997) p. 21-22. 3   In contrast to Topusko, the medieval German version of the contemporary city of Kostanjevica on Krka (  Landstrass ) was changed during 17 th  and 18 th  centuries to the Slavic (Slovenian) name. It is likely that the common people in the area used the Slavic version even in the earlier period, but since most of present-day Slovenia was for many centuries under Habsburg rule where there was a strong German influence, the Slavic version of the name was suppressed. The name Kostanjevica comes from Slavic word for chestnut ( kestenje ). Even today there are many chestnut woods in the area. 4    Povijest Hrvata [ The History of the Croats ], vol. 1, ed. Franjo S ANJEK , Zagreb 2003, p. 259-290. then ordered them to produce the charters in his presence and appointed a date for the new assembly. 1  This extract from the life of two members of the Baboni c i family demonstrates one significant connection between the medieval Croatian nobility and the Cister-cian Order. This article will examine the role of the Cistercians in medieval Croa-tian society in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, through a case study of the relationship between the Baboni c i family and two Cistercian monasteries: Blessed Virgin Mary in Topusko 2  in modern Croatia and   Saint Mary in Kostanjevica 3  in Slovenia. The monastery in Kostanjevica was established near the border of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary, at the edge of the Baboni c i family’s political sphere of influence. In contrast, the monastery in Topusko was situated near Sjen c- njak castle, which was their main stronghold. I. C ONTEXT  1. History Before discussing the relationship between the Baboni c i family and these two monasteries, a brief context for medieval Croatia will help to set the stage. His-torically, Croatia is located at the crossroads of three major European regions: Central Europe, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. At the beginning of the twelfth century Croatia entered into a union with the powerful medieval Kingdom of Hun-gary, which meant that Croats shared common kings with Hungary. Nevertheless, during the period of this union, Croatian lands continued to posses a certain level of autonomy. 4  (Fig. 1)From the earliest Croat settlements in the regions where they live today—and especially in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries—their land had been divided   CISTERCIANS AND NOBILITY IN MEDIEVAL CROATIA 259 5 Pál E NGEL , The Realm of St Stephen: A History of Medieval Hungary, 895-1526  , London/ New York 2001, p. 36, 91, 151-153. 6   S ANJEK ,  Povijest Hrvata , p. 47-140. into three independent, but interconnected, kingdoms: Dalmatia, Croatia and Sla-vonia. During the reigns of the late Árpáds and Anjou kings in Hungary there had  been an administrator in each of these Croatian kingdoms. These so-called bans (Latin bani ) were high judges and had the power to assemble the army. They were usually members of local noble families appointed by the Hungarian king. 5   By the end of the eleventh century the medieval Kingdom of Slavonia was incorporated into the powerful Kingdom of Hungary. Although not many docu-ments have been preserved, archaeological evidence has shown that these areas were inhabited by a Slavic population, most likely Croats. 6  Territorially the King-dom of Slavonia was divided into several royal counties. Each of these counties was governed by the king’s deputies, called z  upani  (Croatian) or comites  (Latin). Similar territorial organization can be found throughout the medieval Kingdom of Fig. 1. Southeastern Europe in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. (map: author)  260 HRVOJE KEKEZ 7   E NGEL , The Realm of St Stephen , p. 39-42. 8   Nada K LAI C ,  Povijest Hrvata u razvijenom srednjem vijeku [  History of the Croats in the Late  Middle Ages ], Zagreb 1976, p. 340-450. 9   After the defeat of the Hungarian troops and the death of King Louis II Jagiellon in the battle of Mohach in August 1526, most of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary was opened to constant raids by the Ottoman cavalry. Details concerning the battle and its meaning for the historical development of East Central Europe may be found in Géza P ERJ É S , “The fall of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary: Mohács 1526—Buda 1541”, War and Society in East Central Europe , vol. XXVI, Boulder 1989, p. 171-272. 10   Due to the strategic position of the abbey—and the fact that it was most likely fortified—the Hungarian king, Ferdinand I von Habsburg, apparently did not want it to remain abandoned. In 1533 he offered Lord Peter Keglevi c  of Bu z im some sort of patronage of the abbey (including income from abbey lands) if Peter would bring Cistercian monks back to Topusko. They did apparently return, but likely left again by 1548 when Topusko was heavily plundered by the Ottomans (see n. 11). The abbey was certainly abandoned by 1558 when King Ferdinand offered it, along with its estates, to the bishop of Zagreb on the condition that he fortify the abbey further for greater protection (Ivan O STOJI C ,  Bene-diktinci u Hrvatskoj i ostalim na s  im krajevima [ The Benedictines   in Croatia and the rest of our lands ], vol. III, Split 1965, p. 215). 11   As recorded in the documents, the Ottomans had ravaged the abbey in 1548, and several more times in 1565 and 1593. Nevertheless, the worst period was between 1577 and 1580, with the most damage done to Topusko in early summer of 1579 when the Ottomans burned the monastic complex to the ground. (Radoslav L OPA S I C ,  Biha c  i biha c ka krajina [ The City of Biha c  and the County of Biha c ], Zagreb 1890, p. 22, 165). 