The Árpáds and Their Wives
Queenship in Early Medieval Hungary 1000-1301
The book describes the structure of the Hungarian queenship in the age of the Árpáds (11-13th centuries), and reveals the nature of the relationship between the institution of the kingship and the queenship. Several features in the institution of queenship would appear to be parallel to that of kings; after all, the queens had estates (just like the kings) with serfs (as on the kings’ lands). The legal status and structure of the order of these serfs were the same as in the kings’ household. The queen had a court (as did the king), there were similar dignitaries in both courts, and the queen even had a chancellery to issue charters in her name (similarly to the king). Yet, while the individual elements of the two institutions appear to mirror each other, there were significant differences in their quantity and importance, those of the kings having a clear advantage over the queens’. This book aims to clarify these essentially different structures. A major finding of the book is to point out the place of the institution of queenship: it was not parallel to, but, rather, within the authority of the king. The institution of queenship remained within the boundaries set upon it by the kings’ authority throughout the age of the Árpáds. As a result, the institution of queenship did not benefit from the accumulation of external influences brought along by the queens of various foreign dynasties. Rather, just as the power of the kings, it was basically shaped by factors characteristic of institutional developments within Hungary.