Poverty or not? Economic aspects of the mendicant friaries in medieval Transylvania
Ubóstwo czy dostatek? Ekonomiczne aspekty działalności klasztorów mendykanckich w średniowiecznym Siedmiogrodzie
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Research on the economic activity of the mendicant orders started to become popular with historians studying monastic life in the Middle Ages only in last decades, thus there is little bibliography on the topic. However the fact that there were and are running vast methodological attempts for research such as the MARGEC project, which go past the factual exchange of information and suggest viable methods to reveal the details regarding the economic activity of the mendicant orders of Central Europe in the Middle Ages should be considered an important step. Thus, it is the aim of this paper to continue to enrich the situation of the mentioned research tendency in a small way by examining the gifts of the wills and donations made to the mendicant friaries of Transylvania and to contribute to a broader and more complex understanding of the relationship between the Transylvanian mendicant orders and different economic activities in the medieval period. Giving a general outline of Transylvanian mendicant monasticism in the Middle Ages with its specifically Hungarian characteristics, we analyze the three most frequent types of real estate donations given to these religious institutions of Transylvania. It is clear that the results of the analysis of the given immovable properties to the friaries can be used not only for a better knowledge of the material culture of these religious institutions or for the donation and testamentary practice of the time, but they also can help us to chart the goods of the friaries. Having this data we can make further analysis regarding the economic situation of the friaries, what kind of property each friary had and how they could manage these goods in order to have a prosperous life.
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