12   Most of the surviving medieval charters of the royal Hungarian dynasty today are kept in the Hungarian National Archive (Magyar Országos Levétár) in Buda. 13   The most important are: CD , vol. 2-18;  A Blagay-család oklevéltára.   Codex diplomaticus comi-tum de Blagay , ed. Lajos T HALLÓCZY , Samu B ARAB Á S , Budapest 1897;  Monumenta Croatica Vati-cana, Camera Apostolica, Obligationes et solutiones camerale , vol 1-2, ed. Josip B ARBARI C , Josip K OLANOVI C , Zagreb/Rome 1996-2001. Hungary. It was common for the office of the z  upan  to be headed by a member of the local aristocracy. 7  One of the most powerful medieval noble families in the Kingdom of Slavonia in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries was the Baboni c i family, later lords of Blagaj. 8   2. Historiography a. Topusko In the early sixteenth century—especially after the battle of Mohach in 1526 9  — the territories of central Croatia were under Ottoman attack. Because of constant raids on the area, the Cistercians appear to have abandoned Topusko by 1533, 10  and even after their attempt to return in the mid-sixteenth century, the Ottomans  plundered and ravaged the remains of the abbey several more times throughout the remainder of the century. 11  It is likely that most of the abbey’s archives were destroyed during this period. A small number of documents survived in the archives of the surrounding ecclesiastical centres ( e.g. , the cathedral archive of the chapter of Zagreb), in the royal archive in Buda, 12  and in the archives of the neighbouring noble families; references have also been found in the Vatican archives. These charters were published in several collections of medieval documents edited from the late nineteenth century onwards. 13  Further references to the abbey in Topusko   CISTERCIANS AND NOBILITY IN MEDIEVAL CROATIA 261 14 Joseph-Maria C ANIVEZ , Statuta capitulorum generalium ordinis cisterciensis ab anno 1116 ad annum 1786  , Louvain 1933-1935, vol. 1: 1214, p. 421, n o  17; 1215, p. 437, n o  14; 1219, p. 514-515, n o  57; vol. 3: 1265, p. 35, n o  20; 1272, p. 112, n o  41; 1282, p. 223, n o  25; 1294, p. 271, n o  22. 15   Radovan F ILJAK , “Kloster dann Abtei und Schloss Toplica (Topoczk) nun Thopusko,” Croatia  Zeitschrift   47 (1840), p. 1-9. 16   Ivan K UKULJEVI C  S AKCINSKI , “Opatija b. d. M. u Topuskom [  Abbey b. v. M. in Topusko ]”,  Knji z  evnik: c  asopis za jezik i poviest hrvatsku i srbsku, i prirodne znanosti , vol. 1, Zagreb 1864, p. 78-89. 17   S ime L JUBI C , “Topusko (  Ad fines )”, Viestnik hrvatskoga arkeologi c  koga dru z  tva , vol. 1, n o  2, Zagreb 1880, p. 1-11. 18   Ivan Krstitelj T KAL C I C , “Cistercitski samostan u Topuskom [ The   Cistercian monastery in Topusko ]”, Viestnik hrvatskoga arheolo s  koga dri s  tva , vol. 2, n o  1, Zagreb 1896-1897, p. 110-129. 19   Emilij L ASZOWSKI , “K povijesti opatije Topuske [ On the history of the abbey in Topusko ]”, Vjestnik Hrvatsko-Slavonsko-Dalmatinskog Zemaljskog arkiva , vol. 1, Zagreb 1899, p. 199-200; Emilij L ASZOWSKI , “Prilog za povijest opatije topuske [  A   Contribution toward the history of the abbey in Topusko ]”, Straine Jazu , vol. 32, Zagreb 1907, p. 92-130. 20   Vjekoslav K LAI C , “Dva priloga za povjest cisterci c anskoga samostana u Topuskom [ Two contri-butions for the history of the Cistercian monastery in Topusko ]”, Vjestnik Hrvatsko-Slavonsko-Dalma-tinskog Zemaljskog arkiva , vol. 3, Zagreb 1901, p. 263-264. 21   Josip A DAM C EK , “Nemiri na posjedima Topuske opatije sredinom XVI. stolje c a [ The uprisings on the estates of the abbey in Topusko in the middle of the 16  th  century ]”,  Historijski zbornik  , vol. 21/22, Zagreb 1968-1969, p. 283-308. 22   A N C I C , “Cistercitska opatija”, p. 29-42. can be found in the Statuta , but they are sporadic and of a general nature. 14  The total number of surviving references to Topusko for the period of approximately 350 years is less than 200. Considering this—and the lack of archaeological exca-vation of the abbey—modern historiography contains only a narrow range of material concerning the political and social role of the Cistercians in Topusko. Any further information on the economic, cultural, or daily life of the Topusko monks will remain limited until by site can be excavated.  Nevertheless, Topusko Abbey and its history became the object of historical research as soon as modern Croatian historiography was developed in the first half of the nineteenth century. After visiting Topusko in the 1830s, Radovan Filjak  published a short history of the abbey in 1840. 15  Twenty years later, Ivan Kukulje-vi c  Sakcinski provided the first detailed history of the abbey, 16  and his work ben-efited from the first archaeological excavations conducted by S ime Ljubi c  and his team. 17  The best overview of the abbey’s history, based on the surviving written sources, was written by Ivan Krstitelj Tkal c i c  in 1897. 18  At the beginning of the twentieth century several new medieval charters concerning the abbey were dis-covered, analyzed and published by Emilij Laszowski 19  and Vjekoslav Klai c . 20  In the second half of twentieth century the abbey once again came under the scrutiny of Croatian historians who began investigating special issues such as life and pol-itics in the medieval kingdom of Slavonia. Josip Adam c ek studied economic life and the peasant uprising on the abbey’s estates in middle of the sixteenth century, 21  while Mladen An c i c  examined the ways in which the huge Cistercian estates had  been governed from the foundation of the abbey in 1205 up to their absorption into the commendatory system in the early fifteenth century. 22  Most recently, in 2008
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