Society of the towns of Upper Hungary in the seventeenth century
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This study concentrates on three towns: Eperjes, Bártfa and Kisszeben on the basis of the towns archives of these three towns. These towns were important centres of industry and commerce in the seventeenth century. Kassa and Eperjes were important fortresses too. Eperjes was an important and influential town at the crossroad of important commercial roads. It had around five thousand inhabitants, Germans, Slovaks and Hungarians. Bártfa, on the other hand, was a town in decline. It flourished in the Middle Ages but declined in the seventeenth century. It had 3228 inhabitants, Germans and Slovaks, with few Hungarians. Kisszeben, on the other hand, was a town of lesser importance. It had some 2200 inhabitants, and as it was in the neighbourhood of Eperjes, it could not develop freely. The burghers were mainly Slovaks and Germans. In Kisszeben, the Lutheran church dominated in the seventeenth century. The richer German Lutherans used the parish church, the Slovak Lutherans the smaller Holy Virgin church. There were no Catholics at Kisszeben. Eperjes was one of the centres of the Lutheran churches and schools in Hungary. There were German, Slovak and Hungarian Lutheran pastors and cantors. The lyceum of Eperjes was one of the most important Lutheran schools of Hungary. One of its first students was Imre Thököly, the 'Kurutz King', the prince of Upper Hungary. All senators were Lutherans, the Catholic were not allowed to have their own church, they could meet only at the private house of the barons Klobusiczky, and the Franciscans of Alsósebes came to celebrate mass. The Franciscan friars were not allowed to live in the abandoned Carmelite monastery used as economical buildings. Neither was the practice of Catholic religion allowed at Bártfa, here the parish priest of Zboro came to celebrate mass at the private house of a customs officer, however, the magistrate of Bártfa impeded his activity.
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